Long time no blog – plus 9 THINGS MY KIDS DO THAT DRIVE ME CRAZY!!

Wow! Have I been so lazy that I haven’t written anything in almost 5 months?! To be fair, I have been working a little here and there, playing some shows, finishing up producing an EP for friends, and writing a bit over at TheLoop.ca. Oh, and raising a (now almost) 6-month-old baby.

Yep, 6 months. It flashes by, and then one day you remember you started a blog to chronicle it all, and were too busy to actually write anything. Well, busy is stretching it. There’s a lot of napping (mainly me), walking, carrying, and shushing. Plus there are two other kids to contend with, and as they get older, they need just as much attention.

One thing that we managed to pull off was travelling to California to play the Coachella festival. The older kids stayed in Toronto with their mother, but Laurel and I took little Frida with us, and stayed in a lovely gated community in Indian Wells. It was amazing, although I missed my other kids. Nevertheless, Frida was very well suited to California, and hopefully there will be more of that in the future.

As the summer gradually comes to a boil, I’ll have more to write about, as 6-month-olds are a lot more fun than baby lumps of pee and screaming. For now, here’s a piece I wrote a while ago that I didn’t publish anywhere:

 

Sticking out tongue

9 THINGS MY KIDS DO THAT DRIVE ME CRAZY

-note: that is not a picture of any of my kids, they’re too angelic-

Unlike most people, I love my kids. That’s just who I am. They are the apple of my eye, the sunshine of my life, and yet often the bane of my existence. Sometimes the apple of my eye is actual apple juice in my eye, and no one really likes direct sunshine, it causes wrinkles from squinting, and eventually melanoma.

Raising children is not an exact science, especially since they seem to effortlessly throw curve ball after curve ball at you, completely oblivious to your scrambling to keep up. Here are 9 things that my kids do that drive me crazy.

1. Talking – Remember your kid’s first word? Me neither. Whether it’s talking too loud, or using an annoying fake voice, they don’t stop talking now. Try having a conversation with anyone about anything. My kids are all over it, often with no idea what the subject is, and therefore needing everything explained, despite the fact that what ever you’re talking to the other adult about is way over my kids’ heads, and of no interest to them. It’s either that, or they just erupt into conversation right through what you are already talking about.

2. Forgetting – Want to know what your kids did in school today? Well, you’re out of luck, because they don’t remember. After all, it was almost a half-an-hour ago. “How was school?” I ask. “Good,” is the usual answer. “What did you do today?” “I don’t remember.” It’s a mystery.

3. Remembering – Like forgetting, except the opposite, my kids always seem to remember things at the very last minute that they should have mentioned hours or even days before. They are parented over two households, so it’s an even bigger problem, because you assume that the other parent or step-parent is on top of things. Often none of us are, and you’re at the mercy of an 8-year-old’s memory, which seems to flash on and off like a faulty engine light. Is there a problem? Maybe, but because the light just flashes every so often, you don’t bother to look into it until it’s too late. Ergo the mad dash to get said kid to school as her fellow students are boarding the bus for that class trip she just mentioned a minute ago. And that includes running to an ATM to get the required fee that was due two weeks prior.

4. Clothing – Who looks great in sweat pants? Apparently every child, according to my 11-year-old son. That’s why he will never, ever wear anything else from the waist down. It’s a bigger struggle to get him to tie his shoes, because it adds “hours” of extra time to his day, such is the complexity of the double knot. And that winter jacket that he had to have because it was going to be soooo cold this winter, and this particular brand could survive sub-arctic temperatures with ease? Well, despite a polar vortex, now it’s way too hot. Hot enough, apparently, that my son is actually, physically “boiling” when he has to wear it zipped up. His words.

