Thursday, October 29, 2009

An amazing post by my wife.

Call me lazy...  I am cross posting something from my wife's blog.  It's a really wonderful post about patience and teachable moments.  We have too little of the former and the latter we pass ignore far too often. 

Working on a post for later, inspired by the feral cats playing in the back alley and my own cat's indifference.

Here's the post.


Monday, October 19, 2009

grace and goodwill

Yesterday, as Chris and I were heading home from church, we saw an elderly man sitting at the top of a staircase leading into the subway. A young woman leaned into the man and within moments had her arm linked around his and was leading him down the stairs. Another young woman ran to meet them, taking the man's cane and cup of coffee so he could grab onto the rail as the group took their precarious journey downward.

Needless to say, this all slowed the usual flow of comings and goings to a near-halt. But the crowd was remarkably patient. Sure there were a few that jumped to other side of the staircase, so they could hurry to the platform, but most took their time and allowed the man and his companions to inch their way down, step by step. I suppose they realized that an extra five minutes would unlikely cause a serious disruption to their Sunday agenda.

All except for one woman and her two young children. Who, once on the platform, pushed their way forward past Chris (who was now holding the cup of coffee as the elderly man looked for a post on which to lean) and past the others who were still waiting until the man was safe and settled. And it just struck me, that here was this woman who was given an opportunity to teach her children about patience and compassion but instead was too fraught and too hurried to notice such a window. Or as Chris said, "It's hard to teach others patience and compassion when you have little of either yourself."

One other thing that has continued to trouble me about the experience: the man had a hospital bracelet around one wrist. And I am once again reminded of how little our current system provides. Clearly this man was not in a position to navigate the city and yet he appears to have been dismissed from the hospital with what seems to be little support, guidance, or after-care.

So here's my prayer for the day: given that we must depend on the grace and goodwill of our neighbors each and every time the system fails, may the majority of our neighbors be filled with such grace and goodwill.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Ride

I keep hearing advice from fathers who have been through all of this before.   They keep saying to just enjoy the ride.

I am.  It's about all you can do, as the man.  I will start flipping through the book, What To Expect When You Are Expecting, so I can understand why my wife's body temperature has suddenly skyrocketed.  For now, I'll try to stay open to whatever is happening.

Enjoy the ride.

I'm working on it.

The thing I keep hearing from men who have not gone through this is, "Get sleep now."

This is a sweet sentiment, but also a rather nonsensical one.  It's not like I have a stock pile of sleep and when I'm tired, I can just make a withdrawal.  It doesn't work that way.

And why would I want to sleep?  I'll miss half of it  I have far too much to do, way to much to prepare to waste time sleeping.

The baby keeps my wife awake.  My wife, who has been able to sleep through anything, is now an insomniac.  She wakes up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep.  She says it's training for when the child is born.

I think she's right.

Stock up on sleep?  I can sleep when I'm dead.

Right now, I'm enjoying the ride.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cat Insurance

This last week we spent a great deal of money to treat our sick cat.  She's a little over 13 years old and has been our child for as long as we have been married.  Her illness was serious and possibly life threatening.

After numerous tests, an ultrasound and cancer screening, x-rays, two tooth extractions and a major surgery, she's back home and is now fine.

Our vet is wonderful, but they did not keep us abreast of the mounting costs of her care.  When confronted with the bill, we had to figure out what we wanted to do to cover it.  Do we put it on the credit card and then pay the interest or do we dip into our savings.

Over the course of the last five years, we've been stashing money into an account for a trip to Peru, to climb to Machu Pichu.  Rather than pay interest (we tend to keep a very low or zero balance on our card) we decided to simply take it from the Peru account.

Almost all of it.

Now, understand there was no question.  You just do it.  Peru isn't going anywhere, barring some major catastrophe, like a giant asteroid of a major volcanic eruption... in which case we have other things to worry about.

We paid it.

She is now at home, shaved belly and all.  We couldn't be happier.

However, it got me thinking.  At the Vet was a brochure for pet insurance.

Pet insurance.

If we'd had it, in some form, we'd have had certain things covered.   But we didn't, so it all came out of pocket.

