Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#031 In which our hero struggles to stay afloat.

I'm aboard a sinking ship.

Regardless of whatever upbeat message the politicos are spewing this week about the economy surging toward recovering, the Cleveland advertising market hasn't improved. And the agency at which I am -- for the moment -- employed, isn't doing well. Not well at all.

I fantasize that the renovated warehouse that houses the agency is literally a sinking ship; I can see cracks appearing in the tastefully painted walls, water ominously streaming out in increasingly large rivulets, puddling on the floor until I am sloshing through rising water... ever raising water. I steady myself against the wall as the agency suddenly and violently lurches to the side, dumping less aware co-workers out of their chairs. The fashionably exposed steel beams above my head creak and groan under the strain of a bad economy, poor agency leadership and irresponsible planning.

Staggering topside, I am assaulted by the harsh winds of mismanagement, forked bolts of missed opportunities snake across the sky, leaving flashpoint impressions on my retinas. I cower before the earth-shattering boom of bad decisions, covering my ears in a vain attempt to make them go away.

If I squint, I can just make out the ship's Captain to stern, standing behind the massive ship's wheel, chatting with the First Lieutenant and gesticulating wildly. They seem unconcerned about the oppressive storm that is tossing the ship to and fro, but their nonchalance is belied by sideway glances to their exclusive lifeboat; a sturdy and wholly seaworthy vessel financed with their own personal wealth that's sits conveniently close by. All around them my coworkers casually go about their day to day tasks, rearranging the deck chairs into pleasing configurations. However, beneath the heavy peacoats of several I can detect the characteristic bulge of emergency life preservers.

I fish my spyglass out of my pocket and scan the horizon for shore, any shore... there is none. Behind us, I can just make out the Isthmus of Telephone Customer Service where I was stranded when my last ship split apart.. As tenuous as my current footing is, it is much better than living on that detestable strip of land. However, I fear if the ship goes down, I may be forced to swim in that direction.

Training my 'glass forward, I see nothing but dark skies and choppy water. Here and there we may be able to take aboard small amounts of pitch and lumber, just enough to allow the ship to stay afloat for a few more weeks.

Straining, I can just make out a tiny speck of land, far ahead of us, but looming closer every hour. I hope beyond hope that it will be the Isle of Renewed Business, or even the fabled continent of Repeated Profitable Quarters... but in my heart I know it is not. No, it is more likely the Fjords of Financial Insolvency, with the devastating Reef of Staff Reduction.

The Captain sees it, too. With a pained expression he turns the massive wheel and alters course; the ragged sails fill with wind anew and the ship leaps forward, taking a new line, straight into the path of the rocks.

God save our ship.


#030 In which our hero updates the dog plan.

Quick dog update: as you no doubt remember (since you hang on every word I write like it's Faulkner's newest masterpiece) we have been confining the dog to his kennel during the day, in hopes that he won't piss-up the house. Surprisingly, this has mostly been successful. He still manages to unload a bladderful of pee while we're at work, but it's mostly soaked up by the comforter lining the cage. Of course, this means that we have to throw it in the wash every day (and I mean AS SOON as we get home, because it stinks THAT BAD) but it's certainly more convenient than trying to get the stench out of the carpeting.

However, we ran into a problem. The dog has decided to eat his cage. I saw that he had worried the bars a bit for the first couple of days, but nothing that big. Then, after about five days he went into overdrive and bent the shit out of them.

"Surveying the damage"

Worse yet, he started to tear up his nose and really wear down the enamel on his teeth. Dumbass.

So, once again I've abandoned the plan and moved on the Plan -- what? K? L? I've forgotten.

So now I drive home every day at lunch and let him out. Pretty simple, actually. Except it's a 20 minute drive one way, so that's a pain in the ass. But he can hold his pee until I get there, and hold the rest until I get home from work. Why doesn't my wife, who works only five minutes away from the house do it? Well, apparently she's "too busy" at her job helping "infertile couples" to "create life." Whatever.

