This is week 154 of The Life of Riley, a weekly post detailing my activities since I ended a thirteen year career as a corporate drone. These posts are usually long, personal, and geared more for my own memory than the reader’s entertainment.
Sunday (Day 1071): #1GF!’s First Mother’s Day (Sort Of)
At 1 AM, I talked to #1GF!, who was still at the hospital with her mother. She encouraged me to go to bed because she wasn’t coming home anytime soon. Someone was going to have to be alert enough to take care of the baby in the morning. I set up the monitor and crawled onto #1GF!’s side of the bed because it’s the only place that the monitor could easily be plugged in. It was odd being on the wrong side of the bed. I wish I could say that it was comforting to be on #1GF!’s side of the bed while she was gone, but my oddly robotic underbelly isn’t quite built for sentimentally sniffing pillows. All I could think was that it would be more difficult to lunge at anyone who appeared in the bedroom doorway without an invitation.
I drifted off to sleep, and at 2:30 AM, signal interference from my phone caused the monitor to start buzzing wildly. I couldn’t risk shutting off the phone, so I turned down the monitor and fell back to sleep.
#1GF! came home an hour and a half later, and fumbled around in the dark only to find The Wolfman sleeping on her side of the bed. The Wolfman isn’t used to people wandering around the bedroom when he’s curled up, and it woke him up. For those counting, #1GF! was running on zero hours of sleep, and I was running on two broken hours.
The baby woke up at oh, 5 AM, which was the absolute balls. The best encore for three hours of broken sleep is to be dragged into consciousness by sounds of a hysterical infant. I got up to get the baby, and left #1GF! to catch up on whatever sleep she could.
#1GF! only slept for another hour. She got up and went back to the hospital to see her mother, and I stayed home and took care of the baby. It was just another day of baby care, which involved me chasing the baby around the house and telling her “no” whenever she tried to climb on/eat anything unsafe. In her attempt to scale every object in the house within her reach, she whacked her head with alarming regularity.
By the end of the day, I was exhausted and irritated about doing solo baby care on a Sunday. I wasn’t irritated at #1GF!, of course. I completely understood that #1GF! wasn’t out partying while I sat at home, so I did my best to bury the irritation and let it decay on its own.
I’ve gotten used to #1GF! picking up some of the care on the weekends to keep me sane and allow me to get some projects done around the house. In the last nine months, I hadn’t been away from the baby for longer than a couple of hours, and that was usually the result of a wake, food shopping, or some sort of fun-filled dentist appointment. It’s not the same type of break as being completely free from baby care, but #1GF! never tries to get me to go into work for her, so I don’t ask her to do my job for me. Solo baby care can be exhausting, and after a full week of work, I wanted #1GF! to have a break, too. Fair is fair.
I ran out of stuff to do with the baby long before the day was over, which took its toll on my free time. Instead of spending the baby’s naps writing or doing something productive, but I sat on the couch eating rice cakes and watching television because I had given up on accomplishing anything.
To make matters worse, it was #1GF!’s first official Mother’s Day. My plan had been to make breakfast for her and make her day as relaxing as possible, but she wasn’t hungry in the morning, and was gone all day. I could’ve cooked her favorite dinner, but I had no idea when she was getting home. At least she would get a Mother’s Day gift no matter what time she got in the door, right? That would’ve cheered her up. Um, sure. Because all our purchases are essentially out of household funds, we haven’t exchanged gifts in years.
I had absolutely nothing that could brighten #1GF!’s day, and I was burned out with baby care. How do you complain that you think you’re losing your mind to a woman who is not only running on less sleep than you, but who spent her first Mother’s Day at the hospital? Exactly. You don’t. You suck it up, heat up some leftovers for her, and apologize that she had a crappy Mother’s day.
#1GF! called on her way and asked me to hold off on feeding the baby until she got home. All she wanted to do to help salvage her day was to get home and feed the baby. I heated up some leftovers and kept the baby entertained until her mother got home. And then I sat with them at the table and tried to stay positive.
We went to bed at 9 PM because I kept falling asleep while sitting up on my elbow. I was asleep within minutes of my head hitting my pillow.
