Friday, December 29, 2006

It Just Makes Sense

Yesterday I was in the watch department of a local store and a man and a woman were there buying a watch. They were taking a long time to buy a watch. The conversation went something like this:

Woman: Are you sure you want this?
Man: Yeah. I really do.
Woman: But all you need is a band.
Man: But for a few more dollars I can get a whole new watch. It just makes sense.
Woman: But you already have so many watches.
Man: I like them.

At first I thought they were married and then I heard this exchange:

Woman: You can borrow some of my money. Your money is in the truck.
Man: It’s my money in the truck.
Woman: I know. I left it there so I’m going to give you some of mine so you can get the watch.

I didn’t really have a choice but to watch these people because there was only one sales clerk behind the counter and she wasn’t going to take care of me until this guy made up his mind.

Man: I’ll take it! I’ll take the watch. Can I wear it?
Clerk: Of course you can wear it.
Man: Can you undo it? Can you take all that stuff off of it for me?
Clerk: Sure.

I began to notice another person on the other side of the counter watching the transaction as closely as I was. The guy watching was developmentally disabled and suddenly shouted, “YOU GONNA BUY A WATCH?!” The watch buyer confirmed that he was buying a watch and shouting man said, “BUT YOU ALREADY HAVE A BUNCH OF WATCHES!”

“I know. I like them. And it just makes sense.”

The clerk freed the watch and put it on the watch buying man’s wrist. The entire time she helped him he made a point of repeating the clerk’s name. Each sentence began with the clerk’s name. Then he asked, “What time is it? It’s stupid to have a new watch and not know what time it is.”

I chimed in, “It’s 5:00 o’clock.”

The guy spun around and smiled at me. Then he took off the watch and handed it to the clerk. She set it then placed his new nine dollar watch back on his wrist.

As I left the store the guy who liked to shout was still standing there. As I walked by him I said, “Hi.” He just stared at me blankly. I got about 20 feet away from him when I barely heard him softly say, “Hi.”

Thursday, December 28, 2006

This Day in History

Hey mom! Did you know that on the day you were born The Helen Hayes Theater, on CBS radio, was called the first casualty of World War II? Lipton Tea dropped sponsorship of the program as it prepared for shortages in tea imports from India.

What does that have to do with you?


Grandma Gertie told me that Ms. Hayes immediately started looking for work as a nanny far away from the footlights of Broadway. She decided to start her new life in the middle of the country; Central Illinois to be exact. She called the local hospitals and discovered that you had just been born. She immediately hopped on a train and showed up on Grandma’s doorstep with her entourage in tow. Grandma had no choice but to accept her offer to help raise you for the tidy sum of 38 cents per day.

After a week Helen Hayes realized that you were an absolute monster and decided that you were a baby only a mother could love. She fled your birth home to return to New York. In her haste she abandoned her man servant, Giles. Giles did not have the means to buy a ticket back east. He was forced to work for Grandma for 40 cents a day (Grandma liked Giles more than Helen Hayes) until he earned enough for a ticket home.

It took two years for Giles to earn the money he needed. In that time, the abandoned man servant grew to love you and your family. Unfortunately Giles was very clumsy and dropped you several times while attempting to care for you. Grandma Gertie didn’t have the heart to fire him so she continued to let him handle you. In that time, Giles dropped you 37 times.

Mainly you fell on your head.

And now we all know what the cancellation of The Helen Hayes Theater has to do with you!

Note to the person helping Marcia with the big words in this post:
Please give Marcia a huge hug and wish her happy birthday from us. Then speak very slowly and let her know how much her family loves her. Thanks. . .

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Everything Old is New Again

Our long national nightmare has come to an end.

It's a fresh start for Greg and Deb on the Web. In the past you could always get here via These days that URL is the only way to get here. That's good and bad. By making the change I'm going to lose my Google rank, it'll take months for the crawlers to find me and my hits will dwindle to around three each day (two of them will be me to see if you've left any comments).

The good news is the new site directory looks squeaky clean. The old server was a leftover from the days before you could publish photos, sound files or movies on Blogger. It was clunky and cluttered and ready for retirement.

We're still using Blogger. I got a free copy of Movable Type and read a little about using it. The more I read, the more visions I had of me sitting in the basement until 3:00 a.m. trying to get everything to work. As much as I hated to return to Blogger I knew it was the easiest way to get back online.

So here I sit, blogging on the couch while I listen to Allie read aloud and Julia mutter what sounds a little like obscenities as she plays with some of her new Christmas toys.

Deb is reading; quietly.

Speaking of Deb, if you read her blog you'll find out if Allie is going to live.


She's going to be fine. She had kind of a crappy Christmas, but hopefully the sea of toys I'm looking at right now beneath the tree will be some compensation for the massive amount of puke she's had to deal with over the last few days.

Guess I won't be sending any letters out anytime soon. That's okay. You wouldn't have been able to read my writing anyway.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Adhesive on Cellulose Makes the Season Bright

Last night we watched Mr. Magoo’s version of A Christmas Carol. I kept nodding off while I watched the 1962 cartoon (Deb and the girls disappeared upstairs for bath time). Each time I fell asleep I had these weird visions of what my subconscious thinks a late 60’s early 70’s Christmas was all about (men dressed in sharkskin suits attached to women with bouffant hairdos all prancing around aluminum trees and fake snow).

While Mr. Magoo was a decent catalyst for holiday nostalgia, I find that smells are what really start Christmas memories churning in my brain. It’s not the scent of gingerbread or a roast turkey that starts the flood. Pine needles have some effect but we usually had a fake tree when I was little so that’s a more of a recent addition to the vault. I’m thinking more along the lines of Scotch Tape.

I’m not saying I’m writing 3M with recommendations for Scotch Tape scented potpourri. But their tape does have an unmistakable aroma. And the smell of that tape makes me think of wrapping presents. And Christmas is, if we are able to move beyond the well intentioned propaganda, all about the presents.

Sure I have a warm feeling toward my fellow man this time of year. But that’s mainly due to the fact that I’m happy because I know I’m going to get presents. Yes, the joy of giving is wonderful but we’ve spent far too long pretending that the thrill of getting pales all that much in comparison.

My gift to you this holiday season is to let you know that you no longer have to feel guilty about visions of plasma screens and ant farms (or whatever you’re into) dancing in your head. It’s okay. You’re not greedy. You’re simply coming to terms with the fact that the anticipation of benefiting from the fruits of someone’s thoughtfulness and generosity is FUN. After all, one can’t really exist without the other. The giving yin would wither without someone else’s getting yang.

All I’m saying is that I have a fairly large yang and that you should never be timid about telling everyone about the size of your yang.

Monday, December 18, 2006

H.I.S.U.M.K. Theater - Act II

Allie: Sometimes I hear a voice.

Greg: What does it say?

Allie: It whispers my name. It says, "Allie!"

Greg (Pause): Does the voice say anything else?

Allie: No.

Greg: Well, if the voice says anything else, I want you to tell me immediately.

Allie: Why?

Greg: Daddy just wants to know.

So ends another episode of How I Screwed Up My Kids Theater. Tune in next time when you’ll hear Julia say, “I GOT BUGS IN MY EYES!”


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How I Screwed Up My Kids Theater

Greg (Poking Julia with Toy Horse): This horse wants some apples.

Julia: No.

Greg: She’s looking for carrots.

Julia: No.

Greg: Then what is she looking for?

Julia: Blood.

So ends this episode of How I Screwed Up My Kids Theater. Tune in next time when you’ll hear Allie say, “I like the way they squirm when I pull off their wings.”


Friday, December 08, 2006

Dearth of Posts

Blog titles from the past few days that were never followed up by an actual blog post:

Metroid Causes Hemorrhoids
Is it Gout?
Starving the Cat
When Lazy Becomes a Felony
If Loving Butter is Wrong; I Don't Want to be Right
The Devil on Santa's Shoulder
When a Sock Becomes Toilet Paper
Things I've Found in my Navel
My Hair Loss as Metaphor
Watching Jacques Cut Up a Chicken
Why Allie's Snow Pants Almost Caused a Riot

I'm sure I'll actually get around to posting something soon. You should check it out. Whatever it is - it's going to be great. But first I need to caulk around the bathtub.

