Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Gale Force Salsa

The little garden in our back yard yielded a fair number of small tomatoes and some peppers. I reaped our bounty and made four batches of salsa. Each batch got progressively hotter. The bowl of salsa that is now in the fridge hurts when you eat it. For me, it takes two small bites and the resulting endorphins begin to ooze out my ears.

Last night, before Allie's tumbling class, I ate some of the salsa. There's nothing better than fresh salsa straight from the garden. It tasted great. Unfortunately, the burn provoked a sneezing fit. The sneezing forced the salsa through my nose. I could do nothing to stop the flow of hot lava out of my nostrils. I ran for the tissues but it was too late. I launched two streams of snot and salsa that made perfect circles on our kitchen linoleum. Not only was I in pain, but my shirt, my pants, my hands, my countertops were all in need of serious attention from a haz-mat crew.

Finally the sneezing stopped and I managed to get myself (and the majority of the hot zone) cleaned up before I packed the girls up for tumbling. As we got ready to go I put away a container of trail mix from which Allie had been snacking. I grabbed a handful of nuts, raisins and sunflower seeds before I sealed the bowl. That's when the sneezing started again.

This time small chunks of wet, partially ground-up nuts, raisins and sunflower seeds were sprayed all over the downstairs bathroom. The toilet seat looked like an aerial photo of a craggy, polar landscape.

You're asking yourself, "Why don't you just cover your nose and mouth?"

That's a fair question. I do cover my mouth and nose with my hand and try to catch most of what comes out. The thing is, these sneezing fits are very violent, grand mal seizure, "How did I wind up in my neighbor's garage" kind of stuff. This means I sometimes forget to protect my surroundings from the spray.

I'm just reporting that everything is okay. The house has been properly wiped down. I didn't even ruin my shirt. But I am throwing out the rest of the salsa this evening just in case.

One last thing. It's an observation I made during this evening's activities:

You look at your children and behind their eyes you see the wisdom of the ages. It's staggering how much of the time you spend in absolute awe of the vast potential you know your child holds within.

Then she shits in the bathtub and you realize all bets are off.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Get over it. . .

Last night, at dinner, Allie mentioned that a girl at daycare said something about me.

"Here comes somebody ugly," is what Allie told me the little girl said.

Then Allie described how the little girl went on and on about how somebody ugly had arrived to take Allie home.

Initially, Allie's report from daycare hurt my feelings. I didn't say anything, though. I just kept eating my spaghetti contemplating how to react. I was mainly concerned about how this might taint my daughter's perception of me. After all, nobody wants an ugly daddy. Gleaming teeth, a strong chin and a build that looks appropriate in superhero tights; that's what four-year-olds are looking for when they shop for a daddy.

I've been told I have nice teeth. . .

Anyway, my thoughts turned to the little girl who wants the world (or at least my daughter) to know she thinks I'm ugly. What's a 38-year-old man supposed to do when a five-year-old wounds his ego?

Nothing. That's what.

So this evening when I arrive to pick up my kids I have to suck it up. I'll forget my plan to buy gifts for everyone at the daycare except for the little girl who thinks I'm ugly. I'll put aside thoughts of letting the air out of her bicycle tires or hiding one of her Barbies or something equally passive aggressive and inappropriate.

I am amazed, though, that those thoughts entered my head for a short while. It may have something to do with the fact that this is just another in a series of recent events that have made me feel inadequate, ineffectual, unattractive and just bad in general. However, before this turns into an invitation to a pity party I will say this: I bet I can type faster than the little girl who thinks I'm ugly.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Ahhh. . .

Back in the basement.

It's warm down here and this chair Debbie commandeered from her old office seven years ago isn't the most comfortable, but it feels like home.

Yesterday we said goodbye to Glenn and Judy after commandeering them for two whole weeks. As much as we know they love their grandchildren and us they were ready to get the hell out of here. Two weeks is a long time to be away from home regardless of your temporary surroundings. That's why Deb and I are so grateful they're always willing to help us out during this very busy time in our lives.

