Nipple Stimulation, Castor Oil and a Half Rack of Ribs

Caroline has officially entered the Wives’ Tale portion of her pregnancy.

Hi everyone. My name is John Cave Osborne and I’m married to the lovely and charming Caroline. And I’d like to welcome you to the Wives’ Tale portion of her much ballyhooed pregnancy. Though she would probably refer to it as the Something’s Gotta Give portion. Because, well, something’s gotta give with this kid.

I mean for days now we’ve been living under “any minute” status. Yet for days now? Nothing. Zip. Nada.  And it’s starting to feel as if we’re Waiting for Godot over here. Caroline? She’s had about enough of it. As such, she’s been consulting various wives’ tales in hopes of enticing the little fella out of her womb, dropping said wives’ tales (out of nowhere) in casual conversation as if they were as ordinary as items on our grocery list.

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It’s the Holidays — What Were You Expecting?

Wait, what?

It was Sunday, November 7, the first day of daylight savings time, and I was fired up about the extra hour. In fact, I stretched it to two by sleeping til 8 as opposed to my regular 7. True to form, Lovie did no such thing. By the time I stumbled into the kitchen, the tiny trio were already finished with their breakfast and out of their highchairs, roaming about like diminutive tyrants as my industrious wife cleaned their royal carnage. The sweet scent of syrup told me it was pancakes the monarchs had devoured.

I felt like such a deadbeat for not being a part of the culinary efforts that I offered to assume full responsibility for two-thirds of our toddlers. With Pookie at her dad’s house, that would leave my wife just one child with which to contend. And one child? That’s a flat-out layup.

Biggs wanted to stay with Mommy, so I corralled Monster and Peanut and took them upstairs to the playroom where, by complete coincidence, there happened to be a television tuned to ESPN, thereby allowing me to preview all the day’s upcoming football contests. In front of said TV sits a blue couch — an extremely comfortable blue couch.

The table was set for some good ol’ fashioned multi-tasking via a controversial but effective supervisory technique known as sleep-parenting. I, um, read about it. In a book. Or magazine. Somewhere.

Anyway, there I was, minding my own business, sleep-parenting on the comfy blue couch in the bonus room with Monster and Peanut playing contently nearby (and quietly—which is critical for sleep-parenting), when Biggs stumbled in with the phone.

“Call Mommy.”

I quickly dialed her cell, concerned that my often misinterpreted sleep-parenting was about to be called under attack (yet again).

“Hello,” she said from the kitchen.

“What’s up, babe? You need something?” I asked, in my best wide-awake voice.

“I’ve been obsessing over something that I have to tell you about.”

“What’s that, honey?”

“I think I’m pregnant.”

Holy shit.

“What?!”

“I think I’m pregnant.”

Holy, holy, holy shit. As in the very most holy of shits — I’m talking Mahatma-Gandhi-type fecal matter, here. Okay, stay cool. Obviously a false alarm.

“What? Why do you think that? Are you late or something?” I asked, suddenly no longer worried about my voice. I was confident that it was far from sleepy-sounding.

“No. I’m not supposed to start until next week.”

Phew.

“Stop worrying, then. I’m sure we’re good.”

“I don’t know,” she countered before continuing with my boobs, this and my body, that.

“Well what do you wanna do about it?” I asked.

“Take a pregnancy test,” she answered.

“HELL no,” I replied. “That’s WAY too much drama for a Sunday. I am NOT signing up for that.”

Twenty minutes later, my candy-ass was double parked in a blue handicapped zone outside of Walgreens while Lovie was busily be-bopping along the family-planning aisle. Only the three screaming toddlers in the backseat reminded me that we were planning no such thing. Neither one of us wanted to have another child.

“Sorry,” Lovie said as she got back in the car. “Couldn’t find it right away.”

“Did you take it?” I asked.

“Are you crazy?” she answered. “I’m not taking a pregnancy test inside of a drug store. I’ll wait til we get home.”

“No you won’t,” I answered. “You’re taking it now!”

“What? You’re the one who didn’t even wanna do it today to begin with.”