I won't be posting until I'm done caulking.

If you see a post after this then you'll know that there's fresh caulk around the tub.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Music Thursdays

Not a good workday today. However, I did listen to my iPod at work when I found the time. I mention that because I don’t usually bother to bring the thing to the office. This is mainly because I’m unable to write anything when I hear music with lyrics. I always wind up incorporating whatever I’m hearing into whatever I’m writing. Sometimes the results are kind of amusing, but if I’m trying to get something done it’s just annoying. The Smiths start ringing in my ears and suddenly You are human and you need to be loved - and we guarantee you’ll feel loved by our exclusive, online savings!

Same thing goes for loud conversations. I’m far too easily distracted for anything more demanding than smooth jazz when it’s time to write copy.

Fortunately today the tasks I had to take care of at work actually got a shot in the arm from the music. It was nice. However, I discovered myself hearing the first note of a lot of songs and hitting the skip button. I can write about the blessings and curses of discovering and enjoying music now that we mostly get single cuts and can skip those without the need to fast forward - but I’ll save that for another day. The real issue is that of the 2,000 or so songs that are crammed into my iPod, today I was only in the mood for a handful of them.

I’m either really fickle or I need some new music.

Please do me a favor and tell me about one or two of the songs that are raising the hair on the back of your neck these days. I’m in search of the same kind of bliss as when I discovered Imperial Bedroom and wore that cassette out on my Walkman. I am older; I know subtle psychological and hormonal changes mean that I’ll probably never get as excited as I was about Oingo Boingo, XTC or even Aaron Copeland. But who knows.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Day

I carried my camera around with me today.

Click here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Haunch

So far I’ve avoided gaming systems. We bought Deb’s parents a Playstation years ago. After they stopped playing it I brought it home in the hopes it would entertain the girls. They weren’t interested and thankfully I wasn’t either. I say thankfully because I don’t need another excuse to sit on the couch. You see, the right system with the right game is the gateway to my 600-pound, bury me in a piano case, evolution.

That said I recently purchased the right system and the right game. It’s Metroid on the Nintendo GameCube.

My sister, Kim discovered Metroid for me. Back in 1986 I would go to her house and play it whenever I could get the Nintendo controller out of her hands. Since then, I’ve had a Metroid Monkey on my back. Lately I’ve been getting my fix from the Game Boy Advance I’ve been carrying around with me on trips for the past few years. It’s really the only game I play (and replay again and again).

If you’ve stuck with this post to this point, then you’re on the edge of your seat wondering why I’d buy a gaming system now. If I was able to resist it all these years, why would I invite one into my home? Well. . .

A couple of weeks ago I noticed some kids literally camping out in front of our local Wal-Mart. They were in their Carhartt coveralls inside a makeshift shelter blocked off with overturned shopping carts. They were waiting for the new Nintendo Wii. It was Friday night. The systems went on sale Sunday morning. I stood in the parking lot and stared at them as they peeked at me from behind their tarps. I wanted to speak with them and find out why they were willing to freeze their balls off for two nights in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

It wasn’t too hard to resist the urge to talk to them. But it occurred to me that with the advent of the Wii eBay would more than likely be swimming with GameCube owners trying to dump their old systems. Sure enough, I found an old GameCube for half what I would have paid for it new. It arrived on Friday and that evening I went out and rented Metroid Prime.

I’ve spent hours downstairs in the basement. The girls sit next to me and provide encouragement but also remind me over and over again that I’m going to die. Dying is fine with Allie because that means I might relinquish the controller so she can experience the joy of blasting War Wasps and Shriekbats.

So far, I think I have it under control. But I’m pretty sure things are going to get ugly. I’ll start missing work. Personal hygiene will get tossed out the window. Anything that distracts me from the game will be met with white hot anger followed by smoldering resentment. Once I hit 400 pounds I won’t be able to make it up the stairs anymore. That’s when I’ll start sneaking the girls toys and cash to bring me food after Debbie starts to refuse. My thumbs will callus and my eyesight will deteriorate to the point where I’ll have the same faculties as a 600-pound, hairless mole.

Right now I'm in the basement with the girls. They're sitting next to me fighting over the GameCube controler like two hyenas with a piece of zebra haunch.

Better reclaim my haunch before things get out of hand.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sort of. . .

It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting in the stairwell waiting for Julia to get up. From here I can intercept her as she beelines for our bedroom door. This will allow Deb a few extra minutes of sleep.

I can hear Allie snoring. It's not snoring, really. It's intense mouth breathing. As bad as that might sound, it's actually kind of sweet as it reminds me of when she was a baby.

Today I hope to get both girls out of the house. On Thursday many families in our neighborhood were pretending they were the Kennedys on Nantucket Sound playing touch football in the warmer than usual November air. Okay, they weren't playing football, but they were at the park on the swings or dribbling soccer balls. As for me and mine; we stayed inside and overfed ourselves like veal.

That's not entirely true either. Boiling a turkey in oil on Thursday meant a portion of our meal prep took us outside. Then there was a walk through the neighborhood in the hopes that some movement might prevent portions of our distended colons from rupturing.

Speaking of turkeys - ours got a little crispy. After brining it and employing the same kind of mechanization one might go through for a shuttle launch I decided to try to see if I could melt our turkey into a solid block of cinderized bird. You can see a movie of the actual frying by clicking the picture of the bird or right here.

As hard as I tried to screw it up, the bird still tasted pretty good. It didn't dry out. The brining process made the skin fairly salty, but otherwise the meat was tasty. As for the other dishes my scalloped corn wasn't a big hit and I don't think introducing baked bananas into the yams went over (although I liked it). But otherwise the food was good. Nothing to pee your pants over, but it was still a good excuse to gather eveyone together.

I really like Thanksgiving. The part where I had to watch my father-in-law put my cash into his wallet after losing it to him at cards was a little hard to take. But that was just a minor hiccup. Plus, I'll eventually win it back.

Julia's up now. We're on the couch looking at each other wondering what one of us is going to do. Now Deb's up. She made Julia some toast. I'm listening to her chew. It's not as endearing as Allie's deep breathing, but it still makes me smile.

I just farted.

Smells like turkey. Sort of. . .

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


A sonographer shoved his transducer into the soft, tender tissue of my neck this morning. I couldn't see his face because my head was turned and my eyes were pinched closed in discomfort, but I'm pretty sure the bastard was grinning. He was smiling as he tried to find out if the fat in my neck could be permanently bunched up beneath my lower jaw.

When he did the other side, not only did he try the same experiment, but my face was close to being buried in his armpit. I think he was wearing Axe deodorant this morning. I was grateful for that. I was also grateful for the fact that my pain would now have some symmetry. There would be no need to favor one side of my neck over the other. They would both feel like hamburger.

I noticed sonographer guy had kanji or some Chinese character tattooed on his arm. He also had a band aid on his neck. I'm guessing that was covering some other bit of ink he had. Probably something he picked up in prison. I'm sure his ultrasound technique was another thing he acquired during that period in his life.

Truth is it wasn't all that painful. But I heard other people who were being screened today make the same complaint about our ex-con sonographer so I know I'm not just being a big baby. But none of us dared to complain in front of the sadistic sonographer. In fact, we were all extremely polite. We wanted him to do a good job and find the plaque in our carotid arteries so we could all go back to Ruth's Chris for another butter seared fillet. Of course the reality is the asshole probably dislodged whatever plaque was in there and in a moment or two my right side will go numb.

Sort of sounds like me and the airlines. Too chicken to bitch. Too afriad someone is going to spit in my food or hand me a granola bar without a smile. Too scared that I'll hurt someone's feelings.

I'll get the results in three weeks. If it's bad news I'll be torn about hunting down my sonographer and shoving a transducer up his ass. However, just because I'm a little coflicted doesn't mean I won't do it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

New Multimedia Page

Use the link on the left to check out the new Multimedia page.

It'll take a while to get everything moved over there, but you'll be able to get some idea of what I have in mind.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Blood Squirted Out of My Eye

The flight was delayed because of mechanical problems. Because there was another flight to the same destination right after my flight, they kept letting people on the plane. Then everyone on the plane sat and waited for the last minute arrivals' luggage. My 40 minute flight took two and a half hours.