Starting on Friday I'm cutting back his drugs (actually on doctor's orders this time) and hoping that the reduced dosage will allow him to hold his water All. Day. Long.

I used to dream of climbing a mountain, winning a Nobel Prize, or curing cancer. Now I dream of coming home and not stepping in a puddle of dog piss.

Amazing how your dreams can change.


#029 In which our hero has a problem with George Lucas.

George Lucas. I have a problem with you, dude. Big-time.

The past couple of days the Internet has been alive with your announcement that the third and final installment of the Star Wars franchise will be titled "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith." Apparently, when this was announced at Comic-Con there was an "audible gasp" from the crowd. Really? Just the title was enough to get the assembled basement-dwellers excited?

Here's the thing: I used to be that guy. Searching out new info on the Star Wars movies, debating which was the best of the original triad (for the record, Randal was right: Empire is the better movie), drooling over the concept sketches. Then, George, you had to go and fuck it all up.

It started with the re-release of the original three. And, y'know, I guess I'm okay with you tweaking the special effects. I mean, I didn't really hear anyone screaming about them, we - the assembled fans - understood that the movies were made in the late 70's/early 80's, and special effects technology wasn't as advanced as it is now. Frankly, I dug the fact that what I was seeing was actual models, something that I could hold in my hand if I were lucky enough to be on set. There's a cool "thereness" to it that isn't there for a screen full of pixels, no matter how cool it looks on screen. Anyway, like I said, fiddle with the effects all you want... but why did you have to change elements of the story?

Yeah, you know where I'm going. Greedo didn't shoot first, you hack!

Han Solo shot first. EVERYONE knows that. Your story about how you meant for Greedo to shoot first but it didn't translate on film? I call bullshit. You [were then] a strong enough storyteller to make this clear, if it's what you intended. But you didn't.

We all started to see your decent into madness with Return of the Jedi. Ewoks? Sweet Christ, what were you thinking? Yeah, yeah, I know, you wanted it to be Wookies but didn't have the budget or couldn't get the logistics to work or whatever... but were Ewoks really the answer? Plus, you continued production of puerile crap proves that, for whatever reason, you made the conscious decision to turn Star Wars into kiddy movies.

Man, you suck.

Getting back to Greedo. I was nine years old when the first Star Wars came out. I wasn't an especially precocious or brilliant kid - but when Han shot Greedo, I GOT IT. Greedo was threatening Han, he was about to shoot him - but he didn't. Because Han shot first. Han is a rogue, a scoundrel; but no one walked away from that scene thinking he was a heartless murderer. He did what he had to do, and we all applauded him for it. Jesus, give us a little credit, would you? If a nine-year-old can figure it out, any one can figure it out.

Boy, I hate you.

Here's the thing: I forgave you for the Ewoks. The hairy knee-biters aside, Jedi still kicked a load of ass. Luke was all cool and confident, Vader had a change of heart, the Emperor was scabby and evil. It was great. And, it was with this air of optimism, or hope, that I went to see The Phantom Menace.

What a turd.

I was excited going in, the casting was great. The dreamy Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson? Wow. And Samuel L. Jackson? Are you kidding me? Outstanding! My favorite SW:TPM moment that never happened:

Mace Windu: "Are you tellin' me this mutherfucka is the mutherfuckin' CHOSEN one?!"
If only. But it all goes wrong. What's up with that little kid playing Anakin? It's obvious that you choose him strictly for appearance, and not for acting ability. Ugh, there wasn't a moment in that film when I didn't want to punch him square in the face.

And I don't think we have to talk about Jar-Jar, an obvious and ham-handed attempt to inject comic relief into the film. You could have saved a few dollars and just recycled Roger Rabbit for the role - same vocal patterns, same animated form, and at least passingly amusing.

Jesus, you suck.

