Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Broke Ass

It all happened so quickly! I wasn’t trying to prove a point; I wasn’t even trying to show off. In fact, I couldn’t give you one good reason why I was standing on the chair, especially since I’d been screaming at Lucy for the past few weeks to stop standing on the furniture.

I could hear myself explaining to her all of the horrible things that can go wrong when you abuse the sofa: “You’re gonna break your neck!” “You’re gonna break the couch!” “Those wings you are wearing were not made by angels; they were made by a 6 year old girl from Bangladesh who supports her family on thirteen cents an hour. Who after a 12 hour work day in the scorching heat and dreadful humidity fills her quota of 300 hand sewn wings, which she places in a box on a boat set for America. That boat docks somewhere in California where a man who is probably making less than minimum wage and doing the work of three men (including Jeff, his best friend who was laid off last weekend) carries that box of wings to a truck headed for our local megastore in Chicago. Once it arrives here it is unpacked and strategically placed onto an end case with a bunch of crappy cartoon pixies and pink strobe lights that are meant to entice and unleash a visual onslaught of giddiness and euphoria upon little doe-eyed girls such as yourself. Consequently, it’s those little “doe” eyes that your father cannot resist and seconds after you unleash a desperate stare of need for these wings, I am compelled beyond my better judgment to add a pair of these now outrageously priced sweatshop wings into our ridiculously random cart of diapers, paper towels, frozen pizza, car battery, toilet seat cover, “fresh cut” steaks, skill saw and The Very Best of Color Me Bad CD/DVD collectors edition. If you think for one instant that those wings will allow you to gently flutter to the floor from the top of that chair, you are sorely mistaken. Those wings do not work. They were made entirely of false dreams, imagination, hope and pink nylon. So sit down before you fall and break your head!” I thought I made my point clear, so could someone please tell me how it came to be that I found myself standing on the very same piece of furniture I was telling Lucy to get down from?

At the time Lu, Ru and I were all on the sun porch. Lucy was drawing, Rubers was playing on her piano and I was on the phone trying to switch my phone service (I think we’re getting railroaded by AT&T and was listening to what Vonage had to offer). It was during this phone conversation when I decided to stand on the chair.

“Da, what are you doing? You’re not supposed to stand on the furniture remember?” Blahhhhhh…. of course I remember, but I’m an adult, I think I can handle this. My spot on speech of probable scenarios was mostly a scare tactic; I thought she would understand this. Adults and children have different rules. Some things, like adults standing on furniture for absolutely no reason does not apply.

“So how much is it a month?” I asked the Denise, the Vonage lady.
“It’s twenty-four ninety-nine a month.” This is when it happened. It wasn’t the price that shocked me so much I lost my balance, or the potential savings. Suddenly, I couldn’t hear her and I found myself screamin, “What? I can’t hear you! Huh?” The chair started to move forward and the outcome was now inevitable. I saw my life flash before my eyes, but for some reason my life was a collage of America’s Funniest Home Video clips. It was all those awkward and embarrassing videos where a dad tries to dance to punk music and ends up crashing through a screen door. Or the video of a dad modeling the hip clothes that his kids picked out from him when he suddenly falls into an abandoned well. The video of a dad trying to show off at the pool and when he jumps off the diving board to do a Triple-Lindy he’s hit in the head by an errant goat. The video of a dad trying to “school” his son in basketball, but when he goes up for a dunk, he’s hit by a train carrying a bunch of birthday cakes with trick candles, a spider, a slobbering dog, laughing babies, a guy in a refrigerator box and a toddler that will smash him in the groin repeatedly with a whiffle ball bat. There is absolutely no doubt that if this fall was captured on film the host from Dancing With The Stars would say, “And the winner of $10,000 is…. Uncool dad standing on the chair for unknown reasons while trying to switch his phone service falls and breaks his ass.”

