First day back at work, even if it is from the comfort of my couch in slippers, and I’m already ready for another baby-vacation. It’s always been hard for me to truly work when I’m “working from home,” so I’ve been closeting myself away in the computer room – attempting to be isolated as much as possible from the hustle and bustle of the new-baby rest-of-the-house area. It’s working OK so far, I was able to catch up on mail and at least bring myself up to speed on what’s going on – now if I could just read enough e-mail to make me care. Nah, that’s unfair; I care… just not as much as I do about the new little life that’s sleeping behind the office double-doors, just in the other room. Somehow work just pales in comparison.
While I was sleeping on a hide-a-bed in the corner of the hospital room where our daughter was born, I’d put the iPod on “shuffle songs” and drift off to sleep to some rand() generated mix of tunes. Today I took advantage of the rarity of recent days that was sunshine and mowed the front and back lawns during a working-from-home lunch break. Again, I put the iPod on “shuffle songs” and let the little computer decide what I’d hear. It was during that random listening session that I got the idea for a blog feature centered around the iPod’s “shuffle songs” function: the iPod random memory generator. For me, songs are tied to memories almost as closely as smells are (I’ve written about it before, so won’t put myself through documenting it again). So, this evening while Sharaun and her mom were out shopping, I put the iPod on shuffle and began remembering. The rules: I document what the song makes me think of, what I remember thinking about the song, and I skip songs that have no appreciable memories. Here goes:
The Byrds – Eight Miles High
Middle-school summer, maybe 7th or 8th grade. I think I 1st heard this song as part of some “deep discount” bin 60’s psychedelic comp cassettes. The seemingly random guitar jumble that makes up the bridge immediately turned me on, as did the foreboding harmonies throughout the track. Another one of those songs that made me want to try marijuana.
The Beatles – When I’m 64
Middle school again, 8th grade this time. Sitting in the backseat of my best friend Kyle’s mom’s miniature Dodge Colt, Kyle’s had her put his Sgt. Pepper cassette in the deck. At the time, I’m deeply in 7th-grade-love with Kyle’s little sister – something about which I think he has no idea. In reality, sometime later Kyle tells me all his friends eventually come to be infatuated with his sister. I felt bad, but that can-count-the-weeks-on-my-hand closet “relationship” did wonders for me on the road to the perfected womanizing I’d so enjoy come my nubile college years.
Ministry – Flashback
9th grade. I’ve taken to wearing black steel-toed boots, long back socks which, when coupled with my too-long black shorts, leave only an inch of exposed calf, a Skinny Puppy t-shirt, and shades. My lord, I must’ve made the worst looking wannabe goth of all time. I remember diving into the industrial/noise scene head-first. Fueled, of course, by a fascination with the music – and then later bleeding into a misguided attempt at adopting the culture. I tried my best though: bought incense, outlined my windows in velcro and affixed a hook-side copy of the velcro square to pieces of 5mil black visqueen which I could use to completely blot out all external light from my bedroom, dressed the part, etc. I did everything short of dying my hair, painting my walls black, and posing for pictures in graveyards. What a joke; but what a memory.
Dungen – Sluta Följa Efter
Fall 2004. Riding around with the windows down, this absolutely euphoric album blaring. Sharaun is complaining, they’re not singing in English, she can’t understand them, they sound all “fjordy” and stupid, like the hurdy-gurdy Swedish Chef muppet or something. But God as my witness, this album is infectious – saccharine and dreamy, with layered cymbal, bursting beats and spinny guitars. Eventually, I oblige and change to something more “intelligible” for Sharaun’s sake – but I think this LP will always remind me of my last pre-baby summer.
The Decemberists – Los Angeles
Driving the 405, headed to a yacht on which my best-friend from 5th grade is about to be married. Before this, I’ve only seen him once since I left California so many years ago. A surreal experience, seeing him again and being able to be there at his wedding – so many years in the future.
Donovan – Riki Tiki Tavi
College. I have a one-bedroom place in town, Sharaun stays with me most nights even though we’d be condemned to Hell should her family find out. We don’t hump, I swear. My computer is stashed away in a desk that’s been shoved into my walk-in closet – and it’s here that I struggle through my first few engineering courses. Every night I fall asleep to music, and Sharaun with me by default. I’d picked up a bunch of Donovan LPs remastered as CDs at the local college used-CD store, and kicked them fairly often. Visions of pizza boxes on the counter and second-hand futon furniture… college.
Sleater Kinney – Little Babies
Junior year of college. I take a 36hr bus trip halfway across the country to visit Kyle in his Air Force barracks. An amazing journey in itself – but while there he introduces me to some new music (as he’s done for years). Sleater Kinney is one of the acts he turns me on to. Without re-writing what’s already been written, here’s what I remember when I hear this song. Oh, and I think there’s a paragraph in here too.
That’s enough of that for now. It’s fun though, I think I’ll try it again sometime.
Today the baby stepped up her game and launched a three-front attack on her poor old dad. Sharaun pawned her off on me for a wet diaper change, so I stripped her down and laid her on the changing table for a wipedown. She immediately peed on herself, and the table. Pee on her back, legs, everywhere. I cleaned up the pee, wiped down her entire body, and laid her back down on a cloth diaper. I turned to reach for a fresh diaper, turned back, and she’d peed on herself again. Wiped her down, put her on a new cloth diaper, and began strapping on her new clean one. Then the coup de grace, she spit up all over her face, neck, and hair. A three-fluid attack pretty much warrants a bath… those scented wipes can only go so far.
Oh, and I’m happy to report that the dead-animal smell which was coming from my beautiful new daughter’s nasty bellybutton is waning – as the shriveled thing finally made up its mind and dropped off. But man, we had neighborhood dogs ringing the doorbell and asking, in an extremely complicated sequence of barks and whines, which I eventually deciphered, if they could roll around on her. I don’t know if I have an extra-sensitive nose or what, but, to me, it really was that bad. Apparently, rotting stuff stinks. Sure, they look cute in photos when there’s not liquid poop running down their legs and curdled boob-milk leaking from their mouths. I was misled, people, babies are nothing like their presskits.
Until tomorrow, hope all is well out there in the blogosphere. Oh, and a warning, tomorrow’s will be a completely canned entry about religion – written long-ago and saved for a “vacation” day. Despite this admission, I urge you to keep reading, and keep commenting – it’s what keeps me going.