Two more examples of your hackitude and then I'm done.

Midichlorians. These, according to you, are the tiny Force-holding creatures that live in all our cells, or some such horseshit like that. But Anakin has lots of them, proving that he's strong with the force. But really, they are a contrived plot device to show that Anakin isn't your typical mop-headed pod-racer, but rather a Force-filled wunderkid that has the potential to be the greatest of the Jedis. Of course, we already know this since we've seen the three films before this one! We get it, he's great with the force, a real badass in kid's clothing. We don't need "proof" that he's powerful, all you need to do it tell us. Hey, if the Jedi Council is on board, who are well to jump up and start demanding proof? Again, give us a little credit, huh?

"I have a bad feeling about this." Yep, someone always has a bad feeling about something, in every movie. We [the fans] love it when you throw in little things like that, we appreciate the inside joke aspect. But, for pity's sake have a little integrity when you use it, huh? I'm talking about "Attack of the Clones," when Anakin, Amidala, and Obi-Wan are chained and being hauled into the alien bug arena to be consumed by various horrific beasts. Anakin says "I have a bad feeling about this." Really? No shit? Did the midichlorians help you puzzle that out or was it the thousands of creatures in the stands waiting to watch you die?

Christ, George, did you just flip the script open to a random page and stick the quote in wherever your finger landed?

Okay, I'm done. Mr. Lucas, you are a hack of the worst kind: you used to make good movies but now, for whatever reason, make mindless garbage dressed up as meaningful mythology.

Today, I have a problem with you, George Lucas!


#028 In which our hero discusses his wife's care(lessness).

"I'm fine, but I'm having trouble breathing."

Does the above sentence strike you as odd? I mean, it's not just me, right? If someone said that to you, you'd notice the incongruity of the two parts... not being able to breath properly and being "fine" just don't seem to go together, wouldn't you agree?

Well, if you were my wife (and statistically speaking, 33.3% of the readers of this site ARE my wife) you wouldn't agree.

My wife has asthma, but it's very mild. She generally uses a rescue inhaler maybe once every four or five months, and then only if it's really cold or if she's been working out and breathing hard for an extended time. But yesterday she was coughing quite a bit in the morning, and her breathing was a little labored in the afternoon. She went to the doctor and he gave her two inhalation treatments which didn't help, then took a chest film to make sure she didn't have pneumonia (she doesn't). Finally he sent her home with a prescription for an oral medication that was supposed to make her feel better.

Now here's a question: if you were having trouble breathing and you were at the pharmacy with a medicine IN YOUR HAND that would ease your breathing and make you feel much better, would you:

a. Take it immediately
b. Wait until you got home

Well, 33.3% of the readers of this site would wait until they got home. And it was at this point that I called to make sure my wife wasn't dying on the kitchen floor, only to have a gasping creature that purported to be my wife answer the phone. Naturally this freaked me out and I had to rush home, images of an ashen-faced dead wife dancing in my head.

Turns out the meds didn't help anyway, and another call to the doctor resulted in her taking some Benadryl, which seemed to help. Far as our doctor can tell it was some sort of strange allergic reaction, cause unknown.

Which bring me to the point of this post: I don't think my wife takes very good care of herself. Matter of fact, if I listed the three phrases I utter most to her, they would be:

"I love you"
"I wish you would take better care of yourself"
"Can't you put my laundry away for me?"

For the record, the three phrases my wife says most to me would probably be: "I love you," "You are such a geek," and "Because it hurts when it grows back, that's why not!"

Think I'm making this up? Another quiz. Say you were riding a 1,500-pound horse. Then say this horse freaked out and bucked you off, causing you to soar thirty feet in the air to land in hard-packed dirt on your neck. Would you:

a. Wait until medical personnel checked you out to make sure you didn't break your neck, your back, or both
b. Carefully allow others to carry you to a soft place to lie down
c. Immediate get up, tell others to stop fussing over you and walk it off

Another? What if you had a pounding headache and you had a medicine cabinet stocked with no less than four headache relievers; would you:

a. Take something to make your head feel better
b. Wait until you started bleeding out of your ears before you took half the recommended dose

I may be exaggerating a tad, but you get the point. It drive me crazy; all the more so because she's a SCIENTIST, well-versed in the wonders of modern day medicines.

