September 30, 2013

Fall's Fallen

I am exhausted. And, surprisingly, that has very little to do with the fact that I'm posting this at 5:45 in the morning. It certainly helps but, honestly, we just had a awesomely busy weekend.

It started with a great sleep. I went to bed at 11:00 on Friday night and woke up at 10:00 on Saturday morning. After getting up at 5:30 every morning for a week, it was glorious. After a quick breakfast, I headed out with Beth and the kids to see the circus. Then we had my parents - who just got back from a three week trip to Europe - over for dinner. On Sunday, we headed to a local corn maze and spend the entire day on a farm getting licked by cattle, shooting pumpkins and corn, finding bizarre pumpkins and being followed by peacocks.

The weather was absolutely perfect. There is almost no better place to live in September and October than Washington, D.C. and this weekend proved it again.

Still, it's 5:40 and I'm exhausted. It was so worth it.

Posted by Chris at 5:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Haiku For Monday #467

Quick! What's stronger than
Coffee but not illegal?
Cos I need some. Now.

Posted by Chris at 5:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 27, 2013

The Weeklies #266

The Weekly Looming Threat. The government shutdown.

The Weekly State. Exhausted. Getting up at 5:30 every morning - especially after a few years of working from home and rolling out of bed at 8:00 - will do that to you. But...

The Weekly Emotional State. Pretty damn good.

The Weekly Read. I read a lot. Over the years I've developed a few go-to authors - Marshall Karp, John Sanford, Iain Banks...and Chris Grabenstein. Grabenstein's John Ceepak novels strike this incredible balance between being mysterious, funny, and incredibly heart-felt. I know that sounds like the description of some bad Lifetime Television Original Film but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Mind Scrambler was a perfect example. Though it took our two heroes out of their normal setting and dropped them into Atlantic City, the mystery was just as wonderful, the characterization excellent, and the suspense intriguing.

The Weekly Music. We are never, ever, ever, getting back together. Just so you know. Thanks Taylor Swift. And thanks Mia.

The Weekly Awesome Sight. The sunrise over the Capitol, just about every day this week.

The Weekly Food. Food trucks are awesome. Especially those who make Korean-influenced vegetarian subs. I know, right?

The Weekly Question.

Posted by Chris at 5:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 26, 2013

To Infinity...And Beyond

I have a new job and all our schedules are somewhat screwed up. I wake up at 5:30 and am out of the house by 6:00. I'm in the office by 7:00 and home by 5:00. It's not an exhausting schedule but it's taken getting used to.

Last night it was clear that Owen needed some daddy time. It was also clear that he was exhausted. So I took him to bed early, read a few books then we cuddled. Owen asked to count to 100, which we did. Then he asked what was next. While I refused to count to a billion, I did inform him about the order of numbers but got lost after quadrillions. We made up numbers. Including buttbillions and pffrrrtbillions (note, pfrrtt is intended to sound like a nice, juicy fart). Then we both laughed our assess off, cuddled, and laughed some more until tears ran down our faces.

It was exactly what both of us needed. And it was wonderful.

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September 24, 2013

My Week Of Bliss

Want to have the greatest weekend off ever? Quit your job first.

Now, I know that sounds drastic and I certainly wouldn't advise doing it without having something to fall back on. Like another job. But as it turns out that time period between jobs is pretty much the most blissful time ever.

Last week was just that week. And it was wonderful. Beth and I got the kids on the bus every morning then did whatever we felt like. We took walks, watched movies in the middle of the day, went out for lunches at places we always wanted to try, and explored previously unexplored parts of Washington just for fun. And I didn't have an annoying work email account tempting me to check in.

Yesterday it was back to reality. I sat in an all-day orientation that did little but overwhelm me and, during the course of the day, I have to admit that I thought why did I do this? a few times. Or a few hundred times. Like I said yesterday, I'm not all that good at newness. If there's one thing I already owe this new job, though, it's that wonderful week off.

Posted by Chris at 5:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 23, 2013


Urban Dictionary - source for all great information - defines FNG as:

Military term, 'Fucking New Guy' usually someone just out of training or just transfered into the unit/AO, who either hasn't proved his worth or doesn't know how to operate properly due to lack of experiance.

And, yes, Urban Dictionary really did spell both transferred and experience incorrectly yet they have a comprehensive, two page explanation of a rusty trombone.

