Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Need New Underwear

I reached into my underwear drawer and grabbed the ratty, elastic stretched, thread worn, holey, navy blue boxer briefs. There was quarter sized hole by the waistband in the front and a one inch tear down the right groin seam. There was a newer pair of white boxer briefs in the drawer. It was a Sunday, most of the laundry in our house gets done on the weekend so my choices were limited. I was going to be working a trade show all day so I stuck with the blue briefs. I figured comfort would be important since I would be on my feet all day. I finished getting dressed and I went downstairs.

I drank some coffee and talked to Wyatt about the birthday party he was going to that morning. It was the first time in his 3 and 3/4 years that he was ever invited somewhere without his older brother. Wyatt was very excited to be going somewhere by himself. I was very happy for him, he needs his own friends. I took the last few sips of my coffee with a pill I sometimes take for my herniated discs. My back and neck were stiff and aching from the 3 yards of mulch I shoveled the day before. I kissed the family goodbye and I drove towards the trade show.

Two minutes before I entered the turnpike my scalp started to itch really bad. My face felt flush, I could feel my ears start to burn. I opened the window to get some air. My feet and hands started to hurt and I could see my wedding ring getting squeezed by the flesh around it. I looked in the rear view mirror and gasped. My faced was completely red, my eyes bloodshot and my lips were puffing up. I was having another allergic reaction.

I turned around and drove home. I could barely walk to the front door my feet were so swollen the laces and seams of my fake wingtips were bulging. I walked into the kitchen and called out for Lauren. She looked at me and made the same face she makes when she sees me naked. She was horrified.

"I need to go the hospital." I told her.

"Oh my God. What happened?" She asked.

"I have no idea. The only thing I did different this morning is that I took one of my pills. My tongue and lips are tingling and I need to go to the hospital."

"Let me call someone to watch the kids." She said as she picked up the phone.

"No. Wyatt needs to go to his party. I will drive myself."

"What? Are you crazy?"

"No. I don't Wyatt to miss his party. He needs this party."

"Bill, He is three. There will be other parties."

"Maybe we should call 911." I said. "No. I don't want to scare the kids. I will drive myself. I want Wyatt to go this party and I don't want him to miss it because his dad has allergies."

"Oh but it will be okay if he misses his party because his dad died?" Lauren said always trying to make her point even though I may have been dying.

I left and drove myself to the hospital. I called Lauren to let her know I was safely in the ER. A nurse asked me to walk back through the triage area. I could hardly move, my feet were so badly swollen.

"Why are you hobbling?" The nurse asked.

"My feet hurt."

"Take off your shoes." She said.

"I can't. I think my feet are stuck in them."

"Do you want me to cut them off of you?"

"No. These are the only dress shoes I own. I will get them off but it will take some time."

The nurse helped me onto the bed and she instructed me to take off all my clothes except my underwear. My ratty, torn, hole filled underwear. I was embarrassed. As I took off each article of clothing I discovered the most hideous rash I have ever seen covered my entire body. I was more mortified at my underwear. A doctor and another female nurse entered the curtained exam room. They looked at me and winced, maybe from the appearance of the rash, but I thought it was because of the holes in my boxer briefs.

The doctor asked me to stand up so they could examine everywhere. The two female nurses helped me out of the bed and then the three of them all used flashlights to inspect my back side and inner thighs. The doctor decided I needed a epinephrine shot and a bag of IV fluids with steroids. I was also to be placed on a heart monitor in case anything bad happened.

The two nurses worked quickly and in sync to get everything done. One prepped one side of my body for the IV and heart monitor while the other sorted through the various equipment. They chatted together the entire time talking as if I was not even laying there completely exposed except for my really bad underwear. Once the heart monitor was hooked up and beeping they inserted an IV into my left arm and injected epinephrine into my right arm. The nurse on my left stood next to me holding the IV bag above my head. They asked me to scooch back in the bed a bit. As I did I could feel the holes in the front of my underwear shift a bit exposing certain parts of my anatomy. I asked for a blanket.

The nurse on my right, finally acknowledging I was there, said that everything looked okay and that they would keep me for a few hours to observe. She nodded to the nurse on my left who was fiddling with the IV bag and asked, "What are you doing?"

