Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Test product: the baby bucket

With a baby just eight weeks old, you start wondering to yourself: "It's only been eight weeks!" and "How can I make this little jelly roll fit into my chore schedule?" Quickly I harken back to the two previous nuggets now 10 and 4 and remember quite fondly how my left arm became stronger than my right, more tone and quite frankly cut. The right arm lingered a bit, stayed fit but had a different appearance. It was the "doer", the one that somehow made the coffee, emptied the trash, typed on the keyboard one finger and one letter at a time and ultimately the one that got all the glory. In the world of appendages it was top dog, while left arm was the behind-the-scenes workhorse that did the holding of said nuggets. When the right arm was called to action to hold a baby and it's wobbly head, it immediately felt awkward. The forearm was okay with the task, but his neighbor above had issues figuring out how to cradle the neck. Ultimately, the right arm gave up, claimed it had "work to do" and transferred the task to señor left arm.

All this time I never recognized the baby sack. You know the "backpack" that you wore on the front that either had baby facing outward like it was some sort of growth coming from your abdomen, or the reverse where the chiclet buried its fragile head into your body. I refused to use any of them for the first two guys and was firm in the notion that I would never use it for baby three.

We have two such napsacks: one being the bohemian-hippy-hipster (BHH) version where it looks like an eco-bag that wraps around your neck while the baby lays sideways against your tummy, and the other aforementioned bucket that allows her to face you. The BHH sack is better looking, seems to draw less attention, but folds the baby up into a pretzel-like form, which I wasn't sure was good for her. It's possible there is a twist or a tug we missed, but we moved to the more traditional pack.

While my wife parades around the house juggling pots, making the bed, folding clothes, talking on the phone quite easily with the pack mounted, I instantly concluded I couldn't pull it off. Part of it was my pre-conceived attitude that I refuse to give in to the yuppy pack, and the other was my inability to figure out how to easily get nugget into the "pockets" and openings. It looks uncomfortable to me. Is it? Baby can't answer of course and most of the time she just falls asleep so it must work... for a little while until she probably realizes that she's stuffed into a nylon bag.

After watching this for a few weeks, this morning I gave in to the baby bucket. I can't make lattés with one arm so I strapped the bag on and put her in. She gave a squeak and a groan here and there, but then silence and the sound of a squished, sleeping nose. My two arms were now free to make lattés, navigate the web (albeit standing up), open things easily, etc. I then took it a step beyond: sitting down to read a magazine, and go to the bathroom. Sitting down with a baby bucket is not in the manual, and the wife even said she's never attempted it, but I was wiling to take the chance. And so I went to the bathroom and baby contorted a bit more than normal but was still fast asleep. So to the hipster moms and wine-tasting dads out there, you can sit down with your baby mounted to your chest. Will I wear the bag in public? Baby steps my friend. Baby steps.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The weather outside...

It used to be that we would follow the weather through our local television channels, though in Southern California the weather never changes and the differentiation between today and tomorrow is a matter of a couple degrees and perhaps a threat of early morning cloud cover. We know it's going to be hot in Woodland Hills, windy in Porter Ranch, and mild in Pasadena. Guys like Fritz Coleman and Dallas Raines would keep us updated with Doppler, or Doppler 7000, or even Doppler Mega. In high definition and with computer graphics that seem like they should be better, it seems that we should be pinned to the television, but we aren't. Are we? The web and my iPhone provide everything I need and in what seems real time. The 7-day forecasts are usually wrong on television and when a threat of rain comes on to the radar, you know Raines and Coleman crack their knuckles and get to work early. And sure enough some correspondent will perch themselves on the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Van Nuys near the deepest part of a pothole, waiting, yearning, hoping that some sap will hit it just right so as to splash a 6-foot wave of run-off on to the sidewalk. Golden!

Since we are more concerned with traffic patterns and morning drive time, the weather is now insignificant to us. It's like how NBC posts "Kath and the Kim" (the worst show on television) in between "My Name is Earl" and "The Office"... It's just there and I will likely watch it just so I can get to "The Office". It's purely an example as I don't watch any of these shows, but you get the idea. And for all of you "Office" fans, the US version pales in comparison to the UK version. I digress.