5. Sleeping – Or lack thereof. You know the phrase “early to bed, early to rise?” Well how about “late to bed, late to rise, unless it’s the weekend, then way too early to rise?” Every single night it’s a struggle to get both my kids into bed. It’s not like they’re forced to go to sleep before the sun is down. Bedtime is 8:30, which usually means 9, and we try to keep to that. But between wanting that one extra page of a story, to needing fresh water…which leads to needing to pee again, to the “I hate school…” meltdown just as I’m reaching for the light switch, they must think I’m desperate for them to leave me alone. And I kind of am. Of course, the next morning is a hassle trying to get them out of bed. Unless it’s the weekend, in which case they’re up and watching TV before the sun rises, gradually making more and more noise, until you finally have to drag yourself out of bed and tell them to keep it down, which means you’re now up, and annoyed already.

6. Suffering – If your child has a fever, they stay home from school. That’s a no-brainer. But what about those illnesses that don’t have any real symptoms: the sore tummy, or the headache? It would be so much easier if whatever body part was actually irritated would glow red. But they don’t, and so you have to take your kids’ word for it some times, and hope that keeping them home is the right thing to do. After all, you wouldn’t want to be the parent who sends their child to school, only to have them rushed to the hospital with a ruptured appendix. At the same time, it seems the moment the bell has rung all those blocks away at school, the tummy or headache are suddenly replaced by an overwhelming need to watch television and get the dog all worked up.

7. Needing – How many handheld gaming devices does one 11-year-old boy need? All of them. As soon as they are on the shelves, forever. The fact that he rarely gets any of these devices only seems to stoke the neediness all the brighter. Of course sometimes the whining pays off. Sometimes you give in. Usually around a birthday or Christmas, but then it’s too late. Another device has been updated, or introduced, and the campaign starts all over again. You can substitute anything for a gaming device, and the older they get, the higher the price tag will be.

8. Fighting – They’re either fighting with you or with each other, but make no mistake: not a day will go by without some sort of explosion. The older they get, the more vicious the arguing gets, as if they secretly research words and phrases that sting all the more when uttered in a calm, even tone. While my kids rarely lash out physically, the odd kick or punch has connected, and landed one or both of them in deep poop. But it’s the insults that hurt more, and trying to get them to think about being on the receiving end of these attacks is one of the toughest, yet important jobs of a parent.

9. Eating – You have to do it to survive, but if it were up to my kids, the world would subsist of BBQ chips and Coca Cola. Not that they get much of either of these as it is. Healthy eating is only on the table because they’re vegetarians, and so most fast food isn’t an option. But that doesn’t diminish the need for candy and other treats that rot teeth and spike blood sugar. And when they actually have proper food, they are always mysteriously full within the first few bites. Then, minutes after they’ve been discharged from the dinner table, they’re starving again. It’s the endless circle of life, played out to the beat of a soft drink commercial.

I’m teaching my left-handed kids to play right-handed guitar

Marsh Guitar 2

Two of my three children were born left-handed – we don’t know what hand their baby sister will favour. What this means is that they tend to prefer doing most manual tasks with their left hand, more so than their right. They write, for instance, with their left hand, drink with their left hand, play sports favouring their left hand and foot, and punch much much harder with their left hand.

About 10% of the world is left-handed, although many can do a lot with both hands. This number is said to be increasing, and lefties as a group historically have produced an above-average number of high achievers. Many scientists agree, however, that there is little evidence that there is a difference in intelligence between right and left-handed people in general.

I’m teaching my left-handed kids to play right-handed guitar. In fact, you could say I’m flat out forcing them to play right-handed guitar. Why? Economics, for the most part.

Being a professional (right-handed) guitarist in the band Sloan, I have amassed a collection (12-14) of guitars. So I have enough, and don’t see the point in starting a whole new collection of left-handed guitars, which are generally harder to find and more expensive.

Now, before you go pointing fingers calling me a me “sidist,” consider that guitars are one of the only instruments made specifically for either lefties or righties. Nearly every other instrument is made in one style, and not necessarily because 90% of the world is right-handed. For instance, it is possible to buy a left-handed piano, but I’ve never seen one.

