Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I thought there were only three wise men.

C & E. That's the stamp St. Paul's Lutheran would have/should have put on our foreheads when we walked through their doors on Christmas eve.

C & E stands for Christmas and Easter and those are the only times you'll find us in church (actually, just put us down for a C). Debbie has always insisted we go to church on Christmas eve. At first I resisted. The thought of usurping someone else's regular spot in the pews didn't appeal to me. But my concerns about going to a strange church are always proved unnecessary. It's nothing like the end of the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers where parishioners are pointing at us, hissing like Donald Sutherland because we haven't been hatched from one of their Lutheran pods. In fact, I've always felt welcomed. I'm sure it's a combination of Christian goodwill, the fact that we always choose to sit in back or to one side and the collection gets a shot in the arm from "occasionals" like us.

I'm really not sure how spending 45 minutes watching someone else's kids sing O Little Town of Bethlehem injects us with Christmas spirit. But it does.

Allie is now a part of the tradition. This year, as we watched the kids of St. Paul's parade around dressed like sheep and wise men Allie leaned over and whispered something in my ear. "I wish I was up there," she said.

I felt guilty. She should be up there belting out Away in a Manger with all the other kids. The problem is I can't see how we'd make that work considering we're always traveling at Christmas. I wonder if we could just slip Allie up on a riser and let her wing it. These programs aren't too complicated and we could easily get Allie up to speed on most of the more commonly sung songs. In fact, the Sunday School Teacher probably wouldn't even notice an extra angel. And even if he or she did I don't think anyone would want to make a scene. I suppose in the unlikely event someone did want to yank Allie off the stage I'd intervene. Maybe I'd tell them our daughter's last wish is to be an angel in a Christmas play. Hey, I'm not saying she's dying, I'm just saying it's her last wish. The one right after she wished she could convert her bedroom door into a magic carpet. A sin of omission? Sure. But it would make Allie happy and who knows, we might even get a percentage from that evening's collection.

Allie wasn't too heartbroken about not participating. Presents are always a miracle prescription for any childhood woe and both girls got plenty of medicine this year.

One item I'm not too happy with this year are the Bratz dolls Allie received. I can get past the fact that you don't just change these dollies' shoes but you have to take off its entire foot. What bothers me are the weird, oversized eyes. They give me the willies. Beyond that, these dolls are dressed like hookers. Do I have a lot of experience with hookers? No. But I've seen my fair share of episodes of Cops. I'm sure the toy makers would claim the dolls have a more "urban" flair. If by "urban" they mean clothing appropriate for use in an episode of Cops featuring hookers then they're spot on. What's more, Bratz are manufactured with pronounced ass cracks because all the pants and skirts ride beneath the dolls' hips. I took a look at on of my sister's old Mrs. Beasley dolls. It has no ass crack. It doesn't even have an ass. It has a torso with legs sewn on to it. That's more what I have in mind for my four-year-old.

Greg's Holiday Tip #2: You can use a standard butter knife and joint compound (readily available at your local hardware store) to fill in the ass cracks of your daughter's Bratz dolls.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Holiday Tips

This year's most popular holiday geegaw seems to be the inflatable Christmas lawn ornament. Yesterday's hard plastic, molded statues have been replaced by Santas and Snowmen stitched from nylon with blowers attached to their butts.

They're fun and make quite an impression as I drive home through our neighborhood each evening. My only problem is seeing these things in the morning, when the power has been cut to all the blowers. Every front yard has a Santa or a Frosty lying face down in the snow. You'd swear there was a clock tower nearby with some crazed holiday sniper taking potshots at our most beloved Christmas icons.

There's not a lot of snow on the ground right now. Otherwise I'd be tempted to spread a little red food coloring around one of the crime scenes. It's amazing the impact a little red on the snow has. Unfortunately I'm sure some people wouldn't think bleeding snowmen were funny. In fact, I know they wouldn't. A few years ago we built a few real snowmen facing our busy street. As an added touch, I plunged some sticks through their chests and squirted red food coloring all over the wounds. Turns out Deb found out later her boss had to avoid driving by our house because her kids didn't want to see the "scary" snowmen. That means there were probably a few other kids around the neighborhood terrified by our bloody snowmen (heh, heh).

I'm chock full of great ideas like these to help make your season bright. In fact, I'll start sprinkling them throughout the blog until we hit 2005.

Greg's Holiday Tip #1 - Substitute large-scale taxidermy for a tree this year. You'd be surprised how many presents will fit beneath a dead elk.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Moldavian Bonsai Burgers

Last week we had another I can't think of another way to prepare frozen chicken breasts night so we went to Red Robin.

Red Robin restaurant is a good choice for us. It's extremely family friendly and has the sort of middle of the road menu that caters to finicky palates like my wife and kids'. Plus there's usually a person in a bird costume prancing around shaking hands with all the seven-year-olds as if it were running for second grade class president.

When we got to Red Robin it was obvious everyone in our town was having the same frozen chicken breast dilemma. When we got a table (a thankfully brief ten minute wait) there happened to be a little butt parked in every highchair the restaurant owned. While our hostess looked for a shortyseat I sat Julia in front of me on the table. She seemed content to look around at the hustle and bustle of a busy restaurant. There were also quite a few birthdays being celebrated that evening so that gave my daughter an excuse to clap along with the "birthdayfied" renditions of popular songs sung by the wait staff. My favorite of all time:

This is your birthday song.
It's not very long.

Next to us was a man in a Packer's sweatshirt who looked like Lenoid Brezhnev with Boris Yeltsin's hair. He looked very Russian. It was a noisy restaurant but I could swear he had the accent. When I looked at his watch I couldn't read the manufacturer stamped on the face and I'm convinced that's because the characters were Cyrillic. His clothing all looked new. From his neck to his feet everything looked fresh from the mall (Amerdikan blewjehns!).

At one point in the evening Allie crawled past the Russian and her foot touched his thigh. I apologized and he just looked at me and smiled broadly and nodded as if he were saying, "If we were in Mother Russia you'd be celebrating Christmas in a Siberian re-education camp." I know this sort of thing no longer goes on in Russia, but this guy looked like he could make it happen regardless.

Yeltsin Hair never thanked the wait staff the entire time we sat next to him. I noticed the restaurant manager kept checking on him to make sure everything was okay. At one point when the manager asked him if his meal was any good Yeltsin Hair said, "It's everything I ordered."

Whoa. That restaurant manager has no idea whether or not Yeltsin Hair enjoyed his food. Yeltsin Hair deflected the manager's probing with just enough information to send the manager a clear message that he was dismissed. If that wasn't the perfect KGB answer I don't know what would be.

We were sitting next to a spy.

Eating a meal alone at a Red Robin just cemented the whole spy scenario in my head. What perfect cover. No self-respecting international agent would be seen eating a Bonsai Burger with a group of waiters walking around singing, "I don't know but I've been told. . . Someone here is getting' old!" Sure, Agent Yeltsin Hair may have been retired from the spy game. I'm guessing he still, more than likely, had something hidden in his new American jeans that would force me to give up classified information whether I had any or not.

Uh. Strike that last line.

When Agent Yeltsin Hair's waitress came by with the check he asked if he needed to give the money to her or pay up front. AHA! It was his contact line. None of this, The weather in Moldavia is particularly beautiful this time of year type bullshit. He was asking the waitress if she would be willing to accept the self-destruct codes or should he pass them on to another agent handing out balloons at the entrance (Allie got a pink one, by the way). The young waitress, just out of the spy academy, accepted the codes.

There was no way for me to tell if Agent Yeltsin Hair was working for the good guys. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well that evening.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Let's Get Ready to Rumble: Kringle-Style

The Santa I wrote about a few days ago was on the front page of our newspaper this morning.

Of course my knee-jerk reaction was, "Oh shit. Santa's a pederast." Thankfully it was a charming, feel-good story about how kind this guy is and how much time and effort he devotes to the holiday season. The article told us that before Santa was Santa he put together steel doors and even owned a liquor store.

Santa owned a liquor store.

That's a good thing. I like a Santa with some real world experience. I don't want some elf who's been cloistered in some artic hideaway his entire life. I want a Santa who's foiled a few robbery attempts with the pump shotgun he kept hidden beneath the counter.

Although I'd never want to see it, I'm comforted by the notion my Santa can beat the crap out of your Santa. Or, at the least, drink him under the table.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Yes Virginia, there is a Spider-Man

"Do you think there really is a Spider-Man?" Allie asked.

I didn't want to quash my daughter's super hero fantasies so I said I'd like to think there were people with superhuman powers. I went a step further and told Allie she may even have super powers herself.

She wanted to know where they were.

"Maybe you won't discover them until you get older," I told her.

"Like when I go to school?"

"Who knows? Maybe when you turn five."

Her eyes got really big and she asked, "What kind of super powers will I have?"

At that point I did a mental inventory of the 3,000+ comic books I have stashed on dusty shelves in our basement. I rattled off the archetypical super hero attributes like super strength, super speed, super senses, heat vision. Allie really like the idea of heat vision. She got a look in her eye that spooked me a little. Something that told me she was imagining frying my ass the next time I make her turn off Fairly Odd Parents.

As we got ready for bed she asked me to describe more super powers. The list was getting pretty long when she announced she had thought of a super power of her own. She pointed to one of her front teeth and said, "See this tooth, Daddy? When someone writes a note I don't like or just puts scribbles on paper or something this tooth will fly out of my mouth. The tooth will spin around and shred up the note. Then the tooth will fly back in my mouth."

"What do you call that kind of super power?" I asked.

"Tooth Vision."

"Will you be fighting for tooth, justice and the American way?"


"Never mind. . ."

Monday, December 13, 2004

Six 3 x 5" Photos - Only $30!

Allie and Julia went to see Santa.

Julia sat on Santa's right knee. She didn't cry. She asked us with her eyes, "Why are you giving me away to this man? What have I done? For the love of God please give me a chance to make it right!" Allie was on Santa's left knee. Without the usual prodding Allie immediately rattled off four of the six items she had written on her Christmas list. Allie was shy, but nothing like last year when she barely managed to ask the big guy for an umbrella.

