Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Scurvy Dogs!

I was amazed.  Dumbfounded!  Awe-struck, even!  The pirate ship that I was so excited about riding was actually mostly for kids.  Yargh!

These little shmeckies that were between the ages of four and ten got to have all the pirate-y fun, singing pirate songs, getting pirate treasure, and shooting Mad Dog Mike with the water cannons mounted on the sides of the ship.  It was EXACTLY as I had hoped it would be...only totally inappropriate for me to participate.  None of the other "adults" were joining in swabbing the deck, or playing "pass the pirate skull".  Stupid parents.

I'm not being paid, or even spoken to, by the pirates that were on the ship, but if you ever get a chance, it was actually a really good time.  Here's the link: Urban Pirates

Also, apparently rule #1 of the pirate code is not to swing on the riggings.  Not cool, pirate code.  

WTF, society?  What makes it all taboo and crap for a 26 year old to sing and dance along with (and spray water in the face of) elementary school kids?

Society, you're on notice!


The nice part about it was that my nephew got to have a really nice time.  Oh, who am I kidding.  I was totally jealous.

I guess I just can't wait until Sammy is old enough that I can force him to go on these sorts of things so I can use him as an excuse to enjoy all these cool things they have for kids these days.  Just off hand, here is a short list of things I've already got in the back of my mind to use Sammy to get into:

  • Local Kickball games.  I'll be the designated pitcher! Just let me play, guys!
  • Those gigantic blow up bouncy gyms that everyone seems to have at their birthday parties.  The only rule I've ever seen was to not wear shoes...so I guess I'm golden!
  • Face Painting at carnivals.  You never see adults with their faces painted.  I'm thinking of starting an adult-world fashion trend.
  • Sesame place has these really awesome water playgrounds that Sammy and I can run around and play in.  It's like a jungle gym at the park, but only submerged like a foot and a half in the water. Best idea EVER.
  • I'm sure I can leverage Sammy for candy and chocolate SOMEhow.
Just...don't tell him my plans.  I'd hate for him to one day figure out why we're REALLY at Six Flags three times a week.

Friday, May 27, 2011

#SeñorHotty

So, Liz over at A Belle, a Bean & a Chicago Dog has sent out the word to group together and show your senioritis.

I was excited to participate, but could only find pictures from my yearbook, and one random photo I have from Facebook.  The ones pulled from the yearbook are black and white...because my super awesome school didn't print the yearbook in color.

And without further ado, in order of formality, here they are!

This is the super formal senior picture that was from the yearbook.  If you look REAL closely, you can see my eyebrow ring over my right eye.  Whoa, what, eyebrow ring, did you say?  Yes - you read that correctly.  I thought I was a total badass.  Turns out...not so much.


The next one is from the very last swim meet I ever competed in.  I kicked a bit of the ass in this particular meet.  Also, if you can't tell, yes...that IS a speedo.  


I was voted "Craziest" in high school and the photographer asked that I tie up my AP physics professor.  This man worked at NASA Langley and LITERALLY helped send people to the moon.  He also worked on the Voyager missions, and was probably the most brilliant person I've ever met.  I am shooting him with a water pistol.  We were great friends.



And the final picture was from a trip my buddies and I took after graduation down to Nags Head, NC.


That's me in the middle.  With that dude's finger in my nose.  Smoking a cigarette.  Gut hangin' out.  The guy on my left got real drunk the night before and just woke up from being passed out.  We drew a penis and a spanish mustache on his face and breasts on his chest.  He hadn't figured it out yet.

So there you have it.  Me in a speedo, all for the sake of showing you that...


Though I changed my blog post title to #SeñorHotty cause I wanted to make sure the fact that I was a dude was in there.  

