Category Archives: L-I-V-I-N’

The Return of The King

Take this as you will…

Enter…The New Guy

the-new-guy-500x330

You didn’t expect me to post an actual picture of him, did you?

This post should have come much sooner than this, but as anyone who has had a child knows, life tends to get in the way sometimes; that and I wanted this post to be just right.

The New Guy – my second child and me & The Auteur’s first together – was born at 8:06 AM on Friday July 3, 2015 via Cesarean section.  As of this writing, he and The Auteur are doing great.

To put my feelings into words right now seems like an impossible task.  I cannot possibly do justice to all that I am thinking and feeling at this moment.  But I will do my best…

I feel incredibly blessed.  Blessed to have this beautiful, healthy child and blessed to be having this child with The Auteur.  She’s such a remarkable person that falling in love with her was the easy part.  The fact that she and I met at all is almost a miracle unto itself.  That she fell in love with me and was wiling to have a child with me almost defies logic.

In all seriousness, I feel that The New Guy, as with all things pertaining to mine and The Auteur’s relationship is a gift.  One that I  do not – and will not – ever take for granted.

My God, he is beautiful.  The Auteur and I made a beautiful baby together, if I may say so!

Thanks to modern technology, the Auteur and I anticipated approximately how big he was going to be (which, after hearing the sizes of other newborns at our hospital no longer seemed all that out-of-the-ordinary.)  He wasn’t overweight, mind you; he was proportionately big all over, long and tall…for a newborn.  As a result of his size, he came out with a lot of bruising.  The doctors said it was because he was cramped inside the womb.  It was funny, because shortly after he was born, one of the nurses looked at me and said “Congratulations, you guys just gave birth to a two-month old!”

Even on the day he was born, I could tell that he has a very mellow disposition.  Don’t get me wrong, he can belt out a great cry with the best of them, but he seems to take everything in stride.

Being a father is different the second time around.  Not better, not worse, just different.  I feel better prepared this time.  I feel like with The Kid, I was able to enjoy every sensation of his birth and those first few days of his life; however with The New Guy, I was able to enjoy every moment with a different sense of perspective.  I feel like I was able to enjoy different nuances of every moment that I couldn’t even process when The Kid was born 8 years ago.  It is a feeling that is very difficult to articulate.  I suppose it’s like bring in The Matrix:  no one can tell you what it feels like to become a parent, once has to experience it for themselves.    To that end, no one can tell you what it feels like to become a parent once again.  That too, one has to experience for themselves.

This adventure is just starting.  No doubt I will be telling of it more in the days, weeks and months ahead, but one last thought I’d like to leave with:

Just as it was with The Kid, there really are no instruction books on having children.  The moment when we were leaving the hospital to take The New Guy home was surreal.  Sure we had his room, his swing and his bottles all ready for him, but that moment of leaving the hospital and coming home for the first time  with The New Guy in tow – I assume is not unlike the first step one takes when they are skydiving.  We really are out here – in the world – on our own. These little ones don’t come with instruction books.

Not that I didn’t already know that…

 

it’s March…and there’s Madness

my bracket

my bracket

A confession: I’m not really much of a college basketball fan, but I absolutely LOVE March Madness, or the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as it’s more formally known. I love how any division I school has a shot at making “the big dance” if they just win enough games.

I love the Cinderella stories. Give me North Florida, Dayton, Belmont or Hampton. I love the fact that some “Cinderella stories” return year after year until they are acknowledged by the pundits as powerhouse programs like Gonzaga or Butler, or even Villanova was once upon a time.

Even for the experts, who analyze this stuff for a living, the tournament is a crap-shoot. It is a one-game elimination tournament. College basketball only plays two halves, so things can change as quickly as lightning strikes.

And of course, March Madness is the last major sporting even of the winter; and then baseball begins. But I digress…

The last few years I’ve printed off a tournament bracket and tried to pick the winners before the tournament begins. Like millions of others, I usually throw my hands in the air during the first day of the second round, as my bracket lies in ruins.

This year, I decided to actually keep track of my bracket. I didn’t sign up with any online contests like ESPN, or CNN’s; nor did I even follow the “First Four” opening round, focusing instead on the traditional start of the tournament with the pool of 64 teams. Here’s my results so far;

2nd round: 23/32/ 72% Pretty impressive, I think considering I don’t even follow the game much.
3rd round: 9/16. 56%  At this point, I’m still ahead of President Obama’s bracket.
4th round 5/8. 62% Woah!

