Sunday, April 27, 2008

"It takes a long time to grow young" - Pablo Picasso

It was a great day to turn 44!

Last night, Em's mom and grandmother came and brought dinner, along with a nice strawberry shortcake. Is there anything like fresh strawberries on angel food cake?

Neither Pauline nor Wilma (isn't that the greatest gramma name ever?) could decide on a card, so they both got me two, and between them they contained $150. Um... thanks for the cash, but did I really need FOUR paper reminders I'm 44?

No seriously, thanks for the cash, I'm going to use it toward a brush guard for my Hummer. I must find a way to keep all that brush off my grill. When Emily tells me I don't need a guard because I never take it off-road, I tell her I never take it off-road because I don't have a guard.

She accuses me of being a "West County" Hummer driver. That's not very nice.

Anyway, today I spent the day with my son, then the lovely Em and I snuck out to dinner while her mother watched Grayson. We went to Bristol's for seafood.

All in all, it was a nice birthday. I'm wrapping it up by catching up on Tivo'd shows while watching my son snooze in his bouncer. A great way to end the day...

A couple of shots of Mini-Me.

Sparky chillin' out on the dog Uncle Gary got him.
Snuggling with daddy in my office one day after work.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A pirate looks at forty

Ron, Gary and I went to see Jimmy Buffett at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Thursday night, a celebration of my birthday and my first experience with 18-thousand parrotheads.

It was a good time, although as usual, the Riverport sound sucked. Buffett talks frequently between songs and it was almost impossible to understand him.

A Buffett show is sort of like the Grateful Dead, minus halucinogens and micro-buses, plus mini vans and margaritas. The tailgating was absolutely incredible... every vehicle in the parking lot had its own party, with Buffett music drifting above it all like a steel drum fog.

Buffett is an interesting dichotomy. As Ron said, for him it's party music. In my estimation, it's quite the contrary - I listen to Buffett when I'm feeling mellow. If you strip away the veneer his lyrics are quite provocative.

The struggle to find happiness:
There's an island in the ocean
Where the people stay in motion.
Somewhere on the old gulf stream
Do they live or did I dream?
They are changing channels
Waitin' for their sails to fill.
They'll be changing channels
Always will.

Regret of time and money wasted:
Yes I am a pirate
Two hundred years too late.
The cannons don't thunder, there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an over-forty victim of fate
Arriving too late...
I've done a bit of smugglin'
And I've run my share of grass
I made enough money to buy Miami
But I pissed it away so fast.
Never meant to last...

And the song that describes my feelings about another birthday:
No, you never see it coming
Always wind up wondering where it went.
Only time will tell if it was time well spent.
It's another revelation
Celebrating what I should have done
With these souvenirs of my trip around the sun.
Yes, I'll make a resolution
That I'll never make another one...
Just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun.
Just enjoy this ride
...Until it's done.

Al Wilson, Paul Davis

Two artists who were influential for me died this week.

Rhythm & Blues artist Al Wilson, with great songs like Show and Tell (1973), Poor Side of Town (1969) and Touch and Go (1974), died of kidney failure at age 68. Show and Tell is as popular today as it was in '73, you hear it on just about every Adult Contemporary station in the world. Soulful guy.

Paul Davis, who sang songs like I Go Crazy (1978), Sweet Life (1978) and '65 Love Affair (1981), died of a heart attack at age 60. He did a song that was a flip side (the throw away side of a single) that I loved, called He Sang Our Love Songs. Masterful writer.

Two more pages closed in the American songbook.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Takin' a nap on the floor in the nursery. I actually never fully dozed off, I was enjoying the moment too much.

Mom doing the same thing.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Putting a baby down to sleep is a little like setting a mousetrap.

You must gingerly "set" both... for the baby, it's a fresh diaper, swaddle, a little soothing and a pacifier. It's analogous to putting the crossbar of the trap into the little slot, releasing the tension and hoping it holds.

Then, you have to quietly, easily, set the baby down. Much like a moustrap, if you make the wrong move...