If you wanna check out other people's awesome pictures, head over to A Belle, A Bean, & A Chicago Dog and link up with her to get YOUR awesome on!  You have until Sunday to link up and show people how hot you were as a senior.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Memorial Day weekend on the "W00t" scale

This weekend is Memorial Weekend, and that means a couple things.  First, no work monday.  W00t!  Second, Summer's almost here!  W00t!  Third, oh my god it's going to be sofa-king hot I'm going to sweat so much I'll be jealous of the dudes who didn't shut their eyes in that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark whose faces melted and had subsequent explosion-of-the-head. That's minus 1 W00t.  So this weekend is only one w00t-worthy as of right now.

However, we ARE going to Baltimore.  And word on the street is that there IS a pirate ship there that spins around like an idiot and they give you water pistols and supersoakers and fire hoses and water cannons.  And I'm going on it.  That's right, this dude is gonna be a water pirate.  I need to sneak on a flask of rum and dress my wifey up like a pirate wench.  I wonder if they'll let me hang off the riggings and swing into the water like a pirate Tarzan. If they did, it's totally be +1 W00t.

By the way, I'm 12 years old.  But only like, 2 days a week.

Also, there's gonna be a trip to the Baltimore aquarium involved.  This is less w00t-additive because Sammy's not yet fully coherent. I think it wouldn't be too fun to do this with a baby who's like, "guess what I just did in my pantaloons" but you're all, "wait, what about looking at the fishes?" to which he replies, "fool, I don't even know what YOU are yet, let alone some stinkin' fishes". +0 Wh00s because we'll probably end up going on some slow, boring ship that doesn't really do anything cool like spray you in the face with water.

Again - 12 years old = Me.

I'm sure you can tell by the almost manic way I'm writing this that I'm actually pretty excited despite the fact that the weekend is only rated +1 W00t.  That's because we're in the middle of almost dying from so much crap going on in our lives that even the prospect of having a single, lonely whoot will get us to be so excited.  By the way, have I complained enough about how stupid it is for both my wife and I to be simultaneously working full time, doing an MBA, and having a new baby all at the same time?  No?  OK, imagine to yourself I just complained for an hour......good.  welcome back.

It's so bad that I had a dream last night that I went out riding my bike in the nice fresh air with nothing to do but have a sweet pic-a-nic under an apple tree that when I woke up, I felt like I had taken a mini-vacation.  This means to me that EVEN DREAMING I'M RELAXING is sufficient enough to qualify as exciting.

Ok, I've wasted enough of everyone's time.  Back to researching how the data from the Kepler Space Telescope is downloaded, scrubbed, and packaged so that researchers can construct light curves to determine whether or not a planet has eclipsed in front of the star in question. Stupid MIS class.  -1 W00t.

Geek out.

Please note - all instances of "Whoot" have been changed to "w00t" in order for this blog to be more 1337-appropriate.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rambo - the Babysitter

Our babysitter is fantastic.  She's sweet, caring, incredibly flexible (in the availability sense, not the yoga sense), and very respectful to both my wife and me.  She walks 4 miles every day to our house to babysit because she says she enjoys walking.  She takes great care of Sammy, and he really seems to get along well with her.

But I'm afraid of her.

I'll hear her at the door on the weekends, and I'll scatter.  Almost to the point of hiding behind the couch.  I actually ran upstairs more than once.  I wish I had some of those ninja smoke bombs that make you disappear.

You see, she's Israeli.  Well, to be completely clear, she's Ukrainian, but she moved to Israel and has lived there for ten billion years (I was never clear on the time line).  In my mind, since she lived in Israel, she knows how to shoot an automatic weapon.  This is frightening to me.

Not only that, but she also is convinced that I speak fluent Russian.  Sigh...this is becoming a constant issue for me.  She'll walk in the house with her grenade launcher strapped around her back, holding a knife like Steven Seagal, and she'll carry on a full-on conversation with me.  Fast, uninterrupted, and extremely complicated.  Not only that, but she's got a Ukrainian/Israeli accent, which throws me completely off. 

When she does corner me for conversation, I just pretend like I'm a real Russian man, quiet and stoic.  I nod meaningfully.  I don't want to be impolite.  Especially to a 55 year old woman who can kill me in 17 different ways.  And that's only without touching me.