Anyway, today, I'm the FNG. After a glorious week off hanging out with Beth and the kids (which is why you didn't hear much of anything from me last week) I'm starting my new job today. And it's been a long time since I've been the FNG. I'm not entirely comfortable being a FNG. In fact I'm terrified.

I was never the kid who liked the first day of school. I loathed it. I wanted everything to be broken in and settled. Today, though, is like the first day of school. Eventually it'll get broken in, settled, and I'll be great. But until then I'm going to be a little anxious.

Posted by Chris at 5:45 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Haiku For Monday #466

Holy crap. Early.
Yep, the new reality.
There's always coffee.

Posted by Chris at 5:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 16, 2013

Farewell (Them, Not You)

I have to admit, walking into your office building and turning over your laptop, office key and badge is a pretty surreal feeling. Even more surreal is composing one of those farewell messages you've undoubtedly read countless times whilst being a happy employee. I tried to be witty and profound while not taking myself too seriously. Here's what I came up with.

All -

As many of you know, today is my last day at Vandelay Industries*. (Side note: I've read these messages from others over the years but have to admit it's a bit surreal writing one.) After twelve years, I'm making what I'm sure will be a dizzying transition into Dunder Mifflin+.

The hardest part of any transition like this is the people part. Thank you (yes, you) for playing such a key role in my twelve years at Vandelay. I've grown so much - personally and professionally - and learned from each of you over these past twelve years. If the strength and quality of any organization is defined by its people (which it is), Vandelay is an incredibly strong organization you should be proud to be a part of. I know I've been.

It's a small world (after all) and I'm sure our paths will cross again. I sincerely hope they do. But until that time, I hope you'll keep in touch. You can call me or text me at 555-555-1212 or reach me by email at

Keep being awesome.


I am now happily unemployed...for a week. I'm taking this week to do whatever the hell I want knowing that the reality of a new job will catch up with me this time next week.

* Yes, I worked alongside George Constanza for many years. Great guy. But lazy.
+ I will now be selling paper for a mythical paper company on a cancelled TV show.

Posted by Chris at 7:57 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Haiku For Monday #465

What? No corporate
email accounts to check or
conference calls? Woohoo!

Posted by Chris at 7:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 13, 2013

The Weeklies #265

The Weekly Event. This afternoon I'm headed into the office one last time to turn in my computer, my office keys and my badge. Then I'll be blissfully unemployed for a week. I figure a week is about how long it's going to take before I start to go crazy. Still, empty offices are a little sad.


The Weekly Vegetable. Broccolini.

The Weekly Technology. Apple released the iPhone 5C and 5S this week. I'll admit to being a little disappointed by the lack of " more thing..." breakthroughs but I can't wait to geek out over the new iPhone operating system coming next week.

The Weekly Read. I love Lisa Lutz. Her Spellman novels are fantastic and the latest - The Last Word is no exception. If I were to use a word from the 1950's I'd say it's a little zany but filled with wonderful characters, a few decent mysteries, and some surprises.

The Weekly Movie. We've been on a documentary kick lately. This week we tackled The Queen Of Versailles which revolves around the lives of a family who made an enormous fortune through time shares and is now completely out of touch with reality. So much so that they started construction on the largest house in the U.S. Of course, reality came screaming back at them when the bottom dropped out of the economy but their idea of coping is a little different than ours. It's well worth a watch but prepare to be horrified.

The Weekly Question. Is anyone really shocked that George Zimmerman was arrested...again?

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September 12, 2013

Epic Parenting Fail

I realize using the words epic, parenting and fail in a sentence, all squished up together brings to mind all kinds of horrific offenses. Like forgetting to lock the bedroom door and getting caught doing it by your kids when one of them wants water at midnight. Or teaching your kids how to twerk. Or finding yourself on a flight to Paris and suddenly realizing that you've left one of your sons home alone during the holidays to face the wrath of two bumbling burglars. Some epic parenting fails aren't quite as dramatic...which makes them worse.

Mia had a baby tooth that refused to budge. This wouldn't have been a problem but it was getting a bit crowded in her mouth. So she went to the dentist who deftly, almost painlessly pulled it.

And then the tooth fairy forgot to show up.

I mean, seriously, what's up with that chick? A kid gets her tooth pulled, is promised pretty much double the cash for aforementioned tooth pull, and the tooth fairy just totally forgets to make an appearance and drop a ten-spot on the kid?

We're horrible parents.

The morning after, kids still asleep, I charged down the stairs and found Beth in the kitchen.

