Monthly Archives: January 2011

My Wife The Rainmaker

I’m usually not one to brag, but my wife is the coolest fucking woman on the planet.

I’m the best man for my brother’s wedding that’s coming up in March. And as I’m sure you all know, one of the chief responsibilities of the best man is to plan a kick ass bachelor party. I have some experience in this realm, as I planned my best friend’s Vegas bachelor party four years ago and we all had a pretty good time. But in my brother’s case, there were some obstacles to overcome.

First of all, I had to save some dough during tight economic times. Second, I live in Massachusetts and he lives in Baltimore. His friends are also spread out all over the country. It took a few months of e-mails and phone calls, but we managed to get a motley crew of degenerates and misfits together, and we’re headed to Atlantic City tomorrow.

My brother—the warden of all the technical aspects of this website—is one of the finest people I know. He’s kind, generous and a great friend, not to mention the best little brother I could ask for. But he’s also a little shy. While I got my father’s gregariousness and inherited a love for the spotlight and attention, my brother is very private. And rather reserved (at least until you get some shots into him).

So even though I booked two suites at the Trump Plaza and made reservations at a really nice steakhouse, I wasn’t sure about one thing: strippers or no strippers?

Just for comparison’s sake, I went to Buffalo for my bachelor party because the Patriots were playing the Bills. We went to Canada, where the strip clubs are absolutely outrageous. I was thrown up on stage and absolutely accosted by two strippers. They removed some of my clothing, took my belt and started mercilessly whipping me in the chest as my friends howled for more and threw money at them to beat me harder. Later that night, one of my friends bought me a dance with the most muscular woman I’ve ever seen. She was the female Hulk. And while she purported to have a vagina, I’m still not sure it wasn’t surgically put there.

My brother would not have liked all that. It’s just not his thing. But should I still involve strippers somehow? I mean really, can a bachelor party really be called a bachelor party if strippers aren’t involved?

Anyways, getting back to my wife and why she’s awesome.

As I pondered my stripper dilemma, MJ came up to me and said she had something for me. Then she discreetly dropped a sealed white envelope in my lap. I felt like we were in a mob movie and she was handing me over protection money. She told me it was my money for Atlantic City. The only problem was it was WAY too thick.

“How much money did you give me? Why is this so thick?” I asked.

“Well I know it’s a pain making change at the club so I made sure I got you 100 $1 bills to save you time.”

Who needs Viagra with a wife who throws out boner-inducing statements like that? Seriously people. My wife is the fucking shit! Not only does she totally trust me and not have one bit of a problem with me going to the strip club, she helps me out by getting me the necessary $1 bills in advance.

How many other wives/girlfriends are that cool?? Not too damn many. Most of the women I know would whine about their guys going to a strip club and hold them hostage emotionally and sexually as payback if they did go. Or even worse, forbid them from going. Well those women suck! That’s why as much as I might bitch about MJ at times, she is the greatest, sexiest, coolest wife on the planet and this is just one more example why my penis has pledged its undying devotion to her for life.

Hear me now strippers of Atlantic City, we’re coming for you this weekend and we’re gonna make it rain. Courtesy of my rockstar wife!

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“So Grandpa Was Eaten By a T-Rex?”

The Death Talk.

As parents most of us dread it. I know I feel that way. The difficult part is you never know how it’s going to rear its ugly head or under what circumstances. Will you have to do it when the family pet dies? Or worse, a relative or friend? And at what age are you supposed to bring this up for the first time? How old do they have to be before they even get what the hell you’re talking about?

I still don’t know the answers to these questions, but Will put me to the test recently.

If you’re new to my little corner of the Internet, my grandfather died a month ago after a period of declining health and a move to a nursing home. We lovingly referred to him as “Grandpa Choo-Choo” because of his love for trains. My grandmother died during the summer of 2009, but it was actually easier for us because Will was far too young to have any clue about death. But now that he’s almost 3, it’s a different story.