Deb and I got wise this year and brought our own camera to capture this year's confab with Santa. I took two pictures. One with flash. One without. I could tell Santa fought the urge to tell me my camera didn't flash. After all, he's Santa and Santa is nice. However he wanted me to move on and make room on his lap for kids with parents willing to pay $10 for a 5 x 8" digital portrait. Elves. Reindeer. Making the North Pole livable so Mrs. Claus doesn't complain so much. These things cost money. So I moved along.

As soon as we left Santa I took a look at the camera. It told me it's battery was about to die and decided to rewind the roll (two of 24 exposures). After developing I'm sure the shots will cost me about $15. They won't look as good as the one Santa's elves would have taken if we had let them. That still doesn't mean I'm going to let the elves take care of photos next year. This year was a learning experience. Next year I'll get the perfect shot. I'll take the film directly to one-hour-photo. I'll get back in line to see Santa. Wait. Then I'll show him my beautiful photo and say, "Kiss my ass, Kringle."

I won't be getting shit that year but it'll be worth it.

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Unseen World

On Wednesday Brian, at work, gave me a little, lighted magnifier. I brought it home to show Allie the wonders of the unseen world.

We've been looking at everything from cat hair to the backs of our hands. We've been having fun comparing the craggy landscape of my 38-year-old hand to the smooth, unblemished blanket of skin that covers Allie's relatively new paw. I never noticed I've got age spots. Five years ago I would have called them freckles. Now they're age spots. I don't plan any intensive Porcelana intervention. I've earned the spots. I'm keeping them.

While we were looking for stuff to put under the magnifier I noticed Allie had a big booger in her nose. Like most parents, I have no problem reaching into my kid's nostrils so I grabbed the booger. I put it under the magnifier and invited Allie to look at it.

She refused.

It was only when I told her one of her nose hairs was embedded in the booger that she decided to take a look. She bent over the magnifier and as soon as she caught a glimpse of her booger she started to retch. As melodramatic as Allie can be I still could tell she was genuinely ready to relinquish her dinner. She looked at me as if I'd tricked her into doing something awful.

She took another look.

The gagging and coughing started again. Allie held her hand over her mouth and said, "Daddy, I'm gonna puke if I look at that again."

We stared at each other for about five seconds and then she plunged for the magnifier again. I just shook my head.

I'm pretty sure she would have gone for a fourth glimpse but I decided that was enough and got rid of the booger.

Later, as I was tucking her into bed she went on-and-on about how disgusting her booger was. She asked if she could take the magnifier with her to daycare. I'm pretty sure the other parents wouldn't appreciate it if my daughter took their kids on a booger safari. I told Allie she couldn't take the magnifier. She didn't protest. I'm pretty sure she realized revealing she has spent time looking at her own boogers might stigmatize her socially.

Too bad her father doesn't have the same filter.

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Tree Stays in the Garage

We got our Christmas tree this weekend. We went to a tree farm where you wander around a thicket until you find a tree you'd like to kill. You cut the thing down with a borrowed saw and drag it to a muddy path. There you wait for an ATV with a wagon attached to the back. You toss your tree in the wagon and ride back to tree farm headquarters.

It's a fairly easy process. Not as easy as most years when we barely stop the car to throw a dried-out, $10 tree into the trunk. But I thought the extra effort would make for a fond yuletide memory. I don't think Allie would agree. She fell down and got some mud and grass on her pink pants. That ruined the entire experience for her. While Deb and I stared at tree-after-tree eyeballing them for perfect symmetry, branch density and height Allie cried about her pants.

Turns out tree farms make many children unhappy. I noticed two other kids in tears while we tried to find a tree. Crying children always add a sense of urgency to a situation. Plus, it got to a point where all the trees began to look alike and it wouldn't have mattered if I'd cut down a mailbox and strung some lights on the thing. We just wanted to get back to the car before Julia lost her fingers to frostbite and Allie would be satisfied we were finally headed some place with a stain stick.

Fortunately we found a decent little spruce and the saw I had made quick work of the trunk. We dragged it to the path and rode back to the parking lot. We paid $25 plus I slipped a kid a buck when he came over and helped me tie the tree to the roof rack of our car. "You know how to tie a slip knot?" he asked.

"Well, I. I think I've. You know I'm not. I'm pretty sure. A slip knot, huh. . ."

It was clear I couldn't tie a slip knot. My manhood had been compromised by my lack of knot knowledge. Where was this kid just a few moments ago when I sliced through a tree trunk like it was made out of marzipan?

The kid looked at me, smiled and said, "That's okay, I just learned how to make one today." He then showed me, twice, how to tie a slip knot. I still couldn't tie one to save my life, but I felt better about my lack of skill with twine and that was worth an extra buck. I handed him the bill and he looked at me like I'd just handed him the keys to a new Porsche. He was very enthusiastic as he walked around our car checking the tree to make sure it wasn't going to budge off the roof rack. Maybe he thought there were a bunch of other bills folded beneath the single buck I gave him. Regardless, we shared a beautiful moment.

The tree is still in our garage. I'm not too concerned about getting it into our living room. It's the freshest tree we've ever had so I'm extremely confident it'll hold on to every needle until January when it's time to place it by the curb.

Allie's fine, by the way. I'm sure her pants will also be okay. However, her perspective on holiday giving might need a little work. Allie gave some money out of her piggy bank to The Empty Stocking Club benefiting needy youths in our area. Later, when I asked her why it was important to give to strangers she said, "You give to strangers so they're nice to you and won't hurt you." It's easy to see where this came from. Deb and I have trained Allie that when dealing with strangers always err on the side of caution. So, for Allie, The Empty Stocking Club is nothing more than a protection racket.

I tried to set things straight. I know that concepts like sharing, charity and empathy aren't too difficult to get across to Allie. She's a sweet little girl. But I didn't do as good a job as I would have liked. I just know the next time she sees me drop some change into a little red bucket she's going to think I'm doing it to keep the Salvation Army volunteer from bashing me in the head with his/her bell.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Deb Wore Latex Gloves During Clean-Up

The tide of vomit has come in.

The Friday after Thanksgiving Allie puked at her Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Monday night was Julia's turn. Her body decided not to hold on to the Spongebob shaped mac & cheese she had for dinner. Debbie's T-shirt did not read, "Stinky Bile Soaked Bits of Cartoon Shaped Pasta Repository" but that's what it wound up becoming.

I stayed home Tuesday with Julia. She was in a pretty good mood all day which meant I got a lot done. Julia got a post puke scrub down. We did a little Christmas shopping. I drained the fuel out of the mower and prepared the snowblower for duty. Five loads of laundry were processed through our mudroom laundromat.

Laundry is a thankless job. Not that it's all that hard (the machines do most of the work). However it's the kind of job where the results of your labor are tucked away in a drawer. It's nothing like painting a room or even mowing the lawn. You don't walk into the house after work and immediately notice that your underwear once again smells like Tide with bleach alternative. It's only when you're underwear drawer is empty that you consider the time and labor that goes into washing clothes.

Debbie does the laundry at our house. I know I've thanked her. It probably averages around once a year that I notice I no longer need to choose a shirt by sniffing it. That's when I say something like, "Thanks for taking care of the laundry, Deb." That's the best I can do. I suppose by the time our tenth anniversary rolls around I could get her a plaque or something. I'm not being sarcastic. I'm genuinely grateful I don't have to sort everyone's socks. I'm just not sure about the appropriate gesture. I suppose taking over the laundry chores more often would be best. Of course, if Deb doesn't reciprocate by doing more in the kitchen then I'll have to get all passive aggressive on her ass.

Actually, I won't be picking on my wife (at least not in the near future). She's extremely stressed at work. It's getting to the point where there may need to be some kind of intervention. I don't care what your job is, you don't deserve an ulcer because of it.

If I'm going to pick on anyone it'll be Dwayne.

Dwayne has had two blog posts in the same month. I'm suspicious.

He's dying.

I just know it. Especially after he wrote about all the stuff he's grateful for. If that's not a dying man's blog post I don't know what is.

I should have called him more often. Now I won't have the chance.

I wonder if his Mom will make beer bread for after the funeral? It was always his favorite. He would have liked that. I'll have to ask her for the recipe. I wonder if we should take Julia? I'm pretty sure Lourdes will be invited. If she's there I don't see why we can't take Julia. Pallbearer? Maybe. I'd be honored. I just wish he'd let me know he was going to do this, though. Those caskets can be freakin' heavy depending on the who else you've got sharing the load. He's always had a solid build not to mention the fact the weight of his body hair alone is probably enough to put me in a truss. I wonder if Raquel would like to meet this guy I know from work?

You can send your condolences directly to Dwayne by leaving a comment on his blog.

But if you're going to the trouble, you may want to send a few words of encouragement to Deb via her blog. Dwayne's gone. Deb's alive and the one who could really use a boost right about now.

Monday, November 22, 2004

This Guy Couldn't Catch a Code

Greg & Deb on the Web has been around since 1996. As long as our ISPs have been generous enough to offer a little free space Deb and I have been more than willing to add our share of self-aggrandizing, bandwidth wasting crap to their servers (nod to Nancy).

You'd think my html skills would have improved over the past eight years.

They haven't.

If you're on a PC and using Internet Explorer the fact there are no spaces between my paragraphs is your evidence I'm not improving. If you're browsing with Firefox this page will probably look as if some of my stylesheets aren't being applied (because. . . they're not). Lord knows what this thing looks like if you're using Netscape, Opera or AOL.

I'm not sure what happened. Usually I wait until the first of the year to give our page a facelift. But I recently discovered I can post photos directly from my camera phone to our Web site. I actually got it to work. Unfortunately the only way you were going to see the pictures was if you were using the perfect recipe of browser, plug-in and hardware.

Instead of freezing most of your browsers I decided to pull a Walden on this puppy and simplify. And if by simplify I mean no instant camera phone posts, no spaces between paragraphs and weird gaps between tables then I've simplified the hell out of this page.