“True,” I began. “But since you overruled me, I’m all about finding out as soon as possible. So, chop-chop, Pooh Bear. Where do you wanna take your test?”

“You’re getting coffee, right?” she said.

“You’re gonna rock a pregnancy test at Dunkin Donuts?” I asked.

“What’s wrong with Dunkin Donuts? There’s usually a line for the drive-through. I can take care of business while you’re waiting.”

Which is exactly what my beautiful wife did. And it timed out perfectly. Just as we were pulling away from the pick-up window, she was walking out the door. And by the time the dust settled, I wound up with a large coffee (cream and sugar), a bagful of glazed donut holes, and…

and a fifth child.

In what can best be described as complete role reversal, for once, the triplets were quiet as church mice, kindly leaving the crying to Lovie and me, which we did as quietly as we could, stealing quick glances at one another and holding hands above the center consul, our soft sobs occasionally interrupting the sing-songy banter of Dora and Diego.

Another baby.

Onesies. Baby gates. Johnny Jump-Ups. Bodreaux’s Butt Paste. Those velcro things that attach to and dangle from the car seat handle.

Another baby.

Boppy pillows. Blankets. Diapers. Bottles. Burp cloths.

Another baby.

Gliders. Bouncy seats. Vaseline. Baby Bjorns. Rattles. Exersaucers. Those plastic, squeezy bugger-extracting dealies I’ve never seen anyone use.

Another baby.

Holy shit.

Eventually we pulled it together and went to a different Walgreens, one where we had understood we could get an actual blood test. But the pharmacist said we were misinformed. They had no such test there. She did, however, look at our pregnancy test and confirmed what we had suspected. It appeared as if Lovie was, indeed, pregnant. False negatives, she explained, happen from time to time, but false positives were exceedingly rare.

Three hours earlier I had walked into the kitchen feeling guilty for oversleeping. That moment, I was stumbling through a drugstore in a literal state of shock, watching silently as Lovie compared two different brands of prenatal vitamins.

Unplanned child number five. The one we thought was impossible to have. The one we thought could have only come about with the assistance of fertility treatments. The one our calendars say will arrive just in time for our 42nd birthdays. The one that…

Holy shit. What if there’s more than one?

The first ultrasound’s next Tuesday. I’ll make sure to provide y’all with regular updates as this is sure to be a wild ride. But I can promise you one thing. Lovie, Pookie, Monster, Biggs, Peanut, Briggs (our dog), and me? We’re up for it.

We’re good like that.

xo

Photo: MorgueFile

Happy Anniversary, Lovie

lovie and me moments after arriving at our reception.

Exactly four years ago from today, Lovie and I stood at the alter in front of Dr. William Barron in a small chapel inside Sequoyah Presbyterian Church and made a solemn oath before God and fifty of our closest friends and family members. To love, honor and cherish one another for the rest of our lives. With only Alli by our side, the three of us became one that day, completely unaware that we’d double the size of our family in thirteen scant months thanks to a triple blessing which no one could have ever predicted.

Simply put, I’m incredibly in love with my beautiful wife and my four wonderful children. I’m also genuinely humbled by the good fortune bestowed upon me and so thankful to have the opportunity to be the patriarch of our unique clan. None of it would have ever come to pass had the love of my life not uttered those two magical words while holding my sweaty hands and looking directly into my eyes with her beautiful, bright blue ones.

To pay homage, a quick recap of our marriage by the numbers:

13 — years of parenting. (9 w/ the trips and 4 with Pookie)
12 — total pounds of babies Lovie birthed on 9/29/07. (actually 12.4375, but I rounded down.)
11 — total weeks of bedrest.
10 — times per day I annoy Lovie.
9 — times per day I annoy myself.
8 — individual shoes our children require.
7 — times Lovie will ask me why I uploaded such a lame picture of us for this post.
6 — times I’ll tell her it was the only wedding pic I had on this computer. (I’ll be asleep the seventh time she asks me, therefore unable to respond.)
5 — weeks of hospitalized bedrest.
4 — gallons of milk we go through per week.
3 — glorious births.
2 — houses owned.
1 — crazy-ass dog.
0 — percentage chance we’ll ever get divorced.

