Thursday, March 31, 2011


A Norman Rockwell moment (photo by Denny)

"I mean, how straight should we make it?"

"Did you just hear yourself?"

"I much do we have to straighten up for this person."

"I'm not straightening up. I'm not doing anything. She can come here and write her stinking report." Biting lip, stairing around the room, thinking, thinking, thinking, "Do you think we should take the crib tents down?"

"They sell crib tents at Buy Buy Effin' Baby! She's going to judge us because we don't want our babies kamakazi diving out of their cribs?"

"Can I make a suggestion...." mom chimes in from couch. "Will you at least move the alcohol off your counter. I think that would be a good idea."

In our defense, it's not like the babies can reach the alcohol (in case the social worker happens to read my blog). But yes, we do have an ocean's worth of unopened Jack Daniels in a bottle that's still got the seal on it (again, in case the social worker happens to read my blog). It ended up in our house after the Perrotta/Ellis-Hendo Block Party last summer. It was a freakin' Noman Rockwell moment in our neighborhood, and all we have to show the social worker from it is an ocean's worth of Jack Daniel's that never got opened.

She won't see the bouncy castle we rented. Or the terrifying (that's me projecting) clown that was face painting. 

"We'll move it to the basement." We both agreed.

So this is the day we've been waiting for. A rite of passage for all new parents. The one when a social worker comes to our house and deems us fit to raise our own kids.

I remember my brother Tommy telling me what it was like when he and his wife were deemed fit by....hey, wait a minute...they didn't have a social worker come to their house to judge them? Oh, right. Of course not! They have their civil rights. Silly, silly, silly me.

Now, before you post to my blog that you're sick of me and my sour grapes (that's aimed directly at all my Tea Party readers. C'mon, I know you're out there), I would like to remind you all of the following:

If a married couple uses a donor bank to create a family, just like Sarah and I did, they do not have to adopt that child. To be clear - the husband, or father, does not have to adopt his own child. Because that's what that child is. His. No social worker comes to visit their house on Super Bowl Sunday.

Let's go one step further because, at the very least, I've got my right to free speech...

If a heterosexual/unmarried couple uses a donor bank to create a family, just like Sarah and I did, the woman can list her male boyfriend as the father on the baby's birth certificate. And guess what? No social worker will come to their house, assuming they even live together. Not even on Super Bowl Sunday.

Now go enjoy your buffalo wings.


ps-Neighbor Sara who has been through this degrading experience herself and partner Sarah who lived it with me wanted me to add this fact to the blog. We actually had to PAY the social worker for the visit...write a check for the humiliation. So...that too. 


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dinosaur Towels & The Like Button

In the ten free seconds I found for myself yesterday (exaggeration), I figured out how to copy and paste some code into the back end of this blog that makes a "Like" button appear at the bottom of my posts. While I love that many of you leave comments, I also understand that not everyone has the time or inclination to leave one. So now I've got this "Like" button for all the people who mean to post to my blog but just can't muster up the energy. All you have to do is click "Like" to help boost my self esteem.


ps-Depending on your definition of free time, I did manage to make it over to TJ Maxx yesterday to impulsively buy a set of dinosaur towels. Two out of three members of my family were thrilled about it when I returned home. One is not sure how we will integrate dinosaur hand towels into our everyday living. I say to that one, lighten up...

TJ Maxx - T Rex Towel - "LIKE"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Please, Just Be Doctors.

Whenever I tell my friends that I want the babies to be doctors or lawyers, they act SO shocked. Even...offended. My friends actually get pissed at me because I don't want my kids to go through the same hell I've gone through for "my art."

So, let me just spell out exactly what I did and you can imagine how you'll feel when your kid does the same thing to you.

I went to (according to me and everyone who went with me) one of the best universities of higher learning in the entire country (Ray, Bucknell!) and got a liberal arts degree. It cost my parents plenty of dough, and will probably cost you about a million duckets by the time your kid decides to mess with you.

I graduated with honors (this is my blog, I can say whatever I want), and shortly thereafter got a job in advertising. I quickly climbed the corporate ladder because I was...innovative...charismatic...quite frankly, to paraphrase Charlie Sheen, I was a winner. While the others were getting measly raises or no raises at all, I was getting 10% increases and job offers from competitive advertising firms...and taking them.

with Sarah Mclachlan - Lilith Fair
But I was bored. Unfulfilled. I had A DREAM. My art was calling I moved into an apartment on Bleecker St. in the West Village with my sister and I started a band. We were both still working in advertising when we began selling out clubs in New York City. And eventually we won a coveted spot on Sarah Mclachlan's Lilith Fair tour. Yes, I'm exaggerating. We won 2 dates on the tour. But more than 1 date makes it a tour. Don't question me. My blog. My rules.

