Get Your Paci? Go Night-Night?

Toby and I went to DC a few weeks ago. We knew we’d be doing a lot of driving and decided that it would be best if we left Em with my parents for a few days. On Thursday night we drove to South Jersey. We spent the night there and left early the following morning. We left Em behind.

Naturally, being away from him was hard, but it wasn’t nearly as hard as I had anticipated. He spent two nights with my parents, just two.

Why does the number of days matter? It matters because we’re pretty sure they replaced our child with an exact replica. Even my mother joked during a text message conversation we had last week. (The flow of the conversation is shown in reverse. Incidentally, does the iPhone do this as well?)

Emory hasn’t ever been a sleeper. He doesn’t like going to sleep. It takes a while for him to do so. And he doesn’t stay asleep for very long. We’ve grown used to it. We’ve gotten used to spending anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour trying to put him to sleep each night. (Naps have been easier for a while.)

Well, the first Friday he spent with my parents, he was down in five minutes. This is particularly funny to me because I warned my mother over and over again before we left that she’d have a lot of trouble putting him to bed. I apologized profusely in advance.

Saturday night rolled around and the same thing happened. He went to sleep without a peep. All they had to do to get him down was say, “Get your paci? Go night-night?” And he’d run off toward the stairs—actually run off toward bed!

I haven’t wanted to mention this to anyone for fear that I’ll jinx the sheer awesomeness of the situation. But the truth is, ever since he spent the night with my parents, all we’ve had to do to get him to go to sleep is say, “Get your paci? Go night-night?” And every time since his stay he’s run off to his bedroom. Sometimes he even grabs his crib and waits for one of us to lift him up. He’s done this twice per day (he’s down to one 2 to 3 hour nap) since we picked him up.

What happened at my parents house? It remains a mystery. But we’re not looking a gift horse in the mouth. If this particular baby is here to stay, we’re grateful for it.

But I’m not bragging. Because he still wakes up two or three times per night. Since he was born, we have yet to sleep through the night. I’m thinking another getaway is in order. Let’s see what grandma and grandpa can do for us in that department as well.

Elmo, Please Save Us

We’re literally climbing walls over here. Em is sick. Usually I take him outside and let him run around, but the only thing running lately has been his nose. He’s losing his mind with boredom and his voice by coughing.

I never knew babies to get bored. But they do. They get really bored. And they express their boredom by climbing chairs, moving furniture, throwing pots and pans, spinning, digging through the trash or cat litter, following their parents around with books, sighing a lot, screaming, climbing bedcovers, playing with cellular phones, TV remotes, hairbrushes. They follow you around right on your heels like they’re waiting for something awesome to happen and whenever something awesome doesn’t happen, they throw little tantrums on the floor at your feet, after wiping their snotty nose on your pant leg or crotch.

I have no idea how to amuse this poor child. All he wants to do is go outside and dig in the dirt and he has too much of a cold to do that. (I think?)

Something has become very clear to me, however. This is precisely why some parents simply can’t live up to the “No TV Until They Are Two” rule.

There are only so many baths we can have and books we can read. There are only so many blocks we can stack, puzzles we can build, pictures we can point to.

Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 63)

When we lived in Washington, DC. I took pottery classes at a studio in Adam’s Morgan. I studied with Jill Hinckley and threw pottery like this, this and this. I wasn’t great at it, but I loved doing it and while there I met some of the greatest people.

One of the people I met was an organic farmer named Mike. He was a sweetheart. I adored this man. He and I became close friends. He had a great big heart. I loved spending time with him.

Right before we moved to San Francisco, Mike gave us the most spectacular going away gift. It was a small vase he threw at Hinckely. It was fired out back during one of our Raku sessions. If I remember correctly, he used horse hair (taken from a local farmer) to create the most intriguing affect on its smooth sides. The piece was amazing—all of his pieces were amazing—but this one was particularly special, I think.

It was probably one of the nicest items we owned. I was so proud of that vase, whenever we moved cross-country, I wrapped it up and took it with us in the car instead of packing it away with everything else. I showed it off at home. It was always on display, albeit, at higher heights for all reasons feline.

(Trying to guess where this story ends is probably a no brainer.)

