Sunday, November 22, 2009

Scenes from the home theater

“Well, your mother found them in the garage, so now I have to get rid of them,” my dad said mournfully over the phone last week. “I’m just glad that you’ll be able to give them a good home.”

I don’t know how Mom found anything on Dad’s side of the garage. You haven’t been able to put a car in there for at least twenty-five years. I come from a long line of men who pick up random bolts and washers in the street and bring them home, depositing them in plastic cups that line the walkways in their garages, walkways that meander through piles of things that sit where cars are supposed to go. Meanwhile, the cars sit outside, making sure that no bird poop gets on the driveway.

The contraband that Mom discovered was a pair of home theater speakers that Dad purchased from a friend at work whose wife wouldn’t let him keep them, either. The problem is the size: the speakers look like the perfect accessory for a home theater, provided that your home says IMAX in front. Mom apparently doesn’t appreciate the finer points of having her fillings rattled loose during an episode of House.

As Dad wove his tale of woe, explaining how he got busted just as he’d been waiting for the right moment to move the speakers from the garage into the basement, I made the mistake of pausing for a moment from pacing around the living room. My five-month-old son Evan, strapped to my chest, started rocking his head back and forth and kicking his feet.

My wife Kara looked up from the couch and said, “Dude, he’s telling you to giddyup!”

Evan tilted his head back and began a shriek that stopped as soon as I started walking again. The perpetual motion of being a parent can be unfortunately literal. Sometimes, the only way to keep Evan from shrieking loud enough to send nearby banshees scrambling for earplugs is to wear him like a baby kangaroo, which is why I’ve been working on expanding my pouch.

This method of settling him down only works as long as you keep moving constantly, though, kind of like a shark, except shark dads have the benefit of not having any ears. Also, they hardly ever stub their toes on the rainbow of giant plastic things that have invaded their living rooms.

“C’mon, Horsey. Don’t stop,” Kara said.

“I feel like the bus from Speed,” I replied. “Any time I drop below two miles per hour, the baby detonates.”

My mom, who had joined the call to explain how hideous the speakers would have looked in their basement, but how awesome they’d look in ours, said, “Awww, he sounds so cute right now. I want to give him a big hug.”

It’s amazing how much cuter a baby gets when you’re not the one taking care of him. The baby could be pooping, crying, peeing, screaming, flailing or all of these things at once, and as long as you’re not the one holding him, it still seems adorable.

“Our baby is ridiculously cute,” Kara or I will say, whichever one is not currently holding him.

“You want him?” the holder will ask.

“No, I’m good,” the other person will say, slowly edging out of the room, staring at the ceiling and whistling quietly. It’s not that we don’t both love spending time with our child, but independence is at a premium these days.

As we rounded the living room for the twentieth time, Evan rested his head against my chest, a river of drool flowing onto my shirt as he rested up for the next show at our home theater.

You can keep Mike Todd moving at least 50 mph at


  1. Save this for when Evan gets older:
    As a parent/dog owner, I thought you would appreciate this as much as I did. Doug and I "sssst" our boys all the time.

  2. When you take a break from being Evan's horsey, may you all enjoy a safe, peaceful (okay, that may be a wee bit of a stretch), and very Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. I hope little Evan enjoyed his first Thanksgiving. This time next year he'll be able to eat solids, then he can enjoy some sweet potatoes and beans.

    I've been good at updating my blog so far. We'll see how long I can keep it up.

  4. Gresham -- That article was awesome. We've been giving Evan lots of exercise, discipline and affection. But mostly we just snap our fingers at him.

    Loon -- Many thanks! It certainly was a good one, and I hope yours was, too.

    Jered Earl -- I'm thankful that you're back to pimp your blog. You have some really nice shots out there. Glad you're making use of your big fancypants camera.

  5. Two comments:

    1) Sharks most definitely have ears. They are very important for their survival.

    2) Your new speakers look awesome!

  6. Dude, I was wondering if anyone was going to call me out on that. Thanks for being the resident ornithologist, but for sharks.

    And thanks on the speakers. I'll direct Kara to this comment.