But the greatest thing about her is the things she'll say to Sammy.  My wife translated a few gems:

  • "Oh, no! YOU didn't pee in your diaper.  You would never do such a thing.  It was ME who peed in your diaper.  Shame on me!"
  • "You can't be cold, Sammy.  Let's cover you up.  If you're cold, how will you warm up all the ladies?"
  • "Oh, Sammy, you must be crying because you are tired from working so-so hard all day. When you grow up, you will certainly be president, then none of us will have to work"
It amazes me about her that she could probably diffuse a bomb in under 30 seconds, but she can be so good with my son.  Hopefully, some of that knowledge can rub off on him. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

At least 240 times

It's 10 o'clock at night in the Borscht household.  We just got out little one to sleep, he's snoring away like a tiny puppy dog, and my wife and I lie down to go to sleep.  Overjoyed with how successfully we got him to bed, we say to each other, "Good night, my love.  I could never live without you - you are everything to me, and I couldn't be happier.  We have such a wonderful family".


We then drift off to sleep - the two of us grinning happily as we begin to dream of producing a book that tells the secrets to a happy marriage.

It is now 2 o'clock in the morning and Sammy has been awakened by his demon tapeworm.  His eyes are alight with anger, and his arms wail about as if possessed. 

My wife leans over to nudge me awake and says in her sweetest voice, "Dear - would you kindly tend to our lovely child, as it seems he needs to be changed and fed."

I reply, "Ugh."

To which she says, "What do you mean, 'Ugh', he's YOUR child too, you know". The sweet voice has disappeared.

"Yeah, no duh - I'm just not all that excited about getting up, what's your problem?"

"Well, why not, you ARE apparently the model father.  God, I'm so sick of this."

"Sick of what? Talking? Complaining? I don't have a problem if you're so sick that you don't do those things anymore."

Ten minutes go by in silence.  She finishes pumping, I finish feeding/changing, and we lie back down.

I say meekly, "Snuggling...kissing?"

She sarcastically, but cutely replies, "So now you're listing things we're never going to do again?" as she submits to being the little spoon and we drift back to sleep in each others arms as if we never said a word to each other.

Repeat this on average twice a night for almost four months (4 months * ~30 nights/month) or about 240 times since the kid came. 

We used to get mad at each other, and not talk for a couple hours in the morning after we'd fight at two in the morning, but then we realized...it's two in the morning.  It's basically like you're just dreaming anyway.

Also, when you see this face looking up at you from the crib:


It's hard to be mad at anyone.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I don't know how to put this...

Ugh - Why did I decide to take summer classes?  It's just one more thing that's making me feel as if someone has pooped in a sock and is now repeatedly hitting me in the face with it.

And while having great ideas for posts, I can't manifest any of them in any real way that will do them justice.  I don't want to write about these great topics without having them come out as funny as they can be.  I guess it's just an awful case of the Mondays.

In lieu of anything groundbreaking or incredibly profound, I don't know how to put this...




But I'm kind of a big deal.


I'll be back tomorrow when the lethargy dies down.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Decline of the state of "Man" - Part Two

So yesterday, I started down a dangerous road - trying to figure out a man's gender role when it came to raising a baby and how to treat his wife.

But delving into relationship gender roles isn't exactly the kind of thing that you can tackle in only one blog post - and plus - there's a good amount of suspense involved when you break things out into multiple blog posts, which (at least theoretically) helps to drive blog traffic. ---makes *cha-ching* sound and does one fist pump trucker style---

But let's get back on topic.  I think a fairly good representation of this phenomenon of the decline of "man" is the emergence and relative acceptance as normal of the "Man Cave".

In preparation for this post, I Googled "Man Cave".  This was the only action of preparation, so don't expect a bibliography or anything.  But I wanted to see if there were already sites out there that were discussing how negative a man cave could be for a relationship, or delving into why, exactly, men need to have Man Caves.