As I began to tumble off the chair, I remember thinking that, “This is the first time my feet were able to touch my ears,” then my backside crashes into the top of the chair, and it sounded like someone just let the air out of a balloon. Unbelievably, after what seemed like a minute of a zero gravity free fall, I land on my feet (much to the surprise of everyone in the room). I politely hang up with Denise (I never let go of the phone!) after telling her that I will consider their service. I then walk pass the girls into the bathroom, shut the door, push my face into a towel and scream, “Mother!!!*%$#@@@?....” After I wipe a few hard fought tears from my eyes, I regain my composure and hobble back to the girls. Of course Lucy says something about the incident that puts me in my place, “Blah blah you shouldn’t blah blah blah,” that’s expected now, whatever I get it. The bottom line is this; I was trying to be a good parent, giving sensible advice and thinking that I was immune to the laws of gravity and irony. I did the very thing that I warned Lucy against and as a result for the past few days I’ve been sitting on alternating bags of frozen edamame and peas. I know there is an obvious lesson to be learned here, but I don’t care. My butt is colored in nine different shades of black, brown, blue and yellow and every time I cough or sneeze I can taste a weird mixture of feet and spine and that’s pretty much all that needs to be said, and that's how I choose to end this.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Human Instinct

I question Lucy’s decision making process all the time. Whether it is the decision to nab a disgusting pigeon, wash her hands with yogurt or simply invent a meal by placing untraditional food items into an ordinary glass of milk (the salmon and green bean smoothie she made…. and drank, was particularly gross). Every day, she’ll do or say something that leaves me shaking my head, but that’s all part of being a kid right, it’s human. It’s our ability to think and make decisions based on reason rather than instinct that separates and allows us to dominate 99.79% of the animal kingdom. The exception of course being sharks whose decision to eat your face is always a good reason not to go in the ocean, and the Chupacabra a blood sucking bald devil/monkey/lizard/bat/kangaroo/rat that makes me cry and will keep me from ever visiting Puerto Rico. Anyway the point is this: Although we are able to make decisions, they are not always good ones. As a father I would like to think that while Lucy and Ruby are walking their way through this world, I’m able to help them facilitate their actions and to make good thoughtful choices. I just assume that they’ll take my advice until they are old enough to make sensible decisions on their own. I also assume, that they’ll assume, that my decisions are best for them. However, I never assumed that they would question me, that is until…

Lucy and her friend Anya were enjoying a hot summer day playing in the backyard where the dads were left in charge until the women returned. It was great, we had chips, drinks and a nice spot in the shade. After sweating for an hour, Lu suggested that the sprinkler be set up. With the nod of a head and some strategic placement the girls were soon frolicking through some of Chicago’s finest hose water. Suddenly Lucy stops….

“Da, I have to go potty.” I put down my beverage and begin to stand up. I was stopped when Anya's dad Neil suggested that she go right in the yard. Ummm duh? Of course, I mean it made sense to me. The girls were soaking wet and the nearest bathroom was 2 floors up. Plus it was his lawn, if he said Lu could pop-a-squat and pee on his nice green grass, we’ll by god that’s what she should do.
“No I don’t want to go on the grass; I wanna go on the potty.”
“It’s okay Lu, I don't mind, just go next to the bush there.” Neil said refereeing to the 6 foot hedge next to my chair.
“No, I wanna go to the bathroom.” Ahhh good lord! I’m confused by her unwillingness to be one with nature, to briefly live in the moment like a wild animal. I mean come on, if I’m ever at a place where the bathroom policy is turn around and pee, I’m taking full advantage of it, in fact, I probably drink more!
“Just go, no one is gonna see you. The quicker you do it, the quicker you and Anya can get back to playing in the sprinkler. If her Neil say’s it’s okay, then it’s okay.” She clearly seems unconvinced that this is the appropriate decision, but after a second she looks at me, then looks at Neil dad and says, “Okay, I’ll just go right over here.” That’s my girl; She’s still unsure, but willing to listen to her dad. She moves over to the bush…
“Are you sure that this is okay?” She’s says again. Man is she stubborn,I mean come on, what’s the big deal? Just go! This is the clearly the best option right now...not always, but right now! We both nod our heads to answer her question. She shrugs her shoulders, bends down and does the deed.

