Thursday, August 31, 2006


Today I am a man. A crotchety old man. A nasty old guy who yells at people to get off his lawn and can’t understand why kids wear such stupid clothes. That kind of man.

In some ways, it’s surprising it has taken this long. I have already passed several old guy milestones. For instance, when I turned 35 and was no longer a desirable demographic to market to anymore. Or a few years earlier, when I passed out of VH-1’s target audience. Or perhaps when I turned 13 and had a bar mitzvah. Wait, I’m not Jewish, so I guess I didn’t have a bar mitzvah.

My point is that I didn’t achieve old manhood through those traditional means. Instead, I had to do it the hard way. I am an old man because I can no longer shop at Old Navy.

I learned this unsettling fact this evening during a short shopping excursion. I had noticed that my pair of Old Navy jeans was getting nasty, what with all the times our twins had barfed on them or peed on them or something like that. It occurred to me that it might not be a bad idea to have a backup pair of jeans to wear while laundering the other pair. Also, my old jeans were just wearing out. They were fraying at the bottom and the knees are pretty threadbare.

So I went to Old Navy looking for some jeans… and left feeling very old.

Before we go any further, you should know that I am certainly a member of the stonewash generation. Members of my generation were no longer content to spend a year or two breaking in a pair of 501s. Nope, we wanted our jeans to feel just right, as soon as we brought them home. Sure, the stonewash jeans didn’t last as long, but all the time we spent with them was quality time.

Those of you who lived through the 80s will recall that things went terribly wrong later in the decade with acid-wash, but that’s a whole other story. What’s important to remember is that I’m not opposed to distressing my jeans in some manner to make them more comfortable. Now let us move on.

Shopping for jeans at a place like Old Navy usually takes me about 6 minutes. I find my size, nip off to the fitting room just to be sure, throw down my $30, and hit the door. It is quick, it is efficient… it is a thing of the past.

There has been a serious proliferation of jean types over the last five years (I would call it “an increasingly large jean pool” if I was trying to be clever), but I’ve never let that bother me. I just glide past the painter’s pants and weirdo washes and find the least beat up pair of jeans on the rack. But that was pretty much impossible tonight.

The least worn pair on offer was worn down in such a way that they had a big white stripe down the thigh. Not really what I’m looking for. Plus, they spent so much time breaking them in, they were paper thin.

But then I came upon the “ultra distressed” jeans. Check out this pair.
It’s kind of frayed around the bottom and just not in very good shape, but it’s practically brand new compared to this pair… They wore down these jeans so much that there are holes in them! The pair of jeans I’m trying to replace is in better condition than the new pair on the rack. There’s something seriously wrong with that.

Normally I would look at a pair of jeans like this and just laugh and think about the person who is stupid enough to buy a pair of pants that will wind up entirely in your lint filter after about two washings. But there is a problem at my local Old Navy: there are no “normal” jeans to be found anywhere. Not even on a small rack in the corner that says, “reserved for square old fuddy duddies.”

So I left.

The defeat was stinging. I was officially too old for a store that has the word “old” right in the title. Where do I shop now? Really Old Navy? Decrepit Navy? Barely Clinging to Life Navy?

Turns out, Barely Clinging to Life Navy is actually The Gap, so that’s where I went instead. I was able to find my jeans tucked far away from the glamorous Wall O’ Pants on a small rack that said, “If you buy these, you’re a loser.”

So I bought them. I’m a loser. I paid $40 to learn that tonight. At least that's cheaper than a bar mitzvah.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Parents are tedious, they really are.

There are many things wrong with them, all of which I will list right now.

First, they always want to show you pictures of their kids. Kind of like this really cute picture of Will wearing old-man pants.

And another picture of Will in old-man pants, but this time it’s totally different because it looks like he’s saying “ta da” like he’s some kind of tiny little magician with the cutest little hat and a tiny cape and a magic wand that that turns into a little bunny rabbit… You think that’s cute? How about Nate acting like Billy Idol? And now it looks like he’s posing for school pictures (or farting)… And here’s another picture of Nate. I know you think it’s almost exactly the same, but they’re really very different. If you did nothing all day but look at this kid—and heaven knows I do—then you would realize that these two pictures are nothing alike.