Not a huge deal, but I'm so tired to being held captive like this. But who gives a flying fart at the moon when there is no recourse for any of us? I know I'm afraid to voice my displeasure when I know a single word from a flight attendant could mean I'm off the plane explaining myself to security.

Northwest Airlines: kiss my ass.

I remained angry as I drove home on my temporary tire that now has to last until Saturday. And that's if I get an appointment and can manage the logistics.

It's not so much the inconvenience, it's the fact that the airlines have made me hate to fly. I don't mind so much the extra security. I don't mind so much waiting my turn and being courteous in the face of extreme inconvenience and crappy conditions. What bothers me is that we are no longer customers. The airlines pay lipservice to the bygone days when they worked to keep our business. But the truth is we aren't individuals who have paid for a service, we are merely cargo and cargo that is extremely fortunate to have secured a seat at that. So sit down, shut up and while you're at it, fork over $2 for some Pringles you undeserving piece of crap.

I've had enough with airports for a while. Speaking of which, have you ever tried to fart in a crowded airport? Sure, you could go to the bathroom, but you're trying to get to your flight (that you didn't know was delayed). There's no where to truly let go and if you try to sneak it out, everyone is so close you're going to get caught.

Now I'm sick. I'm sure it's not because I couldn't fart properly. I'm sure it was the massive burrito I choked down between flights.

So I'm taping the keys and it's a little louder than normal. It's because I'm mad. What's more, my family wishes I would have stayed in San Diego. And the kicker is, I have the green apple splatters.

I can't wait to get back to the office in the morning.

Oh, Boo hoo you say?

Bite me.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Goodyear? Michelin? Yokohama?

The car made a strange noise on Friday. I slammed my fist on the dashboard and it went away. On Saturday, around 5:00 a.m., on my way to the airport, the noise came back. This time, I slammed my fist on the dashboard and it didn't go away. It got worse and then turned into the unmistakable THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of a flat tire.

The only way I was going to make my flight was if I got Deb and the girls out of bed and switched cars. 15 minutes later I left my family on the side of road waiting for the tow truck I called.

I felt awful.

I made the flight, got to San Diego and worked the afternoon away.

The plan was for Deb to take the car and get the four new tires that I should have put on the car weeks ago. During the day I took a break and called Debbie. She told me she tried to get the car new tires but after waiting for hours for Tires Plus to get the job done she gave up. She went to the airport and switched cars in the parking garage and took our sleepy girls home after a long day.

I got upset with her for not taking care of the car. It was an irrational reaction brought on by a bad day and the fact that I don't like being away from home anymore.


Right now, I'm looking out my window and I have a beautiful view of the bay. The weather is warm and tonight I'll probably have a good dinner some place nice.

I'd rather be cleaning my garage.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

She Remembered Our Anniversary

I can't believe how quickly time passes. It seems like just yesterday we got together. Who knew that I'd fall so hard so fast for her. And it's not just because she's beautiful. I know I can rely on her and there's no denying it; she's a hell of a lot of fun to ride.

I've owned my motorcycle for a year now. Last week Deb handed me a card from my motorcycle that reminded me that our love affair has lasted 12 months.

This cracked me up.

Then Deb came downstairs with a garment bag. She got me the summer weight, armored jacket I had been looking at and trying on for months at the motorcycle shop.

This won my heart.

This isn't the first motorcycle jacket I've received from her. The coat that Deb got me for Christmas last year is great. It has an amazing amount of vents and zippers and removable layers. The problem is it's Cordura and there's little or no air flow through the material. Wonderful for winter, but this past summer if I wasn't moving at a decent clip I would bake in my motorcycle jacket. But I promised I would wear my armor and I'd rather sweat a little than not ride.

So now, thanks to my wife, I'm a man for all seasons.

There's a picture of me in my new jacket in the photostream if you're curious. You'll notice, Deb's gift matches my helmet. She says that's just a happy coincidence. I say it's just further evidence my wife rocks.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

We Ran Out of Razor Blades

This morning I asked Deb to come look out the window at our front yard. The perfect rows I had created with the lawn mower a few days ago had been replaced with hundreds of footprints.

It was another busy Halloween. Each year our corner lot feels like the epicenter for candy begging. A year’s worth of yearning for Fun Size Snickers and tiny bags of Skittles explodes on to our streets and washes up on our doorstep.

We rode the wave ourselves. Allie and Julia obscured their Super Girl and Barbie Cheerleader costumes with their coats (it was damn cold) and hit the streets for sweets. It didn’t last long. I made the mistake of trying to get Julia to ease her candy burden by transferring some of her candy from her plastic pumpkin to a bag I was carrying. She freaked. Then Allie tripped on a curb while running and scraped her hands. By the time we got back to the house both girls were sobbing and, I’m pretty sure, they were convinced I had something to do with ruining their Halloween.

Things settled down quickly as soon as Allie took over handing out candy and Julia found a warm lap from which to view all the action. I understand their contentment. After all, why traipse around the neighborhood in search of Halloween when Halloween parades right by your front porch? So we sat on the porch with the Mummy, a fog machine, spooky sound effects and a few strobe lights thrown in for good measure.


That was the count this year. I don’t think that’s the record, but it must be close.

Even Dan was there. I kept him awake until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. (his time) to try and capture the experience via a Web chat. Mostly he saw streaks of light on a black background punctuated with occasional glimpses of my poorly lit, round face trying to convince him that we were having the best time ever.

It may not have been the best time ever. But it was a pretty good time. A good time that produced two plastic pumpkin heads half-filled with candy.

I can’t let the girls eat all that candy. It’s just not good for them.

Don’t worry. I’ll think of something.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pittsburgh is Not a Shithole

A question I get asked at work a lot is, "Where you going next?" When I tell people where I'm headed they usually respond by mentioning their favorite place to go or an amusing anecdote about something that happened to them in a particular city.

This time, whenever I told people I was headed to Pittsburgh everyone who asked immediately spat out something negative about the place. Rough town. What a shithole. Watch yourself. Needless to say, I wasn't too keen about coming here.

Turns out Pittsburgh (or at least the part of it where I'm spending most of my time) seems like a very nice city. I can't really tell you why I think it's a very nice city. It bustles and has tall buildings and all the other earmarks of a major U.S. metropolitan area. I think I'm telling you Pittsburgh is nice mainly because I haven't been ass raped like I anticipated after talking with other people about coming here.

That said, I'm not home yet so my opinion of this town could change drastically.

Truth is I've been busy so I haven't had a lot of time to explore Pittsburgh. In fact, I'm a little worn out. I tried to post last night. Here's as far as I got:

When I travel, I usually write in a journal for Debbie. It's primarily an excuse to bitch about the guy sitting next to me on the plane farting or how much I'd rather be home.

This trip I didn't write anything.

I'm not sure where I was going with this post because I fell asleep while I was writing it. I woke up lying in the bed with my laptop's battery burning a hole in my thigh.

That's never happened before. Usually I fall asleep when I read them after writing them.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Amy Gets a Brother

Evan Hughes was born today.

I've seen pictures.

You can tell a few things from the photos:

He's a handsome devil.
A nature lover.
Math aptitude.
Likes Americans.

We're extremely happy for Dan and Kerry. We could stay up for a long time celebrating the news, but we're off to bed for a full night's sleep.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


G: Julia, what does red mean?

J: Stop.

G: Good job! Now what does yellow mean?


G: You're so smart! Remember what green means?

J: Cheese.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Deb and I went away for the weekend.

There are some pictures in the photostream if you're curious.

Deb found the perfect little cottage up north. We didn't know it was perfect until we got there. But there it was, all perfect and everything. . .

Do this for me - just for a second:

Take your hands and clench them into fists as hard as you can and then count to ten.

When you got to ten and you let go that's how I felt after our first ten minutes in the cottage. I felt unclenched for the first time in a long time.

I have Deb to thank for a wonderful (unclenched) anniversary weekend. I have Judy and Glenn to thank for taking care of the girls while Deb and I wandered around the peninsula for a couple of days. The girls have Auntie Cat to thank for spoiling them (and if Auntie Pam was able to get off work I'm sure she would have done some damage as well).

And one last thing. For the record, Debbie does not cheat at Monopoly. I made a bad deal and knew I was going to lose the moment I made it. The only thing that kept me from throttling my bride was to repeatedly accuse her of being a cheat.

