#SoCS — Pant-Pant-Blow


The first time my wife got pregnant we were advised by her OB/GYN to enroll in a Lamaze class. These classes teach young couples how to prepare for childbirth and, more importantly, how to make it through labor and delivery.

One of the key learnings from the Lamaze class was how to breathe. Naturally, this lesson was intended for the soon-to-be mother to learn breathing techniques during labor. But the husband had a role as well. He was to be her coach, and as such, he, too, needed to learn the proper breathing techniques in order to help his wife manage the trauma of labor and delivery.

One such breathing technique is referred to as “pant-pant-blow.”

Our Lamaze instructor told my wife that as her contractions became more intense, she should exhale in a pant-pant-blow pattern. She needed to take a deep breath in through your nose when her contraction started and then exhale in two short pants followed by one longer blow. That breathing in and panting out should take about 10 seconds and should be repeated until the contraction stops.

Well, one night my wife’s water broke and we headed to the hospital. She got settled in her room in the maternity ward, where, in my role as her coach, I was by her side.

I was armed with a large cup of shaved ice in case her mouth got dry. I had a small, brown paper bag for her to breathe into should she start to hyperventilate or feel dizzy while doing the breathing exercises we’d learned.

Things were moving along, albeit slowly. She was only about five centimeters dilated after about six hours and her contractions to that point had been fairly mild. So her doctor decided to give her Pitocin to speed things up.

It worked. Within an hour her contractions started coming fast and furious and that’s when she really needed my help. I was there for her, holding her hand, mopping her brow, and pant-pant-blowing right along with her.

Between contractions, I was dropping pinches of shaved ice into her mouth like a mother bird feeding her chicks.

And then the wheels came off the bus. My poor wife was in the middle of an intense contraction and we were pant-pant-blowing together. The next thing I remember was waking up in the other bed in my wife’s hospital room. I had a major headache and a bandage on my forehead.

I must have been a little too exuberant in my pant-pant-blow technique. I somehow managed to black out and, on my way to the floor, I knocked my head on the metal railing of her hospital bed.

Fortunately I was revived just before they wheeled my wife to the delivery room. Still, I was mortified by my failure as her labor coach.

To this day, though, I tell my daughter, who was born that night, that being there for her birth really knocked me out!

Written for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill. The challenge was to write a post around the word “pant,” just in case you couldn’t tell.

SoCS — Squishy Words


There are certain words in the English language that I consider to be “squishy.” Words like “suppose,” or “think,” or “believe.” All three of these words denote (or is it connote?) uncertainty.

For example,

  • I suppose I can get there in time.
  • I think I can get there in time.
  • I believe I can get there in time.

The problem with these squishy words is that, in each case, I don’t know if I can get there in time. I can try to get there in time, but I can’t be certain.

But the squishiest word of them all is “guess.”

People know they’re being squishy because of the way they wrap the word “guess” up. They may say, “Well, if I had to guess….” No, you don’t have to guess. No one is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to guess at something.

Or maybe they’ll offer to “hazard a guess.” That means they’re taking a risk, perhaps even a dangerous one, that they may be wrong about what it is they’re guessing.

Even an “educated guess” is still just a guess. Presumably the person who makes an educated guess knows something about the topic on which he or she is making the guess. But while an “educated guess” may reduce the possibility that the guess is wrong, it doesn’t guarantee that it’s right.

I admit to being guilty of using the words “guess,” “suppose,” “think,” and “believe” all the time. But when I ask someone a question and that person is not sure of the answer, I’d prefer to be told “I don’t know” instead of “I guess.”

And with that said, I believe I have covered this topic sufficiently, although I suppose I could provide some more examples. No, I think I’ve said enough.

I guess.

Written for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill, which is to write a post using or about the word “guess.”

Stream of Consciousness Saturday — Balance


“Balance,” Jordan said flatly.

“Balance?” she asked.

Her question hung in the air for a few uncomfortable seconds. “Yeah, balance,” Jordan repeated. An awkward silence followed until Jordan finally broke it. “You know, balance. As in go with the flow, easy come-easy go, grin and bear it, roll with the punches. Balance.”

“Balance,” she said. “And how do you achieve balance?”

“I strive to maintain an even keel,” Jordan answered. She stared back at him until he continued. “I try to avoid life’s high highs and low lows.”

“How’s that working out for you? she asked.

“Um, okay I guess. I know a lot of people who are all bipolar and manic depressive and things like that,” he said. “But I’m not like that. I’m easy going. I never get really depressed or anything. I try to steer clear of emotional extremes so that I can maintain balance. That’s good, right?”

“Are you happy?” she asked.

“Happy? Yeah, I guess. I’m content.”

“Content?” She jotted something down on her notepad. “Do you ever experience joy?”

