so what do you do?

When your wife tells you she’s pregnant in the middle of Newark Airport, I mean?

I wasn’t completely surprised.  We had been trying for a few months.  I wasn’t particularly thrilled about the idea – fear of the unknown, I guess, coupled with fear of being 20-something and not responsible enough to have my own kid, coupled with fear of having a lifestyle I really enjoyed and worrying a bit about how a baby would impact it.

But when she handed me that little baby bootie (which, if I remember correctly, was yellow), I got all welled up and teary right there in the airport.  It was exciting news, even if I really had no clue how it was going to impact us.  I was going to be somebody’s dad, and the knowledge of that sort of trumped everything else that was going on in my life for a while.

Sure, we had two records out that demanded attention, and we had another one that had finally gone through the printing process, with artwork shipped off to the CD replicator for final production.  But it was tough to think about those things.

It was also early, and Sandy didn’t want to start telling people yet.  Which made it difficult to explain to cuppa joe, The Mommyheads, and Footstone why we had suddenly gotten a little quiet.  See, inbetween doctor’s appointments, I had started to take stock of my surroundings – quickly – to figure out what needed to change.  My job?  Definitely.  I had to find one that paid more money, or at least to get a significant raise.  My apartment?  Probably.  We did have two bedrooms, but one was completely monopolized by Dromedary at that point, and I refused to fight over space with a baby.  

Dromedary?  Definitely not.  I refused – right from the start – to entertain the idea that I’d give up, or even slow down.

“I’ll work my ass off til I’m 30,” I told Sandy one night.  “My body can handle it, so can my brain.  So I’ll kill myself for the next five years or so, then see where we’re at.”

That was my plan, simple as that – to work harder, to the point of exhaustion, trying to be all things to all people, until I hit 30.  It seemed simple enough, and definitely doable.

So we did the whole What to Expect When You’re Expecting thing, and tried to learn, well, what to expect.  We had no idea.  And we started thinking about big boy things like life insurance and retirement savings.  

Pretty soon, we realized we were fucked.  We were definitely not responsible enough to have a kid.

The first time this manifested itself was when we were paid a surprise visit by Mike and Pete from Gapeseed.  They brought two female friends with them – I can’t remember their names, but one was nicknamed “Grimy,” and I could not for the life of me understand why someone would happily submit to a nickname like that, particularly a woman.  She was unbelievably nice, and decidedly un-grimy, and the four of them brought beer to our apartment in the middle of the afternoon.  And I drank way too much of it, getting completely shitfaced in the middle of the day while Sandy sat and watched.

The second time it manifested itself was when a few of us decided to go out drinking after work, and I elected to break a tradition of not socializing with people from the office.  I wound up doing shots of some sort of sweet, syrupy shit, and wound up sitting at the Tick Tock Diner, desperately eating a pizza burger, trying to sober up so that I could make the ride home.

The third time, though, was a little different.  We were cruising through January and obviously hadn’t released Lippy yet.  I was so thrilled with the idea of being pregnant, and so determined that a baby – and a pregnancy – was not going to get in the way of my little record company, that I decided to pull out all the stops and have a massive birthday party for Sandy.

Her birthday is in early February.  I called John at Love Sexy and booked a night at the club, and then talked to the sound guy to see what sort of job he thought he could do with recording a set.

“It’ll sound just like a recording studio,” he said.  “I’ll record it to DAT right off the mixing board.  We’ll give the band a half hour for soundcheck and get all the levels just right, then we’ll just let it fly, record the whole night.”

“Okay,” I responded, “Just one thing – I don’t want you to mention it to the band.”

My idea was to do a live album – Footstone, Live from Sandy’s Birthday.  I was going to pack the place with people, record Footstone’s set without them knowing it, and once it was all done, tell them my plan.  I figured they’d get all nervous if they knew the plan beforehand.  I’d put it out right after Lippy, following up a Footstone CD with another one immediately afterward, that was designed simply to showcase their awesome live sets.

You may remember that I had spent a good amount of time on the phone with people from my promo list, hyping the greatness of Footstone, when I was sending around the three-song promo cassettes from Lippy.  I thought a live CD would get my point across much better, and I figured I’d do a really, really limited run, and make them mostly promotional CDs.  My idea was to press 300 – really stripped down, with cheap packaging, almost like a bootleg.  Then I’d use the majority of them as promos, and make maybe 100 available for sale, all through Surefire.  This way, all the people in zine-land that would never get to see Footstone live (because they couldn’t tour) would get to hear them.

And in the process, I’d be having the dopest birthday party for Sandy that I ever could have.  And even though she couldn’t drink, she’d never forget the party.

It was an awesome idea.  And proof positive that I was not mature enough to have a baby – dragging my pregnant wife into a packed, smoky bar in Hoboken to hear a bunch of loud, punk bands.

I asked Blenderette and Jenifer Convertible if they would play the show, and they both agreed.  I thought for sure that I’d have no problem filling the club at $5 a head, and the proceeds would be just about enough to cover the manufacturing costs.

The week prior to the show date, I had a business trip planned to New Orleans for a trade show.  But the show was on a Saturday night, and I was going to get home on the red-eye the night before, so I’d be fresh for the show.  It would be a perfect surprise for Sandy, because she would never suspect that I would plan a surprise party at a club the day after a week-long business trip.  Usually, when I got home from business trips, I needed a day or two to sleep, just to get my body clock back in order.

I told Rich, of course, and we used his apartment as a base of operations for setting things up.  Not a single piece of mail came out of our apartment – everything was sent from Rich’s place, or from my office.  

Sandy had no idea.

~ by Al on August 2, 2009.

3 Responses to “so what do you do?”

  1. I’m actually getting nervous reading this – you’ve got me prepared for something to go horribly wrong, based on previous posts.

  2. Nope, I can happily say that nothing went wrong here – at least with the pregnancy part. 🙂

  3. Yes, I was preparing myself for something that didn’t happen – which was a nice change, but I’m sure there’s more havoc to come.

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