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Humpty dumpty

Humpty dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty dumpty had a great fall.


In all my time growing up and hearing that rhyme, I’ve always considered Humpty to be male.

All the kings horses,

And all the king’s men,

Couldn’t put humpty together again.


Over the past few weeks, watching my 8 months plus pregnant wife, I now realize the inspiration for humpty was, without a doubt, female.

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After reading a post on Fairbanks girls by fellow Fairbanks blogger subarctic mama, listening to a song by her husband (who I go moose hunting camping with), followed up by an evening spent in Fanchorage, I got inspired to give “non-Fairbanks” girls a bit of press as well. (Please note, I didn’t say good press.)

Yes, non-Fairbanks girls are becoming fairly prominent in Fairbanks, particularly in Fanchorage.

And, in fairness to those men that haven’t settled into a productive life with a Fairbanks girl, I think it is fair to give some clear signs of things to stay away from if you are looking for a true Fairbanks girl. (Believe me, a Fairbanks girl comes in handy when putting up fish.) I’m going to add a few of my own observations here, then open this post up for comments. I’m sure there are plenty of Alaskans out there that can add to it.

Sure signs of a non-Fairbanks girl:

  • Stiletto heals.
  • Butt cleavage. (See Fairbank’s crack epidemic.)
  • Wearing white capris and high heals to a riverboat trip on the Tanana. (The muddy, windy, dirty Tanana River.)
  • Big hair. As one travels south from Fairbanks, as we do to visit my in-laws, the big hair ration goes up. Fairbanks, rare, probably 1 in 100. Anchorage, a bit more, say 10 in 100. Seattle, maybe 40-50 in 100. Dallas, a girl without big hair (and stileto heals) is the exception, 99 in 100. (Disclaimer: Numbers are estimates, big hair makes me sneeze and my eyes water so I can never get an accurate count.)
  • Fake tans. They stand out a mile away.
  • Low cut blouses. (See fake tans above.)

Enough from me, before I get myself in trouble.

Still, there is nothing much funnier than watching a woman in stiletto heals attempting to strut across an icy, gravel covered Fairbanks parking lot when she falls down, staining her white capris on the dirty ice as her hair, roughly the size of Texas, keeps her orange, glowing, freshly fake tanned face from meeting and melting the ice. Unfortunately, the low-cut blouse is not so kind. Any dignity she once had, gone.

Of course, the one thing funnier might be the guy she is with trying to keep his composure as he helps her back up.

Please add your comments, and help those poor, stupid guys out there that still need help knowing what to stay away from, even after memorizing Fairbanks Girls, the song.

Thanks.

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I intended to make this post yesterday, February 3rd, but somehow the day escaped me. Our friends Jeff and Marin are expecting tonight, which gives me additional reason to reflect on this event.

Nine years ago today, Fairbanks was in the middle of a cold snap. Not one of these 1 or 2 day -30 degrees cold snaps that have become common in the past few years. No, this was one of those cold snaps that settled in for weeks, reaching -55 below on this one very cold day, February 3, 1999. Ice fog had settled over town in a thick blanket, almost turning reality into a dream world were it not for the sharpness of the air entering your lungs and biting your face.

In this dream world Jane and I entered into the equally surreal world of childbirth. We had arrived at Fairbanks Memorial the night before, feeling it was better to be stuck at the hospital in the extreme temperatures. Jane was given a sedative, and slept. I tossed and turned in the chair-turned bed they provide in the room.

Sometime in the morning of the third a decision was made that it was time for an epidural. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one of those needles, but I swear they are about 3 feet long. I saw the needle coming down the hallway long before I ever saw the anesthesiologist who was carrying it. My knees buckled (I’m not good with needles).

Suffice to say I didn’t pass out, but it did take me 10 minutes outside in my shirtsleeves for the cobwebs to clear. At 55 below, that’s saying something.

I returned to the room to find Jane resting a little more comfortably, fortunately with no visible needles. Little did we know that the night before was easy compared to the rest of the day ahead.

As a soon-to-be Dad, and current husband, the most difficult thing about childbirth is not being able to do a damned thing. There is a reason, traditionally, that men played sports and women were cheerleaders. Besides the obvious (men don’t look good in short skirts). It is because the most difficult athletic event known to humankind, child birth, is performed by women. Men are destined to stand on the sidelines and cheer, unless you happen to be the governor of California.

If their are any doubters about the difficulty of childbirth, let me make my point. Consider these:

  • Flexibility. It requires a great deal of flexibility (more than got us into the situation to begin with).
  • Endurance. No race, game, or sporting event compares with a woman in labor for 24 hours, or longer.
  • Pain. Imagine passing a watermelon. Enough said.
  • An excess of body fluids, including sweat and blood. No sporting event comes close.
  • Screaming. Shaq screams when he dunks. He has kids. No doubt he learned that scream from his wife during childbirth. It’s nothing to the scream I heard from Jane, and someday I’ll have the hearing aids to prove it.
  • Swearing. I’ve heard some bad language on the court and in locker rooms, but nothing compared to that coming from a birthing room. I may have even learned some new language.

But since this post is by me, and therefore about me, lets back to cheer leading. It is a pretty helpless position, standing by your loved one watching her go from a beautiful (if slightly swollen) woman into an unrecognizable creature channeling demons from the depths of hell. And you just happen to be the focus of their anger.

9 years ago today, I was doing my best to persevere, to withstand the torrent of pain and agony flowing from Jane. Unfortunately, I had long ago packed away my rosary and was fresh out of holy water. There was nothing that could be done other than letting her exorcise herself, and give birth.

The reality is there wasn’t a damned thing I could do but watch and hold her hand. As a man, it is a pretty helpless feeling, watching your first child be born. Second one, no problem. First child, pretty difficult.

Long into the evening hours, Jolie finally arrived in this world. Everything suddenly stopped in the room and all attention shifted to the baby. What is it? A girl? Do you want to cut the cord? Hell no. How much does she weigh? 9lbs 3 oz. Can we hold her? Of course.

She was gorgeous. Beautiful beyond belief.

Our lives changed forever.

9 years ago today.

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who tarded?

Ali, our 4-year old, has a way of piping up at the right time with the right comment.

Tonight, I made the bad call of commenting about a photograph in the newspaper, with both children present.  The photo was in the engagements section, and showed a young, blissful couple peeking out from opposite sides of a tree, big smiles on their faces, youthful exuberance glowing (or is that ignorance).  Before I could choke it down, out it came, “That’s retarded.”  (No such photos of me exist, nor do any people who might suggest they once did, if they know what is good for them.)

Anyways, the words slipped out, it shouldn’t have been said, and I’m sorry.

Jolie immediately corrected my slip, commenting how kids at school use that word, and it isn’t very nice, and of course she doesn’t use it, followed up with a quick “What does it mean?”

Before I could say “look at that picture, thats what it means” Ali piped up; “Who tarded?”

“What?”

“Who tarded.”

I did, and I’ll be eternally grateful.  But sorry, of course.

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Janie, my wife, and I have a running battle about my refusal to buy used books. She buys used books to read; shares used books; and even sells her new and used books to the used book store. She has no problem being intimate with these books, using them for her own pleasure than passing them on like a, like a, well I really don’t know. Maybe a used car. Or toothbrush.

But, to be blunt, she doesn’t mind her books being promiscuous.

I, on the other hand, like my books unblemished. I don’t want any dog-eared corners (unless I made them), no notes in the margins (unless I wrote them), coffee stains throughout (unless I spilled it) and definitely no broken backs (unless I broke them, of course). And those are just the cosmetic concerns.

When it comes right down to it, I struggle with the thought of reading a book someone else has had a relationship with. I develop a relationship with the book (even I if don’t like it) that is intimate and very personal.

Which may be one reason why my wife and I never read the same books, as documented in Book Wars. I just can’t handle cozying up to a book that has slept with my wife.

An intuitive mind might suggest that I like my books to be virgins, untouched and unblemished by any previous relationships.

They would probably be right. (Interpret that, Dr. Freud.)

Oh sure, I know books from the bookstore are not untouched. But a little experimentation is ok. A peak at the inside of a book jacket, a little stroke down the spine, maybe even a peek at the first chapter is the equivalent of a little innocent teenage necking. (Remember, I’m talking about books.) It should be expected but not condoned. And it sure is a lot different than going all the way with someone.

I mean, can you imagine curling up in bed with a book that has been around.

I can, and it’s not pretty.

Don’t you worry about BTD’s (book transmitted diseases)? I mean, BTD’s have to exist; there is a disease for sharing anything else. Combs have head lice, beds have bed bugs, food can transmit the flu, computers have viruses, jocks have jock itch, shoes have athlete’s foot, and mosquitos have West Nile, Malaria, and who know what else. (Note: we share mosquitoes in Alaska, even though there are plenty to go around.)

Come on, where are the public service announcements on BTD’s. We could be on the verge of an epidemic!

And it gets worse.

The other day I was browsing the web and came across an article on www.bookcrossing.com. Now, I knew this sort of thing existed, but I didn’t expect to find it right out in the open. This is the equivalent of a swinger’s club for books.

If you don’t know, people (perverts, I say) leave these books out in public places for strangers to pick up, then post where they left them on the web so that the johns can find the book. They track where they have been by a sticker in the front cover.

These people are the equivalent of pimps. Book pimps.

And when the Centers for Disease Control finally start tracking BTD’s, all they’ll have to do is look up bookcrossing.com to trace where those books have been to find the source of the disease. Disgusting.

So, next time you think about visiting the used book store, or see a book left unsuspecting on a park bench, think about this blog, and BTD’s, and go get yourself a virgin, book that is.

And if you know me, and see me, don’t mention this article, my face goes beet red at any mention of anything sexual- which this article is definitely not. It is all about books.

And Janie, keep those used books on your side of the bed, I don’t want any BTD’s getting into my harem, ahem, I mean stack, of virgins, ack, I mean, new books.

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Book Wars

My wife and I have a book fetish- we love books. Correspondingly we love to read. We surround ourselves with books. Our bedroom, in part because I’ve not put up any bookshelves, has stacks of books on the floor next to the bed, on the bedside tables, the desk. Books we’ve read; books we may never read but were intrigued by, and books we plan to read but haven’t got to yet (we try to isolate the latter, they breed like rabbits). There are few empty shelves, spaces not yet stacked with books, more due to budget limitations than to lack of effort on our part.

 

I would guess, in the number of books we have, that there isn’t one that both my wife and I have read (excluding Go Dog Go, Horton Hears a Who, and a slew of other juvenile varieties). We both recommend books to each other, but out of spite, or independence, we never read a book recommended by the other. It has become an unwritten rule in our house. I’ve come to wonder what this means about our relationship, if anything, and what it would mean if it were to change.

 

It could be a tug-o-war of wills- we are both incredibly stubborn people, and not in the least more than a little passive-aggressive.

 

Which of us will break first? Will I read one of her recommendations, or will she read one of mine? And will that offer of reconciliation begin a series of rhetorical readings, giving us literary experiences to discuss and share. Will it make us grow closer, more in tune with each other’s thoughts and experiences, or drive us apart, exposing that we aren’t as alike as we like to think we are. Maybe we aren’t on the same page after all.

 

Financially it would prove fruitful, we could each expand our library of unread material by approximately half…., bookstores be damned. Our bank account would flourish and we could buy some shelves to stack those books on.

 

It could be a difference in tastes. Is that allowed? Maybe we like different things, and books are that one item we don’t really have to compromise on- like the color of the living room, or vacation with her family or mine, or God-forbid a Disney cruise.

 

Perhaps a kind of Freudian logic can explain our book conflict. Each book we read could be an illicit affair, a relationship private and protected from the spouse we share practically everything with. Reading the other’s book choices might be like walking into your bedroom, only to discover your spouse with a lover, somebody fulfilling those desires you can’t yourself.

 

Thank god she doesn’t read romances, or they might find me, balancing on a stack of books, with a rope in one hand and a book of knots in the other.

 

Then again…..

 

Honey, get the checkbook; we’re going to Gulliver’s (book store in Fairbanks).

 

 

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