On Sunday, Murray simply had to get to the very top of the bookshelf like Tucker had. In doing so, his fat ass knocked the vase to the floor, shattering it into a million pieces. I was in the shower and heard the smash occur.

“WHAT WAS THAT!?” I yelled.

Tobyjoe came in to tell me what had happened. We were a little heartbroken.

I don’t like to get attached to non-living things because of this very reason. With cats around, you’re kind of a fool to. And now that we have a toddler, that notion became twofold. It’s better to just assume everything intangible will eventually die. It’s just a matter of when and how that end should occur.

But saying goodbye to this item stung. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.

I did not raise a hand at Murray (I don’t do that to any of my cats), nor did I yell at him (I do yell at them sometimes). He knows nothing of his mistake. And I think the noise it made was punishment enough for a creature with such intense hearing.

But I’m sharing this with you today (on Murray’s day of all days) because as I watched Tobyjoe sweep the remaining pieces into the trash can, something became very clear to me: I must really love this cat because I was unbelievably attached to that vase.

I didn’t even yell at him.

(And Mike, should you ever read this, I am so very sorry. Both Toby and I have actually mourned the loss of your gift. I thought about glueing it back together, I even thought about trying to make a mosaic out of it, but to no avail. We miss it, Mike. And would love to buy a replacement.)

Moving Pictures.

The year was 1998. I was living in Washington, D.C. in a small, one bedroom apartment on 16th Street. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 2 years. In less than 24 hours, our apartment was nearly emptied. I was living alone for the first time in my life.

Missy and I decided to go away for the weekend and visit our alma matter in order to spend some valuable time reminiscing with people around a keg. It was during that trip, I decided that to buy a massive, 2-ton television set.

I met Toshiba at Sears.

The TV weighed a lot. So the strong men working for Sears helped us get it into the back of the car. I never once thought about how Missy and I would get it into my apartment back in D.C. The building had an elevator, but how would we get it to the elevator? And then how would we get it to my door? And then how would we get it onto the TV stand? These were not questions I thought about until much later when we pulled up to my apartment building.

“How are the two of us going to get this out of the car and into your building?” Missy asked.

“Great question.” I said. “Maybe we can do it?”

Missy looked skeptical.

But we managed. Somehow we got it out of the car. I have no idea how. After that we rolled the box from door-to-door hoping the styrofoam casing would protect it. We rolled it onto the elevator, down the hallway on the 4th floor, and then rolled it right through the front door. And with every last bit of our strength, we hoisted it onto the pedestal.

All I had to do was never, ever leave.

In 1999 I began dating a guy whom I had been friends with for well over a year. And while our friendship may have lasted indefinitely; our romantic relationship ignited, sparked, exploded, smoldered and then fell to the ground in a heap of black ash in less than 5 months. Our main goal at that time was entrusting ourselves with the task of not trusting one another. That was imperative, and a relationship destined for failure.

But he did have the same TV and used to joke that the only reason I got mine was to one-up him because mine was like an inch larger. TV Envy, is what he called it.

We broke up. And it was tumultuous. It was harrowing. And I decided one night for no reason whatsoever that I was going to move to New York City.

Just like that.

A day before I was scheduled to move, I asked a friend of mine—a very strong friend of mine—if he’d help. I told him I’d buy him dinner, drinks, and give him a place to stay. I’d even pay for his train ticket to get back to D.C. He agreed.

Getting the TV into the truck at the DC end wasn’t difficult for him at all. He simply had to lift it up once, move it to the cart we had borrowed from U-Haul, and then lift it onto the truck. I helped. But barely.

I hadn’t thought to tell him about having to get it up the three flights of stair once we got to Brooklyn.

When we pulled onto my new street, it was already after 8 PM. And it was raining. We hustled and moved everything we could upstairs as fast as we could. The rain steadied as we began to wobble. I had hit that point during a move where giving up seems probable. I began leaving boxes and items on the street for passersby.

“How are we going to get the TV up three flights of stairs?” Todd asked me scratching his head.

“Us?” I answered stupidly.

“Are you kidding me?” He looked shocked. And he should have been. I couldn’t even hold the TV set let alone bring it up three flights of stairs.

