Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Getting Better with Age

I recently had a milestone birthday.  I turned the big 3-0.  At first it seemed like it was no big deal.  I mean, it's only one day older right?  I was actually looking forward to this birthday.  I feel like once you turn 30, you're no longer in your 20's (obviously).  It's as if overnight, people have to start taking you seriously once you're out of your 20's.  So I've got that going for me...

Most people dread these birthdays, they hate getting older.  They think things like, "In five years, I'll be as old as my parents were when they had me (true in my case)."  They also think about life moving by.  We are no longer as care free as we once were.  Some of us have children or are working on having children, while others are getting graduate degrees and moving past entry level to middle management. 

While a lot of those things are true in my case, I feel as good as I did when I turned 29.  I could make the case that I feel better then when I was 29... Much better.  I am 25 pounds lighter, I sleep better, I feel like my reaction times are better and I have a great new promising job.  It's as if I'm getting better with age.  I'm like a fine wine... Time makes me better.  Then just like that, I got a message from my body that indeed I'm getting older.  There was an incident...

It all started on a beautiful Friday afternoon.  It was a particular Friday afternoon that I'd been looking forward to for some time.  About once a year I get together with my brothers and one other person and we play in a charity golf tournament.  It's really an excuse for us to take a half day away from the office and play golf on someone else's dime.  It's great fun and I look forward to it every year. 

Day started off pretty good.  We had lunch and hit the links.  I am a terrible golfer but my brother is worse.  We combine to a really terrible team but we have a great time together.  We got all the way through 16 before it happened. 

I typically drive the golf cart, it's just my personality.  We were approaching my cart buddy's golf ball and I had a thought.  This is where it went bad.  In my head it looked like this.  Think of a deer in a snowy pasture jumping over a fence.  It's graceful.  A perfect picture of athleticism.  With that picture in mind, while moving at the maximum golf cart speed possible, I drove close to the golf ball, careened the golf cart to the right and jumped out...

Now think of the deer.  Think of the athleticism, think of the grace.  Now think of the complete opposite and you've just about got it.  Thinking I would jump from the cart and land in stride plucking the golf ball from earth's grasp, I tumbled... end over end... lots of times.  Finally I came to rest after what seemed like an hour of tumbling, only to hear hysterical laughing coming from my brothers.  With no regard to how hurt I might be, they pulled up next to me, pointing and laughing.  I didn't help anything because I was cracking up.  I noticed some pain but it didn't matter.  I had the giggles and nothing could stop it.  Apparently, when I tumbled end over end (lots of times) my ankle remained stationary.  It hurt badly and it started to swell immediately.    The last two holes were ruined.  We laughed our way through every shot thinking of the tumbling... lots of times.

When asked why I thought jumping from a golf cart moving at full speed (a whole 7 miles an hour) was a good idea, I could only reply with, "I used to be able to do that".  It's true.  29 year old me, fatter, slower and probably smellier would have pulled the jump off beautifully.  Instead I got hurt.  Pretty badly actually. 

Old me.  No injury.

Older me.  Sprained ankle.  See the evidence.

 This one was a few hours after the "incident"

 This is the next morning

 For comparison purposes

 Gross right?

 I just threw up.

 Oh the humanity...

Thinking amputation...

All of this from golfing.  Traditionally, golf is not known as a dangerous or accident prone sport.  Throw the new much older me into the mix and anything can happen.

30 Happens.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


So this one is a little embarrassing, but it's true so bear with me...

What is the common bond between us all?  Whatever race, color or creed we are all united by one thing... poop.  We all do it.  There is no use hiding behind the poop free curtain of common decency.  Besides, anyone that has had a kid or even a puppy has been up to their eye balls in poo.

In my two and a half years with my son I have become more familiar with poo than I would ever have imagined.  Now that we are working with potty training we are even more tuned into my son's bowel movements than ever.  In fact, when David goes poo on the potty I throw a little party.  It's a really big deal.  He gets excited and we get excited!  So bottom line, poo is on our mind and now even David is getting used to talking about it.  I'm a little worried that someday soon David will start recounting bathroom tales in a public place.