Monday (Day 1072): The Secret Handshake Of The Parental Cabal
I went out to an early morning dentist’s appointment, and despite the late spring date, it was cold and windy enough out to warrant a fleece. How do you hit mid May and have temperatures that bottom in the thirties and max out in the fifties? Don’t say global warming because I don’t want to fucking hear it.
I sat in the waiting room and scanned their bulletin board of children’s photos. I immediately started chuckling. The only other person in the waiting room was a young guy who asked me if I was laughing at a child’s drawing on the board. “No,” I said while pointing to one of the pictures. “That’s my daughter up there. And I didn’t send the picture in.”
The guy stood up to take a look at the baby. “She’s beautiful.”
“How old is she? Six months?”
“She was in that picture. She’s mobile now.”
The guy shook his head. “It’s exhausting.”
I nodded. “It really is.”
“But it’s awesome though?”
“It really is.”
We talked a little about how the level of exhaustion that kids bring with them doesn’t seem possible, considering their size. He was soon called in to his appointment and I was alone in the waiting room. I thought that it was funny how every parent of an infant will fully admit how exhausted they are, but will always temper their statement by explaining how awesome parenthood is. It’s like they want to let people know how hard parenting is, but don’t want them to get the idea that they’d try to shove their kid back up the birth canal if they had the energy.
I was soon called into the office and took a seat in the contoured comfort of the dentist’s chair. While I got my teeth cleaned, I stared at a painting on the wall of three Adirondack chairs. The perspective on the shadows seemed wrong, but the lack of art training in my college business curriculum wouldn’t let me put my finger on why. Instead of relaxing in that big, comfy dentist’s chair, I spent most of the time staring at those shadows. Right before the appointment ended, I realized that the shadows were painted as if the sun were a light bulb parked ten feet in front of the chairs. It didn’t seem right to me, but then, I’ve never painted anything worthy of hanging in a dentist’s office.
I did take a painting class when I was a kid, but the only painting that came out of it proved that I was infinitely better suited to computer game piracy than painting. I was supposed to have painted a serene lake scene in the fall, but I got annoyed and pained a golf course instead. Painting foliage seemed like more of a pain in the ass than a white stick with a triangle attached to it, so that’s what I went with. The teacher could barely contain how unhappy she was with me, but that only made it even funnier.
After my cleaning, I had to make another appointment to have a tooth filled. Awesome. I am not down with the Cavity Creeps. I made it over thirty years without one, and the only one I got was minor and had to be filled a few years back. I had to schedule an appointment to have that filling drilled out and replaced because there was a spot next to the filling that was approaching decay. Damn you, Cavity Creeps. Damn you to hell.
After the dentist, I spent twenty minutes at the library picking out books that I probably wouldn’t have time to read, and made it home by 11:30 AM. #1GF! didn’t give me shit about getting back a little later than expected, but accounting for the twenty minute library detour felt like I had gone to a bar and came in stinking of stale beer and stale cigarettes.
In the larger scheme of things, I needed twenty minutes to do something for myself. Not an appointment or an errand, but something simple like getting books that I might never have time for. I knew #1GF! was waiting, but I needed that little bit of time. I was getting to the point where I needed to throw inanimate objects or run down the beach until my heart pounded in the back of my skull, and if twenty extra minutes in the quiet of the library swept that feeling away, I was okay with it—even though I knew I was holding up #1GF!.
#1GF! left for the hospital fifteen minutes after I got home. I put the baby to bed and sat down to write the Life of Riley, which was becoming a massive chore. I wondered if anyone would really notice if I dropped it, so I took a rare excursion into my site stats. I was surprised to find that I was still getting a couple of thousand visits through the LOR series every month. I was happy, yet disappointed at the same time.
The baby was awake within forty-five minutes, which gave me just enough time to write down the events of the morning. I took the baby into the kitchen and sat her on the kitchen floor while I got her bottle ready. I gave her a small bit of orange, and she made a face when she ate it. Then she wanted more, and then made the same disgusted face when she ate the second piece. I couldn’t decide whether she liked oranges or not until later when she threw up down my shirt and onto the floor. She doesn’t throw up much these days, so I guessed that her stomach wasn’t quite ready for oranges.
