Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday

It's official. I have exhausted all the world's low hanging fruit related to plaid pants. Today is Plaid Pants Friday on BGPP and I have no plaid pants subject matter. If I was an investigative journalist, maybe I could find something. But I'm not. So I won't. And that's that.

I have something of greater interest to the non-plaid pants wearing members of the world, though: food.

I tried a new burger joint last Tuesday . . . and last Friday. I attempted to have it again with Heather and the kids on Saturday. I foolishly agreed to Happy Meals at McDonald's, with the new place as a back up, knowing that it was only 10:40 a.m. and McDonald's didn't serve lunch until 11:00. Turns out I was wrong on that point, and the kids got their first Happy Meals. I'll be more careful next time.

The new place is Baha Burger. It's only in Birmingham now, but I'm pretty sure if the owners have the desire, this place could spread in the Southeast like kudzu.

They offer seven options for the burger: beef; pork; lamb; chicken; turkey; salmon; and, portobello / eggplant.

I had the standard Baha Beef Burger both times, which comes with Pepper Jack cheese, grilled pineapple and chipotle sauce. I opted for the wheat bun instead of the onion bun.


. . . with sweet potato fries.





The theme of the eatery, called a "fresh gourmet burger" place by its owners, is 60s surf. They got the theme right, with more Endless Summer and less Gidget. The food is great and I found nothing to complain about, including the price. The burger with sweet potato fries was $7.50. I give it 4.5 pairs of plaid pants out of 5. I have no reason for docking Baha Burger a half of pair of pants, other than I would lose all credibility if I give my first BGPP restaurant review the whole five pairs.

Happy Plaid Pants Friday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Wedding Story

I woke up from my slumber flat on my back covered in sweat. I didn’t know where I was, but I had woken up in places and not immediately known where I was before. This was different. Heather was kneeling next to me on my left with a concerned look on her face. My dad was to my right with a look of concern mixed with a little disapproval. Standing at my feet was our priest, Father Muller. As I tried to shake the haze out of my head, I figured out where I was and what I was doing that day. I realized that our friends and family were all seated in pews behind my head in absolute and total silence because I had passed out at my wedding.

My dad said two words, “get up,” which I did as quickly as one could under the circumstances.

In polite company, because we are polite people, my family says that I had a 24 hour bug. My friends say that I drank too much at the rehearsal dinner and I was hung over. Whatever the case may be, the facts are as follows: I didn’t eat the day before our wedding because I was busy with finishing law school and business school projects before leaving on our honeymoon. At our rehearsal dinner, my stomach was in knots and I hardly touched the meal that Heather and I had so meticulously chosen for our guests. I did however, have a great deal of a ‘97 Cabernet that our waiters circled the dining room with, like buzzards, topping off my glass each time it was only 2/3 full. I also had an unknown amount of Glenlivet 18 before and possibly after dinner, although the reality of my beverage consumption has turned into a bit of a fish story for those who witnessed it.

I don’t know why my 24 hour bug / alcohol over-consumption happened – maybe it was nerves, maybe it was lack of food, maybe I was really sick. All I know is that I showered and shaved sitting down in a hotel tub the day I was to marry my wife, and between the throwing up and bouts of cold sweats, making it to the church on time dressed in my morning formal was one of my life's greatest accomplishments.

Even though I hadn’t stood up that morning for more than three straight minutes, I was sure I could summon the strength to stand for the ceremony. I got burst of energy when Heather walked down the aisle and I was pleased that Heather’s dad actually went through with the hand-off. We got a helpful series of short breaks during the portions of the Catholic mini-Mass when we were sitting or kneeling, and by the mid-way point, I was feeling pretty good about my chances of pulling it off. I made it through getting the ring on Heather’s finger with no problem, but the adrenaline started to wear off and everything went dark after she put the ring on mine. I tried with everything I had not to go down, but my body was not listening to my mind begging it not to let this happen.

After the little incident, I made it through what must have been the fastest second half of a wedding Mass Father Muller had ever performed. I was intent on finishing the ceremony and he was intent on not having me fall out on his alter again.

During the honeymoon, I convinced myself that grooms must go down on a pretty regular basis. People tell you not to lock you knees for a reason, right? You see it on those home video shows frequently enough. The reaction we received from our law school classmates when we got back from the honeymoon, however, let me know that it is significantly less common than I had wanted to believe. The fact that I have still never seen it happen, despite secretly wishing for it on occasion, confirms its rarity.

