Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When his wife was expecting five years ago, my brother would show me the ultrasound pictures of his son and tell me how excited he was to be on the verge of parenthood. I would tell him that while ultrasounds are nice, nobody really cares about seeing the outline of a baby that was living inside of his wife's body. Not only that, the image looked more like Emmitt Till, than it did a growing boy. The joke was highly inappropriate, the sentiment was kind of mean, but it was true. I've had lots of people show me their ultrasound pictures of their children-to-be, and it really is underwhelming. I don't even remember the ultrasound pictures of my son Carlton from 1997.

But last Friday, due to work obligations, I missed my first doctor's appointment with my wife, and I was pretty upset about it. I swore up and down that I would attend each and every appointment she had, but I fell a bit short. I waited and waited for her to call me, and when she finally did, she explained that young Melvin was healthy and on schedule and so was she. A couple of hours later she sent me the ultrasound picture, and I just broke out into a full smile. You'd have thought the kid was sitting in my lap or something, because I just stared at that picture incredulously.

Five minutes later do you know what I did? I sent the picture to my mother, my father and my brother, and thankfully they were way more gracious than I had ever been. They all commented on how excited they were, which just got me more excited (pause). So here he is at 21 weeks (he's 22 weeks old right now though).

Monday, August 29, 2011

I would like to send a congratulations out to my main man jazzbrew. who has been reading and commenting on my blog for a few years now. He and his lady had a baby boy this morning, and I couldn't be happier for him. I know I'm turning into an emotional writer here, but kids and parenthood will do that to you.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I know this is going to sound super sappy, but I cannot wait to be a father again.

You see I had my son Carlton when I was 22 years old, and not only was I clueless and fresh out of college, but his mother and I did not get along. She lived in Hampton, I lived in Maryland, and I missed lots of milestones in Carlton's life (first day of school, first step, first missed tooth, potty training,etc) It wasn't like I was an absentee father, because I saw him two and three times a month, it just was not the same as being there each and every day. Now he's turned into a fine young man (as fine as a 14 year old sneaky bastard can be), and I love him, but there are parts of his life that I missed, and sometimes it hurts. Not a debilitating hurt that will send me in a tailspin..but the kind of hurt that comes and goes (mainly comes) when Carlton's name comes up in conversation.

14 years later I'm married, a little smarter, a little wealthier, less mature, and I am ready to get the full Daddy experience. I've had friends and family attempt to scare me away with baby horror stories, but they don't understand how much I want that. Every parent goes through ups and downs, but (most of the time) there is some type of rewarding experience on the wrap around. I want the good, the bad, the ugly and the payoff.

Where did all this come from? On my way into work this morning I saw a father and his young infant going for a morning walk. The kid was in one of those pouches that fit right in front of the parent, and he was just smiling and gazing into his father's eyes--and the father was looking right back at him with an identical look. I'm not a REAL emotional guy, but I definitely got a little filled..Needless to say, I'm pretty f**king excited about the birth of young Melvin.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Before a wedding, there are usually two separate parties: one for the bachelor and one for the bachelorette. There is drinking, there may be dancers, there could be a sporting event involved, and maybe even some gifts shared, but both the bride and groom get a chance to do their thing and feel special. The wife and I chose not to have to have those types of parties, but the option was briefly on the table. We have no regrets.

Before a baby is born, this type of congruency simply does not exist and it is troubling to me. Granted, I understand that the mother of the child deserves most of the attention and the bigger party. She needs love, attention, affirmation and most importantly gifts for the baby--especially when the sex of the baby has been determined as it has in our case. Still, I think the man should have some type of baby-related party as well. I'm having a boy, so my boys and the men in my family should throw me something. I should get a dazzling array of cigars, some clothes and diapers with Philadelphia Eagles or Washington Wizards on them, maybe some fancy hats, bedsheets, bottles etc. I know this seems weird or maybe even a bit unconventional, but I think it should happen.

Plus when young Melvin is finally born in January, there will be twice as many helpful gifts for the wife and I--ultimately, isn't that what really matters? I think so. Surely somewhere out there, some man has picked up and ran with this concept...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nick Ashford died of throat cancer yesterday. Just last year I went to see he and his wife at a company function and I had this to say
Well I lost a bet to my wife, we were NOT the only black people at the wedding this weekend. As we were walking out, we saw two black dudes hanging out in the back, although quite honestly, I think she had them planted just so she could collect on our bet. Overall the wedding was beautiful, and quite different than any wedding I've ever attended. The bride was Romanian, the groom was Irish-Catholic, and I was totally confused throughout the ceremony. I didn't know when to stand, how long to stand, when to kneel, or any of that good stuff. And I was caught of guard when I noticed that every prayer had to be sung, not recited, which is what I'm used to seeing. Still, I wasn't so confused that I couldn't see the joy of two people coming together in holy matrimony.