Turns out I wasn't unclenched for the entire weekend.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Getting My Den Back - NOW

I think Allie is ready to be on her own.


I've hung around her a little. She's fairly precocious. I know she has all the tools she needs to make it in the world without any help from us.

For example: judging from her homework scores I know she could handle something like my job. In fact, Allie would be a wiz at office politics. She has a knack for ingratiating herself with anyone and everyone.

Allie: I like your shoes.
Boss: Oh thanks. I got them in black, too. Hey, why don't we push back that report date by a week or two? I can tell you've got a lot on your plate.
Allie: You said the "H" word.

Child labor laws? Slap the word, intern after her name in the company directory and suddenly we've taken care of that problem.

Getting to work without a license is a more difficult issue. However if she buys a Honda Insight, pays attention to the rules of the road and keeps at least three or four phone books under her butt then she's not going to get pulled over anyway.

Interns don't make much. But Allie could supplement her income by moonlighting as a secret shopper for Disney retail outlets. That would give her enough money to decorate her apartment in the uber pink, Hello Kitty fashion to which she has become accustomed. Clothing won't be a big expense as she'll more than likely show up at the office in the same Princess Aurora regalia at least a couple times a week.

In fact, finances as a whole would be a breeze. Insurance would be extremely cheap. A whole life policy for a six year-old would have astronomically low premiums. I think she could work out a deal with the cable company so she'd only have to pay for Cartoon Network, Toon Disney and Nickleodeon. An investment portfolio based on pillars like Mattel, Hasbro and Crayola would probably take care of her when she's ready for retirement at around 28. And "bath month" means shopping for toiletries would be a rather infrequent affair.

For food she could live off free cookies from the lady in the bakery department at the grocery store. And when that source finally dries up the lady at the deli counter will keep her in knox blox. Eventually rickets might set in but I'm willing to slip her a yogurt stick every now and again.

There's no doubt about it, Allie is ready to leave the nest. We will miss her. Hopefully she'll stop by and see us every now and again. Maybe she could squeeze us in after her Gymboree workout but before her Dr. Seuss discussion group.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Teen angst hotline - Andy speaking. How may I help?

I spent a good part of this evening looking for a photo I took of Mr. T moments after he sprinkled me with his sweat. Mr. T is missing, but I did find this letter from Andy Partridge.

I'm pretty sure that right after Colin Moulding signed this letter he and Andy looked at one another and said, "Saved another teen's life."

Who knows. Maybe they did. Although I don't ever remember being that bad. However the, life of mediocrity line makes me wonder.

Regardless, here I am, firmly entrenched in my life of mediocrity and I'm grinning.

So if you have any slightly morose teens in need of some perspective I know of a pop star who may be willing to help. Just let me know. He and I are obviously pretty close.

P.S. Happy Birthday Michelle!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's Very Early

Aren't you tired? I sure am.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Not Sure What to Call this One

I was walking through a storage area at work and I came across a woman talking on her cell phone. It wasn't anything unusual except for the fact that she had a huge, steel-toed boot perched on top of her head. Like this:
As I walked by I looked her in the eye (which is kind of difficult to do when someone has a boot balanced on his/her head) and smiled. She looked back at me and stopped talking long enough to glare at me.

I got a dirty look from a woman with a boot balanced on her head.

Later that day, I walked by that same area and found the boot. I looked around and then put it on top of my head. That's when a co-worker walked by.

I didn't get a chance to explain.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Checking Out Dan's Package

The Hughes family spent the equivalent of $104 to send us this box of goodies.

At this rate, Amy will need to defer college for a few years because her savings will have been wicked up by such generous acts (books and cards, for example). However, my kids are rolling in British delights and that's all that really matters.

To say we're amazed by the Hughes family's thoughtfulness is an understatement.

When I got back from Albuquerque on Monday I discovered Deb had already opened the box. I hadn't had a chance to eat on the plane so I grabbed these :

Yeah, I liked them. I walked around the dining room blaspheming to myself, My God, these are good. Jesus, these are wonderful. I stopped at three (cookies, not blasphemes). I knew that one more would mean I'd finish all the cookies and then possibly have carnal relations with the cylindrical packaging these things came in.

Of course that was more than you wanted to know. But I'm all about capturing the moment for you so just bear with me.

Now it's Wednesday and we're finally getting to really taking a close look at the stuff that Dan gathered for us.

Here's something interesting - Worcestershire sauce:

In both images the English version is on the left. You might notice it's a little darker. You might also notice there are little chunks of stuff floating around in the sauce. The bottom line is they are different. The English version seems more robust. If you look at the ingredients you notice that the American sauce uses high fructose corn syrup and one kind of vinegar. The English sauce depends on molasses for sweetness and has malt vinegar combined with another type of vinegar.

High fructose corn syrup versus molasses. Hmm.

Okay. Let's get this out on the table (so to speak). Europeans claim that American food is cheap and plentiful, but that it's killing the people who eat it. In contrast, shopping in Europe is more expensive, but Europeans eat quality, less processed meals that keep their arteries clean, their nitrate levels reasonable and their waistlines from spilling over their belts.

Worcestershire sauce ingredients and the size of my gut are evidence there may be some validity to this claim.

Wanna see a picture of me drinking straight-up Worcestershire sauce? Here you go:

Next time: The Milky Way just ain't the same since Dan's package rolled into town.

Friday, September 15, 2006

She Got Me

Um. If you're interested. Here are some pictures of me and a giant banana.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Know the Remote is Covered with Feces

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Albuquerque reading the emails you sent me to say, Happy Birthday. Thanks a million!

I'll write you back soon but the connection here is really slow. Plus, I just ate some ribs and my gut is full of dead pig. That means I'm slow.

Oh God am I slow.

Now I must sleep. I must sleep the sleep of a 40 year-old man.

Thanks again for thinking of me on my birthday. And a particular shout out goes to Kandy for letting the Banna Incident suck up some of her bandwidth.

You really cracked Debbie up, Kandy. She had to play the slide show for the girls two or three times. You're such a good egg. I wish I could see the pictures but, like I said, things are very slow here in New Mexico.

I gotta go.

Very sleeeeeepy.

Very oooooold.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Deb Almost Burns Down the House

I took the afternoon off to care take of a few things. I got home. I was on the phone with Marcia as I walked in the door. I immediately popped some vegetarian corn dogs into the microwave for lunch (why I mention the fact that they were vegetarian - I'm not sure; perhaps to serve as a warning). Then I went upstairs to change clothes. Next I got off the phone with mom and turned on the computer for a quick email check before I ate my corn dogs.

That's when I read Deb's post.

Needless to say I got really choked up and just stared at the screen. I couldn't believe how lucky I am to have a wife who says such wonderful things. All I could think about was how much I love her (and I haven't even mentioned the giant banana yet).

That's when the smoke alarms went off.

I gave my vegetarian corn dogs a few more minutes in the microwave than the directions prescribe because I like them crunchy. Six minutes, to be precise. Six minutes is too long.

The entire downstairs was filled with smoke.

I opened every window in the house to try and get rid of the smell.

It still stinks in here.

And, as usual, I completely blame my wonderful wife.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Plus you can beat up all the kindergarteners.

Bad advice; I know. But it's all I could come up with as Deb and I prepped Allie for her first day in first grade tomorrow.

We didn't really prep her for anything. She's ready to go and it's as if the school year never really ended. The backpack may look different and there's the threat of homework in the air, but other than that things seem remarkably similar to last year.

Emotionally I suppose it's not as bad. We've had some time to become accustomed to all the things that Allie does now that don't involve us. I'm not saying it's easy. I'm just saying it's more familiar.

Allie and her Mom chose an outfit that is completely blue (right down to her underwear, Allie tells me). I'd show you pictures, but the MacBook is still gone. It's being examined by a team flown in directly from Cupertino. These experts are working around the clock so that I will be able to get you images of Allie and her big, purple backpack and her blue togs and her first grade smile in a timely manner.

Until then, you'll just have to settle for her dad's lament.

Goodbye, kindergartener Allie.

Hello, first grade Allie! It's a thrill to meet you. We're going to have a great time. But if you ever happen to see kindergartener Allie around, tell her that as much as her parents love her and at times miss her -- we understand she had to move on.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Out of Commission

The new computer has died.