So now for the embarrassing stuff...  So pretty much food goes right through me.  Some are worse than others.  Mexican food is a particular killer.  It could have something to do with the dozen cups of salsa I eat within an hour's time but the jury's still out on that.  That being said, the uncontested number one Will Pyle bowel clearer is Benihana.  I can't help but love that food.  The ginger sauce, the fried rice and the various main courses are hard to beat.  Not to mention this food is cooked right in front of you by a guy who more often than not is of Hispanic origin.  (I mean seriously, who do they think they're kidding?  Hispanic people don't look anything like Japanese people and yet Pedro tries to fool me with some Japanese words he learned recently.  I'm not buying it.)  But all this culinary greatness comes at a cost.  I went to Benihana a few months back with my sister's family to celebrate some holiday or achievement.  As we were leaving the restaurant it hit me.  Problem was, I was in my car already.  I had to make an emergency stop at the closest thing I could find.  Luckily for me it was a Hampton Inn with a readily accessible bathroom.  Let's just say, I am no longer welcome at any Hampton Inn's in this country.

I say all of this because I was recently invited to celebrate again with my sister's family at Benihana.  The only thing on my mind was my previous near car interior ruining experience.  On this occasion I had David with me.  As I mentioned before, we are working very hard on potty training David.  It's going well.  So as we were sitting at the table and David said, "Daddy, I need to go pee pee!"  So I hopped into action.  Ran him to the bathroom and had great success.  As I was waiting for him to go I felt my own little rumble.  The kind of rumble that leads to a problem.  So, being in a bathroom I thought I would take a preemptive step and deal with that situation.  Nothing.  I came up with a loud and resounding blank...  So I went back to the table with the same rumble in place.  About 15 minutes later David uttered the sacred words again and I jumped into action again.  Same rumble...  So David took care of his issue and I decided to give mine another go.  So David is watching... and listening with great anticipation.  Again nothing is happening.  It's quite frustrating.  David looks up at me and is asking all kinds of questions.  He can clearly see that I am not happy and he says, "Daddy, maybe you just don't have to go."  I couldn't help but laugh.  I was sitting there in the stall with my child cracking up. 

The great event never happened for me that night.  It's like laughter cured my disorder.  It's amazing how in tuned David is into all things bathroom.  He gets really excited about everything.  It's neat to see how he takes it all in.  He's fascinated by how all the different toilets work.  He wants to know if they're automatic or if he gets to pull the handle (Don't worry Mark, he pushes the handle with his foot).  He grasps so much. 

Every morning I get him out of his bed to start our morning.  As we are walking down the stairs I have him in my arms on our way to our bedroom to watch some curious george as I snooze.  He always asks me if I'm naked (I have shorts on but he can't see that when he's in my arms).  I always wonder why he knows what naked means, and I'm always reminded that he knows when we walk through the locker room in our health club.  He asks why the people are naked in his not so quite voice.  It's really funny.

So as this potty training goes on I find myself in more and more bathrooms with my child helping him learn how to use the bathroom like a big boy.  Whenever I came across a dad doing this before I had David I couldn't imagine myself in that position.  I'm not going to go as far to say that it's enjoyable but it's great to see him get so excited about all the things he does.  And it's a great source of pride to see him learn and excel at things.  He's a sponge and he remembers when I seem him working hard on going potty and when I say things like, "David, maybe you just don't have to go."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Seriously? Again?!

While I was thinking about what my next post should be I really tried to avoid this topic.  I mean really, can I write about this again?  Will it be taken as an encore or a lack of creativity?  After much consideration, I decided that this blog is about my life and the wonderful things that happen during said life.  So here goes...

This past weekend April, David and I took a nice trip down to Houston to see my parents.  April had a meet in downtown that was going to take up all of her time on Saturday, so David and I camped out at my parents house while she stayed Friday night in a hotel.

After a long drive David was happy to be out of the car at my parents house.  We beat them there by a few minutes allowing me some time to unpack the car.  After some play time with Pop Pop (the mere fact you call it that tells me you're not ready)(I just can't help myself) and grandma it was time for bed.  Lucky for me he went right to bed without a fuss.

David slept in my old room (ahh memories) and I slept across the hall.  Both doors were open and my parents house is an echo chamber so I wasn't worried about hearing him wake up in the morning.  Unfortunately, I heard him wake up a little too early.  I woke up at about 3:30 to some coughing, almost like a hacking.  Since he didn't wake up I thought little of it.  That is really error number one, if April was home she would have known immediately that there was a problem.  A little later I heard the same hacking so I went to check on him only to find.... you guessed it, vomit.  It was everywhere.  All over him, his clothes, his blankets and even his little stuffed dog (ironically, the dog's name is lucky).  It was a sad scene. 

So I got him all cleaned up and in some new clothes and told him it was time to go to Daddy's bed now.  Mistake number two.  See where this is going yet?  I laid him down next to me and he curled up nicely.  He thought it was great because he was in a big boy bed.  I looked over at him and he blessed me with the greatest smile ever.  Really was great.

All smiles aside, it was still 4:30AM and I wanted to sleep.  I kept still and quite thinking he would sleep but I was wrong.  His little Mary-Kate Olson impression revved him up.  He was awake and sleep was not on his schedule.  So, awake at 4:45AM away from home and mommyless.  Luckily there was a TV in our room with access to some nice children's programing.  We were watching TV when it happened.  David turned away from me and started coughing... There was more vomit.  But I learned from my last experience!  Go me.  I had a towel ready and waiting.  Unfortunately, I forgot that David came from a long line of vomiters who would scoff at the small towel.  You better come armed with a whole body sheet if you want a chance of containing what we can offer!  In this instance, I was able to direct the vomit to a convenient location.  So with a little bit of cleaning up we were back to TV watching for David and snoozing for Daddy.

A little while later David thought it would be fun to climb on Daddy or that's what I thought.  He climbed up on me and we were face to face when he decided to yak again.  This time, it was all over me.  I mean all over me.  Mouth was closed thankfully but my face, ears, hair and so many other places were not spared.  So I decided at the wee hour of 5:45 it was shower time.  Normally, when I'm up and at em at or before 6AM I feel like I've accomplished something but not this morning.  This was something totally different.

Later that morning when everyone in the house was awake David continued this throw up barrage.  Only now, he had someone to blame it on.  After he'd let loose the contents of his stomach, he would go get the mop and stand nearby my mom and me while we cleaned up, and tell us that he had to clean up the water that grandma spilled.  He told everyone he saw that day that grandma spilled water on the floor in lots of places and he had to clean it up.  I rather enjoyed that part of this episode.

Throughout all of this David remained in a good mood and after each bout of sickness he would say, "ok, I'm done" and then would climb up in my lap for a few minutes of hugs.  Since April was away at work I got to enjoy every minute of those hugs.  While I hated him feeling badly I loved the time I got to share with him that normally was reserved for his mommy.  So if being thrown up on always leads to really nice hug time with my son, bring on the vomit.

So speaking of the long line of vomiters (this memory is for you Ailsa) there was a time on a family car trip when my brother Chris (same brother from last week) felt sick.  My mom, in an effort to give him something to yak in threw all of the water out of her "copilot" cup.  My brother looked at my mom and laughed at her knowing that that measly 32oz cup was nothing compared to the torrent of nastiness that was going to explod from within him.  He was right.  I saw.  Yuck.  You would think he'd grow out of that but he hasn't.  Every once in awhile I get to hear of a Chris vomit story and it warms my heart. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Things could have been done differently

Have you ever been in the middle of a situation and wondered if you could have handled things differently?  Like when you are sitting on the wrong side of a locked door with your two year old on the other side laughing at you; or when you are holding your kid with one hand and in the other hand is a handful of recently expelled vomit....  really could have handled these incidents differently...

I have mentioned in my previous blogs that my two year old recently became quite busy.  Like someone threw a switch the day he turned two and now he is non-stop go go go.  Along with this new level of energy comes new abilities.  For instance, I found out the hard way that he can lock doors...

With all of the crazy weather we've been experiencing lately we have tried to enjoy every nice day that comes our way.  One of these nice days David and I were playing in the back yard.  We are lucky to have a really large back yard and thanks to the help of a few of my friends (MW, MD, BP) we have a nice deck too (quite a large deck).  David loves to go outside and play in his fort and throw the ball to Jake.  When we were done with all of this "fun in the sun" fun we decided to head in.  Unfortunately for me, I was a few steps behind David.  I went to open the door to the house and it was locked.  David was laughing at me from the other side of the glass.  I didn't have a key on me nor was April home to let me in.  I tried in vain to instruct David on how to unlock the door but turning the nob the other way was not in David's repertoire.  Luckily, I was able to go through the garage and get in the house.  My other option was to call a neighbor that has a key.  April found this story quite funny when I told her later that day.

Lucky for April there was another incident that she was able to witness.  Same scenario as before except this time April was home and a few steps ahead of David.  So it was just Daddy and Jake that were locked out in the cold when the door locking bandit struck again.  Before April would let me in, she took the time to find her phone, take a picture and post it to facebook telling the world that I had once again been outwitted by a two year old... In my defense, he's really advanced.

Looking back, I could have handled that situation a little differently.

April and I have really been blessed with an easy child.  He's really relaxed and from six weeks old he has slept through the night.  We all have friends who have a child that won't sleep or won't stop crying...  That is not our experience.  So when David has that one night out of the blue that he wakes up crying in the middle of the night it usually means something is wrong.  Two weeks ago April and I were woken up by a fussing baby.  After a few minutes I decided (in reality my mind was made up for me by someone who is to remain nameless) to go upstairs in check on him.  When I opened the door I knew something was wrong.  Poor little guy was having a stomach situation and had thrown up in his sleep.  So I picked him up to love on him and get him cleaned up when he started heaving.  In my sleepy hazy mind I ran through my options and settled on a bad one.  I could have let him throw up in his already soiled bed (just lean him over the side) or even on the floor.  We have a rug that could be thrown in the washer pretty easily.  But no.  I settled on letting him throw up in my free hand.  So here I am standing in my son's room in the middle of the night, baby in one hand and fresh vomit in the other.  Fortunately for me there were two closed doors and an unreasonably high baby gate between me and a bathroom.  I have to say, I felt pretty smooth when I got to said bathroom without spilling or putting David down. 

David slept in my bed the rest of the night and I slept fitfully on the couch.  You would think that I learned my lesson that night about using my hand to catch vomit... Not exactly.  Once again, it seemed like the most logical place to put vomit the very next morning when David started at it again.  For the record, hands are never the best place to put baby vomit.  There are a few logistical problems, not the least of which is that your hands are generally not capable of handling a stomach full of vomit.  There tend to be overflow problems.

So I wish after all of this I could say that I would do things differently, but the reality is I would still offer my hand as a vomit catch (really more like a vomit colander) to my son.  In a heart beat. No questions asked.  This doesn't make me special, just a Dad.  It does not advance my standings in the "dad of the year" awards.  It is just what dads do.  And if my older brother ever reads this he would understand completely.  Not because he has kids because he doesn't; but, because he one time offered a trash can to my oldest brother in the bunk above him to yak in, only to have him miss the trash can completely and cover him with vomit.  I only wish I could remember the sight.  Ever since then throw up never bothered him.  Weird, right?

Saturday, February 5, 2011


So in my last post it was pretty clear that I lost the dad of the year award.  And so early in the year...  Well, I think it's time for some reconsideration.  Everyone knows that I am not much for tooting my own horn... actually I'm probably the first person to "toot my own horn" so this is will be about par for the course.

There has been some serious weather issues here in DFW, the super bowl is in town and April is out of town.  Normally this would mean that I am "bachen" it but I have David, so it's more like "single fathering it."  The two are similar... in no way.  Being a bachelor means you have no responsibilities.  Being a single father means you have all the responsibility.  That being said, I submit the following photo to the "Dad of the Year" award for reconsideration:

Sure it's not the best picture of my son, but it proves a good point.  The kid is ALIVE!  I've done it.  Recall an earlier blog of mine where I demonstrated what good a dad is.  I taught David some pick up lines because that is all there is left for me to do.  April spends most of her time with David.  When she's gone and Daddy is in charge I have him 100% of the time.  And he's alive!  I have accomplished so much.  Now look closer.  He even matches!!  April is normally in charge of his wardrobe and I admire how cute he ends up.  In this scenario, he's prepared for the outdoor elements and he matches.  Go me.

So what all happens when mommy is away?  Well, we get to do all the things that would normally be frowned upon in this establishment.  We get to use knives when we eat, we eat hot dogs, we learn to jump from a small slide to the top of the couch and we get to pick up snow without wearing gloves. 

So what if he has a split lip and unidentified scratches on his face.  He is in good shape all around.

To all of the people that read this who don't have kids (Matt) and wonder, "man, is that really worth it?"  I submit this one comment.  Normally, David calls for his mom when he's in his bed and doesn't want to be.  However, tonight he was babbling while he was going to bed and I heard him yell out, "I love my Daddy."  There really isn't anything better.  All the work, all the time, all the effort and all the sacrifice are totally worth it because of moments like that.

So to sum up, I have done what any other good father would do in my situation.  So I'm not too sure if I am a real candidate for "Dad of the Year" but I feel like my previous indiscretions should be negated.

Oh, and to further my point, look at the conditions I had to deal with.

There's a curb and a yard somewhere under all of that snow.  Seriously, go me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I really thought it was going to be my year...

David just turned two years old on December 31st.  Cities across the world celebrate his birthday.  It's a pretty big deal.  Needless to say, David got a lot of new presents.  There is a lot to play with in our house right now.  One of these presents is an art table that is just his size.  It came with two chairs and a variety of different markers.  One set of these markers happen to be dry erase markers.  It is this set of markers that ruined my chances at the 2011 dad of the year award.

If I'm being honest (and I always am), I knew I didn't have a chance at the actual award itself.  That over-achieving dad that pushes, pulls and carries his disabled kid through iron man triathlons wins every year.  It's like, we get it.  You're strong. Now it kinda seems like he's showing off, right?  So really, I was hoping just to be nominated...  I mean just to be nominated right?

Normally, about one day a week I have David duty.  I knock off work early and watch David while April goes to work.  It's a nice system because I get some extra time that way.  This particular day was after Christmas and David's birthday so the house was littered with new toys.  One of his favorites is the above mentioned art table.  On April's way out the door she cautioned me about the dry erase markers.  Apparently they are the only markers in the house that are not washable.  I dismissed her cautions as out of hand.  I mean really, I can handle this right.

Well, apparently when your child turns two he becomes a wild man.  All of a sudden David is a million miles an hour.  It's exhausting trying to keep up with him.  This day was no different. 

While I was on duty, David asked to play at his art table.  Specifically, he wanted to play with his dry erase markers.  Somewhere in my mind I remember April's warning so I set the art table up over the tile instead of the carpet.  He is drawing nicely on his table.  Really seems to be enjoying himself.  In the other room I hear my phone ringing so I trot off to get it....  Mistake number one.

I come back no more than ten seconds later on the phone with my sister.  I look at the table and David is nowhere in sight.  So I walk over and check it out.  David is laying on the carpet looking up at me.  Nothing seems to be wrong until I reach over to pick him up.  He is laying on top of his most recent master piece.  He drew about a dozen RED lines into my nice clean (sort of) carpet.  Now April's warnings are going off.  "They're NOT washable."  So I run into the laundry room to get the carpet cleaner.... Mistake number two.