Me: Did the tooth fairy come?
Beth: Did you do it?
Me: No, did you?
Beth: Shit.
Me: Shit.
Beth: Let's go do it. Quick.

Then Mia appeared in our kitchen with her tooth and a sad look on her face.

We're horrible parents.

We explained that there was probably a bit of a delay since:

- The tooth had been threatening to come out for, like, ever and the tooth fairy had probably arrived at the belief that it wasn't coming out any time soon, thinking the alert she'd received had been a mistake.
- Since the tooth had been pulled there might have been something of a breakdown in the natural tooth fairy order of things.
- Beth had been awake well into the morning suffering from a bout of insomnia. Naturally the tooth fairy had been cautious wishing to avoid discovery and had simply stayed away.

Somehow this worked. During the following school day, Saferia (the tooth fairy's real name if you didn't know) dropped by, left a note, and deposited a healthy amount of cash under the pillow. All was right with the world.

Still, we're horrible parents.

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September 11, 2013


There's very little that can be said about 9-11 that hasn't already been broadcast and echoed around the world. You will always remember where you were when it happened. You will always be able to close your eyes and see the images as you saw them then. You will always feel a thread of the fear you felt. These things will never go away and words will never do them justice.

And that's okay. Because we never should forget.

Posted by Chris at 7:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 10, 2013

Dividing. Conquering. Exhausting.

So, I quit my job then had an exhausting weekend.

The four of us love hanging out together but we also enjoy pairing off and spending some special time with each other. Beth and I decided this would be a good weekend to try it. Owen and I planned something special for Saturday while Mia and I made plans for Sunday.

Owen's Great Adventure. On Saturday, Owen woke up to a dad who had two concert tickets in his hand. Sure, it wasn't Iron Maiden or One Direction (the boy has some eclectic musical tastes) but it was a kid-focused band known for being pretty cool. We hopped in the car, headed to the venue and rocked out for a little while before heading out to a nice lunch after all the aforementioned rocking. After lunch we headed to the area's most ginormous playground. It's a multicolored sight to behold and it was awesome, indeed, awesome. Owen gave a guided tour of the playground then made a hundred new friends. When everyone was good, sweaty and tired, we made a grocery store stop and bought many varieties of cheeses (Owen loves a good cheese) and some beer (for Beth and I, later) then stopped at Owen's favorite joint (7-11) for Gatorade. I thought our day was done but Owen had other ideas. We dropped the cheese off at home (that's seriously not a euphemism for anything) and headed to Great Falls Park. Owen climbed rocks, fell off rocks, complained about the scrapes caused by falling off rocks and generally had a wonderful adventure. So did I. Though I was exhausted. We met up with the girls (who'd attended an all day American Indian festival) for dinner and collapsing in bed.

Mia's Great Adventure. Mia and I - both Harry Potter fans - scored tickets to Potted Potter, something I was not familiar with but sounded hilarious. It was. But first we had to get downtown. DC isn't known as one of the most horribly managed cities for no reason. Sunday proved to exemplify this. Because of some subway testing, all the Virginia metro stations with parking were closed. Because of a triathlon, most of the roads into the city were closed. We knew about the first thing, not about the second. So we spent a good, solid two hours in traffic. This left very little time for Mia and I to catch lunch in time for the show. Hungry, we found the closest, fastest place we could, stuffed our faces and ran to the theater. I can tell you that the show was worth the starvation, the fast meal and the traffic. We laughed the entire time, without a break. It might be the single funniest thing I've ever seen. After the show we braved the roads home. They were, thankfully, empty.

By Sunday evening, all of us were exhausted. I'm sure you see why.

Posted by Chris at 7:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 9, 2013

About The Job...

I was cliffhangery on Friday. Apologies. But, yes, I quit my job. I didn't quit in the absence of something else to do with the hours between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. That would be silly.

The Wingwalker's Rule: Don't let go of one wing until you have a firm grasp on the other.

This whole new job thing is a little strange for me. After all, it's been 12 years since I've found myself in this position. Twelve years since I had to interview and sound like I knew what I was talking about. Twelve years since I had to worry about potential rejection. But as I went through this process - unconvinced until the final stretch - I started to realize that I needed a change. Fundamentally, incredibly. Yes, I worked very hard over the last 12 years to carve out a career and by all accounts I was very successful. And, sure, while there were things about the job that I'd grow to dislike, it wasn't killing me. But I burned out a little and didn't like the way that felt. In doing this new thing, I think I'll be able to focus a little more strongly on the things that interest me while working on something I started eight years ago. You don't pass up opportunities like that.