"This one does not have a big pole. How come I am always stuck with the ones without any kind of pole."

I then cleared my throat and said, "I know you just inspected me with flashlights and that my underwear is full of holes but you didn't even get a good look there so please do not insult me."

It took her a minute but then she laughed.

Later when she was removing the heart monitor clips that were taped to my chest, I think she took pleasure in ripping sticky pads from my body.

This is kind of what my reaction looked like except my entire body was covered. This picture is a reaction to the type of tape they use in the hospital. The good news is I do not think I am allergic to chocolate like I thought before. The bad news is I am allergic to the medicine I am supposed to take for my neck pain. I am also allergic to hospital tape and nurses ripping hair out of my chest.




Monday, April 26, 2010

Shadow

Wikipedia defines a shadow as an area where direct light from a light source cannot reach due to obstruction by an object. In our house, most times, that obstruction is Maxfield, and Wyatt, the little brother, is in the shadow.

Wyatt is at the awkward age where he is tyring his best to fit in with his older brother and older brother's friends but also is the biggest pain in the ass to those he is trying to fit in with. He is the third wheel. He follows them around going where they go. He tries doing what they do. Sometimes he frustrates the older boys. Uusually he becomes their shadow quietly playing near or around the older boys.

Lately, Maxfield has been getting a lot of invites to go over to his friend's houses. Lauren and I always feel bad for Wyatt because he gets left out. We have been trying to get Wyatt some of his own friends but with Max's Little League, Max's school schedule, Max's play dates and Jackson's sleep/nap schedule it has been somewhat difficult. You see there? That last sentence, not once did I mention Wyatt's schedule. You see, Wyatt is in the shadows.

I can't help but feel bad for him sometimes. He gets so sad when he is not invited.

Now that Max has been going out more often I have had the opportunity to hang out with just Wyatt. He has become my little shadow. He wants to go where I go. He wants to do what I do. Sometimes he gets underfoot, which can be frustrating.




Wikipedia's entry on shadows also had some other notes. This one struck me "It is also believed as an alternative construct that shadows are in fact a representation of God's presence around an object."

How true. How true.

I love my little shadow.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------James from Luke I am your Father is the last winner from the GoodNites Bedtime Theater Contest. James please email me with your contact information so I can send you your prize pack.

Please go to GoodNites Bedtime Theater contest website after May 4th to vote on the winner of Iggy's Next Adventure. I was honored to be part of a group of bloggers that helped pick the 10 finalists. Now Goodnites needs other people like you to vote on the best story.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Big Nipples

When I was 12 I hit puberty. Well actually puberty hit me. Puberty was not very kind to me. I did not get acne. My hair grew in all the right places. My voice changed but not in an awkward way. My muscle mass grew. From reading this it sounds like I had a very normal almost good puberty. Well when I went through puberty I suffered from pubertal gynecomastia. Sounds bad doesn't it? Well let me tell you, for a 12 year old boy it was bad.

What is a gynecomastia? In simple terms it means I suffered from enlarged breasts. During puberty certain hormones get all out of sorts and get confused and start to give boys breasts. The estrogen based hormones once entrenched in the mammary glands decide to stay there and set up shop until the testosterone based hormones come in and kick them out. Basically the hormones fight over the space. In my case the male testosterone hormones, like any 12 year old boy, liked the idea of having breasts around and did not put up much of a fight. Besides they were busy making sure other parts were growing (and at the most inconvenient and awkward times I might add, like Algebra or Social Studies).

But I did not suffer from just a mere swelling of the breasts, no my big boobs were also complicated by little marble calcifications that developed under my nipples. That's right, I had big nipples. Not big round flat nipples. No, my nipples were pointy and stuck out from my chest, like big pink, slightly hairy, rock hard, Hershey kisses.

In the early 80's if you had a questions and needed to know something you asked my mom. My mom, in the 80's, was like Google. She did not know everything but she could provide you with at least 5 or so relevant stories to fit whatever the topic or question. I told my mom what was happening and she told me it was part of the process of growing older. She told me that one of my older brothers suffered the same thing and that it happens in about 30% of boys going through puberty. She then, because we were talking about puberty, tried to talk to me about the birds and the bees and "disgusting" things like vagina's and penises. Like I said, my mom was just like Google.

