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Irresponsible Love

Today, I had every intention on writing about my day yesterday. Something along the lines of:

I was off yesterday taking care of my daughter, played xBox with my son, the wife came home and she was annoyed about this and that when she got home, etc., etc.
I intended to finish off the piece with something meaningful about the battle between the sexes, throw in a few jokes and quips and wish everyone a Happy New Year.


As I was walking to the train this morning, tiny, fluffy, snowflakes --- the kind you catch with your tongue --- were falling softly to the ground. While I waited for the train the ground began to whiten around me as were all the naked tree limbs in my line of sight. It was so quiet and comfortable even though it was cold as you know what.

And then inspiration hit me in a way it hasn't in a while. I was suddenly carried back to a time when I loved irresponsibly. I don't mean not using protection and ending up with an oops. I mean loving for the sake of loving, casting off care, being silly, holding hands, kissing ferociously and itching, literally itching to see the one you love.

If there is a benefit to being single or without kids, a.k.a. responsibility is that there's nothing in the way of love. Don't get me wrong, these things shouldn't be in the way of love in the first place, but over time, caught up in a grind, being miserable because an expectation hasn't been met somehow becomes the norm. Think about it, when you were first in love, in the honeymoon phase, did the dishes being washed really matter? Did taking out the trash make or break the evening? Did you get pissed off if that special person couldn't follow through on something you asked them to do? Of course you didn't, because you were too busy ripping each other's clothes off, frolicking around in a house that looked like hell because the two of you tore it to pieces over the course of a one, two or three day lovefest.

In 2009, I want to love irresponsibly and irrepressibly, love in spite of what isn't right and love freely, something that admittedly I've let slip through my fingers in the last couple of years.

In addition to getting back in top shape this is what I intend to bring to the table in 2009.

Peace and blessings to each of you. Be safe, be well and be merry.

Happy New Year.


New Year's Resolutions

I posed for this ridiculous photograph right after going down the water slide pictured behind me at Atlantis in the Bahamas. I was doing my best Bruce Leroy impression after the adrenaline rush from the slide. It was the fall of 2005, my then girlfriend, not yet fiance-not yet wife, was pregnant with our daughter. I weighed 173 pounds after spending months in a fitness bootcamp with a ruthless and crazed trainer. And by the time this picture was taken, I was nearly as crazy as him. I ate tons of fruits and vegetables and drank water like I lived in it. I ravaged chicken and fish and only touched red meat every once in a while. Everywhere I went, I was either running or walking so fast it felt like I was running. Back then, had you asked me to do something crazy, such as jump from one rooftop to another, I wouldn't have considered the obvious, I would've wondered if I had enough room to get up enough speed to make the jump. My body was my temple and my empire and I ruled over it justly.

Fast forward to 2 days before 2009.

I look a mess, except for the fact that now my teeth are straight. I've proportionately packed on roughly 20 pounds over the last 2 years. My wife says I look fine, but I disagree. Since 2005, the birth of my daughter, the beginning of my married life and my return to working in Manhattan, I've kept myself up just enough to keep wearing the same clothes I did back then. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't sometimes struggle to close a button here and there. And in all of the recently holiday photos taken of me, my face was probably only fatter when I was a baby. Spiritually, I also believe the extra weight and its associated lethargy has me weighed down a bit.

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions, only because the list is usually comprised of stuff you ought to be doing anyway. But I do believe in new beginnings. So when the new year begins, so will I, eating properly, curbing my sweet tooth, becoming more active and treating my temple as a temple. Garbage out, God willing. I enjoy roughhousing with the kids and I want to be able to do it for many more years to come. I enjoy my life. I owe it and the people who love me the best of me if it's within my power, which for now, my physical fitness is.

What are you resolved to do in 2009?


Good Morning, Romance

No matter what my wife says these days (should anyone ever meet her), I am a romantic all the way to my core. Only children, like myself, are, without hesitation, branded as selfish, which I suppose is true when judged by someone who grew up with 2 to 45 siblings. But the thing that often goes unnoticed by those who would judge us is that we are VERY passionate (almost to a fault). When you don't have siblings and don't have cousins filling in for siblings (I have an immeasurable amount of cousins, but I didn't grow up with them) you have time on your hands to dream, create and dream some more. Entwined in all this is romance. 

