The wife has successfully gone number three and brought into this world our first offspring. She was in labor for 33 hours and produced our eight pound, twenty-inch boy on April 7, 2009 just after 8:13 PM. I saw many things I can never un-see during the birth of my son. All parts of the female anatomy are now completely demystified for me. While I can still objectify naked woman, I now understand that nature intended for boobs to be suckled by infants and that a vagina was meant for a baby to be pushed out of, not for me to press/push/thrust my penis on/in/around. The boy is experiencing a touch of the Jaundice and is currently laying in a portable baby tanning bed, but other than that, we are all happy, healthy and exhausted.
The aftermath of the nature’s windy wrath has been rife with insurance adjusters, fence contractors, gutter repairmen and one unemployed handyman that was canvasing our neighborhood door-to-door who claimed he could reset our fence posts for “next to nothing” (I quickly learned that “next to nothing” in unemployed handyman talk comes out to be roughly $750). The insurance adjuster stopped by on Saturday morning to assess our property damage and surprisingly turned out to be a genial individual with a soul. Not only did he agree to our damage assessment to the house and fence, he gave us money to replace our hammock that looks more beat up than Tara Reid’s midsection and some roof shingles that may or may not have been ruined via the storm. Minus our $1,000 deductible, insurance will cover nearly 100% of our property damage which was far more than we expected. This week I will be supervising gutter and fence contractors hammer away on the homestead in the chilly January air from the office window while I drink coffee in the warmth.
Early this morning the wife and I awoke to the hurricane force winds. In Colorado. In the winter. When champagne powder should be falling from the sky, young lovers should be skating a frozen pond with hot cups of Wassail and children should be giggling as they sled down soft twinkling hills of twilight gossamer. Instead, fences are being destroyed and coming out of the ground post-first, gutters are being shredded and left for dead and beloved backyard napping furniture is being cast asunder. Thankfully, our wind damage is minor compared to some in the neighborhood. For the record, I call a 35-foot tall pine tree blowing down on top of your fence “major.”
As my seed festers in my wife’s baby maker, I have been laying awake at nights and pondering life’s important questions. Will I turn into the cold, unforgiving man my father was growing up when my unborn child arrives? Will I be able to afford diapers and a college fund? Will the wife and I stay happily married with the added stress of a newborn baby? Could DJ and I get away with beating Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt to death? I keep coming back to one nagging query; do I hate my job or do I hate my career? While I acknowledge I do not have the worst professional life by a long shot (I could be languishing in data sales, for example), I cannot say that I am satisfied with where I am currently at career-wise (nor, for that matter, have I ever been satisfied). I love what I do but I am finally acknowledging that I am running on creative fumes. A new job may be the answer. A full-time stab at freelance may be the answer. Writing the book I told myself I would write a long time ago may be the answer. In short; I am dealing with a lot of shit. Confucius once said “By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” F’in A, Confucius. F’in A.
The first trimester has been a breeze for me thus far. The wife on the other hand, has been experiencing severe exhaustion, hormonal mood swings, headaches, that hungover morning feeling minus the enjoyment of a night consuming numerous gin and tonics and ravenous hunger. Non-pregnant wife has always been a small eater, happily subsisting for weeks on nothing but ice chips and lettuce. Pregnant wife on the other hand, can put away the grub. Thus far her predominant pregnancy craving has been tacos. We actually rolled to Taco Bell late one night because “Momma had a hankerin'” (the wife last made a Run For The Border during her junior year of college a decade ago). Last week after our first doctor’s appointment, we spent over $30 dollars at Little Anitas on just tacos. I pride myself on my taco consumption and plan on matching the pregnant wife’s totals anytime she sends me to an area taco stand during the wee hours of the morning. This is a sacrifice I am willing to make on behalf of my unborn child. I think this is the definition of unconditional love.
About a month and half ago, the wife decided to get off birth control to, “See what happens?” Three weeks later, the wife excitedly woke me up by waving a positive pregnancy test in my face. My immediate response was, “Did you just pee on that?” I spent the rest of the day like I think most men do upon finding out their woman is with child; praising my sperm and a youth spent rubbering up and then planning all the chores my child will perform once it is potty-trained. For the past few weeks I have been running the gamut of emotions; happiness, excitement and the crippling fear that I will soon be responsible for another human life. Later today we have our first doctor’s appointment where a man twice my age will familiarize himself with my wife’s lady parts while I watch helplessly. Operation Baby Thunder and nine months of a personal designated driver has officially begun!
