Friday, April 30, 2010

Sit on the Toilet Seats Clean.

So, we did a show last night in Norfolk, CT.  No, I don't mean Norwalk.  I mean Norfolk.  Google it or look on a map or something.  It exists and it turns out that it's one of the nicest places on the planet.  Well, I can't be totally sure of that because I was asleep in the van when we pulled in.  But Cathy said it's a really pretty town.  I can, however, be totally sure that Infinity Hall is one of the nicest venues we've ever played in.  The place was spotless clean.  Not to be crude, but it was "sit on the toilet seats" clean.  I'm not saying we haven't played other venues that can boast such a claim.  But none are coming immediately to mind, if that's any indication.

After the show, half the band drove back to New York and the other half stayed in a hotel.  Guess who came home and guess who stayed behind.  I bet you will guess wrong.

I knew it.  You guessed WRONG!

Nini and I stayed behind and spent the night at a hotel.  Why?  Because we fuckin' could!  What are you kidding me?  You want to drive me through the night crunched up in a van with band mates to drop me off at my house at 4am only to be woken up one hour later by the babies when I can shack up at a musky and dank Quality Inn with outside doors?  You're DAMN RIGHT I'm taking the full night's sleep in a stinky motel with stained carpeting and a window looking onto the parking lot, and so is the other brand new mom in the band.  Sayonara Sibby & Bird, drive safely!

So we nestled in, snug as bugs.  I, a bit more snug than @ninicamps, got to shack up in my double bed with @lizbrooks (who didn't snore, thank the sweet baby).  We pulled the daylight shades closed and were out like lights...eventually.

I spent an hour or so tossing and turning imagining a murderer kicking in the door of our room (I did mention our room was practically IN the parking lot, right?).  That visual may have had something to do with our twenty minute discussion on the van ride up about how unnecessary a re-make of Nightmare on Elm Street is.  Don't you agree?  Why are they remaking that movie?  That annoys me.

And I awoke a few times because my nose was stuffed from the stale air in our "non-smoking" room.  And a few more times I woke up thinking about how my face was directly on the sheets of the lumpy bed I was in.  And each time I woke up, the bridge melody to our song, "Borrowed Time" was playing in my head.  It was driving me nuts, quite frankly.       

Other than those minor interruptions, and the fact that I was not comfortable sitting on the toilet seat in our hotel room, I had a heavenly night's sleep.  We drove home this morning and I've been able to spend a perfectly lovely and somewhat lucid day with the twins.  And I'm looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow night in Providence, RI.




Friday, April 23, 2010

The Beatles can Raise Your Babies.

I've got some great news.

After accidentally introducing the babies to pop music via Nick Jr. and The Laurie Berkner Band, it finally dawned on me that The Beatles can actually raise the babies.

Allow me to expound.  This is not intended to be a "bash The Laurie Berkner Band blog" (ish), so in her band's defense, the song "Five Days Old" is certainly a smash hit single in my household.   But after hearing about The Laurie Berkner Band ad nauseam from friends who have kids, being told it was crack music for babies, and it would be all I'd hear for the first four years of their lives, I dreaded her and her band.

I bought the CD that had the song "Five Days Old" on it anyway.  And I've played it, several hundred times.  And I've grown to tolerate it.  It's like a children's concept album.  There's a theme running throughout, there are song reprises, and in some cases songs flow right into each other.  It's her Pink Floyd "The Wall".  See, I said something nice about it.  So let's move on.

The other day, I plopped the babies into their high chairs and began scrolling the iPod headed toward "B is for Berkner" when suddenly, it dawned on me.  That it just dawned on me is another symptom of sleep deprivation, I'm telling you.  But B is not just for Berkner.  B is for The Beatles! (Cue bright lights and heavenly music).

So I scrolled through all my Beatles albums and landed on Sgt. Pepper's.  I hit play, and Thomas & Kate's lives changed forevermore.  As each song ended, a round of applause erupted from the high chairs.  By the time they were done eating avocados, we were onto Magical Mystery Tour.  The babies marched around the kitchen as the title song began, pumping their arms high into the air.  Where do they learn this stuff?  Who me?  Marching around like a buffoon?  Not possible...

 The song "Hello/Goodbye" allowed them to hone their waving chops, and I could see the light bulb go off in their little heads - "we wave for hello and goodbye the same wayThis is awesome!"  (channeling the voice of DJ Lance Rock of Yo Gabba Gabba, pictured here with Mr. Jack Black).