When I return David is nowhere in sight and I can't find the red marker (blue one is on the table).  I called David over to the spot that I am trying to clean and ask him where the red marker is.  He says, "over here."  It's sitting on our ottoman.  I get to it only to find that there are red marks all over the leather ottoman.  Now, I have the marker in hand I figure it can't much worse, until I look over at the carpet in front of the couch.  Another set of red marks similar to the first set. 

Now it's time to clean.  I start working with the spot shot trying to get this stuff up.  It's working... a little.  As I am scrubbing the carpet, Jake comes over to see what I am doing.  I notice for the first time that his face is covered with red dry erase marks.  Poor dog.

So in the ten seconds it took me to get the phone plus the ten seconds it took me to get the cleaning materials my son marked on the carpet twice, a leather ottoman and the dog.  It happened that fast.

I guess the moral of the story is, don't run to the other room to answer the phone.  It's probably just your sister.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ahh Mexico

Starting the Friday after Thanksgiving April, David and I had the pleasure of spending a week in Mexico with my parents.  As with every trip my parents go on, this trip was planned months in advance.  They ventured into Mexico a few times previously and had a great time.  They even took my sister and her family for a week and they had a great time as well. 

During the planning phase, things in Mexico took a nose dive.  Violence was at the forefront of news coming from our neighbors to the south.  When we first planned the trip it was far from our minds.  As we got closer and closer to Thanksgiving the perceived danger of traveling to Mexico filled our thoughts.  We were not so much worried about ourselves but rather David.  Once we started thinking about the danger regarding the violence we also started thinking about the logistics of taking a 22 month old to Mexico. 

Think about it, Mexico is a third world country.  We had no idea what would happen if David fell ill and we needed a doctor.  How does that work in Mexico?  You can't really count on the police or the government for help...  We were nervous.

How did it turn out?

It was fantastic.  It was easy.  It was a great trip!  The water at the resort was treated and was perfectly safe.  The resort had a doctor on site and on call 24 hours a day.  The violence was concentrated up near the border and we were in Cancun.  Very far away.  Add to that the federal police presence, and it seemed as if it would be very bad idea for any criminal element to make a move. 

David really enjoyed having his run of the entire resort.  He loved the pool, the beach but most of all, he loved it iguanas.  He wanted to see them every time we went somewhere.  He thought they were some kind of cool.  He had a bit of a hard time pronouncing iguana.  It came out more like benihana than iguana. 

We spent the afternoons on the beach digging in the sand.

He even liked lounging by the pool.

David doesn't get to have juice at home.  He drinks water or rice milk.  While on vacation.... he likes to live a little.

But most of all, David enjoyed spending so much time with his Grandma and PopPop (the mere fact you call it that, tells me you're not ready yet).

Overall the trip was a great success.  Due to the terrible economic status and the violence up near the border the resort was sparsely populated.  It seems that this is a popular trend around all of Mexico.  So much so, the Mexican government, in an effort to incent travel, is giving each room booked $1500 worth of funny money.  It is like resort credit that you can spend on tours, golf or even the spa.  I had THREE 80 minute massages, April had two, got her nails done and got a hair cut.  We also got to experience something that I thought was incredible.  We swam with dolphins. 

It was really a great way to spend a vacation.  I would have no problem recommending the place we stayed. 

One of our favorite parts of the trip was the relationships we developed with some of the workers.  Our favorite was a kind man named Carlos.  He was the father of a little girl about the same age as David.  He was really kind to David and would go out of his way to make sure David was always well taken care of.  At the end of the trip we traded addresses with Carlos so we could keep in touch. 

Of course, I got sick.  I got hit by a massive stomach bug that haunted me for several days after the trip.  Stomach problems not withstanding... it was a great trip.