It also doesn't help that I'm a big fan of using drugs in other than their prescribed usage. Can't sleep? A big shot of Nyquil puts me right out. A little sleepy after lunch? A couple No-Doze and I'm good to go. Our scientific community has provided us with a wealth of wonderful over the counter pills, would we not be remiss if we didn't take full advantage of them?

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to take my morning dose of fructose, dextrose, xanthan gum and red#40 in convenient Pop-Tart form. Ah, sweet, sweet science!


#027 In which our hero finally gets around to the first one.

I just wrote this terrible post about being a poor, misunderstood advertising writer which, I realized half-way though, was total shit. I tend to be overly didactic when I'm talking or writing about my career, and am boring to myself at times. I generally go under the assumption that everyone else in the world finds my job as fascinating as I do. History has shown that this is not the case. So even though I managed to work in the phrase "dank bowels," which I was very proud of, I tanked the entire thing.

Instead, I'm going to post something I write quite a while ago when I got laid-off (read: fired) from the last agency where I worked. I had originally intended this site to be a chronological series of events from me getting fired to the present day. But, I don't seem to have the focus to relate stories in a linear fashion, so that approach was quickly abandoned over the "whatever the hell pops into my head" approach.



Son of a bitch!

Laid off.

I should have seen it coming. I mean, it's my own fault that I was
caught unprepared. I've only been at the agency for two years, and I've already seen three rounds of lay-offs, and mandatory pay cuts both summers. Since I'm the new guy in my department, guess it's no surprise that it finally came down to me.

I'm a copywriter at the largest advertising agency in Ohio. Well,
it used to be the largest, but who knows now? We've been firing people like crazy, so maybe we're not so big anymore.

Goddamn fancy digs. I know I was really amazed and charmed when I first interviewed here, but now I wonder if we did business out of some crappy warehouse somewhere if I'd still have a job. Don't get me wrong, it's really impressive to show clients the view of Cleveland from the top three floors of a downtown skyscraper. Not that I'll be doing that
anymore... they deactivated my keycard the day after they dropped the hammer, I can't even get into the building anymore.

"Hey, Craig, can Dave and I talk to you in the conference room for a second?"

This from the Creative Director, my boss. Meet with him and the president of my division? Sure, no problem. Wonder what they want? I know my annual review has come past due, I kept bugging Dave about that, and he kept putting me off. We are just getting out of the latest pay cut, the one they said for sure would put us back into the black. But they did just fire those people in the interactive division -


My heart sunk. Maybe it was those thoughts that flashed through my mind, maybe it was the look on Dan's face. I'm getting fired. Or laid off. There once was a time when only steelworkers or other Union guys
got "laid off." And that meant that they would be rehired as soon as the plant got back on its feet.

But that doesn't happen anymore. Never did, in any industry outside of manufacturing, far as I can tell. Now when you get laid off, you get fired. Out the door, don't come back, last check is in the mail, don't call us we definitely won't be calling you.

I really like both the president and my boss. Hell, I invited both guys to my wedding! They even got us good gifts. Now, though pained expressions, they were firing me. Not that they said "fired," of course. And thankfully they didn't say "laid off," either. I was told that the agency had to make some more cuts, and I was one of the cuts.

Cuts. Ouch, it definitely hurt.

Told on Wednesday, get out by Friday. Wonder when the actually decision was made? How long did they have to tip-toe around me, knowing full well that I'd be cast off, set adrift in an economy that wasn't especially conducive to finding new work?