 

UPDATE 3.29.15:  5th round 2/4.   50%.  One side of my bracket is now completely shot.  On the other hand, I did successfully predict the elite 8 and final four teams from the regions.  Maybe I’ll even try one of those online challenges next year.

ringing in the new…

We're just not there yet...

Sadly, we’re just not THERE yet…

Wednesday night was New Year’s Eve and for some reason, I was in no mood to party whatsoever.  I wasn’t angry or anything; I was just a little tired and didn’t feel like I was going to miss anything by not celebrating. I’m sure this feeling in part was due to the fact that The Auteur has been sick off and on over the last several days.  As it turns out,  1B had some friends over for the night, so The Auteur and I still ended up ringing in 2015 with the kids after all.

Those feelings serve to me as one of those reminders that I really am getting old.  Not in any negative sense, mind you; it’s just that partying doesn’t seem as important to me as it once did.  Of course, given the fact that The Auteur and I are having a baby, it’s not like she could have gotten festive – i.e. drunk – even if she really wanted to.  Partying just really wasn’t that important to me this year.  I was much more content just spending a quiet night with The Auteur.

Perhaps that’s not a sign of getting old as much as it is a sign of maturing.

catching up as 2014 winds down

New Year's Eve from the center of the universe, Times Square

New Year’s Eve from the center of the universe, Times Square

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything.  My life has changed considerably in the last six weeks or so since I last graced this blog.  Things have been happening that, quite frankly, I’ve been reluctant to go public with.  I have a few posts – namely here, here and here that I will one day soon go public with.

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and I wish you all nothing but the very best in 2015.  My New Year’s Resolution for this blog is to write much more frequently…

Sturm und drang

next to this pic in the dictionary, it says "see Rob last week"

next to this pic in the dictionary, it says “see Rob last week”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

– Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities

It’s times like this last week for which expressions like “an emotional roller coaster” were invented.

Sunday morning, after two weeks of wonder what was going on with her physically, I found out that The Auteur is pregnant.

I am going to be a father again!

She took a home pregnancy test last Sunday morning.  The results came up quickly, so much so in fact that when I heard her say “wow, that was quick!”  I immediately knew the results.  It was two more days before we got her in to a doctor to get some blood work done. The day after that (Wednesday)  she had her first ultra-sound.  As of this writing, our baby is about the size of a grain of rice.

Initially, The Auteur was convinced it was a boy, now she doesn’t seem so sure.  We’ve both said that we would like to have one of each together – so that we as a couple can have the whole parenting experience together.  sure we The Kid and 1B, but we want to have our own children as a couple as well.

When she took the test last Sunday, we were both elated.  the next 48 hours or so that followed, there were some questions and concerns for both of us.  I know I personally felt a sense of relief when the Auteur went to have some blood work done; and even more so after her ultrasound.  We’ve had some questions as to whether or not we would even be able to have children – which of course have now been answered in the best way possible. It’s relief.  It’s excitement.  it’s vindication.  It’s the future.  It’s all of these things…and so much more.

We’ve been talking a lot about the future lately:  getting married, having kids, possibly moving out of state a little further down the road.  We’ve had some questions as to when we should do what:  get married first?  try to start a family first?  We’re not getting any younger and we both want both our blended family and a family of our own.  I remember saying once to her that we almost need something to happen in order to tell us what order to proceed in.  Whatever way one slices it, this is tremendous news.  At this moment in my life, i can imagine no greater honors than having a child with The Auteur and being marrying her.  We’ve obviously been working on one.  Now it’s time to get serious about the other.

And on the flip side…

Tuesday morning, my father The Old Man – went to the hospital.  He’s had a bad back for years and has been laid up in bed quite a bit over the last several weeks.  He goes in Tuesday and we were told that he had 3 cracked vertebrae and a spot on one of his lungs.  As of this writing, they still don’t know if it’s cancer despite several tests.  we’re hoping to know more later in the week.

Right now, I just hope he’s home for Thanksgiving.

The thing is, his mother (my grandmother) went through something almost identical when she died.  The doctors found that she had lung cancer and it had spread to her bones.  Keep in mind, The Old Man has smoked since before I was born and he’s never been able to quit.  Frankly, I’ve been waiting for news like this since I was old enough to establish a connection between smoking, lung cancer and my dad. Still, you’re never ready for a bombshell like this.

