when I started this blog five years ago, I was a pet sitter and the name animal-crackers made sense. now I'm a stay-at-home-dad and freelance writer, but rather than confuse everyone by getting a different blog, it's just easier to keep posting things here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dylan's adenoids

Dylan had his adenoids removed last week. Everything went well until it was time for him to come out from anesthesia. That was ugly.

He had a hoarse, moaning cry between coughs and hiccups. He flopped and twisted everywhere, messed with his IV and didn't look well at all. The nurses and doctors seemed to think this was normal. But when it went on a little longer than they expected, they gave him some pain medicine. That calmed him down.

Dylan was doing OK for the next 24 hours. And then his nose started flowing. It was an unending stream of snot and mucous. That too was ugly. Worse for Andrea since she vomits at the sight of snot.

And it is just now starting to let up -- after four days.

I don't know what exactly is going on, but this isn't what we expected. We were lead to believe that he would be back to normal after a couple of days. It's been five days now and he's still not back to normal.

Luckily, Dylan has a regularly scheduled visit with his pediatrician on Monday. We'll see then what kind of damage the stupid ENT left in his wake.
posted by todd at 9:25 AM 0 comments

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sophia and Dr. Cho

Saturday was busy. Josh and I went to a baby shower for Amy and Sasha's daughter, Sophia. Isn't she just adorable?

It was a great party, but Andrea and Dylan didn't make it. It's hard to figure out his sleeping schedule. And then, Josh and I had to leave early, because Josh was exhausted and unable to sit still. He had otherwise been very well behaved. Er, except for this picture of him chasing the peacock on the grounds outside of where the shower was held.

Then Josh and I stopped by the hospital where Dylan was born -- the NICU held its annual reunion. We had expected to find Andrea and Dylan and give them the camera. But Dylan had slept even longer than we expected. After 15 minutes, Josh and I were about to leave when Andrea and Dylan arrived.

Here's a picture of Dylan and Dr. Cho -- the neonatologist who saved his life. A team of doctors, nurses, radiologists and various technicians helped, of course. But Dr. Cho was Dylan's primary during his 123 days at the NICU.

posted by todd at 2:46 PM 1 comments

Friday, April 13, 2007

support ME! choose ME! love ME!

Last week I decided enough was enough. I fired my hair stylist and a clerk at the Walgreens. Why? I didn't like the way they looked.

Over the weekend, I used my influence to have a friend hired at Half-Price Books, and then made sure he received a raise. Now he makes $6,000 a year.

And yesterday, I embezzled $50 in government funds and misspent it on a donation to the Sierra Club, then lied to investigators about it.

Why do I do these things? Because I need Bush's backing. I desperately need his approval. He needs to better support my family, and this is clearly the best way to get his attention.

Tomorrow I might just stomp my feet and throw myself to the ground in a fit of rage because Bush refuses to add a Reese's peanut butter cup to my tax refund.

Mr. Bush, McDreamy, you will give me your unwavering support and approval. Goddamit, you will.
posted by todd at 2:05 PM 0 comments

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So it goes

I rarely mourn the deaths of people I don't know. But today I do.

Kurt Vonnegut died Wednesday. He was 84.

Unfortunately I wasn't introduced to his writing until after college. However, I was immediately hooked when I read The Sirens of Titan. It's a story about the richest man on Earth who follows a bizarre quest to Mars and back and then to Titan. There, he discovers that the sole purpose of human existence was for him to take a spare part to a broken alien robot who was stranded there eons ago.

It blew me away. Nearly all science fiction writers dwell on intricately developed theories about how future technology works. Vonnegut eschewed that as nonsense and wrote about Martian invaders and aliens who manipulated human history.

These same aliens from Tralfamadore make another appearance in the next book I read, Slaughterhouse-Five. Like many of Vonnegut's other books, this is a semi-autobiographical story about a soldier who becomes a prisoner of war in WWII and witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. It's a unapologetic anti-war novel published in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War.

This became my favorite book ever, partly because I come from a family that seems to favor war. One of my grandfathers served in the Pacific, the other was an infantryman poised to invade Japan when Hiroshima and Nagasaki melted. My father served stateside as Vietnam was just starting, but two of my uncles were there. Most recently, my brother and his wife were in Iraq, having previously served time in North Korea and Bosnia.

Most of my family still thinks we could have won in Vietnam, if it hadn't been for those damn hippies and John Kerry.

So Slaughterhouse-Five solidified me as the only anti-war sissy in my family.

Next came Breakfast of Champions and Cat's Cradle. I have never read a book as focused as Breakfast of Champions. Every aspect of the book supports its theme that we are what we eat. Dwayne Hoover goes crazy on a diet of bad chemicals and bad ideas. America's breakfast of slavery, violence and exploitation has sustained it for 200 years. And the title comes from a waitress--every time she serves a customer a martini she calls it the "Breakfast of Champions."

The next two books I read were Hocus Pocus and Timequake. Although imaginative and insightful these didn't measure up to Vonnegut's other works. What's important though, is that that even Vonnegut's worst novels are better than most.

Just a few months ago I finished Mother Night -- the story about Howard Campbell, an American spy in Nazi Germany who secreted messages out of the country through his weekly radio addresses. However, these speeches were virulently anti-Semitic and inspired great loyalty from the Nazis. The book's message: you are who you pretend to be.

And now I'm half-way through Galapagos. After that, only seven more Vonnegut novels to go.

