Monday, January 30, 2006

I have underwear older than her. . .

Allie's birthday party was a lot of fun. It will probably be her last family-only affair. I'm guessing that next year there will be lots of screaming children running around screaming while they smear cake icing all over our furniture as they scream. This year was a much quieter; more sedate gathering of Aunties and Grandparents. Until we started to play dice, that is. Then things became very loud. However writing about the gambling that occurred during our child's birthday party seems imprudent.

The impact of Allie turning six didn't fully hit me until this morning (her actual birthday). I came downstairs and snatched Allie off the couch. I repeatedly threw her up in the air while shouting, "She's six! She's Six!"

Now, here comes the part where you're thinking I'm going to start writing about how I won't be able to toss her in the air much longer. You're expecting me to tell you how sad I am at the realization that my little girl is growing up. Well, you're wrong.

I'm thrilled.

Deb and I have kept Allie alive for six years. Considering all the forces that conspire against parents today, not the least of which is our own stupidity, we have accomplished something grand. Allie is smart; healthy; ostensibly happy; semi-well adjusted and up to this point we haven't noticed her being unnecessarily cruel to any creature other than her sister.

I realize I'm tempting fate. I'm just tired of hearing myself whine about how quickly Allie will be leaving her mother and I to go grow pot in her closet at the ramshackle apartment she shares with her boyfriend, the heavily pierced tattoo artist who convinced her that grad school is merely a training camp for the bourgeoisie to learn to subjugate the proletariat.

That said; you know I can't stop myself from sampling the bittersweet. I'm feeling it and maybe Allie is too. There was no way she didn't notice that after throwing her in the air this morning I held on to her just a little longer than usual. Rather than squirm, Allie let me have a few extra seconds to create an adequate impression of what it feels like to have my six year-old girl in my arms. I didn't squeeze too hard -- just enough to make it clear to both of us that it was going to be difficult to let go.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Left Eye Blind

Pig, our cat has acne all over her chin. Yesterday, as I was petting the cat I felt an unusually large bump. As Pig sat on my lap I tilted her head up and used both thumbs to squeeze the bump.

A stream of blood and pus squirted out of the bump directly into my left eye.

I wiped it away and looked around the room to see if anyone noticed. Fortunately everyone was occupied with Allie's birthday party.

This morning my eye feels funny. I know something awful is going to happen and I'm going to wind up wearing an eye patch.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Looking Up 2005 Baking Injury Statistics

I snapped this shot with the camera phone. If you look you can see the fence at the bottom of the hill. If you're on a sled the fence is what keeps you from flying into the river.

Someone was smart enough (nice enough) to place some hay bales at the bottom of the hill. I'm not so sure there was hay in those bales. They hurt when Allie and I hit them. Poor Allie was at the front of the sled on our second run and she bore the brunt of the impact.

Her leg flopped over in the snow at an unnatural angle. When I saw the tears running down her cheeks I was ready to dial 911. Half a minute later she was running around yelling, "THAT WAS AWESOME!"

She was hooked.

She wanted to go back today.

Instead she's upstairs baking bread with her mother.

See, last I heard there aren't too many ambulance calls attributed to baking.

Monday, January 16, 2006

What kind of news can I expect to get here?

I was pissed off at Debbie because she wouldn't take Allie for a walk yesterday. My ire was built of equal parts disbelief that Deb preferred to sit and shuffle through papers from work and that I had to get off my lazy ass and take my kid to the park. Either way I'm a bad guy so I got over my tizzy in a hurry.

I'm glad I did.

It was, as Allie described it, ". . . a cold and clear and beautiful day." We had the park to ourselves so there was no waiting as we slid down what seemed to be extra slippery slides. I scared the crap out of Allie by pushing her much higher than I should have on the swings. Then we went for a walk in the woods. It was chilly but having no bugs in our faces and/or sucking our blood made up for it. The pond had frozen over so I held Allie's hands and dangled her onto the ice. She freaked. Then she wanted to do it again. She begged me to get a big rock and smash through the ice. I refused. So we looked for berries and planted a few -- fully expecting that a new berry bush will sprout in the spring. On the way back home we raced across the soccer field. Allie won the first sprint to the soccer goal. I won the second. It was good to see Allie heaving crisp, fresh outdoor air in and out of her little lungs.