The rest of the day was straight baby care for a happy kid who wasn’t much trouble at all. #1GF! got home later, and I went in to write for a bit. I completed the first editing pass on LOR 153 by 9 PM, ate leftovers, and then read a book in bed until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
Tuesday (Day 1073): The Brown JFM Homo Milk Gal
I woke up at 6 AM to a phone call that #1GF!’s mother was going back to the hospital. #1GF! was out the door before she even knew where she was going.
I did regular baby care until the baby’s first nap, when I was able to hop in the shower. By the time I was dressed, the baby was already awake. My father called looking for some batteries for a cordless drill.
“Why don’t you use a regular drill?” I asked.
“I gave it away to the veterans because I never use it.”
I shook my head. “How’d that work out for you? I’ll see you in an hour.” That was 9:30 AM.
I fielded a couple of calls from friends looking to find out how #1GF!’s mother was. I was only slightly less clueless than they were. #1GF! wouldn’t call so as not to wake the baby, and I would only get her voice mail at the hospital.
At noon, I put the baby to bed, and didn’t know whether I should start writing or wait by the door for my dad to show up. The last thing I wanted was the baby to wake up to a knock at the door. I called to see where my father was, and he was just getting on the road. I went to my desk and wrote for ten minutes just to get a little writing in.
I went to the kitchen to wait by the window to prevent my parents from knocking or ringing the bell. That lasted exactly two minutes because waiting and I don’t get along too well. I dusted the whole house by the time they showed up. They borrowed a drill and headed out.
The baby woke up in the middle of me sweeping the house, so she crawled after the mop as I went from room to room. It made it pretty easy to watch her.
Once the house was free of unexpectedly prevalent piles of discarded hair, I fed the baby, entertained her for a while, and put her in for a nap. I looked at Facebook, but got sick of the peripherally useful chatter very quickly. Within three minutes, I was relentlessly writing. I didn’t stop until the baby forced me to.
#1GF! got home in time to feed the baby, and I had dinner ready and waiting. We ate together at the table while #1GF! fed the baby. Once #1GF! was fed and settled in, I went out to do the food shopping. I walked into the supermarket at 8:04 PM, even after reading the sign posted on the door that said the store closed at 8. I’ve walked into the supermarket at 10 PM, so I figured they were pretty loose about their hours.
I snaked up and down the aisles, quickly and efficiently filling up the cart with stuff we needed. On the way to the register, I stopped at the health and beauty section. I nodded my head back from side to side before begrudgingly heading in.
A few years ago I said that I was going to buy Just For Men beard dye and do a post on whether it really worked or not. I was getting very close to the end of the bearding season, so if I was going to go through with it, I was at the perfect time. I could feel my ears reddening as I stood in front of the wall of hair dye, all the faces of slightly bearded men smirking at me from the front of their boxes.
There’s nothing macho about hair dye, even if it is made for a beard and has “men” in the title. As I looked from box to box, I was happy that the colors weren’t named “Sienna Smoke” or “Tuscan Saddle”, but I still felt like a vain old woman as I tried to figure out what color my hair was. Was it black? Dark Brown? Darkest Brown? Jet Black? Real Black? What the hell was the difference between real and jet? I didn’t know, but I found that I didn’t even want to touch the boxes to find out.
Unfortunately, my ability to lift objects using only my mind had vanished long ago, so I looked side to side and reached up for a box like it was a bright pink and labeled “Lady Vagina Eyelash Wonderbra Make Up For Ladies.” I grabbed a box that seemed like it was near my beard color and intensely scanned the box for directions. I couldn’t figure out why I was so embarrassed about it, but I tossed it into the cart and headed for the self checkout to keep any checkers from telling me how wonderfully youthful I was going to look after using my “Lady Vagina Eyelash Wonderbra Make Up For Ladies” in a box.
By the time I got home, it was already 9:30 PM. I had taken a knee on the kitchen floor and was busy separating the bags into fridge, freezer, and cabinet items to make sure that everything went away as efficiently as possible.
#1GF! looked at the receipt. “Oh my god, how is this possible?”