Happy anniversary, Lovie! I love you so much!

My Interview With Lovie

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows how charming and feisty Lovie is. From my words, at least.

But don’t you think it’s about time you saw for yourself? Watch this video and tell me she’s not priceless. You may need to keep your volume up, though. She’s kinda hard to hear, but well worth the effort…

Some Birthday Lovie

It’s a special day, everyone. It’s Lovie’s birthday, and she’s 41 as lovely as ever.

We have a nice little day planned. We’re gonna run a bunch of errands this morning then load everyone up and head to the pool this afternoon where we’ll probably end up eating dinner. Pookie and I have gotten Lovie a few presents and there’ll also be a cake involved which I baked from scratch.

Okay, that’s bullshit. But I did buy it from Kroger. Okay, that’s bullshit, too. But I am about to buy one from Kroger while we run our errands.

But this birthday, Lovie gets more than a handful of presents and a cake. This birthday, Lovie gets a public shoutout on my modest blog. I could go on and on and list the dozens of reasons why she’s so incredible, why she’s the one for me. I could talk about what a wonderful mother she is. I could give you testimonials from her friends that would attest to the unique goodness which abounds from her. I could tell you what a patient and understanding wife she is, and how supportive she is during times of stress, transition, and grief.

But instead, all I’m gonna tell you is this: I love Lovie, y’all. With all of my heart and soul. And as thankful as I am for this wild ride we’re on, I’m even more thankful, still, that I get to sit right next to her for every little part of it.

Happy Birthday, Lovie.

I love you.

Lovie Lookalike

After Lovie showers, she often brushes her hair back and puts it up with a clip. There it will remain as she gets ready for her day before she eventually blow dries it.. The other day, I noticed something astonishing.

JCO: Oh my.

Lovie: What?

JCO: You look just like someone.

Lovie: Who?

JCO: That chick who played the man.

Note to readers. Don’t every tell your wife she looks like “that chick who played a man.” As you’ll see, I pulled it off, but I know what I’m doing. This is NOT a rookie maneuver.

Lovie: Rupaul?

JCO: No, honey. That’s a man who’s playing a chick.

Lovie: So who?

JCO: I can’t think of her name, but it’ll come to me. Here. Hold this. [hands Lovie a pink highlighter.]

Lovie: Why?

JCO: It’ll help me think. Just hold it. Like this. [positions highlighter as if it's a cigar.] Perfect. Now look slightly to your right.

Lovie: Why?

JCO: Because, [gets out phone and snaps picture] I wanna show people this:

Lovie doing her best...

Victor Victoria impersonation.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Remember, freedom isn’t free. Thanks to all the men and women who pay the price, sometimes even the ultimate one, so that you and I can do whatever it is we’re going to do this weekend, and countless others. God bless y’all. You’re the true heroes.

15-Lovie

Lovie’s got a new gig. In February of 2009 she started playing tennis pretty regularly with some of her friends, but it was more for fun than anything else. Four months ago, however, she upped the ante and joined a USTA team which requires her to play several times a week. Lovie’s a tennis star now.

Lovie? Is that you?

So I’ve given her a new nickname. Evonne Goolagong.

A couple of years ago, when she was still Lovie, we had a little spell where we played a handful of times over a three-week period. During those matches, two things were evident.

First, Lovie is an excellent athlete, whose fluid motion and graceful coordination translate well on the tennis court.

But second, she was no match for yours truly, lucky to win even one game in a combined two sets.

Recently we decided to play again, and I must say, I wondered how she’d fare as Evonne. After all, between the USTA matches, social games, and lessons, Lovie’s smacking the yellow ball up to four, sometimes five times a week. Word is she’s one of the best if not the best on her team, having lost only once in all the USTA matches she’s played.

Me? I’ve not picked up a racquet since the last time we faced each other. Oh. Did I mention I’ve not worked out regularly in months? Still, the lopsided nature of our previous contests had me convinced she’d pose no real threat to actually beat me. Right?