I'm not going into specifics but I can tell you what I'm not doing:

- I'm not selling anything, buying anything, or processing anything as a career. I'm not selling anything bought or processed, or buying anything sold or processed, or processing anything sold, bought, or processed, or repairing anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.*

- I'm not doing anything that involves a uniform or a badge.

- I will not be adding or removing clothing regularly during the performance of my duties.

- I will in no way be responsible for children during normal business hours.

- I have not resorted to a career in which theater five is down the hall on your left is the most oft-used phrase.

- I will gladly take your money and a tip but not for any vehicular services rendered as there are none I am professionally licensed to carry out.

- I have always been ill-equipped to handle money; banking is out.

- I will not be going into politics. While I pretend to be immune from conventional wisdom, I'm actually too thin-skinned. Plus, though I think I'm a decent communicator, I'd likely end up telling a rival to go fuck themselves.

- I'm a vegetarian. Flipping burgers isn't for me.

- Despite my fondest desires, I will not be headlining Reading, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, or even Donnington. Sadly, I don't think I'm cut out to be a rock star. Though it would be cool to try.

So that's what's up. Major life change and all that. Stress? Hell yes. A good opportunity not to be passed up? Absolutely.

* If you do not get this reference, I do not want to hear about it

Posted by Chris at 7:11 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Haiku For Monday #464

After a crazy,
busy weekend, I could use
gallons of coffee.

Posted by Chris at 7:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 6, 2013

The Weeklies #264

The Weekly Event. I quit my job. Yeah. That was weird.

The Weekly Music. I knew she was trouble when she walked in. Mia is obsessed with Taylor Swift. As a result, we are all listening to Taylor Swift quite a bit.

The Weekly Sadness. Closed pools. It's clearly the end of summer. The pools are closed and no lifeguard whistles are echoing through the neighborhood.

The Weekly Read. What if the X-Men were real? Not, like, decked out in fancy spandex with oddly shaped facial hair and ginormous fingernails. But what if people with super-human abilities existed? What would the world be like? In Brilliance, Marcus Sakey asks that question with remarkable results. To address specifics would be to reveal too much. Just read it. It's an interesting and oddly applicable, important novel.

The Weekly Television. Is it wrong that I'm incredibly happy when my kids tell me they want to watch Phineas And Ferb?

The Weekly Movie. Jiro Dreams Of Sushi was one of the most wonderful, beautiful movies I've seen in a long time. This is partially due to the fact that we don't see many movies aside from kid's flicks (spoiler alert - Planes was the exact same movie as Cars only with, you know, planes. Seriously.). I don't even eat sushi but the documentary that chronicles an expert sushi chef makes me want to travel to Japan and devour all the raw fish I can find.

The Weekly Question. Should we or should we not invade Syria?

Posted by Chris at 8:08 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

September 4, 2013

Back To School 2013 - The Aftermath

Like that (snap!) I have kids in kindergarten and third grade. Amazing how that happened.

The first day was a success. We were pretty sure it would be with Mia. We were less sure about Owen since this was his first foray into all-day school. His words coming off the bus? Awesome. We'll take it.

Posted by Chris at 7:06 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 3, 2013

Back To School 2013

SBJ* it's hard to believe that the kids - as of 9:00 this morning - are officially back in school. Harder to believe is the fact that Owen is a kindergartner.

With the notable exception of Beth's broken foot, the summer was awesome. We:

- Had playdates
- Celebrated birthdays
- Held our first sleepovers
- Went on long bike-rides
- Played endless rounds of boardgames
- Traveled to the beach
- Jumped off lifeguard chairs
- Ate way too many snowcones
- Read books
- Swam in races
- Won ribbons and trophies
- Cooked out
- Got tan
- Floated around water park lazy rivers
- Watched movies
- Adopted deer (Bruce and Lilly)
- Played in the creek
- Learned all the words to most Taylor Swift songs and all the dance moves to Gangnam Style

Yes, we had a very good summer. But like all things, the summer must come to and end. And the end, in this case, will be marked by a big yellow bus coming to carry our children back to school.

* Sweet Baby Jesus

Posted by Chris at 7:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Haiku For Monday #463

The first day of school
Summer's unbelievably
come to a close. Gah.

Posted by Chris at 7:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack