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Pre-Babies Bucket List

2 May

“Get it in now.”

That’s what Carey and I are hearing all the time, several times a week at least from loved ones who truly mean well.  They’re usually talking about sleep, but they also mention the other frills no-kids-couples take for granted: eating out, catching a movie, blowing disposable income on a spur-of-the-moment-whatever-it-is.  Because the time is coming, and that right soon, that even a trip to Subway is going to be A MAJOR FRICKIN’ ORDEAL.

A little about me, because you’re dying to know: I’m an illustrator and an advertising art director.  I do an awful lot of storyboard art and a fair amount of cartooning.  I’ve worked on video game covers, children’s books, character design, the odd comic book here and there.  I keep a blog of original comic strips I give away as gifts and, when I’m not doing any of the above, I do a lot of drawing for fun.  A few years ago, I did a kind of wild-guess calculation and estimated that I probably produce somewhere in the neighborhood of nearly 1,000 drawings a year.  I looked it up and that officially qualifies me as an “artist” but, then, so’s the guy who runs naked through Times Square with clothespins on his nipples.

No surprise, nearly all of my big ambitions are creative in nature, most of them publishing-related.  A handful of my dreams have come true and some have yet to.  It’s usually a little anticlimactic, but it still feels pretty good to check off something major.

So Carey and I have been looking at each other and asking each other if there’s anything big we want to get out of the way while it’s still just the two of us and we’ve more or less come to the conclusion that, sure, of course there is, but we don’t really have the time or energy, particularly if we need to rearrange everything in our lives over the course of the next 12-16 weeks.

But for some reason, I was looking through a few old blog entries recently and I came across a post from 2006.  Besides being amazed by how insanely long my blog posts used to be, I was struck by my list of “69 Weird Things About Me” (I know, I know).  Particularly item #45:

One day I will meet the artist Kevin Maguire and I will tell him that his work decided my career path. I don’t know how it will happen (mainly because I have no idea where he lives) and as the years go by, I get more and more nervous about it, but it will happen.


Kevin Maguire was and is a comic book artist and his artwork made me want to do what I do for a living.  I could go on (but I also discovered  I already did).  I suppose it’s more than a little geeky and possibly even creepy, but I’ve always wanted to meet the man himself and let him know that his work helped me decide who I wanted to be.

And as it turns out, Maguire was a special guest at a comics convention in Anaheim over the weekend.  He was autographing prints of his latest comics creation.  So I went:

A photo of Kevin Maguire, taken by me.

A photo of me, taken by Kevin Maguire. (Sorry, kids, his recent work's a little on the saucy side.)

We chatted for a minute or two about his work and what he’s enjoying about it and etc. etc.  I fought through embarrassment and gave him a hyper-abbreviated version of the speech I’ve been rehearsing for about 20 years and he accepted it graciously.  I told him he was the reason I went into art as a career and he said, “oh, so you’re blaming me?”  Of all the things I was expecting, the thing I’d least prepared for was what happened: my art-hero turned out to be a good-tempered, funny guy.

So, item #whoknowswhat on my personal Pre-Babies Bucket List: check.

Listen, I know this really has almost nothing to do with our triplets, but I thought I’d mention it here anyhow.  I suppose it’s sort of a post about following your dreams and doing what you need to do to realize them, and that’s what I want for my kids.

Or maybe it’s a post about rounding up the dangling plot threads from this chapter, clearing the stage for the next one.

Or I suppose it could be one of those stories I’ll bore the hell out of my boys with one day.

Whatever the case, I’d like to be somebody’s else’s Kevin Maguire.  You never know, could happen.  Inspiring people:  it’s what an artist should do.

Or a dad.

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Triplets ≠ Cancer

14 Mar

We haven’t really blown our big news out to the world yet, believe it or not. We’ve only told our immediate family and one or two close friends. Er, and the internet. But other than that, no one.

But, man, it was hard enough to keep the news to ourselves when the wife discovered she was pregnant. And it became nearly impossible when it was confirmed we’re having triplets. Of course, that was weeks ago. And I’ll admit it, my final decision to create this blog to begin with was largely motivated by the fact that, damn it, I have to tell someone or I’ll pop.

Our plan is to go public with the news at the end of the first trimester, which is coming up in a couple of weeks. With the wife’s Lupus, the risk isn’t necessarily reduced at that point, as it is with normal pregnancies, but it’s still an important milestone and, I don’t know. We’re waiting. That’s all.

Keeping the news from my work is becoming problematic. I’m an advertising art director, which is a very busy job. Lots of long hours, evenings, weekends, little flexibility. Thus far, I’ve made it to every OB appointment the wife’s had and I keep blaming my time off from work on “doctor visits” due to a heretofore unnamed “medical situation”. It’s inevitably going to have to come out sometime soon, but, for now, I’m keeping the hounds at bay through vaguery.

Of course, now everyone I work directly with thinks there’s something direly wrong with me.

ME: I wound up canceling that Austin trip this weekend I told you about, but I still need to take Friday afternoon. Just letting you know in case you need to reach me this weekend for approval on those comps.

BOSS: Ok. You’re not going to Austin?

ME: No, but I can’t be in Friday afternoon. It’s, y’know, that medical thing I mentioned.

BOSS: I see. That’s still, uh, going on then.

ME: Yeah.

BOSS: …

ME: Sorry to be so vague about it. It’s just kind of a large, well, issue… and I only just told my family about it a couple of days ago and we’re… trying… ah, to get our heads around… it.

BOSS: Jesus. Are you okay?

ME: It’ll be fine. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

BOSS: Uh huh.

ME: I’ll be glad to have a conversation with you in the coming weeks to fill you in on what’s going on, but right now…

BOSS: No need! No need! None of my business! Whatever you’re comfortable, uh…

ME: Oh, no, it’s fine. I just can’t–

BOSS: Sure sure! No problem!

ME: Well… okay, then. Sorry.

BOSS: No no. You’re fine.

ME: …

BOSS: But, listen. Ah… I have a close friend who, ah… I mean, this may not apply to you at all. In fact, I hope it doesn’t. I mean… well. I don’t know. I’ll just say it: I have a close friend who’s battling cancer right now. And, man, it’s just a huge struggle. And I’m familiar because I watch what she’s going through. So, I understand if that’s… well, I mean… not saying that’s you… but if there’s anything even similar. That’s. Hm.

ME: Thank you. I appreciate that.

BOSS: Of course, yeah.

ME: It’s not cancer.

BOSS: Good! Phew!

ME: …

BOSS: …

ME: Well, I gotta take off.

BOSS: Have a good one.