I knew she was looking at the cost. “I know. I can’t get out of the supermarket for less than a hundo. I got a lot of meat, which usually ten to twenty a pop. And I dumped a bunch of baby foods in the cart. Add those up.”
#1GF! counted them up. “They add up to $16.”
I shrugged. “Well then I don’t know.”
“Okay now hold on. What’s this HD HOMO MILK GAL on the list? You shouldn’t buy people, Jon. It’s 2010. Human trafficking is wrong.” She looked at the list again. “And what’s JFM DRKST BROWN?” She dropped her hand to the counter and squinted at me. “I’m not sure that I want to know what JFM stands for, but I think you need to tell me exactly where you went shopping.”
I looked through the bags and held up the milk. “Here’s our gal of homo milk.” I dug around a little more. “And here is JFM.” I held up the box of Just For Men beard color. I could feel my ears going red again.
#1GF! stopped cold and her eyes widened. “Oh, my god, you’re keeping it.”
“You are.” She shook her head slowly. “I knew this was going to happen.”
I continued separating the groceries and tried not to look at #1GF! until my ears cooled. “I told you about this years ago. I said that one day I was going to buy a box of beard color and blog about whether it worked or not.”
“No, you did not.”
“Oh, yes I did. I’ve been saying it for years. Now that I’m close to the end, I wanted to test it out before I shave it off.”
#1GF! looked on incredulously.
“Look, I was wicked embarrassed buying it. It was like I was perusing a rack of high heels or something. I stood there in the hair dye aisle with my bright red ears. I’d rather buy tampons…”
“…because at least the people at the checkout know they’re not for me.”
“So, when’s it coming—”
“A day later than when you asked me last time.”
“You are such a punk.”
There wasn’t much left of the evening once the groceries were put away, so #1GF! watched TV and I read a book until it was time for bed.
Wednesday (Day 1074): Paging Nurse #1GF! To The OR Stat
Other than the baby eating a lot less than usual, it was a typical day of baby care. At one point, I found myself laying on the dining room floor as the baby played with her toys a foot or so away. I wasn’t doing anything, and the baby was content. I thought to myself, “Now this is living.” Of course I couldn’t get a book or read the sales circulars because the baby would want to eat them, but I could lay there on the hardwood floor and enjoy the quiet.
#1GF! was still dealing with her mother at the hospital. It was the same hospital that we had the baby in, so I was surprised to hear how bad the care was. She had to wait hours for simple requests, the nurses were rude, and #1GF! actually had to help a patient to the bathroom because after several calls, a nurse wouldn’t come to help her. What the fuck is that all about?
I slathered a rack of ribs in barbecue sauce and threw them in the oven to cook for the next four hours. They were a different type of rib than I normally buy, and even though they came out moist, the meat was a little tougher than I expected. #1GF! liked them better, which I found surprising.
Thursday (Day 1075): Paging Doctor Idiot
#1GF! called me in near hysterics because the stupid fucking doctor at the hospital told her that they weren’t going to do anything more for her mother than treat the pain because she figured that her issue was a result of a spreading cancer. “Treat the pain” is doctorese for “medicate until dead.” The doctor had no tests proving her theory and she wasn’t a cancer specialist, but she thought it would be a good idea to give #1GF! that sort of information about her mother off the cuff and over the phone.
Advanced degrees or not, some people are complete fucking idiots. I calmed #1GF! down and told her to wait to hear from her mother’s real doctors before getting too worked up. She called in to work and went to the hospital again. I hung up the phone and shook my head.
The baby woke up early from her afternoon nap, and I had time to kill before her next feeding, so I took her on an hour long trek along the beach and the bay. The beach roses sweetened the air on the beach side, and I could hear the rush of waves and the sounds of laughter on the other side of the dunes that were slowly taking over the seaside road. I crossed town and walked along the bay, which was deserted and smelled like an unrinsed sport fishing boat.
There weren’t many people out, but I said hello to a man gardening in his yard who asked if I wanted to help, a couple of old people walking their dogs, and a guy in really dirty jeans wearing a dream catcher around his neck. The dream catcher guy had the mellow, easy going nature of a hippie, and addressed me as “man,” while seeming to attentively absorb what amounted to innocuous small talk. After I passed, he spent a couple of minutes trying to start a twenty year old car that was more rough brown rust than dull grey paint.
