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Laughing At The Battlefield.

Saturday evening we had thunder but then just spits of rain. Monica was helping me unroll sod in our yard which was nice and different since we rarely do any home projects together. Unless you consider gallons of red wine and four seasons of WEEDS a project. I don't. And the fact that we had gone to our very first marriage counseling session that morning sort of swirled a bit of hopefulness into the 7 o'clock atmosphere. Violet was over in her car seat, on the bricks. The dogs were rubbing their bodies in the cool new grass. Up til then the yard has been dust and stubby clumps of weeds.

The therapy thing had gone well if you're waiting to hear about that. We liked the lady enough. She wasn't old or uppity; she didn't seem to mind cursing. That's a huge one for The Bielanko clan: we're big swearers. After the thing was over and we were driving back down the mountain, Monica and I talked a little about it, but not really a lot. Inside, I believe we were both excited about the prospects. On the surface though, well, we aren't able to be that forthright yet. To get all giddy about an expensive counseling session would be very foreign to us. We're way too ghetto. We agreed to try to keep it going if we can swing the cost.

So, that evening out in the yard we unravel soft green . The whole idea is to have a place where we can watch Violet take her first steps some day in the not so distant future. A little place where she won't trip over a wad of dog crap and land on an old arrowhead. And maybe a place where we can all cook some pork chops and corn on the grill. Relax some.

At one point during our labors our daughter is grinning at her Mama's silly antics and just bursts into full-on laughter. High giggles and deeper amused gasps stop me across the yard. Violet is laughing out loud for the first time in her young life. True obvious laughter. I head over there and now we both tickle her feet with our manure'd fingertips. There's no time to wash...gotta keep this sensational chuckle alive. For awhile we do and it's one of the coolest moments of my life. Then Violet tires of the whole scene. Still. I hope it is the first in about a hundred years of constant laughter for her. I'd drain all my blood into a washtub this sec if I knew it would promise her that.

We finish up the yard. I go get some burritos. Then, the long day done, we watch some DEXTER and drink some wine: satisfied enough with our real Saturday projects to enjoy a spin on the couch for what it is. Tomorrow morning we will wake up and have another damn fight about whose getting up in the night to change and feed and whose working full-time and whose a c@#t and who isn't.

The whole new grass/new us/new dawning metaphor crossed my mind here. But we're not that graceful, me and her. We need the counseling AND the baby laughing. The wine on Saturday night AND the early rising on Sunday morning. We'll find our way, I figure.

At least we got a yard now, you case it just all comes down to a flat-out wrestling match.

Reader Comments (17)

With the grassy underlay there's always tent sex to consider now as well...

June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You two are making your way... 'everything is all right'. (quoting Gurumayi Chidvilasananda)

June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Another great post, but I am wondering how you can be so open about your family, and yet you can't bring yourself to say anything about your future with Marah. If you listen to Dave at the shows it sounds like you are on paternity leave. After reading a few posts from your blog it sounds like you really may be an "ex-rocker". Don't get me wrong, you don't owe your fans anything. If you don't want to say anything you don't owe anyone an explanation. But that strategy of silence is really hurting your brother and what is left of the band. The message board is a ghost town compared to a few years ago. It's true that indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love. Why not just address your relationship with Marah with the same directness and humor with which you talk about your relationship with your wife?

Lay it out there for your fans. Anybody who ever followed Marah knows it was more than just a band - it was a community. We care about you and your family. Trust us to listen. Hell, it's free, and who knows, maybe we can even help.

June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

If Serge wanted to talk about Marah he would. He owes nobody an explanation except his brother and I'm sure Dave knows what is what. Let the guy talk about what he wants to talk about on his own blog and quit hammering him about something he probably isn't interested in discussing. Especially if you read the blog he posted last week.

June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

What's a Marah?

June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Marah fans, here's what I got in a nutshell. I love being a dad and cannot imagine not being around nearly every day of Violet's life for a long time to come. Like til she's old enough to carve her name in a school bus seat with a compass point.

That's that.

If I ever did play some music again it would be with my brother, probably as Marah. Other than him, I'm not interested. I haven't touched a guitar in over a year...I probably couldn't even hold my own with any band on Earth these days! I need to write some tunes for Violet though. When I do, I'll share 'em with you for a laugh...