The next day, the wife and I went out to eat with my grandmother, my uncle, and my cousin and the subject of the movie "The Help" was brought to the table. My uncle had just seen the movie, and he asked my grandmother about some of the jobs she had to do as a youth. My grandmother started listing all the jobs she did for white people, and she also mentioned that she took care of Judy Resnick (the woman who died in the NASA Challenger explosion back in 1986) from birth to 10 years old. I never knew ANY of these stories my grandmother was telling, and considering she's battling dementia, the effects from a stroke and retina surgery, it was amazing she remembered so damn much. I also realized for me not to have heard this story before, means I am not asking her the right questions.

So maybe THAT is the reason "The Help" was supposed to be released: To encourage dialogue with our elders, so that we can hear their stories as well. I'm still not going to see the movie though...I have no problem with it per se, I just think it sucks that black women rarely get leading roles in movies--except when movies like this come along.. but that's another entry.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm in Canton, Ohio (home of the NFL Hall of Fame) for a wedding, and the hotel I'm staying has this as hotel key:

It may not be cool to you, but its very cool to me. It is also the only thing about Canton that is remotely interesting. I also think my wife and I may be the only two black people at this wedding, which should be pretty interesting. There's no way I'm not writing about this one..

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The wife and I finally chose a daycare for our unborn child, and luckily for us we chose one that won't have us (that) broke. We filled out the application, the money will be sent soon, and young Melvin will officially have a place to do his baby duties while his parents make that money. It is at a church (not Catholic thank God), which makes me think that the level of b.s. will be kept at a minimum, and our child will get the religious values that continue to elude his parents. There were two issues thought

First of all, the head pastor of the church (I'm not linking his name or his picture) looks like Beaker from the Muppet Show. When my wife showed me his picture, I couldn't stop myself from laughing. When I saw him in person this morning, I had to contain my laughter, because I didn't want to jeopardize my son's spot in this wonderful daycare. But this 60-something black man looks just like fact, I may teach my son to make some Beaker sound effects (no I'm not that irresponsible).

Second, while explaining what the infants do during the day, the woman in charge used the word "comfortability" which definitely bothered my English major sensibilities. This won't prevent my son from staying there, because this woman was on top of every detail and every question we asked. Still..comfortability? really? I'd totally use that word in Scrabble, and dare someone to challenge it, but I damn sure wouldn't go out in public and say that...or dramatical for that matter.

And finally, I felt my son move in my wife's stomach for the first time on Monday night, and I am pumped. Soon, I will be ensconced in baby-related matters, and the whole direction of this blog will take a different turn. Not yet though.

When my main man Sabin and I were in college, we used to listen to the song you see posted below, and instead of "whatta bam bam", we'd say "What a bargain!". That's how mature we were/are.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Today is my son's 14th birthday. That picture was taken two weeks after he was born--the day Princess Diana died. He gets on my nerves, he's not with me today, but I spoke with him today, he got my gifts, and I know he loves me. Nothing else really matters.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

About a month or so ago, my wife discussed an article with me that laid out the pros and cons of having sex during pregnancy (yeah you might be grossed out, but you might laugh so stick around). Maybe to you the thought of having a pregnant woman and her husband doing the dirty deed is disgusting, but to me it is not only beautiful, but it will be my way of life the next few months.

The article broke down desirable positions (man on top gets the thumbs down, man on side or behind gets the thumbs up), it discusses that the woman may not be in the mood due to nausea and other factors, and it even discusses the advantages of a (female) orgasm when it gets close to baby delivery time. As an aside, usually when I read WebMD articles, I'm trying to figure out whether the pain in my side means I'm going to die in 48 hours or less, so to read an article for information purposes only was very refreshing.

At one point in the article, when sexual dos and donts were being discussed, the author writes the following:

One sexual act to avoid during pregnancy is blowing during oral sex, Foreman adds. “If oral sex is performed on the pregnant woman while blowing air into the vagina, the woman can develop an air embolus, which can travel to the lung and have potentially fatal consequences.

Now, the second part of that paragraph is just flat-out scary, so I'm ignoring that. But the first part is what I'd like to delve into a little deeper (that's what he said). Who are these men/women blowing in lady parts, let alone pregnant lady parts? Who has that in their repertoire? Who tells their lady, "Yeah I'm licking, fingering, flicking and biting, but once I blow on/in your ass its a wrap son, what you know about that?" And more importantly, are women telling their men/women, "Blow in it baby, blow in it! Take me there". As a popular Hispanic singer once sang, "I need to know!"

Here's a scenario when blowing in the snatch is ok. Let's say the man has just allowed the woman to go down on him, and he wants to return the favor. Only 30 seconds elapse between when he "finishes" and when he is heading down to hook his lady up in the same fashion. He's confused, he's still excited, and most importantly he's winded, so when he gets down there, he blows a few harmless but forceful breaths into the snatch....It could happen my friends..not with me though.
My latest ESPN offering..