Can someone please send me an email and tell me how to adjust my stylesheets, source code, feng shui or whatever the hell it takes to get the most popular browser in use today to display the spaces between my FREAKIN' PARAGRAPHS?!


We can't spell in front of the kid anymore. Allie is beginning to decipher the words her mother and I don't want her to hear.

Sss. Ah. Nnn. Tuh. Ah.

I doesn't matter that Allie was making Santa's name sound like a Native American blessing. What matters is Deb and I no longer have the convenience of discussing delicate matters while the newly crowned Princess of Phonics is around.

Sss. Huh. Eh. Tuh.

I'd thought we'd have a few more years. Deb says we'll be able to stretch out things for a while by spelling really quickly in front of Allie. That means Allie and I both won't know what the hell Deb is talking about.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Tiny Dancer Scares Me

Lately I seem to be running into a lot of unexpected pictures or sounds on the Web. I've got a twitch now. It's a direct result of being scared shitless by slow loading, horrible MIDI reproductions of songs someone thought would be the perfect soundtrack to his/her Web site. They're always louder than hell when they finally load and start blaring Wind Beneath My Wings or Theme from Star Wars through my speakers.

Then there are the assholes who try to scare you on purpose. You've all seen the type of Shockwave files they place on their sites. The ones that ask you to turn up your speakers and study a photo to find some hidden image. Then suddenly a photo of Bea Arthur (or something equally scary) pops up and starts screaming at you.

I fell for it once. It happened at work and my shreik sounded like Half-Pint from Little House on the Praire had just seen Pa get run over by his own buggy. It took some time to live that one down. It seems the only way to truly put this sort of thing behind you is to find someone else as dumb as you are and scare them with the file.

I got my Mom.

Not long after my office scare I sat her down in front my computer and watched as she studied the monitor for an image of a ghost. When the scary face and loud scream exploded in front of her I saw both her arms shoot up and shake in the air as her face strained and contorted with pure adrenaline enhanced fear.

For a moment, I was pretty sure I had killed her.

As soon as I was sure she wasn't going to slump over in my desk chair I started laughing. I was laughing because: 1) It was funny. 2) I had evidence I wasn't the only sucker left in the world. 3) I was nervous because I knew my mother was going to kill me right there in my own den.

We both survived. Unfortunately, now I'm suspicious of anything on the Web that might try to scare me. I like to go to the ghost hunter sites and look at video footage of actual ghosts and other such unbelievable crud. A few of these sites think it's fun to scare their visitors. After all, if they're interested in ghosts they must like being scare shitless.


I already have a hard enough time making it out of the basement and upstairs into bed with all the lights out. The last thing I need is some jerk's pop-up image of a bloody, dead babydoll flashing around in my head before I try to go to sleep.

My Mom sent me an email the other day with a link to one of these files. The email told me to study the photos closely. The link ended in .swf and my Mom wrote a warning that I shouldn't open the file around kids (duh). So I turned down the speakers and I clicked on the link. I walked ten feet away from my computer's monitor. I looked at the monitor through my fingers trying to shield myself from whatever horror I knew was going to pop-up at me. Sure enough, after waiting about 30 seconds the photos turned to some horrifying face and I could barely hear a scream coming from my speakers.

At her age, I don't think it's wise for my Mom to try to scare her more vengeful minded children.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Hi. Mama. Dada. Dooay.

These are the words Julia has learned so far. We're pretty sure we know how she picked up those first three. The last one, "Dooay" was a mystery to me until this morning.

You see, "Dooay" is the Furby word for fun (if you don't know what a Furby is I'll leave the Googling up to you). This morning Julia walked into our bedroom holding a Furby by it's quivering, audioanimatronic ear. The Furby must have enjoyed being slung around like this because it said, "Dooay".

Julia looked at me and repeated, "Dooay".

Twenty five percent of our daughter's entire vocabulary is Furbish.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Weekend at Harry's

Deb and I were at the Outagamie Museum this weekend. Judy and Glenn took care of the girls while we checked out the somewhat controversial Harry Houdini exhibit at the museum.

The exhibit reveals how Harry pulled off some of his illusions. That's the controversy. Many people objected to the museum revealing these secrets. I doubt if the protesters were working magicians in fear of these revelations hitting them in their breadbaskets. After all, letting people in on the fact that Houdini had a trick panel here or some fake rivets there couldn't be too much of a bombshell for today's savvy, jaded magic audience. I'm sure it had more to do with violating the sacred magician's code or just another attempt to chip away at what little wonder we have left in our savvy, jaded lives.

I'm all for magician's codes and a little wonder creeping into my life here and there. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy getting a glimpse of how Harry fooled his public. In fact, I plan to use these secrets in my daily life for personal gain. With this in mind, I regret not buying the $300 straightjacket on sale in the museum's gift shop. I would have worn it to work. No one argues with a crazy person unless they're in a courtroom.

Did I mention Judy and Glenn had the kids? The trip was actually a weekend getaway to celebrate our anniversary. We had a good time. I lost to Deb at tic-tac-toe. How this happened I'm not sure. I was distracted. I must have been distracted. Same thing with the two games of ping-pong we played. I can't see how Deb's hand-eye coordination could be superior to mine. The woman can barely throw a ball so how the hell she managed to kick my ass at ping-pong makes absolutely no sense at all. I must have been distracted.


We played Battleship at the museum and I won.

Does all of this sound romantic?

It was.

Sure. There was also the requisite giggling, moony eyes and handholding across the table during dinner. But you don't want hear about that.

It's best not to reveal everything. Harry would want it that way.

The drive home did a great job of bringing us back to reality. Julia was cranky and whined for most of the trip. The whining became rhythmic for about 15 minutes. That's a long, long time to listen to our daughter's weird chant. I was convinced she was summoning some kind pagan god of toddler retribution who would smite us for trying to push milk over juice one too many times.

This was after Deb became upset with me for telling Allie about the time my grade school pal, Scott, took a dump and wiped his ass with pink, fiberglass insulation. It's a good story, especially if you know just how itchy you get working with insulation. Unfortunately Allie hasn't had much experience with the stuff so I was the only one in the car amused.

This is often the case.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It took some time to hook up with Blogger this evening. I'm guessing everyone is writing about the vote. Part of the process demands a non-unique experience for each participant. That means by this time tomorrow there will be lots of blogs that all sound exactly the same.

Here's my version:

I got in line to vote at 6:58 this morning. This is what it looked like:

What you don't see is how long the line was behind me. I'd guess it was about 100 yards long.

It took me 30 minutes to get to the machine that eats your ballot. When I got there a friend of ours, Tom, was standing watch over the machine. He was telling everyone that it didn't matter which direction you fed the machine your ballot. Forward, backward, upside down, right side up, the machine would be able to tell who you wanted to act on your behalf in public office. I spoke with Tom for a few minutes. We wondered how long it would take before we knew who the next president would be. "Who knows?" we both said almost simultaneously.

Tom told me something interesting. He said absentee ballots are counted after the polls close at 8:00 p.m. They're unwrapped and each ballot is marched around to the people that check and double check the big books containing the rolls of registered voters. After that it's fed into the counting machine just as if that person had been there to vote for him or herself. Tom told me the town next to ours had reported 30% of eligible voters had used absentee ballots. "They might be there 'til midnight," he said.

Even after hearing this, I'm still leery of being an absentee voter. It just sounds bad. Put absentee in front of any other word and it's not good. -Absentee Dad. Absentee Employee. Absentee Barbecuer. Absentee Fork.- Thankfully I'm usually able to make it to the polls. Unfortunately the men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't so lucky. There is concern that the military vote will not be counted. This was a problem in 2000. Supposedly congress took measures to ensure that the people who deserve to have their vote counted the most wouldn't have any worries their voices were heard. Sounds as if these measures weren't enough and the military vote is in jeopardy.

As a Democrat I shouldn't have too much of a problem about this situation considering the military largely votes Republican. But I do. It's so unjust. I realize today's the wrong day to have this occur to me. I should have had this thought months ago. What I could have done beyond a letter or two to my congress person I'm not sure. But a letter or two is more than just spouting off about it after the fact. I'll watch the news and keep my fingers crossed that something like Florida screwing up again by throwing out a soldier's vote just because it arrived without a postmark doesn't happen this year.

Now we wait for the results. My voting number was 96. I was married in '96. That's a good sign. I put all three of our jack-o'-lanterns out by the trash this morning without having scrape them out of the street with a shovel. That's a good sign. I checked CNN at 10:00 a.m. today and they hadn't called the race yet. Yet another good sign. Speaking of which, have you seen the CNN Web page for exit poll data? It's like the dashboard for a nuclear reactor. http://www.cnn.com Just enter your zip code and you are dialed in like Tokyo.

What that last line means I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure it's something positive. I was on the phone once with a guy from Poway, California who sounded like the consummate surfer dude. He said it to me. Since then I find myself searching for excuses to use it whenever I can.

John Kerry. He's dialed in like Tokyo.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Halloween Pt. 3


That was the number of men, women, children and pets we had come to our doorstep in search of candy last night. An off year as far as numbers go but we made up for that with special effects.

The mummy was on the front porch, as usual, but this year we added spooky sound effects, dimmed the lighting and blasted all the ghastly ghoulies with a fog machine. Some of the smaller kids hesitated and even refused to come up the driveway (heh, heh). However, judging from the comments I heard, most of the kids appreciated the extra effort.

Julia didn't hit the streets. The girl was far too cranky for any kind of sustained Halloween nonsense. A little disappointing, maybe even a little sad, but not the end of the world. We'll take the $40 we paid for her black cat costume out of whatever birthday money she gets next year. The evening wasn't a total loss for Julia. She had her grandma with her and they celebrated the holiday by spending some time sitting in the dining room with the lights out. From there they watched the parade of costumes that marched up and down our front walk.