I haven’t told him about the baby yet.  I wanted to wait until he was out of the hospital.  Now I may tell him on Thanksgiving, regardless.  The Auteur and I have talked a little bit about what we should do if he does have “The big C”.  Should we get married sooner than planned?  These are the kinds of things this type of news gets you thinking about.

I keep going back the early conversations we had when I first moved back to Michigan; about him wanting to see me have a plan to put my life back together; about him wanting to know that I at least had a plan.  Right now, I just want him to see me happy.  I want him to see that not only am I going to be okay, but that I’m going to succeed and prosper.

Once again, I have so much to be thankful for this year.

a new steed

my new steed.

my new steed.

Last Friday, I picked up my new-to-me-car.  It’s a 2004 Ford Taurus; perhaps not my first choice (and definitely not my lasr choice either) but beggars cannot be choosers.  Besides, I’ve never really been much of a car guy.  The most important thing s that I have a car again.

Sometimes you forget just how essential an automobile has become in our society.  It’s more than just a status symbol.  In the world we live in today, it is almost essential.  Having gone nearly two years without owning a car, this is a fact that has not escaped me.  Owning a car again is going to make a lot easier for The Auteur, 1B and myself:  We’ll be able to work differing schedules, we can take 1B to and from school and other extracurricular activities.  We’ll be able to split everyday errands between us.  The list goes on and on…

I’m so grateful to my parents, without whom getting this car simply would not have been possible.  The car has a few miles on it, but it is in remarkably good shape.  I see myself keeping better care of this car that I have for any other vehicle I have ever owned.  I feel like I simply am not going to take this car for granted.  Like my teaching certificate, it’s an essential that I needed to achieve the goals I have set out for myself in this life.

In other news, The Kid started second grade on Tuesday.  So far, he seems to enjoy it.  I need to get in touch with his teacher so that we can communicate throughout the school year.  He also took up karate a few weeks ago.  He hasn’t said much about it but seems to be enjoying it too.

ghosts

Sure, Slimer is kind of gross, but at least he's good-hearted.

Sure, Slimer is kind of gross, but at least he’s good-hearted.

We all have a few ghosts from our past that haunt us, or haunt our loved ones.  Today I ran head-first into one of mine.

Since I’ve known The Auteur, I knew that my ex-brother-in-law, The Yooper, was working in the town where she – and now WE – live.  Today, I substitute taught in his school.  With this being a ridiculously small town we live in, it was inevitable I would cross paths with him had I ever been in his school.  And I did today.

As I made my way up to my classroom for the day, I had to walk right past his.  He was standing outside his door at the start if the day, as teachers do now-a-days.  As I got within 5 feet if him, he immediately put his head down.   Now, I don’t know if he would even have recognized me had we made eye contact.  After all, it’s been at least 8 years since I’ve even seen him, but it seemed too coincidental.  Later in the day, we crossed paths again as he was taking his kids to lunch; just as I was bringing mine back from same.  Again, as we got within a few feet of each other, he put his head down and struck up a conversation with one of his students.  This behavior from The Yooper really doesn’t surprise me.  Phred told me that when they divorced and had their day in court, he couldn’t look at her either; as well he probably shouldn’t with the way their divorce went down.  There’s a big part of me that wants to just crush the guy like a bug; but truth be told, he’s more deserving of my ridicule than he is my anger.  He’s a joke. And the fact that he looked away as soon as he saw only serves to remind me how pathetic he truly is.

But we all have people like The Yooper in our lives.  Pieces of the past that, while they may be out of our lives – they still live and breathe and walk the same Earth as us.  Friends who have turned into foes, childhood rivals, exes.  Ghosts.

Frankly, I don’t know how most divorcees do it.  Most of the time, I feel luck that I live about 800 miles away from Jabba.  I don’t want to live anywhere near her.  I don’t want to ever face the possibility of running into her at any given moment.  It’s not that I can’t handle seeing her; rather I’d like to keep those encounter to an absolute minimum and prepare myself for them well in advance.  It’s weird enough running into and trying to talk to our common Michigan friends.