“Joy? I suppose I do. Sometimes. Not very often. But I also don’t ever feel really down, either. As I said, I work hard to avoid the low lows even if it means having to sacrifice the high highs.”

“I think you may be paying too great a price by insulating yourself from the intensity of your feelings.”

“Well, I am who I am and I see no reason to change,” Jordan said with some irritation in his voice. “I may not be a highly emotional guy, but I’m in balance.”

He stood up, put on his jacket, and walked to her office door. “And the only thing I’m paying too great a price for, doctor, are these weekly bullshit sessions of ours.”

“Well, Jordan, it’s good to know that you can at least feel anger,” she said just before he slammed the door shut.

This post is for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, which is to use the words “high” and/or “low” in the post. Thanks to Linda G. Hill.

SoCS — Idle Threat


“I’m gonna tear you limb from limb!” the snearing bully yelled at his intended victim.

“Go right ahead and try. Give it your best shot!” cackled the snake.

This very short, yet poignant (?) post is for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday from Linda G. Hill. The prompt is to write a post using the word “limb.”

SoCS — Sealing the Ceiling

Image result for man painting the ceiling

“Please be careful up there,” she entreated me.

“Don’t worry, this ladder is very safe and secure,” I responded. “Besides, after that downpour on Thursday and the ensuing leak, someone’s got to get up here and take care of sealing this ceiling now that the roofer has fixed the roof.”

“I get it,” she responded, “but don’t forget that you lost your job and you don’t have any health insurance.”

“I can get coverage through Obamacare,” I noted.

“Well, I guess if you’re going to fall and break your neck while sealing the ceiling, better to do it now before the Republicans are successful in sealing the deal to repeal Obamacare.”

“Thanks for bumming me out,” I said. “Maybe the ceiling will come crashing down on the GOP in the midterms next year.”

“One can only hope,” she replied.

This post was written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt this week, where we are challenged to write a post using the words “sealing” and/or “ceiling.”

Going Commando

Image result for inseam measurement

I admit that I’m cheating. Linda’s prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday challenge is to write a post about the title of a book you’re currently reading or one that is closest to you as you write this post.

Sorry Linda, but I’m not doing that today. Not exactly, anyway.

Yesterday’s WordPress one-word prompt was the word “tailor.” I wrote a post that referenced spy novels, including one by John le Carré, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I am neither currently reading that book nor is it close to me at the moment.

But after I’d published my post for the “tailor” prompt yesterday, I recalled a long-suppressed memory of the last time I’d gone to a tailor, something I don’t do very often. I’m an off-the-rack kind of a guy.

Anyway, I remembered one very mortifying experience visiting a tailor. It was many years ago. I mean MANY years ago. Here’s the story of that experience.

My sister was getting married in a far away city and I was an usher. Her fiancé made an appointment with a local tailor for his ushers (and his father) to get fitted for our wedding party tuxes. Five of us piled into a car and headed to the tailor.

Upon our arrival, the tailor herded all of us into a large, communal fitting room so that he could get our measurements for the tuxes. He then instructed us all to remove our shirts and trousers.

So what’s the big deal you ask? Well, back then I was a bit of a hippie. Long hair, beard, tie-dyed t-shirts, and bell-bottomed jeans.

I also went commando. Just in case you don’t know what that means, going commando involves not wearing underpants beneath your pants. For men, it’s sometimes referred to as “free-balling.”

The day we had the appointment with the tailor, I had on my bell-bottomed jeans and I was, as usual, not wearing underpants. I guess I wasn’t thinking about where we were going or what we would be doing.

So there I was with four other guys in the open fitting room and I wasn’t wearing underpants. I dropped trou, just like the other four. Fortunately, my tie-dyed t-shirt was extra long and I pulled it down as far as I could in order to better conceal my goodies.

I thought I was going to get away with being without underpants until the tailor knelt down in front of me in order to measure my inseam. Holding his cloth measuring tape in one hand, he pulled up my t-shirt with the other.

Uh oh!

Kneeling, my junk directly in front of his face at eye-level, the tailor seemed totally unfazed. He looked up at me with a blank expression on his face, as if this was a common occurrence, and politely asked, “Will you be wearing underpants at the wedding?”

That was the day I stopped going commando.

Steam of Consciousness Saturday — A Limerick


For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, Linda G. Hill’s instruction was to find a word with “ick” in it or use it as a word itself.

I wrote a poor excuse for a limerick for my last post, and since the word “limerick” ends with an “ick,” I thought I’d compose another limerick for this challenge. Hopefully a better one.

Are you ready? Here goes:

There once was a bastard named Rick

Whose behavior was that of a prick

We finally decided

We could no longer abide it

Cause that icky prick Rick made us sick.