Apple Computer killed it.

I called technical support this morning to find out if there was anything I could do about an unusually loud fan noise. I spent almost an hour on hold. When I finally spoke to someone they asked me to perform a simple procedure to reset the power source.

Now all I can see are colorful, vertical stripes on my screen and the computer won't boot up.

"It would seem that you have a logic board problem," he said.

"I didn't have a logic board problem before I called you," I replied.

So now I'm waiting for a mailer to come to my home on Tuesday. Then I've got to ship the computer back to Apple. I've been told I probably won't see my computer for at least a week after that.

The timing of this truly sucks. I need the computer to perform a project for work. What's more, I had planned a new movie.

Sisterhood of the Dragon will have to wait.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Read together they sound kind of bad. . .

I think I may have written something similar to this in the past. However, considering the way the girls have behaved this evening I feel that many of these statements were probably completely justifiable.

Things I've actually said to my children:*

Shut your pie hole.
I will clip off the ends of your fingers.
I'm feeding your toys to the cat.
I will break your throat.
The only cure for you both is a good beating.
I will gut you like a fish.
I will flip you like an omelet.
It's only because we love your sister more.
Shut up.
If you don't shut up I will find a very large hole and drop you in it.
Santa saw that and now I'm pretty sure he's not coming.
We are selling you to gypsies.
This is an adoption agency, you guys. One of you get out.
Mommy's hiding at work because she's afraid of you.
Your breath smells like hot death.
Did your pimp dress you?
Eat that or you will starve.
I am never cooking for you again.
This is all the money you had in your piggy bank.
It's just blood.
If you puke in this car you will be in mega trouble.
Go ahead and puke; I don't care.
You will fall, your head will bust open and your brains will spill out all over the carpet.
Do you know what a compound fracture looks like?
I'm seriously considering holding your head under water for a very long time.
Tell my why you deserve these almonds.
You're going to look funny bald.
It's not hot, it's just spicy.
Daddy loves you, just not as much as his motorcycle.

*If you don't believe me ask Deb (she was there for most of them).

On Turning 40

My friend, Dwayne turned 40 on August 17.

He told me what it’s like:

It’s kind of like slitting your wrists and sitting in the bathtub. It doesn’t hurt, but you know you’re dying.


Sunday, August 20, 2006


While we're still picking the corn from between our teeth you can check out a few photos from this year's Sweet Corn Festival in the Flickr photostream.

Here's the question for day: Are flip phones for girls?

Nevermind, I don't care what the answer is.

How about this? Is it considered effeminate if a guy likes to wear a thong every now and again because he likes the way it feels when he walks up and down stairs?

Nevermind. I don't want to know the answer to that one either.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

We Saw the Sanyo Blimp

Martinis these days don't taste much like martinis. They taste like Kool Aid. This means my wife will drink them.

I like it when she has a martini.

My wife is virtually a teetotaler. This means her blood is like spring water. This means four sips from a martini glass and she begins to giggle. In fact, she even finds me slightly amusing at these times.

For example, last night we were celebrating Deb's birthday at a nice restaurant. She ordered a drink before dinner. I may have been imagining things but half-way through her martini Deb was giving me a few cues. Cues that led me to believe whatever was in her glass was gently swirling around in her head.

This made me smile.

Now, I'm not saying I prefer my wife drunk. But it was such a beautiful evening with such delightful company that mild decadence seemed like the only fitting way to honor the occasion.

She's such a lovely girl. I'm glad the stars came out for her birthday. There's was even a blimp that floated over the isthmus. We could see it from our table.

Deb doesn't know I arranged it.

Yes. I'm lying. But even without a few sips from a martini, a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEBBIE! blinking in huge letters on the side of blimp that would have been cool.

Maybe next year.

This year she'll have to settle for 10 pt. text on a blog post.

Happy birthday, honey.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Cat Keeps Pissing Right Next to the Litter Box

I don't really want to devote a blog post to Pig's lack of aim (or act of outright aggression against us). However considering I'm once again wiping up urine this issue is top of mind right now. That's enough for it to make its way into the title.

The cat pee has stolen the wind from my sails. This post is in danger of drifting around aimlessly. Kind of like how this entire weekend has been. For example: Friday night on the way home from a trip into town we took a detour through a cemetery. It was a beautiful evening. Allie was curious about the cemetery, the grounds were well kept and dotted with thousands of colorful floral arrangements - why not?

The girls were in the back seat and we were in front making slightly morbid jokes. Julia chimed in and said, "We gonna find Allie a new school." We laughed a little then Julia added, "Den we gonna put her in da gwound."

We probably shouldn't have laughed as hard as we did. Particularly when I didn't check to see whether or not Allie found Julia's idea amusing.

Oh well.

We went to the State Fair.

There are more photos from the fair in the Flickr photo stream as well as a few back yard camping shots. There's also a new movie in multimedia if you're interested. It's called Slingshot Girls.

One more hour of weekend left to drift around aimlessly.

I'd better drift my ass to bed.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It Never Stops

I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows. I mow it. It grows.

Shh. Listen. I can hear it.

It's growing.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Suzuki GS500 Broken Filter Cover Mounts

Because I turn to the Internet for solutions every time anything goes wrong with the house, the cars, the children, a spatula - I thought I'd post about changing the oil in the Suzuki.

Granted this is a very rudimentary issue that anyone who changes his/her own oil could handle without blinking. However, when it first happened I panicked and thought about going online to find out what to do. I didn't go online but if anyone else has that impulse, this post is for you.

My problem occurred when I over tightened the nuts that secure the oil filter cover on the bike. As you can see above, I snapped the bolt. If you do this, don't worry.

Get a clean pan to capture all of that expensive 10W-40 motorcycle oil you just put in (because if you're like me, you're kind of a rube and you'll pay two more dollars a quart just because it says motorcycle on the container).

Re-remove your filter cover. Get a pair of vise grips and use them to unscrew remaining part of the mount you just snapped in two. For me, this was a slow process, but it will eventually come out.

If you don't have a 24-hr. Genuine Suzuki Parts Store in your area then use an M6-1.0 x 30mm cap screw. I used a hacksaw to remove the top portion of the screw. The actual screw, bolt, or whatever the hell you want to call it is around 40 to 45mm. But if you're like me you have completion issues and will want to make do with what's on hand rather than wait to get the proper parts.

Screw your makeshift mount just far enough to make it even with the other two mounts. Now you can replace your filter cover. Re-introduce the oil you lost while making this repair and you're ready to ride. I suggest you head to the parts store and get a bolt/screw that's the proper length. Swap it out with the hacksawed version on your next oil change.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Trauma #248

Last night Allie was crying because we were dragging our feet about fulfilling her wish to go outside. In our defense it was (it is) flippin’ hot out there. Finally we had enough of the whining and I took the girls outside.

I figured I’d give them a couple of blasts from the hose, they’d run around and scream a little then it’d be back inside for a quick bath and off to bed. As the girls played in the water it occurred to me that I should just take care of their bath immediately. So I asked the girls what they thought about a bath right there in the back yard.

They were very excited.

They had no idea what was coming.

I often tell Debbie one of the best parts of living in Wisconsin is the fact that no matter what the weather, the water is always cold straight out of the tap. And while short quick bursts of cold water can be refreshing, a lengthy rinse under that same cold water can be miserable. This fact didn’t occur to me as I was lathering up the girls’ hair. It didn’t occur to them either. That’s why when I began to rinse the girls their screams could be heard throughout the neighborhood.

Two doors down, I could see the neighbors looking over to see what the hell was going on in our backyard. I kept trying to tell the girls to hush but I also completely understood why they were behaving as if I was branding them. I tried to isolate the spray to just the parts of their bodies that required rinsing but that wasn’t working very well. That’s why I thought if I would hit them hard and heavy with the hose it would be bad; but over quickly.

As I opened the hose on them it was like a scene from a prison movie. They ran around the deck trying to avoid me but they also wanted desperately to get the suds out of their faces (it’s always no tears shampoo, but that didn’t make having a soapy mess flow into your face anymore pleasant). They screamed and shivered and pleaded with me to stop.

I did.


