Packages from Texas

My uncle Billy has always been fond of sending me “interesting” items in the mail. Many of them were of questionable legality in the state of California. For my 18th birthday, he sent me a sword, (along with a scroll with a quirky short story he wrote.) As a graduation present, I received a crossbow. Some of the other items he sent me over the years were a throwing star, padded nun chucks, and a sling-shot (with fore-arm brace). I’m sure you can see a re-occurring theme here.

He didn’t just send me weapons. He also sent what could be described as trinkets which he crafted himself, or strange odds and ends. A copper tea service as a wedding gift, A hand carved piece of wood he referred to as a “toad poker”, a trick pen that zapped you when you pressed the button on the back to extend the writing tip, a wooden fish with a clothespin glued to it, (for holding mail, or recipe cards, or something similar – at least that’s what I did with it.)

I could always tell when a Package from Texas arrived. The scent of tobacco permeated everything inside, and seeped out of the package and into the air. I can walk into my mom’s house a few days before Christmas and be able to say “You got a package from Texas, didn’t you?” just from the smell. I still have things out in our storage area from him which still carry the faint essence of tobacco even now, years later.

I find that I have a fondness for those Packages from Texas, even if I can’t find a place in our home for the items he’s sent. I’ve gotten rid of the weapons (except for the sword, which is peace-bound) and many of the trinkets as well. The items I have kept, I may never find a use for – other than to serve as a reminder to me of the unique individual my uncle was. I’m glad that I’ve kept these, since I doubt that I will ever receive another Package from Texas.

My uncle has not been in the best of health for a long time. He neglected his own health while caring for my grandfather, who’s battle with Alzheimer’s took a heavy toll on my uncle. I think he took it the hardest when my grandfather passed away.

My knowledge of the details are sketchy at the moment, but as I understand it, uncle Billy was scheduled for surgery yesterday. There were complications brought on by pneumonia, and he stopped breathing some time this morning. He is currently on life support, but there appears to be no higher brain function. (I believe the term is “Persistent Vegetative State”) The decision about whether or not he is taken off life support rests with my aunt. And I will support her decision in either case.

Uncle Billy was an amazing man. We have always had a connection that was hard to explain. When he came to California to visit, my sister and I would play hooky from school and spend the day with him at the Academy of Sciences, or the Oakland museum, or Lawrence Hall of Science. When I was freaked out about starting high-school, he knew. He called me a couple of weeks before classes started to remind me that I had nothing to worry about. He showed up for my wedding after initially declining, and I was not the least bit surprised when did. I was so certain he’d show up that I kept him on the seating chart even after we got his R.S.V.P. He was the first extended family member that I called to announce my son’s birth, and Justin shares his middle name.

I love you Unca’ Billy, and I’m going to miss you.

cute phone call

I’m at work.

My cell phone rings with the “family” ringtone.

The caller ID says its my wife.

I push the accept call button. “Hello?”

“Baaaa beee buuu shaaaee dak?”

I smile. “Hi, little guy.”

“Sooommm mek gaaab doo daaa pbbbth.”

“Oh yea?”

“Deeee baad sshuuug maag gep. ”

I expect my wife to take the phone back, since I thought she called and was letting Justin do the greeting. “Where’s Mommy? Justin, can I talk to Mommy?”

“Booo bo baaak meeg shaal ek!”

“Justin, does Mommy know you have her phone?’

Theres a sound like he’s slobbering on the phone, then in the background I hear my wifes voice: “Wha..” and then the call ends.

I wait a couple of seconds, grinning, then call back. My wife answers the phone.

“Hi, I just got a phonecall from our son.”

“Yeah the little turkey had it when I came out of the bathroom. I thought he was just playng with it at first, but then I realized he was actually talking to someone.”

“Well, i just wanted to make sure you knew he had your phone, and that it was me he called.”


“At least he didn’t call Germany or something.”

She laughs, “Yeah.”

“I love you, I’ve got to get back to work.”