What if it were a child, instead of a pet?

What if we were one of the 40 million in this country who does not have health insurance?  We'd have to dip into our savings to pay the bills.  How long would that last?

Thankfully, we only dipped into one little savings account that had been set aside for a trip, but what if it were our "savings" and we had nothing else.

We are not people who abuse the system, we work, we pay our taxes, we contribute to the collective good.  We could quickly have nothing.

It was suddenly easy for me to see how so many families get into trouble.  They just can't make ends meet because of one hospital bill.  It happens every day.

I promised this blog would not get into politics, but with this issue I think it's deeper than a political divide that it has become.  It is about the lives of Americans.  Americans who are suffering because we have chosen to make our health a commodity to be bought and sold on Wall Street.

It's wrong.  We deserve better.

For everyone who pounds their chest and screams "America, love it or leave it!" or puffs up and defiantly proclaims "We're the greatest nation on earth" but has made the decision to fight against giving all American's access to health care - you should be ashamed.  Your false patriotism is sickening and counter-productive.  Your ignorance stands in the way of progress. 

I had a moment of "What do I do?" with a cat.  I can't imagine if it were my child.  No one should have to make a decision between feeding their families and paying a medical bill.  Between paying rent and paying for medicine.  Not in America.

Thinking we, as a country, are the best we can ever be leaves no room for us to strive for better.  It lets us all off far too easily.  It means we have nothing to aspire to, to work for...

But perhaps that's what some people want. 
Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wild Things...

I saw Where The Wild Things are this past weekend.  Most of us in the theater were in our late twenties to late thirties, the generation first introduced to the Wild Things.

Some critics were harsh on the raw emotions shown by the film, raw emotions that are ugly and frightening.  Raw emotions that are felt by children who experience the complete spectrum of emotions without perspective or filters, who experience them instantly and sometimes simultaneously. 

It reminded me what it felt like to be a kid:  fear, anger, love, joy, jealousy...  all of those wonderfully full emotions that are experienced so fully and completely. 

It also reminded me of the power of the imagination.  I work in imagination.  I create things from air; characters from nothing; fully fledged stories sparked from half formed ideas.  The imagination of a child can completely take them somewhere - they create and destroy entire worlds in an afternoon.

I hope I can find a balance of encouraging my child's imagination while keeping an eye on the emotional roller coaster that is childhood - all the while letting my child fully experience it, never interfering but always available to nurture, guide and protect.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I can't even keep a cat healthy

My cat was not eating for a couple days.  We freaked out.  It's like a Ghandi-esque fast to a human.

Not that anyone who has met our little Chat Lunatique would mistake her for Ghandi. 

So I took her to a new vet.  He's just down the street from our new apartment and he's great.  We went over her x-rays and blood work and EKG... 

The first thing he noticed was that she had a cavity. 

That's the reason she's not eating.  She can't eat her dry food because it hurts so much. 

He also informed me that she was dehydrated and very weak, had mild asthma and kidney stones.

I was terrified/disturbed/upset...

The teeth thing is entirely my fault.  The doc was really great about not blaming me, or even insinuating blame, but it's my fault.  We've tried to brush her teeth but she hates it and it's like fighting a buzzsaw with a toothbrush.  But I'm 6', 185 pounds.  I should be able to take a fifteen pound cat.  (I should also be able to put a pill down her gullet and make her keep it down... sneaky thing...)

So.  Cavity.  Periodontal disease is the number 1 cause of most heart/kidney/liver/organ issues in pets. 

Fantastic.  I'm slowly killing my cat because I didn't take care of her teeth. 

Thank God the kidney stones aren't my fault. 

So, sick kitty and I came home.  She was a little traumatized and probably not looking forward to the appointment for an ultrasound - and dental - and kidney stone surgery that she doesn't know she's got on Tuesday.

She ate lots of her wet food.  I went through the process of collecting urine for testing.  We fought over the antibiotics and whether or not she was going to take them.  She eats the pill pockets and manages to leave behind a perfect, pristine pill.  We're at the "pry her mouth open, toss it in and hold her mouth closed" stage and Daddy is winning.

But the question I have is:  What kind of father am I going to be? 