Allie begged for candy with her mom and grandpa. Allie's elaborate witch's costume was augmented with long underwear, pants and a purple hoodie. With the little broom in her hand she looked like a junior janitor with a penchant for goth inspired undergarments. We know each year her costume will wind up being a casualty of the weather. Why we don't just dress her up in something a little more practical and warm escapes me. . . Next year she's a polar bear. Year after that, a yeti. When she's seven we'll spray some black dots on it and she'll be a fuzzy Dalmatian. Make the spots bigger, add some horns and you've got a furry Holstein. That'll get her to nine-years-old and she won't need us for costume ideas any more.

It took Allie and her entourage about an hour to canvas the neighborhood. When she returned Allie sat on my lap and helped me hand out candy. She'd blast the halloweenies with fog and then drop a fun-sized Butterfinger in their bags. "There you go, little one. Happy Halloween" she'd say to the short kids. Allie stopped just short of patting the short kids on their heads as they said their thank yous and moved on to the next house. I'm sure the short kids didn't appreciate being patronized by a four-year-old. I suppose candy is candy and fortunately I didn't notice any signs of visible umbrage.

There was one little girl (couldn't have been more than three) who held her bucket out for a treat. We must have been her first house because the candy made a loud thump as it hit the bottom of her empty, plastic pumpkin. "I wan moh," she said. I dropped another piece in her pumpkin and smiled. Her eyes narrowed and she thrust her pumpkin toward me. "Feewit up!" she demanded. I was being mugged on my own front porch. Fortunately the girl's mother(?) stepped in and saved me before I had to call for help.

As we started to run out of candy I yelled at Debbie for grabbing a chocolate bar out of the treat bowl for herself. She said I was a grouch. If she knew about the Almond Joy I had in my pocket at the time, she would have called me a hypocrite, too.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Halloween Pt. 2

I had to watch myself with Allie's Monday night bedtime story. As usual I just started making crap up and realized I was delivering an old fashioned, semi-scary Halloween story.

Allie got a little freaked.

So when the little girl in the story (her name was Allie, of course) fell into a dark hole that had a monster lurking inside the monster turned out to be a helpful, fuzzy monster. The monster catches the little girl and, with a friendly smile, lifts her back on to the sidewalk.

I'm pretty sure you know how things would have turned out for the little girl in the story if Allie was, say, 12. It would have been a lot scarier. Maybe something like:

The little girl would have fallen into the hole and the monster would catch her and force her to sit with him in the dark, dank hole. The creature would warn her about hanging out with the wrong crowd. Next the monster would produce a host of charts that would clearly illustrate the importance of maintaining a high GPA throughout middle school in order to gain entrance to advance placement courses in high school. The monster would then move on to discussing abstinence from sex, drugs and mainstream country music. Next the monster would shred and devour a fluffy little bunny in front of the little girl after explaining that the bunny voted Republican.

Scary stuff.

Allie didn't particularly like her watered-down monster story so we moved on. She likes the story I tell about Bobo, the dog who likes eggs. Yes. I know there's a children's book about a farting dog. We haven't read it and I promise I didn't have it in mind when I made up Bobo. I was just telling Allie about a dog who loves eggs but unfortunately happens to have major G.I. problems whenever he eats them. Allie's job is to name something for Bobo to fart near and I tell her about the consequences of Bobo's egg fueled flatulence. Her favorite? Pretty butterflies that drop out of the sky and roll around choking and coughing in a cloud of misty green dog farts.

Scary stuff.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Screw You Check-Out Lady

I was thinking about this kid I knew in grade school. He was chunky. In fact, at lunch time he used to take a pencil and press it into the layer of fat that covered his stomach. He'd hold the pencil there for a moment and then expel it from the fold in his tummy fat with surprising force. As the pencil flew across the lunch room he'd say, "Hey! I'm a rocket launcher!"

Today he's an M.D. back in my home town.

I wonder if he does the same stunt only now with tongue depressors.

I just tried Dr. Rocket Launcher's trick myself. Fortunately it turns out I don't have enough fat to hold a pencil in place. Unfortunately I think I'm a mere four to five weekend rib binges away from becoming a rocket launcher.

Nobody wants to be a rocket launcher.

Now that I feel like a tub of goo I'll probably head to the grocery store and pick up the latest copy of Men's Health. Reading this magazine makes me feel as if I'm actually doing something to improve my health. So rather than change my diet or exercise I buy a magazine. Maybe I should call Dr. Rocket Launcher and see if he'd approve my fitness program. Who knows, I might be able to get our insurance company to underwrite the cost of a subscription.

The thing is I recently discovered that Men's Health is very popular with male homosexuals. That makes sense. There are always plenty of black and white pictures of super-fit men artfully peeling their shirts off. The problem is I'm self-conscious now when I buy the magazine. I realize I shouldn't give a crap if the check-out lady sees the magazine and wonders if I have a boyfriend. However I will admit that the ape-brain kicks in and needles me into arranging my other groceries around my magazine in the hope that no one will notice my purchase.

But that's not the only reason I turn the magazine upside down on the conveyor belt as if it were a copy of Huge Knockers Monthly. See, I'm pretty sure the check-out lady is smirking at me saying to herself, "Yeah, if anyone needs this magazine it'd be you, tubby."

It should be pretty apparent by now that I have a host of issues with the check-out lady.

So the next time I'm at the store I'll plop my copy of Men's Health right in front of the check-out lady and glare at her. "You got a problem with that?" I'll ask her. I'm sure she'll keep a wide eye on me as she swipes the UPC code. I'll throw my money toward her and say something like, "Yeah. I didn't think so. . ." and proudly march out of the store.

I know I'll begin feeling healthier immediately.

Here's something you don't see everyday: a new link on the link page.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Happy Halloween - Pt. 1


Go to the password gallery and click on Multimedia. Then click ZOMBIE BABY!. It's a big file (4.8 MB) so be patient. Also, if the link doesn't show up you may need to refresh your page. And, as usual, if don't know the password drop me an email and I'll forward it to you.

It's really is some of Debbie's best acting work since the rack of lamb last New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Rental Tux

A rented tux is a wonderful thing.

A rental tux is more like a costume. It says you're taking part in an event so incredibly special you need to borrow the appropriate garments to participate.

That's cool.

If you buy your tux, then it's just clothing out of your closet. I don't care if Giorgio Armani himself tailors the thing, once you own the suit it loses some of its appeal.

So, whether it's powder blue with big ruffles or classic black; putting on a rented tuxedo makes you feel like you're on top of the world.

The last time I wore a rented tuxedo was eight years ago.

I felt like I was on top of the world then.

The funny thing is, I'm fairly sure I wouldn't have needed a rented suit to feel that way.

All I had to do was look down the aisle to see what was coming my way.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Weekend Updates

The no password gallery now has random shots from the camera phone.

The password gallery has two movies on the Multimedia page: Julia Walks and Syrup Removal.

If you've forgotten the password send me an email and I'll remind you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

But Can She Lift 20-lbs. or More?

I hate emptying the trash on Tuesdays.

I think it has something to do with my favorite book when I was little, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. In that book, the lead character was Claudia Kincaid (and if anyone would like to make something of the fact that my favorite book in third grade featured a female protagonist he/she can kiss my ass). Claudia ran away from home to escape the drudgery and oppression of her everyday life.

Claudia really wasn't oppressed. In fact she was quite privileged and had a nice family. But that didn't keep her from taking her younger brother (she needed his money) and running away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The museum wouldn't have been my first choice but she and her brother had quite the adventure anyway.

Book report aside, I wanted to let you know that one of Claudia's least favorite chores was gathering the trash from throughout her house. That must have stuck with me because I really don't like gathering the trash. Claudia had a prick of an older brother who would empty his pencil shavings in his basket every trash collection day just to piss Claudia off. As for me, it's the Diaper Genie I hate to deal with. I'd say pencil shavings are nothing compared to a giant snake of crap filled diapers but that's beside the point. The point is, by third grade I knew that trash duty wasn't for me.

Turns out I was wrong. I must be wrong. After all, I've been doing it for a very long time now.

It's not all bad. I admit I like knowing that I'll have at least of couple of days that I can drop a Q-Tip in our bathroom garbage without worrying about it bouncing out and hiding behind the toilet. I hate that when it happens. But that's about the only pleasure I get from Tuesday trash days. Most of the time I think about what type skin condition I'm going to develop by being exposed to the bazillions of germs, viruses and disease bearing vermin that have incubated and hatched in Allie's trash can during the week. And that's nothing compared to the kitchen trash can. It's teeming with stinky, slimy ebola-type shit I know can kill me. Kill me slowly. Kill me painfully.

I'm not saying I'm the only guy in the world who hates to take out the trash. I'm just telling you I'm pretty sure I know why I hate it so much.

Allie is four. She'd probably think trash duty was fun.

We'll begin next Tuesday. I'll start by burning my old copy of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I'll keep you posted about how the rest of her training goes.

Friday, October 08, 2004

It didn't just move. . .

I did not just see it move.

It's only a dolly. A plastic baby dressed in a pink satin skirt with a leopard print accent. A slutty little Chucky-like killer doll. I know she sits up and grimaces at me whenever I turn my head.

Hold on, I'm going to move the thing.

That was dumb. Now it's staring at me. Wait a sec. . .

I've wrapped it in a blanket and threw a pillow over it.

It didn't help. I'm getting out of here. It's late and I'm going to bed. I'll uncover the dolly so she won't get pissed at me. However I'm sure the dolly will still follow me upstairs.

I'm concerned, but the dolly will get Debbie first. Deb's side of the bed is closest to the door.

I might make it out of this thing alive after all.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Expressed Gland Zone of Missed Birthdays Walking

I'm sure it isn't the most pleasant experience to have your ass juiced like a ripe orange. However, the vet told me it was a good thing Pig got squeezed. The doc said our cat's anal glands were chock full of noxious fluid and could have blown at any moment. Funny thing was the Dr. had a different attitude when I first requested that Pig get a good butt milking. The vet gave me a puzzled look and kind of shrugged when I asked her to do it. But I know our cat, I know our cat's rear and when it's ready to be pumped out.