Right.

I beat her 6-2, 6-3, and it should have been 2 and 1. I was serving, up 5-1, 30-love, just two points away from the match when something happened. I suffered a meltdown on court number three. I dropped that game and the next one, after which she let out a celebratory scream, complete with fist pump. Such an outburst bothered me. Greatly. Fueled by anger, I waxed her the next game, and walked off the court with a less-than fulfilling 6-2, 6-3 victory. The sinking feeling in my gut combined with the confident smile plastered on her face for the next four hours made me wonder who the real winner was.

Lovie means business.

One thing was clear. Lovie’s way better than she used to be. It doesn’t matter how hard I serve, or where I place the ball. It’s coming back. Same thing with ground strokes. The woman gets everything. To win a point, I have to hit three shots that would have been winners against her in the past. Combine all that with the extra five (alright, twelve) pounds of JCO I’m hauling around these days? She’s a tough out to say the least.

About a week later, we played again. Lovie took the opening game. It was the first time she had ever held a lead on me. She won the next game, too. And the next. And the next. I was serving love-four before I even knew what hit me.

No worries, though. I’ve been in that spot a few years back. I was once down the exact same score to an ex girlfriend before storming back to victory. During a pivotal point, I charged the net before becoming the victim of a perfectly placed lob. Lucky to get it, I lobbed it back, and played the rest of the point the same way–hitting lobs, each effort even higher than the previous one. My last lob nearly brought rain and landed right on the line, bouncing so high, she literally couldn’t even get a racquet on it.

“You play dirty,” she said.

“What’s that?” I asked holding my racquet up to my ear? “Fifteen-thirty?”

Comforted by the recollection of that clutch effort, I stepped up and won the next three games in convincing fashion. Crisis averted, right?

Wrong. Lovie took the next two games, and won the first set 6-3. Thanks to a time constraint, the second set was a truncated one. I lost, 3-2. Lovie had done it not once, but twice. I left the court none too pleased.

Two hours later, I dialed her cell.

“That was bullshit. I want more.”

“Relax, honey. It’s just a game.”

“Don’t tell me to relax. Get your candy-ass to the court.”

“Honey, let it go.”

“What’s wrong, Evonne? Scared?”

“No.”

“What, then? Big engagement down unda? Got some shrimp to put on the barbie, do ya, mate?”

“If I play again, will you shut up?”

“See you in ten minutes, Lady Goolagong.”

Simply put, I never had a chance. My game was a wreck, and Lovie continued to play lights out. 6-3, 6-3.

As I walked off the court, I couldn’t help but wonder how I had  actually lost. Was it her serve? Because they are hard to return. After all, her meager offerings come at me so slow I’m literally forced to stand on the service line just to be close enough to get it before it bounces a second time. It’s reminiscent of a ball gently lobbed by a four year old girl. With her left hand.

Have you ever tried to hit such a serve? While mad? I landed out of bounds more times than Ben Roethlisberger at a Florida bar during spring break.

I know what you’re thinking. All y’all love Lovie, and you’re on her side. You can’t believe what a jerk I’m being. Well I got news for you. I’m far from the sore loser this post paints me to be. I realize full well that I lost to a better player.

Forget that I had more unforced errors than Britney Spears multiplied by Lindsay Lohan. Squared.

Forget that I hit more balls out than a juiced up Barry Bonds.

She won. Fair and square.

Even if, on that particular day, I couldn’t have held my serve with the jaws of life. The outcome had way more to do with what she did than what I did.

Even if I did hit the net more times than gang of drunken trapeze artists.

I’ll get her next time. In fact, I predict a spanking.

It’s just that I’m not sure who’ll be the one administering it just yet.

Married to Max

Is it me, or was Lovie channeling a subtle Max Headroom vibe this morning?

lovie

max headroom

Or maybe it’s just that Max has always given off a Lovie vibe?

Tough to say. Anyone’s guess, really.