I promise I will brush my child's teeth.  I promise that once he/she is old enough to brush, I will make sure it is done at least twice a day.  And we will visit a dentist twice a year.  And floss.  Every night.

I am hoping I will be more perceptive to things like a toothache being the reason for not eating.  I thought it was stress and life changes and some psychological thing...

Nope.  Cavity.

I am hoping I don't start to cry at the doctor's office when they tell me my child has cholic or strep throat. 

I cried when the vet told me the cat was dehydrated. 


Somehow, I think everything will be fine.  The cat is sleeping on Angie's lap (always finding the exact baby spot to lay down on) and purring away.  She's been overly affectionate.  Again, Chat Feroce has been an affectionate cat but always on her terms.  Now, she won't leave us alone.

I can imagine a child would be the same.  Needy in the same way.  I remember just wanting my mother when I was sick.  Sometimes I still do, wishing she were in my kitchen making me her fantastic chicken and rice soup.  Plus a child can tell me when he/she is sick.  I don't have to guess; there is no mysterious combination of tail gestures and meowing.  And I've been through some of it.  I was a kid.  I do remember.

Maybe I'll be okay after all.  Check back in twenty years to find out how the kid turns out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Babies R'Us

Angie met me at the farmer's market today.  We grabbed a boat load of apples and some herbs and then she told me she was taking me somewhere special... 

Babies R'Us.

Good lord.

I was suddenly overwhelmed. 

So much stuff!  Do we need all this stuff? I don't even know what any of it is, but it seems like we might need it.  It all looks necessary.  How did anyone have children before this stuff?

Is it better to rent a breast pump?  Did you know you can rent a breast pump?  Apparently that's something people do.  Rent a breast pump.  Do we need the breast pump backpack?

Baby bath tubs...  Can we use a sink? I don't know...  I need to know.

And the clothes!  There were mini Jets and Giants outfits... I guess we'll have to pick.  I'm partial to the Jets because there's something blue collar about them.  I'm a Giants fan, as well, but I just like the scrappiness of the Jets... and we've been to a Jets game...  that counts for something.

There will be Yankees gear... male or female.  No Mets.  No Rockies (sorry grandma) unless they are in Colorado.  While they are in NY... or anywhere outside Colorado, there will be pinstripes.  Yankee pinstripes.

Cribs, strollers, car seats, strollers with car seats, umbrella strollers, swings, playpens. 

I'm going to have to move to a new place, a warehouse, just to have room for the stuff!

It's a little insane.

I can't imagine what people did when they had children before Babies R'Us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We're in week 15.

I'm waiting for the wife to pop.  It hasn't happened.  She feels fat, but she hardly looks pregnant.  I keep announcing it.

"Wouldn't you like to sit...  since you're pregnant?"

No one believes it.  She's still this petite little thing.

I've heard around 16 weeks she'll just pop.  She'll suddenly have this big baby belly. 

I'm waiting.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The female perspective...

My wife is currently watching a video on YouTube of a woman in labor.  She's in an inflatable kiddie pool.

It's obviously a water birth, but a kiddie pool?

I was thoroughly freaked out by what at first sounded like porn and then suddenly turned into this scream fest.  It was like a movie written by horror writer extraordinaire Jeff Dixon.

(Shameless plug.  You're welcome, Jeff.)

As I sat terrified in the corner, my wife calmly said, "Seriously, a blow up pool?  C'mon."

She then turned to me and added, "You are not allowed, under any circumstances, to bring a video camera into the room."

I measured the appropriate comic beat before responding, "What about a kiddie pool?"

For more from her perspective, go to "The Actor's Wife" and read her posts.  It's a nice counter to mine.  You can also link there from here.  Up at the top is THE ACTOR'S WIFE; my favorite blog.  Click it.  It's her.

Do it right after you get out of your kiddie pool.

And if you enjoy reading, please remember to share this.  There's a little link for that, too.  We're creating a community here folks!  

Sunday, October 11, 2009

IKEA, the new father's best friend

We got to IKEA yesterday at 9:30 a.m. because someone - me - had misread their opening time.  Luckily they were serving a free breakfast.  A free breakfast that normally costs $1.  A huge savings of two dollars to start the day.