“Missy and I rolled it into my DC apartment. Maybe we could do that?”

“UP the stairs? Roll it? Are you fucking crazy?”

I stood in the rain and kicked at nothing with my feet. I felt stupid in my new city. What was I thinking? Breaking up with him was a great move, but uprooting everything and moving to a new city was not the best way to be alone.

Todd went to the truck and got the TV out onto the sidewalk. The rain fell down onto its plastic casing. I didn’t care.

He lifted the TV up the three steps that led to the front door and stopped. “I can’t do this alone. There’s just no way.” He was out of breath.

We waited on the stoop in front of two propped open doors, which tossed 40 watt foyer light at us as the rain continued to fall. We were to meet friends for dinner in less than an hour. I was starving, cold and damp. I was tired from moving and driving all day. And it was suddenly becoming very clear to me that I had just uprooted my entire life—TV and all—and moved to New York City.

And that’s when I made up my mind. We had to breakup. This was going to be my third break up in 1 year.

“Let’s just leave it here. The fucking thing is too heavy. I hate how heavy it is. I don’t need a TV. I definitely don’t need that TV. I’m going to be too busy here and I can’t afford cable. Just leave it. Let it be somebody else’s problem. I’m sick of it.”

Just as I was getting to the meat of my sermon about how the TV and I weren’t meant to be together and that the TV and I never got along anyway, a 7-foot tall, muscular monster of a man walked up to the stoop.

“Can I help you?” The man said. He was German. “Looks like you could use help some.”

“You sure you want to do that? She’s on the third floor!” Todd answered.

“Not is problem.” He assured us. “It’s rain. Let’s go.”

And just like that, the gentle German giant and a friend named Todd brought the TV and I back together again.

That night we joked about whether or not our German was real.

(It’s been 8 years and I’m still not sure.)

On a day in September of 2001 I witnessed the worst day of my life so far. A month later (to the day) I met the man of my dreams. He and I were inseparable. We watched movies from my love seat. The first movie we ever watched together was “You Can Count On Me”.

We knew each other for three weeks before deciding to move into a loft together. The loft was roughly 4 blocks from that apartment, but it was zoned commercial and was on the fourth floor. There was a freight elevator but the hallways were long (almost a block from door to door).

I hired movers.

Moving day arrived. Three men showed up in a big white truck. One of the men was knee high to a grasshopper, Jamaican and dark as night. He was by no means someone I’d call muscular. The other two were much bigger in size. I worried about the smaller man. I worried about him right up until I watched him carry that TV set on his shoulders by himself down three flights of stair.

“He’s a fucking beast!” Said a taller man.

When we got to the loft, he carried it up into the freight elevator and then down the long hallway and into our loft.

I suggested twice that he be careful, that his back would surely break beneath that TV. He said, “Oh, you seely gurl, muh grandmummy could carry this TeeVee.” And he had a mighty chuckle. As did I.

I have for years wondered what would one day separate the two of us, take that TV down once and for all. After 2001 it moved back to DC and then again to another apartment in DC. In 2004 it was boxed up by movers and loaded into a wooden Door-to-Door Mover’s storage bin. It made it to San Francisco three weeks later unharmed.

Six months later it was loaded into a big wooden container once again and then shipped back to a slightly larger railroad apartment in Brooklyn where it has lived ever since.

My 10-year-old Toshiba died sometime late Sunday night. The last thing it saw was a member of the Colts fumble a football. I was in bed at the time. I heard Tobyjoe mutter a few OHMYGODS! at the TV. He then shut it down for the night. The next morning it projected nothing more than a thin white line.

Tobyjoe beat it a couple of times and it was able spit out one final image before taking its last breath. It projected a weather map of the United States.


I deleted a post because it annoyed me. I’m sorry about that. I need more time with it. I do apologize for my immaturity.

We are leaving tomorrow for a much needed (and deserved) vacation. We’re heading to DC tomorrow to spend the day with Soung. I also scheduled a private yoga class with my favorite yoga instructor. I hope she beats me up! On Friday, we’re heading to Lorton, Virginia to catch a train (car and all!) to Orlando for the fourth annual Howley vacation. We’ll be back next week armed with ridiculous photographs which I will share with everyone.