The Language of Lovie

lovely lovie

As most of you know, I have a new book out, Tales from the Trips. Virtually every reader I’ve heard from seems to agree on one thing.

Lovie steals the show.

So what is it about Lovie that’s so captivating, you may wonder? Simple. It’s how well she deals with all of my nonsense. An exchange we had just two days ago is a perfect example.

“You’re a jerk,” she said, half kidding and half not. (Why I was being called a jerk is anyone’s guess, but I can assure you it was probably warranted.)

“A jerk?” I asked.

“Yep. A jerk. If people want to find you on the internet, they just type in www.jerk.”

“Which domain? Dot com? Dot edu? Dot org, maybe?” I asked.

“Dot dick, honey. Dot dick.”

No wonder my readers love her, so. Today, I thought it’d be fun to post five of my favorite Lovie–JCO exchanges from the book. Since I’m too lazy to type, I’ll be cutting and pasting, which means our gal Lovie will be going by her real name, Caroline.

* * *

5.) With Caroline in the hospital on bed rest, the task of getting Pookie ready for school each day was left to yours truly. I called my wife in a panic the night before the first of those mornings for some pointers. Here’s how it went down:

“What am I gonna do tomorrow?” I asked her.

“You’re going to get her ready for school.”

“Obviously, but what do I do?”

“Well, for starters, you have to make her take her reflux medicine and fix her breakfast.”

“I can handle the medicine, but what should I fix her for breakfast? She won’t eat cereal, will she?”

“No. You’ll have to make her something. Go to the refrigerator.”

“Refrigerator?”

“Yeah, you know, that door in our kitchen that you open when you want to have a snack?”

“Oh. I thought that was the pantry,” I said.

“Do you want my help or not?” asked Caroline.

“I need your help.”

“Then shut up and open up the fridge.”

* * *

4. ) Caroline’s, um, constructive criticism of Briggs, the dog I owned long before she and I were ever an item:

“Honey,” Caroline began another call to me, “your dumbass dog has struck again.”

“Oh no,” I exclaimed. Even I was getting sick of his shenanigans. “What was it this time? A toy? A shirt?”

“No. He’s on to much messier and disgusting things now. He dug into the garbage and chewed up a full bag of…”

No. No. Please no. Not a bag of…

“DIRTY DIAPERS! A whole day’s worth. Not only that, he must have eaten some because he’s thrown up on the floor. And I’ve got news for you. IT DOESN’T SMELL LIKE THROW UP! IT SMELLS LIKE SOMETHING ELSE!”

“Well, honey,” I answered, “you always said he had shit for brains. I suppose it was only a matter of time before he started having shit for lunch.”

* * *

3.) Don’t mess with Caroline when it comes to organizing for a trip:

“Honey,” I complained, “there’s no room for my bag.”

“Here,” she said, handing me three plastic grocery sacks.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Your luggage,” she replied. “Unpack your bag and put only the stuff you need in these. We’ll find a place for them.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

Wrong. My allotted luggage was squeezed under the front seat.

* * *

2.) Caroline is quite possibly the world’s worst driver. But that doesn’t stop her from fighting back:

“Caroline!” I screamed as she narrowly missed rear-ending a car that was slowing down to turn right. “See that blinking light down there on the right side of that man’s car? It’s called a turn signal. Do you know what it indicates? It indicates that he’s about to turn right, which means he’ll have to slow down. That indicates that you should probably slow down, too.”

“Honey,” she said.

“What?”

“Do you know what this indicates?” she asked while slowly extending her middle finger.

* * *

the road trips usually end here.

#1) Quite possibly my favorite exchange of all-time, another road-trip gem:

“We need to stop for lunch between eleven-thirty and twelve,” said Caroline.

The effective traveling rule of putting off all stops for as long as possible made the answer an obvious one. “Great,” I said. “We’ll stop at twelve.”

“But everyone in America will be eating then,” complained Caroline.

“Well,” I said, “I guess we’ll be eating with them. We’ll call it America’s Lunch.”

“You’re America’s Jackass,” she answered.

We stopped at eleven-thirty.