I was embarrassed about it for a few years, but it has just become a fact of my life. Now, as one of the few men who has completely botched the wedding day, I take solace by telling myself that a marriage is not about the wedding day. It's about the life that two people will live together for every day thereafter. I’m sure Heather would have preferred to have had a nice wedding with a conscious groom as well, but after nine years (today) I can say with complete certainty that it’s possible to botch the wedding day and have darn good every-day-thereafter.

Happy Anniversary, dear. Sorry about that thing at the wedding.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Videos

I broke out the video camera on Saturday primarily to get a shot of Piper walking around while she's still wobbly. I ended up videoing the kids for about thirty minutes just playing.

In the process, I discovered that if you shoot enough footage, you can make about any kid look smart in a short clip.

Here's Piper putting together two cups to make a barrel.

video

Pure genius.

Here's Rosemary putting together a slightly less structurally sound barrel.

video

Henry gave it a shot.

video

Like I said, you can make almost any kid look smart, but there is a limit on what you can do with editing. You can only isolate the moment of brilliance; you can't create it. It's a good thing he's cute.

Piper started to get a little upset towards snack time, so I gave her a little peek-a-boo for entertainment. Then, I didn't want to leave Rosemary out of the fun, so I did a little one handed patty cake with her.

video

I've been doing this peek-a-boo thing for almost a year and I still can't get over how idiotically simple it is. I only believe that children like it because they laugh so consistently.

Here I am. . . Now I'm gone. . . I'm back; "peek-a-boo!". . . Laugh. . . Repeat.

It almost never fails to please. Piper was totally upset and I turned her around with peek-a-boo. I'm going to start doing peek-a-boo at angry adults to see if it has an equally positive effect.

You may notice that Rosemary is only loosely participating in patty cake with me. Rosemary generally doesn't do the patty caking; she directs that patty cake be done. In this case, I had a camera in my hand. She normally requests that Heather or I patty cake by clapping her hands and then she watches us do the whole routine while she looks on approvingly without partaking. After we throw the imaginary pastry in the imaginary oven, she usually requests that we do patty cake again by clapping several times. Life could prove to be disappointing for Rosemary after being able to control two adults like puppets by clapping her hands.

I actually don't know if the imaginary pastry is a cake of the patty variety, or it one pats a regular cake, making the game "pat-a-cake," not "patty cake." I don't think one pats a cake in the process of making a cake, so it can't very well be pat-a-cake. Then again, I've never seen a patty cake in a bakery, so I can't be sure this is correct either.

After the barrel making, peek-a-booing, and patty caking (or pat-a-caking as the case may be), the kids had their afternoon snack. When Henry was finished with his snack, we did a reverse peek-a-boo with him doing the hiding behind a dish towel.

video

And, I got my shot of Piper doing a wobbly walk.

video

It won't be long before she's not wobbly anymore, so I don't want to let the wobbliness slip away without documenting it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Plaid Pants Friday

Happy Plaid Pants Friday. The pants I write about today are not plaid, but as mentioned before, there is a finite amount of material out there about plaid pants.

I have noticed for awhile that guys my age wear nice jeans with nice shirts and sometimes sport coats for occasions that are more than casual, but less than full dress. By “nice” jeans, I mean the kind that you purchase at Saks and pay four to five times the cost of regular jeans. For reasons I can’t explain, it is deemed acceptable to wear fancy jeans to a restaurant when wearing regular jeans would get you thrown out. Heather wears nice jeans out, but I have always considered that to be just a little too cool for my taste. I am a traditionalist. I wear blue blazers. I even have bow ties. I prefer to be slightly overdressed as opposed to underdressed. I was not a fancy jeans guy, until I bought a pair this week.

My desire to procure fancy jeans was spurred by a client meeting a couple weeks ago. I handle some matters for a firm client, who I will call Mr. R. Mr. R is over 80 years old - I think. I have not asked his age, but from the details of his life I have gleaned from his stories over the last several years, my calculations say he must be at least 80.

After Mr. R arrived at my office, I walked down the stairs to find Mr. R seated in our atrium, wearing an oxford shirt, jeans, smart shoes and holding a sport coat and hat in one hand and a hand carved cane in the other. Mr. R normally has his driver with him, but for this meeting he brought his wife, Mrs. R., who is a snappy dresser for a woman of the age to be married to Mr. R. I noticed several "LV"s and "D&G"s on or about Mrs. R., and I suspect Mrs. R does the shopping for Mr. R.

I had not seen Mr. R since late last year, even though I've talked to him on the phone at least every couple of weeks. Between the time I last saw Mr. R and now, I changed my hairstyle from a short buzz to a smoothly shaved dome.