As the closing song of Magical Mystery Tour finished, the babies clapped and I got choked up.  All the babies ever need to know, John Lennon summed up in one perfect pop song:

"All You Need is Love" (Lennon/McCartney)
There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy

There's nothing you can make that can't be made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It's easy

All you need is love, all you need is love,
all you need is love, love, love is all you need

There's nothing you can know that isn't known
Nothing you can see that isn't shown
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
It's easy

All you need is love, all you need is love,
all you need is love, love, love is all you need



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hey There Dunkin Donuts Man, I'm Talkin' to You!

Is everyone over medicated?  I can't believe I'm even asking that question.  Of course everyone is.  It's obvious when I show up anywhere that most of the people working there are over medicated, miserable and hate their lives.   

I foolishly made the mistake of calling the Lowe's to ask a question about window well covers.  Are you still awake?  Can you believe I even had a question about them?  Well, I guess the person on the line couldn't believe it either, so they left me on hold for 45 minutes.  I just put the phone on speaker and went about my business until 45 minutes later the phone disconnected.  My window well cover question still left dangling, unanswered.  And now that I've blogged about it, the suspense can kill you too.

How about when I tell the Dunkin' Donuts douche bag man that I don't want sugar in my coffee 45 times, only for him to put sugar in my coffee and snarl at me when I bring it back.  You can't snarl at me, for crissakes!  I come in every day and buy coffee from you.  I understand that it's too much for you to remember my daily order of 1 small regular coffee with milk (that's a tough one for sure), but you could at least acknowledge that I look somewhat familiar, couldn't you?  At least once?  Every day I get looked at like it's the first time he's ever seen me?  Am I that bland?  I mean, c'mon people.  I'm not bland, even on my blandest day.  And 100 days in a row of even the blandest person might spark the slightest glint of recognition, no? 

What if I stopped coming in every day and told everyone I know to stop coming in and suddenly nobody came in to buy coffee from you anymore except for my cousin Matt because he couldn't possibly stop buying Dunkin Donuts coffee even from a douche bag man like you?

The cart man on my corner in NYC used to give me a free donut stick every single day.  I didn't ask for the free donut stick.  And god knows, my recovering pregnant body did not need the donut sticks.  But he appreciated the fact that I could go to any corner in NYC and get the same dirty sock water cup of coffee he was providing me with.  My 50 stinkin' cents made a difference to his life.  And his free donut stick tossed in made a difference to mine.  Seriously people.  Who doesn't love free shit?  (Wow, did @ninicamps and I learn that lesson the hard way).

So here's the moral of my story.  The babies are starting to wake up and I don't have all day to get to it.

If you work somewhere, show up like you mean it.  There are only so many hours in a day, and even more importantly, there are only so many days in your life.  Look me in the eye and say thank you or you're welcome or hello or whatever is called for to be said at any particular moment.  Cause one day maybe you'll start your own business, you short sighted ass hat person, and you may have to hire someone to work for you, and they might not give a shit care about your business.  And you won't like that.   



 Definitely not my Dunkin' Donuts douche bag man

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pussycat Dolls & Penthouse

Yesterday, I wrote a song with @ninicamps and @garrisonstarr.  I'm not going to say much about it other than Garrison and I high-fived at its completion.  The most important thing you should take from that statement is the word completion.  You don't always complete the song you set out to write on these "writing dates."  So the fact that the three of us completed the song is a miracle unto itself.  Add to it high-fives at the end, and it made traffic on the drive home actually tolerable.  I listened to our writing session via my little voice memos app on the iPhone all the way down the clogged L.I. E.

I had to get home early enough to meet the life insurance man who gives physicals.  I'm not sure what else to call him.  When you have two babies, I don't need to explain this do I?  You stop smoking pot for a few weeks and take a physical for the sake of the little ones (I'm just kidding, mom.  I don't smoke pot.  I would take pain killers, however, if they were at my disposal).

So, I skid into my driveway just as the physical man is knocking on my front door.  And he's exactly why I prefer the internet to live-in-person-encounters.  I think people reach a certain age where they should stop meeting new people.  That's a whole other blog, though.  Let me get to the story.

"Hi, I'm Mark, be sure you have your driver's license," he shouts to me as I'm climbing out of my car.

So, detecting an opportunity to be witty, I reply, "I don't have a license."

Fortunately, @thisisdevon was at the front door and gave my reply the well earned laugh it derserved.  Physical Man flat-lined.

We head over to the kitchen table, passing the babies eating dinner in their high chairs.  He pauses to make this intelligent observation:  "One of the boy's has hair and the other is bald."

Thanks for noticing, Physical Man.  The pink shirt and pig tails might have tipped you off that one of the boy's is actually my daughter.

Now onto the awkward small talk around my kitchen table.

"What do you do for a living?"  He asks me.

"I'm a musician," I really need to carry a tape recorder with me so I can just hit play in these moments.