Hey, thanks George W! You blew the shit out of Iraq, didn't you? How about giving me a fraction of that War Money so I can afford to put food on the table?

I discovered I had made two major mistakes while at the agency. One, obviously, was to get too comfortable, not read the writing on the wall, see what was coming. Two, was bringing in so much crap. I had toys and books and plants... four armfuls of stuff to cart off to my car. That sucked the most.

"Hey Craig, what's - (spying the box of belongings) - oh. Sorry, man."

Yep, I'm a sorry man. With the last elevator ride down I started to tear up. Asshole. I should have been angry. Angry that the agency spent so much time on appearance and so little on substance. Angry that personal buddies of the president got to stay to retirement age - regardless if they contributed anything to the agency or not - while the young guys like me, probably making a fraction of their salaries, got shit-canned.

Choking back the tears I rode down, alone with my plant. Out to the car, drive back home.

What the hell now?

Could you tell I was a little bit angry about getting fired?

I'm much better now.


#026 In which our hero attempts several dog plans.

I once lived in a world of many smells. The smell of fresh baked bread, flowers, fresh cut grass... these were just a small sampling of the wonderful, intoxicating smells that were available to me. Sadly, I no longer live in that world. I now live in a world that is comprised entirely of one odor:

Dog piss.

Contrary to previous fretful predictions, our dog is not on death's door. It's more like he's in death's neighborhood, driving around trying to find the right house. After all, he is 12, which in human years is 321, so there are definitely more years behind him than before him.

The results of the doubled-ended scoping are that the dog has irritable bowel disease. I hadn't a clue that dogs could even get irritable bowels, but my past experienced scrubbing dog shit out of the carpet should have shed a clue.

So he's now on five or six different meds. One of these pills is a steroid (which presumably is to speed healing of his guts, not help with his bench press). One side effect of this steroid is that it makes the dog thirsty, so he's drinking water all the goddamn time, which drives my wife and I crazy.

TUCKER: Lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap -

ME: Tucker, that's enough.

TUCKER: Lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap, lap -


But, the more fearful of the side effects is what the vet called "loosening of the sphincter." Yep... he's drinking lots more water and is losing the ability to hold his water.

We first discovered this unfortunate duo of side effects when we came home and found a huge puddle on the living room carpet. Again, the dog is 12, and he's been a little incontinent for a couple of years now. He's actually on another drug that's supposed to help with this, but every now and again we'd find a little wet spot on the rug.

But this spot was more like someone dumped a pitcher of beer in the middle of the floor. Beer that reeked of dog piss. And, y'know, dog piss smells bad. I can't say as I've never gotten really up close to anything the dog has peed on, but when you have half a gallon soaked up in your rug - on a hot day - you suddenly get the full force of the stink. Hell smells like this.

So, we had to take drastic steps. It's not pretty, but we couldn't have the old man pissing up the house. He had to wear a diaper.

"Man pants"

These are commercially available canine diapers. An extra large adult incontinence pad fits inside. Yes, it's humiliating, and I'm sure the cats make fun of him... but it's better than the alternative. Or so we thought.

Turns out that these man pants, even though they are the biggest ones we can get, don't really fit him right. So the next day he had managed to soak his diaper and selected spots on the carpet.

The Scientist managed to jury-rig a solution of sorts - extending the coverage area. But, the asshole still managed to work the pad loose and rip it to shreds. So not only was the carpet wet, but so were his man pants AND there were bits of wet, stinking plastic all over the house. On to Plan B.

We have a little office in the back of the house. The Scientist bought these absorbent bed-wetter pads and spread them all over the floor. We then covered this with an old comforter, thinking that this dual-layer technology, working alongside the man pants, would absorb all the pee that the dumb dog could generate.

A side note: before Plan B went into affect, I rented a carpet clearer and scrubbed the dog smell out of the living room. In case you're keeping track:

  • Number of times I've rented a carpet cleaner from age 0 to age 34: 0

  • Number of times I've rented a carpet cleaner from age 34 to age 35: 6.