So when he asked about Grandpa Choo-Choo’s death I felt like I was at a real crossroads. Do I give him a fairytale version of events or do I gently level with him as best you can with a toddler? Being a rather direct person, I chose the latter. But not being a believer in God, heaven, hell, etc it makes it even tougher because I refuse to say “He’s up with the angels in heaven.” So here’s how that conversation went. Will, obviously, is in bold.

“Dada, what happen to Grandpa Choo-Choo?”

“Well buddy, Grandpa Choo-Choo died.”

“We visit him in hospital?”

“No kiddo, I’m sorry. We can’t visit Choo-Choo. He died so that means he’s not here anymore.”

“Where he go?”

“He went to…a better place.”

“Oh. Right. Better place. Like McDonalds?”

“Not quite. You see bud he was really old and he got sick. And unfortunately he died and that means we can’t see him anymore. But we can always remember him and love him.”

“Grandpa Choo-Choo die like Mufasa? (Simba’s dad who dies in the Lion King, one of Will’s favorite movies)

(I’m pumped because I view this as a great way to explain it in simple terms)

“Yeah. Like when Mufasa died. Exactly buddy, you’ve got it.”

“Oh. So Grandpa Choo-Choo run over by wildebeests?”

“No no no pal, Choo-Choo wasn’t run over by wildebeests. I just mean that he…ummm…well buddy, do you remember the Dinosaur movie you like? Do you remember when Kron died and everyone was sad but they just had to remember him and go on with their lives?”

“So…Grandpa Choo-Choo eaten by T-Rex?”

“Dammit. No. Wow. Uh, ok…how do I explain this?”

“Dada, who killed Grandpa Choo-Choo?”

“Oh no buddy, no one killed Grandpa Choo-Choo. He was just really old and really sick.”

“But Dada, Mom say you is sick. You die like Grandpa Choo-Choo?”

“Oh sweetie, no no no no no. I’m not gonna die right now. You don’t die every time you get sick. I’m much younger than Grandpa Choo-Choo. I know this is confusing and I’m not explaining it well. But when Grandpa Choo-Choo died he had lots of boo-boos and no medicine could fix it. So one day he just went to sleep and he didn’t wake up again.”

“I NO WANNA GO SLEEP AGAIN! I NO WANNA GO SLEEP AGAIN!”

“Oh shit. I didn’t mean for it to sound like that.”

“Shit Dada.”

“Oh wow. Worst dad ever. Uhhhh….ummmm….I’ve got it! Screw it. Wanna get some chicken nuggets at McDonalds buddy?”

“YAY!!!”

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First Trimester Blues

Photo from www.time.com

I’m unbelievably excited MJ is pregnant. But make no mistake, my exuberance is focused on the end result in September. A healthy baby boy or girl who I can dote on, smother with love and show off to the masses like the proud papa I will surely be.

However, I am not excited about this current stage of pregnancy known as the first trimester. Or as I’m calling it: HELL! If you haven’t experienced the joys of living with a pregnant woman, I’m not sure I can do it justice with my meager words. But I’ll try.

A husband’s role during this time is equivalent to getting a job as a lion tamer. Or technically in this case, a lioness tamer. Only you don’t get a stool and a whip to defend yourself, and the lioness is constantly starving and ready to tear you apart at any moment. Even though you’ve lived with the lioness for years and established a wonderful relationship, this pregnant Queen of the Jungle no longer cares. She has massive cramps as her body literally stretches and adapts in order to sustain new life, and the only thing going through the lioness’ head is “YOU DID THIS TO ME YOU BASTARD!”

The lioness also experiences heightened senses during the first trimester. Namely, her sense of smell will be fine-tuned and turned up to 11. The crazy thing is it’s not even foul smells that turn her stomach or cause her discomfort. My lioness, for example, can’t stand the smell of strawberry yogurt all of a sudden. So even though I think I’m innocently enjoying some breakfast, MJ stands next to me while dramatically heaving and making a gesture like she’s about to throw up in her hand. Although I’ve done nothing wrong in simply wanting to eat my breakfast, I know I’m about to become the subject of the lioness’ wrath as she tears me apart with her fangs.