If you're a parent and have ever set a mousetrap, you will get this analogy. Sometimes, in either case, it's best for the faint of heart to leave the room and allow someone more brave to handle things. Which is why, at 4:45 am, I'm in the kitchen writing this.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I feel the earth move under my feet

This morning at 4:37 central, St. Louis shook.

An exerpt from the Post-Dispatch message board:

"My bird started flipping out a few minutes before it happened and woke me up. I walked out into the living room and heard all the birds in the neighborhood all going nuts, I knew something was gonna happen. Then stuff started shaking."
Strange how animals know it's coming before it arrives. 5.2 on the scale. Nothing near what we experienced in 1971 in Los Angeles, (which is the only quake I can remember) but it's a little scary for the "inlanders" around here.

We've been up every two or three hours all night, and wouldn't you know it... the quake happened between feedings, when we were asleep. We've been so sleep deprived lately, when we're out, we're OUT. We never felt a thing.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I said this wouldn't turn into a baby blog, and I meant it

But today's events deserve coverage.

We took our first trip outside the house today, to an appointment with the pediatrician.*

I figured most parents are late to their pediatrician first-appointments, since I can't imagine them having their act together three days after the baby is born.

We were late. Upon entering the exam room, the nurse asked us to remove all of his clothes except diaper. As I followed her instructions, I noticed his diaper was full of poop. (proud moment for any parent) I also realized, at almost the same second, that we forgot to bring anything resembling a diaper bag. In fact, we had nothing. No fresh diaper, no wet wipes... just Grayson and ourselves.

Oh sure, any normal person would have felt like a bad parent, but we knew better. We're not bad parents, we're new parents. (since Courtney was born almost 19 years ago, I consider myself a rookie again) The nurse sympathized and immediately left the room to retrieve fresh diapers and wet wipes.

As I applied the fresh diaper and prepared to remove his onesy, he peed. All over the new diaper, out the top of the new diaper, onto me, the exam table and his only onesy.

Yeah, so... we had to take the baby home without a shirt. Only his pants, socks and a couple of receiving blankets wrapped around him. It worked out well, he slept all the way... even long enough for me to stop for a badly needed dose of caffeine.

We're still shaking our heads. How could we leave the house without a diaper bag? It's humbling, because in every other way, we were totally prepared. We just never anticipated our own parental inexperience.

*Grayson is in perfect health. In fact, he has gained ten ounces since we left the hospital. He is now back to within three ounces of his birth weight, which made the doctor very happy. So far, we're very lucky. He's a textbook baby, even a little skewed toward the "angel" side.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

One more picture (yeah, as if)

We are out of the hospital and back home. Good thing too, because that stupid fold-out ridiculous-excuse-for-a-bed chair was killing my back!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fatherhood, as I see it

Again from our private "Sparky" blog, I wrote a letter to Sparky I wanted to share. It sort of summarizes how I feel about having a son, how I hope he approaches the world, and what kind of world it is.



The ultrasound has left little doubt that you are indeed a boy. When Mom and I found out last week, we were elated! We really wanted a boy.

As your Dad, I need to tell you a few things I think will help you. Most of it is in the form of advice, but there will also be a couple of warnings, and a few rules to live by.

First, I am already so very proud of you. Mom and I are lucky to have the privilege of raising you! I can't put into words how much we love you, even now, 4 1/2 months before you are scheduled to arrive. I have waited 43 years to meet you, son. That's a long time... you'll learn just how long, soon enough.

You are about to embark on a major journey. I won't promise you it will be magical, amazing or fun, because honestly, it will be what you make it. That's how life is. It won't always be exciting, you won't always be able to do what you want, and there won't be dessert at the end of every meal.

You will get bruises, cuts and scrapes. You'll poop your pants. You'll bump your head. That's the way it goes. Be ready and be brave.

You will go to school. You will have to work hard. There will be victories and disappointments. That's also how life is. One thing is certain, you will learn more from your failures than your successes. Be open minded to any opportunity for learning.

You will probably go through a phase when your parents seem stupid to you. Most assuredly, we are not. You will ask questions like "what have you done for me?" The quick answer is, we made it possible for you to be. Never forget that. Be respectful, even when you don't feel like it.

You will eventually have to pay bills. You will have to obey laws. You will wash your own clothes and cook your own food. That's the way it goes.