Needless to say, the canine urine machine soaked his pants, soaked the comforter, soaked the pads and still had enough juice left over to befoul the carpet. Walking into that little room was like walking into a 200-unit kennel. Oh, and he managed to chew a significant amount of wood off the door leading into the rest of the house. So, it was on to Plan C.

Our back yard is fenced, but we've learned the hard way that he can jump the fence. And we also know that he can slip his collar if he's determined enough. So I bought 20 feet of chain and a harness with visions of chaining him up outside where he can piss to his hearts content. I chained him for a couple of hours to see how he'd do. Somehow the beast managed to slip out of his harness. Plan C failed before it even got off the ground. Plan D anyone?

We put down a tarp, centered the dog's crate in the middle of it, covered the floor of the crate with bed-wetter sheets and the (washed) comforter. We resisted this approach before not because we didn't want to lock him in a cage (he was crate-trained and is actually pretty good about it), but because we knew that he'd be laying in his own piss for a couple of hours and we'd have to bathe him daily. But, this is what it's come down to - daily baths or daily carpet cleaning. And it's a lot easier to drag the dog outside and take the hose to him than the carpets.

And amazingly, Plan D worked! Well, at least once. I came home to find him quietly laying in his crate; he hadn't spilled his water (H2O, that is) all over the crate, and he didn't chew the comforter to bits. I took him outside, gave him a quick rising off with the hose, went on a walk and all was well.

But that was yesterday. Who knows what horrors await me today?


#025 In which our hero fears for his wife's life.

My daughter's evil plan to kill my wife is nearly complete.

I know this because The Scientist's will broke audibly this morning, her moans of "I can't take any more of this. I can't take it!" woke me from my own restless slumber. After several hours of keeping The Scientist awake from roughly midnight to 2am, our little she-devil finally fell off to sleep. However, her devious plan is so finely tuned that my wife was not able to fall asleep. I suspect that the little girl's random awakenings have The Scientist so keyed up that sleep is elusive, at best. It wasn't until around 4:30am that my wife was able to finally close her eyes and drift away.

It was then that our little girl, the cherubic baby with an infectious giggle and wicked intent, delivered her masterstroke.

She got up.

Actually pulled herself up and stood at the side of the crib, no doubt waiting a minute or two to savor the deliciously evil moment, and started to cry. And here, I really have to admire her tactics. If she was simply inconsolable, The Scientist would give her a bottle, or better yet, a boob, and if that failed, might finally be moved to wake up my sorry ass and make the tag.

But the little demon is far too clever for that.

She plays quietly and peacefully - as long as you're on the floor with her. And, she even rubs her eyes and otherwise makes motions that she's ready to go back to sleep. However, as soon as she is dumped in the crib she starts to cry again. This went on for an hour or more before, exasperated, my wife cried out and I took over.

Now, my daughters murderous plans for me are not nearly so far along, so when I took her downstairs she just played nicely. She even lulled me into a sense of fatherly joy as I spun her around and made her giggle. This, undoubtedly, will be my final undoing.

And, if anyone doubts the horrific machinations of my progeny, I present photographic evidence taken by my brother-in-law over the Fourth of July weekend when she thought no-one was watching:

"Rejoice at the coming of the Dark Lord!"

Next time I think I'm mixing her formula with holy water. I'll show that little spanker who's boss!


#024 In which our hero discusses Scientists and sleepless babies.