Posting may be sporadic, but I have every intention on writing about how much I miss Murray on Tuesday. (I’ll miss all three of my cats. I always do.)

In the meantime, here is a short video of Emory and the Swiffer.



He makes cleaning so much more fun! And impossible!

NowBlowPoMe: The Forgotten City?

I understand why people move to New York. I moved here at age 27 because I always loved it. I decided to move to New York when I was a kid and my father took us to our first ever Yankee game. He drove us right through Harlem so he could teach us a lesson and show us just how good we had it. “Not everyone lives as comfortably as you do, kids.” In reality I think he was lost. I remember riding the subway convinced that I looked more like a New Yorker if I didn’t hold onto the bars. Only tourists need to hold onto the subway bars. I actually believed that. I believed that after living in New York for a while, you figured out how to ride the subways without having to hold on.

New York was where I wanted to live. Always.

I lived in Washington, DC before. Twice, even. I moved from State College to Washington, DC. Then, I moved back to State College, back to DC, to New York City, back to DC, to San Francisco and the back to New York. Writing that down sounds perfectly insane. But I can assure you that each move made sense. For example, the first time I moved to DC was for a job that wasn’t what I signed up for. I worked there for a little over a month before calling a quits. My apartment building was depressing and bug-ridden, and so I headed back to State College with my tail between my legs. (Back then, my life kind of looked like that Ben Fold’s Five song “Steven’s Last Night in Town.”)

But We thought he was gone
And now he's come back again
last week it was funny
now the jokes wearing thin
cuz everyone knows now
that every night now
will be Steven's last night in town

DC stuck the second time because my boyfriend at the time and I did it correctly; we lived in an apartment building in the city and one that wasn’t a housing project for those on house arrest.

Toby and I left New York because we were pretty messed up over what we saw on September 11th. I know that DC isn’t exactly off the radar where terrorist attacks are concerned, but it was a change of scenery for us and were therefore able to heal quicker.

Anyway, we’ve been here for three years and we’re at the point (again) where we want to leave (again). This time we’re going about it the right way, i.e.. slowly. And we’re talking about moving to Boston or New Jersey. We’ve even discussed moving to Providence with TobyJoe commuting to Boston every day. (Is that an insane idea?)

Truth be told, we’re looking for that perfect place to live. A place where we can raise Emory without running into too much trouble, whether it be something simple like subjecting him to incessant horrific language, or something a lot more serious like high pollution, or a murder rate every New Yorker tries to ignore. We want somewhere fairly safe. But we also want him to have the ability to grow up around art and culture. (I come from an art background. I really do put a lot of stock in the arts.) We want a backyard filled with fireflies not drunk and dying polish men. We want a garden fed with uncontaminated ground water as well as public transportation.

We’re readying ourself to move again. And we’re looking for the “Forgotten City”. The city on the East coast that isn’t riddled with murder or pollution. The city on the East coast with excellent public schools and affordable housing. We want to settle down and raise our son safely. Why does that seem so hard to do right now?

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

NowBlowPoMe: Saying No To Billy Corgan.

In college, I got an FCC license and became a radio DJ. My show aired from 2-4 AM and had 2-4 listeners, most of whom were either Architecture or Graphic Design majors. The exception was a convicted killer named Jon.

Penn State is about 5 miles away from a maximum security prison. Our broadcast area covered the towns of State College, Bellefonte, Lemont, and Boalsburg. It also covered Rockview State Penitentiary.

Jon used to send me intricate drawings of Cramps’ skulls and dismembered heads. The drawings took him hours to complete. He’d sign each one and include a note telling me what songs he liked from the week before. He’d end his correspondence by requesting a song or two.

I always obliged. I guess I figured that if that particular lifer ever got out, he’d spare me based on the number of Exploited songs I played for him. Plus, I had trouble saying no. But Jon isn’t why I’m writing today.

Today, I’m writing about a guy named Billy.

It wasn’t long before I became the New Music Director, which basically meant working longer hours for no money. My job was to organize the CD and record collections, tidy up the workspace, and report for all staff meetings. I also got an earlier time slot.