This might sound weird or dumb, and I mean it in the most innocent way but...I have little to no interest in music anymore. I think maybe I put enough of myself into that medium. I love Marah, love my bro. Love the experiences and some of the people that rock'n'roll brought into my life. But I only listen to AC/DC and jazz and some old country these days. What can I say?....I'm old.

That's it really. I rocked. I might rock again. Right now, I'm rocking the shit out of a sweaty cold can of Diet Coke and watching The Hills. There's so many ways to rock, I'm finding out.

June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSerge


June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterana_jo

Directness and humour... yes. But also charm, a truly dazzling wit, insight, a poet's eye and a great novelist's turn of phrase. And, of course, a touch of the blarney (the family name was originally BielankO'Riley, in case you didn't know...). And a love so powerful for those two girls in his life that it overflows right out of him. And an unflinching honesty that makes me jealous, and makes me see just how many times in my own life I chose to shutting up and shutting down over speaking the truth.

Serge, Monica, you have BOTH got all of those things going on, and many more talents and great human qualities in you besides. And I believe that this writing is not only going to save your own lives, but also the lives of many, many other people who will draw strength from your strength down the years from here. The purpose of all storytelling is surely to go out into the wilderness and tell the truth about what you find there... big waves, woolly mammoths, high peaks and avalanches too.

And yes, you rocked.
DId you ever.

And you might rock again.
That's true.

But, man, you are ROCKIN' now. More than you know.

And I'd bet every penny I've got or ever had that you guys are going to come through these storms will colours flying and no-one lost overboard. More power to you.

Did you ever? Did ANYONE ever rock harder, or more joyfully, or more excellently than this? I don't think so... (at least if are qutting, you're quitting while you're ahead! Going out right at the top. Heh, heh, heh...)

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Murff

Hey Serge - go to or somewhere like that take a look at what Dan Zanes (formerly of the Del Fuegos) has done with music for kids. We bought a couple of these CDs when our kids were little - at some point you just can't take anymore Elmo so having an alternative everyone can listen to is really nice. With your sense of humor and obvious love for kids I could see you doing something like this. If nothing else Violet will like what Dan has done.

Best of luck to you and your family. We'll miss you in Marah-land but we get it.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Serge that sounds like a wonderful day...and a priceless memory for the future.
I don't know anything about your music, but you are a very very good writer.
Ever thought of making a career out of it?
I really think you could be very successful!

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

I understand, but I am a little disappointed. I loved watching you and your brother stand next to each other onstage and make an unholy racket with your guitars, but you need to what is right. Good luck and godspeed.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersean

Random question from random reader. Does your therapist happen to be Janna McGaw? She's out of Park City and sounds a lot like the descriptions from both of your blogs. If it isn't and the one you have gets fired, she's definitely worth looking into. Meets all of the previously stated qualifications.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Those Dan Zanes' albums are a blast! I gifted them to some parent pals of mine and the kids loved them!

Warren Zanes' albums are really cool too.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Everything in Park City is great. The stores, the mountains, the bagels, the surgeons...
yet i find the constant happiness of the Whovillers a little creepy. everyone is so...athletic. I wanna see a fat person in park city one day.

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm a new Marah fan so I'm not missing you. Never knew ya.

June 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

it's all on a continuum, right? My visceral self is in line with "Marah-fan" who just wants you back - and why not? Lightening in a thimble the first show I saw where you guys opened for Mountain upstairs at the Troc ('97?)to that blasted 11:30am slot at ACL Fest where you tore a hole in the morning sky. What's not to love intensely? Sometimes paying $10 for a show is too much and sometimes the experience and the take-away has no pricing model (see also "priceless"). Marah shows and albums (yes, I said albums) are priceless to me. All that adds up to fan-atical, so count me in that mix. Then...then there's my Daddy side. It's sweaty, hard, messy, love, love, love, here are my foibles, here are my gifts, filterless, fearful, fealess, fucking lovely. Enjoy it all and just consider the possibility that there's an Act 2 for you in Marah someplace on that continuum - maybe. Marah-fan - patience and enjoy Dave & Co in the interim. Sorry for the pedantic stance - as a father of two it's part of the gig. Drew

June 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdrew

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