Son, you will come to love many people during your life. Without exception, love is the most important thing you'll ever experience. Love usually comes when you least expect it. It heals, sometimes hurts, and it endures. A Mother's love is the most pure thing you will ever experience. Savor it and always keep her close.

Be open with your emotions. Sad things happen and it's okay to cry - the greatest men in the world do it. Happy things will make you cry, too.

Don't waste a single opportunity to tell someone how you feel about them. Tomorrow is never a sure thing. I can't tell you how many times I've wished I could turn back time and tell someone I loved them one more time. There is no time machine, so make the most of every opportunity.

Money matters, but it isn't everything. You'll need it to make your way, but it won't make you happy. Again, that's up to you. No material possession can dry your eye, hug your neck or kick your butt when you need it.

Be proud of yourself, son. Be your own biggest fan (you may have to nudge your Mother and me aside). You're a good and smart person. It's okay to think so!

Open the door for women. Wave at neighbors. Smile a lot. Respect your elders. Keep an open mind. Accept people for who they are, and place value in what they offer. Be kind to animals. Be kind to the Earth.


And finally, there is something called the Golden Rule, and if you remember nothing else I teach you, remember this: treat people the way you want them to treat you. In life, you get what you give.

At first blush, this may not sound like much fun. Again, it is what you make it. When you do the right things, you will be rewarded. Life's pretty fair, all things considered.

Your Mom and I, your teachers, your friends and family... can only do so much. Most of it is up to you. And honestly, it's far more fun and satisfying that way.

Thank you for being my son. I love you.


Background on Grayson

On a separate, private blog, (called Letters To Sparky) I posted an explanation to him about why we named him Grayson. Here's a copy of that letter:



Mom and I have decided what your name will be!

Maybe I should say Mom gave in. Look, if you eventually end up hating your name it is my fault, okay. Mom is not responsible... I pushed really hard for it.* But I think you'll love it as much as I do.

The guy who first told me I could make a living in the voice over business was Bob Grayson. He hired me at his radio station and became my first client. Over the years we became dear friends. He also helped get my career off the ground.

A little more than a year ago, Bob died of cancer. He died while I was out of town and couldn't attend his funeral. I had no opportunity to say goodbye to him or honor him in any way, and have carried that burden since. Then one day while talking to a friend, the name came up and it occurred to me that naming you after my old friend would be a very special tribute to him.

Thus, your first name. That's right son - you're Bob!

Just kidding, we would never do that to you.Your first name is Grayson. It's a powerful name... handsome and mysterious. Mom thinks it sounds a little serious, but I really believe it will help you find happiness and good fortune.

Of course we decided a long time ago that your middle name is Thomas, after your Uncle Tommy. Your Mom and I both feel that if you turn out anything like him, it's all either of us could ask.

Finally, you are the last male in a long lineage of Morrises. After me, the name would have died. Now you will carry it proudly forward and be the family's prodigy. It's up to you to pass it on if you choose.

Grayson Thomas Morris. It's a really great name. Respect it. There may be times in life when it's all you have, so do your best to keep it clean, honest and unscathed.

Although Mom and I both love the nickname Sparky, I'm happy we can finally call you something else!




Grayson Thomas Morris. Ready for this? 23 inches long. 9 pounds, 14 ounces!

I can't imagine a better day. Thanks everbody for checking in.

The Big Day - an hour by hour update (or however often I can)

The following is for family and friends to follow the progress of our baby's birth. I will try to post regularly. Neither of us got much sleep last night - I worked in my studio until about 1:30 am, getting all the last-minute projects out so I could take a week off. On to today:

5:50 am - We arrived at the hospital and Em was in pretty vigorous labor - it appears the inducing won't be necessary.

7:30 am - I am bedside with the laptop and Em is comfortable now, with the pain medication they put in her IV. "Hee heee heeeee whoooooo." Ah, the breathing exercises. She's doing great and it won't be long until Sparky is here. She is in and out of a nap. She is positive she wants the epidural - and I can't blame her a bit. I am the back rubber and hand holder. She is my hero.