I don't even want to think about the Google hits I'm going to get from the above paragaph.

Let's move on. . .

I have now established a four foot Zone of Death around this computer's keyboard. Anyone venturing within this newly establish zone with beverages, sloppy food, mucous, a large carbuncle or anything that could potentially gum-up this keyboard will face serious consequences. I usually enjoy an ice cold bottle of water or a fruit punch flavored Gatorade while I'm down here typing. Those days are over now that I have to remove what looks to be Pepsi from between the B, N and M keys. I don't drink a lot of brown, sticky beverages (I just told you what I drink while typing). So I'm taking my name off the list of suspects and have hired an outside agency to do a more thorough investigation.

In other news:

On October 5 I tried to remember Michelle's work number. I tried call Michelle that same evening but she wasn't home. I didn't get in touch with my sister on her birthday. Bad brother. I love my sister. So when I spoke to her this morning I let her know how bad I felt. She didn't even get a cake on her birthday. That made me feel even worse. I will bake a cake and mail it to her. I'm sure the icing will get a little screwed-up, but at least she'll have a cake.

Changing topics:

Allie stood out on the deck last night and sobbed. I went outside to see what the problem was. She was crying because the sun was going down and it was so beautiful. She didn't want the sun to go away. I suppose I should be encouraged that she is moved to tears over the beauty of a sunset. But at the time I was just trying to figure out which day would be the best to take Allie to her soon-to-be-arranged therapy appointments. But she doesn't need therapy. She needs another beautiful sunset to reassure her Dad wasn't lying when he scooped her up and swore that she has many more beautiful sunsets in her future.

One last thing:

Julia is walking. She stands all by herself, then takes a few steps, then plops down on her butt. She also started giving kisses. It works like this: you ask her for a kiss, then she opens her slobber filled mouth and presses it against your lips. Then she pats you on the head.

I'm more thrilled about the walking thing.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

No Time for Canada

Honey, I'm home.

I was up at 3:00 a.m. mountain time because when I tried to convince the alarm clock in my hotel room to wake me at 4:30 a.m. I also managed to move myself two hours into the future. So I woke up and the clock told me it was 5:36 and I need to be in the lobby by 5:30.

I flew around the hotel room trying to gather my possesions and stuff them into my suitcase. I brushed my teeth and tried to tame my hair a little so I wouldn't have trouble getting a cab driver to let me in his car.

I looked at the clock again, 5:40. Paul should have called me by now to see why I'm not downstairs. Shit! He's late too. I call Paul's room. "Paul, we're late. We were supposed to be downstairs at 5:30," I yelled.

Paul says, "My clock says it's 3:45."

You can guess the rest. But I'm home now and I'm trying to get things in order. Instead of a nap before I pick up the girls at 4:30 I made a quick vet appointment for Pig to have her anal glands expressed. I unpacked with the intention of starting some laundry. Now I need to pick up the living room and while I did that I remember I wanted to change out Julia's car seat. That brought me downstairs and I decided to check email. Now I'm typing here. Only someone spilled something on the goddamn keyboard and it feels like I'm typing in slow motion.

3:26. I've gotta go.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

You guys got Ikea?

A lot of American oil investment means Edmonton, Alberta Canada looks a lot like Milwaukee, but with the world's largest mall. The cab driver who picked us up at the airport kept reading signs along both sides of the road and asking us if we were familiar with each business we passed. You guys got Tim Horton's? He got me on that one but a few seconds later I found out Tom Horton's is owned by Wendy's.

All the oil money means Edmonton is one of the few Canadian provinces with a surplus of tax dollars. Right now the government is asking citizens what to do with the money. New roads? Schools? Hospitals? After a conversation I had with one of the locals today I'm guessing most people here in Edmonton will ask for their own individual pieces of the action in the form of a government check.

Today my co-workers and I went ice skating at the giant mall. I didn't have a choice, really. I'm in Canada. There's no way I could have avoided strapping on some rental skates. See, I don't know how to skate but up here I felt strongly I'd be able to shoot across the ice like I was born with blades on my feet.

The soles of my feet were on fire. I was having fun trying to glide around on the ice, but the pain was a lot to deal with. I switched to a larger size of skates but that made me feel unstable. The point is, there was no magical Canadian skating fairy sprinkling skating glitter on my head. I was a spaz. I didn't fall though.

A group of Asian girls with thick accents were on the ice with me. "Hi. Hi. Hi! It's her birthuday today. It's her birthuday!" they said to me as they pointed to a wilting girl in the middle of the crowd. "Happy birthday," I said as I struggled not to fall on my ass. They all giggled in what had to be mock embarrassment. My pants had not just fallen down around my ankles so I can't imagine why they'd laugh like that unless they were faking it.

The mall also provided me with enough Hello Kitty candy to put Allie into a Hello Hyperglycemic coma. I found the treats at one of the most incredible Asian markets I've ever seen (I love Asian markets). Did you know Heinz made banana ketchup? I didn't. How cool is that? Disgusting, but cool.

Speaking of bananas, we found two, new, yellow Lamborghinis parked in front of our hotel this evening. I guess this hotel is quite the spot. "That's where the Stones stay when they're in town," one person said to me this afternoon upon learning where I'm staying. I'm pretty sure I'm not in Keith Richard's old room right now, but if I find a syringe under the mattress I'll let you know.

Two to go, Deb.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Gale Force Salsa

The little garden in our back yard yielded a fair number of small tomatoes and some peppers. I reaped our bounty and made four batches of salsa. Each batch got progressively hotter. The bowl of salsa that is now in the fridge hurts when you eat it. For me, it takes two small bites and the resulting endorphins begin to ooze out my ears.

Last night, before Allie's tumbling class, I ate some of the salsa. There's nothing better than fresh salsa straight from the garden. It tasted great. Unfortunately, the burn provoked a sneezing fit. The sneezing forced the salsa through my nose. I could do nothing to stop the flow of hot lava out of my nostrils. I ran for the tissues but it was too late. I launched two streams of snot and salsa that made perfect circles on our kitchen linoleum. Not only was I in pain, but my shirt, my pants, my hands, my countertops were all in need of serious attention from a haz-mat crew.

Finally the sneezing stopped and I managed to get myself (and the majority of the hot zone) cleaned up before I packed the girls up for tumbling. As we got ready to go I put away a container of trail mix from which Allie had been snacking. I grabbed a handful of nuts, raisins and sunflower seeds before I sealed the bowl. That's when the sneezing started again.

This time small chunks of wet, partially ground-up nuts, raisins and sunflower seeds were sprayed all over the downstairs bathroom. The toilet seat looked like an aerial photo of a craggy, polar landscape.

You're asking yourself, "Why don't you just cover your nose and mouth?"

That's a fair question. I do cover my mouth and nose with my hand and try to catch most of what comes out. The thing is, these sneezing fits are very violent, grand mal seizure, "How did I wind up in my neighbor's garage" kind of stuff. This means I sometimes forget to protect my surroundings from the spray.

I'm just reporting that everything is okay. The house has been properly wiped down. I didn't even ruin my shirt. But I am throwing out the rest of the salsa this evening just in case.

One last thing. It's an observation I made during this evening's activities:

You look at your children and behind their eyes you see the wisdom of the ages. It's staggering how much of the time you spend in absolute awe of the vast potential you know your child holds within.

Then she shits in the bathtub and you realize all bets are off.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Get over it. . .

Last night, at dinner, Allie mentioned that a girl at daycare said something about me.

"Here comes somebody ugly," is what Allie told me the little girl said.

Then Allie described how the little girl went on and on about how somebody ugly had arrived to take Allie home.

Initially, Allie's report from daycare hurt my feelings. I didn't say anything, though. I just kept eating my spaghetti contemplating how to react. I was mainly concerned about how this might taint my daughter's perception of me. After all, nobody wants an ugly daddy. Gleaming teeth, a strong chin and a build that looks appropriate in superhero tights; that's what four-year-olds are looking for when they shop for a daddy.

I've been told I have nice teeth. . .

Anyway, my thoughts turned to the little girl who wants the world (or at least my daughter) to know she thinks I'm ugly. What's a 38-year-old man supposed to do when a five-year-old wounds his ego?

Nothing. That's what.

So this evening when I arrive to pick up my kids I have to suck it up. I'll forget my plan to buy gifts for everyone at the daycare except for the little girl who thinks I'm ugly. I'll put aside thoughts of letting the air out of her bicycle tires or hiding one of her Barbies or something equally passive aggressive and inappropriate.

I am amazed, though, that those thoughts entered my head for a short while. It may have something to do with the fact that this is just another in a series of recent events that have made me feel inadequate, ineffectual, unattractive and just bad in general. However, before this turns into an invitation to a pity party I will say this: I bet I can type faster than the little girl who thinks I'm ugly.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Ahhh. . .

Back in the basement.

It's warm down here and this chair Debbie commandeered from her old office seven years ago isn't the most comfortable, but it feels like home.

Yesterday we said goodbye to Glenn and Judy after commandeering them for two whole weeks. As much as we know they love their grandchildren and us they were ready to get the hell out of here. Two weeks is a long time to be away from home regardless of your temporary surroundings. That's why Deb and I are so grateful they're always willing to help us out during this very busy time in our lives.

Yesterday a guy I know flipped the President of the United States the bird. We were standing outside watching him (George W.) fly by in his tour bus. The President stood in the doorway of the bus with a microphone and shouted at us, "Thanks for saying, 'Hi'!" The guy who flipped him off was certain the President was speaking directly to him.

This incident led to a somewhat disjointed but interesting political discussion that forced me to define the reasons I plan to vote for John Kerry this November.

I always stop reading other people's blogs when the topic switches to politics. I feel guilty when I do this. After all, another person's opinions can be incredibly helpful when you're trying to refine your own. But I'd much rather read about Lilek's trips to Target for My Little Pony gear than his explanation of why the North Koreans would love Kerry to win the election.

That's why I'm not going to tell you why you should vote for John Kerry. I'm just going to ask you to vote. And when you do, vote for Kerry/Edwards.

Last night Pig puked right in the center of our comforter. This is the second time in two weeks the cat has decided to barf in our bed. It may have something to do with Judy feeding leftovers to our cat. But without conclusive proof we won't be pointing any fingers. After all, if you've read this blog for any length of time you know that if our cat isn't sleeping, eating or shitting then it's vomiting.

The changing of our sheets was an invitation for the girls to frolic on our bed. I watched Allie jump up and down on our mattress and it became very clear that we need a new mattress. I think I'll try to prod Debbie into a trip to our local Sealy Posterpedic dealer today.

Allie just got out of bed and is standing next to me telling me about a scratch she got on her thigh that kept her awake. She also has a mosquito bite that is causing her some discomfort. "I can't walk because I've been sleeping and my bones are too tired," she tells me. "I need to have Mommy put something on my bite. You keep writing and I'll be back down."


Friday, September 17, 2004

Post Apocalyptic Ennui

Hello from the 13th floor.

I've dispensed with the bitching about not being able to get out of here. Not that I've done all that much moaning. After all, I've seen the news and the footage of the devastation on the Alabama coast. I should be walking around with at least a smooth forehead and an easy grin. But, just like you, I've got things that need to get done and I feel like I'm not able to take care of things from here.

Yesterday we got out of the hotel and walked down Bourbon Street. I think it was the first time I've had a good look at it during the day. I'm usually on the street at night when the dark, the neon and the crowds of people make the street look a little more glamorous. Yesterday, the bright sun exposed a lot of decay. The plywood covering the windows didn't help matters much either.

This morning I'll pack my bag and lay out my traveling clothes. That will help me feel as if I'm getting something accomplished, at least for the 15 minutes it takes me to get that done.

Last night I tried to get drunk at the bar. After four drinks I knew those little magnetic pouring devices they have on all the bottles here wouldn't allow me to get more than a sheet and a half to the wind without pushing my $60 bar tab to the $100 mark. I wasn't willing to work that hard for a buzz I knew I'd regret this morning. So we all gathered in one room and ordered Chinese take out and watched Survivor. Of course I was more interested in my eggroll than the show.

I miss you Debbie. I almost feel guilty about saying that here because it makes it sound as if I've been away for months. It's been a week. And I know there are soldiers who aren't sleeping at the Hilton who have been away from their families for more than a year. But comparing those situations to mine is ridiculous. And having those thoughts doesn't mean I can't remind you how much I'm looking forward to just being in the same room with you again.

I'm hoping my next post will be from the basement.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


11:34 p.m. and the building is groaning.

It doesn't seem to be any more windy than it was before. However it's eerily quiet here in my room. I'm sure the groaning has been happening since I've been here, I just didn't notice it.

I feel like I'm on the freakin' Bounty. Creeeeaaaak. I can't believe I didn't notice it before. Maybe it wasn't around before and the winds really are much stronger. It doesn't matter. I'm sure the hotel isn't going to collapse.

We're all very tired of being here. Unfortunately the only flight we could get is scheduled for Saturday. Reminding ourselves that it's Wednesday is like catching a knuckle on a cheese grater.

I'm thirsty. I'll go get a bucket of ice and then go to sleep and dream about work. I'll dream about how much I love what I do for a living.

Sam Adams: $4.00 - Pina Colada: $7.50 - Ivan: Priceless

Ivan is starting to feel like a non-event for us. We're here locked in our hotel waiting for something to happen.

Television and the hotel bulletins they're slipping beneath our doors tell us that things will get bad around midnight to 3:00 a.m. What bad means I'm not sure. I do know it won't be anything like the storm Alabama is experiencing right now, as I type this at 6:36 p.m. central time.

They're keeping us inside. I thought it was for our safety but it's more an issue with maintaining a certain pressure within the building. However we did make our way out of the building via the loading dock. That's where they're telling people to take their pets to poop. We almost made it to the Riverwalk when the Harbor Police stopped us and made us go back to the dog run.

Right now people's central preoccupation is with food. Confinement, cable and stale conversation has made eating the only thing people can look forward to. The lines at the two buffets the hotel has provided are long. Our group is going to try to eat in about 20 minutes. Although between a huge buffet breakfast this morning, some chips and two beers I'm pretty much jake. But eating will kill some time so I'll be in line with the rest of the refugees.

Lots of kids, pets and old people wandering around this building right now. People standing in the lobbies smoking, watching other people stand around and smoke. Allie would point to them all and tell me they're disgusting. Considering the level of patience people have waiting for this storm to happen I'll tell you I'm glad Allie's not here with me. Although I'm sure she'd like the flashlights.

A few hours ago hotel staff handed out flashlights to everyone in the building. Unfortunately I wasn't in my room when they came to my door. That means I missed out on a free flashlight. If you think I'm joking when I tell you that I am genuinely disappointed give Debbie a call. She will tell you that I'm probably doing whatever I can to get my hands on a free flashlight (they are cool, by the way; glow in the dark switches and everything).

Dwayne called to see if I was treading water. Basically he told me to be safe and hope that matters don't deteriorate to the point where the other three people in my party are forced to eat me to survive. Always good to hear a reassuring voice in a crisis. Which this isn't. Really. I mean, I suppose anytime you're not able to be where you want to be and do what you want to do you could call it a crisis. But in this case you wouldn't.

I might change my tune at midnight. But for now I'm just thinking about what's on the buffet line.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Ivan to go Home

Here I am in New Orleans waiting for Ivan to show. Right now I'm looking out the window at blue skies and puffy clouds. I know full well the weather will drastically change by tomorrow morning. Otherwise I'd be able to get a flight or a rental car or something out of Louisiana.

They closed down my show and now I'm here in my hotel room waiting.

I'm bored.

It's my birthday.

I'm celebrating my birthday with Ivan. I spoke with Allie and she said that she hopes that I'll be safe from the hurricane. I reassured her. I'm not worried about the hurricane. I'm just tired of being away from home. You see, Ivan didn't make me a birthday card. Allie and her Grandma did.

Not that I'd be home for my birthday even if a hurricane hadn't closed down the city. But because of this damn storm I don't know when I'll make it home and that has a significant impact on my outlook.

I'll write more later. See, I think I'll be spending a great deal of time sitting one of the two full sized beds here in my room.

Monday, September 06, 2004

This evening Julia walked around with a hunk of tissues in her hand gently dabbing at her nose. It looked as if she was doing a Truman Copote impression except for a hissing noise she'd make with her mouth trying to duplicate a proper nose blowing.

She finally settled down next to me to watch TV. As we watched, Julia would reach over and pat me on the head. It was sweet. After the fourth pat I reached up to touch her hand and return the pat.

That's when I noticed she was still holding the hunk of tissues.

That's when I noticed the huge globs of snot in my hair.

Apparently those hissing noises weren't coming from her mouth.

Looks like we can throw out the nasal aspirator.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Upward Trend

August 19 Status Report:

Wife: Supremely stressed and overworked.
Kid #1: Emotionally fragile.
Kid #2: Covered in hives.
Cat: Neglected and confused.
Plants: Neglected and confused.
Website: Neglected and confused.

August 21 Status Report:

Wife: Situation improving.
Kid #1: Emtionally stable (happy?).
Kid #2: Clear skinned and bubbly.
Cat: Petted. Fed.
Plants: Neglected and confused.
Website: FINALLY! All new photos of the girls and a new movie called "Water Balloons" in the multimedia section. It's a big file, but worth the wait. Just head over to the gallery and use your password. No password? Just send me an email.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Hello Muddah. Hello Faddah.

Here I am at . . .

Camp Allie?

Yes, beautiful Camp Allie. A place where a human can come to free him or herself of the suffocating layers of stress and anxiety that build up after toiling each day in our synthetic, pre-packaged, homogenized world.

In other words, we bought a tent and put it up in the backyard.

Allie, her mother and I gathered everything we'd need to survive. Here's Allie's list:

Ranger Debbie delivered most of supplies including ice cream with chocolate sauce (an essential element of any successful wilderness exploration; ask Lewis and Clark).

I honestly didn't think Allie would make it through the night. However, after we collected every blanket in the house and piled them on top of the inflatable pool lounges Debbie bought for us, sleeping in the tent wasn't too far a departure from her bed.

It was cold. In the morning I diagnosed myself with arthritis in a few areas of my body that weren't under a comforter. Allie didn't have this problem and said she slept well.

Later in the day the whole family ate McDonald's in the tent. Then Allie and I napped in the tent until late in the afternoon.

Looking back, I'm proud of what we accomplished. The family pulled together so that Allie and I could gently caress the cheek of Mother Nature. No matter what the obstacle, we found a way to survive.

Has this experience changed me? Changed Allie? Yes. Yes, indeed. In ways that are too profound to express with words. So please indulge me as I try to capture the essence of our encounter with nature in song. Simply click here.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Most of you Were There. . .

Julia didn't eat her cake. She looked at it and cried. I tried stuffing a piece of it in her mouth and she resisted. That made her cry more.

I'm not sure if that was before or after the police arrived.

Nobody went to jail. There were no official reprimands or even stern looks. Claudette waved to the officer in order to invite him to a naked water balloon fight. He saw her and stopped to investigate.

There was a cat in a pet carrier in the back seat of the squad car. The officer was looking for the owner. The cat was wearing rabies tags so I'm sure they'll find the owner. But the animal does have a record now and that's never a good thing for any one.

We did invite the officer to the naked water balloon fight. He said we should wait until after dark.

We didn't wait until after dark and there was no nudity. Although after being soaked by several water balloons my shirt was clinging to my body in a very sensual way. I noticed one of our neighbors gazing at me from his bedroom window. I felt like a piece of meat but in a good way.

No one reported symptoms of food poisoning. It's been about a week since the party so I'm pretty sure we're in the clear.

So we've kept Julia alive for an entire year. Even with her enormous head. Dr. Tom says her head is bigger than 95% of other babies her age. We didn't notice. It hasn't been an issue. Although I do notice that sometimes when I pull a T-Shirt over her head it can be a bit of a struggle.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Janet's Nice and Dry Now

Mr. Rogers was a hell of a lot bigger than I thought he was. I saw his sweater at the Smithsonian last night. It was a big sweater. I was standing next to a guy and I said, "You know, his mother made all of his sweaters." The guy just looked at me as if to say, "I no longer want to stand next to you."

The coolest part about the Smithsonian was an exact reproduction of Julia Child's kitchen. They brought in all of her pots, pans, blenders, wisks, rolling pins, etc. and completely recreated her kitchen. Most of you know how much Deb and I enjoy cooking shows and there I was, just a foot away from the sauce pan of the matriarch of all cooking shows. The half-inch of plexi between me and the sauce pan didn't diminish the experience.

We ventured into the musical instruments collection on display. My co-worker, Dennis, and I stopped to look at a set of Stradivarious violins and cellos. We were alone in the room with these priceless instruments that are housed in a wooden armoire. I leaned against the armoire and Dennis suddenly looked alarmed. I was puzzled by his reaction. Then I looked at the violins and cellos. They were shaking and moving inside the armoire. In fact, I promise you, if I had used that armoire to brace myself against a sneeze I would knocked those suckers right off their pedestals.

On the walk back I asked Dennis, "Would I be exaggerating if I said I almost knocked over a bunch of Stradivarious violins?" Dennis said I wouldn't be exaggerating. So I thought about what I would tell my cellmate after I went to prison if I had sneezed. "What're you in for?," he'd ask. "I scratched up a violin," I'd tell him. Then he'd sell me for a pack of Camels.

It hasn't all been tourism. I have been working. My job means I spend most of my day talking with strangers. Some of them are strange strangers. One guy told me he has every window and door in his house wired to a security system. He has steel framed security doors at every entrance. He has a trained dog that barks at every little, odd sound. Then he told me he sleeps with a .357 under his pillow and his wife has a shotgun under the bed.

I'm not exaggerations his description. In fact, I think I left some stuff out. So I had to ask him if he had a lot of break ins.

He said his car was stolen once.

Now I'm watching Janet Reno in the audience at the Democratic National Convention. Looks like she's having a lot of fun. She just happy she lives in Florida now instead of Washington. I'm sure she'd tell you it's too freakin' humid in D.C.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Washington D.C. is not only our nation's capital but it is a giant sauna of a city. The humidity here is oppressive to say the least, life-threatening to say just a little bit more.

Okay, it's not that bad. But I spent the afternoon walking around in the hot sun. My shirt was clinging to me uncomfortably and anything clinging to my form is a bad thing.

I got into the city a little before noon. My co-worker and I hopped in the cab of a disgruntled criminilogist from Afghanistan. He was telling us about how corrupt the poorly educated D.C. policemen are. "State troopers. Now they're alright. They are educated men. But city cops only have a ninth grade education." The driver went on to tell us about a ten dollar bribe a local copy took from him to tear up a parking ticket. When he wasn't getting the reaction he wanted from us he shifted his tone.

"I know it's a hard job. I know. I'm a ciminologist. I was trained in Germany and was an instructor in my home, Afghanistan. But these sonsabitches. . ."

He went on to tell us that because congress isn't in session all the lobbyists aren't in town and he's basically starving. "Congress leaves and nobody eats," he said. He also told us about how most foreign cab drivers buy their licenses for about $10,000 from a corrupt company run by Hindus.


Okay, just get me to my hotel. Not enough singles? Fine. Fine. Just keep the change. It's freakin' humid I haven't eaten today and the clock is ticking on how much time I have to get to my job.

After work we wandered around the sauna trying to get a sense of the city.

I stopped by the White House. They wouldn't let me in. Turns out you need to write your congressman to get permission before you can get inside and that's if you pass the background check.

Now I'm in my hotel room watching the Democratic convention. The air conditioning has taken a lot of the moisture out of the air and that means I'm feeling a little better.

A little.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

The Uniform

This is an asshole shirt.

I call this an asshole shirt because whenever I see a guy wearing this shirt I think to myself, There's a guy wearing an asshole shirt. That guy is an asshole.

It's not a matter of style. These men aren't assholes because they have poor taste. The shirt is merely a uniform that assholes subconsciously issue to themselves as soon as they've established themselves as assholes.

I'm certainly guilty of judging books by their covers but for me there has never been an exception to the rule. I've met these men. I've worked with them. I've overheard their conversations at restaurants (they're usually pretty loud when they boast about sleeping around).

You don't see too many of these shirts around these days. Although I did see one on the beltline the other day. The shirt was on a guy with slicked backed hair driving a Porsche talking on a cell phone. There were even leather suspenders to complete the ensemble. I thought I'd pulled up next to Gordon Gecko.

Do I own one of these shirts?

Back when I was forced to wear a tie everyday I thought about buying one of the shirts. Being an asshole myself I was instinctively drawn to the shirt. But I fought the urge.

I am an undercover asshole.

Many of us have gone undercover and we're not so easy to spot in a crowd. These days you'll need to speak to us one-on-one. However it doesn't take much time for us to reveal our asshole stripes. It's just a matter of classification after that.

I see myself as the David Brent type asshole these days. Only I'm not anyone's boss and I can't really pull off the goatee.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Now it Can be Told

Dave and Marcia don't have a computer. Their crappy old Dell was fried during a thunderstorm and now they're trying to get it fixed.

They need to buy a new one (a new Mac, it should be) but they're extremely tight.

See, I can say things like that because they don't have a computer and won't be reading this.

In fact, I'm free to talk about a number of things now that I know they won't be reading this.

They were horrible parents.

It's true. Here's a partial list:

•They used to dress me up like a mime to collect change from people at the mall. When I couldn't do the trapped in an invisible box routine well enough they made me practice in a dryer at the laundromat for hours.
•Up to the time I left for school, I was in charge of bikini waxing each of them twice a month.
•At age six, I was the youngest Amway representative in the history of the organization. All of my earnings were used to finance my parents' brief but expensive descent into the world of Hummel collectibles.
•I was sent to camp when I was ten. It was a logging camp.
•I shared my room with borders my parents would take in from time-to-time. This is where I learned the term hobo was preferred over bum and how to relieve syphilis symptoms with a poultice of turpentine and coffee grounds.
•Instead of new school clothes each year we'd go shopping for a new respirator filter to wear down in the mine. The only reason I got a respirator was because the other miners grew tired of me hacking up great balls of black phlegm. They threatened my parents because of all the noise I was making.
•I survived on diet of equal parts Lipton Cup-a-Soup and potting soil until I was 17.
•When I was little they're favorite game to play with me was Hide and go find enough change to take the bus to get yourself back home in time to make your own damn dinner.

There's more. Much more. But I just looked up and saw one of Allie's dolls staring at me from a pile of her toys. This thing is really creeping me out.

Jesus! I think it just blinked!

I'm getting out of this basement.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

The Beginning of the End

A few moments ago Julia started climing stairs.

Yesterday she'd brace her hands against the next-to-the-last stair and look up at all the other stairs as if they were some sort of Gordian knot.

Today she zips up them like a Sherpa up a bunny slope.

Deb said, "As soon as she starts walking we won't have our baby anymore."

I bet if you come back in about fifteen minutes I will have posted again with that news.

Talk about your bittersweet wagers. . .

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

My Gradual Vasectomy

Allie and I have been doing some bike riding lately. A friend sold me a Trek trainer that attaches to the seat post of my bike effectively creating a tandem.

We have a lot of fun tooling around the neighborhood. However I'm having a problem with my balls.

I sit down and they immediately squirt into whatever free space they can find between my shorts and the bicycle seat. It's akin to having two greased mice trying to escape from beneath a quickly filled water bed mattress. . . only in your pants.

"What's wrong? Why aren't we going, Daddy?" Allie asks when I stop to make sure my nuts are still intact. I tell her, "Daddy needs to make a few adjustments."

Usually I can shift the boys around and allow them to find a safe spot on their own. They're good at that. It's all about self-preservation and I know they have a strong will to live. That doesn't mean I'm probably not slowly killing them.

See, there's this whole Bicycle Seat Neuropathy thing to worry about. A 2003 study showed that wider bicycle seats that support the ischial tuberosities (your ass bones) decrease pressure on the perineal area. Other studies have also demonstrated the negative effects bicycle seat design has on penile blood flow and penile oxygen pressure.

In other words the standard bicycle seat is your wedding tackle's worst enemy.

I suppose I could find some kind of ergonomic, gel-padded, Kevlar covered, developed by NASA bicycle seat. But I'm not willing to invest any money into my circa 1989 Huffy mountain bike.

I know, my huevos are worth it. But I've seen Lance Armstrong's bike seat. It's a skinny, ball bustin' nightmare and he seems to be okay. Of course he may have a crotch that makes a sound like rail cars connecting everytime he sits down. But that's not going to happen to me during my half-hour cruises around our fair neighborhood.

At least I hope it doesn't.

Every article I read on Bicycle Seat Neuropathy mentions erectile dysfunction as a symptom. That's the part that concerns me. And, like most things mentioned in this post, I have two considerations: buy a wider seat or pay more attention to those Levitra commercials.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Greg vs Weed Wacker

Weed Wacker wins.

I've let a lot of what usually makes its way into the blog slip by over the past few weeks.

Most of it seemed too obvious to write about.

Like Allie vomiting in the car.

It was just a matter of time before it happened. In fact, it really wouldn't be our car until she emptied her stomach on to the back seat.

I was driving Allie to spend the week with her grandparents. We left our house at 10:00 a.m. and the drive went smoothly until around 11:00. That's when Allie spewed her breakfast all over herself and the back of the seat in front of her. I use the word spew because I turned around just as she issued forth her second salvo of vomit. She had become an oversized Wagner Power Painter with a slight sputter in the nozzle.

Allie's breakfast had been chocolate milk and pancakes. Milk puke stinks. The big problem I had was the new car. The napkins, bags and wipes that usually collect in our cars hadn't gathered yet. That meant the only thing I had was a pair of Allie's socks I found in her Winnie the Pooh suitcase.

The poor girl wound up standing naked on the side of a very busy four lane highway. I squatted in front of her as I dabbed my kid with a puke encrusted sock. How we avoided providing explanations to the authorities isn't clear.

Then there was my first spa experience.

Because Allie was gone for the week Deb and I decided to take a day off from work and spend some time together. We went to a day spa and had various treatments.

I had my first professional massage.

She rubbed my eyebrows.

I liked it.

The only problem was Deb and I left the place coated in just about every variety of scented emollient known to man. It didn't feel bad. In fact it felt decadent.

A lot of decadence got smeared on the windows and interior of our car as we drove to get something to eat.

Lunch was at the Ocean Grill. We each had a martini.

Deb got drunk.

The woman must have blood like spring water. For a good five to ten minutes she giggled with very little provocation while I looked at her slightly amazed and completely in love.

There's more. But I'm not too keen on the blog thing these days. Read this and you'll discover I'm not the only one. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop blogging. My overinflated notion that you are dying to read about Deb and I scrubbing the linoleum won't allow me to stop.

You should see our kitchen floor, by the way. It looks brand new.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Next Generation

Check out the password gallery to see Julia in her little Star Trek uniform.

Four pips.

She's a captain.

Her daddy's a geek. . .

Friday, June 25, 2004

Chronic Masticators

I was going to write about taking Allie and Julia shopping today. The problem is I just finished reading Lilek's Bleat where he described a day at the mall with his daughter. My post would have been pretty much the same stuff, right down to the kid friendly staff at Bath & Body Works, only you'll find much better writing in The Bleat.

I will tell you we went to Noodles for lunch. If we're going shopping you can pretty much bet Allie will want to get Macaroni & Cheese at Noodles & Company. I suppose it's understandable. Noodles was the first restaurant we were brave enough to take Allie to right after she was born. Typing that makes me think back to what cautious parents Deb and I were. The contrast between how we handle our second child compared to our first is staggering. Where once we practically encased Allie in a hypoallergenic, antibacterial, Nerf cocoon we now allow Julia to scoop food out of strangers' mouths and juggle steak knives.

Lunch with my daughters takes about an hour and a half to two hours. You'd think it'd be the baby that slows every thing down. It's not. Allie eats slowly. She chews each morsel until she breaks it down to its most rudimentary elements. In fact, Fermilab considered abandoning accelerators and bringing in my daughter to isolate a few sub atomic particles for them. When they found out how long it would take they went back to old technology.

I should be happy she's a good chewer. However Allie's at the age when I need to remind her to eat with her mouth closed. This means most of the time she's not only chewing each bite a bazillion times, but she's doing it loudly. Watching her eat a single macaroni noodle can be maddening. A piece of meat would push anyone over the edge. Taffy could very well mean death for even the most patient and hardy among us.

I'm guessing the little teeth in her head are like diamonds.

Speaking of chewing, Allie's not the only one in the family who was using her teeth today. This afternoon, at the sporting goods store, I was trying on a pair of shoes. Julia and Allie sat on the floor while I looked for the right-sized Nikes. You see, I had given up on putting Julia in her umbrella stroller. Julia discovered she could corkscrew her way out of the stroller's straps. So I decided I'd just carry her from place-to-place. That's why they were on the floor. That's why Julia decided to go exploring. That's why you'll probably hear Deb and I refer to our daughter as Magellan from time-to-time.

Julia's fast. The first time she took off Julia got a good twenty feet away from Allie and me. On her third escape attempt I asked Allie to corral her. Allie did her best. In fact, she threw her body in front of Julia to try to get her to stay put. Julia just kept crawling over her sister until they looked like they were wrestling. Then I heard Allie scream, "SHE BIT ME! DADDY SHE BIT ME!"

Allie ran over to me looking absolutely shocked. I didn't think it could have been too bad and, in fact, I was giggling a little at both kids. Then I saw tears roll down Allie's face. She pulled up her sleeve and showed me how Julia had left four little indentations where she sank her four little fangs into her sister.

I kept giggling.

I know it wasn't the right response but Julia's willingness to use any means possible to get by her sister stuck me as funny. The more I laughed, the more Allie tried not to laugh. Allie wanted retribution. I saw Allie look at her sister, then back at me. She decided it was funny started to laugh. "BAD GIRL! YOU'RE A BAD GIRL!" Allie said.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering why I think this kid-bites-kid story is blog-worthy.

I don't.

But now I'm tired of typing and that means I won't write much about how I scared the shit out of a lady today. This was after she mouthed the word asshole at me as I happen to glance at her in my rearview mirror. I'll just say:

I didn't deserve the nasty comment.

She was driving like a maniac.

I hope I made her crap her pants.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Sunday I wrote a Father's Day post on the the computer in Allie's room. There's not a lot of productivity software on Allie's computer. In fact, the closest thing to a word processor is her Disney Princess Datebook. So I used the old Mac's notepad to describe Julia eating soap. I thought I'd really play it old school and use a floppy disk to sneakernet the file down here to the computer in the basement.

This computer doesn't have a floppy drive.

I spent 45 minutes trying to get an old CD burner to work on Allie's Mac. No luck. That means no Father's Day blog.

No big loss. However I've still got Father's day on my mind. After all, I had a great time. I was served breakfast in bed and got presents (a card, a Coolest Daddy T-Shirt and the third season of the Simpsons on DVD). I'm grateful not only to my wonderful wife and kids, but to Sonora Dodd.

Sonora got the ball rolling on Father's Day. A little Googling reveals Mother's Day came first (well of course it did). In the U.S. the first Mother's Day was celebrated in 1872. It wasn't until 1909 that Sonora Dodd came up with the idea for the holiday.

She was listening to a Mother's Day sermon and decided there should be a special day to honor her father, William Smart. William, who was a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state.

Six kids. On his own. . .

I'm thinking this guy deserved a really nice tie. Sonora did too so she organized the first Father's Day celebration in June (William was born in June) in Spokane.

I've been to Spokane. I don't remember seeing any signs or anything.

President Calvin Coolidge, in 1924, probably didn't give a crap about Sonora's dad deserving a nice tie but he did support the idea of a national Father's Day. However, it wasn't until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's Day.

I was born in 1966.

Born to be a Dad?

Probably not.

But I am trying. For example: I'm cutting way back on tormenting. I haven't brought up Allie's imaginary sister, Carol, in months. And I haven't (intentionally) called Allie by the wrong name in weeks. I do admit to trying to convince Allie that her mother wasn't really on her way to the grocery store but was, in fact, leaving to find a new place to live. Allie, Julia and Pig would stay in the old house while Deb and I would live in the new house.

Allie didn't buy it. So that definitely doesn't count as tormenting.

The only kid I've intentionally pissed off lately is Julia and that's only for her own protection. After eating soap she also ate quite a large amount of green sidewalk chalk which I had to dig out of her mouth with my fingers. A lid from a lip balm almost made it down her throat and I had to drag her away from the basement stairs three times. I had to repeatedly protect the plants on the baker's rack in the kitchen and finally hid the wine cork collection in the dining room.

So I am working hard, trying to live up to breakfast in bed and my Simpson DVD collection. That's not exactly a cake walk considering I already know I've got more than I deserve.

However, regardless of how grateful I am I'm still working on a plan to convince Allie the cat is hiding all of her toys at night.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

You know you've been working when you look inside your Kleenex and find dirty mucous. This time it was the dust and grime that flew up in the air as I cleaned out the garage last night.

I remember our garage when we first moved into the house. It smelled like fresh-cut lumber. It smelled new. It doesn't smell new anymore. Too much dirt, motor oil, gasoline, lawn chemicals, spilt milk from the recycling bin and general ooze has collected on, and become one with, the concrete. These days the garage sometime smells like garbage and rotten lawn clippings and the recent high humidity doesn't help matters.

Actually, it's not that bad. It's pretty typical, if not a bit cleaner than the average garage in our neighborhood. However this is not the first time I noticed that our garage's scent was changing for the worse. About three years ago I went to a local convenience store to fill-up our old Jetta. When I went in to pay the woman behind the counter recognized me as a regular customer. "Could you drive my mother home?" she asked. I remember her mother's half-hearted smile as I contemplated the question. I thought it was a strange request to make of a stranger, but I agreed to drive the lady home.

Turns out the Jetta had been sitting in the garage along with some rather smelly garbage that day. The convenience store mother got into my car and I could tell, by the way she looked like she was choking back vomit, she noticed that my car didn't smell very good. It was a cold day and she asked if she could crack the window. This woman didn't speak much English so she didn't say much to me. She just tilted her head toward the little quarter inch crack she made. It reminded me of films I've seen of cattle packed in rail cars struggling for breath.

She seemed very relieved when I dropped her off. I'm pretty sure she still thinks I live in complete filth.

I don't go to her store anymore.

The garage is cleaner now. I even caught a hint of that "new garage" smell as I swept away the dirt and loaded bags full of trash. One thing I couldn't throw away was our old "For Sale By Owner" sign. In fact, I put in the front yard for awhile. In the course of about an hour four cars slowed down to look at our home. A neighbor asked why we were leaving and a nosy lady I didn't recognize asked me how much we wanted for the house. I truly wanted to screw with the nosy lady. Are you in the market for a new home? We're asking 1.6 million because of all the fantastic upgrades inside. Is that within the range you had in mind? What's your name? How about your home number? How much is your current home worth? Some of the more unusual amenities in the house aren't conducive to small children or pets. Is that a problem? What were you planning for a down payment? I can call you with more details.

Deb filled out her police report yesterday. She was in an auto accident yesterday. A 70-year-old lady in a Cadillac scraped the tail end of our Mazda. It was entirely Cadillac lady's fault. Deb made that very clear in the diagram she drew of the accident. I won't write anymore about it. I'm sure Deb will want to mention it in her blog.

I bet the Cadillac lady's garage smells awful.