I hadn’t realized how loud the screaming was until it stopped. Deb and I wrapped the girls in towels and brought them into the house. The air conditioning made the girls shiver and soon Julia was wrapped in a blanket and pressing herself against me trying to get warm. I told myself all was forgiven but I knew I was just a convenient source of heat.

I rationalize this particular trauma by telling myself that if the girls hadn’t acted so excited by my outdoor bathing concept I wouldn’t have gone through with it. However, I’m sure this episode has been stored away for when I’m no longer able to bath myself and one of the girls is pressed for time. Hold still and pipe down, old man. Remember? This crap is fun! What? Your pacemaker isn’t going to short out. Now hold still.

Right now I'm sitting in the bedroom with both girls. Julia has a 103 degree temp. and she's very hot. I don't think that her fever is related to the hosing she got last night. Myriah, a little girl who was at Julia's party yesterday, also had a high fever when she got home yesterday. So I'm employing a little Tylenol, a fan, a damp wash cloth and some cold juice.

No hose.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Meanest Three Year-Old in the World

Deb and I had no idea that we were introducing pure evil into the world three years ago today. We're glad that Nana and Papa sent the hat you see here. It obscures all the sixes.

The truth is, she's not evil, she's three.

Three today.

Deb and I made Julia so that Allie wouldn't be lonely. We didn't really intend to fall in love with her. But it happened and there's not a lot we can do about that now.

Of course we'll always love Allie more. In fact, quite a bit more. Nonetheless, we can't help but have a soft spot for Julia and so far that has kept her from being left on the neighbor's doorstep.

I'd write something serious here, but it would deteriorate into another lament about my children growing up so quickly. I see it every single day. Julia's recent language explosion has been a lot of fun. The number to bon mots that flow out her mouth are astounding. You want examples? I can't think of any. You'll just have to trust me.

Julia's party yesterday was a fun one. You can see photos by clicking here. If you're interested in the annual waterfight movie, it's up and in the multimedia portion of the site.

Want to see something else cool?

Dan and Amy got together to sing happy birthday to Julia. It's a great clip that you can see by clicking here.

Thanks to everyone who came or sent gifts. Julia had a lovely day thanks to your thoughtfulness and generosity. As far as thank you notes go, well, most of you know our track record with those things. I'm certain they'll arrive before the Christmas cards.

Happy birthday, Julia!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dear Dwayne,

We still have your daughter's Christmas present. It's a Bucky Badger track suit.

I'm fairly confident it no longer fits her.

Now we're saving it for next Christmas.

Maybe she could use it on a doll, garden gnome, someone's pet monkey? Something. . .

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

6:30 p.m. = 12:30 a.m.

After more than an hour of trying to get AIM to work Dan and I gave up. Although, at the end of our session we did get to hear one another. No video; but there were transatlantic communications going on in my basement.

As for the rest of you with Web cams, you can kiss my ass.

The only person who showed up for the 7:00 to 7:15 session was my sister, Pam.

That's okay, we instant messaged for about an hour and solved a large portion of the world's problems.

As for future video conferences with Dan we're going to choose a time that won't deprive the poor guy of required sleep. Plus, he swore he's going to buy a Mac just to get this Web cam thing worked out.

Now, considering Dan is going to spend $1,500 for a new computer just so I can use my Web cam, you really need to ask yourself: "What have I done for Greg lately?"

Monday, July 24, 2006

Have camera. Will chat.

Do you have a broadband Internet connection? How about a Web cam?

Wanna long look at this ugly mug?

I'm going to be on AIM tomorrow evening from around 7:00 to 7:15 p.m. central standard time. Just request a chat with gnureg.

Nothing creepy, please. I just want to say hello. See, I have this nifty iChat camera built into my new computer and I would like to put it to use.

What will we talk about? You can choose a topic. If you leave things up to me I'll probably get nervous and start dry heaving.

The entire experience promises to be awkward and unsettling. You won't want to miss it!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ass is Numb

Last night was date night.

The girls are with Nana and Papa for the week. This means Deb and I can walk outside of the house for extended periods of time without worrying about small people crushing themselves beneath heavy pieces of furniture.

With that kind of freedom we decided to find a forbidden place. We wound up at a tapas restaurant where there wasn't a single thing on the menu that small girls would allow within two feet of themselves; let alone eat. The food wasn't spectacular, but the company was (and the sangria was sweet and refreshing).

The past few days have been full. We met Anika Joy on Saturday. Anna and Shannon have a sweet, beautiful baby girl.

Allie and Julia not only got to know their new cousin but got another dose of hotel living in the big city. They're becoming quite jaded with the experience. As soon as they got into the room they phoned the front desk and arranged for a massage. They tipped the guy with Spongebob money.

I don't really have a lot to say about the girls brushing their teeth at the hotel, but I can't get the text to line up with these damn photos so I need a little filler.

There, that should be enough.

Nope, not quite. . . How was your day? Good! Plans for the weekend? Oooo. That sounds like fun. Dangerous. Possibly illegal. . . but fun.

Now here's more blog:

On Sunday Deb and I spent six hours in Ikea. It looks like a lot of crap in the car. But considering the fact that for what we would have spent for a new kitchen table at a local furniture store we got the table, four chairs, two butcher block work stations, a night stand for Julia and a crapload of other items for around the house.

Needless to say our first Ikea experience was intense. There will be no need to return for a very long time -- unless it's just to mess around with the cart escalator.

I could have stared at this thing for hours. Okay, that's not true. I would have been happier staring at all the ladies I noticed who had breast augmentation. I wouldn't have stared. I'm not quite as lecherous as that. But there did seem to be a convention in town that day. And anyway, I had the cart escalator and who would choose a parade of silcone enhanced breasts over that?

We'd never seen one of these and I kept thinking our cart was going to spill its contents or the entire thing would be launched out of the gates at the end of its ride.

Here's a little more blog filler: Did you know that the average human sweats about a pint of liquid from his/her feet each day? I was always amazed by that statistic. I suppose if the average foot has about 250,000 glands you're going to get some moisture, but a pint seems like a lot. Particularly when you consider the milk they serve in schools comes in pints. I can't imagine drinking a pint of sweat.

--End Filler--

By the way, blogging while on the toilet isn't really that great. But that's another lofty goal I can mark off on the list. Now I must innovate. I hadn't planned on a permanent Web cam for the stool downstairs, but Jim planted the seed. I'm pretty sure most of the action would involve me. That means we'd probably have to name it Anaconda Cam or at least Kielbasa Cam or something equally appropriate.

This evening Deb is working late. I should be outside in the heat mowing the lawn, but my ass is numb and I don't know if I'll fully recover in time to get outside and take care of the yard.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Preparing for History

First thing this morning I told some co-workers that I ran new water lines and put a toilet in the basement. My desire for validation was pathetic. However there was no way I could wait until my new toilet potentially popped-up in normal conversation. It was absolutely imperative that people knew I had earned my Jr. Plumber’s badge.

Yes, work was bad but nothing compared to what Deb had to go through. I practically forced her to adorn me with a laurel leaf crown and the title of Omni-Stud. Actually, when unprovoked Deb said something so incredibly nice that I got a little choked up. I married a woman who deserves hundreds, nay, thousands of new toilets if I could give them to her.

That didn’t sound quite right.

Tapping into my water lines was the final frontier in home improvement for me. Sure, there’s masonry, roofing, exterior siding and major excavation but if the desire isn’t there then it really doesn’t count. The desire to cut into all of those pretty, shiny copper pipes has been with me for years.

The result wasn’t exactly pretty:

But it’s been almost three days now and (knock wood) there have been no drips let alone flooding.

The toilet itself is unimpressive:

All the concrete gives the new stool’s environs a prison-like flavor -- but it’s really all about utility. Aesthetics are for upstairs bathrooms; or people with energy . . . or money.

Allie christened the stool but I’m the one who truly put it through its paces. Deb and the cat are the only ones left in the house who haven’t made their presence known but there still is time. My expectation is that most of my family and friends (particularly those who spend the night at our house) will eventually be building a log cabins, making stink pickles or dropping some friends off at the pool on this new chunk of porcelain.

