Sunday, August 23, 2009

The voyages of the Battlestar Domestica

“What did I just say?” my wife Kara asked me last week. I froze, having no idea what the correct answer might be. Normally, I hang on her every word that doesn’t immediately precede or follow the word “dishwasher,” but this time she’d caught me completely tuning her out. In my defense, I was engaged in a very important activity; our Netflix queue wasn’t going to organize itself.

Since having our baby two months ago, nobody leaves the house except to literally or figuratively bring home the bacon. We’ve found ourselves relying heavily on our new Netflix membership to help deal with our exile from civilization. Currently, we’re working our way through the Battlestar Galactica series for the eight hours a day that Kara is running the breast pump while I give Evan his bottle. Given the ambient noise while he’s being fed, our baby is probably in for some disappointment when he realizes that he’s not growing up on a space station. Of course, we read him lots of books, too, but anyone who has read a book to a newborn probably knows that you can find a more attentive audience by reading “Green Eggs and Ham” to a sack of flour, though the sack of flour is much less likely to squeal and fart on your arm.

As we watch the humans and Cylons chase each other around the screen, I wonder what our parents did for entertainment during the countless hours of bottle feeding. Back in those days, they probably just stared at the walls, or maybe used their free hands to churn butter.

Kara glared at me, waiting for my response. I tried to gather clues: She was sitting there with her laptop open, fingers poised above the keys. She was waiting for my input on something, probably. But what?

“Um, could you repeat the question? Or what you said right before the question?” I asked.

She shook her head, slammed her laptop shut and left the room. It was a very 21st-century altercation. Years ago, people didn’t have laptops to slam shut at each other. They had to settle for slamming doors and kicking bedpans over.

“Wait, I remember!” I called after her. “You said that you wish the scale of one to ten went higher so that you could use bigger numbers to express your love for me!” Turns out, that wasn’t it.

Kara and I have proven to be a harmonious baby-raising team, but it’s impossible to live in a state of constant exhaustion without kicking up a cloud of formula powder from time to time. Some people have babies because they think adding stress and subtracting sleep will strengthen a faltering marriage. I would imagine that these people spend a good amount of time dislodging toasters from their drywall.

After successfully raising a puppy last year, Kara and I felt fairly prepared for raising a baby, though at the time we couldn’t have known that our baby would come into the world with “I Ain’t Going Down Til the Sun Comes Up” as his theme song. We’ve since found that having a dog prepares you for having a baby in the same way setting off a few bottle rockets might prepare you for a nuclear blast. The concept is similar; the magnitude is not. Still, with each passing day, Evan sleeps a little bit better and we get a little less likely to frighten small children at the grocery store as we amble zombie-like past the watermelon bin.

There’s a poster hanging in a local diner for an old movie with the tagline: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” What a nice, incredibly stupid sentiment. You show me someone who thinks they never need to apologize, and I’ll show you someone with a toaster in their wall.

A few minutes later, Kara and I both apologized. She might have said something else as I checked our Netflix queue to make sure that that movie from the poster wasn’t in there, but I can’t be sure.

You can confess to being a Cylon agent at


  1. My fiance and I decided to have an imaginary baby name "Get 10 hours of sleep a night"

    He would be great. We could smoke cigarettes in front of him, drink beer in front of him....we could go to a concert on a Thursday night and not come back until Sunday....

    "Hey honey, how is the baby? Oh he's cool, he's been making chili all this time"

  2. You are such a good storyteller. :)

    And this ...

    "Some people have babies because they think adding stress and subtracting sleep will strengthen a faltering marriage. I would imagine that these people spend a good amount of time dislodging toasters from their drywall."

    ... made me snortle. ;)

  3. Awesome choice in Battlestar Galactica! Enjoy it!

  4. Having a child, is kind of like texting.

    Sentences become disjointed, best spoken in 50 characters or less, and to the point. But don't delete until the message is comprehended in full, and an "uh-huh" does not construe comprehension......

    I'm just saying :-)