* * *

So there you have it. Five of my favorite Lovie–JCO exchanges from Tales from the Trips–but, remember, those are only five. There are many, many more. If you’d like to read them, please buy the book. You can get it on Amazon or you can also buy direct from the publisher. Those copies will be autographed.

But come to think of it, maybe I should just have my wife sign them.

After all, Lovie steals the show.

The Driving Force

This blog is proud to take part in Fatherhood Friday, a little something created by the great people over at dad-blogs. To learn more about this wonderful community, click here.

We all know that I love Lovie. And how could I not? There’s just something about her. Anyone who knows Lovie would agree that she possesses an indescribable sweetness, channeled by a heart that is both pure and true. Seldom does a bad thought ever cross her mind. She’s a positive force who is filled with such earnest and good intentions that people can actually sense it. Animals, too. Birds stop chirping and squirrels take a break from their nuts just to catch a glimpse of my beautiful wife whenever she happens upon them.

Knoxville, we have a problem.

But such inter-species tranquility does not mean that my wife is without flaw. One of them? She’s among the worst drivers in the history of organized driving. Honestly? It’s astonishing. And the fact that she drives a big-ass Denali loaded with the tumultuous trio and an eight-year-old doesn’t exactly help. For not only is she driving a vehicle that rivals a Sherman Tank in bulk, but she’s also doing so while handing out passies to toddlers, helping Pookie with her homework, and rocking the occasional call on her cell–all over the deafening din emitted by that red, furry anti-Christ, Elmo, along with his gang of equally annoying and off-key-singing buddies.

If only Lovie’s enormous vehicle had an outer body constructed of nerf, and the driver/passenger seats were enclosed by a NASCAR-designed roll cage, maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t worry each and every time she hits the road. But I do worry, and so should you. So allow me to impart the following advice to those who share our local roads.

If you see Lovie barreling down the street, you must remember two things. First, it’s usually parking lots which trip her up, so you’re probably okay. But second, remain calm, and, as if Lovie were a firetruck, slow down and pull over as far as you can to the right until Lovie has lumbered on by. Then and only then should you continue along your merry way.

But if you’re in a parking lot, God help you. For like a drunk cat with no whiskers, little Lovie, in her colossal car, has no dependable spacial-sensing mechanism–her mere judgment, woefully inadequate. As such, she is not afraid to feel her way through a tight spot with a bump here or a nudge there. While not exactly life-threatening, Lovie’s parking lot shenanigans are the stuff of legend, most of said shenanigans exacting a toll just below our deductible, ultimately rendering our insurance impotent and our wallets a few-hundred dollars lighter.

But she is getting better. In fact, it’s been quite a while since her last parking-lot escapade. Until the other day, that is, when she came home with a little token of appreciation she had received from a fellow motorist.

“Can you believe this woman?” Lovie asked indignantly while showing me the note.

Um, what rhymes with “guess?”

I’m in a tough spot, here. Common sense (along with past empirical evidence) strongly suggests that Lovie parked poorly. But chivalry demands that I defend her honor.

SO, Ms. Note Writer–in the unlikely event you are reading this modest effort, please know that I am none too pleased with the sarcastic and ugly message that you left Lovie. Number one, who has the time to write such nasty remarks in the middle of a busy day? Next time you’re out, may I suggest you swing by Walmart and pick up a life? OH, and you might wanna fill that prescription for the anti-passive-aggressive meds your head doctor has undoubtedly provided you.

And number two, what we’ve got here in Lovie is really nothing more than a garden-variety shitty driver. Was she a little close to you? I’m quite certain she was. Was it difficult to get your kids in? Undoubtedly. But is that any reason to lose your marbles? Might I suggest, instead, that next time you be more prepared? A giant tub of Vaseline and an extra-large shoe horn would have made your child-loading riddle much easier to solve.

Sincerely,

The Man Who Still Loves Lovie.

PS–perhaps you’ll take solace in knowing that your communiqué has made our Wall of Shame alongside another embarassing piece of documentation.

Wall of Shame: JCO 1, Lovie 1

There. That should do it.

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