Monthly Archives: August 2012

Red-eyes

Sorry if I’ve been a away for a while, the rigors of exploring New York City with a three-year-old have left me so damned tired at the end of the night that I have literally fallen asleep in the bathroom twice. And I’m not talking about a cat nap, amigos…I’m talking full-tilt-snoring on the can. Sorry, but, we’ve been running pretty ragged.

Anyway, we arrived at JFK at 5:27AM on Sunday after a relatively-peaceful red-eye flight from Burbank. I know those terms don’t usually go together when you’re flying with a toddler, but, surprisingly, the flight was awesome. Greta fell asleep right away and our only real glitch came when the power mad Jet Blue flight attendant made us physically move Greta and her carseat to the window seat in the middle of the flight.

We’d been given the approving head nod when the other attendant walked the aisle before take off and Greta was, by then, sleeping very soundly in the center seat — which she has done on every other flight we’ve ever flown, BTW! — and he told us that she would have to move to the window seat due to some bullshit regulations. Huh?! I know you’re not supposed to fight with flight attendants nowadays, but, I was like: “She just fell asleep? Surely you can’t be serious?!” And he said: “Yes, I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.” Ha, just kidding. He didn’t say anything back to me, but, that stern look in his eyes spoke volumes.

So, we moved Greta — as gingerly as two grown-ass adults can move a gigantic carseat with a toddler in it while a plane is moving — one seat over to comply with his bullshit regulations. In the heat of seat switching, I told Mrs. Yeti that if Greta woke up because of this, I was gonna make that flight attendant switch jobs with me for the rest of the flight. I mean, hell, passing out bags of cookies is nothing compared to entertaining a trapped toddler on a five-and-a-half hour flight! Luckily for him, the move didn’t wake her.

Anyway, aside from that, everything was cool. We even managed to get some sleep ourselves, so, hooray. But then we landed and all hell broke loose. I don’t know if it was the fact that we actually saw the sun rising or what, but, yikes, the minute we stood up, we morphed into total zombies. All three of us. It was brutal.

And the worst part of all is that our hotel wouldn’t let us check in until 3:00PM. We could check our bags with the bell man right away, but, anything resembling sleep would have to wait. So, we headed out into Times Square (yes, we stayed in the throbbing heart of crazy-town this trip, I’ll tell you more about why later) in search of food. And lemme tell ya, if you think Times Square is scary when it’s crowded, it’s even scarier at the crack of dawn on a Sunday. Nothing is open, the streets are littered with trash (Mrs. Yeti just missed stepping on someone’s discarded wig!) and a brand of homeless vagrant that gives new meaning to the term. Seriously, it could not have been more post-apocalyptic. It was freaky. And, come to think of it, our zombie asses fit right in.

Anyway, we finally found refuge at a place on 9th avenue (between 43rd & 44th) called the Westway Diner. And, lord in heaven was it delicious. I’m not kidding, this might just have been our best breakfast in the city, EVER. The eggs were perfect, the French Toast was made with a gorgeous challah bread and the coffee and bacon were all top-notch stuff. It was an amazing meal and best of all, it was dirt cheap. Even by non-NYC standards. Amazing!

After breakfast, we took Greta to a nearby playground park (thank God, they also open at the crack-of-dawn) where she ran around like a crazy person for half an hour and then totally crashed in her stroller. Mrs. Yeti and I weren’t so lucky. She had to go to work and I had to push Greta around in her stroller for the next six hours.

We wandered through the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, checked out a couple of funky stores in the neighborhood and at around noon, I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore. My cell phone battery was almost dead, my feet were killing me and I knew if I stopped at another park to rest, I’d wake up with an empty stroller and an empty wallet, or worse, so, I headed back to the hotel. They have a lobby, I thought, with plugs and couches and bathrooms, so, I’ll sit there and plug in my phone and, you know, recharge everything.

Luckily for us, I didn’t have to sit there for long because our room was ready and quicker than you can say red-eye, Greta and I were sleeping it off in a king sized bed with room to spare. Mrs. Yeti joined us a while later and we pulled that big old black-out curtain closed and slept like babies.

The only downside was that Greta wet herself (apparently, she was too tired to remember she wasn’t wearing a diaper, poor thing!) but, hell, even that couldn’t disturb our slumber. Nope, we just changed her clothes, threw a couple of towels down on the bed, and kept right on snoozing till nightfall.

I don’t remember what we ate for dinner, but, it was good and warm and we were all together on the cusp of a brand new NYC adventure, so, we had a blast. Even if we still totally looked like zombies…

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Whole lotta nothing…

Urgh, you know those times when there are so many things you should be doing that you get all overwhelmed and end up doing nothing? Well, this has been one of those weeks. I don’t know if it’s the fact that our precious Olympics are over (actually, we still have hours of coverage left on our Tivo, so, who am I kidding?) or the heat, or what, but, man, I am just spent.

