Sunday, December 22, 2013

Simchat something

I just got back from a Jewish baby naming ceremony. I was invited by a friend at work who has a new baby.

I generally suck at even the most basic forms of social ritual, so throw in religion...and add in anything involving chanting in a foreign language, and I'm out of my element.

Are you supposed to wear a suit? (I did, and that was a pretty safe call.)

Are you supposed to bring a gift? (I didn't, but I didn't see anyone else bring one.)

Are you supposed to wear one of those little Jewish caps? (Hope not. Everyone else had one, except the babies. I'm claiming affinity with the babies.)

When everyone starts singing in Hebrew, are you supposed to move your lips as if you're singing? Even though you obviously don't know the words? Or is that an affront to the faith? (Still not sure. I was the only one not singing.)

Is it inappropriate to make faces at the toddlers in the audience? I mean if they look directly at you? (I have a feeling I failed on this one.)

I survived. I didn't get kicked out, and God didn't strike me dead (always a concern of mine in a house of worship). As far as I could tell, no one whispered behind my back, "Hey, that guy's not wearing his little cap."

So...victory. And now to start packing for our trip to Illinois to celebrate the Christian toy-giving ritual.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Yea! No more piano!

The conversation five years ago went something like this:

Todd: "Why?"

Jen: "I think it would be nice to have."

Todd: "Nobody in our family plays the piano."

Jen: "The boys might play it. Samuel could take lessons."

Todd (calculating costs in his head): "And put it where?"

Jen: "How about right there? In the foyer."

Todd: "The foyer? Right when you walk in? And what would you do with the Columnaire Art Deco radio?"

Jen: " long were we planning on keeping that?"

The conversation last week went something like this:

Jen: "Okay. I'm willing to get rid of the piano. "

Todd (furiously typing Craigslist ad): "Okay."


Holiday wish fulfilled. Now let's have a contest to see how quickly we can fill up that space with crap again.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekend update

I finished a manuscript and sent it to my agent. Full disclaimer: it took nine months in total, but even procrastination eventually runs its course.

We bought a Christmas tree.

I wasted most of the afternoon looking at vintage lamp shades on eBay.

Yesterday Jen and I walked by the antique store on 79th, and I said to the owner, "I see you finally sold that Art Nouveau ceiling lamp that was in the window for so long." I'd been coveting it for a year. He grumbled, "No, I've still got it, I just haven't been able to sell it."

But, even marked down, it was still $750, know, if pressed, that's probably NOT what Jen would say she wants to get each other for Christmas. So we decided to go online and see how much it would cost to just buy a vintage Quezal lamp shade (sans lamp) and attach it to our existing ceiling fixture.

The answer is $70. We are now the proud owners. Don't tell the guy at the antique store.

The best moment of the day was when Jen told me that we could get rid of our piano. No one has played it in five years; it simply serves as a dumping ground for every box, handbag, backpack, coat, piece of mail, or set of keys that comes within six feet of it. It makes us look like hoarders.

I'm the anal-retentive interior decorator in our household; Jen and the boys are the dorm room slobs. I love quarter-sawn oak, vintage leather, dupioni silk, and antique Quezal lamp shades. Jen and the boys are happy so long as they have a TV, a laptop, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a path to the front door.

I took the dogs for a walk this evening. I was happy with my new lamp shade, and my finished manuscript, and my impending lack of piano. It was snowing, and the Christmas tree vendor was still open on Columbus Avenue, and it suddenly felt very Christmasy.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

There has been a rift in the space-time continuum

As Ethan likes to say, I'm not competitive as long as I'm in the lead. Which is why it pains me to say I am no longer the reigning Dads Gymnastics champion at our friends' annual holiday party.

I came into the event as two-time defending champ, got a big ovation from the crowd when I entered the room, and proceeded to do a lights-out headstand, an A+ cartwheel, and a kick-ass splits (which no dad over 30 can match).

For my optional move, I decided to wow them with an L-sit. I mean, come on, how many dads can do an L-sit?

Let's just say I was confident.

An hour passed. Santa came.

The toddlers retreated to a bedroom to watch "Monsters University."

Finally, toward the end of the party, it was time for the big announcement.

I passed my phone to Jennifer so that she could take a picture of me as I accepted my award.

And then--

I was suddenly and inexplicably sucked through a tiny wormhole into a parallel universe.

They gave the prize to a guy who did a handstand push-up for his optional move.

Come on. Degree of difficulty: 7.5, at most.

But it was a visual move. An L-sit is static. Damn. These are elementary and middle-school judges, after all.

Duly noted. Duly noted.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have some training to do.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Darn, I didn't quite get enough DNA off the lip of that Pepsi cup to make a good clone of Elvis

But--hey--I'm in luck.

Oh, this is just sad

From the "Gotta Have Rock'n'Roll" online auction: an Elvis Presley stage-used Pepsi cup...starting bid $600. I suppose if you're interested in cloning Elvis and need his DNA. Otherwise how creepy is this?

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I was happy to have the four-day weekend. I not only needed some mental downtime, I needed a little kid fix. It's like Coke Zero: I go through withdrawal.

So I was happy to go to Ethan's Thanksgiving feast at his school on Wednesday. Lots of little kids singing about multi-culturalism, followed by a meal of turkey and watered-down apple tea in the lunchroom. I got to sit next to Ethan and right across from a 4-year-old. Hee-hee-hee.

I was not happy to pull my calf muscle on Wednesday afternoon. I was 2 minutes into a fast run and was thinking, "You know, I can still run a 6-minute pace for at least a few minutes--." Crap. The >50 Curse strikes again.

I was happy to spend Thanksgiving with Jen and the boys and my aunts and uncles and cousins and nieces and nephews.

Even though Samuel and Ethan are too big for it, I still love to play hide-and-seek and pull-the-kid-along-the-floor-by-his-feet. I tried not to blatantly ignore my own kids, but when little Ella asked me to be her assistant on her gingerbread house, I was like, Samuel and Ethan who?

Poor Samuel and Ethan. I've abandoned them for younger, trophy kids. Years of therapy are ahead for all of us.

I still love you, Samuel and Ethan. I just have an addiction.