Yesterday a guy I know flipped the President of the United States the bird. We were standing outside watching him (George W.) fly by in his tour bus. The President stood in the doorway of the bus with a microphone and shouted at us, "Thanks for saying, 'Hi'!" The guy who flipped him off was certain the President was speaking directly to him.

This incident led to a somewhat disjointed but interesting political discussion that forced me to define the reasons I plan to vote for John Kerry this November.

I always stop reading other people's blogs when the topic switches to politics. I feel guilty when I do this. After all, another person's opinions can be incredibly helpful when you're trying to refine your own. But I'd much rather read about Lilek's trips to Target for My Little Pony gear than his explanation of why the North Koreans would love Kerry to win the election.

That's why I'm not going to tell you why you should vote for John Kerry. I'm just going to ask you to vote. And when you do, vote for Kerry/Edwards.

Last night Pig puked right in the center of our comforter. This is the second time in two weeks the cat has decided to barf in our bed. It may have something to do with Judy feeding leftovers to our cat. But without conclusive proof we won't be pointing any fingers. After all, if you've read this blog for any length of time you know that if our cat isn't sleeping, eating or shitting then it's vomiting.

The changing of our sheets was an invitation for the girls to frolic on our bed. I watched Allie jump up and down on our mattress and it became very clear that we need a new mattress. I think I'll try to prod Debbie into a trip to our local Sealy Posterpedic dealer today.

Allie just got out of bed and is standing next to me telling me about a scratch she got on her thigh that kept her awake. She also has a mosquito bite that is causing her some discomfort. "I can't walk because I've been sleeping and my bones are too tired," she tells me. "I need to have Mommy put something on my bite. You keep writing and I'll be back down."


Friday, September 17, 2004

Post Apocalyptic Ennui

Hello from the 13th floor.

I've dispensed with the bitching about not being able to get out of here. Not that I've done all that much moaning. After all, I've seen the news and the footage of the devastation on the Alabama coast. I should be walking around with at least a smooth forehead and an easy grin. But, just like you, I've got things that need to get done and I feel like I'm not able to take care of things from here.

Yesterday we got out of the hotel and walked down Bourbon Street. I think it was the first time I've had a good look at it during the day. I'm usually on the street at night when the dark, the neon and the crowds of people make the street look a little more glamorous. Yesterday, the bright sun exposed a lot of decay. The plywood covering the windows didn't help matters much either.

This morning I'll pack my bag and lay out my traveling clothes. That will help me feel as if I'm getting something accomplished, at least for the 15 minutes it takes me to get that done.

Last night I tried to get drunk at the bar. After four drinks I knew those little magnetic pouring devices they have on all the bottles here wouldn't allow me to get more than a sheet and a half to the wind without pushing my $60 bar tab to the $100 mark. I wasn't willing to work that hard for a buzz I knew I'd regret this morning. So we all gathered in one room and ordered Chinese take out and watched Survivor. Of course I was more interested in my eggroll than the show.

I miss you Debbie. I almost feel guilty about saying that here because it makes it sound as if I've been away for months. It's been a week. And I know there are soldiers who aren't sleeping at the Hilton who have been away from their families for more than a year. But comparing those situations to mine is ridiculous. And having those thoughts doesn't mean I can't remind you how much I'm looking forward to just being in the same room with you again.

I'm hoping my next post will be from the basement.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


11:34 p.m. and the building is groaning.

It doesn't seem to be any more windy than it was before. However it's eerily quiet here in my room. I'm sure the groaning has been happening since I've been here, I just didn't notice it.

I feel like I'm on the freakin' Bounty. Creeeeaaaak. I can't believe I didn't notice it before. Maybe it wasn't around before and the winds really are much stronger. It doesn't matter. I'm sure the hotel isn't going to collapse.