In a couple of days, if the Apple and FedEx gods smile on me, I will be able to fulfill my dream of blogging while on the crapper. Suffices to say that this new toilet will be the spot from which this historic event takes place.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Yeah Baby, That's What I'm Talking About

I'm not sure what this image has to do with anything. It's one of the very few we took this 4th of July. More about that in a second, but first:

My brother and sister-in-law had a baby today! It's a girl! Her name is Anika Joy. Shannon and Anna are very tired right now.

Heh. . . Heh. Heh.

I'd write more but it feels like someone is constantly pouring water up my nose.


Note to Grandparents: As I mentioned, there are no pictures of any Fourth of July festivities. Sorry. It wasn’t that we were all that busy but nothing seemed to warrant grabbing the camera. It was just a nice, lazy day that didn’t really get started until noon. That’s when we had lunch on a blanket in the backyard plus naked rides (well, some of us were naked) on a Slip & Slide. After that we lit fireworks at the end of the driveway and had a cookout with watermelon chaser. Finally Allie and I watched fireworks at the Jr. Fair.

Deb and I argued over whether or not Julia should attend the pyrotechnics at the fairgrounds. During the day Julia freaked more than once when she heard an explosion. I can’t blame her. Our neighbors were lighting some truly powerful fireworks just two doors down and a couple of them made my own heart leap. Deb was convinced that if these amateur booms were making Julia’s eyes bug out of her head while she ran around in circles looking for a Civil Defense helmet; then a full-scale fireworks display would more than likely put her into a coma.

I disagreed (of course). Didn’t matter, though, because Deb won and she stayed home with Julia. Allie and I went to see the fireworks on our own.

There were none of the pornographic histrionics that we had last year. I’m not saying Allie was quiet. She had a squeal, oooh, ahhh and something to say about each shell that exploded above our heads. Her comments were more refined this year. That was gorgeous! Oh my goodness that was awesome! That one made my heart jump around in my chest! Although she did add, “That’s what I’m talking about, baby!” a couple of times.

More than once Allie would turn to me and say something like, “I’m so glad that you brought me here, Daddy. Thank you. I love you.” I told Deb that as wonderful as it was to hear, I was hoping Allie would keep it down. Each time she said it, Allie’s effusiveness started sounding more and more like we kept her chained down in the basement and she hadn’t seen the sky in months. The people were packed around us pretty tightly so I started to look to see if anyone was examining Allie’s wrists and ankles for shackle marks.

The walk back to the car was longer than it probably should have been - but I'm glad it turned out that way. Allie’s left hand was still sticky from watermelon juice which made for a good grip as we weaved through the crowd. Her right hand was busy waving a flag to hear the red, white and blue plastic flap in the night air. I realized I probably should have been the one repeatedly thanking her for bringing me to the fireworks. But there’s no way I’m going to clue her in to the fact that the ratio of her needing me to me needing her is slowly starting to shift.

This morning Allie barfed at Karina’s. We suspect severe constipation. Deb spent a chunk of the morning making sure it wasn’t anything serious before sending her back to daycare.

My freakin' head is killing me. I'm going to say goodnight. . .

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Plenty of Chips

I just erased three paragraphs about the things people write in their blogs that bug me (e.g. I don't know why I write this stuff because no one will ever read it). It was very mean spirited. I dumped it because I thought I'd better avoid putting out any bad karma. I also realized you can find an example of everything I was criticizing in this blog's archives.

This morning I woke up at 5:30 and took a bike ride down to city hall. The streets of our small town were empty except for a few people here and there. Some smiled. Some people seemed to scowl. I imagine they weren't happy with me being there. After all they had gone to the trouble of getting up very early so they could have the town to themselves for a change. Plus I was wearing a bright red sweatshirt with CANADA stitched across the front. Not only was I impinging on their quiet morning walk, but I was a goddamn foreigner to boot. Who the hell wears a Canadian sweatshirt so close to the fourth?

Who does that?

I could smell the bakery from two blocks away. I saw a man carrying a box of donuts. It was a huge freakin' box of donuts. I had no idea they even made boxes for donuts that large. Suddenly I had a craving for salsa and tortilla chips.

Aside from panting like a diabetic pug on the hills and my balls being abused on a bicycle seat anvil it was a pleasant ride. I should do it on a regular basis particularly now that we're not planning on having more kids.

When I got home Julia was awake which means Allie was awake which means cereal poured in bowls and plastic cups partially filled with juice. They didn't eat or drink anything I offered. By 7:00 we were on our way to the grocery store.

I thought it was strange we needed to shop considering the amount of groceries we have in the house. We've been shopping more than usual because Grandma and Grandpa have spent the better part of two weeks with us. They were covering for our daycare provider. That's why we stocked up on food but they didn't seem to eat anything except milk, bread and juice. I suspect the girls are the ones who ate that stuff so we're not quite sure what Glenn & Judy were living on during their stay.

Both girls miss their grandparents. We're extremely grateful they were here. However there are big bags of chips and an overabundance of canned goods in the pantry.

I had chips and salsa for breakfast.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

GiT Da GIsT?

I’m on the fence when it comes to Freedom of expression and the thought and energy required to take advantage of it are things I admire and advocate. However, after reading just a few MySpace profiles I can’t help but want to distribute a dictionary and a copy of The Elements of Style to every person under the age of 30 with access to the Internet.

Actually, poor writing isn’t the problem (speaking from the rumpus room of my glass house). As long as I can decipher the bulk of what a person is trying to say then I’m happy, in fact privileged, to see how another person has decided to present him or herself to the world. That said, THiZ kinda CrAp makes ME WaNNA SKREEEEEEM! U prolly can GiT Da GIsT of wut iM tryin ta SAY, but WhY Wuld ANY-1 wAnT tA work DIS hard?

I do love all the photos. The glimpses people provide into their lives can sometimes be downright courageous. These gems are tough to find because of all the drunken or drug hazed images that don’t reflect revelry and joie de vivre as much as they display vacuous methods of killing time. It can be discouraging. And if you find these sorts of images posted by people you know or (God forbid) family members then it’s depressing. Honest and revealing? Maybe. But they still make me sad.

The look-at-me factor of the majority of MySpace content is high. But that’s to be expected. Speaking as a person who has had a Web site for over ten years, look-at-me eats up more than its fair share of my leisure time. But for some reason many of these MySpace profiles, with all the posing, posturing, possessions and partying leave me flat. Even if I know MySpace provides a wonderful opportunity to create and sustain a sense of connection or even community -- I can’t help but want to slap the 28 year-old who posts photos of himself drinking bong water and pissing on his parent’s gardenias in the head.

I’d like to provide links to some examples of these MySpace profiles but I don’t feel comfortable doing that. You’ll have to do your own exploring. Hopefully you won’t have to look long to find something beyond all the shout-outs and affirmations based on how cute a person looks in his or her posted photos. You should know, though, that if you’re over 35 you are not the intended audience. You are a voyeur, cop or creep. If you didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to create your own coming-of-age narrative when you were younger then that’s your problem. You’re consigned to ranting about politics or raving about your children on Blogger.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Good Stuff

Father's Day 2006 and I get gifts and breakfast in bed. I get oatmeal raisin cookies. I get to stare at the ceiling fan in my bedroom all morning and consider my luck.

Since Thursday my agenda has been simple. I kiss my kids. I drive Claudette's Corvette convertible. I drink Old Fashions under the stars and when the stars go away, I drink cold beer in the cool rain. I tease my sister-in-laws. I torment my wife. I kiss my kids. I call my Dads. I wish them Happy Father's Day.

I try not to write about the crap here. This place is for the good stuff.

After this weekend, I'm convinced capturing the good stuff here is fairly impossible.

That doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Bluest Sky You've Ever Seen. . .

. . .In Seattle.

Of course when that song lyric was conjured it was from a memory of a rare, clear day. Yesterday in Seattle it was another one of those rare, clear days when we arrived downtown.

After work, we had time to hit Pike Place Market and hoped to find some fish flying through the air. We didn't notice anyone throwing salmon but the smell was hard to miss. This despite the tons of crushed ice they shoveled everywhere.

I had the best chowder I've ever eaten at a place called Ivar's last night. Holy cow. And the halibut rocked, too.

Leaving for the West coast yesterday was hard. Usually I avoid kissing the kids goodbye so I don't wake them. But I promised Allie I would tell her goodbye. I snuck into her room and gave her a peck on the forehead and whispered, "See you soon."

