Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Daddy Boot Camp Pt. Deux

...Continued from below...

Upon our arrival home from the hospital, I could feel the clock on my impending fatherhood ticking down by the second. Now please understand, I wasn't going through the normal crisis of mind that occurs when most men find out they are going to be a father. I wasn't floundering in the sea of negativity that includes such thoughts as "my life is ending", rather I was nearly having panic attacks caused by the "I only have less than a month to become a grown-ass man" mind set.

Such a state of mind could have been caused by several different factors, but I attributed much of it to my post-college lifestyle mirroring my previous college lifestyle. Staying up until 2 A.M. every night and sleeping in until 11 A.M. on non-work days became a pretty addictive habit, as did cursing for the sake of humor, allowing dishes to go unwashed for a week until having guests over made the kitchen a priority, and stuffing any and all clutter into the nearest closet.

Having been raised by parents that tended to keep our home spotless, I knew I had to start making some serious changes in my habits, and fast. In much the same way that the military requires recruits to get rid of their hair, wear specified skivvies, and wake up well before the butt crack of dawn in order to create a fine tuned soldier, I was going to have to do something to force a change in my life. Practically everyday after the day we arrived home from the hospital, I had a new task set aside to complete in order to change my home and lifestyle so that it would be fitting for my child to be raised in.

And by Easter Sunday, March 23rd, after literally spending day and night preparing the way for our little one, my entire family noted that I appeared to be a walking zombie. Apparently three weeks of baby laundry duty, crib building, baby proofing, and early-to-bed & early-to-rise sessions wore into my face like Joan Rivers on botox day.

But if I thought I was tired then, you can imagine how tired I would become when the Commander-in-Chief had her hand forced and decided boot camp was over, it was time for war!

...To Be Continued...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Razzle Dazzle

So, there has actually been a decent reason for my brief blog hiatus.

First, I've been putting way more energy into my hockey blog, trying to get increased readership and just simply getting it off the ground.

Secondly, I've spent the past two weeks in Daddy Boot Camp. Fortunately, said boot camp didn't take place in a barb wired, fenced-off campground, but in the confines of a maternity ward and my own home.

You see, my wife is about a month away from her due date and boot camp started with a misunderstood text message from the ole' Commander-in-Chief that said "I'm being admitted to the hospital." Considering the Chief didn't have any scheduled appointments at the hospital anytime soon, my immediate assumption was that she was being admitted because the baby wanted out and she wanted out now.

Upon my arrival at the hospital, my fear that lil' Miriam was going to be greeting the world a month early was not at all dispelled by the nurses as my wife was moved into her own room. A birthing room.

This was when I had realized I had been enlisted in Daddy Boot Camp.

For weeks I had been living under the false assumption that I had another month to mentally prepare myself for fatherhood. Realizing I no longer had the extra four weeks to wrap my mind around the very real concept that I was going to be a father, I began to list all of the various things that needed to be done before the baby arrived. All of which I would not have any time to actually do.

Thankfully, Dr. Drill Sergeant arrived just in time to save his new recruit from wetting his pants at the prospect of needing to find the cash to get a baby car seat within 24 hours. Sarge (our doc really doesn't fit the qualifications of a drill sergeant) informed me that they would just be keeping us over night for observation, and that he wouldn't want to induce labor until March 20th at the very earliest.

Six days, several nurses, and one near amniocentesis later, we were finally out of the hospital and back home. My training at the hospital prepared me for living like the walking dead, but my training at home would show me that the hospital was just the beginning...


Friday, February 1, 2008

Dark Obsession...

About a week ago I decided to finally re-read the best selling Left Behind series of novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins with the intention of finishing all twelve books (I originally started reading the series in 2000, only to stop on book nine). For anyone who isn't aware, the premise of the books is a fictional take on what could happen based upon the prophecies listed in the book of Revelation in the Bible.

Anyhow, I have recently adopted the habit from my wife of reading more than one piece of literature at a time and, along with the Left Behind novels, I at long last have picked up Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada's 1999 run of comics, Daredevil: Guardian Devil (yes, I do count comics as lit). To my surprise, this year long run of comics dealt with much of the same material as the Left Behind series. The Anti-Christ, Armageddon, it's all brought together in a dark, depressing package that has the reader reeling to read more.

After finishing Daredevil, I decided to watch the latest episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, when it hit me: Are we, as humans, obsessed with the end of the world?

Think about it. What do most forms of action entertainment ingrain as a part of their fictional plots, especially in film and comics? Comics are still not considered mainstream entertainment, but a bridge recently built by the hit show Heroes has begun a slow progression of more and more television shows that would typically only find life in the form of a comic book. And most of these have in some way dealt with the possibility of the end of the world.

In a post-9/11 world, I'm surprised this question hasn't been raised on a more regular basis. Since 2001, it seems as though a great deal of us spend our time trying not to live in fear of the possibility that everything around us may come crashing down from one reason or another. If anything, we were all taught on 9/11 that the physical security we all feel in our daily prescribed bubble of protection is nothing but the work of fiction. A work of fiction created by ourselves and, until 2001, society.

Realistically, no one wants to spend their time contemplating the true end of the world. It's sort of like spending your time reading about the latest celebrity who is entering rehab for the umpteenth time: depressing, yet you can't quite tear your attention from the subject. And somehow, it's still a part of our favorite forms of entertainment.

My conclusion: We all need to take a time out, eat a cookie and take a nap.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

R.I.P. Heath Ledger

It’s so odd. I don’t even know this guy on any personal basis. Yet there I was having this momentary panic thinking, “This is actually happening, this isn’t a stunt or movie promotion. He really is dead.”

If you’re a movie buff or have a friend that enjoyed even one of his movies, you know by now that Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment earlier today. As of right now the cause of death hasn’t been released, but speculation has begun due to a bottle of pills found near his body. I don’t really care to speculate on the manner of his death, the thought of doing so pretty much makes me a little ill. Not because I’m caught in admiration from afar of a movie star that just died, but mostly because I really know nothing of the situation and it’s a matter of respect to those that Mr. Ledger left behind.

I believe I’m mostly shell shocked because of the impact Heath Ledger’s work and the little I’ve read about him has had on me. I honestly can’t remember many days where I haven’t had the line from his film, 10 Things I Hate About You, run through my mind as a reminder to myself: “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t have what you want.” Nor will I forget a Rolling Stone interview in which he ranted about mass marketing, using Coca-Cola as an example. Coca-Cola, as Ledger put it, tastes like shit. Yet it’s the most popular drink in all of America, maybe the world all due to mass advertising. For some reason, the way he passionately spouted on about the subject stayed with me.

To top it all off, the man seemed to have pulled off playing the greatest foe of my all-time favorite character. My second thought upon hearing of Ledger’s death was that when the sequel to Batman Begins premiere’s later this year, The Dark Knight will be made in the honor and memory of what could have been one of this generation’s most talented actors.

So, somewhat selfishly I sit here venting over someone I did not know. Maybe that makes me human, maybe something worse. Either way, I thank you Heath Ledger for the work you left that inspired me and many others in ways you likely would never know. I pray for the family you left, most of all the little girl that will never know her father. Twenty-eight is just too soon to go.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wise men say...

On the way to the restroom this morning, I picked up a book that my wife has had next to our bed for several weeks. I had recently finished a book that served as both bathroom reading and insight to my impending fatherhood, and was in need of something new to pass my time on the throne.

The book, a guide for freelance writers, has served as a beginner's manual for my wife as she attempts to start a career in freelance writing. During the months since Marie bought this guide, she has taken the time at random moments to share with me, whether welcome or not, the insights that she has gained into the field of freelance writing. Attempting to be a good husband, I’ve humored her and listened to these insights while not having any genuine interest in the subject; until this possibly fateful trip to the john.

You see, earlier this week I wrote in my personal journal for the first time in nearly three years. After writing an entry, I perused through a few past entries and came across two in which I wrote about a desire to write and create fiction during my college years. I also wrote about a memory from my childhood in which I began writing a fictional Batman tale; I never completed the story, but as a I recall, it was quite impressive for a ten-year-old.

Why do I mention these dreams of old? As of recent, I have been spent a great deal of time contemplating what I hope to do with my life and the profession that I wish to pursue. Among those that know me, it is well established that I wish to pursue a career in coaching hockey. With that being said, it is also well known how difficult such an occupation can be: absolutely no job security, constant travel, and the pay in most positions is not great. On top of all of this, there are only so many paying coaching positions and an infinite supply of individuals that hope to gain said positions.

For those very reasons, I have been contemplating what I need to do to ensure the security of my life, career, and family. Among the many other options I have considered, writing has seemed to stand in the forefront as a viable possibility. How so? Throughout my academic career, I have been complimented numerous times on my writing ability, even having been asked by a professor if I was an English major (and no, it was not an math professor that would take anything written on a piece of toilet paper to be a masterpiece). Also, I believe that writing is one of the very few professions I can think of pursuing in my life that, besides hockey, would give me a sense of satisfaction about my life and career.

So it looks as though today I am beginning a new adventure. I have much to learn about freelance writing, and luckily I intimately know someone that has already done much of the leg work that is necessary for finding out the information I am in need of. Leave it to me to have an epiphany while sitting on the toilet.