Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I'm Alive

Just enjoying the Christmas holidays. Check back next week for a full report!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Tis the Season to be Tired

Man. I planned to write a short post on Friday, noting that the school Christmas break had arrived, and that I wouldn't be blogging much until January. Maybe I should have written that for Tuesday! I've been kept hopping by christmas preparations, trying to make sure everyone has good presents lined up, shopping for food, running other errands and such. I've been left wiped out! I was out for 4 hours yesterday. You'd amazed how hard it can be to find something like a sleigh bell the one time you really want one (thanks to the Polar Express movie. His school saw it yesterday at the IMAX. I liked the original book a lot, too. Highly recommended).

All this and the tree still hasn't been decorated. Heck, it's not even in the house. We got a live tree this year, and so it weighs a ton. We also need to move the loveseat in order to make room for it. Moving the loveseat and the tree are both two-person jobs. But someone has either been sick or busy everyday for the past week.

Last night, George, the dog who was wearing the funnel, got into Hubert's anti-inflammatory medication and at 20-45 pills. At most a dog should have 1 of those a day. So Trish forced hydrogen peroxide down George's throat, making him throw up and rushed him to the emergency vet. He should be fine, but that pretty much put the kibosh on tree moving last night. Make a note: Medication that tastes good to a dog is not always a good thing.

Oh, I've fixed the link to the Hubert Blog. I hope.

Now off to clean house and run more errands. Today is Jake's class party, and I'm supposed to bring the drinks.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Santa Clause Is Comin' To Town

There are days when I envy my parents. Every generation faces its own troubles in rearing kids, but I know that when it came to toys, my own folks were only constrained by three considerations: 1) can he hurt himself 2) will he play with it for more than 10 minutes before becoming bored 3) can we afford it?

Now, Trish and I are hardly the sort of parent that sweat over getting Jake into the right daycare at the age of 18 months so that we can be sure he'll make it into Harvard Medical School. On the other hand, we aren't the laizez faire sort of parents that are happy to get him the latest Power Rangers gear, GI Joe Armageddon Playset (be it noted that I had a lot of GI Joe stuff as a kid and loved it), or every Hot Wheels racetrack package that was ever extruded from a plastic mold. But we do have a few more somewhat vague criteria for toys than I think my folks did.

Striking the balance, between something he wants and thinks is fun and what we think might be fun, educational, and non-harmful is hard. We do, occasionally, from time to time, maybe sometimes try just a wee bit too hard to get him interested in something like the Junior Nobel Laureate Practice Science Kit (Create your own weather Station! Design a Computer from tin cans and old D batteries! Make your own working submarine! Clone your pets using our simple techniques! Some Assembly and/or Parental Supervision Required.).

This desire for balance is compounded a bit by our recognition that we have overdone it in the past (and lets not get into trying to convey the real meaning of the holiday. That's another series of posts, probably). Christmas 2002 was way excessive in terms of stuff. A bike, 3-4 Matchbox/hotwheels playsets, just too too much. We've been struggling to make space in his room ever since, including tossing out or giving away toys he broke, lost many of the parts to, or just plain doesn't play with anymore (just to be clear here that we only give away stuff that either still works are is virtually complete. I've little use for people that give away broken toys, unless the receiver is aware and okay with it).

So he has made his list, which includes an Xbox (no chance), a toy-size dirt bike (for sure), and many, many items that require a long hmmmm. Now we get to cull it and try to sneak in our own brilliant (we hope) ideas. The proof shall be in the pudding Christmas morning.

Friday, December 10, 2004

No. Yes. Maybe.

Last night, I checked my Site Meter and was surprised to see I had over 25 hits. I figured someone must have linked to me. Sure enough, there were many from Rebel Dad. So I moseyed on over to see what he had to say, which was that I was walking away from the title of "at-home dad." Am I? Well, yes and no.

In my last post, I stated that I was choosing a certain way to try and approach life. I wanted to try certain things, and was uncomfortable with the "pure" label of a stay at home dad, even if it was likely that was what I was going to be in practice. In re-reading, it has become apparent that when I talked about writing and acting, it might have sounded as though these were to be, well, careers, that would put Jacob back in day-care…


One problem with blogging (or any sort of personaly narrative communication, come to think of it) is that you occasionally forget that other people have not necessarily been privy to your thoughts and ruminations of the past several months, in all their branching, back-tracking, and wandering 'round in circles past the notions counter one-two-three, glory.

I don't intend for either of those activities to be careers. In fact, one of the reasons I chose to pursue them (other than I like writing and I really really like acting) was that they would allow me to continue doing something I'm enjoying quite a bit, namely, being around the home, taking care of things, and being around my son for more than a couple of waking hours each day.

It seems to me that what I object to on some level is the seeming limitation of the label of "stay at home dad". It strikes me as every bit as limiting and non-explanatory as the older label of "housewife" or "homemaker" was to another generation. Perhaps that is just my own biases rearing up too strongly. Perhaps to many other SAHD contains multitudes. I don't know.

I wonder. Has this cleared up anything, or is it still clear as mud? Am I simultaneously avoiding the title of SAHD and not wanting to "abandon" those who have embraced it with pride? Am I conflicted amd writing way too much about a simple matter of nomenclature?