We're all very tired of being here. Unfortunately the only flight we could get is scheduled for Saturday. Reminding ourselves that it's Wednesday is like catching a knuckle on a cheese grater.

I'm thirsty. I'll go get a bucket of ice and then go to sleep and dream about work. I'll dream about how much I love what I do for a living.

Sam Adams: $4.00 - Pina Colada: $7.50 - Ivan: Priceless

Ivan is starting to feel like a non-event for us. We're here locked in our hotel waiting for something to happen.

Television and the hotel bulletins they're slipping beneath our doors tell us that things will get bad around midnight to 3:00 a.m. What bad means I'm not sure. I do know it won't be anything like the storm Alabama is experiencing right now, as I type this at 6:36 p.m. central time.

They're keeping us inside. I thought it was for our safety but it's more an issue with maintaining a certain pressure within the building. However we did make our way out of the building via the loading dock. That's where they're telling people to take their pets to poop. We almost made it to the Riverwalk when the Harbor Police stopped us and made us go back to the dog run.

Right now people's central preoccupation is with food. Confinement, cable and stale conversation has made eating the only thing people can look forward to. The lines at the two buffets the hotel has provided are long. Our group is going to try to eat in about 20 minutes. Although between a huge buffet breakfast this morning, some chips and two beers I'm pretty much jake. But eating will kill some time so I'll be in line with the rest of the refugees.

Lots of kids, pets and old people wandering around this building right now. People standing in the lobbies smoking, watching other people stand around and smoke. Allie would point to them all and tell me they're disgusting. Considering the level of patience people have waiting for this storm to happen I'll tell you I'm glad Allie's not here with me. Although I'm sure she'd like the flashlights.

A few hours ago hotel staff handed out flashlights to everyone in the building. Unfortunately I wasn't in my room when they came to my door. That means I missed out on a free flashlight. If you think I'm joking when I tell you that I am genuinely disappointed give Debbie a call. She will tell you that I'm probably doing whatever I can to get my hands on a free flashlight (they are cool, by the way; glow in the dark switches and everything).

Dwayne called to see if I was treading water. Basically he told me to be safe and hope that matters don't deteriorate to the point where the other three people in my party are forced to eat me to survive. Always good to hear a reassuring voice in a crisis. Which this isn't. Really. I mean, I suppose anytime you're not able to be where you want to be and do what you want to do you could call it a crisis. But in this case you wouldn't.

I might change my tune at midnight. But for now I'm just thinking about what's on the buffet line.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Ivan to go Home

Here I am in New Orleans waiting for Ivan to show. Right now I'm looking out the window at blue skies and puffy clouds. I know full well the weather will drastically change by tomorrow morning. Otherwise I'd be able to get a flight or a rental car or something out of Louisiana.

They closed down my show and now I'm here in my hotel room waiting.

I'm bored.

It's my birthday.

I'm celebrating my birthday with Ivan. I spoke with Allie and she said that she hopes that I'll be safe from the hurricane. I reassured her. I'm not worried about the hurricane. I'm just tired of being away from home. You see, Ivan didn't make me a birthday card. Allie and her Grandma did.

Not that I'd be home for my birthday even if a hurricane hadn't closed down the city. But because of this damn storm I don't know when I'll make it home and that has a significant impact on my outlook.

I'll write more later. See, I think I'll be spending a great deal of time sitting one of the two full sized beds here in my room.

Monday, September 06, 2004

This evening Julia walked around with a hunk of tissues in her hand gently dabbing at her nose. It looked as if she was doing a Truman Copote impression except for a hissing noise she'd make with her mouth trying to duplicate a proper nose blowing.

She finally settled down next to me to watch TV. As we watched, Julia would reach over and pat me on the head. It was sweet. After the fourth pat I reached up to touch her hand and return the pat.

That's when I noticed she was still holding the hunk of tissues.

That's when I noticed the huge globs of snot in my hair.

Apparently those hissing noises weren't coming from her mouth.

Looks like we can throw out the nasal aspirator.