So this brings me to why, all the sudden, the weather on my local channels now intrigue me. It's the women. Yep, plain and simple. I think the network people have concluded that the weather is insignificant to the people of Southern California too, and that they had to spruce it up. It's also the only position on the local news that involves movement, meaning that the talking head actually has to interact and move around the set (blue screen). The people who "report" the news sit or stand behind a table or desk, but the weather person is at one with the wind patterns and cloud movements and the happy face sun and sad drizzle graphics. They bend and swerve, look at you, look sideways, make endearing gestures, click the tiny remote in their hand and slide from one end of the map from Santa Clarita to Big Bear all the way over to Ventura and back again to Burbank. It's Nintendo Wii and it looks better when it's a hot little Asian girl or blonde-headed hottie doing the deed. I look forward to it now!

So what was the process for making such a move from "crusty old dude" to "hot young woman"? The aforementioned interactive aspect is certainly one thing and of course the fact that the weather is insignificant to us is the other. There's no debating these 2 concepts. The interview process must have been interesting too. I could picture a lineup of hotties mixed in with a few male weather dorks and the contemplation of the upper management when determining who would become the next weather person. Done deal: hot woman rules out over square, boring, crusty guy named Chip or Garth.

Is it sexist? Nope. See the pictures and the sweet video below. Who cares if it's 75 degrees and clear tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My snooze time is like a flight to Europe

Of late it seems that my life is about analogies like Christmas and sushi and now cross the pond flights and shut eye. My night life or sleep time can easily be compared to a flight to Europe from Los Angeles. The situation is the same in that the shut eye periods have the same cycles and the distractions are equally similar too. Like a flight to Europe, I tend to have fits or bouts or moments of sleep, then I am awakened. On the plane it's the flight attendant who plays my newborn baby. The people passing down the aisle could play my sick 4-year-old son, and the random noises such as intercom announcements or the noise of the clanging food and beverage cart could play the part of my annoying and oft loud refrigerator.

And so it goes, I am in the terminal bound for Italy or Germany or Switzerland. The bed time analogy is that of me getting in my PJ's, taking control of the remote and watching something, anything, perhaps House Hunters on HGTV. I am anxious, wondering if the security zone will be packed. Similarly I am curious whether Hope will sleep for 2 hours or 3 and will she be grunting in between. Soon I make it through security and through an hour of sleep by Hope. It seems that this flight/sleep will be smoothe... this time. Maybe. Soon I am on the plane and we are set for lift off. Likewise in bed I am on to the History Channel for the Battle of Stalingrad... My wife's favorite epic battle (not). Then it hits. The annoying German guy next to me begins grunting as does my refrigerator. Why must he snort so loud? Is it just a German thing? I am convinced it is! It has happened way too many times. Do they not believe in Kleenex? Didn't they invent tissue paper? They seem to lay claim to everything else. Onward. The fridge groans and shrieks. It's made in New Zealand and is supposed to be good. It is in fact, but look up Fisher Paykel refrigerators on the web and what's the biggest complaint? They're loud. So German guy and Kiwi fridge groan and snort off and on.

Next comes the beverage cart and in wanders my 4-year-old son who is coughing and snorting. Not like the German guy but more like a cute little 4-year-old. "It's 2 am lil' bro," I say. "I can't sleep," he says. "Vould you like somesing to zrink," Elsa says. "Arghh, groan, umphh" says me. Now the baby wakes up because she's either gassy or hungry or hungry and gassy or annoyed that the Battle of Sicily leveled such a beautiful place. Here comes Elsa again to hand out warm towels... well not really, but she's bugging me, us, everyone about something. You get the point. She's around again, and again, and again. Now it's 4 in the morning and I finish Sicily and the baby is zonked and Luke's back in his bed and Stefanie is in a coma. I pass out too, but in an instant it's 7:00 am and my flight touches down and the sun rises in the window and lil' bro creeps in and asks if he can have his lollipop from the night before. Seriously? I have become Ben Franklin to a certain extent. I have now conditioned myself as I have on the flights to Europe to sleep in weird positions, get very little shut eye and get used to the noises. And it seems to be working! Each night is a mystery, and it's kind of fun. Kinda. Maybe.