As I walked up to Mr. R's chair, he looked at my head and asked me bluntly: "Gara, Gara, do you have the cancer." I told him simply “no,” even though my full eyebrows should be an indication to anyone that all of my hair has not fallen out. He said “I'm glad; you're a good lawya – I would hate to see you get the cancer.” I presume by this statement that he does not mind bad lawyers getting the cancer, and I am happy that he approves of my lawyering skills such that he doesn’t want me to have the cancer. I also note that older people have a habit of adding the word “the” to just about any word. This habit is unfortunately contagious, unlike the cancer, which I don't have.

Mrs. R was quick to tell Mr. R about current trends in hairstyles, saying, “that’s what young people do now, Mr. R – they shave their heads when they are going bald.” I felt my choice of hairstyle, or lack thereof, sufficiently vindicated, so we stepped into our main conference room to discuss business. As I held the door for Mr. and Mrs. R, and Mr. R walked past, I noticed that Mr. R was wearing a pair of jeans made by the company that makes Heather’s favorite fancy jeans.

Mr. R is over 80, he puts the word “the” in front of everything, and he was sporting some mean fancy jeans. As traditional as I am, I know that if Mr. R can, and does, pull off this look, I can too. I can handle people my own age dressing significantly cooler than me, but when you are out-cooled by an 80 year old man, it's time to rethink your wardrobe.

After asking some friends and satisfying myself as to what sort of fancy jeans would be the proper addition to my wardobe, I purchased a cool pair of fancy jeans:


Next week, Heather and I will celebrate our ninth anniversary. I am going to wear my fancy jeans to a nice steakhouse with her. If the Maitre d' attempts to sit us in the back corner with the other undesirables, I will explain that my jeans are fancy and I expect to be treated accordingly.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our Homecoming Anniversary

One year ago today, we brought Rosemary, the last baby, home from the hospital. That day marked the end of a 101 day journey at UAB Hospital. I spent every one of those 101 days at the hospital praying for the day we might all leave and be home together.

The first day of the journey, when Heather was admitted, was dismal. Things didn't look good for the kids if they had been born that early.

Each day Heather was in the hospital, still pregnant, we had more reason to hope that things might be OK. We celebrated every weekly milestone. And, fortunately, there were more milestones to celebrate than anyone had expected.

Heather delivered on day 49 of the journey. Day 49 was a good day, certainly a significant day, but there were still the lows of fear and uncertainty associated with having three babies in the NICU to go with the highs of having three new members of our family.

Shortly after the kids were born, we settled into our NICU routine and it became apparent that, barring an infection of some sort, we would eventually bring home three babies.

Piper came home on day 87 and Henry came home on day 92. And then, on day August 16, 2008, the day that I had prayed for happened. We drove away from UAB with Rosemary in the car, bound for home, where Piper and Henry were waiting.

In the scope of 101 days, we went from hoping with little basis to be hopeful all the way to the fruition of having three babies at home. It seemed like forever at the time, but now I can't believe all that happened in just 101 days.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Plaid Pants Friday (New Camera)

I got a new camera last weekend. It's not a fancy one like Heather got; it's just a slightly smaller version of the one like I had.

This is my old camera (taken with my new camera)


This is my new camera (taken with my old camera)


For comparison purposes, and in keeping with the Friday theme, this is a picture of some plaid pants taken with the old camera.



. . . and with the new camera.


Wow. Money well spent on the new camera. It's at least 2% better than the old one. Actually, I think the color is off on the new one. I need to read the directions.

No biggie. The new one has a little button with a flower on it. You know, for taking pictures of flowers:



Pretty.

Happy Plaid Pants Friday.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We're Still That Nice Gay Couple

When our last next door neighbors moved in, they told us they purchased the home thinking a gay couple lived in our house. Apparently one of our other neighbors informed the realtor that we were a "nice gay couple." The realtor saw this as a selling point, I suppose.

I was sort of flattered that our other neighbors thought my yard was nice enough to belong to a gay man, but wished that we knew our neighbors well enough to realize I wasn't my own gay life partner.

With the couple to whom we were outed, we tried to be good neighbors. We all went to dinner and they told us the gay couple story. Then we didn't see them as much as we would have liked. And then they moved. They were really nice, but Heather and I just didn't find the time to be good neighbors to them.