I turned a corner and saw some kids playing keep-away. One kid broke off from the game as I approached, and the remaining tormentor accidentally threw the item into a tree, ending the game. The squeaky victim shook his head at the tree and said, “Epic fail.” He proved that the Internet permeates real life as much as real life permeates it in return.
I headed down a side street, and walked by three people trying to corral a playful pitbull into their house. The dog was running all over the street, and at one point, I instinctively positioned myself between the charging dog and the carriage and he veered and ran by. The dog wasn’t paying nearly the attention to me that I was paying him. The people finally got the dog inside and we walked on.
I walked beside the carriage instead of behind it most of the time, using my shadow to keep the sun off the baby. It must’ve looked weird to see a guy walking down the street pulling a carriage by its roof, but it also allowed me to talk to the baby instead of just pushing her along. If there was a way to make walking even less exciting than it already is, it would be to be pushing a carriage.
We got home, and I fed the baby and put her to bed. I heated up a cup of coffee in the microwave and sat down to write. Once again, instead of writing, I wasted time by writing down the songs playing on a local radio station because I thought I recognized way too many old songs. After throwing a couple of hours of their songs into a spreadsheet, I found out that 60% of their playlist was pre-2000. It was an odd finding for a station that claims to have “the best in new music,” but then, it’s the radio, and what can you really expect?
#1GF! called to tell me that her mother’s issue had nothing to do with cancer. It was good news, but it made me want to go to a certain hospital and spin a doctor through a good round of crazy. Don’t tell someone that the end is near unless you’ve done a bunch of tests multiple times, and verified the owner of the scythe that you found in the broom closet.
Once #1GF! got home, she took the baby out for a walk. I stayed behind and scrubbed down a jog stroller with upholstery cleaner. It was getting dark by the time I was finished, and I don’t think the thing was that much cleaner than when I started, but it smelled like a new-to-you used car.
After dinner, I sat at my desk reading RSS feeds until long after #1GF! went to bed. I don’t get to do that very often anymore, and it was unexpectedly relaxing.
Friday (Day 1076): The Great Just For Men Experiment
It was a very typical day of baby care. I took the baby for a thirty minute walk and tried to describe things to her as we passed them. When we got home, the baby crawled around the floor while I prepped her bottle. When she stopped, she looked as if she were chewing on something. I sat down in front of her and she stopped and stared at me.
“What have you got?” I asked her, as if she could tell me even if she wanted to.
She just sat there staring. And then looked down and started chewing again.
“Oh, you definitely have something.” I stuck my finger in her mouth and fished around while she squirmed. I wasn’t used to fishing around in the baby’s mouth, and I wasn’t sure that there was even anything in there. I didn’t feel anything, so I sat back to observe again. She paused for a second, and then started chewing again. I swept my finger into her cheek and pulled out a maple seed. You know—A helicopter, a Pinocchio nose. It was so brown and shriveled that it had to have been sitting in the yard since last year before being tracked into the back hall and picked up by a baby who thought it looked delicious. I shook my head at her and threw the seed away. She headed over to chew the tires of the carriage before I picked her up.
After the baby went in for a nap, I tried to write an outline for my book, and instead, started mining my blog for ideas. It took me a couple of hours and I had so many tabs open that it took a full ten seconds for the browser to scroll through them all. I only touched a small portion of the posts, but it made me realize just how many posts that I’ve stashed away in this blog over the last eight years.
After #1GF! got home and took over the baby, I started the great Just For Men experiment. I put on an old T shirt like the instructions said, put on some gloves, and mixed a couple of lines of dye in a plastic tray that they give you. The dye is only supposed to remain on the hair for five minutes, so I was scrambling to mix more when the amount that the directions suggested covered only half of one cheek. The guy on the front of the box didn’t have much more than a starter beard, so I should have known. For beards of this size, you need to use a whole tube of the stuff.
I rushed to brush all the dye in with supplied comb, and because i was fast approaching the five minute mark, I hurriedly read the directions on how to rinse it out. It said that a shower should be taken even if a small amount of dye was used. Shit. I hopped around the bathroom stripping off my clothes and warming up the shower while one side of my face noticeably started to burn. It wasn’t a great sign.
