Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Dynamic Duo: Week Eight

Here are the twins at eight weeks (and change)--is it me, or are they completely natural and uninhibited in front of the camera lens? Yes, they're a little too young for their proud papa to start projecting such qualities onto them (like, not even born yet), but I'm not getting any younger and I'll probably never stop pounding against the showbiz wall (which, in Toronto right now, isn't so much a wall as it is a ratty strip of bubble wrap). It's a fact that many productions hire twins to play precocious brats on sitcoms--maybe by the time they're old enough to read cue cards, my illustrious employer CTV will have finally come up with a followup to "Corner Gas" and we can all get rich...no doubt that at least one of them will inherit my hambone gene...

Monday, May 26, 2008

"Too Much Wine And Too Much Song, Wonder How I Got Along..."

When asked how he felt about turning 60, Stephen King said he realized "any exception will not be made for you. You are getting old". Well, I'm a long way from 60, but today, I had a brush with the realities of the failings of the aging corporeal meat suit.

Let me explain: I've got a laconic, no-bullstuff GP whose basic philosophy is "no news is good news". In other words, if I don't hear anything from him within a few days of my annual check-up, I can stop shopping for black. Such has been the drill for several years now.
Well, this morning, I just missed a call from his office at the Kensington Medical Centre. His receptionist's voice message urged me to call back "right away" to discuss my results. Oh great! I immediately dialed back, and got their voice service. I was already running late for work, so I planned to followup there.
I arrived at my desk and my assistant told me that my doctor's office had called for me here and said I must call them back, again, "right away". If I was nervous on the walk over, I was officially off the scale into Def-Con 4 level panic. I managed to get through and arranged an appointment for a few hours later in the day. The longest hours of my life in recent memory, incidentally...I mean, you read the horrible stories of people with the cruelest afflictions whom I'm sure thought it would never happen to them...and who would play me in the movie of the week? Albert Schultz?
I arrived way-too-early for the followup, navigating a narrow hall packed with some truly poor bastards waiting to get into the lab, and of course, interpreted every non-committal glare and the pronounced silence from the doctor and his receptionist as portents of my impending doom. Eventually, Dr. G finger-wagged me into his office (couldn't he have just broke the ice and said "come in"? Smiled? Anything but the finger-wag like the frickin' Fickle Finger Of Fate...) and offered the chair opposite his desk (oh no, not the chair)--suddenly, he shapeshifted into John Carradine as the town funeral director in every black-and-white western ever made.
I'll cut to the chase: I'll live. As a matter of fact, I was more worried about Dr. G, as he sported a strange bandage on his nose, like he'd just self-administered a rhinoplasty. Short of a zombie pandemic or a collision with an asteroid the size of Texas, I'll probably be around to see the re-release of the original "Star Wars" trilogy that you can download directly into your head (and which I'm sure my kids will one day regard with the same "oh brother" hilarity I bestowed on the films of Ed Wood, Jr.). Dr. G was simply following up on my previous plea to alert me about "anything" and "everything" that could raise his suspicions, esp. with fatherhood on the way. The tests showed that my red blood cell count was down from a year before--not in the zone of concern, but down nonetheless and therefore, worthy of mention. "It's one of those things that happens with age", he offered as an olive branch. He prescribed daily doses of B12 and D and booked me an August 26 followup.
So I'm popping pills and humming the "Requiem For A Dream" theme. I'm sure I'll be fine, but man, did they have to be so ominous about it? They couldn't have told me this over the phone? Of course, I really should save the drama queen self-pity for when the youngsters arrive--they'll provide formidable competition, I'm sure.
BTW, it's the second ultrasound tomorrow--I get to see them again!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Years ago, I read a review of Neal Pollock's "Alternadad" and decided, if I ever were to become a father, this would be the first book I'd pick up, 'cause Pollock sounded like a kindred spirit after my own heart and lingering adolescent delusions of grandeur. The concept of reading a book on parenting is still a little hard for me to grasp--isn't that the stuff Bill Cosby cranks out?--until now, the only books I've read that could be vaguely defined as dealing with "fatherhood" are Nick Hornby's "Songbook" (music and an autistic son) and Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" (post-nuclear America and a hungry son). I have to confess, I shed tears during both...