"What do you play?"

"I play guitar...."

Insert Charlie Brown voice for remainder of discussion about his nephew who plays whatever with whoever wherever.

Then he asks, "And what does your husband do?"

OH, PHYSICAL MAN!  I'm about to face plant on the kitchen table from you.  Just take my blood pressure, let me pee in the cup, AND LEAVE.

"My husband is a woman and she's the marketing director of Real Simple Magazine," I say.

"Oh..."  He paused for barely a second.  "I've never heard of your band or that magazine."

Had my answers been, "Pussycat Dolls and Penthouse," in that order, a light might have gone off for him.

I'm not even going to mention the part about how I'm STILL bleeding from the way this guy drew blood from my arm.  Just the thought of it makes me woozy. 

I write these blogs during the babies nap time as Public Service Announcements.  You might not become friend's with the man who comes to your house to give you your life insurance physical.  Pass it on.


Not actually the guy who gave me a physical, but pretty close.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sleep Deprivation and The Bed, Bath and Beyond.

According to the Wiki definition, sleep deprivation can adversely affect brain and cognitive function.  While I know we all love a good clinical definition, let's talk about sleep deprivation in real terms.

Even with a good night's sleep, I have trouble at the Bed, Bath and Beyond.  The aisles are too tall or narrow or cluttered.  I'm not sure which one it is, maybe a combination of all three.  All I know is that I walk into that store and I don't feel well.

So when I showed up at the Bed, Bath and Beyond a year and a half into my self-diagnosed sleep deprived state, it was NOT pretty. 

My sleep deprivation began about four months before I gave birth to my son.  That's around the time we bought our huge pregnancy body pillows (ironically at Bed, Bath and Beyond) to help us sleep better through the last few months of our pregnancies.  They did not work.

A week ago Monday, in the pouring rain, I showed up at Bed, Bath and Beyond with my 20% off coupon ready to buy brand new sheets for my brand new bed to help cure my self-diagnosed sleep deprivation.  The brand new bed made me excited enough to think I could "tackle" a trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond.  You can guess the keyword of that sentence.    

Picture pouring cold rain.  Picture Kristen getting a lousy parking spot in the back of the lot.  Picture Kristen not dressed warm enough for the trip.  Picture Kristen sprinting across the parking lot narrowly escaping several near death incidences as she weaved herself in and out of traffic.  Know for a fact that before self-professed sporty Kristen was sleep deprived, she never would have had that many near death incidences weaving in and out of parking lot traffic.   

Picture the electric doors of Bed, Bath and Beyond sliding open to welcome a sleep deprived Kristen to its showroom, and now picture Kristen realizing she left her stupid, annoying, already-expired-but-she-intends-to-use-it-anyway 20% Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon in the car.

And yes, she does realize she is speaking in the third person.  It is an intentional coping mechanism for her to deal with the unbelievably stupid thing she was about to do.

OK.  Here goes.

She decided to run, full speed, back to her car to get the expired coupon.  There were no cars this time, so the coast was clear from that particular danger.  Halfway through the lot she saw one of those cart collection areas.

She will supply a picture of the cart area for you to review here in this blog:

She decided to run under said cart collection area because it had a 6 foot long roof over it.  It would give her a slight respite from the pouring cold rain pounding down on her innapropiately under dressed body.

As she approached the respite, her gray wool hat (you know the one) started to slip down her head.  She didn't bother to push it back up.  She was probably too tired.  She reached the end of the cart collection area, and before she could say "I hate Bed, Bath and Beyond" she was LAID OUT on the concrete parking lot.

Whoops.  Her bad.  She didn't see the metal rod that ran across the back of the cart collection area, about thigh high.  It cut her off in a take-no-prisoners type fashion.  Abruptly.  Understatement. 

Mortified, she leapt to her feet without ever looking back and jumped into her car, contemplating her next move.   

She was paying @thisisdevon to watch the babies.  She had no choice in the matter.  She had to show up back home with new sheets.  So she waited a few minutes to be sure any patrons in the lot who witnessed the unbelievably embarrassing acrobatic-disaster-of-a-fall she just took had cleared the area.  And she removed her gray hat so as not to be recognized.

She limped back to the front door of Bed, Bath and Beyond.  This time slowly, getting soaked by the rain, with her expired 20% coupon in hand.  She got annoyed by some bitchy fellow-patron she kept nearly running into with her cart (too bad she didn't hit that woman), She got her sheets, AND she was able to use her 20% expired coupon.

Her ego bruised worse than her thighs, she had new sheets for the new bed that would hopefully cure her sleep deprivation - a sleep disorder characterized by having too little sleep (Wiki definition).

The moral of the story - You can use your expired 20% Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons.