Monday, December 26, 2011

(Husband/Father) Post Christmas


Christmas is over.  I hardly know what to say about it.  It's a crazy time of year and I don't think you can truly prepare.  Being with family is great and watching the kids open presents is awesome.  Daisy and I spent our honeymoon in Disneyland 13 yrs ago and are now going back with our two boys.  We presented them with this knowledge two days ago.  The reaction was somewhat anticlimactic.  The video we took showed confusion.  Much silence passed before Fire said, "Are you kiddin'?"

If this post seems somewhat halted in nature it's because I don't know what day, date, or time it is.  I don't really know who is in our home or if we are actually in our home at all.  I don't know the last time I drank water but am pretty sure I drank flat Pepsi an hour ago.  I would pour it out but I don't want my 98 cent liter to go to waste.  Breakfast consisted of Chocolate pebbles.  Is that with Fred Flinstone on the box.  It was the healthiest thing I have had in 3 days.  How can the most wonderful time of the year be so horrible to my body? 

I fell asleep on two different couches and a floor in 3 homes.  I think I have taken several showers but have found myself back in the same clothes.  The only way I can make sense of this phenomenon is that the clothes were the nearest to me when I dried off.  It was either laziness or faith in my former self to put some laundered items on top of the toilet for easy access.  I tried exercising by going out to the car for gifts or to put gifts back.  Going out to the car for food (sugar) and putting leftover food (sugar) back into the trunk.  I figured there were enough times to offset a cake ball the size of a raisin.  Then again, I did have to pick up a child to place him in time-out so we would have to count 3 calories for that one too.  But was it my kid?  Maybe my relatives just let it go because they felt sorry for me. 

"Well, it was actually Beast that hit Tommy but maybe Goose thought it was Timmy."

"But Timmy is outside."

"Good point.  Does Goose even know Timmy?"

"I don't think so.  Furthermore, why is Goose putting Timmy in the "Time-Out cupboard"

I really don't want to sound like a martyr.  I know Christmas is not easy on everyone.  But I am coming to the realization I am a man of routine.  Trying to force routine into a chaotic entity can be done, or tolerated, in small doses.  But the Christmas season is its own animal altogether.  Is this how Scrooge came about?  Was he once a pleasant being who finally needed a break?  What if he went to the cave up in the mountains just to get some peace and quiet and ended up staying too long? 

Speaking of too long, I love writing this post and wished I had more time to do it.  Hope you are all enjoying the joy of the holidays. 

Crap.  Fire just woke up from his nap.  He will either want a cookie, show, or toys.  Preferably all at the same time.  Because that is how Jesus would want it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

(Husband) My Untimely Death


When Daisy was playing competitive soccer.  Well, when is she not? Breaking a girl's jaw in City League?  C'mon Daisy!  I'm completely joking.  Anyway, she would wear the same socks the next time she played a game if they won.  It got to be a little gamey in the apartment when they were on a streak.  Just kidding on that one too.  I think.  I'm pretty sure she washed them.  But they were the same uniform so what would be the difference if they won or not if she washed them each time?  Whatever.  Personally I think baseball players are the worst.  They are all so friggin OCD.  Do you see how many times they strap and resstrap their batting gloves, adjust their caps and.....other things?  One pitcher saved his fingernail clippings in his locker.  Maybe hockey players too.  Their beards are pretty nasty deep into the playoffs.

I'm getting off track.  I'm not a superstitious person.  Maybe that is why I'm not great at sports.  Unless I'm playing against 5th graders.  And even then I wasn't exactly dominating on a court at the beach playing them.  I 'm going to go with the ol' I thought I would trip over them excuse.  I'm I off point again?  Why did I have to mention the beach?  It gives credibility to the story because I remember it well.

So I'm not superstitious.  Until six months ago when Daisy mentioned Life Insurance and nominated me as the one to sing us up.  I was glad to oblige.  We had just bought the house, the school debts were needing attention, and we have two kids.  If I died it would be a burden until Daisy found a new husband a couple of months later.  But a burden none the less. 

But then something happened.  And I'm sure you have seen this coming.  I didn't want to do it because it would mean I would then die.  I commute rural roads about 45 minutes to work on Thursdays.  Those drives began to get a little stressful.  Especially on the curves, in the dark, and when it was raining.  With a slow tractor in front of me.  With people passing.  Does it really have anything to do with an irrational fear?  Yeah.  Because I could feel death breathing down my neck reminding me of the the life insurance.  I would picture my running off the road and Daisy picking up the phone.  After the police explain what happened she would cry, gather herself, and say, "Thank God we got the life insurance figured out.  Man, that was providential."  But no.  It was BECAUSE we got the life insurance I died.  "It wasn't an accident!" I would scream down at her as they handed me the harp and halo. 

Recently I saw some good friends on several different occasions.  More than usual.  "Much more than usual" I thought.  They would invite me and it would be rude to turn them down.  What if they had a feeling that was unconscious?  I didn't make the initial contact so it was something outside of my control.  It was in death's control and he was just being nice to me.  Or mean.  Maybe he thinks I'm getting a little cocky by getting life insurance.  As if it will protect me.  I have to show him respect.  Come to think of it.  Maybe I should show Daisy a little more respect.  What if my death isn't coincidental?  What if the life insurance suggestion was a little too forceful?

I'll be honest with you.  That, "Live each day as if it was your last" is not exactly comforting.

Monday, October 31, 2011

(Father) Turning Tricks into Treats


We can't say Halloween for some reason.  I think it has to do with the fact that it satan's day.  Just like Christmas is Jesus' birthday so we can't say Christ.  Not that Autumn Festival or Winter Holiday is not just as awesome as the other labels.  It just suprises me that people actually give a damn.  Because a rose by any other name is still a rose.  We still celebrate it as we would any other thing.  At least I hope we would.  I don't want to say Christmas because there could be a chance I would become a Christian or at least be perceived as one.  And I can't say Holloween lest Satan scream in delight at our honoring him in such a respectful way or that the mere mention of the word Halloween would cause people to worship him.

I dont have the names of Holidays up on my top five agendas so it may appear silly to me.  I'm sure there are things people could poke fun of and I would frown, stick my lip out, and pout for a cuple of minutes.  But for this I don not write.  I am writing about candy.  I have heard about car truk candy give-a-ways where kids roam around a parking lot and receive candy from people who have backed their car up to create a cirle of cars in a designated parking lot.  They decorate them in such a way as to inspire, even the cold hearted among us, to be thankful for waht we have.  Hold up, that's next month.  I think it is meant to keep kids safe and to receive candy from people they know.  I also like that you don't have to walk as far. 

I think there should be new traditions like egging houses that have their porch lights off.  They are obviously not giving out candy and should be duly punished for being unprepared and or in oppostion toward cute little kids who

There is something seriously wrong with this computer.  I'm going to throw it out the window now.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

(Father) It's me


I get my kids out the door 4 out of the 5 weekdays whether it be to the park, school, or daycare.  It's not easy and sometimes I don't leave as early as I would like.  Picking out the "socks that don't feel funny" or refusing to put their seat belts because "I don't know how" when they have done it a hundred times before.  I will show up to meet a friend and say, "Sorry, getting the kids out the door was a little more hectic than usual".  I receive a sympathetic, "Don't worry about it.  It's a hard job" and then we go about our activity.

But I have realized something.  I am the problem.  One, it is their job to push the limits.  It is unfair of me to expect complete obedience to my requests.  I am not talking about defiance that deserves time-outs.  I'm talking about grumbling as they slowly move about a process they don't want to do.  Why should I expect them to feel the pressure of getting somewhere when they are not motivated to be there in the first place.  It's like the way we might show up 10 minutes late to work.  Two, I try to get as much sleep than I possibly can.  I think, "Maybe if I am really on top of things I can get 10 more minutes of rest.  Besides, they are quiet and watching cartoons.  They really don't want to be disturbed either."  Snooze button hit once unrealistic compromise has been made.  They are the ones that have woke up early.  Not me.  Three, I have failed to do the prep work the night before.  "I really want to watch the rest of this show so I don't have time right now.  Besides, I need my rest.  Please refer to snooze button explanation.  Four, I can't get them ready and then spend time getting myself ready at the same time.  I also can't get them ready first and expect them not to get into trouble while they are waiting for me.  Of course I can't have a close shave when every 10 seconds they are in the bathroom asking, "Can I have Ice Cream?  Beast is hitting me!  Fire just took his shirt off! Fire just went outside! Can you read us a book?"  Frustration will come.  And what if they really push the limits and a punishment is in order.  A three minute time-out is three minutes we don't have.  So empty threats come out, for extra compliance of course. When those don't work then you have to unempty the threat and follow through.  Another three minutes of throwing the blanket down the garbage disposal plus a tantrum.  I end up putting the seat belt on them which just reinforces their expression of incompetence and feel annoyed on the way to wherever because of the sucking sound on the dino-vitamin because my patience level has reached maximum capacity.