I was very self conscious about my nips. I always wore a T-shirt under my regular shirts. I never changed in the locker room after Gym class. I avoided pools and the beach. Not only was the size of nipples embarrassing but they also hurt like hell. The slightest pressure against my chest felt like jagged rocks were trying to pierce my nipples. I played football and just wearing shoulder pads made my eyes tear up. My big marble filled nipples lasted 3 years. It took three years for the male dominated hormones to win the battle inside my boobs.

Now that I am pushing 40 and I am somewhat settled in my activity it appears as though my boobs may be making a comeback.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rerun

We took Max and Wyatt to go see the Lion King Musical at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Lauren and I saw the Broadway version in 2001 and we both felt that the show as a stage production is very inspiring. We were very excited to see if we would be inspired by Max and Wyatt's reaction to such an incredible show.

I snuck my Flip video camera into the theater and even after hearing numerous warnings against recording in the building I did my best Freddy Rerun Stubbs bootlegging. Thankfully the Dobbie Brothers never showed up.

Maxfield and Wyatt loved the show even though Wyatt fell asleep midway through act two. Afterwards we went to Lauren's mother's house (she not only gave us the tickets as a gift but also watched Jackson while we were at the show) and she fed the boys snacks of pistachios and cookies and pretzels.

Later that night I asked Max what was his favorite part of the day and he responded by saying eating pistachios.
video

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sudoku

Saturday was Maxfield's official first day of playing organized sports. It also marked my first day of coaching an actual game. Part of managing a team at this level is making sure that every kid gets equal playing time at every position and each kid gets to bat in a different spot in the line up throughout the season. One way to make sure this happens is to have the kids play a different position each inning. 10 kids, 10 positions, no repeats. Setting my line up for a three inning game is like playing Sudoku.

Our team name is the Pirates, Lauren made sure that we had fans to support us.


It was a cold and windy Saturday and Jackson came to the game dressed as Captain Snotbeard the Pirate. That is stylish snot goatee.


Lauren also made us a banner for the opening day ceremonies parade. No other team had a banner. Pirates rock.


Maxfield played first base for one inning. He is one handsome first basemen. It was good day.
We have another game on Wednesday so I may be busy for the next few days trying to figure out which kid plays where.
I suck at Sudoku.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Billy Penn

There is a statue of William Penn on top of city hall in the center of Philadelphia. William Penn was the planner and developer of the City of Brotherly Love. If you approach the city hall building from a certain angle the scroll in the Bill's hand appears as if it is something else. Lauren and I took Max and Wyatt down to the city to see a play. The twelve year old boy inside me could not resist taking a picture.


Max and Wyatt loved being in the city and were impressed with the skyscrapers, soft pretzels and the smell of urine that excapes from the subway tunnel grates.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Confidence from the Bay City Rollers

The Bay City Rollers are kind of responsible for building my confidence. GO Here to read the rest of the post. P & B Review.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Invisible

Maxfield held his hand out the window of the car as I drove him to school. The wind was catching his open palm, his fingers surfed slightly on the air. There was a slight drizzle of rain. I asked his if his hand was getting all wet.

"No. The wind is drying it real fast." he said smiling. "I can feel the rain drops and then they dry. This must be what it feels like when you turn invisible. Like if you could disappear."

I smiled into the rear view mirror marveling at his imagination.


A little bit ago Miss Zoot had an interesting post about procrastinating. Part of the post said (and she was quoting something/someone else):

"One of the characteristics of a person who does too much is procrastination. Often, our busyness is a subtle form of procrastination that keeps us away from what we really need to be doing."

I try to stay busy. When I am at home with the kids I am always trying to stay busy with laundry, dishes, or small projects. I tell them I can't play space ship because I need to weed the garden. I can't play super heroes because I need to clean the grill. I am not able to be a pirate on the swing set because I need to rake up the sticks.

The kids always ask and I am often too busy. Do all the chores need to get done? Yes. Do they need to get completed at that moment, right then? No. But I am being practical. I am being responsible. No imagination is needed to mow the lawn.

So the quote from Miss Zoot's blog has been pinging around the inside of my head a for a couple of weeks now. I keep asking myself "Am I doing too much? What am I avoiding that I really should be doing?"