Second, parents are tedious because they always want to talk about their children’s poop. This is nothing short of deviant.

Third, and perhaps most important, parents always want to tell you about every minute developmental milestone their kids pass. It’s not unusual to walk up to a parent and ask, “How’s it going?” and get an answer like, “Jeremy blinked 47 times in the last 15 minutes. This puts him in the 95 percentile for blinking. It’s an early indicator that he’s very bright.”

But check this out. I come home from work tonight and I’m holding Will and he’s smiling and puking on me and basically doing the things he always does. Then he opens his mouth and goes, “ah” in a soft and somewhat high pitched voice.

This, of course, was the most riveting moment in their short lives. “Ah” is a pretty big deal. Before today, Will has only said, “eaaaagh” or “waaaaaa” in a loud cry that feels very much like someone is shoving an ice pick into your inner ear.

(I’ve actually taken to wearing ear plugs on certain occasions when I have to hold a screaming baby for extended periods of time. And don’t give me that look. I understand that the guy is crying and that he’s tired or whatever. I don’t think suffering permanent hearing loss makes me a better parent. Put another way: I’ve been to literally hundreds of rock concerts and I wear ear plugs every time. I’m not letting Radiohead or Elvis Costello take my hearing from me, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let these kids do it.)

Now where was I? Oh yes, “ah.” The “ah” is a relatively pleasant sound compared to those other two. And when all you hear is that “eaaaagh” or “waaaaaa”, “ah” is a nice change of pace. Wait… did Nate just go “mmmmm”? I distinctly heard “mmmmm” from the other side of the room. This is a major breakthrough; please excuse me while I find the camcorder.

I’m back. Now where was I again? Oh yeah, parents. Most parents are tedious. I sure am glad I’m not like them.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006


Julie and I escaped our two babies tonight and caught our first concert since we became parents: Cake.

Twelve years ago, my friend Sam handed me a Cake CD called “Motorcade of Generosity” and asked me to write a review of it for a music magazine he was editing. I popped in the disc and “Comanche” played. It featured a Spanish sounding guitar line, trumpet, and a chanted nonsense bridge. Another track featured an autoharp. Pair all that with John McCrea’s ironic deadpan vocals, and I was hooked. It was like nothing else out at the time.

A few months later, Sam (giver of all music swag… back then, anyway) got me onto the guest list to a Cake show. The show was even better than the album and vaulted to the top of my “best concert ever” list. (Portishead, Elvis Costello, and Radiohead would later occupy the top spot.)

But after “Fashion Nuggett,” I sort of fell out of touch with the band. I hadn’t bought a Cake album in a decade. Buying tickets to this concert was sort of like arranging a meeting with a long-estranged ex-girlfriend. Will I still find her attractive? Will we have anything in common?

Turns out, I had nothing to worry about, Cake and I were able to take up right where we left off. They’ve been through several lineup changes in the last ten years, but they’re still pretty tight live.

Of course, they weren’t always completely tight. They casually walked onto the stage and launched into a rather sloppy version of “Frank Sanatra.” But things quickly picked up with much better versions of “Italian Leather Sofa” and, yes, “Comanche.” They also played a touching tribute to the late Buck Owens by covering, “Excuse me, I think I’ve got a heartache.” Cake sounded good, but I can’t help but think how much better they would have sounded with this guy as their drummer. (You really blew it, guys)

Back in the day, Cake would ask trivia questions of the audience in exchange for t-shirts and other merchandise. No such luck this time around. The closest thing came when McCrea asked the audience to identify the type of pine tree that surrounded the outdoor venue.

My only complaint about the evening (except for the exclusion of “I Will Survive” on the setlist) is the length of Friday night’s set. Cake took the stage just before 9, and was launching into the encores by 10. 13 years, 5 albums, come on guys, you can string together something longer than a one hour set.

Also of note was the opening band tonight. “Los Abandoned” played a mix of pop and punk in a mix of English and Spanish. Great songs, great energy, great fun. They made me desperately homesick for LA. If you get the chance to see them, you should.

(We now return you to the regularly scheduled batch of baby pictures.)