The guitar was historically made with the neck pointing to the left because the guitar was picked by the fingers on the right hand, and fretted by the fingers on the left. Much like a piano, both hands were put to work almost equally. By the 20th century, strumming had become popular, so the dominant rhythmic hand was the one strumming. That meant that, if you were right-handed, you would strum with your right hand.

Jimi Hendrix is perhaps the most famous left-handed guitarist, taking a regular right-handed guitar and simply turning it upside down and restringing it to suit. Other notable left-handed players are Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, Paul McCartney, Iggy Pop, and Justin Bieber.

You might think that I have left off (get it?) one of the most famous left-handed guitarists, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. Cobain was an interesting player because he was actually right-handed, but played left-handed guitar. When he was growing up, the only guitar in his home was left-handed, and so that’s what he learned on. He wrote and played drums with his right hand. In fact Hendrix was also right-handed, and could actually play both right and left, but playing lefty certainly helped him to stand out.

To back me up I compiled a list for my kids of lefties who play right-handed: B.B. King, David Bowie, Noel Gallagher, Joan Jett, Joe Perry, Paul Simon, Billy Corgan, and Mark Knopfler. They claim to have never heard of any of them.

So, for the most part, I’m being frugal, more than cruel. I have some pretty nice guitars, and although my kids aren’t allowed to touch any of those, I also have some work-horse guitars that I don’t mind getting a few greasy chip finger prints on every now and again. They mix well with the beer stains and cigarette burns (not from me – I quit that habit many years ago).

I have even bought them a “short-scale” Squire stratocaster, which is basically a smaller version of a regular electric guitar, and fully functional. It sounds great, especially through my Marshall micro-stack, which is – you guessed it – a small version of a regular Marshall stack. It’s all kid-sized, and conducive to small hands (8 and 11-years-old respectively) making big noises.

So far, protests have been minimal, although constantly showing them how to hold, strum, fret, and pick the damn thing has been a challenge. As for their “playing,” that has been limited to wildly strumming all the strings at the same time, with very little attention played to melody. Or neighbours.

Marshall Guitar

All music is bad, yet all music is great.

katy-perry-super-bowl-sharks

A few months ago I posted about how my kids weren’t into punk rock, despite my attempts to show them how that music had influenced me for the better.

I received comments on various social media platforms ranging from “I know what you mean,” to “I worry about the music my kids listen to.” The latter sentiment basically boiling down to, “I don’t like the music my kids listen to, and I want to guide them to music of ‘substance,’ or ‘quality.’” Meaning: “my kids listen to Katy Perry, but they should be listening to the Beatles.”

Of course they shouldn’t…or at least not if they don’t want to.

This isn’t to suggest that the music of Katy Perry is somehow more valuable than that of the Beatles, or the Kinks, or Randy Newman, or Led Zeppelin, or whatever the hell else you want to throw in there. It’s just that kids need to be kids, and find their own way to music they appreciate. If the Kinks are good, chances are they’ll find them.

When I was a kid it was “Disco sucks!” Not really. Most of it might have, but that was down to the individual. Then it was “Rap is crap!” Never mind that the morons making this proclamation were unknowingly rapping as they said it. Heavy metal was demonic, with bands ingeniously writing lyrics that somehow said “let’s party!” when played forwards, and “kill everyone in Satan’s name!” when played backwards. Didn’t happen. Grunge got a pass because somehow all that flannel and ripped denim reminded people of Neil Young, and for whatever reason that was a good thing.

There are all sorts of socio-political and cultural reasons why people argue about the value of one form of music over another. Race can play a part in it; rap music, like jazz, heralded an age where a spotlight was focussed on the social plight of black North Americans in a way that some deemed dangerous. Public Enemy using the silhouette of a black man in the crosshairs of a rifle scope as their logo was a powerful image set to a funky beat that damned The Man, despite the fact that increasingly The Man’s kids were the ones buying their albums and rapping along.

Likewise, country music reinvented itself as it absorbed and white-washed pop, becaming “New Country,” modernizing a genre often associated with the quaint and the traditional. To believe the critics, it was like a folksy wood cabin morphed into a Walmart, from gingham and dungarees to star-spangled everything through a straightening iron.

Punk was the subversive underdog, until it started filling arenas at $100 a ticket. And Lenny Kravitz got 40 seconds during the Super Bowl half time show to air-band the intro to – you guessed it – a Katy Perry song.

We often associate the quality of music with historical context. Whether a song evokes memories of a time in history or a time in your life, what that time means to you can have a bearing on how you judge the song. Unfortunately most people remember their high school years as the best of their lives. I often talk to Sloan fans about what their favourite album of ours is, and more often than not I can already tell judging by their age. Older fans will pretty much always name one of our first records, and younger fans will be less familiar with those older albums. We see it when we play shows. If we play a club, it’s usually a younger crowd and they will react strongly to newer material, stuff that has been played on the radio in recent years. When we play seated theatres, it’s usually older fans, and they will react to the older songs more strongly. There’s no reason for older fans not to know the newer stuff, and they might, but they have a fondness for the older songs, even if the band cringe at the immaturity of the writing from that time.

All music is at once worthless and vital. Songs are just chords and lyrics, generally repeating the same traditional sentiments, re-interpretted by often over-hyped, over-paid, and manufactured stars all around the world. Yet they can have an immeasurable impact on any and everyone at some point in their lives, no matter what the songs are. So it is entirely possible that a Katy Perry song can have as much resonance on a soul as a Lennon and McCartney song.

For me, despite the fact that – or maybe because – I make music for a living, I have a different relationship with it than most. “What are you listening to these days?” is something I’m asked almost every time I do an interview, and usually the answer is “Nothing really.” And it’s often true. I don’t listen to the type of music that I play and write, for the most part, in the same way that an accountant doesn’t rush home to use his calculator at the end of the day. I have spent my time learning the craft of songwriting, and found my niche, but that doesn’t mean that I am jaded, or over music. It’s just that I often want to listen to stuff that I wouldn’t make, in the same way that the accountant wants to listen to music as opposed to…people counting. That doesn’t mean that I’m a classical buff, or a fan of New Country. It just means that I see music as something of a tool, and so I don’t value it in the same way that someone who doesn’t understand the nuts and bolts of how it’s created, yet it envelops them.

Because of this relationship with music, I can see the value of even the most inane, even vilified songs. As I stated above, most pop music, when broken down, is just a basic chord structure, melody line, and lyrics. It is what the artists and producers skin it with that makes it unique, for better or worse. We see this, for instance, when a pop star covers a song deemed a classic, and the world screeches “sacrilege!”

Britney Spears covering the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” is an example. It’s the same lyrics, chords, and melody as the original, but it does not evoke the same reaction. It is how Spears and her producers present the song that makes it horrible. Mind you, the original isn’t that great either, but you get the idea. So to criticize one artist over another, while being perfectly understandable, is generally all about personal taste. And personal taste, while perhaps pliable, is something that your kids should be allowed to develop for themselves. Exposing them to music you like is fine, but restricting or discouraging them from listening to what they like doesn’t steer them towards anything but resentment, and ultimately to second guess things that they enjoy.

So when my kids ask me to turn on one of the many radio stations that I can’t stand, I don’t worry about what it is that they are listening to, I’m just glad that they want to listen at all. They will decide what they like or don’t like as they grow, as I did, as everyone does.

Repost: Let’s Talk…about my anxiety issues

January 28 is Bell’s Let’s Talk day, where the company will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives for every text, phone call, tweet containing #BellLetsTalk, or a share of the image on Facebook. I wrote entertainment, parenting, and opinion pieces for various Bell Media online sites for several years, and took the opportunity and position to write about my own struggles with anxiety several times. Each piece I wrote received an overwhelming response from Sloan fans and readers in general, so I am reposting one that originally appeared on February 11, 2013.

 

LET’S TALK…ABOUT MY ANXIETY ISSUES

 

Sloan Let's Talk 2013

I play guitar and sing in the band Sloan. We have been making music and touring for 22 years. That means that I have been getting on stages around the world for my entire adult life. You would think it would be old hat by now, but in the last few years I have had a recurrence of panic attacks, like stage fright, where I have had to deal with an uneasiness, or fear, before going on stage.

I can’t explain why it started happening. One show, several years ago, triggered this fear of being in front of people, and I haven’t been able to shake it since. It’s not every show, and often it dissipates after a few songs, but it’s there almost every day. Even when I’m not playing shows. At almost any event where I feel I actually have to be there, or leaving would let someone down, I get anxious, dizzy, slightly disoriented. It’s a fear of not being able to control what I’m doing, or where I am, that somehow has become this big, mental deal for me.

And it’s not like anyone is forcing me to do anything. I get all the support one could hope to have from my bandmates and loved ones. No one would begrudge me leaving the stage, or just not going on. It has been made clear to me many times that, should I need to walk off stage, the rest of Sloan have it covered. Of course, I don’t ever want to do that. Inside, it would feel like I had walked out of my own life, that leaving the stage would mean that the fear had won. But I’ve come close many times.

If you have seen Sloan during the last year or so, you may have noticed a chair in front of my amps. That is one of my “touch stones” that I have to have to feel better. I rarely use the chair, but it’s there in case I get dizzy or feel like I’m going to pass out. There is often a garbage can behind my amps, should my nausea and gagging get the best of me. So far I’ve never had to use it. I also have a fan beside my mic stand. If I don’t have the fan blowing at me from a certain angle, it feels like I might fall over. It’s like the fan, with it’s weak flow of air, is holding me up.

As a rational human being I know this sounds completely stupid, but as an anxiety sufferer, it makes all the sense in the world. Likewise, I need to be able to see an “Exit” sign at the back of the room, behind the crowd. For some reason those calm me. I’m not sure if it’s a symbolic representation of being able to leave an uncomfortable situation, or just that a glowing red thing is comforting, but I search for them as soon as we hit the first chord.

I enjoy what I do for a living, both playing music and writing about music. It sucks to have to deal with this problem; it taints what I love doing. I have suffered from this in the past, and it has suddenly just gone away. I don’t know why it comes or why it goes.

These days I have had to endeavour to take steps to fight it more forcefully. Eating properly and getting rest seem to be the key. But it’s hard to do either when you are on tour and out of your home environment.

February 12 is “Bell Let’s Talk” day, when Canadians are encouraged to discuss issues concerning mental health in this country. All too often people are afraid to talk about how they are feeling, what deeper issues are affecting their lives. There has been a stigma when it comes to mental health, where even the term itself has a weight some people find too heavy to bear publicly.

Thousands of Canadians live with some form of mental stress every day. Whether it’s something as debilitating as anxiety and panic attacks, or just the feeling that life is getting too complicated to deal with, it can be a slippery slope. Feelings of inadequacy, or fear of failing those around you, can fold over onto themselves, creating an even bigger problem.

All I can do is try to make sure that anxiety doesn’t rule my life. It is a struggle at times, but I have to make sure that, as much as I can help it, I continue to push through it, and do what it is I have always wanted to do. Hopefully some day the panic attacks will cease again. Until then, I’ll be the one on stage right, fan blowing, chair awaiting, scanning for the exit signs.

Help! My kids hate punk rock!!

Convulsions circa 1987

(That’s me on the far left)

Help! My kids hate punk rock…

To be fair, this statement could apply to anything from my youth that my kids blatantly refuse to appreciate.