8:15 am - They will use a little of the drug used for induction, to see if we can pick up the pace a little.

9:30 am - Em's pain level is pretty high, so they started her epidural. They are going to break her water in just a few minutes. I was given my free meal tickets. (Haha! "Free!" Not hardly) Slowly, her pain is subsiding. Sparky can only be a few more hours away at this point! (he said, fool heartedly) Also they are putting in a catheter - I am pretty jealous. I wish I could pee at will. (I mean voluntarily) More later.

10:30 am - Whoa! Dilated to five, water broke on its own, Em is very comfortable. The nurse estimated early afternoon for arrival, and just made a guess of 7.12 to 8.0 lbs. They're pretty good at this stuff. We'll see. I'm really hungry but lunch isn't for another hour. Maybe I'll get a candy bar or something. See how I'm worried about me? I'm a selfish bastard...

11:45 am - Yes, I know you're wondering - I ate. Had a pizza and some oreos. So anyway, to the point... Emily is now dilated to 9. This is going really, really smoothly. Within the hour we will be pushing. I have the video camera set up to record the whole thing (from behind Em) and am all ready to play coach. I might not get a chance to check in again pre-Sparky, but if not I'll post a picture or two afterward.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Emily and Sparky's birthday

Em was born on April 10. So will Sparky be.

We received word this afternoon that we will be induced tomorrow morning at 6 am. Sparky and Em will have the same birthday, which really makes it easy on me. There will be only two major shopping days every year, December 24 and April 9.

I will have the laptop and our camera at the hospital, so don't think I won't be posting pictures of the handsome little guy.

Stop in tomorrow for an update. Wish us luck!

God's calendar is waaay off...

I thought I'd post a quick update to tell you the baby is overdue.

We were supposed to deliver last Sunday, but I guess he's too comfortable and warm to come out yet. Maybe he's waiting for the warmer weather of Spring - so far it's been colder than normal here.

So we wait. Saturday we went to the grocery store and the cashier asked when we were due. "Yesterday," we said. "Well what are you doing HERE? None of us knows how to deliver a baby!"

As if she believed the baby just falls out unexpectedly. We got a good laugh. It also allowed us to slip through the "20 items of less" lane with 21 items.

I admit, I will miss being able to park in the "expectant mothers" space.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Baby Grand

After clearing out our dining room, we now have space for something I've wanted all my life, a baby grand piano.

Not that we'll be getting one right away, but in my past three houses I've had space for one and decided not to make the leap. I'm starting to feel more leapish lately.

Granted it's a huge piece of furniture but I have no hobbies to speak of, and playing the piano has always been important to me. One of my favorite movies, "10" (with Dudley Moore), scores high on my list partly because of one scene - where he plays the piano.* Check it out:

Moore got that scene in one take. He was just a great pianist.

I've always had a love for music, and I have very few passions in my life these days with exceptions for Em and Sparky. I feel like I need to find that one thing I enjoy and will be remembered for. For whatever reason, I feel like the piano could be it.

*The movie is also important to me because it came out when I was a kid. I remember talking about it with friends, eager for it to come to the theater. We all had our crushes on Bo Derek. It's strange - I never thought I would be able to relate to Moore's character. Having watched it again recently, I realize that has changed... I know exactly where he's coming from.

Freaky messages from a magic cookie

I am beside myself to explain some of the world's mysteries. How does Old Faithful know when to erupt? How do birds know which way is north? Who put the bomp in the bomp, bomp, bomp?

Add to that another evasive mystery: how does Confucius get those little strips of paper to go into his typewriter? And, how does he always seem to get it right? Here's a fortune I received in a cookie the same day we found out we were pregnant:

I have a daughter already, and the timing of this message - the day we took the pregnancy test - is pretty "twilight zone." Still, the skeptic in me prevented me from making much of it.

Fast forward to a few days ago. Next fortune:

THAT'S freaky. If I didn't know better, I would think someone was trying to pull a fast one.

April Tool

That's me. This morning I texted several friends and told them we were at the hospital having the baby. So far it's been my most successful April fool joke ever...

I'm such a bastard. I know paybacks will be severe and swift. It's up to me to be hyper-vigilant.