There’s a bit from the old TV show “Growing Pains” that sticks with me to this day:  In ope episode, Kirk Cameron’s character Mike Seaver fakes being sick so he can stay home from school.  He sits down to watch a rerun of “Gilligan’s Island”.  He briefly leaves the room only to realize that the show continued even though he left the room.  Mind you, this was before the days of DVR and on-demand programming.  He quickly turns the TV off and on again, to realize that the show continues.  He later tells his Dad of this incident and comes to the realization that even though he stayed home from school, the world went on without him.

Running into the Yooper wasn’t some senses-shattering epiphany or anything like that but it definitely serves to remind me that our ghosts continue to walk the Earth and live their respective lives.

loose ends

LooseEnds610

before…

Something that I’ve learned over the last few years (and has been reinforced in me even more so recently) is there is no such thing as a routine divorce.

No divorce that I know of goes “by the book” or “by the numbers”.  I can’t help but think of some of my friends and loved ones who have been divorced and none of them are routine.  Everybody, it seems, has a few loose ends left that need to be tied off.  Sometimes these things take years to accomplish.  When you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  Marriages are supposed to be life-long commitments.  Part of the process in marriage is making two separate lives into one. It takes years to do; and likewise takes years to undo.

knot22

…and after?

What brings me to this train of thought today is the news that Jabba and The Kid are moving.  It’s only across town from where they live now but they are moving out of the house that we lived in while the Hutt and I were married.  It’s bittersweet to say the least.  I feel for The Kid, since this is really the only house he has ever known.  Most of all, I’m glad.  I’m not happy for Jabba – I could care less for her – but I’m glad that now Jabba, The Kid and I have all now officially moved on – at least in that one sense.  That house, and that one part of our three respective lives is over.

and the Oscar goes to…

It’s Oscar time and time for a new tradition here at your favorite blog.  Today, I and my lovely lady-friend and esteemed colleague, The Auteur, will be making our Oscar picks for tonight’s show.  We will each be posting what we think should win and what we think the Academy will pick as the winner.  Keep in mind, neither of us has seen every single movie on this list, but The Auteur has come pretty damn close.  And now, a word from the Auteur…

Many times in years past I have seen the nominations for the Academy Awards and wondered, what are they thinking? This is the first year in awhile I feel they have gotten it right. I thoroughly enjoyed the nominated films in the best picture category. I also think the performances this year were outstanding. It must have been hard to narrow some of this years performances to just five in the acting categories. It is tough for me to choose just one, but I have. Here are my thoughts:

Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

R: should  & what will win:  The Wolf of Wall Street.  Given what I have seen and what I’ve heard about the others, this is the Best Picture of the Year.

A: Want:The Wolf of Wall Street
Will: 12 Years A Slave

Best Directing
American Hustle (David O. Russell)
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)

R:  I’d like to see David O. Russel win this, but I can’t help but think that Alfonso Cuarón and/or Gravity will have to win for something other than a technical award.

A:  Want: David O’Russell
Will: Steve McQueen

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

 

R:  Who will probably win:  Bruce Dern.  I think the academy will probably give this to him as a de facto lifetime achievement award.  not the most Oscar-worthy work of the year, but that’s the way these awards go sometimes.

 Who should win:  Christian Bale – he is nearly unrecognizable in AH, though i wouldn’t mind seeing the Academy grow up and finally give DiCaprio a statue.

The Auteur: 
Want:Leonardo DiCaprio
Will:Matthew McConaughey

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

R:  Amy Adams:  AH is the only movie I’ve seen, but I think the Academy will give it to Dame Judi.

A: Want:Amy Adams
Will: Amy Adams
 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

R:  Jared Leto in a walk;  but I’d really like to see Barkhad Abdi win too.

A: Want: Barkhad Abdi  
Will: Jared Leto

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)

R:  I’d really like to see June Squibb win this, but the Academy may go with J-Law, just because she’s Hollywood’s current It Girl.

A: Want: June Squibb
Will: Jennifer Lawrence

Best Original Screenplay
American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell)
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)
Her (Spike Jonze)
Nebraska (Bob Nelson)

R: Want: Her – but it’s almost too damn clever to win, unfortunately.
Will: American Hustle

A:Want: Her 
Will: American Hustle

Best Adapted Screenplay
Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke)
Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)
Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)
12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)

R: Want: The Wolf of Wall Street
Will: 12 Years A Slave, though I think Wolf.. may run the table tonight.

A: Want:The Wolf of Wall Street
Will: 12 Years A Slave

 

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