A Wetting

Monday, 28 July 2014

we are hidden inside 
while it thunders
when you call for me, in the three o'clock 
dark of my room, I roll off 
and curl fetal on the far side of the bed 
to test
your temper.

You come in, 
the dog's eyes are sharper 
but the sound of your voice
fills the room.

You run along my aggravate silence,
horse feet searching the house, the creak of
the family room floorboard, the bare 
slap on kitchen tile, the rattled shower 
curtain, a burst into the closet -

your timbre gains an edge of question.

The screen door crash as you check the porch,
that last spot,
just sheltered, where
after dark, we sometimes dull the day.

Now, I am a cruel 
hone even to your silence. From the rack you 
gather your jacket, sheathing thin 
bones, turn back outside.

I count your steps
watch your back
rise and reclaim you.

     Where were you going?
     To look for you.
     Were you worried?
     YES!

          I tell him I will never leave him 
          a large lie to tell a small boy,
          who stood 
          looking for me, 
          foot-soaked in the downpour, 
          his hand upon the gate.

He Finally Hit The Ball!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

I signed Abraham up for the Old Brooklyn Youth League tee-​ball league back in April. Due to an enrollment mix-​up he got put into a coach-​pitch softball team instead. More than a little bit out of his league. He’s been struggling a bit with the gross motor demands and focus necessary to play on the team, but he’s just barely 6, so no one really cares — except for him. He’s been fighting against it because sports aren’t very fun when you’re no good at them. It’s the same whining I dealt with earlier in the year with regard to writing. He just wants to not do it because it is hard. He hasn’t yet internalized that the more you practice the less hard things become. So playing catch or batting practice have been more mental struggles than physical ones.

The biggest obstacle for him has been hitting the ball. It’s not easy. Each time he’s been up to bat and struck out 123, he’s gotten more and more downcast. He struck out on his first at bat and didn’t want to leave. He wanted to keep swinging. His next at bat he decided to go out there left-​handed, and his coach let him. Lo, and behold, he knocked a ball foul and ran to first base! He was so excited. And then crushed and not understanding why he had to go back to the box. He refused to leave first, because he’d earned that base, by gum! Then both teams & the spectators began cheering for him and encouraging him to go back and swing again. Of course, he struck out again, but everyone let him run the bases anyway. It was a great change. He was so happy, and started singing “I Love Baseball!”

The encouragement from the coaches, both teams, and all the spectators made me cry. I’m glad I was wearing sunglasses. This league is about as non-​competitive as you can get, all of the adults are focused on making sure the kids have fun and learn about good sportsmanship, camaraderie, and how to play the game.

Tonight when I put Abraham to sleep he said: “When we get up tomorrow morning, can we practice baseball?”

All-​American Hoodie Battle: HOMAGE v. American Giant

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Almost a month ago, this tweet:

led to a bit of a challenge between two Made-​in-​America brands — HOMAGE & American Giant — that I volunteered to judge.

I’d purchased a couple of Ohio-​based HOMAGE hoodies around Christmas when they had their fleece sale. American Giant was running a Father’s Day promotion which enabled me to pick up a hoodie and a t-​shirt at a discount. Here are the items I’m comparing:

I’m pretty picky when it comes to the qualities I look for in a hoodie, namely: it’s fit, comfort, style, and, most importantly, hood fit. Here’s a comparison of the hoodie construction as cribbed from their websites.

HOMAGE American Giant
  • UNISEX STYLE
  • POLY/​COTTON/​RAYON BLEND
  • HOODED ZIP-​UP SWEATSHIRT
  • BRUSHED FLEECE INTERIOR
  • TWO FRONT POCKETS
  • METAL ZIP CLOSURE
  • DRAWCORD HOOD
  • EMBROIDERED “H” PATCH ON LEFT SLEEVE
  • SOFT SCREENPRINT AT CHEST
  • MADE IN USA
  • 100% cotton, 8.8 oz combed ring-​spun fleece
  • Dry exterior hand
  • Brushed interior for added warmth and softness
  • 11.4 oz cotton rib with 5% spandex for recovery
  • Raglan sleeve design
  • Double-​lined hood
  • Double layer rib side paneling for mobility and fit
  • Custom metal zipper with color-​matched zipper tape
  • Contrast-​dyed drawcord with custom metal grommets
  • Reinforced elbow patches
  • Classic 4″ long cuffs and waist ribbing
  • Kanga pockets reinforced with bar tacks
  • Flatlock and reverse coverstitch seaming
  • Pre-​washed and shrunk to fit
  • Made in the USA
  • Built to last