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Here is my wife's response to my entry yesterday:

I’ve been threatening to guest blog here again for quite some time. It’s been a while since my last go at this. I felt after yesterday’s pat on the back entry of Rashad’s bed making prowess this was as good a time as any.

Let me first say, that I’m happy and thankful Rashad is stepping up during this pregnancy. I hear about so many men/boyfriends/husbands that don’t so kudos to him. Second, I don’t know where I heard it – probably some has been, relationship expert on Oprah – but basically the lady said if your spouse is doing something to help out, don’t nag and complain be thankful or just do it yourself. I honesty try to do this except when it comes to the bed because it’s a – well a shitty mess.

I have to paint you a really good picture of what a bed he’s made looks like as his attempt yesterday was by far the best I’ve ever seen since I’ve known him. EVER! It should be noted I tried to give him a hi-five for a job well done. So yeah anomaly my ass! Imagine if you will someone has made your bed and it looks like a toddler jumped up and down all over it then buried himself under the covers. That’s what the bed looks like generally after Rashad has done his so-called best. It looks like a small child is under there somewhere and the pillows are propped up all proud-like. And lest I forget that one side has the comforter dragging the floor and the other side is barely grazing the edge of the bed. Oh, and he does this thing – where under all this frumpy mess, he folds the sheet back. That’s his move – the fold back and he is always soooo proud of it as if this bed is ready for showroom status. You bet your sweet ass I’m taking a picture of this atrocity and laughing my ass off!

It really isn’t hard to make a bed. I don’t even make the bed as great as I was expected to as a youth. Making your bed says look, there’s some order in this home. It says here’s to a new good night’s worth of sleep in a comfortable spot. He doesn’t get it and I don’t expect him to. This is why I make the bed 95% of the time unless I have to leave work before him. The real question here is why would a grown man spend so much time un-smoothing a bed? We spent a good 10 minutes at my sister’s house last weekend smoothing and unsmoothing the bed in her guest room because he just couldn’t stand the great bed making job I’d done. God bless his whole heart.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The wife's pregnancy (she's coming up on 4 months and 3 weeks) means that I have to pick up the slack with some of the duties around the house--mainly washing clothes and cleaning the bathroom. It isn't that I cannot perform these tasks in a diligent fashion, because I did them when I was single (although there is one person who reads my blog who visited my house one time when I was single and said my bathroom was messy, I assure you that was an anomaly). It just so happens that my wife is a super anal(pause) perfectionist who likes things done her way, and my way is rarely good enough.

For example this morning she had to be at work super early, which means today was one of the few times I had to make the bed. You see the wife feels like the bed has to made each and every day--even when she takes a nap at 7pm, and gets right back in the bed at 10pm, she still thinks the bed should perfectly made. I think that's horseshit. I think making the bed every day is something you make kids do so that they are disciplined, and single adults should do so they don't get judged by people they hope to sleep with that night. Married couples should have a making-the-bed option, which I clearly would not use unless I was having company (which is never).

Anyway as I made the bed, I was overwhelmed with pressure. No matter how good of a job I do making the bed, the wife comes in, smooths out the bed(whether its un-smooth or not), and mocks the job I have done. In fact one time she took a picture of my bed-making skills, sent them to her sister, and they just laughed and laughed at my work. Still,this morning I fought through the pressure, suppressed my lack of confidence, and I made the bed in such a way that you the readers would be proud of me, even if my wife is not.

By the way she has no complaints about my bathroom cleaning and my clothes washing, it is just the bed making that sucks..

Monday, August 08, 2011

My contribution to ESPN today
My train ride into work is about five minutes long, and usually it is quick and painless. This morning, I spent four of out of those five minutes, watching this emotionally unstable lady make faces at me. At first I was about to get angry and say something, then I quickly figured out that she was emotionally disturbed. She stuck her tongue out me, she bugged her eyes out, she tugged at her ears, and she did other juvenile things that caught me completely off guard. Then she made faces like she was going to cry, and started hitting herself in the head. The two or three other people who saw this, did their best to look away and ignore her, but I was way too curious to look away. I almost laughed, but I'm glad I made some attempt to act my age, because it was just sad. Before I got off the train, I went over and told her to have a nice day, and she sanely said, "Thank you, you do the same." Very weird..

