Wednesday, March 30



So, the short answer is Heather is in the hospital for monitoring and observation.

For the past few weeks, she's been dealing with minor case of pre-eclampsia. Last week, she failed her second glucose test, so gestational diabetes is added on top of that. So, our O.B. admitted her late yesterday morning to keep on top of everything.

It's not like this is a complete surprise; these issues often come up with multiple births. I had just hoped we'd get a few more weeks before hospitalization.

Anyway, in the meantime, T.I.Y.S. is going to test pattern.

If you need to contact me, do so below or shoot me an e-mail. I've got to keep the cel and landline free.

Monday, March 28



Things have certainly spruced-up around the household of late. Friday afternoon the future nursery was completed byhired guns Chris and Steve. It took about a week longer than estimated, but, hey, I am dealing with contractors. The new ceiling and overall paintwork makes the room very cozy and makes it feel enormous. Plus the God-awful light fixture was replaced with a shiny and quiet ceiling fan. I still have to give the floor a proper cleaning; hopefully I can muster the time tonight after dinner.

Plus, our tiny bathroom was given the once-over. A fresh coat of Kilz and a soft green color makes it look less like a science experiment gone terribly wrong. Steve and Chris also added a ventilation fan, so, no more drippy walls. The crowning touch is a DIY cabinet special I scored at IKEA yesterday. We had Bill and Jen visit with some killer Indian take-out*, and then I dragged his Billness into using his home-improvement mojo getting the efficiently-made, low-cost storage unit installed over the commode.

Next, the guest room needs to be excavated from the mountain of furniture crammed in there before nursery improvement. I forsee lots of crib-building and changing table construction.

*Skip the damn ham. Gimme samosas and curry to celebrate a ressurection.

Saturday, March 26


New Look

Just for you.


From the catbird seat.

I finally put a dent in the pile of miscellaneous crap that resides in my basement.

Due to a previous commitment last Saturday, Karen and Mike were unable to help haul things to The Salvation Army with the second-hand Dodge Dakota. So, Thursday morning Karen surprised me with a key, saying I was welcome to borrow it for the night.

This was my first time driving a pick-up, ever. And, although I've been driving standard for a year and change, I'd only driven the Maxima. So, needless to say, the drive home was shaky and deliberately slow.

Weeks ago, I'd promised Steve the mismatched drumkit that's taken up a cobwebby corner for the past four years. I wanted a little more practice in the Dodge before I packed her full of donations the next morning. So, after dinner I loaded-in an delivered a few miles away to Idlewylde. We chatted about life over a Boh in the bottle for an hour or so. I said my good-byes and turned the engine.

On the ride home, I finally got the hang of the clutch and really felt the appeal of a pick-up. The echo of the low whir of an American big block, on a quiet city night, over the damp pavement. A brief, perfect, personal moment with the outchorous of Layla on the radio.

Wednesday, March 23


How to dismantle a corrupt regime.

Many people ask me to explain the project I've been working on for the past eighteen months or so at BreakAway.

The snide, short answer is SimGhandi. But, I think this article sums it up better than I ever could.

Tuesday, March 22


Back from the grave.

I finally got in contact with my friend George last night. Actually, he got in contact with me.

I'd left him my bazillionth message and he finally called back. As far as approach, I'd tried sarcasm*, song parody**, straight-up business speak, and, well just wussy pleading. He finally pinged me back when I explained it wasn't really me on the phone, but that hot little number he met the other day. I just sound like his old friend Todd.

He'd told me he'd been in a funk for several months. Plus winter was ending and he was due to come out of self-imposed hibernation.

Actually, I think he'd called back because I need his ebaying expertise to help me sell the Ford. That's right. The titty-pink four door Galaxie needs to find a good home with someone that has more time and money than I. I'm going to be rather busy over the next few years and I can't justify keeping a languishing classic car in the garage.

First George is going to breathe life into the old gal. A running car, no matter what shape she's in, sells better than one that doesn't.

*"George, are your fingers okay? I assumed they're broken 'cause you never call me."
**"Here he comes, here comes George D_____, he's a demon on wheels!"

Monday, March 21


Out of it.

Man, am I in outer space today.

Late Sunday morning Karen came by to help with the housecleaning I'd successfully ignored all winter. Now, please don't think I suckered her into this, dear friends. Several weeks ago she asked me if she could help us out in any way. Offhandedly, I mentioned the house tidying had fallen off the further Heather's pregnancy progressed. Karen volunteered her bucket, cleansers and elbow grease on her own. Unselfishly, she started in on our funky powder room off the kitchen and scrubbed that bad-boy stem to stern.

Later that afternoon, her husband Mike came by to run network cable upstairs for our borrowed ibook. He was all out for installing wall jacks and everything, but we realized that would be an enormous pain. Instead he prepared a forty-foot cable. Unfortunately, the essential crimpers were still left far-and-away back at his place. So he just cleaned the carpets with the Bissel machine Karen brought. (!)