For a very long time, I dreamed of living a romantic life, drinking in my friendships, my experiences and the women I encountered along the way. And although these dreams still linger, over the course of growing older you realize that these constructs of your imagination are just that --- your imagination. So living a romantic life is attainable only up to a point. For example, there is absolutely nothing romantic about the subway, no matter what it looks like in movies or sounds like in stories, including my romantic short featuring the F Train.  

But when it comes to people, romance is something you can bring to the table, something you can shower someone with. It can be received, reciprocated or rejected. As a romantic (at heart) I can say unequivocally that one of the sweetest things is waking up in bed next to the one you love (or the one you were loving for the night), watching them come to, smile and say, "Hi" or "Good Morning." Music to my ears. Always has been, always will be. This can lead to more lovemaking, a great breakfast or at least a nice talk about the night before. The first time I heard, Good Morning by John Legend I immediately thought of the times I've either heard or said, "Good Morning," in the way he suggests in his song. And just so I don't get beat silly by my loving wife, let me say here that I am only referencing my experiences with her and how she used to smile when I said this to her. By now, you should have an idea where this is going. 

This past Saturday morning, we came in at three in the morning from the night before after hanging out at a lounge with some of her friends from college. Everyone there was grown and sexy and had miraculously straight teeth, no lie. I say all this to say, I went to bed feeling grown and sexy too even though my face looked pudgy in all the pictures they took that night. When I woke up at about ten-thirty in the morning, I looked at my wife, beautiful Bajan, black woman that she is, and watched her sleep for a little while before surfing the net on my iPod. Finally, I rolled over and gave her a peck on the lips. "You have to go out and get Pedialyte for the baby," she said. "Huh?" "The baby has diarrhea and you need to go get some Pedialyte before she wakes up. She took a poop four times last night." I knew my baby had the runs and I knew how many times she had gone to the bathroom. I was with my wife when we first noticed her stomach was hurting the night before and I was with her when our baby sitter confirmed it that same night. "Are you serious?" I asked. "Yes, I'm serious!" she snapped, fully awake and mad that she was awake. "What kind of question is that? What did I do? Did I offend you? Did I call you out of your name?" she barked more than asked. 

I sighed, then laughed. She didn't understand where I was coming from. I asked if she was serious because her eyes had been closed the entire time before she greeted me with Pedialyte and poop. The woman was asleep, but somehow managed enough consciousness to tell me to go to the store. My house is now stocked with all varieties of Pedialyte (which ain't cheap). In my wife's defense, our daughter was seriously suffering from a stomach virus and sleeplessness which put her on edge. But being told/asked/whatever what to do by your unconscious lover the second you wake up is about as unromantic as it gets. Therefore I have concluded that being a parent is definitely a charmed experience. It is definitely priceless and truly admirable. And it is a privilege. You can be cool at it and you can do your best to maintain your sexy doing it, should you so choose. But there is absolutely nothing romantic about parenthood. If there is, someone please tell me.


Happy Holidays!

In this time of economic crisis, joblessness, weird weather, scandal and daily ridiculousness, one might think it's impossible to celebrate anything.

A coworker just asked me, "Are you ready for this depressing holiday?"

"It's not about what's going on out there," I told him while looking out the window. "It's about getting with the ones you love and those who love you and making the most of it."

He agreed and claims he will take my advice.

Whether there's less under the tree than last year or there is no tree at all, pray, eat, drink and be merry. Be well and be loving. Good times come from within and are shared close to home. If you don't have anyone at home then go volunteer on Christmas day at a soup kitchen or a shelter. You'll feel better for it.

Happy Holidays!

Peace be unto to you.



If There is a Recession...

no one in my house knows about it.

  • On Wednesday, my wife snuck in the house with a bag filled with shoes, saying "I got them at a sample sale." Essentially stating that because they were on sale they deserved to be bought.
  • My son ran up my cell phone bill downloading ringtones off the Internet from his phone. I've told him at least 23 times that if he does it from the computer, it is free. I'm debating splitting that portion of the bill with him, strangling him or tossing his Wii down a flight of stairs. I'm not sure which will make me happiest.
  • My son and his evil twin cousin from down south bought an entire season of the Boondocks (a show neither of them should be watching in the first place) in order to watch it on the computer during the Thanksgiving holiday. I only found this out today when I went to pay my credit card bill.
  • Over the past two weekends my wife has insisted on eating out with the family at bland, casual dining establishments where we've gotten zero service and awful food. We've spent embarrassing amounts of money on crap that gave me gas. Crap in crap out.
  • Everyday my little princess asks me for a "Dora Toy." Yesterday I came home late and she asked me, "Daddy, what did you bring me?"
  • The second I mention any belt tightening, they all give me blank stares, except for my baby who tells me, "Stop it, Daddy!"
I feel like I'm swimming in quicksand.