Before my wife, the only time I lit candles was when I was sitting closest to the cake at a birthday party. She exposed me to a world of scented lotions, methods for doing laundry that did not include sorting clothing into two piles; “whites” and “everything else” and of course, candles. Now I have candles everywhere. I never knew one needed scented candles for bathrooms, offices, living rooms, family rooms, spare bedrooms and laundry rooms. Every odor issue in our house is solved by lighting a candle. “God you stink, Matty. We should light a candle!” Maybe I could take a shower? My wife has corrupted me. I now find myself debating the aromatic pleasures in the Yankee Candle area at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Do I want Pumpkin Pie or Clean Cotton? Cucumber Melon or Beach Walk? Finally, there is a candle company that appeals to my male sensibilities; Hot Wicks. They carry scents that smell of urinal cakes, campfires and strippers. Hot Wicks describes the stripper scent as, “the perfume counter at your local department store times a thousand … then add some glitter.” I think a more accurate description is “bitter desperation mixed with the hint of ass sweat, stale bourbon and broken dreams.“
Friday. The wife and I attend the 2008 Punk Rocks show at Red Rocks. The band lineup includes NOFX, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bouncing Souls, Street Dogs and young Denver skate punks Frontside Five (the Circle Jerks are a no-show). I soon recognize how old I am when I breeze through beer lines in mere minutes. I soon learn that new punk kids like smoking weed way more than old punk kids. NOFX, Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Bouncing Souls are still awesome. The Street Dogs are the opposites of awesome due to an hour and a half set and a fifteen minute dissertation on who the Ramones are and why they are so important to punk music. The only way to make their set less cliche would have be for the lead singer to not remove his shirt before his Ramones tribute song only to reveal a strategically planned Ramones shirt underneath. I conclude that six hour concerts and $7 beers are not nearly as fun in my thirties as they were in my twenties.
Saturday. Enter the annual neighborhood pool luau. We represent a respectable drinking crew and my next door neighbor’s classic rock cover band melts faces. Our HOA is awesome because they allow (tolerate) my next door neighbor to wheel an ice-cold keg over to the pool to serve free beer. I soon realize that inflatable monkeys cannot sustain the belly-flop weight of a grown man from a diving board. Post-luau we torch a fire in the backyard pit and the wife provides ingredients for ‘smores. Three people fall asleep in their chairs. I conclude that staying up late and drinking until intoxication two nights in a row is not nearly as fun in my thirties as it was in my twenties.
Sunday. My annual fantasy football draft goes down in the living room. Being as this is the fifteenth year of my league’s existence and the same team owners have been in said league for the past six years, I expect the draft to take no more than two hours. Four hours and eight cases of beer later, the draft concludes after much humor, animosity and stupidity (this sums up my fantasy football league perfectly: upon the draft’s conclusion one team owner loudly proclaimed, “I have to get going. I am late for marriage counseling.”) Steak, potatoes and a gigantic apple pie from Costco are then decimated in less than twenty minutes. I conclude that sports gambling and NFL football viewing are not nearly as fun in my thirties as they were in my twenties.
Two years ago today you foolishly took my hand in marriage. During that time, I have been unemployed twice (1, 2), made the neighbors suspect I was beating you when yelling “You dirty bitch!” at the computer while designing a website, bulged a disc, come home late countless nights from post-hockey drinking benders, continued my subscription to numerous smut magazines, remained dutifully absent from all Monday night plans during the fall/winter to drink with my Fantasy Football buddies, run down a couch on the highway and have never let you hold the television remote in my presence. In short, you are still the amazing, accepting and funny person that I fell in love with. I appreciate you more with each passing day and I love you like Extreme; More Than Words. Happy second anniversary, honey. It is the cotton anniversary so let us pick up some righteous sheets that make it feel as if we were sleeping atop a marshmallow cloud. Or we can save our money and just get a giant box of maxi pads. Those commercials make them look like giant stingrays swimming. Just saying.
Friday. The wife and I attend a homemade rib bonanza at Team Muff’s house where we drain shitty Mexican beer and play a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit 90s Edition. Proof that we have all turned into our parents: we began questioning the “correctness” of card answers and commenting on how staying up until 11:30 seemed “late.”
Saturday. The wife and I attend a barbecue at DJs which we learn upon walking into his house is actually his birthday party. The wife gets angry at me for not knowing it was his birthday (even though it was on the Evite) and I explain to her that knowing when your guy friends birthday is is totally gay, and if I bought a gift for him we would have to move in together and begin re-decorating his house in the finest tapestries and velvets. I down a homemade chili beer that I regret four hours later, eat some swine and watch some UFC fighting. The wife and I decided to duck out early to get some sleep. When we arrive back at home, Team Hofkamp stops over with a twelve pack of shitty Mexican beer and cigarettes. We hang out in our backyard for an hour until my neighbor invites us over the fence to share in his raging backyard chimenea fire and more shitty Mexican beers and cigarettes. Four hours and eight beers later, we go to bed.
Sunday. The wife and I walk over to the movie multiplex to catch the new Indiana Jones joint. On the way, we stop to view the recently dedicated (but unfinished) Armed Forces Tribute Garden. We grab a burger and some Lumpy Dogs at the Rock Bottom Brewery before watching yet another abortion written by George Lucas. Why do you hate me George Lucas? Aliens and UFOs? Shia LaBeouf as some sort of 1950s hood with a Pompadour and switchblade swinging on vines with monkeys? Next thing you know, you will be telling me that the force is some kind of blood disorder. Oh. Right.
Monday. The wife, myself and 52,000 other people run the Bolder Boulder under the cover of cool mist and fog. My back (almost fully healed from the bulged disc) feels great and I finish in just over an hour. We retire to the homestead for a much needed shower and nap. Later we attend two more Memorial Day barbecues that feel like autumn barbecues due to the inclement weather. I play ping pong. I play foosball. I play 3-square with a beer in my hand. I go to sleep wishing I celebrated three day weekends more often.