Not bad.

In order to get to bedrooms to get our PAX wardrobe system and Kompliment drawers we had to get there right when they opened.  We'd been checking availability online, as they suggested, and there were 9 wardrobes at the Paramus IKEA.  There is an IKEA in Brooklyn and one in Long Island.  They are within minutes from us here in Queens.  They also consistently do not have what we needed in stock.  The IKEA in Paramus is almost twenty miles away, as is the one in Elizabeth, NJ.  That's a full day's trip in this area.  While we have everything at our fingertips here, the trip twenty miles outside the city has to be planned.  You rent the van, you gather your cash for tolls (which you pay to get into Manhattan and again to enter Queens, but not to enter New Jersey... what does that tell you?), you plan the trip across the tri-borough bridge, through the Bronx, dip into Manhattan and across the George Washington Bridge into Jersey.  It's an easy drive.  Just takes planning.

So, we beeline to the kiosk and order.   As we leave, we decide to walk through the children's section. 

I am suddenly aware of how adorable a sun shaped light is.  I covet the light shaped like clouds.  I would like to pair them with one shaped like the moon. 

I have never noticed the giant leaf.  It's a leaf that hooks to a bed post or... whatever, and swivels to act like a shelter.  It shades a small person from the sun shaped light.

I have to have one.

Cribs. We look at cribs.  We look at blankets.  We look at burp rags.  We look at little hanging netting thingies that be used as storage for... stuff. 

I'm overwhelmed.  I love it. 

We make purchases we did not intend to make... 

It is IKEA after all. 

We look at dressers.  (I am thrilled by this because I've been wanting a new dresser for a while but the wife has countered with "Where the hell would we put it" every time I mention it.

So, I moved her to a place where I can get another dresser. 

Today it is her idea.  We look for something just big enough for us and a child's clothing.  I realize just how much we are looking ahead.  Every time we think of getting an item, we ask, "Baby?" and reassess. 

Getting two eight foot tall cabinets into the van and into the apartment proves to be a challenge, but not as big a challenge as building them. 

It is IKEA after all.

Armed with a screwdriver and a hex key, I am able to assemble two monstrous wardrobes a dresser and an end table.  With a cordless drill, I can do it even faster.

We are now the proud parents of two gigantic new custom closets.  (What we added in space in our new place, we lost in closet space...  there wasn't one, unless you count the small coat closet in the study.)

One word of advice to the weekend do it yourself-er.  (like my brother...)

Put the hinged doors on first, then decide where to put in your railings, shelves and drawers.  It will save you the aggravation of having to move everything after it's already been installed.  Something they don't tell you. 

Also:  Measure twice, cut once...  or drill once, as the case may be.

That one is free.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Another walk off by the Yanks! 

No matter the sex of our baby, we will taking them to Yankee Stadium.  They will learn the history of Lou, Babe, Dimaggio, Mantle, Maris, Reggie, Jeter...

I'm excited to dress them in pinstripes.


If you have never been apple picking, do it. 

Go now.

I'm sure I'll be taking a bag and dragging a pregnant wife out to the orchards of New York... near the sad hill they call a ski resort...  to pick apples.  It's ever so much fun.

This is the reward for the IKEA run we are making tomorrow.  We are not buying baby furniture yet.

That's saved for Trimester Three.

But we will be looking.

Back to the apples!

Angie makes applesauce.  It's unbelievable.

I couldn't wait for Monday.  So, I went to the farmer's market and grabbed a ton of apples ($0.75 a pound) and cranked out a tarte Tartine.

Here's the recipe:  Go to Mark Bitteman's site,, and look up the recipe.  It couldn't be easier.  He just explains it better than I, but it's so simple.  A huge saute pan overflowing with cored, peeled quartered apples put over a moderate heat with some sugar...  Just cook the hell out of it until you've cooked out the liquid, add butter.  (yes, Ethel, butter.)

Carmalize them... just brown and sugary and gooey.

Toss them into a smaller, buttered saute.  (from a 12" to a 10" or a 10" to an 8"... whatever, this is a pretty loose-y goose-y thing...)