I've started almost a dozen novels, and only once written more than 7,000 words. My latest project was going to be called Vacation at Kurt Vonnegut. This was going to be my foreword:

The title of this book is an unabashedly transparent attempt to meet the author Kurt Vonnegut, who is not the namesake for the Village of Kurt Vonnegut. That Kurt Vonnegut gathered a large pile of stuff through murder and robbery and then forced the local people to eternally adopt the name of their exploiter. He was a big fish in a small outhouse. The author Kurt Vonnegut showed me the futility and beauty of living and letting others live too. He is a catch-and-release fisherman in an ocean.
OK, perhaps it needs some work still. Not that it matters. I'm too late. It'll probably be a long time until I have the chance to meet him.

So it goes.
posted by todd at 11:31 AM 0 comments

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter (bawk, bawk)

It's been a crazy couple of days lately.

On Friday, Dylan walked! Sorry no video yet. But he strolled across the living room -- about a dozen steps. A few times it looked like he might give up. He stopped and looked around to consider his options. He took a few more steps, stopped and looked around again.

Very cool.

Yesterday, Josh was sick with a 104.1 degree temperature. He vomitted a few times and scared us enough to call the doctor. After a couple teaspoons of Motrin, he cooled off enough to eat a few bites and go to bed.

At 4:30 am, I woke up to the sound of Josh puking in the bathroom. His temperature had jumped back to 103. So we calmed him down, cleaned him up, gave him a couple teaspoons of Tylenol, put him back in bed.

Now he's feeling better. Normal temperature and an appetite for candy. Kinda stinks that we're only letting him eat a few bites. But what a waste to eat a peanut butter bunny and bring it up again.

Josh found eight of 10 hidden eggs. Dylan found one and Andrea found one. I came in fourth with zero. Maybe better luck next year.
posted by todd at 11:25 AM 0 comments

Thursday, April 05, 2007

your opinion counts

Meet Charles. Charles thinks he's cool. Charles opened up a cafe in his church's children's center.

What had been the library surrounded by classrooms was gutted. Now it's a coffee ship. Surrounded by classrooms.

Anyone can walk in off the street, buy a cup of joe and stalk little children. Doesn't that sound like fun? I mean, what's a church without pedophiles?

Not so long ago I would have called a church without pedophiles Protestant. But Charles has a vision. He wants to bring some good old fashion child molestation back into the curriculum at his Baptist barn.

History: Charles ordered the construction of the Coffee Tabernacle over a year ago. Half of the teachers for the mother's morning out program (which Josh attends) quit and half of the parents stopped bringing their children.

Then Charles promised us: The cafe will never open during the day when children are present. Andrea and I were skeptical, but the cafe was indeed closed when we dropped off Josh.

A week ago, that changed. Jeniffer, the new mother's morning out director, gave every parent a monthly newsletter. In small print at the bottom of the newsletter, she announced the cafe was going to open from 7-10 am.

School starts at 9:30.

I talked to Jennifer and she didn't see the problem. She said some parents have even expressed their excitement over the changing hours.

Guess what Jenny. Andrea and I aren't the type of people who give a flying fuck what other people think. And we loathe sheep who do care too much about what other people think.

Then I emailed Charles. This is what I wrote:

"My wife and I are very concerned about the new hours at the Connexion Café. We had been assured the café would never be open while the children were in school. Now that’s changed.

"Please reconsider, or maybe wait until Summer Break. Josh loves the program and has been looking forward to “graduating” in May. (He starts kindergarten in the fall.) We don’t want to pull him out. If you could perhaps postpone the new morning hours a few weeks until after graduation, we would be very appreciative."

This is Charles' heartfelt response:

"At this time, we are planning on going forward with morning hours (7am-11am) starting on April 9th.

"Even though at the moment we are moving forward, I would very much like to understand your concerns/fears associated with the change. My belief that we can do both: We can continue to provide quality child-care and open our coffeeshop with morning hours. Please know that the concerns of parents and children are important to me (as a parent of three) and our Church, so please help me better understand your thoughts on this matter. I would gladly meet you sometime to discuss things, or feel free to call/email me."

OK, first -- what? 867-5309 (Jenny) said the cafe would be open until 10 am. Now it's open until 11 am? Thanks for the lies Jenny!

And wow, Charles. Although you're moving forward, you're willing to listen to my concerns?

Why the fuck do you want to listen to my concerns? You're moving forward anyway. Won't my concerns just bore you?

Charles, you must be such a good listener. I bet your wife/beard is so very happy/proud to have/hold you.

As much as we would like to put Josh on display for every stranger who walks in off the street, we're overly concerned with his safety. The simplest answer would be to remove him from the program.

But how fair is that -- to rip Josh away from his friends so Charles can sell coffee to his pedophile buddies? Why should Josh suffer for Charles' exciting dream of Jesus and joe?

No, we're going to grin and bear it for the next six weeks. I'll take Josh in at 11:15 -- make sure the cafe is predator-free -- and then pick him up 2 1/2 hours later. It's a shitty solution, but it's the best we can do.

And then when he graduates, we'll be done with that church of retards forever.

Is it too late to switch to Judaism?

Labels: ,

posted by todd at 9:54 PM 1 comments

Two things gone

I hate to throw things away. You'd think I was the child of a Great Depression survivor.

Today I finally threw away a leather belt I got as a freshman in college -- more than 16 years ago. Last week I replaced the sneakers I bought in 1992.

Who knows what's next -- maybe the hand-woven rainbow belt from Guatamala, circa 1991. Or maybe the book on the history of the Ottoman Empire (which I've half read twice ... same half).
posted by todd at 5:53 PM 0 comments

Monday, April 02, 2007

another picture

posted by todd at 4:22 PM 0 comments