My Wife is Hot...Literally

Not too long ago my wife and I we were warring over where I went to sleep each night. Most nights I'd be slumped across one of our couches looking like someone shot me in my sleep or even better, I'd be completely knocked out, sprawled out across our living room floor only barely aware that my daughter was doing gymnastics on my chest and stomach.

Usually, I'd wake up in the middle of the night and stumble to bed to my supposedly sleeping wife. And without fail each morning she'd tell me with much attitude exactly what time I came to bed and how ridiculous that it is that as a married, grown man, I can't just bring myself (she used a different set of words) to bed.

Pointlessly, I've argued why this has occurred until I've been blue in the face. Not that I haven't understood her point, but the man in me insists that all my actions be understood. Even when, as my wife points out, some of my actions don't even make sense.

I've since rectified all this and we've moved on. Nowadays the only nighttime discussion we have is that our crappy apartment gets cold in the middle of the night, even now when the weather is 60 degrees one day and 30 the next. I must point out, however that my wife is perpetually cold. She is the type of woman who'll turn on the a/c in the summer and then sleep under a down comforter.

What I find amazing about all this is that my wife is hot to the touch, no matter how warm or cold she believes she is. So from the days (two weeks ago) when I used to stumble around in the dark trying to find our bedroom to now when I beat her there, it's nice to know that even when a slight chill comes over me in the middle of the night all I have to do is roll over and siphon off as much heat as I need to from my five-foot, eight-inch personal heater. Even if it means waking up with my back killing me because she somehow unconsciously manages to wrap her legs around me in a psuedo scissor-lock.


I Love Dogs, But...

I hate cats. Even though this is a Daddy/Husband blog, one of my most popular posts (something I like to refer to as the post that won't die) was a little rant I wrote about my profound hatred for my wife's cat entitled, I Hate Cats.

But I do love dogs. They're obedient (most times), they can be trained, they'll go running with you, they can be put to work and actually enjoy it and most importantly, they know their place. If their designated area is their bed at the foot of your bed, that is where they go --- day in, day out, forever.


I have a long haired dachshund who is currently residing with my mother-in-law due to the fact that our apartment (an attic apartment) is too tiny for his energy level and he'd probably break his back the first time he ventured down the steep staircase entrance to the place. At my mother- in-law's he has a buddy in her Shitzu. The two of them have day-long mini-dog wars that keep them from otherwise tearing her apartment to shreds.

Yesterday after working late, I picked up my daughter from her grandmother's to find her being changed. Going to the potty for her has been a very hit or miss exercise in patience and torture (for me anyway). I looked down at the floor to see my dog with his snout pressed deep into a pile of cloths. And he's just licking away to his heart's content. I look closer and see beneath the cloths, my daughter's very poopy Pull-Up is sitting partial open. Horrified, I watch for a second longer just to make sure I'm seeing what I'm seeing.

My eyes rolled backward in my head. I yelled, then flicked him on the top of his head.

My beautiful little, brown dappled dog looks up at me with his hazel eyes as if to say, "What happened?" All while licking his jowls.

Yeah...I love dogs.


Why Do You Read MakesMeWannaHoller.com?

Now that I'm back a bit from my break from blogging, I'm doing a little housekeeping today to keep things fresh and sharp. I would like to hear from those of you frequent the blog to find out:

  • Why you visit the site?
  • Are you a man or a woman?
  • Are you a parent?
  • Are you married?
Thanks, and enjoy the day.


MetroSexual Dad

This past October, while visiting from Chicago, my father snapped this pic of me at Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, a.k.a. "Hudson Heights" for anyone trying to sell real estate up there. In any event, he told me to look "over there" which was in the direction of the Hudson River and this picture to the right is what resulted. I wasn't trying to look fly. I wasn't posing. In fact I was annoyed because some jackass walking his dog with one of those retractable leashes let him (the dog) practically run up on the stroller with my giant, sleeping two year old inside before I came out from behind it. He kept it moving without even acknowledging me. The election was only a few days away and I made myself feel better about the near-confrontation by speculating that he was a McCain supporter. Not that supporting McCain made anyone inherently bad. You are who you are. Your political party doesn't really matter these days as proven by yet another one of my home state's governors.