Storm clouds are gathering. And I mean that in the most ominous, metaphorical fashion you can imagine. The Scientist and I -

Oh, first: in the grand tradition of the half-dozen or so blogs I read on a nearly daily basis I have decided that I will bestow people mentioned in my meager online ramblings with interesting, descriptive names. I'm not entirely sure why everyone that writes online seems to feel the need to disguise the names of people they write about. It's certainly fruitless in my case, since of the three people or so that read this thing all know me personally and wouldn't have to work very hard to figure out who I'm talking about. But anyway, it's more fun that way, methinks. So, since my wife enters into my writing fairly often, and I don't want to call her just S., which seems a little lame, I will be calling her The Scientist. Because a.) she is a scientist, b.) I think that's insanely cool, and c.) it conjures up all sorts of fantastic imagines of bubbling beakers and weird electronic equipment (which, sadly, is nothing like a real working lab). Back to the storm clouds.

The Scientist and I are new parents, the little girl (who I will be calling "the little girl" or "my daughter" or "Lily" because, well, how cool of a name is Lily?) is only eight months old. So we haven't been doing this job very long. Eight months into a new job is just the starting to feel comfortable enough around your co-workers to tell a dirty joke phase - and that's assuming that the parameters of your work don't completely change every other month which seems to be the case with the little girl. Wait, did I just completely screw up the metaphor?

Anyway, up to this point the biggest source of conflict we had regarding parenting was what stroller to buy. The Scientist wanted the four-on-the-floor typical thingy, I wanted the super-cool all-terrain three-wheel off-roader. Surprisingly, we got the stroller I wanted. I suspect that The Scientist either really didn't care or was lulling me into a false sense of superiority for bigger battles in the future.

Well, that day has come.

The little girl isn't sleeping through the night. Most books tell us that she could be, even should be, at this point. But she isn't. She gets up at least once a night, and is usually up for an hour or more. While that doesn't sound terrible, it's always at random times - sometimes after she's been asleep an hour, sometimes after five hours. So every gurgle and rolling over could signal the start of crying, or not. It disrupts my sleep cycle, and I know it's much worse for my wife. Even more so being that getting the little girl back to sleep usually involves picking her up, taking her downstairs, sometimes feeding her a bottle, sometimes not. Sometimes she goes back to sleep right away, sometimes it's hours later. The Scientist and I agree that this is not the ideal situation.

But, that's about all we agree on. I want to try the (doctor approved) method of putting her to sleep and letting her cry for awhile before coming to the rescue. Our pediatrician even gave us a booklet on how to do this; and it explains how in five nights or so, she'll be sleeping through the night, no problem. However, The Scientist is having no part of it.

To be fair, I'm much more willing to let the baby cry. I don't like it, but it doesn't bring my world crumbling down. And, if five nights of crying will result in a baby that sleeps through the night, I'm all for it.

So, the heated discussions have begun. The Scientist refuses to let her child cry, end of story. Never mind that my wife is tired all the time, and because of this she keeps getting sick. The entire situation, needless to say, is extremely frustrating. I'm fighting a battle I can't win, and worse yet, coming across as an unfeeling bastard because I'm advocating the "just let her cry" position.

Things will come to a head soon. And when these storm clouds finally let go, the shitstorm that results is going to be biblical in proportions.



#023 In which our hero chases a cat, fruitlessly.

My wife owns a cat. I also own a cat, but my cat is a great cat; a loving purring machine that I can only fault by his insistence of sleeping on my head at night. We've come to terms with this; and those terms are "you can only kneed at my skull with your dagger-like claws for so long before you get tossed across the room."

But that's not the cat we're talking about. We're talking about my wife's cat. The bane of my existence.

Like me, I'm sure you have a morning routine; shower, shave, dress, eat breakfast, etc. But, unlike me, you don't have the evil yellow cat from hell living with you. What I spend my mornings on generally breaks down like so:
  • 5% Showering
  • 2% Brushing teeth
  • 2% Feeding the dog
  • 1% Packing a lunch
  • 90% cleaning up cat puke
Even though my wife insists otherwise, I'm pretty sure her cat got dropped on his head at some point. He is clearly retarded. I mean, if you sat down a human at a table and put in front of him a plate of lima beans and a plate of dried leaves - which would you expect him to eat? Yes, of course, the lima beans. But, if he ate the dried leaves instead, what would you think? That's right - retarded. But what if he ate both? Knowing that lima beans didn't agree with him? That, in a nutshell, is my wife's cat.