A few seconds later after she walked away we found out why she was so concerned, so hesitant and so conflicted. She was thinking like a human, she was reasoning. She knew we were wrong, we never asked; we both just assumed that when she said she had to go “bathroom,” she meant she had to pee.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Rush

Her favorite color was “milk.” Her feet felt like “fat airplanes.” Her eyes were” itching from the inside” and she was convinced there was a “woodpecker” in her bedroom. I’m never giving Lucy cotton candy again.

I guess I should start by saying that Lucy doesn’t get sugary sweets very often. We decided to relegate the cane specifically to special occasions and bribes. That’s not to say that Tuesday morning can’t be a “special occasion,” it’s just that she’s so mild and sweet we’re scared that too much sugar will turn her into some sort of chocolate drooling hob-goblin. In fact, chocolate is so precious I once watched her take 4 bites from a single M&M, it took her a half hour to eat 10! But cotton candy… cotton candy was a magical fluffy wad of confectionary delight. Cotton candy was the scent of her bubble baths, the image on her pajamas and the flavor of those little pink jelly beans at grandpa Toms. Simply put, it was her white whale/Loch Ness monster/Holy Grail all wrapped into one beautiful and elusive treat. Sooooo… why am I tellin’ you all this? Well, because on Friday August 28th Lucy got her whale, and in the process confirmed all of our sugary personality and mind altering suspicions.

It was Lucy’s first Cubs game. I was excited, she was excited, it was perfect day. She got to spend the afternoon taking in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field with her dad and two of his buddies, and I got to help her experience a live sporting event. How was this not cool? She rode on my shoulders from the train to the park; we must have looked like we were plucked from one of those sappy life insurance commercials. You could see the excitement in her eyes the moment we sat down; the smells, the sounds, the people, the…

“Daddy- Daddy! Do you see that? Do you see that man with the cotton candy? Do you see it? It’s pink and blue. Daddy can I have some cotton candy? Daddy please! Please daddy, please! Please! Pleeeeeease!!!!!”
“You can have some, after you have a decent lunch.” I flag down the hot dog guy, and order two. Lucy has been sitting backwards in the chair watching the man with the big pink stick stroll up and down the aisles. She could’ve cared less about the game; she never took her eyes off the guy with the cotton candy.

It was the third inning when I grabbed the attention of the guy who demanded I pay him $6.00 for the goods.
“No no, I only want one bag.” I explained.
“Oh, in that case it’s still six dollars.”
“For cotton candy!” I was appalled! I couldn’t in good conscious pay $6.00 for a bag of cotton candy; it’s unreasonable, criminal really… “Does your cotton candy come with a one year cell phone contract? What’s so special about your cotton candy? Do you have Dalia Lama blessed corn fed Tibetan yaks pounding the sugar cane into finite crystals of deliciousness in a secret lilac scented room under home plate? Why in the world would I want to pay six of my wife’s hard earned dollars for a bag of cotton candy that probably cost less than three cents to make? Why? Why would I do that? Why?”
He slowly bent down and met me at eye level, “You’ll buy my cotton candy, because that cute little girl sitting next to you wants you to.”

I tried to regulate the amount of cotton candy that went in at one time, but she started to get a bit crazy and almost bit me. Then I thought it would be a good idea to balance out the cotton candy with Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Twizzlers and fries. I don’t know if I was doing this so she could get the whole experience of the ball game, or to simply keep her occupied until the final out, it was probably a bit of both…probably.

3 Hours later

I started to notice Lucy was a bit off while we were waiting for the train. It was cloudy, but she insisted that the sun was hurting her eyes. Then on the train, she was complaining that her mouth was sweating. I attributed all these foreign sensations to the euphoria of witnessing a 9th inning comeback off of an Alphonso Soriano home run. She stared at me blankly as if I were speaking some made up language, and then she responded with what I’m sure was a made up language. A few more Touretts type outburst and we were off the train and walking (unusually fast) home. Cathy and Rubers met us half way immediately Cath got the run down.
“How was the game? Did you have fun? Did the Cubs win?” I’m sure Cathy was expecting to get a detailed report from the usually precise Lucy, but all she got was, “I had a lot of junk. I had a hot dog, cotton candy, peanuts, cotton candy, licorice and cotton candy” Then she started to march and chant, “COTTON CANDY, COTTON CANDY, I LOVE COTTON CANDY. LOVE LOVE LOVE, COTTON COTTON CANDY” This was unexpected.
“Why does she keep saying cotton candy? How much did she have?” I wondered what would be the appropriate response, but it was clear from the look of her matted hair and sticky fingers, I couldn’t say “a tiny bit.”
“All of it.” Cathy looked at me like I was crazy, then we noticed that Lu was talking to a tree.

From that point on she started to get progressively worse. She had mentioned no less than three times during the time span of about 5 minutes that she wanted a “milk” colored dress. When we asked her if white was okay, she replied, “No I didn’t say white, remember, I said milk. Milk is not white, milk is my favorite color.” Cathy noticed that Lu was continuously sweating and no matter what was said, the conversation always led back to a cotton candy chant. For dinner we decided that a healthy dose of pasta was the best remedy to absorb the sugar in her system. After a bowl, she decided that her feet felt like “fat airplanes.” After her bath, she said her eyes were “itching from the inside.” But perhaps the weirdest thing happened when she was getting her PJ’s on. I was sitting in the living room, when Lucy appeared into the hallway and waved me into her room. For a minute I just sat there staring at her, it was kinda slow motion creepy. Then she did it again, but this time as her curled up tiny little finger beckoned me to her room, she whispered, “Daddy I think there’s a woodpecker in my room.” Now in my head I know there is no woodpecker in her room, but… It was such an odd thing to say. Had she said there was an elephant or bus in her room, I wouldn’t have moved a bit, but a woodpecker? There’s a slight possibility, I mean it’s probable, right?
“What do you mean there’s a woodpecker in your room?” I needed to clarify this, because she’s 3. She could very well be confusing a crayon for a woodpecker.
“There is a woodpecker in my room and he has pecked holes into my walls, you have to see this.” Well she seemed to know that a woodpecker pecks holes, so from that standpoint it appears she understands. I guess I have to get up and check.

I enter her room and find Lucy standing in the middle of her rug with her hands on her hips staring at one of the walls.
“Shhhhhh…. He’s hiding.” Seriously, this had all the makings of a horror movie: Crazy whispering girl, inquisitive dreamboat and the phrase “He’s hiding.” I’m sure I only have seconds before an 8ft skinless death bird pops up from behind the toy chest, pecks a hole into my skull and feasts on my eyeballs.
“Look at all the holes in my wall.” She points to a tiny hole above her bed.
“I don’t see it.” I whisper back as I look over my shoulder.
“Look there is another one over there, and there, don’t you see them?” I did see them, and there were more than a few, but they were old nail holes.
“How do you know they were made by a woodpecker?” I asked.
“Well I don’t, but you have to believe.”
“?????????????.......” Seriously, has she been watching reruns of the X-Files? I watched her for a couple more seconds as she talked quietly to herself about the origins of the wall holes, I noticed that she started to sway. Her speech got progressively slower and her eyes appeared to get heavier.
“Daddy I want to sleep now.” In three years of life, not once has she ever requested to go to bed. Her body was crashing; the sugar effect was wearing off. I tucked her into bed and started to walk out of the room, when she sat up and screamed something that sounded like, “Koo-Koo cheese macaroni stick.” It was so unexpectedly loud, I peed a little. Then just as unexpected, she flopped backwards and her head crashed onto her pillow. Neither Cathy or I were back in her room for the rest of the night, though occasionally she would scream without warning, they were short little outburst of withdrawal and usually short lived.