I got nothing.  I searched for a full-on five or ten minutes, so it was definitely an exhaustive search.  If you can find something, please let me know, because I'd like to know I'm not the only one of the species, male or otherwise, that thinks these things are damaging to relationships.  However, There were hundreds of sites describing how to properly set up your own man cave, asking for people to send in pictures of their man caves, places to shop for items you can stuff in your man cave, and Spanish Man Caves (wtf?). 

I've now written "man cave" so much that it's starting to sound less like a place for dudes to hang out and more of a gross and hairy body part. 

Look, I know people need their space every once in a while.  I need to have some quiet the same way that my wife needs to have someone to blabber to.  (just kidding, babe - I love talking to you).  But I'm at work all day.  I drive home and listen to the radio.  I have so much time away from her that I can't imagine coming home and saying to her, "Hey look - I know we just saw each other for the first time today...but I've got some...uh...business to take care of in my Man Cave.  Later!"  Sounds like you're gonna need some...friction reducer.

I've got people at my work who are "happily" married, but end up sleeping in separate bedrooms because the other person snores, or they roll around too much, or a whole host of other reasons.  So, let me get this straight.  You're at work all day, you come home into your man cave, and you sleep in separate bedrooms?  Why get married in the first place?

Didn't you marry your spouse so you could be with her forever after?  Doesn't she make you crazy with happiness every time you look at her?  Don't you love her personality so much that it's like a drug you need to get as much as you can every moment of the day?

Look, no one's saying that you shouldn't spend time with your dude-friends.  Watch sports, drink beers, talk about whether or not a PanzerFaust could take out an incoming meteor, or if an Airplane on a treadmill would move. You know, things the ladies aren't interested in.  But you didn't marry your buds.  The establishment of a physical place to purposefully exclude your woman-love is not only unfair, it's reminiscent of prepubescent clubs for boys who haven't figured out that girls are awesome yet.

from here


Disclaimer: Like the last post, I'd love to hear arguments.  Every relationship works differently, and every person needs a different amount of space.  But what I've outlined above is essentially just my own personal thoughts on the importance of being a close partner to your spouse.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Decline of the state of "Man" - Part One

One of the huge things that pissed me off about being at my brother's wedding was the almost blatant disregard for the fact that I've got a wife and a three month old child. 

When we were going to the rehearsal dinner, he had a fecal emergency which put us back 15 minutes.  When we got to the restaurant, it was as if the world had ended that I wasn't there on time.  Seriously, people were melting like Raiders of the Lost Ark.  (side note - remember this movie for this Saturday).  I was also five minutes late for pictures with the groom because I was taking care of the kid while my wife was pumping, and it's damn near impossible to manage to pump and look after a screaming kid at the same time.  I came downstairs and my dad scolds me like I'm three years old for being five minutes late.  It was like this basically all weekend.

This got me thinking about a few conversations I've had at work with guys who say things like, "the first three months or so aren't that bad, because your wife is breast feeding and you don't have to get up to help." 

When my son descends into hunger-insanity in the middle of the night, I will always get up with my wife.  The routine goes like this: she will generally warm up milk while I try to calm the kid down until the milk's ready.  Then I will feed him while my wife pumps.  Then I'll change him and re-swaddle him and put him down and make sure he falls asleep.  By the time he's asleep, my wife is usually done pumping, and we both go back to sleep at the same time. If I didn't help, she would be up twice as long, feeding the kid and then pumping.

I realize we have a bit of a crazy situation, because my son never figured out breastfeeding, and thus we feed him breast milk from the bottle.  Yes, this is just as terrible as it sounds - but less terrible than an infant with his scream set on "permanent".

But in the first six weeks, when we were giving breastfeeding our most valiant effort, even though my wife was trying to feed, I would still get up, help change,  swaddle and get the kid back to sleep-land.  It wasn't even really a question.  Sure I complained, and still do, but if you've made it through three months of having a kid without complaining, you deserve a medal, or at least a high five and some Cheetos.

But the thing about is, that even though I complained, it wasn't because I had to do it.  I complained because, well, after a couple really, really long nights, it just straight up sucks.  But I still did it because I have a wife who carried and then birthed my child, and a helpless child who needed me to be there for him.  It wouldn't really be fair to say to them, "hey, look - I'm kinda tired.  You mind if I go back to bed and you two figure it out?"  Not only would it be unfair, but I'd also be shirking the responsibilities I signed up for when my wife and I decided to have a child together. 

So that's why I was pissed.  Look, I'm not trying to paint myself as some saint, but I'm just trying to honestly figure out why it is that a dedication to your family first and foremost is not only looked down on by other men, but it is also seen as a kind of weakness - that this is something the wife can take care of, while the man should be asleep.  What is this, 1950 and/or the Middle East?

This rant could go on for two or three more hours, but I think it's probably best to split it up into three different posts.   I wanted to get into the Man Cave phenomenon, as well as the gender role polarization, but I figure it's gonna take forever to get all of it into one post.  Thus, the title of this post contains an insinuation of further parts.

So a serious, honest question: Am I wrong to feel this way?  I'd truly love to hear other points of view, because I'm not exposed to them. And I'm legitimately interested in how other families manage their gender roles.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baba Nancy - the Jerk-Head Neighbor

My neighbor's name is Bob.  Actually, there are three Bobs that live adjacent to me, but I'm talking about this Bob in particular.  This Bob has a wife named Nancy.  And they are old enough to remember first-hand how the land my house occupies was once sold by the Chinnapewak tribe for the knowledge of how to do a proper Fresh Prince high five.

When we told my in-laws what the names of our neighbors were, we said, "Bob 'n Nancy", which they heard as "Baba Nancy", (loosely translated as Granny Nancy) to which they then asked, "Are they Russian"?  Silly Russians, always on the lookout for other Russians.  Thus, being surrounded by an army of Bobs, we refer to this particular Bob as Baba Nancy.

Baba Nancy is a kindly old man who has been retired from a steel mill, or logging company, or some other thing (I never actually asked) for around 300 years.  Being retired and having absolutely nothing to do any more with his life, he takes ri-DIC-ulous care of his yard.  I mean, meticulously pruning his rose bushes to the point of near perfection.  Actually, pruning is one of the most common things I see him doing out there.  Probably because of his love of all things prune. (ba-da-boom!)

This is all fine and dandy.  I enjoy having a neighbor who shares the same desire for a perfect backyard retreat.  And I was totally happy with him and his wife, and even brought over some delicious tomatoes last year as a metaphoric olive branch, signaling many years of peace and the sharing of delicious plant produce. 

Until.........

We had an awning over one of our entry ways that was slightly loose. It was a tin piece of crap that was tacked on as an afterthought by the idiots who owned our house before us.  So naturally, since it was put up by idiots, it slowly began to fall off.  That looseness caused a noticeable tapping sound when the wind was strong, and since I was swamped in the one-half-trillion things I've got going on in my life, putting "making the incredibly infrequent tapping noise stop" at the very bottom of my list of priorities. 

So the nosy old geez-face climbed up a ladder while I was away at work one day and took the awning completely off.

Hey, jerk-head - maybe I liked the tapping noise!  Perhaps I was using it as a sound effect to sample on my newest hip hop record!  Maybe it was something of an experiment to see just how loose I could get it before it fell off!  I swear, the nerve of that guy!

It really hit a climax when he rang the doorbell at 10 at night, right after we got Sammy to bed.  He just wanted to tell us that we left the light in our car on.  Hey, bud - you leave our light alone!  What has it done to you that you've gotta go and tattle on it?  And now we've got a screaming baby on our hands.  Well done, Helpy Helperton!

Then there was the time he brought over presents for Sammy after hearing about his birth.  They were for 3-6 month old kids!  How very useful!  I sometimes buy clothes for myself that are way too effing big also!  This way, I'll seem that much skinnier!  Thanks!  You're like the NE Philly baby-oriented Tim Gunn!

