New Year’s Revolutions

First of all, I love this commercial:

The deadpan “New Year’s revolution? Oh no.” reaction cracks me up.

Second of all, just like every discussion about “resolutions” I feel the need to state that I’m not really “into them”.  The idea of making a bunch of promises to yourself to make pretend that this is the year you won’t spend Sundays eating cheese and drinking beer in your underwear is just silly. Because when you spend Sundays eating cheese and drinking beer in your underwear, you’ve probably got enough disappoint going on in your life that realizing you broke a simple promise to yourself can only make things worse.

However the transition from the old year to the new one is a fairly appropriate time to reflect on what areas of ones life could stand some greater (or lesser) attention. And so I can disappoint other people as well as myself, let’s spell those out here. Continue reading “New Year’s Revolutions”

June… July… August…

Hmm, it seems like some time may have passed since my last update. Enough time that I’m sure this site was written off by its rather limited audience as another in a long line of dead blogs. But I’ve got a shiny new laptop and I’m anxious to test out the keyboard. So, what’s been going on?

If my memory serves me right, my little girl turned 3 since the last entry. So that’s a big deal I guess… Also, in spite of our best efforts, she appears to be potty trained. Which is really great considering her terrifying fear of public bathrooms. At least now she has even more killer conversation starters like, “Are you wearing underwear?” (And yes, she did in fact start a conversation with an adult that way). And it really is nice to not be tossing away so much money on diapers, and instead be wasting 30 minutes at a time siting next to the toilet because she really doesn’t feel like getting up.

But that’s her thing. Not just in the bathroom. Everywhere. She wants to stay wherever she is. Want to go to the park? Nope, she wants to stay home. Want to go back home? Nope, now she wants to stay in the park. If she were someone else’s kid I’d say it was annoying, but since she’s mine I’ll just say that she’s a pain in the ass.

Oh, also my marriage turned 5. And we even got to go out for a real fancy pants dinner to celebrate. At 4:30 one fine Sunday evening… Such is married life with The K.

Let’s see, what else? I lost my job. I figure that’s big news. But it’s not like I really lost it, they just made it disappear. Whatever. I went out and got myself a new one out of spite. Also out of necessity. But mostly out of spite. No, really more out of the need to keep paying the bank so that we have somewhere to live. I’ve grown attached to having a roof over our heads.

Now that I’m slowly getting acclimated to my new life it seemed the appropriate time to break my silence. The last couple of months have been rather stressful, even when they were good. But now I need to get back to a schedule that will give me time for my own hobbies, like blogging, photography, music and bad movies.

Also we went to Dutch Wonderland. That was pretty cool.

Nostalgia, I can has it?

I guess it started back in December. That’s when I found myself hanging out with an old friend in the city – twice in one week. The first was a last minute e-mail to catch a concert. An event that used to be a regular occurrence for the two of us, but was sadly my first in about 3 years. Later that same week I finally made it to one of his annual holiday parties that involved almost no one else I know.

That’s not completely true. Aside from his co-host – another friend from college yore – at least two other familiar faces showed up that qualified as true “blasts from the past”. Unlike the usual mingling with fellow alums that I see on a regular basis, there was some real catching up to do with nearly a decade having past since seeing some of them.

Things really started to pick up after our infamous Disney trip, though. First was another venture to a concert, this time in Hoboken. A quick pint with a friend beforehand produced even more drinking buddies from the halcyon days of my youth filled with lots of “Holy %^&*, it’s Slattery” type responses. All of this was topped by the appearance of a dear friend (and consummate bartender) whom I had last played phone tag with after the K’s birth. That reunion was much needed and provided a reminder that my life has, indeed, been good.

Of course not long after these adventures some more complicated goings on at home and at work had my nostalgia mode kick into “overly emotional gear”. Suddenly I found myself wondering when and why everything got so complicated. Sure, there’s the house and the kid and economy and all that crap, but why can’t I be as “care free” as I was half a decade or so ago? Is it just me, or is everybody feeling this way?

After listening to all sort of pseudo-retro songs to quell – or maybe stoke – the fires of over-sentimentality, the ship has slowly been righted. A solo night out at a bar one evening served as an incredible head-clearing episode – kind of like a real kick in the perspective pants. So even as more questions about the future have started popping up I am handling them with a tad more levelheadedness… well, at least after a modicum of freakoutedness. And so as a reward for those of you who made it through yet another rambling post with little to no point, here is “Round & Round” by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. One of my favorite tracks of recent years which so perfectly portrays nostalgia:

“Round & Round” by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti

I was listening to this a lot a few weeks ago. The chorus has to be one of the greatest I’ve ever heard. Hmm, maybe I should include more music in my posts…

Early in the morning… evening… late… whatever

When I woke up and realized it was only 6:30 despite feeling more like 8:30, this title made more sense. Since there was no exhaustive haze keeping me in bed I ambled downstairs for some tunes and a chance to see if this blog still existed… it does! After spending half an hour determining the appropriate soundtrack, it’s finally time to settle down and tap away at the keyboard…

You may or may not have noticed a bit of “radio silence” over the past month or so. Beyond the usual “I’m going to post everyday” mentality that falls apart after 3 days and results in 3 weeks of not writing, nothing was really showing up on my Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr feeds. And now it’s also forced this post back into draft for another day or so. Rather then writing from the comforts of my office/Kayleigh’s play room, I’m at a bar in Hoboken typing on my phone. That’s one way to gain some new perspective on a topic.

Life since Disney has been a bit of a whirlwind. While that wind started out in a rather positive direction, by the end of March I was reaching all sorts of breaking points. One day I’m ecstatic about catching up with old friends and feeling nostalgic in a healthy way; the next I’m looking at job listings and wondering just how much money would be lost selling our house right now. The last month has been a roller coaster of emotions fueled by miscommunication and extremely late nights – at least one of which also having involved way too many martinis.

But somehow life creeps out of these funks. For the second time since our return, I find myself hanging out with a dear old friend from my capricious youth. These encounters no longer trigger sighs indicative of lost freedom, but excitement at seeing progress down that hideous road of adulthood. As ridiculous as it might seem, rehashing the good ol’ days has found its way into the maturation process and I’ve grown rather comfortable as I reach the midpoint of my 30s.

Holy crap, this post was supposed to just be about recent craziness, not some introspective bullsh… you know what. Let’s just blame it on the Magic Hat #9, which is rarely involved with my early morning writing. Rarely….

Anyway, I am, sadly, not here to guarantee daily, frequent or even regular posting. A morning and an evening that have helped to clear my head in very different manners simply serve, in this instance, as yet another kick in the pants to stop complaining about the complexity of life and just deal with it. That’s the kind of philosophical musings normally only available via cereal boxes and Bazooka Joe comics, now offered free of charge on this blog. Just imagine what tomorrow, and the potential of a slight hangover, may bring…

… Apparently nothing, since another week has past without me pressing the publish button. Time to stop adding more nonsense and move on to the next post.

Wherein a small child invades NYC

Yesterday I began my extended holiday early by heading into New York City for The Moppet’s first trip into the big, bad city. After a sprint to catch the train, it started like this:

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And ended like this:

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And in between there was stuff like this:

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Overall it was more of a proof of concept than a true holiday excursion. There was no real planning beyond, “Let’s go to the city and see the big tree.” Which was somewhat silly to do so close to Christmas, but miraculously worked out.

We started with a lovely lunch at Le Pain Quotidien (which means The Quotidien Bread – thank you 4 years of high school French!) as The Woman used to frequent there for their decadent hot chocolate. After which we made our way over to one of the most famous toy stores… only 3 days before Christmas. Brilliant, I know. Surprisingly, once past the main entrance and all of the mammoth stuffed animals, the store was “relatively quiet.” Very busy, but certainly not the hectic nightmare of consumerism I had expected.

Once the nonstop parade of toys she can’t play with began to overwhelm Kayleigh, we packed up and headed to see “a really big tree.” Yes, that was enough to convince her that there was more to see outside. Thanks to a little help from Facebook we were able to meet up with a friend in the area who was even kind enough to take a picture of us in front of said tree. Maybe someday I’ll get around to posting it. In the meantime, just picture three people in front of a really huge tree. That’s close enough.

And that was also enough for us. Come spring time I’d like to really walk around with The Moppet and introduce her to the joys of CD shopping in The Village and fighting tourists in Times Square, but 4 hours was enough stress for now. Especially with the regular addition and subtraction of many layers that sort of, but not quite, kept us at decent temperatures. Still, she was quite the trooper throughout the tramping around such a strange environment and was even kind enough to fall asleep in her stroller for the walk back to Penn Station.

Fortunately she woke up in time for her favorite part – staring out the window of a moving train.

10 things from my really boring life

The topic of Livejournal has popped up a couple times on the social network du jour. More specifically the topic of “Does anyone still use Livejournal?” has popped up. Of course I was never much into the service to begin with. Aside from the occasional annoying meme or “anyone free?” post, my account was merely to view all the juicy details of my friends’ sordid lives. Not surprisingly it’s pretty useless these days…

Recently it came to my attention that the private feeds I used to keep track of you all had stopped working – largely because I accidentally deleted them. Not only did it take me months to realize, but once I logged back in there was almost nothing to read. No offense to those of you still writing there, but maybe 2 or 3 people had written anything in the last 6 months with most accounts blank for the year.

So it’s time for me to cut ties with that sinking ship. The only posts that really mattered were imported years ago, but I did notice one labelled “10 things from my really boring life” that seemed to fit the typically boring content over here:

  1. Helped an old lady cross a street in NYC.
  2. Stabbed a good friend…
  3. Gotten so drunk my dad had to drive from train station to train station before he found me wandering around a deserted parking lot at the end of the line.
  4. Built a large window-sized structure completely out of Snapple bottles.
  5. Skied through clouds.
  6. Had my car totaled by a police officer.
  7. Been hit by a lawyer when I almost did something stupid in court.
  8. Built a dorm room that became a regular stop on campus tours.
  9. Got a guitar string from a famous musician (Roger Miller) and helped someone get one from another (Chris Cornell).
  10. Sued Apple… oh wait, that was a different Thomas Slattery… How about almost been killed at a concert?

Fascinating life I led, eh? Not that there’s much to add over 5 years later…

She’s warming up to me

As has been pointed out many times in the past, Kayleigh is a mama’s girl. It’s kind of hard to compete with all of the time she spends with The Woman, so I figured it was best to just give up and hope for a boy next time around.

Kidding! I’m only kidding. You know he’d be a mama’s boy anyway…

Lately The Moppet has seemingly taken more of a shine to her old man. Beyond merely accepting me as a substitute for when the preferred personnel is unavailable, she actually appears to desire my company on occasion. First it began with some late mornings. Sleeping in past 8:30 left me with no option but to head off without a hug or kiss or even a demand that I leave the room and get Mommy. Much to my surprise, once awake she asked where I was and wasn’t I joining in all of the festivities.

And here I thought she didn’t even know I existed.

Today the expansion of my role continued, thanks to a half day at work so The Woman could flex her bread winning ways. Who would have guessed that the girl who popularized the phrase “No, mommy will do it” would express joy that I came home early. She even let me hold her after her failed nap, despite The Woman being readily available.

Just to emphasize how buddy-buddy she was acting, the night concluded with a father/daughter dinner at Whole Food listening to a jazz duo. Sure, she was totally bonkers from the lack of a nap, but I had a blast chasing her around the store and dancing with her in front of the crowd. They were clearly jealous of our moves. I’m hoping this becomes our “thing” – a way for us to bond while simultaneously combating the overexposure to Billy Joel courtesy of her mother. Sooner or later she’s got to pick up something more from me then screaming “holy cow” at the TV whenever certain sporting events are on.

Pretty much amazing

I feel bad that the only words I’ve written about Kayleigh over the last couple of months revolve largely around her deciding to have a major meltdown upon entering the “terrible twos”. The reality is that our little girl has been blossoming into a a truly wonderful person to be around… most of the time. She just has a habit of showing off her worst side just before I get a chance to write about how much I love her. 20 minutes of uncontrollable screaming somehow manages to nearly wipeout an entire day of joy.

Kayleigh

We’re talking blood curdling screams because we forgot to let her grab the diaper out of the bag before changing her. Or dropping to the floor and sobbing when we don’t let her press the buttons on microwave while rushing to get food prepared. Sometimes she can be such a… you know… baby.

Kayleigh

But it really isn’t fair to the girl she has become to harp on those moments. It’s easy for kids to get pigeonholed for certain bad behaviors they develop. We still often think of Kayleigh as a bad sleeper even though I can count on one hand the number of times she hasn’t slept rather soundly through the night (or at least put herself right back to sleep) the last few months. And yet the habit of tiptoeing through the house and jumping at every rustling sound on the monitor is hard to break.

Kayleigh

Just as our little mop topped moppet regularly beds down at a regular time with significantly less fuss than, say, 6 months ago, she has also grown as a person. With each passing day I can see in her a desire to connect with people – to connect with me. Leaving the room for too long provokes calls of “Daddy, Daddy” as she comes up with some little endeavor to demonstrate, just because she wants the company. She takes us on adventures throughout our house, acting out cartoons from the previous day while re-purposing various rooms to represent imaginary locales. Her little chair with the fuzzy cover has become an easel to accommodate her interest in “painting” with a basting brush. If we are so inclined to join her, a chopstick may be offered for our artistic contributions.

Kayleigh

After months of being pushed away in defense of her personal space, the walls have been crumbling as she begins to reach out more and more for contact with people beyond Mommy. And while she remains a timid child (still requesting our support for navigating even the smallest of slides) a rambunctious side has broken through in the form of jumping on Daddy with great delight.

I haven’t done a good job of chronicling the changes this remarkable little scutch has gone through over the past year or so. Trust me when I say that it’s pretty much amazing.