The next morning Lucy was fine. We ate a huge oatmeal breakfast, then went to the park and played hard enough to wear off any residual effects of yesterday’s binder. I sat down on a bench next to the slide and smiled as I contemplated our first official “Daddy/Daughter Day,” I personally deemed it a great success. After all, we scored free tickets, had great seats and saw the Cubs win on a walk off homer; I couldn’t have scripted it better if I tried. I looked over to Lu who was running about the lot, she was wearing her new pink Cubs cap which she picked out at the game yesterday, she was so cute.
“Lucy, wasn’t the Cubs game that we went to yesterday awesome?”
“Remember all the cotton candy I ate? Remember it was pink and blue? Remember? Remember? Remember the guy with the cotton candy? Do you remember that dad?”
“Yeah I remember it was pink and blue.”
“Right. It was pink and blue and it was the best cotton candy EVER.” It wasn’t the response I was looking for. She made no mention of the game, the players or the homerun, in fact I’m pretty sure that the cotton candy in question caused some sort of temporary memory loss and/or paralysis. Nope, she may not remember that I was the one who took her to her first Cubs game, but she’ll definitely remember that it was I who gave her the best bag of cotton candy EVER. I think that’s something I can live with.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Another UPDATE!

Soooooo..... LBN will be taking a break until the next story is done. Pretty vague right? I know, I know... what will you spend your hours of down time at work reading? Well, you could reintroduce yourself to the blog that will soon be a major motion picture! That is of course whenever Hollywood calls (as a side note, you can't just call "Hollywood" and say "Hey I have a blog, I want you to turn it into a movie). But I was persistant and I had a few perameters that probably hurt my chances. First I thought my "project" would benefit greatly if they could get either David Schwimmer or Clint Eastwood to direct it. I have also put together a list of actors who I thought would be perfect for these roles:

Jim - Steve Guttenburg
Lucy - Seth Green or the girl from Little Miss Sunshine
Ruby - The guy who played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings (Yes, Ruby will be CGI!)
Cath - Mila Jovovich
Jewel Employee - Seth Green or Tobey Maguire or Larry the Cable Guy
Homeless Santa - Ron Pearlman, period!
The No Panty Nanny - Melissa Rivers
The Fly - Cuba Gooding Jr. or Henry Winkler
The Little Blue Men - Bell Biv Devoe
Jim as Joey Fatone - Keeanu Reeves
Pigeon - Elmo voiced by Kathy Griffen
and finally all poop will be played by slightly melted Kit-Kat bars.

As awesome as all this sounds, Hollywood is kinda draggin' their feet, so who knows. The good thing is, if that don't work out, you can all read about my adventures in the soon to be published book "Life Between Naps." That's right, you heard it here first, my blog will be published as soon as I can acquire an agent who can get me a deal....... Blah.

So anyway, I'm around and working hard on a new season of stories with all new experiences and characters. Soon to be memorable characters like: lady at the store, waitress, Doctor, Jehovah witnesses, fat man, woodpecker and the voice of God. Thanks again for all the support. So catch up on all the stories you've missed and I start the new season shortly (probably Monday).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Chore Board

“Jim, get up!!! I have to get ready, and I can’t do that if Ruby continues to stick her arms in the toilet.” Errrrrr… Me no wanna to get up, so sleepy. I bury my head under the pillow and yell to the bathroom, “I want the day off.” After I say this, it hits me…. Is Cath my boss? No way sucka! Ain’t no one is the boss of me, I run this show. If she wants me up so bad, she better ask nicely, she better recognize her place, and she better not-
“Get Up NOW!”
“Okay-Okay, sheesh.” Dammit… she owns me. I mope over to the bathroom grab Ruby and her toilet soaked PJ’s then head for the coffee pot. I get there and… What the? Nothing!? No delicious Kona aroma cutting through last night’s fish dinner, no piping hot wakie-wakie drink, nothing, zip. I have more liquid welling up in my eyes than there is in the pot. I’m devastated.
“You didn’t start the coffee!” I raise my voice just to make sure my Y-chromosome is still working, then I fart. Yup, everything appears to be in order. I decide to test my man powers by staring at the vacant pot and willing it to brew. Meanwhile, Ruby has taken offense to my less than pleasing or shall I say “harsh” morning release and decides to rake her little razor sharp ninja fingernails across my neck, successfully lacerating my adams apple. I begin to feel dizzy.
“I didn’t start it ‘cause we don’t have any filters!” I gasp for breath, this horrible predicament, along with an frantic drop in blood pressure, brings me to my knees. After the white spots disappear, I retain my balance and decide that as the alpha male, it is my duty to invent or at the very least produce a coffee filter.