I'm thinking of installing a moat.  At least it's the kind of intrusion prevention device that he can relate to.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Poetry - a treatise

It is a favorite past time of my in laws to recite poetry.  After a few shots, a discussion of the current state of affairs in the US, Israel, and all former USSR countries, and proper ways to do "trick-shots" (such as putting the shot glass in the bend of your elbow), a young Russian's fancy turns to love, and romantic poetry begins to be spouted.

A constant favorite is the snippet from Eugene Onegin "I loved you once", translated in English below for those of you who are link-o-phobic.
I loved you once: perhaps that love has yet
To die down thoroughly within my soul;
But let it not dismay you any longer;
I have no wish to cause you any sorrow.
I loved you wordlessly, without a hope,
By shyness tortured, or by jealousy.
I loved you with such tenderness and candor
And pray God grants you to be loved that way again.
I memorized the first three lines (in Russian, mind you) just by sheer contact-repetition.  Every once in a while, they will pull out a Lermontov, or if someone's feeling especially saucy, they'll break out the Bunin.

This gets me thinking, after my head clears from all the vodka/Romanticism, about why it is that in America, we don't pay nearly as much attention to poetry as the Russians do.  My 6 year old nephew (who, to be clear, has Russian parents) is already memorizing Pushkin, and it's treated as if it's completely natural, and not creepy at all.

The only poem I've ever memorized in my life is a William Carlos Williams poem, "Red Wheelbarrow" (cut/pasted below).  This is because he obviously had twitter's character limit in mind when writing the poem.  This helps with memorization

so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.
Blogger's note - immediately after this, there was originally a whole bunch of really great and funny stuff that I was particularly proud of...but somehow it disappeared into the belly of the Blogger Beast. What follows is a poor man's attempt to recreate what was once a brush with genius, but is now just figurative blog fodder.


That poem is nice and all - gives a great perspective, and brings attention to blah blah blah, barfidy puke-hurl.  But it's vastly different from the poems in the Russian repertoire.  Why is it, though, that I've only ever memorized one poem?  Most likely because poems are stupid.  But it is also probable that my high school education came into play a little bit.  My teacher would introduce poems to us that made very little sense, and offer very little explanation as to what the poet was trying to say.  This led to the assumption  discovery that most poets end up adhering to the following formula when developing their "poems":

First, decide the tone of your poem, happy or sad.  Happy poems are boring, so it's best to choose sad poems.  Then string together a list of random and infrequently used words in such a way as they are related in a coherent fashion but just mysterious enough to cripple any true meaning. The more infrequently used, the better.  Observe the following stanza from a poem:

Parched and posted atop the pugilistic rampart
The mockingbird does not caw
Misogynistic hands grip the beleaguered bird's heart
To bring forth guilt back into its gaping maw

Brilliant, you say?  Perhaps too brilliant?  A great rhyming scheme mixed with a bit of alliteration?  Did you catch the deeper meaning of the word "Misogynistic"?  Did you go back and read it more than once?  I greatly apologize if you did, because I literally just wrote it in a matter of a few seconds.

This, to me, has become the problem with poetry.  It's almost like a language that has been developed by crazy hipsters to differentiate themselves from everyone else, thus making sure that they retain their elite and esoteric status as hipsters.  So is this the problem?  Is this why nobody likes poetry?

Or is it due to a flaw in our educational system?  Enlisting those who cannot discuss the subject properly could result in generations of Americans who just simply do not get it because they were never taught HOW to get it.

And as a final possibility, could it be that it's a more systemic flaw in our culture that while we can sit long enough to read W.C.W., we can't sit around long enough to extract that he's trying to bring focus to an under-appreciated object, and show us that even the most overlooked things can be objects of adoration.

Not unlike a good poem, perhaps?  Psh, if that were true, there'd be a movie about the stupid wheelbarrow.  And an action figure.