Whew! A very tiring day combined with a plethora of chemical compounds via the cleaning supplies and a late night of watching HBO series has left me working half-speed today.

Sunday, March 20


Long live the Idiotking!

After four years, my 'blog hero'* his royal Billness is moving his log from it's former estate to it's own very own URL.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you

*thanks to Sweetney for the concept.


Hold Fast!

So, Friday night was our last parenting calss at St. Agnes. I went armed with a video camera so Heather could view the proceedings from the (relative) comfort of her bed the next day. The "surprise guest" was a woman and her seven-month-old triplets. Mostly she gave us her history from pregnancy, to delivery, to post-partum and the day-to-day with her two daugters and son.

I really don't want to go into detail, but reviewing the tape with my wife pointed-out how much of a philisophical difference* there is between us and so many parents of multiples. I mean, I'm all about support groups, meeting people with a similar situation and all, but I realize the train will fall off the tracks, fly off the cliff and burst into flames if anything involving cosmology or personal politics comes up with many of these folks.

Metaphorically speaking, multiple parenting is typically a Red State phenomenon. And we're definitely Blue State residents.

Most anywhere I've been, I've always felt unprepared, singled-out, a deviation from the norm or just plain weird. You'd think by now I'd be used to it, but it still saddens me. Once again, cast adrift on the Sea of Convention.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be readying myself to be back in the rowboat. Luckily, I'll have a first-rate crew this time.

*Heather's diplomatic term that I'm boosting for this entry.

Friday, March 18


Two days gone.

So, Wednesday I made an appearance at the Baltimore Bloggity-blog-blog happy hour at some Remington joint named Dizzy Izzie's

Before I left, my source told me she went early and left early, but Sweetney was in the house. Sure enough, when I sauntered in she was mid tuna melt. I sat down, made myself at home and was introduced to some folks who I now know as calculatoronfire, liveinlove and Supafine.* With my blog title being not my alias, I was just that guy, "Todd". Hmm. It's difficult to introduce yourself as "eXLionTamer" without feeling a little gay.

It kind of felt like I had a math final without studying; I really didn't know any of these people in a (oh, God, kill me) cyber-sense (Noooooooooooooooooo!) or, naturally, a real-world sense. I don't usually drop in on random blogs. I sort of feel I need to be invited, but here I was. Plus, I felt kinda old. Most of these folks are in their twenties. I'm surprised nobody asked "Hey! Who's the geezer in the dirty jacket?"

Anyway, I had some feedback from folks once they realized I was that guy who's expecting triplets. Lots of questions, lots of mouths agog. It didn't last long; the table we were suatting on was needed for fresh diners. For me, that kind of broke up the party. I've always thought it difficult to really get to know anybody at a crowded bar near the jukebox. If I chose to try to speak to anyone, it probably would go something like this:

Me: So, yeah, I write on a blog called This is your signal?
Them: You have a frog and he barks like a beagle?
Me: What?
Them: What?

You get the picture.

So I lurked in a corner by the side door with sweetney and heard another fine dating story from c.o.f. By that time, I was ready to turn into a pumpkin, and Heather called-in a request for ice cream. Oh, on my way out I met Malnurtured Snay, whose handle I recognized from Molly's blog.

I tell ya, if I catch wind of another happy hour, I'm coming armed with a notepad...

*it sounds like I'm talking about extras from the set of The Matrix.



The amazing story of The Wilhelm Scream. (RealPlayer File)

Thursday, March 17


Top O' the Mahrnin to yeh!*

Happy Irish Kwanzaa, everybody!

Saint Patrick's Day and I have had a long and strange realationship. Growing up in the wilds of North Jersey, I was surrounded by the second and third generations of European immigrants. Basically, you were Italian, Jewish, Polish, Irish or any combination thereof. (Do the math; I'm too tired.) So, even without any Irish blood, I kind of adopted it as my own sort of holiday. Paper shamrocks taped to the window, wearing green, and green-frosted cupcakes at school. It was a fun time, long before the call of the drinking.

Oh, the drinking. Yes, a few times in my singlehood I let myself go astray on the 'safe and sane' angle. Who could resist a good Guiness and Harp black-and-tan special they're running at the dive bar in honor of the big guy what drove the serpents from Ireland? C'mon, cut a guy some slack!

Then there were the quasi-annual barbecues. Way back when at the "House of Men", it was not unusual to have the grills going for emergency barbecues. Some one would get a wild hair, put the call out to the other roomies, and, next thing you know, a housefull of folks.

One fine March 17th, it was unseasonably warm, so the call went out. The rules were simple: bring a six for the cooler and something for the grill. Thus, a fine tradition was born. (Well, at least for a couple of years.) I believe the last one was in 2001 at Steve's place.

The past few years, I haven't felt the itch. St. Patrick's Day, like Mardi Gras, has become a target for my disdain: "Amateur Night" for the kiddies.

However, once the dinner dishes are done, I just might crack open a beer and spin me copy of Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash.

*Ya drunken Irish bastard!