I put Rubers into her chair and suffocate her tray with Cheerios, then I get to work. Okay, this first thing I need is material. I unravel 3 sheets of Brawny paper towels, cut them down to size, push them into place, grind up the coffee, fill the pot with water, put the hammer away, close the tool box and press brew. Dun-dun-dunnnn, I am awesome!

Ruby and I strut into the living room where Cathy and Lu are watching cartoons. I put Ru on the floor and place my hands on my hips much in the same way superheroes do and announce to the females, “Coffee will be done in a minute.” Then I crack my knuckles… All of them.
“I thought we didn’t have any filters?” Why does she underestimate the power of a man?
“I made one.” She seems unimpressed… I crack my neck.
“I don’t have time Rambo, I gotta go. Remember, you need to call and make a doctor’s appointment for Ruby and clean the bathroom.”
“Yeah-yeah-yeah, I know-I know.” Man, she acts like I don’t know what’s going on around here. It’s Monday, and Monday is bathroom cleaning day, it says so right on the brand new Chore Board she made for me. She doles out the kisses, closes the door and finally vanishes around the corner, not to be seen for another 11 hours.

When I finally get to the kitchen where I expect to pour myself a piping hot cup of coffee, I’m startled to find what looks like a blob of brownish dough oozing from the top of the coffee pot. It was early, but I’m almost certain I put coffee and not cinnamon rolls into the world’s most awesome coffee filter. I then realized it had been about 20 minutes since the brew process was started and there was only about an inch or so of a not quite brown and not quite clear liquid in the pot. I grab a fork for defense and move closer to the doughy mass. After a quick poke to the beast I realize that I wasn’t dealing with a monster, in fact, I was dealing with a way too absorbent super Brawny coffee filter. My ingenious replacement was apparently so awesome it took on a whole 10 cups by itself, and consequentially grew to 50 times its original size! I guess I over compensated for potential tearing and might have added too many layers, but man was it glorious. At this point I had two choices. I could either get the girls dressed and head out for coffee, or I could squeeze the liquid from the freak filter right into my mug.

As I stand there wringing every last drop of “coffee” into my mug, Lucy appears from around the corner to inform me she has peed “a little” on the floor of the bathroom. She then tells me not to worry, because she will wipe it up all by herself. I take a swig of what amounts to be the dullest coffee in the world and head to the bathroom, where I realize that Lucy clearly doesn’t understand the meaning of “a little.”
“What happened?”
“Well, I didn’t do all the pee-pees in the toilet.” I didn’t bother to ask if this “little” puddle was the outcome of getting there too late, or getting off too early, I’m not sure it matters. I put my vaguely flavored coffee water down and assess the situation. I come to the conclusion that this is a positive accident. I’ll clearly have to mop the floor; which was on my list, so essentially I’ll have half of my chores done by 8 am. Lucy drops her sheet of toilet paper down to the ground, it does nothing. I return to the kitchen, grab my “coffee filter” and toss it onto the bathroom floor. Everything is instantly absorbed. Lucy and I both scream when it appears as though this liquid guzzling wad of paper actually makes a move toward the tub. After another quick safety poke, I scoop the 10lb beast onto a shovel and slide him into the trash. A quick scour of the floor, a nice bleachy finish and BAM! One chore down, one to go.

Now I turn all my energy to chore 2: Get Ruby a doctor appointment, aka the 1 year checkup. The quicker this gets completed, the more time I’ll have to take a nap and catch up on all my back episodes of Oprah. Ruby and Lucy are both content in Lucy’s room… I think. So I grab the phone in an attempt to bring the hammer down on my Chore Board.

Disclaimer: All names have been changed to insure our kids will continue to receive health care without retribution.

“Thank you for calling Sunnyside Pediatrics, if you know your parties extension press one now. For all other inquires please hold.” I don’t know my parties extension, so I hold. There is music on the line, but it’s choppy and muffled immediately it begins to irritate me. After 5 minutes of waiting, I can’t take it anymore, I press 1. “You have entered an invalid number, for the company directory press two. For all other inquiries please hold.” I’m sorta confused, how could 1 be invalid if it was the only choice? That stupid music begins to play again. I wait for a minute and decide to press 2. “Thank you for calling Sunnyside Pediatrics, to further assist you please listen to the menu before making your choice. For office hours and address press one. For company directory press two. For billing press three. To make an appointment press four. To speak to an operator press pound. If this is an emergency please hang up and call nine-one-one. Thank you and have a nice day.” The phone makes that clicky hang-up sound and then I hear the dial tone. I press 4, nothing happens. I press 1, 2, 3 and # nothing happens. I hang up the phone take a deep breath and peek into Lucy’s room; she has a sticker caught in her hair… I close the door. I shake it all off and head back to the living room to try again.

“Thank you for calling Sunnyside Pediatrics, if you know your parties extension press one now. For all other inquires please hold.” Cue stupid music. I press 1 immediately. “Please enter your party’s extension followed by pound.” Hmmm…. I have no idea. I decide on 11#. “You have entered an invalid number please re-enter the number followed by pound. For all other inquiries please hold.” At this point, I’m still relatively calm, but now I have to bring in some logic, and logic makes me angry. I figure since 11 was invalid they were either on a single number system, or a double number system higher than 20, but I’m scared it will hang up if I get another extension wrong. I’m also not convinced anyone will answer if I hold. I wait a couple of seconds; I panic and push 27#. “You have entered an invalid number please re-enter the number followed by pound. For all other inquiries please hold.” Mother! I clench my buttocks to refrain from slamming the phone to the floor, I hold, and I hold…. and I hold. Finally, I decide just hang up and start over. But, right before I hang up, in that split second when your thumb is pushing down on the end call button, I hear, “Hello?” I couldn’t stop the force of my thumb and I quickly hear the “click,” then a dial tone. That did it, this sends me into a fury. I run into the kitchen, I have a headache; I grab some coffee beans and begin chewing them. This wonderful idea sends me into a euphoric Hulk-like fury. I slam a glass of milk (which I hate) for no reason whatsoever, take a deep breath, peek into Lucy’s room where she is sitting bare ass except for her Tutu covered with stickers. Ruby is sitting on Lu’s bed clapping and sucking on a sock. Lucy asks me why I’m sweaty; I ask her how Ruby got on the bed? She shrugs her shoulders. I tell her I’ll be right back; I shut the door, stomp down the hall reminding myself to breath. I pick up the phone, and the process begins for the third time!

“Thank you for calling Sunnyside Pediatrics, if you know your parties extension press one now. For all other inquires please hold.” Immediately the music starts and it send me to a place I’ve never been. I start drooling and frothing at the mouth. My heart is beating so hard I begin to hyperventilate. I wanna slam the phone through the wall; instead I just squeeze it really really hard. I’m scared to do anything but wait. I begin to pace like a crazed dog. I take my frustration out by pummeling our defenseless couch. Seconds turn to minutes. I’m about to hang up and call 911, and tell them that “it is about to go down at Sunnyside Pediatrics,” but in order to get an address I have to push a completely nonsensical and confusing strain of numbers, which I can’t do right now! Ahhhhh….. I start to rehash the calls wondering if there was something I missed, some secret code that links you right to a human. I go over the sequences aloud when I realize that I’m beginning to sound like Rain Man, I crack. I can’t make heads or tails of anything. It’s been 8 minutes and I’m 20 seconds from ending up a crazy self-conversating homeless guy. Then just as the tears begin to fall I hear a click, a ring and finally a voice.
“Hello Thank you for calling Sunny Side Pediatrics, my name is Julie how can I assist you.” I’m almost to choked up to talk. I clear my throat.
“I need to make a one year appointment for my daughter Ruby with Dr. Elms.” Sniff-sniff.
“She gives me the date and time. I don’t even bother to check the calendar.”
“Is there anything else I can do for you today?” Here’s my chance…
“As a matter of fact, you can. I would like to make a complaint to whoever set up your infuriating phone system. I was on the phone-”
“Okay sir; please hold while I connect you to the appropriate extension.”
“No wait. No don’t! Please God no! Please! You won’t like me when I’m angry! Errr…Nooooo……. Errrrr….” The music starts, that’s the last thing I remember.