I realize i'm generalizing here, because there are plenty of people who like poetry.  But let's face it.  They're in the minority.  Because honestly?  Poetry's dumb.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Wedding - a debriefing involving hatchets

Oh, how I've missed you, fellow bloggers and bloggettes.

I've realized with this week or so of absence that I've grown to really enjoy being involved, even remotely, in your lives.  Reading along with your daily or semi-daily posts has become a very welcome routine for me, and I'm like a 90 year old grandpa - I loves me my routine.  Example: I have to wake up at the same time every day, even if I'm not going to work - otherwise, my sleep pattern will be all out of whack.

So, speaking of something out of the routine...how 'bout that wedding, huh?  I think over the course of the three days  I was up there, I tweeted maybe...5 times?  It turns out that tweeting in the middle of the ceremony as the best man isn't exactly considered polite.  I HONESTLY didn't think of that when I was gearing up for the trip.  I thought I would sit through the entire ceremony and reception snickering to myself and delving into my iReporter fantasy by tweeting to you all constantly.

But, boy, it was a doosey. 

Here are a few highlights to make you jealous of our awesome time:
  • Driving in a two door coupe with a three month old exploding exactly at the wrong moment, forcing my wife to crawl over the seats in her beautiful new dress to change him in cramped spaces while the entire wedding was waiting for the best man (me) to show up. 
  • The bride's father commenting almost immediately upon meeting my father about how poorly my dad kept his yard.  My father, who spends tens of thousands of dollars a year on landscape design and work (and who is as explosive as my son, but just from the other end) actually handled it pretty well, despite displaying his chameleon-like ability to change facial colors at will.
  • My brother and the rest of the groomsmen getting tattoos on their inner hips that say, "Riot" - apparently from this one time when my brother said it at a wedding referencing "It's always sunny in Philadelphia", sending everyone into giggles.  I didn't get the joke, so I didn't get the tattoo.  Thank god.
  • My overly drunk and newly single aunt (there's always one) squealing at the top of her lungs any time one of my brother's military buddies said ANYTHING, yelling, "You can rescue me ANYTIME!!!"
  • The bride and groom entered the reception hall to the Star Wars opening credits theme song (probably my favorite part of the wedding altogether).

As an addendum, my b-day loot included a MacBook Pro - probably one of the sweetest gifts ever given, except for the super sweet hatchet that my wife got me.  It's got a badass leather case and everything.  That reminds me, I wanted to check the local laws to see if carrying a hatchet in public is legal.  And if it's not, I need to check on how much jailtime could I get carrying it.  You know, to weigh the risk/reward. 




The above is an image from here. I do not own the image, but I do own the hatchet, which, admittedly, is much more awesome than owning just the image.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Prefacing a One-Week Hiatus

Unfortunately, I am being forced by life to put a pause on this blog for a week.  My brother is getting married, it's my birthday this weekend, Finals are here, and my wife needs me to drive her aimlessly across the country for some sketchy work assignment.

And I am dying a little bit every minute that goes by and I haven't worked on studying for exams.

So I'm freaking out a little what with the stress, and wondering if my brother knew this would be the PERFECT weekend to schedule his stupid marriage celebration on.  Also, I forgot - still need to write best man speech.

OK - got it.

"Thank you all for coming.  *farts into microphone*.  You're welcome, enjoy the food."

At least I've checked one thing off my list.

Anyway, don't be discouraged, weddings are always great sources of ridiculous drama.  Speaking of which, I must say that I've focused a lot on my wife's silly Russian-isms mostly because they're light hearted and cutesy, and everyone looks at them with the same sort of loving annoyance as they did with Urkel when he would break something and say, "Did I do thaaaat?".

But my family...is not Urkel.  They are...um...Frank and Marie Barrone from Everybody Loves Raymond on steroids.  Mixed with three Face-hugger aliens.  Not lovable and cute, just intrusive and suffocating.  I think this wedding will be a perfect segue into my survival story growing up under their watchful eye.  In preparation, and possibly as foreshadowing, I give you this tidbit:

When I was one month old, my parents gave me a slice of cooked steak to suck on.  Go back and read that again.  I was ONE MONTH OLD.  They thought that because I was hungry, they would let me suck on steak.  And also, they thought it was cute.