Top it with a pastry crust.  It can be store bought, puff pastry, filo... again, whatever.

This is a good opportunity to try your own crust.  I made a pie crust in about 15 minutes.  It was straight out of Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything.  He writes about learning from Marion Cunningham, author of the Fannie Farmer Baking Book and a pie genius.  Easiest thing ever.  I"ll never fear pie crusts again.  Try it.  Makes enough that you can put on into a tart mold and freeze for a little tomato, goat cheese, arugula tart...  mmm... 

And read the book.  It's brilliant.  (Rishi, good luck getting your copy back.)

So!  Back to the tarte... apples, butter, sugar, pastry...  slip it into that oven you've had waiting at 400 degrees and bake for a bit... Take it out, carefully - it's like lava at this point - shake the pan to loosen, cover with an upside down plate, flip and slap some good ice cream on it.


It's a skill that will serve you well, you stay at home dads... An easy apple pie that you can whip together and make it seem to your spouse that you've slaved on it all day.  

Much the same way you can clean the house in under an hour, bathroom included, before she gets home... That's actually something she does to me.  Reads all day and then pretends she's slaved over the house.

I do the same.  On my days off, I sometimes shower at 4pm and manage to get dinner on the table right quick claiming it's taken me forever to prepare it.  I tracked the beast, killed it with a pocket knife, butchered it and cooked it just after I harvested the good for the salad...

My question is this...  Will I have time, with a child, to get away with this trick or is a constant game of catching up?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This blog

Bear with me... I'm going to be changing templates, trying to get it right, get the style right...

We're also toying with the name.  The Artsy Father came to me because of the impression that I, as an actor and writer, am "artsy fartsy..."  I've always thought it was funny, that phrase.

But we started thinking of the word, "father" and Angie said, "It's the word.  It's kind of a mouthful...  I don't see our kids calling you father."

The word conjures images of Masterpiece Theater and little children with shirts buttoned up to their throats saying, "Father, please can I keep the pony, father?"

It's funny if done with an English accent...

No.  My kids won't be calling me father.

But I still like the name.

So, bear with us while we get this thing right.

Stay at home dads

I am not alone.

I have several friends who are stay at home dads.  We're a growing community.  My friend Matt Briggs writes his own Dad blog over at  There are stay at home dad groups that get together in Central Park.  There are stay at home dad fantasy football teams...  Dixon, Matt, Sam...  I'm looking at you guys.

It's interesting to find ourselves addressing these gender roles head on.

My brother in law asked if I was going to be a stay at home dad and Angie'd go back to work.   I'm sure Angie was bracing herself for his reaction.  It's not something we grew up with.  There were no stay at home fathers in our neighborhoods.  No soccer dads... there were dads who coached soccer, but no "soccer dads." 

There were unemployed deadbeats...  but that's different.

Not anyone who did it by choice.

My brother in law said, "Yeah, I guess we always figured that was how they'd do it."

Thank you.  Angie respects the opinion of her family so much and that validation helped.

I have realized that I am not alone.  Stay at home dad's of the world unite!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This is what all the hubub is about...

yes... that's a nose, and mouth and fingers...

Cool, no?

And yes, my child is sponsored by General Electric.  


I’ve long believed that food is love. 

Angie and I never had a conversation about the division of labor in our home.  Things just sort of fell into place.  We each have a different skill set and for some reason mine included a number of domestic skills. 

Blame my mother.

Or my grandmothers.

Or the numerous kitchens in which I worked to pay for my first car, prom, rent, drums, all the crap I accumulated in my twenties…

Angie’s skills - her patience, her tact, her singleness of purpose and focus, lend themselves to what she does.   I have not mastered these skills.

So… I happen to cook.  And as the stay at home pater familias, it’s a skill that should serve me well.

Unless Angie’s craving happens to be jelly beans.

Like now.  Nothing I can do about that other than hike to the bodega in search of jelly beans.  (Damn you “The Middle” and your jelly bean in the car storyline.