I went downstairs and as I tied my shoe I heard Allie crying. I found her sitting in her bed sobbing because she didn't want me to go. I gave her a hug and promised her gifts. That was enough to get her to settle back on to her pillow and I got out of there in a hurry.

Same old pang sank into my stomach. I know there's going to be a day when I leave for a trip and she'll barely notice. But for now she seems to miss me almost as much as I miss her.

I'm lucky to sometimes feel so miserable about being apart from my wife and kids. Although I think Deb likes it a little when I leave on business because I'm a nicer guy. I'm careful not to leave with anyone feeling bitter in the least just in case my plane goes down or I don't look both ways before crossing traffic.

Sea shells.

Allie wanted some sea shells because I told her Seattle was near the ocean. I found her two at a shop.

They're from the Philippines.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Bat Day

Initially you might think this idea was not well thought out. You are right. Handing baseball bats over to a six year-old and a two year-old whose harmonious co-existence is tenuous enough to often be destroyed by a single, unshared, seedless grape is a bad idea.

It was Bat Day at a Mallard's game we went to this afternoon. We got the tickets from Larry and Karina. When Karina called, I thought they were just standard seats and that would have been perfectly fine. We love going to these games regardless of where we sit. But these tickets were for seats in a suite area.

Way to go Larry and Karina!

There would be no scrambling for refreshments on this game day. Attendants saw to our every need. It was all the hot dogs, brats, hamburgers and chips we could eat. The moment my beer cup was empty, a young woman was there to bring me another specialty microbrew from The Great Dane. The beer was really good. So good, in fact, that things could have easily gone too far but I stopped at five.

Who won? Who knows. Julia got cranky and we left (score tied) at the bottom of the eighth. This isn't unusual for us. We often leave these games early now that we have kids. However, at most games we usually don't have cute girls who bring you beer without even a nod.

On the way home I was thinking I'd shut Allie and Julia up in a room with nothing but their new bats to play with. But remember, I'd only had five so I changed my mind.


If you haven't already, you should check out Deb's post about the Asian Market. We're not effete; we come from sturdy, Midwestern stock. We've been around farms and been taught that even though it may turn your stomach, that's often what commerce smells like so you'd better just suck it up.

But believe me when I tell you this was something different.

Butterfly Rita

Check out the multimedia link on the left for a new movie. Billy the Bean is Allie's stunning debut.

The plan is to someday E-Bay her costume for thousands.

Monday, May 29, 2006

There Will Be No Eyeball Sucking

For a long time I've resisted the temptation to take the girls to a Build-a-Bear Workshop. This place seemed like the ultimate fleece the parent attraction. I knew if we wandered into a location we wouldn't just build a bear but by the time we left we'd have a $2,000 Bear of the Month subscription and a time share at Camp Build-a-Bear on Lake Havasu.

So when the girls and I saw one of these store's today I tried to scoot them past it. No luck. They both screamed and made tiny grunting sounds. I didn't want anyone having a grand mal episode so we went in. What the heck; our only mission today was to kill some time and buy some groceries so I thought I'd see just how expensive these stuffed animals actually were.

Turns out we won't be packing our bags for an Arizona time share after all. The place does a fine job of collecting your information and upselling you shoes, outfits and sound packs to go with your bear. However, it was a much more low-key experience than I thought it would be.

I could take a lot of time describing the process. It's a little more involved than you might think, including a little ceremony where you install a heart in your bear and bring it to life. After something like that, most of you who know me would guess that I'll be lying awake at night wondering when the bears will come to suck out my eyeballs. I'm not worried. It was all too cute for words.

One of the biggest surprises was the fact that Julia's bear was only $10. Of course, the T-shirt she chose for it was $6 but I didn't think we'd find her a stuffed buddy for less than $30.

Allie named both bears. Her bear is Samantha and Julia's was Carol. Julia later changed her bear's name to Jane. They were thrilled with the bears and the experience of buying them. As jaded as kids sometimes seem to be these days, it was very satisfying to see them get excited over something as traditional as a teddy bear.

At this moment, both girls are sleeping with their bears beside them.

I would have paid the $30 without blinking.


P.S. Deb ran over and thoroughly squished a chipmunk this weekend. For those of you keeping score:

Lee Family - 2
Chipmunks - 0

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Four Screws

I didn't think I'd cry.

When Deb suggested that we drag the full-sized bed out of the basement for Allie I didn't realize the impact it would have on both of us. After all, this was something we'd been planning to do for sometime but we've never really had the time or energy for the project. Yesterday, Deb decided we did.

I got the mattress and box spring out of the basement and released them from the plastic we used to try and protect them for the past six years. Six years. That's how long it's been since we converted the guest room into a nursery.

The plastic didn't do as good a job of protecting the bedding as we had hoped. The mattress and box spring smelled. Nothing overwhelming; just that subtle mildew aroma that reminds you of dank places where air settles and rarely moves.

I put the mattresses in the driveway hoping the breeze and bright sunshine would banish the smell. That and a little help from some antimicrobial Febreeze.

While the bedding waited outside, Deb and I went back and forth between keeping it and buying new stuff. Then we started cleaning and moving furniture. The plan was to give Julia Allie's old bed. This meant the crib had to go.

Deb had been crying off and on the entire morning. In fact, she started the moment she made the suggestion. We had decided it was time to shed every significant remnant of the girls' infancies. First it was the bouncy seat, then the high chair, now the crib. The crib had converted to a toddler bed, but it was still recognizable. A reminder of the place we deemed safe enough to protect our sleeping babies for the past six years.

I took an Allen wrench to four screws and the crib came apart.

Now, in it's place, there is the bed Julia will more than likely sleep in until she decides it's time for her to leave our home. This same situation can now be found in Allie's room. I think the bed still stinks, but not enough for most sane people to notice. So now Allie has a big bed with a pretty brass headboard that she'll probably sleep in on a regular basis for the next twelve years or so.

Deb and I (Deb, for the most part) were a little weepy. But I reminded my wife that the crib will always be close by. Who knows, maybe years from now we'll need it again for another baby. One who we'll love and dote on but can send home when he/she becomes cranky, stinky and loud.

By the way, we also got rid of the diaper genie yesterday. Nobody cried about that.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

I just got off the phone with Marcia. I called to wish her a happy Mother's Day. After we spoke she told me she planned to have a poached egg. Then she's going to visit her mother and mother-in-law.

I love my mom. Believe me when I tell you I know I'm lucky I can pick up a phone and hear her voice just about any time I want (or, to state it more accurately, any time I need).

For obvious reasons (strength, charisma, certain physical attributes) I have a lot of women in my life. Some I've chosen. Some I haven't. Of course Marcia falls into the didn't choose category.

But I would have.

I hate to whip out the old cliché of claiming to understand what it means to be a parent now that I am one myself. But it fits. And it makes me want to say thanks. Thank you, Marcia for making me feel safe, teaching me, making me laugh, telling me the truth, suffering my shortcomings and working hard to try to make me a decent person. I know it was often a difficult job. I also know it's a job that's never really complete.

I am grateful.

So to honor you and express my gratitude on this day we sent you a card.

Not just any card - we sent a Hallmark.

That's the payoff, Marcia.

Still glad you went through labor?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

24 Cents Down the Drain

I think I know how it happened but I'm not sure. It's not a bruise but nothing seems to scrub it off - soap, astringent, nail polish remover, Soft Scrub, sand paper.

One of Allie's new fish is dead already. No one seems to be too upset. Goldie or Frankie (we never got to the point where we could distinguish between the two) got unceremoniously flushed last night. I think the fact that the water in their bowl became a fetid soup of rancid fish shit in just a matter of hours helped speed the grieving process.

The smell was foul. Just a day or so after we got the fish Debbie called me into Allie's room. After the requisite, Do you smell that? we searched for cat poop or a dead rat in the corners of Allie's bedroom. Then I hung my nose over the edge of the fish bowl. The sound of my dry heave let Deb and Allie know I'd found the source of the smell.

So now we're down to one fish. I'm sure that will help slow down the rate at which the bowl converts itself into cesspool. Now all I need are suggestions for helping a fish overcome loneliness. And a few tips for removing this mark on my head would also be appreciated.