Like I said...my survival story begins after the break.  But I will be live-tweeting the drama!  You can follow me at @smellsofborscht. 

See you on twitter!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Genetic Trait linked to the Y chromosome

video

Log it into your calendars, people.  First video ever on Smells like Borscht!  Newsworthy on the level of the Royal Wedding, the Beatification of John Paul the Second, and the Death of Osama bin Laden!

To fully enjoy the experience, please make popcorn.  Also, send money.  These two actions will ensure the greatest enjoyment possible.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Arguments in the Borscht Household

A couple days ago, Stephanie over at the always engaging Like the Vodka wrote about how difficult a multi-cultural marriage/relationship can be. I wanted to answer in the comments section, but figured it would make a great post that dives into my own relationship with my Russian Spy Wife.  So I'm bumping the possibly ten or twenty billion other great ideas I had for a post today, and discussing my relationship.

When I proposed to my wife - her family was slightly put off.  How could a gentile possibly love one of God's chosen people?  They were convinced I would turn around one day, slap her and call her a kike before going off to get drunk and steal everything from their family.

This is the stigma that Jews from the old country have.  I don't blame them - especially when they've been branded from birth as "different" - their nationality marked in their passports as Jewish, not Russian.  My wife was ridiculed constantly in school for being Jewish, and her dad received death threats for starting his own business and succeeding.

But when you enter a new environment, you assimilate to the culture.  It is a trait of all species - something that enhances survival.  And finally, while assimilating, you realize that for the majority of people in America, at least, differences drive relationships.  Homogeneous populations quickly become tedious.   Of course, there are those that hold on to homogeneity for fear of the unknown, but they're rare.

We had an acquaintance who came to the States from Ukraine when he was five or six.  So by no means did he have any right to continue to call himself an outsider to this country.  But for some reason, he plagued our lives with constant commentary about how our relationship was putrid, and how I was never going to be good enough for my wife because when I was a baby, I had some water ceremoniously splashed on my head.  He sent my wife an e-mail with a link to a story where a Jewish woman married a Christian man, and he never respected her and cheated on her constantly.  I never saw him after that, but if I do - his face will be putrid.

The dude is an ass.  But I know there are people like this out there - so I'm not naive.

So why did we work?  What was it about her that made an immature 19 year old kid decide within three months that he wanted to marry a girl from a place he'd never heard of? 

Values.  It's the mortar that holds up our wall.  I might sometimes miss having a girl who knows about the Ghost Busters, or who gets references to anything after Malachi (I think that's the last book...it's been a while).  Just the same as she might miss having a guy that can dance the Trepak, or sing Malinka, or go into a deep depression regularly remembering the atrocities perpetrated against the Jewish people (that's something they do, right?)

But these are just niceties. They're learned traits.  I've picked up a good amount of Russian culture, just the same as she's picked up a lot of American.

What holds us together and binds us are values.  Absolute devotion to each other, to family, and education.  The desire to have a large family.  Agreements in household fiscal policy.  Alignments in worldview.  And probably the thing that makes us work the most is a desire for the other person to have as much as they want of their own culture and traditions brought into our family as possible.

Things are difficult when it comes to the kid.  What holidays to celebrate, whether he will be raised Jewish or Christian.  Bris or Baptism?  Confirmation or Bar Mitzvah?  What if he grows up and wants to wear a cross necklace?  or a star of david necklace?  How are we going to deal with that as a couple, and as parents?

We finally decided that these disagreements we're having are secondary to his happiness.  Will he care either way?  Likely not, just as long as he's happy and loved, and as long as his parents love each other. 

This has mostly brought our arguments born out of cultural differences to a standstill. 

But it also helps that she is super-model hot.