We got new neighbors in that house a month ago. As soon as I saw them the first time, I went over and introduced myself. This time, I was going to be a better neighbor. I want to be Gary, the cool neighbor who will help you move a couch or cut down a tree (even though I lack the knowledge, tools or skill set to cut down a tree). The new neighbors are cool - the type of people I would be friends with. We talked about having a beer, but haven't done it after a month. Same story, new neighbors.

We've been in our house for six years and I can't say I really know our neighbors. We're still the nice gay couple that keeps to ourselves. I just suck at being neighborly.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Plaid Pants Friday

I usualy like to keep it light on Plaid Pants Friday, but I may have been the victim of some sartorial hornswagglery.

I purchased these trousers from Brooks Brothers at the season-end clearance a few weeks ago:


My new trousers are on the right; the thing on the left is a shirt. The pants are patchwork madras - 50% off. I had thought I got a good deal.

Then, an astute law firm employee spotted this character walking downtown on Tuesday:


This man is wearing the other half of my patchwork madras suit! Brooks Brothers sold me a suit without its jacket.

I know what you're thinking - I wouldn't wear my new patchwork madras shirt with the patchwork madras suit; that would be silly looking - unless, of course I had a patchwork madras tie.

If you see this man walking in Downtown Birmingham, please get my jacket for me. It should be a 42 Regular if my suspicions are correct.

Happy Plaid Pants Friday.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Daddy Blogs and Honey Bees

You know that thing with the honey bees where they all disappear? It's called colony collapse disorder. One day there are bees. The next day there are no bees. They're just gone. We don't know why.

To a lesser extent, the same thing has happened with daddy blogs in the last week. Real ones with, like, actual readership.

First there was The Wind in Your . . . and then Looky, Daddy. They wrote words that evoked emotion, and they were good at it. Both daddy authors just decided to stop with the daddy blogging. One day they were there, and now they are gone. Just like the bees.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Eastbound & Down

For those of you who didn't catch the series Eastbound & Down on HBO earlier this year, it's out on DVD. If you find redneckery as appealing as I do, you'll probably want to drop this in your Netflix queue.


The series is about a fictional washed up pitcher, Kenny Powers. The Powers character is a version of former Braves closer John Rocker, but with an awesome mullet and lacking about 15 more I.Q. points.

I don't want to oversell it too much, but Eastbound & Down makes Citizen Kane look like Jaws 4. The six episode series is probably mankind's greatest achievement thus far, pending Season 2 of Eastbound & Down, of course.

I will warn you, though, it is foul. It is so foul that I made Anne (a/k/a Auntie Anne - babies' NICU nurse) cover her eyes during part of the second episode. Anne is 25 (I think) if that gives you any idea just how foul it is. Funny, but foul.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Baby Photo Shoots

Heather just got a picture from the babies 6 month / 8 month photo shoot back from the framers.


I liked it so much, I took a picture of the picture.

The reason the 6 month photo was taken at 8 months is the newborn pictures were taken at two months, right after Rosemary came home, thus setting us two months behind the standard baby photo schedule of newborn - 6 months - one year, etc. I base this on my newfound knowledge of baby photo shoot protocol.

I am a wealth of knowledge on the subject of baby photos now. About a year ago, however, I was thoroughly shocked when Heather proposed to have a photographer come to the house and take pictures of the kids. I was unaware this was something normal people did. I was only persuaded when Heather gave examples of otherwise reasonable people to prove that practically everyone we know engages in this practice.

I still think it's widespread insanity, but I do like the pictures. The taking and having pictures part is not insane; it's more the cost associated with the pictures and framing the pictures that boggles my simple little mind.

After two rounds of baby pictures, Heather and I have set into a nice routine for purchasing and framing pictures:

1. We look at the proofs and we oooh and ahhh as we pick the best ones.
2. Heather mulls it over and tells me the total amount of the picture order.
3. I become outraged and mumble things about college funds and retirement.
4. I eventually cave on the picture order because I can't find any that we don't "need."
5. The pictures come in. We oooh and ahhh over them and discuss where each picture will go in the house and our respective offices.
6. Heather has the pictures framed and tells me how much each one costs.
7. I, again, become outraged, telling her that she "must be kidding me" and she "can't be serious" a la 1980s John McEnroe.
8. We get pretty framed pictures back; we hang them; we go oooh and ahhh.

Given that steps 3 and 7 involving my outrage are enjoyable to neither of us, we have come to a compromise. We skip the parts of steps 2 and 6 where she tells me how much we are spending. It's a win-win, really.

I'm going to have so many pretty pictures of our babies in my office when they are grown and I'm still working when I'm 80.

oooh - ahhh.