From the belly of a whale

…is where I’m writing this, along with Shel Silverstein (“and it’s awfully dark in here”). No, just the belly of a house in a New England winter, which is the same thing almost, save for the distant promise of spring and a return to the outside world. 

What I should really be doing right now is figuring out a fun indoor place to take the kids this afternoon, because we’re about one stuck-out-tongue away from a Lord of the Flies situation down in the basement playroom. I actually passed some severed doll heads on sticks on my way to do the laundry the other day… probably a warning sign. But you know what they say: a family that engages in ritualistic Darwinian struggles together stays together. Or ends up with fewer complaints. I think the kids got the message when I labeled the trash can in the kitchen the “Suggestion Box.” Of course they didn’t miss a beat and have retaliated by dumping their entire dinners there soon after getting their plates. Child Services threw up their hands at that one, shrugged and asked us to never call them again.

When the family turns their back I’ve been stealing away to finish the first full album I’ve been a part of, which is now done and posted here: Downloadable from that site for $5, but for the same price or a bit more if you want to chip in for shipping, I can send you a CD, with some cover art, liner notes, etc. I guess these are becoming things of the past — media you can hold in your hands — but I felt like we should make a few copies anyway. We just played our album release show at a great spot called the Lily Pad in Cambridge and had a really good turnout. It’s a tough place to play because it’s just a music space with a tiny little bar in the corner, so it’s perfectly quiet with people staring at you in between songs. But really nice to play and know people are hearing what you’re doing (along with every little mistake), as opposed to playing in a bar where sometimes you’re not sure if people are listening. Some photos my dad took at the show are posted here: I think the album just went tin (10+ copies sold!), so keep an eye on the Billboard charts for us.

Last year I resolved to think about exercising, so this year was the year to start doing it. I say “was” because my plans have been temporarily sunk by the Sharon Community Education program, who informed me that not enough people signed up for the indoor ultimate frisbee league I signed up for a few weeks ago, so they can’t offer the program this winter. This was after I convinced my one friend in town to join. So apparently there weren’t like four other people in town who jumped at the prospect of whipping a frisbee through a school gym window? I could maybe still get into the 30+ basketball league, but I’m picturing a lot of guys who take it a bit too seriously and getting leveled by someone who has 100 pounds on me (just about anyone, by the way) setting a pick. So that leaves just the upcoming annual tackle football game, the day before the Super Bowl, where I run like a deer who has learned what is behind the headlights. I find self-preservation to be great motivation to exercise… pretty much the only one that works for me. This was the theory behind my West Baltimore Jog/Sprint/Jogging Club that never succeeded in getting the Mayor’s endorsement.  In fact that was one of the reasons I needed to leave town.

Ah, but we’re having fun here. If I sound strangely relaxed it’s because the kids are at the Y with Karen before swimming. I’m trying not to think ahead to the family locker room after swim class, where I swear there is not a single happy/dry/warm person. Last week Isaac was screaming that I was bullying him by trying to make him get out of his wet suit in the cold changing room. But is there a good way to organize post-swimming showers and changing for 50 adults and kids? No. I just tell myself I’m not really there — that this would be really stressful if it were happening to me, but luckily I’m just observing someone like me dealing with kids like my own, and wouldn’t it be even more upsetting if those were the dry clothes that just fell into the inch of standing water on the floor?

Yes, a little detachment is necessary sometimes… but something to be on guard for too. This past Xmas resulted in some new phones for me and Karen (I finally joined the iPhone cult) and a tablet for Sydney… but we’re quickly realizing we need to regulate the use of these things carefully. Before you know it there are three screens out at dinner and someone sitting in front of the TV looking at a screen on their lap.

Ah, I’m late now for my little jog at the Y, trying to get into some semblance of shape before the annual football game. And then the family locker room awaits! Anyway, hope you all are surviving this winter with its polar vortexes and bears in the fridge. Any excuse to wear long underwear is fine by me. The bears find it humorous too, which allows just enough time to get away. What?

Until next time,




About ericf73

A modern-day combination of Noah, Godot and Clark W. Griswold.
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