We had grown so popular that The Today Show featured us (ok, it was The Today Show in New York, the one that airs at 5am). And after we performed in the plaza, I jumped on a subway so as not to be late for my day job. I got to discuss my morning's performance with my colleagues around the water cooler before heading to my cubicle to revise media plans for my New York Life client.

This is all true stuff, people.

I had a fat salary with fat benefits. I could go to the podiatrist if I felt like it and get opinions about bunions. I'm not saying I did (or didn't). I had a matching 401K plan. You know. The whole nine yards.

And then. I quit. Just like that. Done.

Cashed in my 401K. Put the down payment for a van on my personal credit card. Put $10K of recording studio and CD duplication costs on another credit card cause they sent me checks and I thought that would be a good idea. Let my cobra lapse. Stopped going to doctors. Toured the country relentlessly, playing 260 shows a year. Never. Saw. My. Home. Slept in Motel 6s. Every night. Until Priceline.

Chased ghosts. And paid minimums on all my credit cards. For ten years.

Then Jason Flom signed us to Lava Records.


Yes. A lot of neat things happened when I was signed to Lava Records, like getting to be on THE REAL Today Show. When you google me, shit comes up. I know. But I'm not RICH from it. I'm not worry-free because of it. I don't have a nest egg. I can't retire in five years like all my other fellow Buknellians who went and formed Lending and did SMART things.

 Yes, I love what I do. Yes, I think that's what is most important. But maybe....JUST MAYBE...I could have loved being an anesthesiologist. So I am going to push them...just nudge them a little in a different direction. Pardon me for trying!

ps-It's clearly NOT working.
Thomas drums in the studio wearing a doctor shirt....SO CLOSE, yet SO FAR! (photo by A. Vontobel)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Day Like Today

We woke up to the sound of Thomas and Kate debating in their cribs. They're the Hannity and Colmes of 2 year olds. Actually, I take that back. They're the Siskel and Ebert. Neither of my kids is like Hannity.

After taking them out of their cribs, I announced we were getting dressed up today because we had to go meet someone.  Then Sarah added, "He's like Santa." And I said, "Except he might not have a beard, he'll be dressed in black and there's a chance he's a woman."

"That's right," Sarah agreed. "He's a Judge and he's a very nice man, assuming he's a man. He could be a lady too."

And so that's how this day started.

We got dressed. We ate breakfast. We piled into the car. We map blasted how to get to the courthouse in Mineola. I've only lived here my whole life and gone to Mineola a million times...I was nervous. I didn't want to be late.

We got to the courthouse and sat down in the courtroom with all the other families about to adopt children. The (male) Judge entered the room and began telling some story about the best adoption he'd ever overseen. I drifted off and snapped back to attention when he said, "...and now that you're all about to become families..." It was like he tossed a cold glass of water in my face. 

I've been struggling with why this adoption process is making me so...well...sick to my stomach. If I'm just plain honest about it, it's because this process reminds me of how ashamed I was to be gay. And it reminds me that I'm not equal. And in that lack of equality, it reminds me that I should probably still be ashamed on some level.
 (For those of you in need of back story, refer to the following blog posts: Civil Rights & Vitamin D (posted 11.23.10) & Social Worker Sunday (posted 02.06.11)).
The good news is, I'm not ashamed to be gay anymore. It's a bit like a scar. Sometimes the scar hurts when it rains. Like today. But I'm not ashamed.

Days like today make me think of all the kids who are still ashamed. And it makes me think of the parents of those kids who have taken their own lives because they were so ashamed. And it makes me think of my own kids who stood in front of a Judge today and were told that they were not a family until today. They had to miss their Music Together class to be told that. Their teacher is going to let them make up the class. But still.

I can't really spell this whole thing out because I haven't processed it totally. All I can tell you is that a day like today reminds me that I'm different than you are. And I just want to stop being reminded of that already.


 Nothing says "celebrate" more than breakfast at the diner with a plastic fire hat:
Sarah and me at the courthouse with the Judge, our lawyer, Sarah's parents, Thomas, Kate and puppy

Me with our son, Thomas