Greta is finishing up her second, and final, week of swimming lessons, I’ve been trying to get as much work done as I can on the new freelance piece I’m writing, and we’re all trying to pack and prepare for our trip to NYC. It’s just a lot of stuff to do and a very small window in which to do it. All I know is that I need a break, big time.

Thankfully, we are leaving town for ten days on Saturday. Although some might see ten days of sweaty, New York City mugginess as anything but a vacation, lemme tell ya, I can’t wait! And since we are traveling on a budget (or, on more of a budget than usual) I’ve already mapped out all my favorite cheap places to eat. Actually, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last two hours. See what I mean? Instead of doing anything worthwhile, I’ve been Google mapping the Dunkin’ Donuts locations that are closest to our hotel.

Totally lame, I know, but, it soothes me somehow to think of drinking their iced coffee for breakfast every morning. Not only is it dirt cheap, but, it is one of life’s greatest joys. Seriously, it’s delicious. The hot variety, eh, not so much. But, iced with a little milk, that shit is golden, baby! Of course, maybe I’m just saying that because we don’t have DD out here yet.

In any case, I now know that the nearest Dunkin’ is a four minute walk (probably ten with Miss Greta) from our hotel room and that to get there, we have to take Fashion Avenue. Yep, the one they always show on Project Runway. Cheap, hearty iced coffee, and a casual stroll down Fashion Avenue with my favorite citified toddler every morning? I can’t wait!

And, who knows, maybe we’ll even stop at Mood for some cool fabric for Mommy…

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Quote of the day: Kate Winslet

You might have already seen this awesome quote that Moveon.org posted on their Facebook page, but, I thought it was so sweet and heartfelt that I had to re-post it here. Lord knows I love me some Kate Winslet, and when she’s saying something seriously-cool about the total unconditional love between a parent and a child, well, sign me up.

Down with the haters. Long live the epically-talented, very proudly liberal, Kate Winslet.

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One more thing…

Oh yeah, check out the pic below to see something else I did last night. Crazy, huh? My facial hair was so f-ed up after the razor setting disaster that I decided to just shave it all off and start from scratch. Beard experts say that makes it grow in thicker, so, we’ll see.

I haven’t had a hairless mug in over five years — it started as a WGA Strike beard and just kept going — and, let me tell ya, it feels very strange. Greta, who has never seen me without it, keeps stroking my face and saying: “Daddy threw his beard away”. So, I think she likes it. But, I felt like I was walking around naked all day. So, here’s hoping it doesn’t take me five years to grow it back.

Oh, and speaking of facial hair, I found a picture of my doppelgänger Kevin James rocking a beard (see below), and, am I right or am I right? Does Paul Blart not look way better with some scruff?

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So not ready for my close-up…

So, today was kinda strange. After several weeks of back-and-forth discussions, Mrs. Yeti and I were invited to appear on a daytime talk show today. I can’t say which one, because it has not started airing yet, but, the experience was completely surreal. The production staff and producers were amazing, the green room was kind of awesome (yep, we got to hang out in our own green room) and the host was very cool.

But, quicker than you can say, “Good morning, Baltimore!”, it was over. It was so weird. I mean, we had been exchanging phone calls with the show’s producers and prepping for the show for weeks. Hell, my brother even made a day-in-the-life video for us, which, sadly, will probably not be used on the show. But, hey, we had fun making it, and someday it will be an incredible time capsule of this crazy period in our lives. So, there’s always that. But after all this build-up, I guess I just thought the actual experience of being on the show would last longer. Alas, it did not.

Oh, and get this, while we were getting ready this morning, I was rushing to trim my beard and failed to check the length setting before applying the razor to my face. And guess what happened? Yep, I carved a giant hole in the left side of my beard. And it was big, the kind you can’t cover up with make-up or fancy lighting. So, the rest of my face would have to be trimmed to match the hole. The only problem was that my razor was out of charge and we were already running late.

So, I threw my razor in our bag and we hit the road with the upper half of my face shaved and the lower half not. I’m sure it was a lovely site. And perfect timing too. I mean, nothing like shaving off half your beard roughly two hours before you are set to appear on national TV. Who doesn’t love making radical changes to their looks right before a major event? Urgh…

And on top of all that, the clothes I brought to wear on the show (we each had to bring three or four outfits for them to check out) were vetoed and I ended up wearing a shirt they bought for me. Oh, that’s right, I forgot to mention the part where they called us last week and asked us for all of our clothing and shoe sizes. They asked us to describe our teeth too, which seemed odd, but hey, you do what you gotta do when Hollywood comes calling.

Anyway, the shirt was fine, it was kind of a retro bowling polo, you know, the kind Guy Fieri wears all the time. Which is cool and everything, but, it is definitely not how I normally dress, and when you couple that with the khakis I wore and my newly shorn beard, well, I felt like the freaking King of Queens or something. Nothing against Kevin James. Seriously, I love the dude. But, I have always thought he’d look way better with a beard. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.

So, I was nervous, totally uncomfortable with how I looked and definitely with what I was wearing — Mrs. Yeti had it much worse, she actually had a top-to-bottom outfit change that left her looking like a bank teller, but, she still looked beautiful in my book —  and on top of all that, I was sweating like a pig. Anyone who knows me knows that I often sweat like a pig, but, when I’m nervous, whoa…it’s a hundred times worse.

Luckily the make-up crew was there to powder out my sheen at every turn and I ended up looking pretty decent by the time the cameras started rolling. But, after that, I don’t remember a thing. Literally! We came “back from the break”, the host chatted up some other SAHD’s on the stage and then said that there was another SAHD in the audience who she had a couple of questions for. That was me. I remember the host heading over, asking me to stand, shoving the microphone in my face and that was it. I kid you not, I went totally blank. I remember bits and pieces of things I said, and I remember Mrs. Yeti standing up and adding her two cents, but, the rest is a total blur. Crazy, huh?

And then it was over. We gave back our borrowed clothes, thanked the wonderful support staff behind the scenes — I’m not kidding, I have been on a lot of movie and TV sets and that team rocked! — grabbed a couple of waters from the basket on the table in our green room and left. Four hours never flew by so fast.

Luckily for us, my brother and sister-in-law were with us every step of the way. They sat with us in the green room before and in the audience during the entire taping, so, keep your eye out for a dude in a tan jacket and a sassy Asian chick in shiny shoes when the show airs! Anyway, they told me what I said and didn’t say during the taping, which helped. But, I guess I won’t really know how lame or cool (or both!) I looked until the show airs, which, like I said above, has not been determined.

Whew…so, that was our day. I’d love to tell you more about what we discussed and why we were chosen for the show in the first place, but, for now, all I can say is that our episode concerned families. I’ll fill you in on all the other juicy, behind-the-scenes details when I am at liberty to do so. Stay tuned for further updates…

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Swimming Lessons: Week One

She may not be Missy Franklin (yet!), but, Greta started swimming lessons this week with a bang. Actually, it was more like a pained squint. See, Greta had such a hard time seeing over the glare of the pool on Monday that she spent half the class covering her eyes with her little hands.

So, we hit a couple of stores — it’s not as easy as you’d think to find toddler goggles with UV protection, especially this late in the season! — and we finally found a pair we could all live with. Greta loved the colors (especially the pink lenses) but, we were just glad she could actually see things while taking her class. Hooray!

Anyway, so far, Greta has learned to paddle around with her face in the water, jump into the pool, and kick. On Tuesday, she even “swam” a couple of feet from the center of the pool to the steps when thrown out there by her instructor. But my favorite part of it all are these cute-ass goggles. Seriously, they kill me. I’m gonna have to have them bronzed someday…

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Back to work

Believe it or not, the Stay-at-Home-Yeti has returned to the land of the moneymakers. Not like, gigantic moneymakers, but, I did earn my first paycheck in a couple of years this week for a freelance article I wrote for APEX (Airline Passenger Experience) Magazine’s Editor’s Blog. And, lemme tell ya, it felt fucking wonderful!

The work was fun, the people I interviewed were awesome, and my editor (yes, amigos, I have an editor) was great! And I’m not just saying that because she commissioned me to write another article for the November print edition of APEX magazine. Well…maybe just a little.

But, seriously, she really is a top-notch editor and the work has been incredibly fun. I’m learning all kinds of cool new things every day, using writing muscles I didn’t even know I had, and it’s been a blast. So what if I had to interrupt a phone interview with a dude in France on Tuesday to peel a banana for Greta? At least I didn’t have to leave the house!

Now, if I could just turn this into a regular, ongoing thing, (not the banana peeling, but, you know, the freelance writing gigs) all would truly be right with the world…

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17 years ago today…

Seventeen years ago today, I married my best friend. We’d been dating for five years before that, so, technically, we’ve been together for twenty-two years. Which is just crazy. And, of course, like most people that have been together that long, we have a three-and-a-half year-old daughter. Ha.

Anyway, seeing as today is kind of special, I wanted to take a moment to thank my wife for a couple of things. One, for marrying me. These days it’s kind of hard to remember what we were like before Greta came along, but, all I know is that the happiest day in my life was when Mrs. Yeti said she’d move with me to L.A. so I could attend grad school. Seriously, when Mrs. Yeti finally agreed to tether herself to my big old silver van and move south, well, that made me very happy because I knew that meant that we’d get married someday too. Or, at the very least have a grand adventure in Hollywood. It just so happens, we did both.

The second thing I’d like to thank Mrs. Yeti for is for always being there for me. There were many years where things looked very bleak and any sane woman would have been well within her rights to run screaming in the other direction. But, Mrs. Yeti never wavered. She may have voiced some concerns over the years, but, she was always there, standing firm. Right by my side. Let me tell ya, if your ship is sinking, she’s the gal you want in your dinghy. I mean that with all my heart, she is my rock and I can never thank her enough for sticking it out with me. Especially during the lean years.

And finally, I want to thank her for bringing Greta into this world.

We waited a long time to have a baby, longer than we probably should have, but, there just never seemed to be the right time. And then one day — in one of those lean years I mentioned above — she said: “It’s time. We need to do this now.” I hadn’t sold a script in four years, my agent was in jail for stealing from her clients, and I had just been fired from my day job at a coffee shop. We had no money, one leased car that we shared and two cats. I could not think of a worse time to start a family, but, once again, she knew what she was doing.

“If we wait until the time is right, we might never have a baby.” She insisted. And she was right. So, we started trying and it ended up taking us five soul-crushing years to get pregnant. She had at least three miscarriages during that time, two that hurt and one that really ripped our hearts out. It was brutal, and, honestly, there were times when I thought we should just stop trying, that maybe we had missed our tiny window of opportunity.

But, there was no stopping her now. And, as always, Mrs. Yeti was right. We turned to a friend who turned us onto an acupuncturist in Silver Lake who specialized in fertility problems. And, literally, one month after she started treatments, Mrs. Yeti was pregnant.

It was a difficult, trying pregnancy, and I feared for the worst through most of it. But, thanks to our lovely acupuncturist, a plethora of foul-smelling Chinese herbs, and even some good old, Western medicine — you’d be surprised how well your health care providers treat you when you’ve had three miscarriages! Seriously, we had like monthly ultrasounds from very early-on. It was awesome. — we ended up having a happy, healthy baby girl that has enriched our lives a thousand times over.

And now, as I look forward to the next seventeen years (and beyond!), all I can say is “Thank You”. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but, I am grateful every single day that we met and fell in love all those years ago at that crazy old GapKids in San Francisco. Everything deep and magical in my life begins and ends with you. You are my life and I can’t imagine my world without you in it.

Now, hurry up with that popcorn and beer! My Mom only has Greta for the afternoon and we’ve got like, three days of Olympic coverage to watch.

I know it sounds crazy, but, we celebrated our anniversary a day early, and that’s exactly what we did today. Popcorn, beer, Chinese take-out and Tivo. All day. And it was perfection. Happy anniversary, sweetie. I love you…

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Greta’s Bookshelf: “Press Here” by Hervé Tullet

Anyone who has ever been to our place can tell you that we have an s-load of books. There are books in the kitchen, the dining room, the bathroom, and don’t even get me started on the bedrooms. Greta actually has so many kids books in her room that we have to rotate them out.

It’s kinda crazy, but, all three of us love to read (or, in Greta’s case, pretend to read) and re-read our favorite books, so, honestly, I can’t imagine life without them. To tell you the truth, I kinda distrust people with no books in their house. I don’t care if you keep them in the closet, but, you best have some books somewhere if you wanna hang these Yetis.

Anyway, Mrs. Yeti and I started collecting kids books before we even dreamed of having an actual kid. If we found one (or twenty) that we loved, we bought them. And we rarely, if ever, get rid of them. Hell, one look at the bookshelf in Greta’s room and you’ll see that many of the books there were ours when we were kids. Sure, they moved up a few shelves when Greta started eating them as a baby, but, those vintage kids books hold a place of honor in our home and our hearts.

So, whenever we read a new kids book that moves us as much as those old classics did, well, we just have to tell the world about it. So, without further ado, I give you: “Press Here” by Hervé Tullet.

Mrs. Yeti has been selling this book in her store for a while now, but, Greta and I are new converts to the wonders of “Press Here” and let me tell you, it’s a very fun read. I don’t want to give too much away, but, this very creative book is interactive in the extreme.

It all starts with the first page’s simple command to “Press Here” and quicker than you say “Twister: The Novel” you are turning the book on its side, tilting it to the left, then to the right, shaking it really hard and even blowing on the pages at one point. If you don’t have fun reading this book to your kids, you must just hate fun. Seriously, we were cracking up, it’s a very cool read.

And aside from now having an iPhone App, this book is so cool it even has its own trailer on YouTube. Ha! Top that Frog and Toad! Just kidding, I love the Frog and Toad books. My brother and I used to fight over who got to be Frog and who got to be Toad before we started reading them. Yep, he’s a book nerd too. You should see how many books he and his wife have…crazy!

Anyway, if you have a toddler in your house (or even if you don’t!) you must check out this book today. But make room on your shelf first, because, trust me, you’re gonna wanna own this one.

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