The most important job I had was to phone in the top 25 bands for the week into CMJ Music Report. The CMJ Music Report was extremely important to managers, publicists and bands all over the nation. To get your name onto the top 25 list of a few dozen radio stations’ was considered awesome with a capital Q. (As a graphic designer, I imagine it was like having something published in Communication Arts.)

Of course, this led to all sorts of bribery, bribery I took part in from time to time. Publiciscts would offer me free stuff, sending CD after CD, “GIVE THEM TO YOUR FRIENDS!” and then they would call back and ask me why said band never made it onto the top 25. “I sent you free stuff. Can’t you do me this one favor?”

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I find it very hard to say NO to someone. I am just a giant pushover. And the problem with the whole Top 25 CMJ thing was that there were only 25 spots to fill and about 200 phone calls each week. Which pretty much meant I was the worst New Music Director ever. I couldn’t say no to anyone.

So, If I DID answer the call, I’d say something promising and then hang up only to be torn apart the following week for putting Buffalo Tom above Daisy Chainsaw. “YOU PROMISED ME THAT DAISY CHAINSAW WOULD BE IN THE TOP FIVE!”

These people would offer anything from free music to fake vomit. (Yes, that came to me once). I received free t-shirts and free concert tickets. Some of them even offered interviews. I interviewed Rusted Root (who smelled of body odor and last night’s sex). I interviewed Big Chief, Black Train Jack (Who? Exactly.), and my most favorite band at the time, Quicksand. I met Lita Ford (who had nothing to do with our genre, but I couldn’t say no) who was visiting and signing autographs at a local guitar shop. I stood in line and got her to record our call letters.

“You’re listening to 91.1, WPSU, State College, Pennsylvania.”

Only I wrote it like this:

“You’re listening to 91.1 WPSU, ST. College, PA.”

And she read this:

“You’re listening to 91.1 WPSU, SAINT College, PA.”

And we kept it and played it almost every week for a month.

The seediest and therefore most successful publicist was a person who not only worked with the crappy, no-name bands but who also worked with someone huge. They would use the popular band as currency for the less popular bands.

“If you move [insert crappy band here] into the top 25 on CMJ, I’ll give you two free tickets to see Nirvana this Saturday.”

One day I was fulfilling my hours when a publicist called. He wanted me to push a really awful band into the top 25 that week.

“If you do this for me, I have two tickets to see the Smashing Pumpkins this week for a sold out show at the 9:30 Club. I would like you to interview Billy Corgan as well.”

I agreed to the deal. I put that no-name, horrible band at 24 and took the free tickets. And later that week my boyfriend and I hopped in his car and drove to Washington, DC. I brought the station’s high end microphone and tape recorder with me even though I had no intention of interviewing Billy Corgan.

What the publicist didn’t know was that previously, Billy Corgan threw a shoe at someone during a Rec Hall show at Penn State and the New Music Director watched in horror. The publicist didn’t know that Billy Corgan called us all a “bunch of fucking idiot frat boys!” He had no idea that Billy Corgan asked a hall full of people “Aren’t you missing a football game?” The publicist had no idea that Billy Corgan did all of that or that if Billy Corgan was capable of launching an attack on a couple thousand people, there’s no telling what he’d do to a lanky 19-year-old girl with a borrowed microphone.

I watched the show from the VIP section in the top tier of the 9:30 Club and it was a great show. Afterwards I didn’t step foot backstage to interview Billy Corgan. There was no way this teenage girl was going to be reduced to tears while the lead singer of Smashing Pumpkins did something similar to her ego.

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

The Inn At Little Washington

Two weeks ago Tobyjoe and I visited the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia. Our vacation was to last through the week (we were going to stay in Washington, DC for the rest of the week and visit friends) but we had to cut it short and take care of our very sick cat.

Here are some pictures from our trip (with blurbs above each shot).

We drove up, they opened our car doors, carried in our luggage, and held an umbrella above my head. The umbrella thing was a little weird because I am so not a gal used to that sort of thing. I kept telling them, “You really don’t have to hold it above my head. I could use a little rain.” But they persisted. Who am I to stop a man from doing his job?

This is the front porch.

