It's a new year, and new blog entry. So much has happened.
Christ had a birthday.
As much as I enjoy visiting my in-laws, and as far over backwards Grandma Jellyspoon bends to accommodate all the family and friends that swarm into her home over the holidays, I've resigned myself that every other Christmas will be just a little off. The in-laws are very generous with their gifting, but they like to wrap these gifts in stuff like newspaper circulars and fabric swatches. Furthermore, they open their gifts on Christmas Eve, which makes about as much sense as celebrating Ash Tuesday or getting piss-drunk and yelling "Woooo!" in Times Square on December 30th.
I went on two dates.
Long ago, my wife and I realized we have the absolute opposite taste in movies. So after the boys passed out we scampered over to the multiplex, kissed fondly, and headed toward separate theaters. I saw Syriana, in which George Clooney is fat and inscrutable, and my wife saw Walk The Line, in which Joaquin Phoenix sings. On our next night, for old time's sake, we bucked tradition and saw The Producers together. She wanted to see The Ringer, and I wish I'd listened.
We made it home alive.
The last time the four of us took an airplane together, TwoBert was a passive lump who nursed and slept his way to Minnesota. Now he is a massive lump—a grunting, pre-mobile, 20-pound wiggle-walrus (mini-tusks and all) who thinks lap confinement is a crime against humanity. The force of all the TwoBert tradeoffs, the two carseats, and all the extra loot we lugged through the airports (see generosity, above) was enough to compress my spine rather handily. If I hadn't tipped all those skycaps and shuttle-bus drivers, I'd probably be an inch shorter.
We classed up the joint.
As a New Year's resolution, we decided to infuse the Laid-Off Lair with an aura that lets our guests know they are in a home that appreciates tasteful furnishings and intellectual pursuits. We replaced Robert's plastic toy bins with tony wicker baskets, bought a couple of earth-toned slipcovers, and placed a book of sudoku puzzles on the back of the toilet.
I made my deadline.
After we made it home, I took a couple days in the Rose Reading Room on Fifth and 42nd. I owe that magnificent room a terrific debt, because whenever I've procrastinated long enough and am in danger of handing in 30 pages of "the quick brown fox makes Jack a dull boy," I can set up a laptop there and the words just pour out of me. If you haven't stopped in to see it, you definitely should. You can circulate among the nitwits who stand around gawking right in the middle of the traffic pattern, while some of us are hurrying back from the bathroom to make sure our shit hasn't been stolen.
I grew a goatee.
More accurately, I didn't shave for 10 days and grew fond of stroking my chin pensively. I'm going back to work tomorrow looking like a bad boy. A rebel. A bad-boy rebel who hangs out in the library and does sudoku on the crapper.