Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Out with the old and back to the future

This weekend, Mama and I took advantage of a generous offer from our friends D & D from Books & Crackers to babysit 3B and went to a movie. We saw Milk, which wasn't the dairy thriller I was expecting, but which was pretty good nonetheless.

Before having D & D over, however, we trashed our place as best we could, all in the spirit of saving the economy.

See, back before Christmas, when we were procrastinating shopping, we engaged in one my favorite holiday pastimes that truly demonstrates the spirit of the season: we bought ourselves a big gift. What better way to give and receive than to do both at the same time?

Plus, we figured that the jobs we created through our purchase were our donation to the global economy rescue fund, which is a big gift for everyone in the world, which obviated our need to give any actual gifts to anyone. By not shipping anything, we saved the backs of millions of postal service employees that are already strained at this time of year, which was just a collateral bonus of our generosity.

And what did our altruism get for us this holiday season? A new dining room table and chairs:

3B appears unimpressed, but once we pulled his booster seat up, he was all over the new rig.

What we really needed were the chairs since the semi-disposable Swedish ones we had bought almost ten years ago were now about as stable as Mel Gibson on a bender--but without the Nolte hairdo.

But, no non-IKEA standard sized chairs fit under our not-so-semi-disposable table that we really liked. So, getting new chairs required getting a new table, the same way that buying a dozen donuts at Krispy Kreme is somehow cheaper than buying four.

Old table, same as the new, little bit smaller, little bit worse for the wear.

Of course, perhaps if we hadn't purchased all those dozens of donuts, our chairs wouldn't have gone the way of the Tacoma Narrows bridge.

Our new set was arriving on Saturday, which meant that we had to smash into matchsticks disassemble the remaining splinters of our old chairs to make room for our new ones. Thanks to the miracle of Facebook, Cousin M saw that we were getting rid of the table and offered to take it off our hands, since he had to leave his table in New Mexico during his recent quick move back to DC.

I got much help from 3B disassembling the chairs. He used his drill, my drill, his hammers, my Allen wrenches, his harmonica and guitar all to help in our project. His drill, a Christmas gift from a cousin, is a huge hit, although he's been scared to pull the trigger on it, just as he is on most power tools.

He'll play with them endlessly, examining them and applying them to all manner of problems, but he just doesn't want to pull the trigger. I don't know if it's the sound they make or the motion, or the unpredictability. This week, however, Mama convinced 3B to run his drill, in part by explaining that dentists use drills on teeth, so chair disassembly was punctuated by my pleas: "Please take the drill out of your mouth, 3B. Please don't drill your teeth, 3B."

We got all the chairs out of the way just in time for the new table's arrival and assembly. It's a perfect fit both collapsed and expanded--it has a nesting leaf--and Mama and I have already found ourselves sitting at it with much greater frequency than our old table. Much of that has to do with the chairs, which are stable and comfortable, unlike our old ones, which seemed to only be temporarily slowing the crash of our asses into the floor rather than actually holding us up.

Immediately we put a pad and tablecloth on it to protect against 3B's hobby of whittling with a fork, then started getting our house ready for the babysitters. All this really entailed was spending the evening looking at piles of things around the house, deciding we couldn't deal with them before tomorrow, and shoving them into our room, which began to resemble the dumpsters behind a Goodwill store.

Sunday, as I mentioned, we had a great hot date while D & D had fun walking 3B and Barky to our favorite coffee shop, not only for the tasty treats but also for the large, toy-filled play area in the back room. Well, that, and that they host Mr. Skip and Music Together classes, all of which 3B loves.

Yes, it's true, I'm easy: please my son and you please me.

When they got back home, there was the endless concert. Somehow 3B's guitar has become a "geetar," which might be a symptom of too much Johnny Cash. If there is such a thing. In addition, he's always looking for his wah-wah geetar, ever since seeing Willybob working the wah-wah pedal on New Year's eve.

D & D added another axe to his arsenal, showing him how he could "plug in" his geetar by attaching the plug on his headphone jack to it, making it electric. Since then, it's been all Dylan after Newport. We play along, booing him and walking out, and 3B plays along by turning up the volume, playing more furiously and seething his way through every song.

But seriously, the kid always needs the volume at 11. I've tried explaining what effect this might have on him later in life by using myself as an example, but somehow 3B still insists he loves me the way I am. He even surprised both Mama and I when we returned from our movie and dinner not by running over to greet us, but by turning away from Mama's greeting and saying, "No. Daddy. Want to see Daddy," and wrapping me up in a hug. Say what? We all know that Mama's the favorite parent.

He must have a selective memory and have forgotten all the times I told him not to hammer on the new chairs and only remembered my letting him carry my drill all over the house, and not saying a word when he dropped it on the floor rather than setting it down gently. Whatever caused his need for me, feeling his embrace and seeing Mama and D & D standing by made me forget all about that dairy thriller--or whatever that movie was--and remember one part of the spirit of the season: receiving the gifts we already have anew and enjoying the bounty that is every day our hearts beat together with friends and family.

And so I again thank 3B for the gift of a new vision of the world.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!


  1. Anonymous4:39 AM

    Have any of you screamed Judas before walking out? Now you have to teach 3b in the best Bob voice to say.... I dont beeeellliiiive youuuuu.

    TCB on walkin

  2. Hmmmm...that table looks perfect for brunch!

  3. You had me laughing and crying and congratulations on your new table!! I am now glad I got #4 a harmonica for Christmas in case I need help taking my table apart when the time comes.

  4. King: No, but only because we don't want him to suddenly start screaming "Judas!" as he leaves rooms. That would probably unsettle a few people.

    Steve: Dude, you're the second person this week to drop the brunch hint to us. I guess we need to get back on the social bandwagon, eh?

    KMoo: We have other instruments we can loan you if you need them when the time comes.

  5. Sorry I missed my opportunity to invite myself over for brunch, just to try out your new table of course.

  6. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Nice table, and thanks for the economic stimulus.

    You mean, my bedroom can NOT look like the back of a Goodwill store? That's . . . a possibility? I'm dumbfounded.

    Wow, 3B dissed mama for you? You must be doing something really right.

  7. Kmoo: I know that you want to steal my sourdough starter too.

    Amama: As soon as 3B said that he wanted to see me, I held my hand to his forehead to see if he had a fever. Fathers have instincts too.

  8. 3B is learning early. If Mama says no, Papa may say yes. Watch your wallet.

    Some sourdough waffles would look really nice on that new table when we drop in. As soon as the passes are open and the river evacuates the freeway, we will be by, since I know you live somewhere near my sister's house.

    Glad you like the geeky book I sent you.

  9. I have my own sourdough starter in the back of my fridge, should be nice and sour by now. Looks like you needs a bigger rug under your new table. I like that you understand the oriental rug concept. If you spill things on it, you will not see it. I am sure barky cleans things up for you though.