So here I am...

Now, I'm only a few chapters in, and I can say that I'm nowhere near the unhinged, hedonistic hellraiser Pollack is/was...no SXSW punk bands, marathon consumptions of mary-jane-the-weed--with-the-roots-in-Hell, weekend drunkfests with strangers, or Jode-family sojourns to new homes in far away states for me, whose idea of rebellion is to watch Christopher Lee Hammer films out of order on the DVD. Still, we're both roughly the same age and haunted by the same question: can one remain pop culture savvy and still be a responsible dad (I don't see Tilly Endurables in my immediate future)? And just how do you raise cool kids (whatever the hell that means...)?

Guess I'll find out soon enough. But is it too early to start designing my own Marvel/DC flash cards...?

A Place For Our Stuff

Well, with two ankle-biters on the way, Lidia, Maggie, Minnie, and I have officially outgrown our humble abode. We moved here in September of 2000 and it's been a wonderful nest--I walk to work in under five minutes, we're minutes from the ACC, great restaurants, a major movie theatre, and of course, the Silver Snail comic book shop.

Hell, we live mere seconds from the...er... more "colourful" areas of Queen Street West and I've yet to greet the day and find a wino sleeping in either of our front stoop chairs, or nick my toe on a discarded crack pipe (unclaimed doggie doo-doo, however, is another subject...). It's also Molly's last home, before we lost her in 2005, and the (near) birthplace of Maggie, whom we discovered as part of Star's litter on a hot August night only a few months later, just two units down. But while there's time and the sun is (reasonably) shining, it's time to get rolling on the real estate front. As in "All Quiet On..."

We called our real estate whiz--whom I'll here-on-forth refer to as, imaginatively, "Laura S"--who found us our current address after many months of hand-wringing and brow-furrowing--to pick her indefatigable brain as to what would be the perceived current value of this property, and two, how to even begin the seemingly impossible synchronious act of leaving one property for another (I think it involves string theory and the CERN particle accelerator, but I'm not sure).

Laura S remembered the curtains and the red walls on the main floor, which I took as "oh, so you didn't change a damn thing in eight years?!" (really, you should see them--they're nice curtains) and quoted us a pretty handsome figure as to what she thought the current turbulent housing market could command, post U.S. subprime woes.

Oh, the flood of jargon! Listings, CMHC fees, interest rates--all too grown up for me...I wanted to excuse myself and slink into the rumpus room to take Nico through a few more missions through Liberty City (will that reference mean anything years from now when the youngsters are reading this?)

And thanks to the onslaught of those home-porn reality shows on every other channel, it's not enough to simply stick a "for sale" sign on the front lawn any more and await the offers. Now, it's all about "showing"--that is, dressing the joint up for presentation, feng shui, Wyndham Hill CDs, and all that jazz. My head hit the pillow with a vision of some prissy guy who looks like Otho from "Beetlejuice" sniffing indignantly at my framed movie posters and collection of foreign Stephen King translations...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Where It All Began...

Well, not really...but where Lidia first suspected something was afoot on April 27th. Look closely for the little "plus" arrow on the home test (as featured in the indie smash hit "Juno"!). And a big shout-out to Clomid!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

First Look

Preeeeesenting...Baby "A" and Baby "B", at approx. 6 weeks. Baby "B"took a little bit of effort to find, but there he/she is! That one will probably turn out to be the handful!

Seeing D-D-Double!!!

During Lidia's ultrasound this morning, we were asked by the technologist: "How do you feel about two?" We were both floored by the news--a total surprise neither of us expected (although I considered it for about six seconds during a National Geographic special)--but it feels great!!! All were hoping for was to hear a single healthy heartbeat--and it's confirmed that there's definitely another and that both are, to quote Dr. Timea Belej-Rak, "perfect". (That's Lidia, of course, holding up the first photos of Baby "A" and Baby "B" in the LifeQuest waiting room, pretending not to know the good news and not spoil Dr. Belej-Rak's surprise. But we both blew it...). Neither of us have stopped smiling all day! Now hopefully Lidia's father will get some encouraging news to fight his illess...