When I got out of the shower, the color of my beard was so flat and brown that it looked like I had bought a joke beard and hooked it on my ears. Once it dried, I noticed that it didn’t cover all of the grey. That could’ve been user error, but I was combing that shit in pretty heavily.
Because of my lack of skill, I managed to get tiny dots of dye all over the counter, the tub, the walls, and my face. I have no idea how I did it. As I was scrubbing dye off of everything, #1GF! came in and took a look my beard. She said that she didn’t think it looked bad. Sadly, that was probably the biggest compliment that she has ever given my beard. She’s more of a beard tolerator than a beard fan.
Saturday (Day 1077): Wait For The Beep…Arrrrr
#1GF! took the baby out for a walk in the morning, so I sat at the counter, had a bowl of cereal, and read a book. I was really happy to have an unexpected hour to myself. I jumped in the shower, and by the time I was out, my ladies were back. It sounds awful, but having an hour where I could actually terminate the baby care process instead of merely pushing it into the background was actually refreshing. It was almost like a reboot.
I wanted to inflate the tires on the jog stroller that I cleaned the day before, so searched the attic and the basement for a bike pump. I eventually found one in the basement at the bottom of my bag of bike gear. Oh, bike stuff. How neglected ye have been.
I pumped up the tires on the stroller and went back to the basement to put the pump away. Just before dropping the pump into the bag for another three years, I decided to pump up my bike tires just to see if they would hold air. After three years, they did. I jumped on and rode it between the support poles in the basement like a kid in a Cape Cod vacation rental on a rainy day. Then, I opened the bulkhead, and rode past a window where #1GF! was feeding the baby. She laughed and opened the front door as I dumped my bike on the walk and ran up the front steps like a seven year old.
I ran in the house and down to the basement to grab my bike shoes out of the bag. I intended to take the bike for a couple of block spin to see if it still worked, but rode it twenty feet and stood talking to a neighbor for a half hour. #1GF! eventually came out, and I did a bunny hop to prove that I still could before putting the bike back in the basement where I found it.
#1GF! went to visit her mother, so I stayed home with the baby. I caught the baby playing with a ficus seed that had fallen off of one of the trees, so I took it away from her, cleaned the surrounding area, and picked every last seed off of the tree. Not five minutes later, the baby was sitting on the floor chewing something. She wiggled and resisted as I pried a ficus seed out of her mouth. She managed to eat half of it, so I spent the next few minutes tensely Googling things like “ficus tree baby poison” and “baby ate ficus seeds.” They turned out to be harmless.
The baby took her midday nap, and because it was the weekend, I didn’t feel the pressure to write. For the second time in one day, I sat at the kitchen counter reading a book. It was awesome.
Once the baby woke up, I went to my parents’ house to visit for a couple of hours. I had no idea when #1GF! was getting home, so I figured that visiting would be a better use of time than sitting on the living room floor reading another book to the baby while she focused all of her attention on playing with the radio.
When #1GF! called, the baby and I were still at my parents. She started her side of the conversation by imitating the old Crazy Calls Commercial. “Nobody’s hooome. Nobody’s hooome…”
“You’re home already? I thought you’d call me when you were on your way.”
“Where are you?”
“I’m at my parents’.”
“No rush, but what time will you be home?”
“Get my ass home? Really?”
“Well, just because you work doesn’t mean you can talk to me like that.”
“What are you doing?”
“Well, have a snack then. It’s not like you can’t take out a pan and cook once and a while.”
“Argh! Are your parents listening?”
“Well sure, but that—I—Please calm down. Fine, I’ll just clean the bathroom again. It’s no—”
“You’re an ass.”
“Fine. I’ll be home soon. Just stop yelling at me.”
“Love you. Bye. Don’t rush.”
I hung up and turned to my parents. “I have to get going. The lady of the house is getting hungry.”
I loaded the baby into the car and headed home. #1GF! fed the baby dinner while I made cookies. I was sure that I finally had the perfect ratios of ingredients to produce the perfect cakey chocolate chip cookie, but ended up with a bunch of flat pieces of Tollhouse-like crap. I wasn’t happy. To make matters worse, I knocked my cookie making bowl onto the floor, breaking it into a thousand sharp ceramic shards. And to make things even worse, at least two dozen cookies worth of dough was still in that bowl.