It is only a matter of time before the kids stop asking me to play, before I disapear from their fantasy worlds. I realize I need to be the astronaut, the hero or the pirate more often.

I think about what Max said in the car, I really need to re-learn what it feels like to turn invisible before I disappear altogether.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Lucky Numbers

I started playing organized sports at about the same time I found out I was evil because I was left handed. When my T-ball coach, while handing out our uniforms, asked me what number I wanted to be, I told him thirteen. I explained that I was an evil lefty, who was born on 666 and my favorite color was black and that 13 would be a perfect number for me. My dad just shook his head and handed me the number thirteen jersey. I was a very Goth-y eight year old.

Number 13 has stuck with me ever since. Sure, I was on certain teams where I could not be #13, but for the most part, when I got to pick what number I wanted, I always went with thirteen. My second choice was 6 due to the whole 666 thing.

I am coaching Maxfield's T-ball team. One of the perks of being the coach is that Maxfield gets first choice on his number. I asked what was his favorite number and he said 2068. I then asked him what number would he want between 1 and 10 and he picked 9. Not that Max knows this but #9 was his Godfather's favorite number. Nine is a good number.

Tonight I am handing out the other kid's jerseys and I am a little nervous. I may be handing out numbers that will stick with these kids for life. I may be doing something that could affect them for years to come.

I know, I know you are thinking what is the big deal? It is just a number, right? Well I think differently. My favorite number,thirteen, that I picked when I was eight years old, it is a 1 and a 3. One and three are now very important numbers in my life. Lauren's birthday is March 10th, a three and a one. We were married on the 13th of the month. Max, my first born, was born March 1st, another 3 and 1.

See where I am going with this? Take the unlucky number 13 and flip it and it becomes significant in some of the most lucky things that have ever happened to me.

So tonight, when I give out these numbers to these little kids, am I going to be determining when, or where, or how their life is going to change?

Handing out their numbers is probably one of the most important things I am going to do as a coach. Right after explaining the importance of a jock strap and protective cup.

What is your lucky number? Does it have significance in your life?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Magic

“How does the door to the Giant open by itself daddy?” Maxfield asked.

“Magic, Max, magic.” I replied.

That was two years ago.

Now anytime we enter a store that has automatic doors Max will pause, thrust his arms forward as if he is casting a spell or shooting invisible beams of energy at the door. His arms break the plane of the motion sensor and the doors open. He knows the doors are not really magic but he loves pretending that he is controlling them with his mind. Sometimes I let him stand there for a few minutes and let him “open” the door for other people. An old couple will approach and Max will jump in front of them, point his arms at the door, the door opens and Max will step aside and let the couple pass.

Wyatt on the other hand thinks all automatic mechanical things are magic. A couple of weeks ago we went out to eat at a restaurant that was built two, maybe three, years ago. While we were waiting for our food Wyatt decided he needed to use the bathroom. It was one of the nicest restaurant bathrooms I have ever been in. Wyatt felt the same. The toilet was automatic and flushed when he got up. The sinks were motion sensor activated and “magically” turned on when he placed his hands under the faucet. The soap and paper towel dispensers were the same.

We returned to the table and Wyatt was so excited that while trying to tell Max he also announced to the whole restaurant that the bathroom was magic. Of course, all of the sudden Max has to go use the restroom and Wyatt needed to come along to show him how everything worked. We spent a good portion of our time in the restroom playing with the equipment (hey now).

Last week I took the boys to the community theater to help with a set-strike. Wyatt needed to use the restroom. Wyatt now expects all public restrooms to be magic. This theater was built in the 1920’s. The bathroom was probably last upgraded in the late 50’s. The only magic in these unisex bathrooms is the fact that they could be haunted. The lock is an old eye-hook and the lights are in a constant flicker. Wyatt hopped off the toilet hoping it would flush on its own. He was disappointed. He waved his hand under the soap dispenser but nothing happened. He had to manually turn on the faucet. He was saddened that he had to grab the C-fold paper towels from the dull silver box fastened to the wall.

He looked around the room and then asked me “Dad, can I have a coin?”

“Why do you need a coin?”

Wyatt pointed to the 25 cent symbol on the tampon dispenser on the wall and said “That one needs money for the magic.”