Thursday, August 24, 2006


OK, so it’s been a while since I posted anything here, but give me a little space here? Have any of you parented twins? I didn’t think so. If you had twins, you’d be taking care of them right now, not messing around on the internet. I’m only messing around on the internet now because I’m a very bad parent.

But since last we spoke, some things have happened. First, they’ve grown bigger and fatter. In this picture, Nate appears to have grown so large that he’s prepared to eat Will.
But, of course, it’s just an optical illusion, they’re both the same size, see:
Also, the twins have moved out of our room, and not a moment too soon. There are several reasons why this is good news, most of which I won’t discuss on a website I know is frequented by my parents. But there are other reasons as well. First, sibling rivalry. They’re clearly getting on each other’s nerves.
Here we see Will trying to tell Nate the joke about the lactation nurse and the electric eel. He does this about 10 times a day, and Nate has clearly had enough of it. Were it not for his total lack of muscle control, I’m sure Nate would have smacked Will by now. I don’t need these two fighting in my room. They’ve got their own room. Fight there.

But the real reason why Will and Nate have been exiled to their own room has to do with their sleep volume. Put simple: they are very loud sleepers. They spend most of their all-too-brief brushes with slumber emitting a series grunts, gurgles, and clicks worthy of a dolphin. Every now and then, one will giggle like one of the guys in Bevis and Butthead. I don’t know how they sleep through that racket, because Julie and I sure couldn’t.

Worst of all, though, are the farts. They are long, loud, and pungent. And frequent, did I mention they’re frequent? Check out Will, he’s at it right now…
And so’s Nate…
If you ask them about it, they will act all shocked, like they don’t know what you’re talking about.
It should disgust me, and it does. But I’m looking ahead to the future. Perhaps they will use their flatulent talents for good instead of evil. I envision them, one day, solving mysteries under the name The Farty Boys. They will work with only two guiding principals: “whoever smell’t it dealt it” and “whoever denied it supplied it.” If they were ever involved with any diaper related cases, they would turn them over to Nancy Poo.

I think I smell an award winning set of children’s books coming.

In unrelated news, Will has become involved in the black power movement.
I keep telling him to stop that, or they’ll take his Olympic medals from him.

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Friday, August 18, 2006


So the twins are almost a month old now, but they still can’t really do all that much. They’re especially limited in their facial expressions. Either they look tired and hungry like Nate. Or they look surprised like Will. In this specific picture, Will is surprised that his parents would dress him in such a girly shirt.

They also cry a lot, but that doesn’t make for cute pictures. But that’s about it. Lately, though, they’ve been practicing a smile or two. I’ve been assured that these aren’t real smiles. They’re not reacting with pleasure to anything you’ve done, they’re just training their face muscles. Or something like that. Julie has all the baby books, and I’m much too busy playing Tetris to read them.

But today, I think I may have actually gotten a real smile out of Nate. I was making faces at him, when he smiled. Unlike the other fake smiles, this appeared to be a reaction to what I was doing. So I did it again. Another smile. Not bad.

Emboldened by what may have been an actual interaction with one of my kids, I stuck my face right in his and said, “Hey Nate, I’m your dad!”

“Heh, heh, heh.”

He laughed. It was a very soft, very quiet laugh, but it was still unmistakable as a laugh.

I’ve got a background in comedy, so I’m always happy when I can get a laugh out of someone. The fact that I could provide his first laugh ever… well that’s just cool. But I was a little distressed by what he laughed at. He laughed when I told him that I’m his dad. That hardly seems respectful. When I said, “I’m your dad,” he should have saluted, not laughed. I definitely need to get me one of those whistles like Captain Von Trapp had. But I digress.

So Nate is capable of laughing, but it takes a bit of work. I’m sitting down to work up some new material right now.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006


First, a little red meat. Here’s Nate wearing a hat as we went for a walk a few days ago. And here’s Will. He’s asleep. He’s a little tough to photograph awake these days. These pictures were taken last week. I know that doesn’t count as current when you consider they’re not even 4 weeks old, but you wouldn’t want to see pictures from this week anyway. Will’s got this infected tear duct thing and now produces his weight in nasty green puss flowing from his eyeball. Trust me, you don’t want to see pictures.