Back to the picture: my wife actually laughed and rolled her eyes when she saw it and gave me one of those "Are you serious?" looks.

A day or two ago, I was chatting with a friend who asked me if I thought I was a Metrosexual. I busted out laughing.

"Nah," I said quickly. "That would require me to have a regimen and products and I don't have either anymore."

If I had astringents, toners, moisturizers and masks and a morning regimen and an evening regimen, then surely, I'd be one. And although thanks in part to the latest 007 movie, I have been dressing like I fell out of a magazine (it keeps up my morale at work) behind all of that I literally pick whatever falls out of my closet each day that doesn't need ironing. This is what I have devolved into as a married man at a job that burns up nearly 14 hours of my day between commuting and working.

My friend and I had a good laugh over the fact that I was quick to claim I wasn't a metrosexual, but I seemed to have an awful strong sense of what one is. Maybe I'm in hibernation from the days when it took me longer to get out of the house than any woman I've ever dated. Maybe with these kids and this wife and our impending departure from New York looming overhead, I don't have time to make sure all my pores are open. Besides, being oily keeps your face from drying out in the wintertime.

Did I say that?


The Price of Gas

Yesterday, I went to this gas station that I know is almost 10 cents lower than the lowest gas in my neighborhood. Of course I'm referring to 'hood gas. My baby was with me and I explained where we were going and why we were going there.

"To gas up the car?" she asked.

I told her yes.

"The gas is the car's food?" she asked.

I told her yes and also discussed where the nozzle goes and every other detail associated with pumping gas. She is a sponge right now, and at almost 3 she is really making sense of everything my wife and I tell her.

So I get to the gas station and there's no place to put my credit card. I walk into the store, making sure my baby can see me (which I thought she could) and tried to pay there.

"We don't take caahrds." said the African man behind the counter. This was seconded by the Latina woman beside him. I can't say that I blame them in 2008, with credit card fraud being what it is. I pulled out all the cash I had on me, a whopping eight bucks and passed it across the counter.

"We're changing the till right now, you'll have to wait," the woman told me, flatly.

I hate when people I'm giving my money to act like they're doing me a favor versus the other way around. But I was there, so I waited.

And waited.

And waited, until finally I said, "Look I got a baby in the car, are you done, because if not I'll just go somewhere else?"

Suddenly they were ready to take my money once I was ready to take it and leave. I walked quickly back to my car and ripped open the back door where I saw my baby girl in tears with her bottom lip poked out as far as it can go. This wasn't her usual crying that's associated with her not getting her way. Abandonment and the helpless despair that comes with it was on her face.

"Daddy's back," I said, smiling. "Are you okay?"

She nodded.

"You don't have to be scared. I didn't leave you. I'll never leave you, okay?"

She nodded again. Completely riddled with guilt I bought her a toy at the local CVS drugstore and by the time we got home it was business as usual. But that look she had on her face stuck with me until I fell asleep last night. All I did was leave my baby in the car for five minutes with a clear view of me. How anyone, how any man, can abandon that which he made for life, boggles my mind. By design we aren't lions, tigers or bears so we can't thrust our young out there and expect them to be okay. We can't not worry about it because we didn't plan it or we're not ready. As a man, no matter what the circumstance, life stops being about only you the second you bring a new life into this world. There's no way around this. Period.

And I won't be going back to that gas station.


I Can't Do Diddly

Despite my best intentions. My best plans. Writing out a to-do list. Setting aside time. I just can't get anything done in my home.

While working on his Ph.D., a frat brother of mine used to leave to go to either Starbucks or my place to work. I figured he should be able to have at least one room where he could be in peace (he has a nice, modest sized home in Long Island). Oh, how wrong was I.

I'm here to acknowledge at 12:45am (when I'd rather be in bed and had every intention of being in bed) that my kids are running this asylum. Best laid plans are shot to hell by a teenager who pitifully does his best to stay up past his bedtime and practically falls asleep wisecracking me and a toddler Tasmanian Devil who needs to be "put down" with everything short of a tranquilizer dart. And to top it off, my loving wife isn't the most embracing of solitude person either as a sibling and a family oriented person who thrives off of swarming conversation. I do too from time to time, but I'm a introvert at heart.

So here I am...the house is quiet, I have all the solitude I want to work on resumes and my writing. And guess what? I'm dead tired, dreading the idea of waking in a few hours to start a new day of foolish pursuits at work.

C'est la vie. It is what it is until I figure out a way to make it better --- or at least different.