Thursday, December 28, 2006

Year End Observations of Parenthood

2006 marks the end of my first full year as a parent and boy what a ride it has been. Among the obvious changes that being a parent brings--namely the shifting of your primary function in life from a selfish thirty-something man to guardian of your child for the next 18 years along with infinitely more responsibility and copious amounts of used diapers-- there are more subtle changes that manifest themselves in your persona over time only to surface when you least expect them.

Here are a few that I've witnessed this year:

* While waiting in a doctor's office or other waiting area, you and your wife/girlfriend/partner or whatever know instinctively when to come over and relieve the other from watching your child. This parental instinct which somehow senses fatigue or distress surfaces at some time after the birth of your child. Are words used to communicate this? Nope. Its all second nature. You just know when it's time to go over and help out. On October 13th, I found out that I possess this intuitive power.

* I now have no problem carrying my wife's purse in public even if its around my shoulder in times when I need a free hand and she is otherwise occupied. Two years ago, this would have happened over my dead and rotting body.

* My son's favorite word is "BALL". I have learned over the last 6 weeks, the word ball can be used in 73 different contexts. After weeks of in depth dialogues with him, I now know 32 of them with the other 41 still presently unknown.

* Urinating used to be a thirty second break from everyday activities where I could relax and not be bothered. Now, I need to covertly plan when and how I leave the family room in order to do the old number one. Of course, the best laid this case, foiled by said 18 month old. Consequently, I've learned to hold my son back so that he doesn't break the pee stream with his hand thinking that it's a faucet.

* After 42 episodes of 21st century Sesame Street under my belt, I now appreciate its comedic value and eagerly await the next day's episode especially the segment where Cookie Monster devours the letter of the day. He's a real bad ass. On a related note, my wife sat through an entire episode of America's Funniest Home Videos and told me to hold all of her calls. Since when did staged skits showing grandpa doing a back flip off of the trampoline into a flowerbed become funny? This now constitutes cutting edge entertainment for my wife.

* Never in a million years would I have thought that my future 18 month old son would crave MUSTARD. He makes frequent trips to the fridge to scam a dollop of the stuff which he promptly licks off the tip of his finger as he strolls out of the kitchen.

Freaky stuff.

My week entails watching my son for 6 hours a day. In order to get things done around the house, careful manipulation of each situation is of the utmost importance so as to garner as much time as possible in completing the task before he realizes you're not paying attention to him and he searches you out, finds you and pulls you away from said task. Having experienced this dozens of times, I felt it about time for someone to create a unit of measure quantifying this time interval. I am that man. My new unit of measure for this is called a TLP. T for the latin word for TIME (TEMPUS), L for the latin word for LOCATION (LOCUS) and P for the latin word for FATHER (PATERNUS). For reference, one TLP is approximately 15 seconds. My son is good for 10 TLPs. Do the math. I've got a little over 2 minutes to complete any task.

2007 will no doubt be filled with more interesting discoveries.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Quick Story Before Christmas

It's true. We all know it. Our little corner of the everyday world is more complicated than ever before. My family is no different. Five years ago when all that mattered was my career and playing baseball, long before I had a family, I truthful thought that I could handle any situation or "psycho-social stressor"--as my psychologist father would say--that presented itself in the course of everyday life.

But let me tell you, the stresses that run congruent to both parents working full-time AND on opposite shifts while raising a family are far beyond what I thought my mind could comprehend just a short time ago.

Each day, my wife goes to work at 6AM, I wake up at 6:30, my son wakes up between 7 and 7:30, sometimes earlier. I watch him from the time he wakes up I have to go to work around 1:30PM when my mother-in-law comes over for a few hours covering that interim time from when I leave to when my wife gets home around 4PM. I come home around midnight. I fall asleep around 1AM and start the process over again the next day.

Seeing how I've never played babysitter for 30+ hours a week and worked 45 hours on top of that, the adjustment period is a difficult one and its still ongoing. There are times that I wish either my wife or myself could stay home while the other assumes the responsibility of bread winner. Where work and babysitting is concerned, this was the first time where I've actually had symptoms of anxiety although at the time, I thought I was coming down with something. Ultimately, I was getting burned out...real fast.

Each day while I drive the 38 miles to work, a somewhat effective way for me to unwind is to listen to sports talk radio. Much of the time, I only listen passively as it makes for great white noise drowning out the sound of passing trucks and other extraneous vibrations eminating from the undercarriage of my ten year old car.

As I was making the turn onto the interstate one day, a caller got my attention. While some people call in to hear themselves talk, this guy was different. He had a story to tell and it went something like this:

"My name is Mark. I just wanted to call in and say that your show really helps me get through the day. I have an 18-month old son who was born with a genetic defect. He's already had 5 surgeries and just yesterday, he had to be put on a feeding tube. Your show helps me get away for a few hours and for that I am thankful. Merry Christmas."

Needless to say, I was blown away. At that moment when the caller told the host "he had an 18 month old...he has a feeding tube", something in me clicked. While I finished that left turn onto the interstate going north, everything suddenly came into focus. What in hell do I have to complain about? Sure, each day of the week, my day is around 17 to 19 hours long with around 5 hours of sleep at the end. And sure, watching my 18 month old is the most fulfilling but yet the most draining experience EVER.

But I know this much. I have not had to utter the words "genetic defect" or "feeding tube" when speaking about my 18 month old son Nathan. My son was born with a cleft-lip but that was cosmetic. For all intends and purposes, it's like it never happened. His cleft-lip is in the past. Poof. Done. That caller's infant son will need 24 hour care for the rest of his life. I thought my day-to-day life was tough. It pales in comparison to what this caller has to go through each and every day.

The entire ride to work that day was a sobering one. The radio stayed off and I reflected on the intangibles of my life promising never to take anything for granted. Since then, when a day isn't going great, I think back to the to that caller named Mark and his infant son and I realize how great I have it.

As car rides to work go that afternoon early last week, it was the best one I have ever had.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Card is Complete!

If you know me and I communicate with you on a semi-regular basis then you will be getting the 11th annual Sabs Christmas Card very soon. Some of you might even win free stuff.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

11th Annual Christmas Card Update

Back by popular demand, the 11th annual homemade Christmas card is in the second stage of production and should be in the final stages sometime in the next 24 hours with a projected shipping date of December 14th or 15th.

(Note: The picture above IS NOT from my card)

If any production delays occur, an update will be posted.

Thank you for your cooperation!

The Evening with Sabs Staff

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Few Bookkeeping Items

Yes, I need to resize the picture at the top of the site. It came out waaaaaay too big. A more realistic sized picture will be substituted very soon.


A few people have commented on the new hit counter and its enormous number of digits. Either I am extremely optimistic that I will garner the hundreds of trillions of hits per second for the billions of years that would be needed to warrant the 32 digits or it just looks neat. The latter is probably the safe bet although a trillion hits per second would make me feel good.

I did the math.

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 hits is alot. But how much is "alot"?

If I got 10 million hits per second, it would take 31,688,764,615,412,794 years to accumulate. Assuming that the universe is 13.5 billion years old, it would take more than 2,347,315 universe lifetimes for to utilize all of those numerical places in the hit counter. So get cracking. Time's a wasting.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Remembering Pearl Harbor

It was 65 years ago that this attack occurred. Here are a few pictures taken on that day so this can be properly remembered.

Friday, December 01, 2006

RUSH reference on The Family Guy

If you want irreverant humor that is over the line then The Family Guy is the show for you. In fact, on this past weekend's episode, a reference to the progressive rock group RUSH (always snubbed for Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame induction) was included in one portion of the show.