Monday, March 14


A Fistful of Nickels

Saturday night I hosted a round of "Daddy Poker" with neighbors Mike, Miguel and my homey Steve.

I'm not sure who the big winner was. It might have been Mike who killed on around of Put and Take. Steve, I think lost about five bucks. Five bucks! That's highway robbery!

Good thing he didn't have to take the bus home. He'd've been screwed.

Saturday, March 12


Scared of me.

I had one of those parenting moments, even though the kids aren't here yet. One of those moments when you swear you will never do what you've just seen.

It happened in the produce department of the Super Fresh. I was startled to hear an older black woman screaming angrily to someone to "Shut up, punk!" At first I thought she was having a psychotic break and yelling at the obnoxious singing teddy bears at the floral counter, but Heather pointed out that, indeed, a boy of about seven was on the receiving end of the verbal whipping. She berated the boy all through the front of the store, passing by us as we looked overly interested in the fresh heads of garlic. She was still muttering random frustrations at her grandson as he sobbed behind us.

Silently, I promised myself I would never be that far gone. I would never berate any of my children with so much vitriol, especially in a public place.

Or...would I? I know I can spin myself into a whirling ball of hate in three seconds flat. It's no secret to those I'm closest to that the devil can jump out of my head, spitting pure venom and Hell, at least for a fleeting moment. But would I do this to my own children? Or even, who knows, my own grandchildren, just like this lady?

I'm well aware that I'm still here in this altruistic netherworld of parenting; of course I have all the answers, I'm just waiting for the questions to be asked (and I know those too). But one day, I know I'll get one that's not on the test. Then what, dammit!?

Wednesday, March 9



- Despite all the fratrock that pops-up on WTMD, they rocked Adam and the Ants "Stand and Deliver" this past Sunday.
- This morning all three kids presented headfirst for the ultrasound, creating their first "Three Stooges" portrait.
- Chipotle makes a good burrito with shredded pork and a tasty green chile sauce, but I still like Qdoba just a little better.
- I found out that annoying, yet rythmic, squeaking noise in the kitchen is the gears inside our circa 1958 chrome clock.
- I'm almost done with the logo design for Shinola Gallery, but Seth fronted me the moolah early.
- If last Sunday's episode of Deadwood is an indicator, the show promises to be dirtier and meaner this season.
- My latest musical addiction is "Hateful" by The Clash.
I still need to wet the whistle at Molly's.

Sunday, March 6



So, the visit with the folks went alright yesterday. We sat and ate at Panera for about 45 minutes, catching-up on events of our pregnancy and the here-and-there of their two-month vacation in Florida. We came armed with a sort of 'greatest hits' of ultrasound copies of the kids for them to keep. We then had an impromptu visit to IKEA to show the couple of things we were interested in for the nursery. The "buying things" portion of Grandparenthood seems to suit my folks rather well; we were surprised when Dad offered to buy those items on the spot. We left IKEA with a changing table/cabinet and area rug paid for by my Dad. What a guy. We also got a big bag of clothes and bibs thanks to my folks.

At IKEA, I ran into an old acquaintence from my bachelor days in Hampden while in the marketplace. It took me a minute to recognize Dave under his full beard. We caught-up on what's new and I also got the latest on our friend-in-common Jamie. Hopefully my news and contact info will reach him; haven't seen him since... um, a long-ass time ago.

My evening brought me to the Mt. Royal Tavern. I was meeting Steve so I could get the proceeds for the horse clock he ebayed on my behalf and to pay him for his trouble in the form of a few rounds of cider. In the midst of our usual chit-chat, some drunken troll ordered her bazillionth Tuaca and Coke next to us, and obnoxiously prattled-on about Pomade, or as she put it, "Black-people's hair dressing". Mmmm, classy.

Once she moved on, we both lamented how even though we weren't frequenters of the MRT, it seems the same, *ahem* , clientelle were still here. In some cases the exact same people, in others, the same role filled by a new player. So it goes.

Friday, March 4


Soup's on!

My folks have been in Florida for the past few months, so they're headed North on I-95 this weekend and will be passin' through 'round lunchtime tomorrow.

That's the quandary for today: where to lunch. More specifically, where to lunch that's convenient to the highway and that's NOT at our house.

White Marsh is the usual scene of the crime, mostly because they know where it is from the exit ramp. Plus, when we got hitched back in '01, that was base camp for all the out-of-towners. But, being what it is, the restaurants are all an the corporate side.

I doubt we could sit through another T.G.I.Fridays meal, Red Lobster is out, we're over Bertucci's, IKEA's cafeteria is too downmarket, I'm not sure if everyone is down with Don Pablo's, and, Fuddrucker's? Are you kidding me? So far signs are pointing to the new Panera Breads store that was recently built.* The food is approachable, the decor is unoffensive 'mall chic', and there's no waitron to hassle.

It's just a drag that all the places we love are way downtown and probably not serving for lunch. Besides, come to think of it, would I really enjoy going to Chameleon at Nottingham Square?

*it seems like there's always a new Panera Breads around here.

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