Not to mention the fact I was sick lately. I even had to stay home a day from work, which is a rarity for me. I had no voice and I couldn’t stop coughing. Instead of feeling bad for me, I was banished to the couch so I wouldn’t get MJ sick. I wasn’t allowed to even go near her, and if she had her way I would’ve been in a haz-mat suit. And even though I complied with her demands, she still got sick. Because we share a 1,100-square-foot living space. Now I’m catching hell for her cold. Excuse me for breathing.

But the first trimester is not without benefits.

Pregnant females are said to have a “glow” when they find out they are expecting. This is not just an old wives tale. Your lioness will become even more beautiful than ever. Her coat (skin if you’re not liking the lioness metaphor) will take on a gorgeous tone and any blemishes that were once there seem to clear right up. Her mane (hair) gets thicker, fuller and more luscious as well. I’ve been told there are even improvements to a woman’s fingernails.

But if you’re a red-blooded American male like myself, the most noticeable change is mammary-related.

Photo from www.weirdspot.com

Yup, that’s right. The boobs get HUGE! All of a sudden A-cups turn to Cs, B-cups become Ds and everything else bumps up to Dolly Parton levels. Basically your wife is suddenly stretching the limits of all her bras and sporting porn star cleavage on a regular basis. It’s every guy’s dream right? WRONG.

Listen guys, I love boobs. And when they become engorged and they’re sitting right in front of you—calling to you in all of their robust glory—it’s only natural for you to have certain thoughts. Wonderful appealing thoughts. Thoughts involving a motorboat.

DON’T DO IT!!!

If you touch those boobs that lioness will eat your balls. Look, I know how unfair that is to guys. All of a sudden Pam Anderson’s magnificent milk balloons have landed on your wife’s chest. They’re taunting you, calling to you, and you know they’re fleeting due to the pregnancy so it’s only fair and just that you be able to, you know, do stuff to em. I get it.

But herein lies the cruelest part of the first trimester. The look-but-don’t-you-dare-fucking-touch conundrum surrounding the inflated chesticles. To guys they are glorious funbags, but they’re incredibly sensitive and downright painful for a pregnant woman. She’s already pissed off that none of her bras fit and you won’t buy her any new ones, so if you compound that problem by putting your grubby little perverted hand anywhere near those boobs, you’re going to get hurt.

Sorry guys, but these are the rules.

The best advice I have for you is to keep your angry, crampy, emotional lioness as satisfied as possible at all costs. If she mentions a craving, pick it up on the way home. It might have changed in the two hours between the phone call and your arrival at home, but that’s OK. It shows her you were listening. Just go out and get the next thing she wants. And for God’s sake, keep your lioness fed. That is Rule #1 when dealing with a pregnant woman. Always have food on hand, never get between her and food and don’t get too close to her when she is eating, lest she thinks you’re trying to hone in on her lunch.

And don’t even think about sex. She’s so uncomfortable at this point and the only thing she knows for sure is that sex—and by that rationale, you—is the reason she feels like this in the first place. If you’re lucky things will settle down in the second trimester and you can get your fix, but in the meantime just think of yourself as a sex camel. You’re in the desert now. And you’re alone.

Stay safe out there.

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We’re Pregnant! Uh oh

MJ told me she was pregnant on January 2. It marked the fifth time in as many years she uttered those words. Yet we only have one child.

The realization we’ve successfully created human life just doesn’t bring about as much joy as it used to. After three miscarriages, how could it? I still remember the first time MJ dropped the news on me. It was Jan. 19, 2007 and I was about to travel to Indianapolis to watch my Patriots play the Colts in the AFC Championship game. We were having dinner at a little place called The Mockingbird and MJ slid a bag across the table. It contained the cutest, tiniest little Red Sox jersey you’ve ever seen in your life. Because I am a RAGING idiot, I didn’t understand what was happening.

Then she slid what looked like a thermometer across the table, which had just one word digitally inscribed on it: “PREGNANT.”

After five seconds of stunned silence, I suddenly shrieked. It wasn’t a yell or a manly barbaric yawp, it was a shriek. I had no control over the shrill, odd little noise that emanated from my mouth, I just couldn’t hold in all my love and excitement, and that was the noise I made. I bolted up from my seat, ran to her side of the table and mauled her. Then I shouted “I’M GONNA BE A DAD!!!!” to a restaurant full of strangers. Some clapped while others sneered, but I was all smiles. I was on a legitimate high and nothing could bring me down.

Maybe the outcome of the Colts-Patriots game that weekend should’ve been an indicator of things to come.

We lost that baby. Then we lost the next one too. When MJ told me she was pregnant with Will, I think my response was something like “Cool. But let’s not get our hopes up.” After losing Alex last summer, that feeling of dread and anxiety has only been heightened. We’ve had three miscarriages and one successful pregnancy. Those aren’t great numbers and I feel now the odds are stacked against us.

That may be the most nefarious part of miscarriages that no one seems to talk about. The effect they have on future pregnancies. The way they linger in your mind like a fart after someone leaves the room, attaching itself to everything and snuffing out all the joy from what should be a thrilling moment.

That’s what I felt when MJ told me she was pregnant again on Jan. 2. It was more of a “here we go again” sentiment, as I thought about the next few months and the sickening waiting game that inevitably occurs when you’ve suffered the loss of multiple pregnancies.

“Are you spotting? What color?”

“Do you feel OK? What do you mean you just ‘don’t feel right?’”

“Should we call the doctor?”

Basically I’m like the world’s most pessimistic hypochondriac at this point. I cringe every morning when MJ goes to the bathroom for fear of seeing her weeping over a blood clot in the toilet. Or the heartbreak and panic we’ll feel if she gets off the couch and there’s a dark red stain there.

The question of whether or not to even tell people about the baby is a whole other awful topic.

Some people spread the news immediately with no fear and reckless abandon. Others stick to a 12-week rule, which calls for keeping quiet about things until the 3-month mark of the pregnancy, at which point the risk of miscarriage drops precipitously. We’ve gone both routes, and they’re both painful.

This time around we both agreed to wait. Prudence and caution should be exercised with our precarious past in mind. But then a funny thing happened.

I got tired of the dread. Of the worry. The moroseness. And suddenly I realized this is a joyous occasion for us dammit! We need to be happy. Hell, some people can’t even get pregnant. At least we’re getting a chance, other people never even get that far. I realized it’s important to celebrate the victories when they’re still victories, even if they might turn into a defeat down the road.

We could very well lose this baby. We have an ultrasound on Friday so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. And yes, that thought is always lurking in the back of my mind. That’s just how it is now. But I’m happy about this baby. I’m excited about this baby. And in the end, we decided to tell everyone about the baby because people are always happy to hear good news.

Will it be painful if we have to make the unpleasant announcement that we lost it, hell yes. But that pain is going to be there no matter what. The real tragedy would be if the sadness of the loss was preceded by anxiety and pessimism, instead of joy and exhilaration at the news of new life.

September 11, 2011. Can’t wait to meet you kid!

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The Best Decision I Ever Made

Five years ago today I was inside St. Barnabas Church in Falmouth. It was my wedding day.

I wasn’t nervous at all. Well, scratch that. I wasn’t nervous at all about getting married to MJ. I know all the movies show the guy pacing the back room of the church, thinking about only being with one person for the rest of his life and looking for the nearest fire escape as the walls start closing in. But that wasn’t me. That’s never been me.

The only thing I was nervous about was that MJ would wise up at the last minute and not show.

After all, why would she? Why would this woman—this breathtaking, successful, magestic goddess of a woman—marry me? I made no money. I was overweight. And as my friends can readily attest, I’m no picnic to be around. Not to mention MJ and I have known each other since middle school and went to college together. Which means she knew about every skeevy, sketchy and scandalous thing I did in college. Of which there were many.

Yet she agreed to marry me anyways.

I’ve been party to some exhilarating events over the years. When the Patriots won their first Super Bowl in 2002 I felt so happy I thought my head would explode with joy. Then the Red Sox ended an 86-year drought in 2004 and tears of joy streamed down my face while my heart somersaulted with glee.

But nothing, with the exception of Will’s birth, will ever compare to how I felt when I saw her at the end of the church aisle.

It was like being kicked in the gut by a mule, if only that was a good thing. I couldn’t breathe, not because I was nervous, but because I knew at that moment I’d never see any woman anywhere else on this planet as beautiful as she was right then. My best man, Craig, leaned over to me and whispered “See her? She’s all yours.” I remember thinking “Her? She’s going to be my wife??” Like I had just won the lottery or something.

But we didn’t win the lottery, and to say we’ve struggled through the last five years would be an understatement.

MJ was hospitalized briefly a month after we were married. Our first Valentine’s Day was spent watching the snow fall through a window in a darkened corridor of Falmouth Hospital. She would later be diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, something with which she still struggles. We adopted a dog, and then the dog ran away (don’t feel bad Dad, shit happens). We got pregnant, but lost the baby. We got pregnant again, same result. We replaced the dog which was good, but then MJ lost her job which was bad. Then the market crashed and we sunk so far underwater with our condo we’re nose-to-nose with the Titanic.

Basically our lives were like a really horrible country music song.

But then we had Will. Sweet, beautiful Will.

I’m an OK father. Not great, but not terrible. A lot of it comes easy to me, just like school always did. But nothing has ever come easy to MJ, which means she’s had to work, scrape, scratch and claw for everything she has in her life. So when she was hit severely by postpartum depression, I feared the worst. But if I were a smarter man, I’d have known not to ever doubt her.

She beat back PPD and got herself straightened out. Because she’s fucking incredible. And an unbelievable mom. A mom who seems to instinctively know how to treat medical maladies about which I have no clue. A mom who can calmly deal with temper-tantrums when I’m reduced to screaming and bashing my head against the wall. And, if you don’t mind me saying, a mom who is definitely a MILF!

MJ also has a knack for bringing out the best in people. In the people she manages at work, in her friends and definitely in me.

In As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson told Helen Hunt “You make me want to be a better man.” I was a mess before MJ. And while I’m still kind of mess, at least now I’m a semi-respectable one. And I owe that to MJ. To the woman who builds up my ego while somehow simultaneously keeping me in check. Who motivates me without being overbearing. Who taught me about taking responsibility as a man and a father, while giving me the necessary space and freedom I occasionally required.

You have no idea how often my friends tell me how in awe they are of MJ, when she has no problem with me going out for a night alone or attending Patriots games every Sunday. I see plenty of wives who throw annoying hissy fits when their husbands want to do things without them, but MJ knows and appreciates we both need time for ourselves. I love her independent spirit and her selfless nature.

I love her. I love her so much.

Her thick, crazy hair that clogs the drain. The fact that she misplaces her keys 19 times a day. Her crazy giggly laugh that turns into an asthmatic fit if it goes on for too long. Or how about her need to have the volume set to an even—NEVER an odd—level on the TV? And I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention she remains the hottest piece of ass I’ve ever laid eyes on!

But the question is, what do you get someone so wonderful for a five-year anniversary present?

I got her jewelry for Christmas so that was out. We went out to a nice meal last weekend. When I did some research, I discovered the traditional 5th anniversary present is—wait for it—wood! Please insert your own joke here. Honestly, I got so stumped and frustrated while thinking of the perfect present I’d thought I’d never find it.

But I did. And wanna know the crazy thing? She got me THE EXACT SAME THING! Great minds and all. So because we had the same thing in mind for each other, now we can enjoy it together. The only problem is it’s on back order.

It’ll arrive around the middle of September!!!

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