But there are even more things to think about besides puss and pictures. Taking care of these two kids is tricky, and it’s only getting trickier. Last week, Julie’s mom went back to Phoenix, and I went back to work on Saturday. I’m only working two days a week for now, but it still puts a dent in our child care workforce here at home. In another two months, Julie will start working again. And now exactly will we care for these two little kids?

Julie’s sister is still staying with us to help, and that’s made a huge difference. But that’s not a complete solution. The biggest problem is that it’s all but impossible for one person to take care of the twins for an extended period of time. You can go for a couple of hours if you need to, but that’s about it.

I was thinking about the situation this afternoon while not changing Will’s diaper, and I think I may have come up with a solution. My inspiration comes from a trend in American leisure.

People today don’t go on vacations as much as they buy “experiences.” The dude ranch is still a popular getaway for many. At these ranches, people suit up like cowboys and ride the range and try to rope cattle and things like that. The concept was developed by ranchers trying to keep their operations afloat despite declining beef prices.

Then there was a vacation package I heard about 4 years ago. There’s a bed and breakfast in Ireland that offers rooms for about $150 per night. But for $200 per night, you can have the experience of running your own bed and breakfast. That includes working at the front desk, tending bar, and cleaning rooms. It was one of the most brilliant ideas I had ever heard of: charge people extra to do your job for you.

I actually called the company to ask about the package and how they were able to get anyone to agree to this deal. I spoke with a Scottish man (yes, I know the difference between Scottish and Irish) who was perhaps the nicest, most charming man I had ever spoken to on the phone. He explained that the package wasn’t for everyone, and then described in detail all the work you’d have to do. Hearing this guy talk about it, it actually sounded fun.

So we need to set up something like that in our house. Instead of doing all the work ourselves or hiring nannies, we should make people pay to take care of our kids. We could open a “Diaper Ranch.”

Guests would show up at our home, and we’d dress them like real live parents of newborns. Men would get a t-shirt with a baby-puke stain on it, well worn jeans, and flip flops. Hair would be messed up for extra authenticity. Women would be issued wrinkled nightgowns. At the end of the week, guests could take the outfits home as souvenirs.

Duties would include laundry, diaper changing, cleaning up baby puke, feeding, not sleeping, and feeding. By the end of the week, guests would feel like they’ve really had the whole “parenthood experience.” And it will only cost $250 per night.

I imagine the potential market for this attraction could be sizable. Childless couples in their 50s could stop by to get a taste of what they missed, or didn’t miss, as the case may be. Empty nesters could spend a week here remembering “the good old days.” Newlyweds could stop by for a little “practice” before starting a family of their own. Wayward teenagers could even participate, perhaps as a part of some kind of “Outward Bound” or “Scared Straight” program. I know at least one person who would likely sign up right away.

So there you have it. Our child care problems are solved. All we need now is a toll free number for people to call, and a guy to answer it. I’ll start tracking down that Scottish guy right now.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006


Avid readers of this site may recall that I am in the middle of a serious disagreement with my sons. I believe it is inappropriate for them to poo or pee on me at any time. They believe otherwise.

Now my own children are lashing out against my authoritarian rule. Nate comes out of his room wearing this today...

I sent him right back to his room until he changed. But moments later, Will comes out of his room wearing the same shirt. (Photo unavailable: he puked on it before photo documentation could take place.)

Needless to say they're both grounded.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006


...never was happiness. Don't believe me? Check out the following evidence. Just one day after viciously peeing on me TWICE in one day, Nate doesn't seem to be so happy now.

All that peeing on me can't make you happy, Nate. I hope you've learned your lesson.

Now, how about that brother of yours? He peed and pooped on me. How's he doing?

Just as I thought. Your pooping ways have brought you the fruits of sorrow. With that out of the way, let's move on. No more messing about with human waste, let's just agree among the three of us that we won't... hey... one minute, Will... are you plotting something again?

It looks like you're plotting something. Stop that. Right now. That's it. You're grounded.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006


It has been some time since my last update to this site, and for that, I do apologize. And I know that, lately, most people have been coming here looking for cute photos of Nate and Will. So allow me to fill the need. Here’s Will acting cute.
And here’s Nate acting… well… he’s been a bit squirmy.
But in all frankness, I’m actually a bit short on cute photos right now. I haven’t taken a lot of pictures lately, although I keep promising myself I will. To cut to the chase, we’ve got a case of the baby blahs around our house. The novelty has worn off, and the affects of prolonged sleep deprivation are really starting to set in. To put it another way, we’re checking to see if we kept the receipts for these kids when we left the hospital.