Fit

The questions I ask myself in regard to fit are: Are the arms long enough? (The closer to 36″ the better.) Does it bag out around my midsection? Does it hold its shape? Does it get in the way?

HOMAGE

The arms are plenty long enough for me on the large, which is great for winter in-​home wear, the only issue I’ve experienced with the sleeve length is that they’re just a bit too long, and my hands have stretched out the cuffs. The sleeves are slim for my stick arms, which I’m a big fan of. In terms of holding its shape, I don’t get the sense that it is supposed to, it drapes on you. It doesn’t get in the way, but it also doesn’t wear well as a middle layer, as it kind of sticks out in odd spots if I try to throw a coat on over it.

American Giant

The sleeves hit right on my wrists, and while it isn’t quite as slim-​fitting as the HOMAGE hoodie, it also isn’t noticeably baggy. The cut and construction of this ensures that it will hold its shape, which is good for long-​life, but makes me think it won’t really mold to my shape after awhile.

Winner: American Giant. The American Giant hoodie just fits better the first time.

Comfort

HOMAGE

This hoodie is soft, light, fluffy, like wearing a blanket.

American Giant

Because the fit is so precise, you don’t really notice you’re wearing this at all.

Winner: Tie. If your idea of comfort is being under a blanket, you’ll go with HOMAGE. If your idea of comfort is feeling like you’re not wearing clothes, you’ll go with American Giant.

Style

Left side: HOMAGE Right side: American Giant
Left side: HOMAGE
Right side: American Giant

HOMAGE

I absolutely love the heathered cloth & colors available in this hoodie. The pockets are a bit small, and I wish the hem & cuffs had a bit more of the “recovery” that the American Giant hoodie has. The quality of the cloth & it’s thickness are definitely lesser than American Giant, but that’s fleece for you.

American Giant

There are a lot of colors to choose from, but they are all solid, which is a bit too plain for my taste. The larger pockets. I love the reinforced forearm, and the sturdiness of the cuffs and hem. While the 100% cotton cloth is of higher quality, it also makes the hoodie appear much more plain.

Winner: Tie. Once again, this depends on what you’re going for. If you’re looking for casual comfort with a bit of flair, you’ll go for HOMAGE. If you want unassuming but precision detail, you’ll go with American Giant.

Hood Fit

HOMAGE

This hoodie has a nice curve too it, and doesn’t obstruct my vision. I’m not a fan of the visible fleecing, and it looks pretty weird when it is not up, but compared to the American Giant hood, it’s a clear winner.

American Giant

This is a good dense hood, but it sits with a weird flatness on my head, and really catches the wind when I have it up.

Winner: HOMAGE Still, it’s nothing like my GOAT J.Crew hoodie’s hood. Snug around my head, but not obstructive, it affords perfect coverage and protection without the excess fabric that might make me look like a half-​assed Jedi.

Scorecard

This really depends on what you want in a hoodie. These are two separate species, each with their own niche. HOMAGE is comfortable, super-​casual, college-​wear, American Giant is focused, precise, for someone who has demanding standards for what they expect from their clothing. I think the American Giant hoodie is the best value of the two, but they’re both good brands providing American made goods in a market filled with cheap crap. I’d rather buy either of these hoodies than drop $50 on one made by 5 year olds in Thailand from some fancy department store.

UPDATE: After reading this post, HOMAGE contacted me and gave me some store credit! They’ve always had amazing customer service.