He'll eat anything you drop on the floor. And his stomach can't really handle anything expect the special dry cat food he gets (and I should point out, gets in ample quantities - it's not like he's starving or anything, the little shit) so it all comes back up in great heaving spurts, which I have to clean up - usually when I'm already late for work.

Now, here's the problem: this activity pisses me off mightily. I try to grab the cat and hold him over a newspaper or something until he's done yakking. And to be fair, I'm none too gentle when I do this. And there is some yelling. The bottom line is this, when the cat starts puking, he runs from me.

And if you think I'm pissed about a pile of cat puke, you can imagine what it's like when I'm cleaning up a trail that goes from under the kitchen table to the basement. But today... today that little shitter outdid himself.

First I hear him puking in the kitchen. I ran downstairs to see that he ate what appeared to be a 12lb. standing rib roast, which is now a partially digested mass half on the rug, half on the hardwood. He high-tails it to the basement, and I'm in hot pursuit.

I can't find him until I hear more heaving from under the futon, which I tear away from the wall to find another puddle of puke. I clean this up and follow him back upstairs.

At this point, fool that I am, I think he's done. I go to get dressed (oh yeah, I'm running around in nothing but my boxers) and I hear the sound that really sends me over the edge. He's puking AGAIN, and this time he's under the bed! I pound on the bed yelling "get out from there you little fucker!" - to no avail. I finally pull the bed out from the wall and he bolts downstairs again. There is another pile of puke, right on top of a sample catalogue I had written and hadn't yet stuck in my portfolio. Thank god for glossy stock.

He vomits two more times, and I clean it up and go to work. No doubt there will be more when I get home.

And the bane of my existence laughs, and laughs, and laughs.


#022 In which our hero gazes into the abyss, and the abyss giggles back.

I think my daughter is trying to kill me. And I KNOW she's trying to kill my wife.

"Malicious Intent"

Oh, I know she looks cute and innocent - but beneath those chubby jowls lie the mind of a murderer. An eight-months-old-murderer.

Her plan is shockingly simple: keep us from sleeping until the toxins build up in our brains and we spontaneously fall asleep in traffic, leading to a horrible mangled death. And no-one would ever suspect her, the cunning child.

To make sure we can't react to her plans, she'll seemingly fall asleep at bedtime, and sometimes sleep for several hours - just until we are also sound asleep. Then she strikes.

Either a high pitch wailing that rips us out of dreamland or sometimes a soft whimpering that slowly and gently pulls us from slumber. And sometimes - and really, this is most clever of all - she'll just make small noises that seem to indicate that she'll fall back to sleep herself, with no intervention on our part. She can keep us awake for hours with this ploy before we finally get out of bed for more direct action.

I almost admire her hideous brilliance.

My wife has it much worse, since I can sometimes sleep through the lower-key crying. But my wife is instantly awake and soothing the baby. And the evil mastermind is fully aware of this, and has her heart set on killing my wife first. And then, no doubt, me.

There are times when I simply cannot appease the child. Most critically, I don't have the plumbing to give her what she wants. And, I'm much more immune to her crying. That's not to say that my daughter's crying isn't like nails on a chalkboard to me, because it is. But rather, I'm willing to let her cry, while my wife is not.

This has led to tension between the wife and I. I'm more of the "let her cry herself back to sleep" school, where she's more of the "you're a heartless prick" school. Again, I'm sure this is all according to the baby's plans, to set us upon one another.

So, so clever.

There's no winner in this scenario, that's for sure. Our little despot is crafty, but she's failed to realize one key element: when she does manage to kill us both off... who will bring her food? Then again, I think I saw her plotting with the dog the other day...

Pray for me.