I jumped down to the farmers’ market today.   It’s a perfect fall day.  Heirloom tomatoes the size of soccer balls.  Fresh herbs.  Macoun apples.  (Some of which Angie will make into applesauce and some will find their way into a tart Tartine.)  I’m planning ahead for when we make our own baby food.

I’m finding that comfort food is something Angie craves.  Especially if you consider pastrami from Katz’ comfort food.  Which in NYC, we do.

I worked my special chili today.  No ground meat.  (The way we get our ground beef in this country should really be a crime.) 

We’re doing some tomato goat cheese tarts, the afore mentioned apple pie, I’ll be baking baguettes, Angela will be working the applesauce and we’re making granola.

What goes into your mate’s body also goes into your child.  We’re only doing whole foods; real food. 

And no high fructose corn syrup.   Guess she won’t be getting jelly beans after all. (Don’t believe the ads put out by the corn industry… the sugars in hfcs are a processed sugar your body doesn’t know what to do with.  It may just be a coincidence, but since we’ve replaced sugar with hfcs, rates of autism have risen as have rates of obesity…  would rather not risk putting that into my child.)

So, in the sense of community, I’m putting out a call for suggestions…  What do I feed her? 

Send your recipes!  I might share my magic chili.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You knew it was coming...


It is possible to have sex with a pregnant woman.

I know this sounds like a no brainer, but it’s sort of scary to think about sex with your wife while a small creature is growing inside her.

It kind of freaks me out.

(Which is probably what my father in-law is doing right now.  You might want to skip this one, Mike.)

Apparently sex is not only good for the mother, it’s good for the baby… my wife convinced me of this when she told me, “It’s like a massage…”

Needless to say we had a good laugh over that one, too. 

See… sex can be both fun and funny during pregnancy.

Fix what's broken!

October 5, 2009

A short to do list:

Get healthy. 

I have an old separated shoulder that never healed correctly, a torn rotator cuff in the other shoulder, knees that ache, herniated discs, sciatica, a torn thumb ligament…  basically I’m your average man in his late thirties.

I want to hold my child. 

That’s exactly what I told my physical therapist. 

I want to hold my child.  And teach her how to hit a tennis ball, shoot a free throw, a proper lay-up; teach him how to catch a fade, take him to a yankees game with our mitts in hope of a dinger coming our way.  I want to carry her on my shoulders through Times Square, hold his hand as we walk through the Bronx Zoo. 

Get healthy.  You’ll need it. 



Why do people tell you to get plenty of sleep?  You can’t store it up.  It’s not like there’s a bank of sleep.  Ten hours tonight will get me through tomorrow. 

I’m more concerned about my wife getting enough sleep.  I’m not the one with a small alien growing inside me.

October 1

Weeks 1-14

Advice to expectant fathers:

There is a lot happening that you will not understand and to which that you will not feel connected. 

It’s okay. 

When you first hear that you are going to be a father, the excitement is unbelievable, but you quickly will feel like nothing has changed.  You don’t feel any of the changes that your mate feels.  But you will change.  Trust me.  You will start to have a sixth sense that will help you create a bubble of protection around her, even in the most crowded subways.  You’ll visually navigate the crowded streets, plowing ahead, forging a path.  You’re her fullback.  Her safety becomes an obsession.  Anyone who enters the bubble is a threat.  You’ll feel it.  The hair on the back you neck will bristle and you will feel emotions rising within you with which you may not be familiar nor comfortable.

It’s okay.

Depending upon how long you have been together, you will notice changes. 

I say that because we just had our twelfth wedding anniversary within days of completing our first trimester.  Over those twelve years, I’ve learned almost everything about my wife.  She’s still a mystery in so many ways, but during this pregnancy, there have been moments I have not been able to recognize her.

If you have not been together as long, these changes will not seem so drastic. 

The first thing I noted was how calm she became.

My wife is a worrier.  She always has been.

Since this pregnancy, she has mellowed so much it’s almost eerie. 

That is not to say she doesn’t have her moments.  I’ve learned that mood swings are commonplace.  Not only is he body reorganizing, her hormones are in overdrive and it makes her… well, insane. 