There are several reasons for this. First, I blame the kids. They are undergoing a massive growth spurt. In the last two weeks they’ve each grown about 2 inches and put on a pound. That’s a pretty big deal for these guys. So they’re always hungry and very demanding and poop up a storm. In short, they’re no fun. Don’t get me wrong, they’re cute looking, but they just don’t do anything fun. You can’t play with them, or tell them jokes, or bore them with stories about growing up in Rochester. All you can do is fill their gullets with milk. And in appreciation for your hard work, they crap out some of the nastiest stuff I’ve ever seen. I think I can be excused for thinking I’m getting the raw end of the deal.

Then there’s us. We’re tired and cranky and have this sneaking suspicion we’re never leaving this house again. I read this week that 14 percent of all new mothers get a touch of post partum depression, and 10 percent of new fathers do. I’ve had a little experience with depression in my day, and I can say I feel a little touch of it coming on. Some of the little joys in life (listening to music, watching the Daily Show, beating Julie at Mario Cart) seemed to be sucked dry. What’s left is a joyless death march of feedings and diaper changes. I was shat upon today, and pissed on twice. At no point during the process did I think, “The Miracle of Parenthood ™ is the best thing that has ever happened to me!” Remind me again why people sign up for this type of duty?

I’m compulsively watching every show on the Travel Channel. I don’t know what that means.

Now it’s 2:00 AM and I just got one of the twins back to bed (Blogger should have a feature that forbids me from posting any time after midnight.). I’ve got the iPod cranked up (Ben Folds Five, I haven’t listened to them in ages) and, for the first time in a while I’m feeling a small piece of freedom in the little audio world I’ve created in my head. I used to listen to Ben Folds a lot when I lived in Salt Lake City. I was in my 20s, poor, bored, and desperately unhappy. As Mr. Folds delightful melodies swirl around me, it occurs to me that, as batty as parenthood has made me this week, I wouldn’t go back to those Bad Old Days when I had all the freedom I could possibly ask for. Perhaps freedom’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Nice reminder. Thanks Ben.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006


So I'm two weeks into my paternity leave and having a pretty good time of it. It's fun hanging out with the twins, because they spend most of their time lying around looking cute, something like this. They're so cute and so much fun, I'll admit I've actually harbored the fantasy of leaving the world of paid work and becoming Mr. Mom. Ah, yes, the good life, changing diapers, cleaning bottles, driving to the doctor's office.

With that in mind, I had no problem when Julie and her mom decided to go to a barbecue this evening. No problem, I'll just hang out with the boys at home. I've got a TiVo full of family programming and a fridge full of breast milk and Thomas Kemper root beer. What more do you need?

So Julie leaves. The 3 Workman men sit around for a while and watch some travel program where a nice British woman walks around Portugal and asks people (in English) why their food is so yummy. Then, something changes.
It's a subtle look in their eyes... they actually start to look a little like space aliens. Then the crying and the hunger starts. Now I'm not afraid of a crying, hungry baby (I'm not even afraid of a poopy diaper, but that's another story), but I had two crying, hungry babies on my hands, and that can be a bit of a challenge. The problem has mostly to do with arms, or my lack thereof. I've only got two, and I really needed the number of arms one might associate with Vishnu.

Alas, I am no Hindu god, so I put the twins down on a bouncy chair and hurriedly tried to prepare two bottles. But then how do you feed them both at once? And the, when you're burping them at the same time and you're sitting on your futon and you're at a funky angle, how to you get back up and search for some more food because the babies have sucked down all the breast milk in the house and now you've got to find that crappy formula and heat it up and what on earth will happen if that lactation nurse finds out that I fed the babies formula, she'll have a fit because she thinks formula is basically poison and I really don't want to poison my babies but they keep crying and they're both sitting on my chest and I can't get off the damn futon...

Then Julie comes home, and in a matter of minutes, all is normal again. I go into the other room and call my bosses, "My job will still be waiting for me when I come back, right? Cool... I'll see you next week."

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