Below is a picture of our room. We stopped in and prepared for a walk, which pretty much meant grabbing our cameras.

The window seat.

Tobyjoe goofs off. I goof off with him.

Main Street. Super quaint. The rain was perfect. The lighting was perfect. Washington, Virginia reminded me of a tiny, Irish town. So plush and green and eerily quiet for this city gal.

I thought this house only existed in my dreams. And so close to DC! If only. Seriously, someday I want to live in a place like this with my several kids (don’t tell Toby) and my uncountable number of rescued cats.

A barn. The storm came over this mountain. Keep in mind, we were there the night the Nor’easter came through.

A resident had about 8 Volvos (that I could see. I am certain there were more down the hill). It was like a Volvo graveyard. I, of course, had to take a picture of this baby. Maybe my house filled with kids and rescued cats will also include rescued Volvos.

A picture of the Inn from across the street. The window closest the tree was our window. That tree swooned us to sleep when the wind set in and then something not so great happened, which I talk about later on in this post.

Tobyjoe, the dapper fella, waits to be escorted to our table. (I love this man.)

The menu featured both our names. We kept it. A nice touch, I might add.

The pre-appetizer. (Not ordered by us.) The only one we didn’t consume was the foie gras (second in from the right.) I just can’t eat something knowing it was force fed. I avoid that stuff. Our leaving it on the plate was a silent protest of sorts. ;]

The first glass of wine. I did not partake, but I watched Tobyjoe get pampered. He told the sommelier, “Just pick whatever you think pairs well with my food.” He made a great decision in doing so; the sommelier’s choices were spot on. The one thing that I like the best about the Inn at Little Washington is that the service is impeccable. They have truly wonderful people working for them. At no point does a person feel out of place or (for lack of a better word) stupid. They are not at all snobby, just a big group of down-to-earth people. The sommelier we had was specifically kind and helpful.

My first appetizer. Mussels with bread crumbs. I loved it. But I’m easy being pregnant and all. :] Tobyjoe said there were a little too many crumbs for his liking. But I’ll leave his review to him.

Second pairing of wine. I know nothing about wines, so I shot the bottles. (You will noticed that I stopped shooting wines eventually because I found out that our sommelier was writing them down for us and was planning to leave the list with our menus at the front desk. Awesome.)

Below is a shot of my second course and my most favorite. This one was outstanding. I had the squab. You were to take the filling and place it in the leaves on the left. Oh dear, was it ever awesome. It came in a dark sauce with peanuts and other awesome stuff. It was awesome. Did I mention that? Awesome. I am so going to get a job at Food and Wine after this post.

This was Toby’s second course. He had the Inn’s signature dish, the morel crusted scallop. It sat on a bed of pureed cauliflower. So good.

My main course: Maine lobster. Yeah, this was killer, too. I could have eaten several of these.

Toby’s main course. He had the beef. (First time in 15 years he ate beef.) I’ll let him write about this if/when he gets time. I tried the piece on the far left (the middle bit was too raw for my pregnant self) and the scalloped potatoes. Both were incredible. In fact, his dish was better than mine and mine was amazing.

The dessert course. Tobyjoe had the cheese. I, of course, ordered the most caloric and largest dish they offered. This is Faira the cow. She is the Inn’s cheese tray.

And this is my dish of dessert. I figured it this way: no booze for me? Then I’d stuff myself silly on dessert. And that I did.

The both of us ready to dig in.

The carnage.

A picture of the dining room.

Tobyjoe took this of me. This was before the incredibly painful bout of heartburn set in. Hey, I asked for it.

The two of us.

Faira again in the parlor. We are waiting to take a tour of the kitchen.

The amazing kitchen. Who knows, maybe next time we visit them we’ll ask for the kitchen table. I have always wanted to do that. (There are two tables in the kitchen.)

The Viking stove, custom made for the Inn. A wonderful piece of art. We’re planning on buying one when we own a house. Yep. With our extra 100 thousand some odd dollars.

When we got back to our room the owner’s dog left us a treat and a note. (Like we could eat another bite.) It was a bottle of port and two edible dog biscuits.

Our turned down bed.

My big fat belly. Tobyjoe took this without my knowing. I’m putting it out there, dammit.