I have embraced the insanity.  I know there will be some things she says that make no sense, she may fly off the handle, may be overly protective, may be touchy about things that have never mattered before.  She’ll be upset one second, apologizing the next.  She’ll cry and then laugh and then fall asleep.  She’ll wake up in the middle of the night and complain about hot flashes (more on that later) and then she’ll be cold.  Mostly hot flashes.  (again… more later.)

It’s normal.  You can’t take it personally.  You shouldn’t.  It’s not about you.

And along with these new swings come little bonuses:  The glow she has when she wakes up, the baby bump first appearing, hearing her sing and talk to the still forming fetus inside her as she showers, her overly amorous moments when grabs you as you walk down the street.  It’s all a whirlwind of tiny miracles. 

I’m not a very religious man, but I’m a firm believer that all the things that are happening, good and bad, are tiny miracles. 

Hot flashes

October 4, 2009

Hot flashes.

Sometime around week 8 or nine, my wife started having hot flashes.

This is unusual because she has the temperature regulating system of a reptile.  She’s always cold. 

Here she is, though, with my ice packs on her belly. 

Apparently our soon to arrive child is a furnace. 

It lasts…  I don’t know how long it lasts because it’s still happening.  

When I grab my ice packs for my shoulders (get healthy… seriously) I never find them in the freezer.  I know I can always find them on the floor next to the bad.  


Which is fine.   I don’t have a furnace growing inside me.

what is that little fuzzy blur?

August 25, 2009

I have to remember to apologize to my sister.  I forgot her birthday. 

Yeah, I forget it almost every year.  This year was tough because she was waiting for a diagnosis on her husbands illness.  (He has a rare form of cancer.) 

So I missed it. 

I will be forgiven this time.  I was sitting with the wife all day waiting for a diagnosis of our own.

We saw the first ultrasound today.

We sat in the doctor’s office for two and a half hours.  When we finally went in, the last thing I expected was to be seated next to my wife while she had her legs in the stirrups. 

I was. 

The doctor came in, told us she was excited for us, did some quick physical checks, pulled out a little wand and bingo-bango, there’s our kid.  At the moment she’s the size of a large blueberry. 

From what I understand, she’ll start growing exponentially.

Then we saw the heart.  It was like watching a blinking strobe.  I was amazed and surprised and exhilarated and scared and numb - all at the same time.

I know she’s not a person yet.  She’s just a little tadpole of a thing.  But soon.  Soon she will be. 

It was watching that heartbeat that it all settled in:  I’m going to be a father.

What does that mean?  How does your life instantly change? 

I’ve been very protective of Angie lately.  I’m understanding what they told us in the evolution of human sexuality class…  Males get aggressive during estrus.  We get very protective of our pregnant females and our offspring.

It’s primal.  Very primal.

I couldn’t be happier.  Just crazy happy. 

Angie is just glowing.  That glow does happen.

It’s an actual change that occurs physically.

We now have a due date of the beginning of April.
Another Aries.  What would happen if she were early?  What if we had the same birthdays?  How do you deal with that? 

We have seven months to find out.

The apartment hunt: take two

August 15, 2009

It’s hot. 

I am so glad we are not having to deal with the third trimester of a pregnancy in this heat.  Angie is miserable enough dealing with this heat in the first trimester. 

She’s not sleeping.

That’s not normal.

My wife usually falls asleep at 8:30 p.m. and is out until the next morning.  She’s slept through car accidents right outside the apartment, gun shots (only once in Harlem), monster thunderstorms and even the riotous hilarity of The Venture Bros. 

But she can’t sleep. 

So, we’re dealing with heat.  And humidity.  And walking with a broker through Astoria.

We told her specifically where we wanted to be.  She showed us one apartment in the area but it was tiny.  We saw lots of apartments that were fine…  Just fine. 

It’s New York City real estate.  It’s impossible.  It’s a game.  It’s a chess match where you pay someone up to 15% of the annual rent to find you an apartment in which the floors are intact and the roof has not caved in.

We walked and walked and walked.

Being superstitious we have not told anyone about the pregnancy.  So our broker, who was quite nice, thought a walk to the furthest reaches of Astoria would be fun.

We found nothing.

We went to meet someone about a place that looked promising at the last stop of the train on Ditmars Avenue. 