My bad friends.  So when I show up at my next thing a more appropriate explanation is the kids had a hard time getting me out the door.  But I'm not going to do that.  Because it is easier to blame them for my problems.  Just like they will in their future therapy sessions.  It's a win win.

Monday, October 24, 2011

(Husband) Daisy is Evil

I'm on our old computer that just took almost a half an hour to load up everything.  I wonder how much time we wasted just getting to our e-mail alone.  Daisy could have spent her time getting her Masters Degree in........um........I don't know..............like..........awesomeness?  Whatever.  Anyway, she is using our good computer to watch Parenthood, which I guess is a good show for thirty something parents.  Now that I think about it, there was a show when I was young called thirty something.  We are at an interesting age.  But that is not why Daisy is evil.  She is evil for so many more reasons than I can mention but this is one of them.  She makes cookies that are very good.  Now I purposely stayed away from the, "My wife makes the best cookies ever!!! You have not tasted a cookie until you have tasted hers.  Your wife, mother, sister, or daughter would burn their recipes and hang their heads in shame if they were to even smell the cookies from a half a mile away."  I stayed away from saying it because it is annoying.  But I have to be honest, I can't think of many I like better.  We went through many recipe's over a number of years until we found the recipe we have now.   We figured out if we took the cookies out when they were hot dough they would turn out really well when they cooled down.  That way, we could eat the fresh dough, hot dough, and then the baked dough that has cooled. 

I will try to eat the dough when she is mixing it and then when she is putting it on the baking sheet and then when they are in the oven, out of the oven, on the cooling tray, and then the finished product.  I will eat roughly ten of them and then feel sick to my stomach.  The next day I will not have learned my lesson and will eat some for breakfast and pack some for lunch, a snack when I get home and for dessert after dinner.  I will hide them from the children by eating them when they are playing.  If I need to come out for any reason I will hide it behind my back or leave it in the kitchen with a napkin over it.  If they see any kind of movement in my mouth that looks like anything related to a chewing motion they will ask what I am eating.  I won't lie but we will share a cookie together like a big happy family.  I will give them each a quarter and I will get a half.  When they protest I will trump them by saying daddy is bigger.  I will then tell them I don't need them on any kind of sugar rush.  Today I came home and there were three cookies left.  A good husband would name them Daisy, Beast, and Fire.  I had Daisy's because I knew she would understand.  But the other two have been screaming at me from inside their little Tupperware container.  Taunting me like a little schoolgirl.  Pulling my pigtails and sing songing, "You can't get me!" Flapping their hands while sticking their their thumbs in their ears." 

I hate those cookies.  Hate them.  And I know that I shouldn't think this but they really are the spawn of Satan.  Now you say, "Goose.  That is raising your hate to a while 'nother level.  And it sounds like you are calling your wife Satan."  I'm not saying she is Satan but perhaps she is possessed by him during the time she is making them.  All I know is that once the last two are eaten I will want more.  And Daisy will make excuses not to make more just to increase my temptations.  And I will curse her.  And when she suggests I can make them, "your own damn self" I will give a short chuckle and say back, "You'd like that wouldn't you." and go off to sulk.  It's just a bad cycle and she is to blame.  And that is all I have to say about that.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

(Father) Love for them from you is love from me to you

I can't believe how long it takes me to log in.  I have tried every which way but basically I have to create a new password every time I want to post a blog.  Which means I don't have any time to write now.  Which means I am very angry.  Which means I'm going to throw this computer out the window even though it is not her fault.

Basically, I don't care who you are, where you have come from, what you have done, and how you act toward others as long as you genuinely, sincerely, and in the most healthy of ways, love my kids.  I will, in turn, love you.  I think that is why people don't let the people they date meet their children.  Because that person will bring an awesome something to the kid, the kid will love the person, and they will persistently pester the parent to have the person they are dating back for dinner because that person is the most awesome person in the world.  And if the person acts as if they like the kid back and they end up having a blast when they are together and maybe even have their own outing without you then they have no choice but to marry them.  Because that is what I would do.

Monday, October 3, 2011

(Father) Monkey Beast


The kids were going nuts today.  They are little basket cases if they are prevented from gong outside.  Living in the NorthWest has it's disadvantages in that area.  I would much rather have snow falling from the sky then rain dripping from my chin.  So, when it looked like it was simply very cloudy we took our chances walking to the park.  Made it!  There was only a simply structure with nothing else around it.  It was the closest park and I had never taken the children.  A 20 foot high structure that held an entanglement of ropes that came down like a pyramid.  With the kids standing next to me it felt like a lot higher and the ropes a lot smaller than when Daisy and I happened upon it a couple of weeks earlier.  Besides that, it had rained and the ropes were much more slick.  It took Beast 2.5 seconds to climb to the second tier.  I was in between STOP! and allowing him to be a boy which meant holding my breath and looking like I had just smelled bad eggs.  My stomach was turning in knots as he was almost skipping up the treacherous tower of death.  I am not kidding when I say it was 20 feet.  I used to play a lot of basketball and could touch the rim at 10.  Standing on the 10 foot high rope gave me another 10 foot high perspective. 

I was holding myself back from being the overprotective parent but the chances of Daisy asking me 20 questions left me choking on CAREFUL! I could see her asking me probing questions as we sit next to Beast's hospital bed that would leave me stuttering for answers that would never be satisfactory.  But when Beast reached the very top he said the famous last words of, "Hey Dad!! Look at this!!  I looked up and saw him standing on a rope without any hands on anything else.  My words whispered it of me.  It was like a dream where you are trying to run away from Satan but are stuck in the mud.  If I yelled he would startle and fall and if I didn't say anything then how could I answer question 2?  It was only two seconds until he leaned toward the pole and caught himself but it feel like eternity.

Beast is the child you see doing completely dangerous things and you wonder if the parents are negligent in watching their child.   I'm at the bottom of whatever apparatus he is climbing to catch him when he falls.  The thing is, he instills a bit of confidence in me because of the calm he exudes while he doing these crazy things.  Today he climbed a 30 foot rock wall, with harness of course,  but let go of one hand and leg to look around to see me.  I want him to do active things and not suppress what seems to come so natural but dear God please don't let him die before I'm gone...................please?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(Father) Bear Cubs


I love going to conferences that have to do with my field of study.  It makes me feel less weird about being a Psychologist because I'm with my peeps.  My buddies who all laugh at the same stupid jokes.  Well, we also learn a lot too.  One of the things the speaker mentioned was the way boys (who are over diagnosed with ADHD in my opinion) wrestle around and get energy out.  Sitting in a classroom in not conducive to such behavior and is with more emphasis on meeting standardized testing requirements, may not be getting enough time at recess.  But there is still another piece of this puzzle.  Boys are discouraged from wrestling altogether. It seems there is only the appropriate time to make contact and that is in the context of sports (which is great) but what about the kids who don't have the resources (Time, money, transportation) for such. 

Michael G. Thompson is an author (30 years of research, therapy, and teaching on boys/men) who wrote Raising Cain which is a book about boys and growing up in today's world.  In another book I just read he tells a story about two boys, who were friends, but got in wrestling match that got a little heated.  The parents were called and the teachers, principle, and both sets of parents made a treatment plan to keep them apart since "fighting" was sure to ensue.  Despite the boy's attraction to one another they kept them apart. Because, when they did make contact, they would wrestle and it could turn ugly.  Thompson's argued that this was not in the best interests of any involved.  The lecturer this past Saturday agreed.

She explained (researched based)that boys are fine in wrestling as long as their is shared power struggle in that no boy gets the upper hand above 60 percent.  A 60/40 split is fine but once it goes above then the problem arises.  That is where people rush in to say that the wrestling is wrong altogether.  Let's take no chances in anyone getting hurt and how dare your child hurt my child.  Now granted, the problem of bullying is not lost on me.  and any kid that goes above and beyond the 60 percent on a regular basis should be dealt with.  But I must tell you it was refreshing to hear.

I have two boys and they fight.  Sometimes they fight dirty so when I watch Beast shove Fire into a chain link fence I stand up to reprimand.  after coming back from the conference I became aware of holding back until I saw the 60/40 split happens.  Fire came back and tackled Beast which gave Beast reason to stand on Fire's back.  This all looked like it hurt.  I was then worried that if I let it go on the problem wouldn't be hard feelings toward one another but the bruises I would have to explain to the school. 

I think the difficult part would be for teachers to let something go on even if the boys did not have much of a problem with it.  Because the risk it too much if things get ugly.  The school could be held liable as well as the parent of the child who gets the upper hand.  And, in fact, I would be among the first dad's who gets angry.  I want to protect my children at all costs.  But what is the real cost in the long run?  I s it worth putting our faith into the research or do we let them run around the block a couple of times as an alternative.  I will say that Fire brought some wonderful qualities to the brother factor.  Even though he is 22 months younger he would tackle Beast to the floor and pick on him quite often.  I felt sorry for my little tender hearted boy.  Everybody witnessed the struggle Beast had.

One day they were over at Grandpa and Grandma's house. Daisy and I had gone out of town for the weekend.  Daisy's sister and her husband were over to visit.  Fire stole something from Beast and ran into the living room where everyone was seated.  Laughing of course.  The way they describe it was this.  Beast came out of the Kitchen with a distressed look on his face.  Before everyone's eyes his face turn into a fierce looking animal.  He ran over to Fire, got him in a headlock, and dragged him to the ground.  On impulse, everyone cheered.  Beast had finally had enough.  And Y'know what?  I don't have as much fear of him going to school.  I say, "as much".  Because I don't think Beast will be a bully.  He will just be more confident.  Oh yeah, and he will have Fire in the next classroom to back him up. 

Forgive any writing errors.  I did not read this over.  I need to watch Bridesmaids with Daisy.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Father/Husband (Reflection)


It's strange how much influence this blog has had on me.  I was looking for an outlet to express myself and to find a new perspective on my identity in my relationships to Daisy and the boys.  I was telling Daisy how we have never really documented any stages of change in the boy's lives and then remembered this blog.  It has added a new perspective and reminded me of snippets of memories I would have long forgotten. 

I didn't ever set out to stop writing these past two months but it took its natural course given time restraints.  In many ways the blog reduced my stress during hard times because I could always reframe the situation into positive thoughts and entertain myself, and maybe others, in the process. 

Something I have learned is that we are organic creatures who learn and grow and that our expressions can reflect the internal working of our spirit.  In many ways the writers of blogs do this but need to stay within a certain framework that the readers expect.  I'm not sure that applies to me.  If you are reading this then you have stuck with me in spite of my respite.  I will be back.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

(Husband) Flying Solo


I met Daisy when she was playing soccer at the University of Oregon.  And I owe her a great deal of thanks for introducing me to the world of soccer........................women.  Women who play soccer are awesome.  They are confident and tough but with a soft tender underbelly of feminine charm.  Look at Hope Solo for instance.  A look of competitive concentration with a pink dazzle of, "Hey!  I care about breast cancer too."  Or maybe it helps her eyes pop or something.  Whatever the case is, a woman who can drop kick a soccer ball 50 yards gives me shivers.  And guess what?  Soccer is like water polo on grass.  Those piston legs are sprinting across the whole field.  Which means their legs can crush almond shells.

Daisy was born to play soccer and had devoted so much time and effort into the game that it made my head spin.  To become a Division I athlete is incredibly difficult.  And to stay a Division I athlete is just as hard.  I was invited over to Daisy's house (parents) and was introduced to her father who refused to shake my hand.  I walked around the house and saw picture after picture of Daisy on different teams who traveled around the United States.  Later I was to find the large amount of trophies and medals in a back closet.  I thought to myself, "I'm some sort of sorry ass punk who is waltzing into this poor girl's life and going to detract her from her true love.  I can't take her time and energy away from all that she has worked so hard for.  Maybe her dad sees me as a distraction."

Later we took a drive.  I stopped the car and said, "Listen, you have too much going on and I am going to just be a distraction." 

"Are you breaking up with me?"

"I'm just saying that maybe we should slow down so you can concentrate on what is important."

"So your saying we should date other people?"

"Well, no because you need that time to play soccer.  Y'know like getting your game face on and all of that stuff."

"Well I think I should have the right to date."

"Sure. But I'm living an hour away so it takes time and....."

"So I should date someone here in Eugene."

"No."

"So who should I date?"

"Me!  Me!  I want you to date me."

"It's settled then.  I'm hungry so where do you want to eat?"

"Um....I don't know.  Maybe Burger King."

"Nah.  Something else."

And that's how Daisy and I got together.  Not only could she play college soccer while taking time to date me.  She could play soccer and take the time to be a wife.  After her sophomore year we got married, she transferred to a college in Colorado and was able to graduate with only a thousand dollars in debt with academic and athletic scholarships.

So while I joke with her about being in love with Hope Solo.  The only soccer girl I have ever found to have the whole package is Daisy.  Manipulative mind games and all.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

(Father/Husband) Camping


I love camping as much as the next guy.  But only if the next guy hates camping.  I shouldn't say I hate camping because I have some wonderful memories growing up in which I am in a tent reading a book, roasting marshmallows over an open fire, and swimming in a freezing lake.  But as an adult it is a lot different.  Especially when you have children. 

When you are camping with children you make decisions to play games such as "Let's Go Swimming".  Let's go swimming starts with finding swimsuits, goggles, blow up toys, sunblock, hats, and life preservers.  The fun is really in finding all of these items in a variety of different bags that are located in a variety of different places around camp.  The first team (parents) starts by asking each other a lot of questions as to where these items are based on what each parent deems to be the most important on the list.  For instance, if one parent tries to find the sunblock in the car and is unable to find it she may ask of her partner, "Do you know where the sunblock is?"  If her partner does not know he may say, "No, but do you know where their goggles are?"  This conversation is called, "Talking Past Each Other" and is an easy mistake to make.  If the parents don't catch it right away they could end up in what is called, "An Argument" and could take up valuable swim time.

But you see, the other team (children) are not actually winning when this happens.  So the children intervene by letting the parent team know how badly they would like to go swimming and how all of their cousins are actually swimming at that very moment.  They say these helpful comments as motivational tools to get the parent team to hurry up.  In the end it is all worth it because the half hour to get ready results in a half hour of fun in the river.  But what is great about this game is it lasts for as long as you are out in the woods.  So after the half hour of swim time there is another half hour hour of clean up.  And after the half hour of clean up there is an hour of food preparation.  Again, the children team use motivational tactics that worked so well during swim preparation.  Nothing says, "you guys are doing such a good job" as, "I'm sooooooo hungry". They also think of game maneuvers to throw the parent team off such as, "I don't want to eat that."  Before you know it's the bedtime game.  You might notice this 2 day adventure is more of a journey than a destination.  

I'll be honest, while camping is tiresome it is also an amazing memory to create for the boys.  I mentioned how much fun my childhood camping trips were.  There are no worries when you are a kid running around in the woods.  It is like the parents are the orchestrators of a beautiful ballad that keeps everything running as smooth as possible.  And with all of hassle of being a camping parent now, there is nothing like the end of the day campfire with the stars shining bright.  So goodbye beautiful campsite.  I know you miss us already so we will come back soon.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

(Husband) Anchor


I was dancing with the lady in red last weekend at a wedding we attended.  I have to admit, she looked more scrumptious than the cake.  Then Daisy interrupted and made me dance with her.  I was bummed.  Actually it was Daisy that took center stage.  The bride was quite annoyed.

We left at 3 and traveled up into the mountains where the wedding took place.  It was beautiful.  The ceremony was set by a lake with a backdrop of tall fir trees.  The ceremony included everything you could imagine.  Poetry readings, prayers, blessings, everyone touching the rings, memorized wedding vows, sand, and stories.  We ate, we toasted, we drank, we ate cake, and danced.  We got home at 11 so it was an 8 hour celebration from start to finish.  If you consider we celebrated during our drive up there. 

Daisy left our home a couple of days before the wedding in order to be part of the preparation, bachelorette party, and rehearsal dinner.  I thought it was great because I could have time to do things around the house.  That was fun until I found myself a day and a half later streaming, "Hot Tub Time Machine" thorugh Netflix.  I realized Daisy's company wasn't so bad after all.  Had I been taking her for granted?  Never!  Could I be becoming dependent upon her for happiness?!?  Holy crap, her evil manipulative plan has begun to take effect.  I'll just head to Eugene and act casual like I didn't care about her.  Then she would know she doesn't have power over me. 

The problem was that I did care.  I showed up and was very happy to see her and the boys.  Life is better with them.  So what does this have to do with the wedding?  Well Daisy is dancing around the room socializing and making people laugh.  She really was the lady in red with everyone wanting to chat it up with her.  There I was in the corner, beer in hand, and alone with my thoughts.  Does this woman really need me as much as I need her?  I could keel over dead and she wouldn't even know it for at least a couple of hours.  And then, if there were enough guys still there, she could charm her way into a ride home.  By the time the drive is over she would have found a new father/income for the boys.

We finally depart after the bride and groom ran past our tunnel of sparklers.  The next night I was feeling sorry for myself and needed encouragement.  So I did what any man who needed ego stroking would do.  I took off my shirt and flexed.  "Daisy look!"

She looked up.  "That's very nice dear."  As she turned back to her book.

I unflexed and finally took a breath.  Then I went to bed.  Daisy crawled up next to me.  This may be too graphic so if you have any young children please stop reading out loud and take them into the next room.  You may even need to have someone else filter the information.  I spooned her.  Then she said , "You know you are my anchor right?"

"What do you mean?"

"When I was walking around the room at the wedding it was so nice to look around and find you.  I knew that I could always go and be with you if I ever felt insecure." 

"Really?"

"Really."

And then, there will now be an even more graphic scene, we spooned longer.  It's nice to feel I have something to give the relationship.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

(Father) Sperm Deposit


After a vasectomy you need to make a deposit of semen in order to see if you have unwanted swimmers.  The man must ejaculate about 20 times before going in to make a deposit so as to "clean the pipes".  The sperm that may be clinging to the edges for dear life.  For Daisy and I it has taken about 3 years and half of those were on my own.  Just kidding.  Or am I?

Anyway, I went in the first time with my deposit in hand, gave it to the woman, and promptly scurried away.  I'm not even sure if I told her who I was or what was in the bag.  Perhaps she called the bomb squad.  Evidently they took it anyway and ran the numbers.  The results said 4 and I needed to be a zero.  Needed to have another 20.  I went in the 2nd time and became a little more loose about the situation.  I needed a blood test anyway so I asked for the cup from the lab tech.  However, I did say, "I'll just run home and be back."  Like masturbating at home is a much more gentlemanly thing to do.  I went into the bathroom and came back with deposit in hand.  "You must live close by" he said with a smirk.  My results said 2 so I was headed in the right direction. 

I went in a couple of days ago for another blood and semen deposit and simply said, "I'll be right back."  As he was taking the needle out of my arm he said, "We have changed policy and you will have to take another number in order to hand us the bag."  Bummer.  I had waited 25 minutes just to get a blood draw.  Now I'm going to sit with semen in my lap reading Marie Claire for another 25?  I don't think so.  So as I head to the bathroom I grab a number.  I was 3 away so I had to be fast.  I'm not 17 yrs old anymore so erections don't come (no pun intended) as fast as they used to.  But I made it back just as they called my number.  Victory!  I handed the bag over to a different guy who asks me to come around the corner.  As if it was a drug deal and we had to be stealth about the exchange. 

"Who ordered this?"

"I imagine it was the doctor who did the vasectomy."

"Do you know his name?"

"No.  I only met him once"  (inside head) And he didn't give me flowers.

"Where did you get the procedure done?"

"Some hospital in Portland."  (inside head) Is he questioning if I actually had it done in the first place?  Maybe I should tell him it was a back alley and seem utterly shocked when he says that behavior was not appropriate. 

"Well we don't have an order in place."

"Uhhhh....."  I didn't know what to say.  (inside head)  Does he think I'm lying?

"I'm going to have to call someone."

"Uhhhh....."  (inside head) Call who?  The police?  Is this criminal to make a semen deposit if you don't have an order to do so?"  Does he seriously think I'm doing this for fun?!?

"I have had this done twice already.  I guess I have stubborn swimmers."  No response.  His back is to me, mumbling, and looks back.  (inside head) Does he think I'm going to escape?  Do I have reason to?  Crap!  They have my DNA.  I'm stuck.  Maybe I should call Daisy.  He hangs up.

"That doctor no longer works for us."  We stare at each other.  (inside head) Was he a quack?  Was he fired for not doing procedures well enough?  Am I going to have to do this god awful surgery again? 

"I'm going to call someone else."  (inside head) Why can't this guy make the order?  Why can't I?  What if I just wanted a sperm count for no other reason than to see what it was?  So what?  If I was that crazy why would I have kept it in the brown paper bag?  I would want to show it off for everyone to see.  I would have said in a loud voice, "I would like to deposit my semen!"  Made jokes about what it was like to masturbate in their bathroom down the hall and not have it be a big deal if they couldn't find an order because, for one, there isn't an order.  And two, my jollies have already run their course.  Unless part of my jollies include arguing about my semen deposit.  But excitement doesn't come from shamefully sitting in the corner pretending to text people and that is exactly what I was doing.  I wanted to ask if I could get my one free phone call and what the bail might be. 

"We were able to get another order."  He said.  I walked toward the waiting room without saying anything.  And I thought the worst part was the procedure itself. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

(Father) Doggie Bag



I decide to take my boys on a picnic to a rather obscure park near the house where I grew up.  It is a large place for them to run and a place that holds some good memories for me.  They are genuinely interested in my stories (unlike Daisy) and will ask me questions.  I know they will never find me more interesting, or funny, than they do now so I try to take full advantage of my opportunities while they last.  Well, Fire assisted in making yet another memory for me except this time it will be as an adult.  And I will make sure it becomes a memory for him so he can pass it down to his children.

We have been trying to potty train Fire for a while now.  You think of a method and we have done it.  Beast is really to blame for all the frustration because he was potty trained at 25 months and fully capable of holding urine during the night a month later.  Three years later and he has never had an accident.  He has a sphincter of iron and a bladder of steel.  So Fire is three years old and starting to get it.  He has also become quite manipulative in needing to go potty about 15 minutes after being laid down for the night.  Pushing out a quarter of an inch turd and expecting a popcorn movie night.  And you know what?  We do it.  We get Beast out of bed and stream a Phineas and Ferb show off of netflix. 

So we are at the park and Fire states, "I have to poop" and gets down from the bench.  He looks at me like, "Where should I start walking?" as I look around and spot absolutely nothing.  There used to a Honeybucket outhouse and a working water fountain but both have since been taken away.  I didn't want him to go in his pants since that is no fun for anyone.  Well, maybe Fire since he seems to think it is hilarious for us to give chase when we know he has crapped his underwear.  He taunts us with, "I pooped my pants!" and then runs away laughing like a madman.  So, needless to say, I did not want to miss this opportunity.

I remembered we had toilet tissues in the car for runny noses and went to grab it.  Then, as if God had ordained it, there were doggie waste bags hanging out of a dispenser 20 yards a way.  Do I sit him on a log or do I have him squat?  How do I contain the toxic waste that is about to flow if it will actually flow at all.  We ran to a corner of the park where there is an overflow of bushes.  He squats while I hold his hands and pray.  Two seconds later and he was done.  And this was a man's size poop too.  Not exactly solid so it would have been quite a cleanup.  But we were not out of the woods just yet.  I wiped him and pulled up his pants.  And then all three of us stood there looking down at this creation Fire had made.  Now here is where it gets interesting.  We don't have dogs so I have never used a doggie waste bag before.  The bag didn't have instructions and I didn't want to run back to the dispenser for fear the boys would get weird ideas in their heads about what to do with this......stuff.

"How could I not know" you say.  Well, it was a fancy one so it had a black piece at the end for better grabbing and, in my flustered state, I assumed you used that to grab from the outside rather than inside.  When you have two boys that have attention spans of gnats you don't always have time to think about your actions before you do them.  Because any mistake on my part is still better than any good idea they may have.  So I gingerly reach down and grab.  At this point every move I make is important.  Much like playing the board game "Operation" where the red light buzzes when you are a millimeter off target, I was avoiding poop on skin contact.  And I was successful!  This is where you burst into spontaneous applause.  Poop in garbage and onto the playground. 

But in my neurosis I couldn't shake the feeling that there was a small chance I wasn't successful.  This is where hand sanitizer is a good idea.  And washing my hands in the algae filled pond didn't seem like a good idea either.  So I licked my hands.  I'm kidding! 

I have to see a client now. Ta ta.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

(Father) The Fear of Fire


My second born son is a fire that rages through our house and burns up any energy my wife and I might have.  The most simple request can turn into World War III.  Tonight it was washing his hands after going to the bathroom.

"Did you wash your hands?"

"No"

"Why don't you go do that and then you can eat your apple."

"AAWWWWW!!!!!" as he falls onto the floor like I just stabbed him the gut with a kitchen knife.

"When you wash your hands you can have your apple."

"I'm not going to DO IT!" as he folds his arms and gives me the low brow and fuzzy eyeball. 

"That's fine"  He runs into the bathroom and tries to shove Beast off the toilet as Beast is trying to go poop.

Beast yells.  "Daaadddd!!!"

"Fire!  What are you doing?" I grab him and put him in his room.  "Stay there and I will come get you in 5 minutes."  He comes out.  "OK.  I'll give you a choice. You can apologize to your brother, wash your hands, stay in your room, or go to the time-out chair."  He lays on the ground.  "I'll give you 5 seconds to decide and if you don't I will decide for you.  Five........Four..............Threeeeee...............................TWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOO.....................
..................................................OOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEEE.  OK that's it.  You are going to the Time-out chair."

"AAAAAWWWWW"  Falls down. I pick him up and take him to the chair.  He gets up and I put him back.  This can sometimes go on for a couple of minutes.  Daisy comes in and sees what is happening. 

She states, "If you can't stay you won't get an apple"

"I already threatened him with that" I say.

"Oh." Fire gets up again.

"OK. No apple" She states.

"AAAAAWWWWW"  Falls down.

"I'm taking you to your room." Daisy replies.

"Daisy wait."  I say.

Daisy firmly orders, "You stay there until I come get you."  Fire stays for 10 seconds.  Door opens.

A little voice asks, "Can I wash my hands?"

"Yes you can wash your hands."  Daisy says.  He runs into the next room.  Faucet on.  Faucet off.

"Now can I have my apple?"

"No" I say.

"AAAAWWWW" Falls on the floor.

"We are going to have pizza for dinner."

"I want pizza!!"  I hear Beast from the bathroom.

"Finish pooping"  I yell back.

Fire pops up from the ground and runs to the dinner table where a slice is waiting.  "I want water mom."

"I'll get it for you"  I say.

"I'M TALKING TO MOM!!!"

"Well now you are talking to me!"  I say with raised voice.

"I'M TALKING TO MOM!!!!!!!"

Daisy sighs, "I'll get it for him."

"NO!  We can't give in."  I snap.

"Fine." She pours the water and hands it to me.

"You just poured it for him." I say with contempt.

"But you are going to be the one who gives it to him." she says exasperated.  We stare at each other.  "Do you want me to throw it out?" as she stands with the cup over the sink.

"Fine."  I turn to Fire.  "Can you ask daddy in a nice voice?"

"Please dad?"  I take the water from Daisy and hand it to him.  I turned to Daisy.

"I'm glad supernanny wasn't here to see that because we just royally f'd up that discipline process."

"Fire just stuck pepperoni up his nose." She whispers. 

"Let's pretend we didn't see it." I say.

"Why?"

"I'm really tired.  I don't think I have any more energy."  I hang my head in shame.

"I don't either."  with chin quivering.  Beast walks in.

"Did you wash your hands?"  I ask.

"Ooops.  I forgot"  He runs to the kitchen sink.

"Can you use the bathroom sink instead?"  Daisy asks.

"OK." as he turns the other direction.

"Did you see that?"  I ask Daisy.

"What?" She replies.

"You could see the golden ring sparkle above his head as he turned the corner."

"Yes.  I have seen it before.  Fire just spit out some cheese on the table."  as she frowns in disgust.

"The sunset is really pretty tonight." I reply.  Ignoring the comment.

"Yes.  Yes Goose.  It sure is pretty."

"I love you Daisy." 

"I love you too.  Fire just threw crust at your head."

"I know."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

(Father) Bull Sh*t


If there was ever a time when I was trying to get the better of my dad he would speak to me by telling other people in the room what he was observing.  And if there wasn't anybody in the room he would look at me and speak to the invisible man beside us.  He would say, "The young calf is trying to overtake the old Bull."  Translation: "I find your speech and behavior to be very interesting.  In fact, I see it as a challenge.  You think you are big and tough and that I am feeble and weak.  You think this is a good time to exert your independence while I do not.  You will soon learn your timing in this matter was horribly misjudged."  Then he would chuckle.  Translation:  "This is very cute."  

You can only try to overthrow the old Bull so many times before discouragement sets in.  It's like the tethered young elephant who can't get away.  Even when the elephant becomes an adult he can't escape from the same rope that is now, compared to the elephant, very small.  Maybe you think this is sad but fear not my friends.  My dad was right.  Timing is everything.  And my plan is coming together perfectly.

My plan is so wonderfully perfect that I will even go as far as to tell you what it is.  And why would that be so risky?  Because he reads this blog.  You heard me correctly.  He will soon be reading these very same words as you are doing right now. 

You see, my father is almost 63 years old.  In 30 years he will be 93 years old.  Do you see where I am going with this.  That's right.  Even though I will be almost 66 years old I will still be much stronger than him.  That is when I will strike!!!  Pillow over face for 5 minutes and I'm done!  I'm completely kidding.  Or am I?  No, of course I'm kidding.

Why am I telling you this the day before father's day?  Because operation "Bull out to pasture" will be fully operational on father's day 2041.  Let me set the scene.  He is sitting in his armchair watching television.  I come in with a bowl of chips.  He will ask for one.  I will say, with fear and trepidation, "no".  He will stare me down which will make my legs go numb.  With my numb legs I will get up and stumble over to the remote control.  He will lunge and grab it before I can.  I will try to take it and be surprised his arthritic hands are so strong.  He will try to bite me with his false teeth but it will be no match for the gardening gloves I will be wearing in expectation this may occur.  I will change the channel to a romantic comedy I have already set up in the DVD player.  Better yet, a science fiction movie.  He doesn't like science fiction.  Oh, and it will probably not be a DVD player but some sort of 3-D interactive machine.

Again, I imagine I will be shocked at his grit and determination when he proceeds to grab my hair in order to pull it with force.  But I will have again prevailed since I will have disguised my hair loss with a toupee for all of these years.  With him now on the floor I will, yes indeed I will, sit in his armchair.  I will then set the chips far enough out of his reach he will be able to smell them but not touch them.  And if he digs his fingernails into the carpet in order to gain ground?  I will pour an already prepared glass of ice water onto them.  With all his energy spent, and in an effort to avoid watching the movie, he will fall asleep.  It may be around 4 pm so it could be past his bedtime anyway.  I will then put the remote in his right hand (without batteries and the movie on a loop), leave my wig in his left, dip his teeth in lemon juice, and push the soggy chip bowl within reach (in case he is there for a while and gets desperate). 

I imagine I will take the doorknob in my hand and turn it to the right, think for a moment, and turn to look at my father.  I will feel bad.  After all, the only thing he had was his dignity and now it is gone.  But then I will regroup, stick out my chest, and pronounce, "The young calf has won!"  And even though the next day he won't remember what happened.  I will.  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

(Husband) BFF


Daisy and I went to visit my closest friend this past weekend.  We met in the 2nd grade and, at least from what I can remember, his first words to me were, "Why are your fingernails so long?"  I love Dot for many reasons.  One of which is he introduced me to Daisy.  It was Valentines day of 1997 and I was one of the eligible bachelors behind the curtain in a mock dating game.  I won and the rest is history.

What qualifies someone as a best friend anyway?  Is it your oldest friend?  The one that was the best man or maid of honor?  The one you talk most to now?  It would be appropriate to say my best friend is my wife.  She is the person I would choose to be with me if I were to be banished to a desert island.  But perhaps you can nominate one for best friend same sex and best friend opposite sex.  Do you have to talk to them a lot?  You just haven't found someone you like better so they are available until the next best thing comes along?  Or can you only have a best friend if you are a middle school girl who shares one half of a broken heart that says, "Be....Fri"?

I think one of the qualifications is that the affection has to be mutual.  You can't say someone is your best friend if they don't feel the same about you.  I also think the term, "One of my best friends" can't be used.  There can only be one best right?  Even if it changes week to week.  I'm also a big believer in ritual.  The pact must be made.  That is why, in the 6th grade, I asked Dot to be my blood brother.  The conversation went something like this. 

"Dot, I saw the most awesome movie last night!"

"ok"

"No listen, it was awesome because there was this scene that had these two guys.  And these two guys thought the other one was really awesome."

"ok"

"So they were so into having each others back that they decided they needed to become brothers."

"How did they do that?"

"They cut their own palms, clasped their hands together, and tied a cloth around their hands to seal the deal."

"That's gross"

"Dot!  It's the coolest thing ever!  Y'know how I've always thought it would be sweet if our parents divorced and one of our parents liked the other one and they got married and we both decided to live with the parents that were married and share the same room?"

"ok"

"Well this is the next best thing! Blood brothers are so much cooler than step or half brothers because they don't decide that stuff.  But we do."

"I think it's gross"

"Dot!  Are you listening to me?!?  Cutting ourselves shows that we really really care.  I wouldn't even cut myself for my dad dude.  Y'know?  Like, I think we should even let the other person cut our palm.  Like, y'know, like we trust each other and stuff."

"(sigh)"

"Are you gonna eat those chips?"

"Dude, lets just walk around the track."

"Recess is almost over.  Are we gonna do this or not?"

"Now?"

"I found this sharp rock in the bushes.  Don't look at me like that!  I'm serious man.  Dude, your just scared.  ok, y'know how I've liked Karrie ever since first grade?"

"Yeah."

"Well, if you do this I'll let you like her.  I won't even be mad.  You guys can kiss and I won't even care." 

"Karrie has a big nose.  What if you have some sort of disease?"

"That's even better!  Because then you share the same disease.  Your even more, like, bonded.  Your so stupid dude.  Ok fine.  Let's just spit in our hands and shake."

Dot continued to deny my requests until I finally came up with the idea of splitting a 2 dollar bill and for each of us carry it in our wallets.  I saw it on an episode in the mini series "North and South" where each friend was fighting for the other army.  Even though I didn't get the scar I wanted, after 25 yrs we still have half the bill in our back pocket.  Weird. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

(Father) Darth Dad


I watched all six Star Wars movies with my boys over the course of a month.   During the course of our movie watching experience, Beast asked me several questions.  The primary one being "why?".  And why was asked about........ohhhh.........maybe 10,000 times. 
Being asked why about several details of a story challenged me to think deeper about the relationships, characters depth, and storyline more than I would otherwise.  I couldn't take anything for granted by making shortcuts in my mind and needed to make the connections more evident to my consciousness.  A simple matter of teaching a subject takes more time but effectively promotes the learning process for oneself.  It also made me aware of how much I didn't know.

So when Beast would ask, "Why are Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker fighting?"

I would answer, "Because Luke needs to kill Vader to save his friends from dying."

"Why does he?"

"Because Darth Vader is bad."

"Why is he?"

"Because the emperor lied to him and said it was a good idea."

"Why did he?"

"Because he knew that.....well.....Darth Vader used to be Anakin Skywalker.  Anakin Skywalker was good but was also very strong so the emperor wanted him on the bad team instead."

"But Luke is called Skywalker."

"Well, they both have the same last name."

"Why do they?"

"Because Darth Vader is Luke's dad."

"Why is he?"

"Because Anakin loved Luke's mom and when two adults love each other very much they........uh.......how old are you?"

"I'm five."

"Ok.  So Anakin and Padme had Luke and Leah just like your mom and I had you and Fire."

"Why did Leah......"

"Let's put that one on the shelf for a minute and watch the show."

"Why is Luke hitting his dad with the Lightsaber?"

"He is mad at him."

"Why did he stop?"

"Because he doesn't want to kill him."

"Why doesn't he?"

"Well......he thinks he can become good again."

"Why does he?"

"Because he loves his dad."  A tear starts to form.

"Why is the emperor hurting Luke?"

"Because he won't become bad."

"Why is Luke asking his dad to help him?"

"Because.........because........" chin quivering  "He wants his daddy to help him.  Look Beast!!  Look at what his daddy is doing!! He is killing the emperor!  He is killing the emperor because he loves Luke and wants to be good again!  Oh God.  No.  No no no no.  Dad.  Dad get up.  Get up dammit.  You guys have so much to talk about.  You can't die right now.  Just hold on for a few more minutes."

"Why is Luke taking his Dad's mask off?"

Crying now.  "Because he wants to see his son through different eyes.  Through loving eyes.  It's his dying wish."  I turn to Beast.  "I love you Beast."

 "I love you too."

"Don't ever put me in a home"."

"But we are already home."

"Don't ever pull the plug on me."

"Plug?"

"All I'm saying is that anything I may say or do, from here on out, is not worth hitting me with a lightsaber over and over and over again."

(Silence)

"Do Ewoks poop?"

"Um.........I guess so."

"Why do they?"

"Well, they eat berries and stuff."

"Why do they?"

"I'm going to call grandpa."

Monday, May 30, 2011

(Father) Painful Lesson


Doesn't this look nice?  So relaxing and peaceful.  This position would be anything but relaxing at my house.  There is absolutely no good reason on God's green earth to be on my back inside my home with two boys.  It doesn't matter where they are in the house, how interested they are in the toys they are playing with, or if they even know I'm in the house to begin with.  They will run, they will jump, and they will land on my scrotum.  It has happened too many times for me to think it's a fluke.

It used to be, "Hey dad!"

"What?"

"Here I come!"

I would act scared, they would laugh, run, and jump to my "prepared for impact" body.  That wore off pretty quick.  So the stealth attacks started to happen to my "not so prepared for impact" body.  That proved to be a lot funnier. 

Even if it isn't my scrotum none of the landing spots are a great alternative.  An untightened stomach takes a while to recover from.  Especially after I have just eaten.  The problem is I would most likely be on my back for a more comfortable position after eating too much. 

You may think, "Children cannot jump that high so how bad can it be?"  I'm here to tell you.  A 40 pound cement bag dropped from 2 inches still hurts.  Then you add bony appendages from that cement bag.  A couple of elbows and a head butt make the impact more of a buckshot than a bullet. 

To see me in pain is to add joy to my children's life.  Either they think I'm joking or it doesn't really matter.  And I'm either too shocked or hurt to respond with any kind of punishment.  I just groan and do my best to regroup.  Meanwhile, they are cackling a half an inch away from my face with spittle spewing into my eyes and mouth.  A simple act of adding insult to injury.  I have to then take my hands away from my scrotum and put them to my face to act as a spit shield.

Let's assume the impact wasn't that bad.  I get a knee to the chest.  But at some point Fire must get up.  And if he is on my body then I am his platform.  And when Fire gets up he must press down on a certain place in order to gain leverage to pull himself into a standing position.  That may also be my scrotum since I have put my hands to my face to act as the spit shield and left myself unprotected.  I have learned that the after landing is simply the eye of the hurricane.  As soon as Fire has regained his feet he has landed on me again.  If he has really hurt me then this might happen 3 more times before I get to my knees.  Beast has almost certainly heard the commotion by now and has already given me his own 5 drop kicks to go along with Fire's beatings.  It's not that unlike a mobster movie where Vinny hasn't paid off his debt to "Big Jim" Colosimo and the boys have come to break my knees for payment.  I'm covering myself up just hoping it will end soon.

But let's say I gain a wild hair and start to playfully fight back.  30 seconds later and one of them is screaming in pain.  I'm the one with bleeding scratch marks on my neck but Daisy runs to the child that hurt his knee while kicking my face.  Then I sulk away feeling guilty for hurting one of my dear precious little boys.  That is, until I make the mistake of lying on my back again.  In fact, I wonder how fast Fire's little owie would heal if I immediately laid on my back.  How fast could his little finger find my eyeball?  I doubt I could fully lie down flat before a chunk of my eyebrow went missing into Beast's mouth.

I have tried laying on mys stomach but it really doesn't seem to matter.  Pain finds me.  Or more specifically, Fire finds me from across the room.  You would think that by laying down with my sons to play leggos would provide sanctuary for my body.  I have found this unwritten rule only applies to the one you are playing with.  2 days ago I was laying on my side with Fire to my right and Beast to my left.  It was like some sort of tactical hunt you might see on Animal Planet.  Fire distracted me with putting together a pirate ship while Beast speared his head into my stomach.

"Chuckle chuckle.....snort.....chuckle.  Hee Hee Hee..........let's do that again!!!"  I cover my stomach before then next spear hits me.  "NOOOOO"  he whines.  Almost like I'm trying to keep him from going down the slide one last time before we have to leave the park.  So what do I do?  After a couple of struggling attempts to try to remove my arm I relent and let him spear me a couple more times.  What's a dad if he is not a punching bag.  I have to admit I cheated by tightening my stomach muscles.  Yeah I know.  It's not saying a whole lot is it?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Father) Heel Thyself


I don't have a dog but I do have children.  Can the two be interchangeable?  I took my dog/child to the park and we played with a ball.  My dog/child was tired and hungry so we went home.  My dog/child liked his meat warmed up.  My dog/child gave me kisses and went to sleep on his bed.  The point is that some people treat their dogs like they are children and some people treat their children like they are dogs.  Treating dogs like they are children seems acceptable but the children like dogs thing isn't something most people encourage.  Of course the way some people treat their dogs in America is better than people in other parts of the world can afford to treat their children is something to consider.  In that case, treating your child like you would treat your dog could be a good thing.  I digress.

So Daisy, I, and the dogs went to the coast this past weekend.  Did I say dogs?  I meant children.  Well, they might as well have been dogs by the way I was treating them.  Let me explain.  We can't put leashes on our children although some people get away with it by putting a backpack on the kid with a rope attached.  Our kids do not want to be in a stroller and do not want to be carried from shop to shop on the boardwalk so we do it the old fashioned way.  That is if the old fashioned way is snapping my fingers, slapping the side of my hip, and shouting, "Hey guys.  Guys! I want you right over here.  Yes.  Right here next to me.  I don't want you runnin' around and getting other people's way.  Got it?"  Let's go on an imaginary journey shall we?

You can imagine what it would have been like if, after a couple of minutes, the boys would forget what they were supposed to do and I wouldn't be paying attention.  "Fire!  Hey!  Don't be smelling that other boy's butt!  Yes ma'am.  Yes, I understand your boy and Fire are just being friendly but I've asked him to stay with me.  Thank you for your understanding.  Yes, I'm sure our children would be great pals if they lived near each other.  Oh look they are at it again.  Ok guys, let's break it up."

Beast might run up to a little girl and lick her ice cream cone sending the scoop of Chunky Monkey to the ground.  The parents would be horrified and I would have to explain how I'm training him to stay with me and that I would be more than happy to pay for the damages.  I hear an old woman telling her equally old female friend that back in her day her 10 children stayed right by her side and that, "child training isn't what it used to be."  But it's not just limited to the kids

Next thing you know Daisy is off chatting some guy up about his cute Hawaiian shirt and I have shout across the gift shop store, "Daisy!  Where are you supposed to be right now?"  Then I point to my right foot and look at her like, "Well?"  A little too far when I included my wife huh?  Well, it wasn't too far off when Daisy had to tell the boys and I to stop barking at the sea lions and come back to wear she was sitting at a park bench.  With our heads hung low we meandered back to where she was.  After flicking each of our noses she decided it was time to take us home. 

In imaginary land we whined until she finally relented and took us to the sandy beach where we ran around, fetched sticks, and ran away from waves washing up on shore.  It was all fun until Fire pooped and we didn't have a plastic bag to pick up the doo.  We covered it up with sand and hoped no one would see us do it or step in it.  Going home it was nice to see the boys enjoying the wind by hanging their heads out the window and wagging the tongues.  It's too bad we have to kennel them for our upcoming trip to Europe.  Either that or leave them with the grandparents.  Of course, Beast snarls at grandpa and grandma is allergic to Fire.  I guess we will cross that bridge when we get there.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

(Father) Open Door Policy


When you see a child doing this what do you do?  Do you:

(A)  Look around for the parents.
(B)  Give the child candy.
(C)  Open the door and set them free on what ever adventure they choose.

I know what you would do.  You would look for the parents.  Why?  Because you are a responsible person.  Most people?  They chose C.

Picture the scene with me.  I get out of the car, get the bags, get the children out of the car, order them to stay near the car, take their hands, and walk across the street/parking lot.  So far so good.  Then the children release my hands and begin running like little crazy monkeys on a mission from Satan.  So here I am yelling to, "Get back here!" and "You will not get treat today.  OR EVER!!"  After stumbling over the bag that was once on my shoulder and now hanging from my wrist I might have yelled a little something like, "Hell will freeze ov...........Fire and Beast.......I'm serious, Hell will freeze over before you get another treat!!!"  Just to let you know, those are called empty threats.  Yes, parents like myself, yell threats they really don't mean in order to make the child think the parent has power.  Ironically, the harder and more ridiculous the threat, the less power the parent feels they have.  That was me. 

You might think, "OK Goose, let me get this straight.  You are a grown man and they are little people.  You are telling me you could not catch them?"  To that I say no.  One, they got a jump on me.  Two, kids are a lot faster than we give them credit  for.  They have piston legs that fire on all cylinders and with reckless abandon.  Three, when you do catch up with them you have to bend down half your height while continuing to run.  Fourth, they are small and able to run places I am not.  Like through crowd of people like a hot knife through butter.  Five, This is not tackle football.  You must capture them with few sustainable injuries.  Grab them by the back of the shirt and suddenly their head throws itself forward and then snaps back and hitting your knee in the process.  Sixth, once caught it becomes a matter of containing them.  You don't have to have been part of a greased pig contest to know what I'm talking about.  Finally, and most important, there are two of them.  And they have different ideas as to where they are going.  They act on impulse but their tactical moves are as if they have had it planned for weeks.

So I am gaining ground and have a sliver of hope.  Not only because I am gaining ground but because the door we are approaching is closed, and now they are trapped.  But wait, what is this?  Oh yes, a kindly gentleman who opens the door so they can go through it.  Then he follows, and then the door closes before I can get in.  I look through the glass and there they are.  Fire down one hallway and Beast down the other.  Does this make sense!?!  Well I suppose if it were an isolated incident.  But we are talking about hundreds of times.

Take the gym's child care.  We are talking about parents who know better than to hold the door open for a child leaving the room.  I'm commenting on Beast's coloring project and Fire is heading for the water aerobics where the 70 year old women are beckoning him toward the pools with smiles and coos.  For goodness sake, the lifeguard probably held the door open for him. 

If it sounds like I'm complaining then forgive me.  It is not out of annoyance as it is out of pure fear that my children could get seriously hurt.  And Daisy would not buy the, "But the kindly old gentleman is at fault.  Let's sue him!"  It would be my fault.  And we would get divorced and I would get depressed and eventually end up eating out of a trash can.  Help a hopelessly disorganized father and choose option A.  Oh wait, I'm already preaching to the choir.  Thanks.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

(Husband/Father) Maurice


This is our fish Maurice.  Or at least it certainly looks like him.  The boys and I got him for Mother's day 2010.  Once presented, Daisy bent down and gave the boys a kiss and a hug.  "Thanks guys!" she said.  With a smile still on her face she promptly stood up, turned to me, and whispered in my ear, "I'm not taking care of this thing."  This was not what I had expected, or wanted, to hear.  Now a fish may not seem like a big deal to take care of but after 12 1/2 years of marriage we had yet to own any pet. 

I have been rather sporadic in my care for Maurice but have been earnest in my efforts.  Some days I wake up and think he has finally given himself over to death.  But, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, he swims to the top of the water and receives nourishment.  He has made it a year and we are so proud.  If we had Maurice before we had kids we may never had taken the plunge into parenthood. 

Maurice presses forward.  In spite of us he presses forward.  One time, as I was putting Beast to bed, I heard him whisper, "Dad.  Is Maurice still around?" 

"He has been sitting on your shelf for the past month."

"Oh"

Maybe if Maurice acted more excited to see us when we got home.  I'll give him the constructive criticism tomorrow.    

Monday, May 2, 2011

(Father) Mad Libs


Fire is my little two year old who will be turning three this month.  He has always been rather verbal which has been a lot of fun.  However, he has shown some verbal aggression that has us frowning in concern.  I think it all started when I would be frustrated with the children but not so much to the point where I needed to issue a time-out.  I would tease them in order to distract myself, and the boys, from whatever they may be fighting about.  For instance, "If you guys don't stop I'm going to throw you both over the fence so the wolves will get you."  At first they would be scared but then they would see the smile on my face.  Beast was always the spokesperson asking, "Are you teasing us?"  I would say yes, we would all laugh, and then move on to whatever we were doing.  Throughout the day one of the boys might laugh and say, "Your not going to throw us over the fence!"  I would say yes, take a step toward them, and they would run away. 

But then Fire began following his own instincts rather than taking his cues from Beast.  You see, Beast runs away from conflict and enjoys being chased.  I soon found that Fire stands his ground and attacks if threatened.  Simple Flight and Flight theory.  So you can imagine my surprise when the day finally came for Fire to show his true self. 

"Your not going to throw us over the fence!"  Beast said.

"Yes I am!"  I took a step toward them and Beast ran away.  Fire did not.  In fact, he turned to face me as if it was high noon at the O.K. Corral.  "I'm going to get you Fire!" and took a jab step toward him.  He frowned. 

"AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!!"  Fire ran at me while swinging his arms in a rather violent fashion.  He finally reached me and began pounding his fists into my knees.  I didn't know what to do.  He stopped, took a step back, and pointed his index finger toward my my face.  "I'm going to throw you in the mud!"  He proceeded to start where he had left off.  Swinging his right arm, then his left, then his right, and his left. 

I knelt down and deflected his little punches.  I lowered my voice to almost a whisper and repeated, "Fire, it's ok.  It's ok Fire" until he calmed. 

"I'm going to get you daddy."  It was said as more of a fact than a threat.  And not said as if it would happen presently but more of something in the future.  Kind of like, "You may have won this time Superman but I'll be back!!"

"Uh.........how about a snack."

"Yeah!!! A snack!!!" Beast yelled as he ran out of the room.  Fire was caught up in the enthusiasm and ran to the table as well.  As if nothing significant happened.  They both sat, smiling at me as I retrieved the crackers and cheese.  I occasionally looked at Fire to see if there was some remaining anger lingering.  If there was it was quite hidden.  Y'know, behind the "Please" and "Thank You".

Indeed, he has since brought out this little Fire demon.  The reason Mad Libs was such a fun game was because you could come up with different words to a story as prompted by the underlined suggestion.  It's not hard to come up with what Fire's standard threats are.

I'm going to ______________  you in the ___________.
                     (violent action)                        (body part)

Go ahead and try it.  Pinch, punch, grab.   Face, arm, knee.  It doesn't matter what you come up with it's still the same.  Daisy and I have a hard time not laughing because he is such a little guy who could do no harm.  Most of the time he is just playing a part such as a ninja, darth vader, or knight.  Or he is about to go do something fun, and has so much adrenaline he doesn't know how to contain it.  Speaking of the devil he just woke up from his nap. 

If he continues this behavior 13 yrs from now it won't be so cute.  Maybe an outlet like football or something............well, I'll let you know what happens.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

(Husband/Father) Bathmophobia


The title is the phobia related to a fear of steep slopes.  I have that.  I didn't know it until last Saturday but I definitely have it.  Heights is not a problem because I'm on something that is relatively stable.  Roofs are a different matter.  I climbed on the ladder and stood at the very top where it reads, "Do Not Use This As A Step".  Then, with moss removal powder in my hand, I worked up the courage to climb on my roof.  But not enough courage.  So I set the container into the gutter and attempted again.  "Where are you courage?"  Then I grasped onto something that was attached to the roof.  I don't know.  Some sort of small chimney stack sort of deal.  Big sigh.  "C'mon courage c'mon".  My feet felt like they were stuck in dried concrete.  Then I thought, "Maybe this smoke stack thingy won't hold my weight.  That would suck.  That would suck really bad."  So I got off the ladder.

The instructions on the container states the powder is to be applied on top of the crest of the roof so that when the rain comes it can take the powder down with it and kill the moss.  So it is important to get it on your roof when the rain is going to pour in the next day or so.  Otherwise it doesn't have the effect you want and wasn't worth the time or money.  Or my life for that matter.  So I look up and see a dark rain cloud about to roll in.  Just far enough away to where I had about twenty minutes.  This was my inspiration!  I get back on the ladder.  Here it comes.  I can feel the courage mounting.  Mounting?  Sure, why not.  Just when I thought it would come it vanished.  Am I still talking about courage?  I'm getting confused.

I addressed myself by first name and then proceeded to go on a cursing tirade.  All it did was make me mad at the person cursing at me.  Which was me.  Which made me even more angry.  So I went inside and asked Daisy to come outside and curse at me instead.  "It's not that hard!" she yelled.  I swear on all things holy I'm not trying to make this sexual.  It's taking a life of it's own.  "Faster! Don't disappoint me!"  OK. That was on purpose.  I started to argue back, "This is really steep!  I'd like to see you try it!" 

"Your the one who told me to tell you your a Nancy girl" Daisy said.  My last idea was to have the children come outside and weep yelling, "I'm embarrassed to have you as a father!"  Can you tell shame is a big motivator for me?  It helped me through grad school.

Well, we never got to that point because the neighbors brought out a Dora pinata to beat with a stick and invited us over.  Dora was decapitated so it brought a slice of happiness into my life.  But that roof.  That roof is baiting me every time I pull up to our drive way.  "Scared huh?" the roof said today.

"Leave me alone roof"

"Am I too steep?  Is that it?"

"Shut up!"

"You shut up!"

"No you shut up!" 

Then the moss chimed in with their opinion and it went from there.  Just in case you are curious I will get on the roof.  Even if it kills me.  And that is a very strong possibility.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

(Son/Father) High on Grass


Since I am now a homeowner I noticed our grass needed to be cut and decided to be a responsible neighbor by taking care of the unsightly growth.  There is another unsightly growth I need to take care of but someone with a medical license needs to handle that.  And since it is not entirely bothersome I will wait.  However, grass is more easily solved so that takes priority.  We obtained a lawn mower a couple of years ago that had not been used for several years.  I tried to start it without luck.  I took it to my dad's home where there is every tool known to man and someone with knowledge to fix such a problem.

Growing up there was not a single ounce of me that was interesting in fixing things.  Then again, I didn't show much interest in anything other than girls and television and not necessarily in that order.  My dad had been a mechanic in the Air Force and after serving his 4 years went out and became a journeyman electrician.  Actually went to Alaska to service the oil wells for a year.  Or at least that is where he said he was.  All I'm saying is that his pen pal in Nebraska happens to be a few years younger than me and looks a lot like him.  The point is my dad could build a house in a day.  It would be small but livable. 

Did I always admire him for these skills?  Not really.  The electric saws and motorcycle engines hurt my ears.  His asking me if I had changed my oil lately was annoying.  And the clanging of tools coupled with a long line of swear words left me puzzled.  The poor guy tried to show me what an engine looked like and what each part did.  I don't doubt that after he happily explained the details he looked over to see his son playing with his tongue and hung his head in embarrassment and shame.  Could he have wondered if mom and the milkman were on friendly terms?  I'm sure it crossed his mind.

So I pull in to the driveway and see dad working on the electrical system of a boat engine.  I pull out my tired old mower and ask for help.  He begins his work of diagnosing the problem and guess what?  I'm interested.  When I had to perform a hundred point check of my semi-truck to pass trucking school I did so to pass the class, not to actually know anything about what the parts did.  But when dad was checking the spark plug I asked why.  When he checked the air filter I asked why.  He cleaned the fuel filter and checked the carburetor.  Why?!!?  He probably thought, "I had to wait 35 years for this?".  And I thought, "I had to wait 35 years for this?".  I had so many opportunities while growing up and I chose to make sounds with my bellybutton instead. 

Now I'm not saying I would have gone on to rebuild a car engine for fun.  What I'm saying is I assumed people were born with different gifts and either you had it or you didn't.  What I didn't realize is the opportunities to expand my mind were available but the respect for my father's skills were not.  Is it too late?  Yes.  How do I know?  That is what he told me after fixing the lawn mower. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

(Father/Husband) I'm a mess

This morning I woke up with a cherry menthol cough drop stuck to the back of my head.  Needless to say I've been off my game lately.  It is my belief that humans are inherently habitual creatures.  We are looking for a comfortable balance and when that balance is threatened we try very hard to find it again.  When someone suffers the loss of something, any loss really, a hole is left and have to fill it with something. 

We are in the middle of a necessary loss with our 12.5 years of renting and into our first new home.  Exit any healthy habits of eating and exercising and enter in fast food burgers, chocolate, and pop.  Exit any sense of creative energy and enter in an a single minded focus on moving heavy objects.  That and screwing.  Y'know, like light bulbs.  Gone is any good hygiene for our children.  Gone is any good attention toward our children at all.  Right now Beast is repeatedly throwing a blanket on the keyboard in order to garner any kind of attention.  Any at all.  I gave him attention all right.  In the form of biting his head.  I don't know what I'm talking about.  All I want is time to do something life giving.  Taking out a rusty sink is not one of those things. 

Yes I know, home ownership involves work.  I will walk into the office and hear Bill talk about how his relaxing weekend was spent at the beach.  I will brag that my relaxing weekend was spent taking moss off my roof.  Oh yeah, and then I was lucky enough to have time to clean the gutters.  But bits and pieces my friend.  Bits of work and pieces of blog writing.  Yes, blog writing is relaxing for me.  Basketball wasn't so I quit.  I'm equally awesome at both but something had to give.  I know what your your thinking, "I would certainly hate to see you play basketball."  Fine.  I'll stop for now.  But only because Beast is putting a laundry bag over my head.  But I'll be back.  Oh yes.  I'll be back.