“Love you too, see you tonight.”

The call ends. I’m still grinning, and I think about how much more fun a call like that will be when I can actually understand what he’s trying to tell me.

The Cutest Thing

Justin is fascinated with the kittens, (For those that don’t know – that would be Briarwood and Agapantha – our 2 six-year-old Tabbys) and now that he is finally getting the concept of “gentle”, Pantha will actually let him pet her. (I still need to keep an eye on him when he does because he still has a tendency to grab her tail and try to pull her closer…)

Briar, on the other hand, is still very wary of the baby. (Excuse me, the toddler. He’s walking now.) Justin tries to get close to Briar and ends up following him around the living room and kitchen until Briar jumps the baby-gate to safety.

Justin was just doing that a few minutes ago actually, but I realized he wasn’t trying to pet Briar, Justin was trying to share one of his puffed grain baby finger-food snacks with him.

I guess he’s trying to make friends. It was too adorable. I just had to share.

(Too bad Briar isn’t interested in making new friends…)

Edited on Sep 24th 2005, 01:38 by Hooloovoo

Things I’ve Learned from Fatherhood – Week 1:

Justin has been with us a week as of today. Here are a few things I’ve learned about being a dad so far. (Some lessons just need to be learned the hard way.)

The first time your baby does anything, (even urinate on you,) it’s cute.
If you don’t find it cute, you’ll at least be relieved that all the plumbing is working.

By the fourth time, its no longer cute. It’s not a big deal either.

Baby’s poop. ALOT.

When you think it’s time to change a diaper, (unless you can see the mess already) wait 5 minutes, you’ll be glad you did.

Always have the clean diaper ready to go BEFORE you take the dirty one off.

If you have a little boy, position him so the “business” end is not pointed at you. (Don’t worry, he’ll manage to get you anyway.)

Happiness is a sleeping baby.

Take naps whenever you can, but don’t forget to let your wife take them too.

You can spend hours watching him sleep. (But this time might be better used for napping)

Don’t forget to make time for the other members of your household. (Your wife, the cats, the computer…)

If friends or family call wanting to know if you’re up for visitors, say yes. (Especially if they offer to go to the store for you.) You’ll be glad for the distraction, and they’ll understand when you need to kick them out.

When you go visiting, don’t forget to bring a change of clothes for yourself, too.

The “Pause” button is your friend. (I imagine TiVo would be too, if I had it.)

You will do alot of laundry.

No matter what you do, sometimes the baby just wants Mommy.

Don’t forget about day to day things: paying bills, checking the mail, cleaning the litterbox, grocery shopping.

I’m getting married in the morning…

well actually – the afternoon.

I’ve spent most of the day running around doing things to get ready (picking up tuxes, making sure everyone got to the rehearsal, etc.) We had the rehearsal and the dinner, and I’m still pretty calm. I don’t think I’m going to get nervous tomorrow – everything just feels right.

It still seems like things haven’t really sunk in yet. While I was standing in my place going over the pieces of the ceremony with the minister, Jenny, the groomsmen, the bridesmaids, our parents, and our readers – I still felt like I was just a stand-in for someone else. Tomorrow will be a different story, I’m sure.

I’m at my future in-laws’ house right now writing this, and then I’m going to go hang out with some friends, before getting a good night’s sleep so I’m bright-eyed and bushy-tailed come tomorrow.

Anyway – I will not be blogging for a couple of weeks, since I will not be around and computers once we leave on our honeymoon. So have a blast, and I’ll see you all (err.. read your blogs/comments) when I get back in September.


goes to lurk on some of the other blogs before he actually signs off…

T -61 days and counting

Things are really starting to fall into place. In a little under 2 calendar months, I’m getting married to my best friend, and the love of my life.

It still seems a bit surreal. Wonderful, but surreal. I haven’t started freaking out yet, (nor do I think I will,) but it’s beginning to take shape as a reality in my mind as opposed to one of those nebulous concepts of “when i get married one day…”