I tell ya, its a lot easier to tell people how to make a PB&J sandwich that won't go soggy in your lunchbox.

My lovely and brilliant wife once said that I had a calling to be a husband and a father. So while my lifestyle choice may not qualify in the Census Bureau's eyes, or even in my own self-image, I intend to honor that call, and hope that I can pursue acting and writing in addition to that.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


As Jan 1 approaches, I feel a certain sense of trepidation. Months ago, during the summer sometime, Trish and I decided that I would get the rest of the year to decide what I wanted to do with myself. I was to decide upon my career direction. I read a book or two on the subject, wrote in my blogs, dealt with matters domestic and not-so domestic, and settled into something approaching a routine. From time to time Trish and I discussed various aspects of the decision.

But that time is coming to an end, and even though I had really made the choice some weeks ago, the passing of the deadline nevertheless carries a fair amount of psychic weight.

In the end, I'm not calling myself a stay-at-home-dad, full stop. I do want to try and make a go of writing and acting. Now, it may be this is just some foolish attempt to pretend to remain intellectually engaged in some outside activity while I become, in fact, your basic househusband (which, I should note, is my problem). I have to be honest with myself about this. However much I talk a good game of pursuing some very creative if probably not terribly renumerative gigs, I'm well aware that doing much at either of them requires one to do a fair amount of duff-getting off of. The hard truth is, I've never been great at getting out of my ruts.

For me anyway, for all I periodically grump about the number of things I need to get done, I have a pretty clear set of tasks, and I also have complete control over how they get done. Plus, I get to build in my own rest breaks, and take them the way I want. Surf the 'net? Sure. Play loud music? No sweat. Fire up a game? Right on. Read? You betcha. And of course, the dress code is very casual.

This is a long-winded way of asking the question: If I say I want to be an actor and a writer, in addition to being a SAHD, just how hard am I going to work to make that happen? Not how hard am I going to have to work, how hard am I willing to work.

Haven't the foggiest. The acting part is easiest, oddly enough for precisely the opposite of the reasons its nice being a SAHD. You take an acting gig, you be there, on time, wear what they give you, eat when the director is done shooting, all that sort of thing. Writing is quite different. You have to seek out topics, you have to seek out people to talk to, you have to make yourself sit down and write (and its not like writing a blog).

We'll see how it goes. Forth the great adventure.

Friday, December 03, 2004


The smoke alarm went off a few minutes ago. It seems that Trish, who isn't feeling well and is home today, wanted to make herself some tea. Unfortunately, she turned on the wrong burner, and now we need to re-season a cast iron skillet.

I've always been sentimental at the darndest things. Music has the strongest effect. So it may not work for you, but I reckon if I need to gin up some tears for a scene in acting, I could do worse than getting the chorus to Kelly Clarkson's song "Fly Away" into my head and visualizing a grown-up Jacob preparing to head out into the world as the music swells. Makes a lump in the throat, it does.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Housekeeping Note

Actually, this is about blog housekeeping, not the house housekeeping. Got that straight? Anyway, if you look over to the right will see that the blogroll, once empty, then for some weeks a whopping two, has expanded considerably. I hope I've included everyone who has placed Homo Domesticus in their blogrolls -- if I've missed you, please let me know, I'll add you in ASAP.

Right now, its just a list. I hope to do a bit of categorizing eventually, but what you have are SAHD blogs, personal blogs, several friends who cover everything from politics to the personal, and last, but not least, our dog.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

One Unexpected Bent Gender role Reversal from a Prior Decade, Hold the Mayo

Life is constantly handing us things we do not expect. Some are good, some are bad, some are just weird. This is about the third one.

Trish is busy this semester (nothing tells the world you are married to an academic person more than the tendency to think and speak in terms of semesters). Really busy, at least in terms of time away from home doing stuff. And not just in teaching, research, and her writing (40K words this year) and trying to do her part to corral the herd of cats that is the typical university department (and really, you can just hear Alec Guinness intoning that famous line from Star Wars:TOS "never was there a more wretched hive of scum and villainy").

It's scary to consider how snowed under she would be if her classes this time around required a lot of grading, because in addition to that she has been working on our church's Call Committee, engaged in the search for a new minister for our congregation. Oh, and she has also been acting as a mentor for one of the teens in our church.

Now naturally, part of the reason she can do all this is because I'm not working late. This also creates an exaggerated sense of her being away; when I got off work at 4:30 and picked Jake up at his day care at 5:00, we might be home a hour or less before Trish arrived. But now he comes straight home from school and we spend three hours before she gets home. That, plus the extra time away because of these (note emphasis here) temporary extra duties have created a peculiar situation for me.

You see where this is going, right?

I caught myself the other day worrying if Jake is seeing enough of his mom, if she is working too hard, wishing she could get home earlier, and not have to have evening meetings.

About thirty seconds later I snorted my English Breakfast tea out my sinuses (I don't recommend that, by the way. Hot or cold). Was I in a Bizarro World Sixties time warp or a Seventies one? Or what? Whichever it was, I'm not sure if it means I need to switch to decaf or get as much more caf as possible. File this one away under Things You Don't Expect When You Become A Stay-At Home Dad, cross referenced with Gender Bending.