Two minutes later as I walked towards my building, I saw this woman who easily weighed about 300 lbs, bending over to tie her shoe. Most people just kneel down to tie their shoes in the middle of the street, so their ass won't be exposed, but not this woman. She was bent straight over, to reveal a black, sheer thong, except the thong was NOT covering what it should have been covering. She stood straight up one time to pull up her pants, but they were clearly too big, because as soon as she bent back over, there was ass (and other things) exposed, and it was disgusting. It wasn't just that was she overweight, because who cares about that..but how can you not feel that warm August air running all up your exposed asscrack and snatch? And why are your pants that loose? I was deeply offended, and I stepped with purpose past her. I can't say the same for the guy in the postal office worker who stopped and try to holler at her..

Thursday, August 04, 2011

I have a lot of cousins who currently live in Akron, Ohio, and when I was younger I used to mock them for still being there. Some chose to go to college in the area, others never went to college, but they all chose to stay in that city even when they were old enough to explore and know that Akron is not really the place to be. Sure LeBron James is from there, and there is a fancy golf tournament played there every year, but it just isn't that great of a city (my apologies to those of you who live and/or visited there and loved it).

But I can admit that in the past month or so, I have seen one of the benefits of them staying in Akron, or just staying close to lots of family in general. Childcare. The wife and I are currently on a mission to find childcare for our unborn son, and it is a bitch. I know we live in DC and all, but that is still no excuse for the closest childcare spot to our house to be charging $2600 a month (and yes you read that right). There have been some other nice places that aren't as close to our house that are charging anywhere between $1200 and $1900, and while that's not quite as bad, that still seems expensive. The nice, affordable places under a grand have extensive waiting lists with a few exceptions, and the wife and I have pounced on them but we've yet to lock anything down. We still have plenty of time between now and March or April when our son would actually be entering daycare, but we are still feeling the pressure.

If either one of us lived closer to our families, we could just leave our child with them (after a careful search for a competent, sane family member of course), and we could ask them to do it for free. Of course we would offer money, and they would say, "Oh no, you don't owe me anything", and then we'd try and offer again, and they would refuse our money again, and then we would rescind our money offer completely, and there would be a win-win situation on our hands. The family gets to see our genius child grow, and we get free childcare.

But as it stands, neither one of us really lives close to our family..her family is an hour away, and it really would not be very convenient for us to drop the kid way over there and then get to work in a timely fashion. And my dad is an hour away, but I can pretty much guarantee that he will not watch the child until he's potty-trained (can't blame him there, those are my rules for babysitting as well). The wife and I are in the process of devising a list of bribes to get our respective mothers to retire and move here, but we've yet to come up with the right offer. The dance continues...In the meantime, if any of you wonderful people reading this blog know of anyone/anyplace in the DC area, where we can take our child without worrying about creepy behavior or people, please let me know. There's a luxurious vacation to Akron in it for you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

There is always one guy on the train who refuses to hold on to the 5 million railings available to passengers who choose not to sit down. He's usually too busy reading, fiddling with his iPod/iPad/Blackberry to truly pay attention to his surroundings, but most of the time he's able to use his balance to keep himself from busting his ass, and suffering an embarrassing fall. I can admit I've been this guy a time or two, but I have never fallen on the ground or on someone else. For the most part, I use the railings available to me.

This morning there was this gentlemen who found it necessary to read the Washington Post Express (a mini-newspaper for this people who do not have the time or intelligence to read the Washington Post. Yes I'm exaggerating and yes I'm judging). He was standing to my left, and I noticed that right before the train left the station, he chose to hold to nothing at all. He was standing straight up (at least if his knees were bent, he would have had some balance) with his little paper spread out, and his head buried in it.

At first the train took off at a nice leisurely pace, then out of nowhere the train stopped rather abruptly (as trains are prone to do). This gentlemen ignored the 10 million railings available to him, and out of desperation tried to grab my forearm to keep himself from falling down. Me being the righteous and helpful black man that I am, I jerked my arm away from him, and watched him fall flat on his ass with his newspaper sitting right in his lap. With anger in his eyes he used the railing (too little too late) to stand back up, and he proceeded to have this conversation with me.

Him: Thanks for the help a$$hole
Me (hearing every word, but daring him to repeat them): Excuse me?
Him: Thanks for the help (no a$$hole the second time)
Me: Use the f**king railing that's why they're all around you, its not my job to hold your dumb ass up
Him: No but you didn't have to be a jerk about it
Me: That's who I am at 7am
**I got a little laughter from my fellow morning passengers***

The guy said nothing else after that, he just went right back to not holding on, while he read his paper. Luckily for him (and me) there were no more abrupt stops, and we both got off the train at the same stop, in the same direction. We rode up the escalator together, and then he went left, and I went right, but before he got out of earshot I said, "Have a great day a$$hole!". No response..although the police office standing there told me not to be a troublemaker this early in the morning, and I apologized.

The way I see it? I'll have a newborn son in about 5 months, so I need to get all of this borderline juvenile behavior out of my system before then. And yes I'll be writing about this joyous occasion a whole lot in the coming months, so brace yourself..