A little background: When I was in late high school, say 16-years-old (1985-6), I discovered punk rock.

I had been an avid music listener since I was young. My father had played in rock and R&B bands (think James Brown, not Whitney Houston) in the 60s and early 70s, so music had always been in my life.

When I was in my mid-teens, I started playing guitar, abandoned it, and then went back to it again. I fell in love with hard rock music, fashionable at the time, because it was generally guitar-based, and that was what I was all about.

After a brief stint in a metal cover band with some friends, I started to branch out, playing with other people from my high school who turned me on to bands I had heard of, but never heard. While punk rock wasn’t new to the world, it was a brave new sound to me, and I embraced its aggression, speed, and volume. Plus it was really easy to play and write, and you could have messed up hair and clothes.

So it became a part of my aesthetic, and would stay with me in one form or other my whole life. Sure, as I got older I eschewed the hair or the clothes a bit, depending on my mood at the time, but the idea of doing what you really wanted to do, even if that wasn’t necessarily the safe route, and you had to create it all yourself to be who you wanted to be, stayed with me. Maybe that’s born of Western middle-class entitlement, but I wouldn’t have joined Sloan, gone on tour, and be who I am today without punk rock.

Now, given that a form of music would have such a positive impact on my life, you would think that I might want to show my kids that. They might be curious as to why or how I came to be who I am. Maybe there is something that would attract them, a message or an energy in the music that would exhilarate them. Maybe they would want to pick up a guitar and start their own punk rock band. So I decided to sit them down and play them some songs that were important to me, and catalogue their reactions.

I thought I’d start with Washington D.C.’s seminal hardcore band Minor Threat. Touting a straight-edge aesthetic (no booze, no drugs, no casual sex), I figured they were the most kid-appropriate band to play.

“Out of Step”

The fact that singer Ian MacKaye uses the word fuck twice in the first 10 seconds (admittedly I forgot about that) didn’t go unnoticed.

Marshall (10): “Weird. Really loud, and heavy metal music with people yelling.”

Me: “But it’s punk rock music.”

Marshall: “Ok, but it sounds like those heavy metal bands.” Which heavy metal bands he was referring to I don’t know, but…

Ivy (7): “Yeah, it sounds like heavy metal.”

Me: “But it’s not heavy metal, it’s punk rock.”

Ivy: “Yeah, but heavy metal.”

Ok. Moving on, I decided to go with more “classic” punk, The Ramones. I had a bit of an issue with The Ramones when I was a teenager. Since they were from mid-’70s New York, and lumped in with other “punks” like Blondie and Talking Heads (neither being remotely punk), I often ignored them. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I fully grasped their importance.

“Blitzkrieg Bop”

Marshall: “Sounds really cheerful, until they start singing.”

Ivy: “I think that it was better than the other one. But it’s still really loud.”

Me: “And you don’t like the loud?”

Ivy (ignoring me): “But it’s good music, but it’s really like…BOOM!!” She then erupts into laughter claiming that the Taylor Swift video on the muted TV goes perfectly with “Blitzkrieg Bop.” I don’t agree, but keep it to myself.

The Clash were next, but only because there was a Clash tape, London Calling, in my son’s room when he was a baby, and I used to play it when trying to get him to nap. Such is my opinion of The Clash: music so boring, kids might nap to it. Not a fan, but they might like it…

“London Calling”

Marshall: “It doesn’t sound like punk rock, it sounds like the radio music you and Laurel (step-mom) always try to listen to.”

Me: “You mean before you guys whine so much we eventually put on the station you want?”

Marshall: “Yeah. Like that.”

I was going to play a Sex Pistols song, but the name of the band itself elicited such a chorus of snickers and elbowing back and forth that I gave up before I even cued a song up. Keep in mind, these are two kids who can’t keep a straight face when I tell them I’m going to Regina. This also meant that Circle Jerks, Millions of Dead Cops, Dead Kennedys, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, Dayglo Abortions, Suicidal Tendencies, and our neighbours Fucked Up were off the (turn) table as well.

Eventually I played them a bunch of hardcore punk songs that Sloan has released, some original, some covers, which they were more into, although mainly because they could have a good laugh at their dear old dad screaming his head off at someone other than themselves.

Ivy (laughing hysterically): “It sounds like Daddy’s angry!” Not sure why me being angry is something to laugh so hard at, although it would explain why I have very little control over anything that goes on in my own home.

Finally, because of the name of my blog, I played them a tune by the Rastafarian punk legends Bad Brains. Did not go over well.

“I Against I”

Ivy: “It sounds like heavy metal.”

Head firmly in my hands, I almost start weeping in frustration. Of course, she’s kind of right; there is a fine line at times between metal and punk, as there can be between many types of music. Genres blend, and that’s how music moves forward, for better or worse. I’m not sure if this means she has a better grasp on different styles of music than I thought, or a better grasp on how to drive me crazy.

What am I to glean from this experiment? Am I doomed to be the uncool dad, despite the fact that I’m pretty much the coolest dad there could be? Is it natural for kids to even think their parents are cool? Perhaps it’s dangerous. How do we move forward as a species unless we rebel against what came before us? Actually, that sounds like a lyric I would have written in one of my punk bands in 1987.

Dad Brains: From the Brains of a Dad

BrainsofaDad1

“I’m pregnant!”

I am not an early riser. So, hearing this bit of info a few months ago at 6 am was met with equal parts surprise and confusion.

“Oh. Are you indeed?” Gulp.

To be fair, it wasn’t actually a complete surprise. We had been “trying,” except, to my recollection, we had only tried once. But there it was, a line on a stick, and a whole new chapter in my life.

A little back story here: I am a professional musician, having played guitar, sung, written, and produced music for Canadian power-pop icons (not my words) Sloan since 1991. I have also written music blogs, entertainment news, opinion pieces, and parenting advice. I have two children, a 10-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter, from a previous marriage, and have just found out recently that I am having a third child, a girl. Oh yeah, I’m 45.

My wife is 15 years younger than me, and very good with kids. In fact, when I first met her 6 or 7 years ago (whose counting…well aside from her, of course), she was very keen to talk about her young nieces. After we moved in together, and my kids started spending more and more time with her, she quickly eased into their lives, and now we have a great blended family, where they refer to her as their step-mother, and she has become an active part in every aspect of their lives.

We get along great with their mother, and with 50/50 custody, the kids spend ½ the week (Monday, Tuesday, Friday nights, and Saturday afternoons) with us, and the rest (Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday nights, and all day Sunday) with her. It can be complicated at times, but everyone has worked hard to make things happy and healthy for the children.

Now the balance is going to change a bit, as the new baby won’t be moving back and forth between the two homes. It will be something new for all of us, and a transition that we will have to navigate carefully so that everyone feels included and happy.

This is all well and good, but, as I said, I just turned 45. Having a baby at this point in my life, with two kids already milling about, wasn’t necessarily unexpected, but there is a certain degree of the unknown that can keep you up at night, staring into the darkness, calculating a decade or so more of daycare costs, high-chairs, strollers, car seats, clothes, food, water, and…air – because by the time this one hits 10, I’m sure we’ll be paying for that too. Thanks a lot Obama.

Nevertheless, life keeps moving forward, one day at a time. I had the same fears before my son was born, and before my daughter, and so far I haven’t had to sell even one of them. Plus, pretty soon I can send my son out to sell encyclopedias, or newspapers, or oranges, or whatever. I was 15 when I got my first job, and since they grow up so much faster these days, my math seems on point.

So, I have decided to chronicle my life as a new/old dad. Since I have written extensively about most other aspects of the entertainment world, and make rock music for a living, I’ll throw a bunch of stuff about all of that in there as well. Please enjoy, and comment when you feel like it.

PP