We may have taken it if not for the cockroaches crawling on the countertops or inside the cupboards. 

I quickly escorted my newly pregnant wife out.

We stopped for a brief lunch to escape the heat. 

Angie had two more on her list.  No broker, no fees.  Just a landlord with an apartment to rent.

We walked into the first and were pleasantly surprised.  It was funny, but we have vision.  And it fit all of our criteria.

Down the street, 100 feet away lay our perfect home. Just big enough for us to grow for quite a while and perfect in every way.

I had been the one to contact a broker, thinking that was the ideal way to find the best place. 

I was the reason my pregnant wife had to trek across Astoria on a 90 degree day. 


My wife had contacted two apartments.

They were perfect.  They were two blocks from a train.  They were within spitting distance of each other.

And at the end of a long day, they were the only ones we needed to see.

The point:

Sometimes our need to be providers gets in the way of our common sense.  I was determined to find the perfect place, to see everything.  I didn’t care what it cost. 

It shouldn’t have to cost anything, and didn’t. 


August 18, 2009

My wife is still unable to sleep.  She gets to sleep eventually, but not like she used to.  She is actually up and cruising around.  Doing stuff.

We’re surrounded by boxes at the moment.  I know it’s stressful for her.  I’m keeping the bedroom a box free zone.

There is only so much I can control.  Keeping her fed, keeping her surroundings calm.

At this point the baby is the size of a peanut.  Crazy, right?

Starting at the beginning

I'm going to start at the beginning.  I've been writing about everything, but we were not announcing until after the first trimester, so these are entries I made to my own private journal.

August 9, 2009

The blue lines were crossed.  My wife had come out of the bathroom and was very confused.  There’s no way we could be pregnant on the first try. 

The first try? 

Nope.  No way.

But there it was. 

Two little blue intersecting lines. 

I held her and she squirmed out of my grasp. 

“Better take another one.”

That’s why they sell them in boxes of three.

She began drinking lots of water and orange juice.  I told her I was pretty sure it would turn out the same way.

The surprising thing is that the only reason we took the test in the first place was that she was not feeling very well.  We had tried to get pregnant and then, right on time, she had her monthly visitor and I watched her sink a little.  It wasn’t that she was discouraged or depressed, it was only our first attempt, but she was decidedly down. 

She took the test again.  It was the same.  Two intersecting blue lines.  I took photos of them, we hugged again.

“What do we do?”

I had no idea. 

We broke out our laptops and began the search. 

apartment hunting

August 12, 2009

Looking for an apartment.  We’re determined to find a two bedroom in Astoria.  Determined.

It’s not just about size or money… Okay it is.  We want to grow in an apartment.  We want it to be a place where we can grow but also where we can afford to raise a child.

So, it is about size and money.

How quickly things change

We conceived on the first try.

I understand if that's more than you needed to know.

It also happens to be true.

I wanted to start this web log with one true thing. 

How do I know this is one true thing?

I'd rather not get into the intricacies of it all, but trust me, it's one true thing.

I have made the shift from writing a poli-blog, where there are very few "true things" let alone one, to a blog  that is very personal and that I hope will be much more enjoyable to read.  After all, that is the purpose of writing, right?  To have it read.

I write a screenplay so it can be made, not so it can sit in my drawer.  I write this so it can be read.  If it gets a good following, them perhaps we turn it into a community, one where we learn together on this little ride.


I'm about the be a father.

Not really "about" to be... it's going to take another six months.

But, I am the male in the equation, therefore, in six months, I'll be the proud father to a little VanDijk.  We don't know the sex yet, but my wife seems convinced, as does my mother, that it's a girl.

My wife, Angela, who pens the lovely blog, the actors wife, has not been sick.  (knock wood)  We have not had to deal with the dreaded morning sickness.

She's had other issues - she's always hot, which is not normal for she-of-the-wool-sweater-in-June.  And she was awake at midnight.   For those of you who know my wife, that's three hours past her normal bed time.

Things seem to be moving along swimmingly.

So, this is the first of many posts that will hopefully be as interesting and enjoyable to you to read as they are enlightening for me to write.