My breakfast the next morning. Lobster omelet (yes, again!), homemade sausage, bacon, and some potatoes. Holy moly, so good.

The garden.

A penny for your thoughts? Comment card.

Which we filled out.

Here’s the deal, on Sundays, they apparently shut off the water from 2 AM until 4 AM to add softener. During that time, the pipes began clanking something awful. We don’t believe anyone else could hear it; that it was just taking place in our room, but we were unable to sleep because of it. I was up for over two hours as was Tobyjoe. I called downstairs twice and the woman was super apologetic. But still…. for 500 bucks a night, we expected to sleep in silence.

The noise settled down after 4 and we were able to sleep soundly until 9 AM. The next day we talked to the front desk and he gave us a pretty hefty discount, which was nice of him.

I don’t want to come off as angry or disgruntled, but I think they would have wanted us to say something given their desire to please their clientèle. Overall, we had an incredible time and I would go again in a heartbeat (after saving up for it, of course). I would recommend the place to friends and family in a second. Even though we didn’t get the sleep we wanted, it was an amazing evening. Plus, I’m sure the knocking was an isolated incident. I don’t want to deter anyone from visiting. If you take one thing away from this post, take that. (Oh, and the bit about how awesome my squab was.)

If you have a thousand bucks or a credit card, you simply must go. You will have a wonderful night. I highly suggest going with a loved one; it’s entirely romantic. And make sure you are hungry. Also, if you’re pregnant or prone to heartburn, bring the Mylanta. Oh, sweet Jesus, I was on fire.

Perhaps we’ll go back for our 50th wedding anniversary. And I have to go again soon because I don’t want our last visit there to be tainted by the death of Schmitty.

Cal Robbins

A woman by the name of Cyn left a comment recently. It was on the post where I let my hormones take over and began bitching about lurkers. (Sorry about that, guys.) Anyway, Cyn left a comment as well as a link to her Web site, which I clicked. It turns out Cyn and I have mutual friends. But that’s a story for another day.

A little over a year ago, J. Robbins (of Jawbox and Burning Airlines fame) and his wife, Janet Morgan, gave birth to a baby boy named Callum Robbins. Tobyjoe and I hadn’t seen Janet since she first found out she was pregnant. She was glowing with the news. We were both so happy for them. They had a baby boy on January 27th, 2006. Of course he’s the cutest little fella.

About 8 months into little Cal’s life, J. and Janet discovered something about their baby that no parent should ever have to. Their son had SMA Type 1, or Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It’s a terrible disease. Most babies with Type 1 die before their 2nd birthday. But Cal is actually a very healthy baby boy. He breaths well, he’s active, and he babbles frequently. He’s a strong little boy with two, very strong parents.

Tobyjoe used to work with Janet at Threespot Media in Washington, DC. And J. Robbins has been a part of the music scene since I was a mere lad. They are two wonderful people and it breaks my heart to hear this about their son. I’ve spent the last two days trying to figure out what I can do to help with a miracle. (Seriously, y’all, every time I see his little face I tear up. I know I’m hormonal, but my goodness, what an absolutely wonderful little person.)

J. and Janet have health insurance but most of the conventional means of treating SMA don’t yield the greatest prognosis. And the alternative stuff, which might bring them a better outcome, isn’t usually covered by insurance. That’s why I am writing today. They need our help. So, if you’re feeling a little generous today, maybe you once loved Jawbox or Burning Airlines and have “borrowed” an album (or two) off your friend’s computer, maybe you just like babies, please stop by and visit their Web site. Read their story and (if you’re able to) donate a few bucks and help make their lives a little easier during this very difficult time.

I know that many of you may not know these two personally, and I know that money is tight for a lot of people, but if you can help them out in any way possible, I am sure they would be eternally grateful. And if you don’t have any extra cash lying around, maybe you could see about getting the word out there. If you have a blog, link to it. If you know people who know people, tell them about it. You know how it works.

The links:

Read more about Cal (includes donation information)

Cal’s blog

Cyn’s site

J.’s site

Just Give% (Donations for SMA families)

I am going to turn off comments for this post. But if you have any questions, feel free to email me at mihow [@]