I picked up as many tiny shards as I could find, but #1GF! ended up vacuuming the floor just to be safe. I cleaned up the dishes that weren’t broken yet, and we took the baby out for a walk before it got dark.
“So,” said #1GF! after we had walked a little way in silence, “I really thought that I’d get home and you’d have shaved that thing off.” She was referring to the mass of mountain mane that was still clinging fast to my face and jaw.
“I only have a few styles left and they all seem to be mutually exclusive. Every time I think about it, I get bogged down and give up.”
#1GF! suddenly got animated at the prospect that she might be able to help get my beard off of my face and into the bathroom trash bucket. “Well, talk it out. I’ll advise. Or talk it out and I’ll be quiet. Or talk it out. I’m quiet. Or not. Whatever you need.” She pointed at me like I was going on camera. “Go.”
I looked at her and feared that she might’ve been losing her mind. “Um, okay. Well, there’s the Old Dutch.”
#1GF! just stared.
“It’s an Amish-style beard. No mustache. It would look better if I had a little more length, but it wouldn’t be so bad.”
“That would look good. What’s next?”
“Well, then I’m down to mutton chops, a Norris Skipper, or a Chin Strap.”
She thought for a second. “So you only get two if you start there?”
“Yep. Seems like a ripoff after all this time. Plus, this ‘stache is so long. I hate to get rid of it.”
“You should go for the ones that gives you the most styles. Wasn’t there one with braids?”
“Sure, The Sparrow. But that leaves the only possible secondary beard as a Norris Skipper, and I’m not sure if that would even work. Some of the styles require length, and I’m not sure how many more years I’m going to be able to grow out a homeless beard like this.”
“Get the harder ones out of the way then.”
“The Dali is going to be impossible. Look at this stache.” I pulled the end of my stache up an inch. I’m short about three inches for that one. That ‘stache needs to be pointed up to my eyes. My eyes!”
#1GF! rolled her eyes. “Well, I know you wanted to get this done, but I don’t think it looks bad.”
I was surprised. “What?”
“Well, I know you didn’t want to walk around with a dyed beard, but it doesn’t look bad.”
“Does it look better?”
“Well, you know that I don’t like you in a beard, but yes, it does.”
“What if I wore an eye patch?”
#1GF! rolled her eyes.
“And pirate gear. And became the town mascot. Waving at traffic at the town border.”
#1GF! shook her head, waiting for me to stop. “Done?”
“Almost. I’d be waving at the cars with with my hook. Arrrr Maytee.” A plane slowly passed overhead. “Okay. Done.”
“The whole shaving process sounds like a little too much effort.”
“I know. Who knew it would end up being this complicated?”
When we got home, #1GF! put the baby to bed, and I sat at the PC trying to recall the day’s events.
What I Learned
- There’s this secret and automatic conversation starter that parents have even if they’re total strangers. It sort of reminds me of the cameraderie of smokers outside a non-smoking building.
- Sometimes, all it takes is twenty minutes away from baby care to restore equalibrium.
- The Life Of Riley series generates more page views than I expected, but it still only gets a tenth of the traffic of the beard pages.
- The baby is not ready for oranges.
- The guys on boxes of Just For Men barely have beards.
- Just because a hospital has an excellent maternity ward, that doesn’t mean the rest of the hospital is as good.
- The Internet permeates real life as much as real life permeates it in return.
- 60% of WFNX’s playlist seems to be from before 2000.
- I can successfully fish inedible objects out of the baby’s mouth.
- Just For Men doesn’t exactly cover all the grey, and it makes a beard look flat enough that it could be fake.
- You need a whole tube of JFM for a big beard.
- You will end up with JFM all over the counter and walls if you don’t take it easy.
- #1GF! thought that my dyded beard looked better than the grey one.
- I don’t know the secrets to a perfect chocolate chip cookie.
- Ficus seeds and Maple seeds are not deadly.
- My bike tires still inflate after three years. And I can still do a bunny hop.