Julia was napping while Allie and I wandered through the woods. That's why it was just the two of us when I went shopping later that afternoon. Julia insisted ("No mama. No Ahh-ee!"). It was the first trip to the market that Julia didn't have to sit in the cart. She tore through the aisles in that peculiar half-running/half-falling jaunt that makes parents wish someone would develop Nerf floor tiles. The store was busy but Julia didn't impede others' shopping too much so I let her go. There was one incident. Julia decided to adopt a bag of multi-colored marshmallows. She squeezed the bag to her chest like a mother clutching her baby as they got on a lifeboat. I gave her the option of returning the marshmallows to the shelf on her own terms. That wasn't going to happen so I ripped the bag away from her. Julia protested but I pointed to a bottle of olive oil that was at her eye level. I gestured like Doug Henning and chanted, "Look at that, Julia. Ahhhhlive oooil!" I've never tried to make olive oil (or at least the bottle) seem so interesting. I don't plan on doing it again but it's good to know I've got the skills.

Julia moved her bowels into the big toilet upstairs. You'll probably want to check Deb's blog in the near future for details.

This is the kind of news you people should plan to get here.

Tonight Allie and I practiced piano. Allie cried because things weren't going smoothly. "I'm a bad piano player," she said. I dried her tears and assured her that she was not a bad piano player and the songs she played were lovely. Then I picked up an empty root beer bottle and told her that I was going to smash her in the head with it every time she played a wrong note.

Allie laughed. She felt better and we practiced until she played a pretty good rendition of Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

I'm still not sure why she laughed, though.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Before I left the house Allie read the numbers off a thermometer to her mother. "3-1-5," was what she reported. I assumed that meant it was 31.5 degrees. We wanted to know the temp because I was going out on the motorcycle.

It's not a big deal. After all in this part of the country people tear across cornfields on snowmobiles when it's much colder than 3-1-5. But I still feel like kind of an idiot. I think it's the way that Deb looks at me when I talk about riding in this weather. Confusion + pity + disbelief with a sprinkle of ". . . I wonder what I'll do with the insurance money."

The jacket Deb got me for Christmas is wonderful. Not only do I look good, but I'm warm and I'm sure the padding will save my ass when I dump the bike. Everyone who rides has told me that I'll eventually end up on the pavement so the right gear is essential. I know they're telling the truth because of the number of times I fell off my motorcycle when I was younger. Of course I was falling into dirt or mud back then. Now it's going to be either concrete or asphalt and my bones are considerably more brittle than back in the day. I'll keep you posted.

This morning the four of us went out for breakfast. Sausage gravy and hash browns. I took a look back into the kitchen of the little restaurant we were at (a place we usually hit for dinner every now and again). Two cooks and one griddle about the size of a standard household stove top. It was a busy morning so there was an amazing amount of food crammed onto the cooking surface. That's the thing I most admire about people who cook for a living. Not the fact that the food is good; everyone gets lucky now and again. But when food is cooked in mass quantities and served hot and made to order the juggling act is truly a marvel.

So this morning it was sausage gravy and hash browns. Lunch was greasy, leftover tacos from last night. Later, Deb made fantastic chocolate/caramel chip cookies (I had four). Now, here I sit, typing feeling just a little nauseous at the prospect of cooking dinner for my family. I don't think Deb's hungry. We'll probably just throw a pizza into the oven for the girls. Julia won't mind. She never says no to peah dah! 85% of Julia's cellular make up is comprised of components derived from digested bits of pizza so why the hell would she ever say no.

Me? I'm 85% nervous. I've swallowed a lot of anxiety over the years.

And yes, I'm still nauseous.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lou Rawls

My mom once had Lou Rawls sing "You'll Never Find" to her back in the seventies at a show in Ft. Lauderdale.

Now he's dead.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Scrubbed & Deloused

I sat at my desk this morning and cradled my face in my hands.

My sporadic holiday was over. I had officially returned to the enormous G.I. tract I call my cubicle and awaited further digestion.

Being digested by your job is a slow process. For the most part you’re not even aware of slowly being dissolved into tiny bits used as fuel for a larger entity. It’s only when you step out of your weakly acidic (yet compellingly insular) environment that you notice the corrosion.

I’m not saying I have a bad job. I have a good job. But regardless of how good your gig is, you’re still being absorbed to one degree or another; make no mistake about it.

It was quiet at work this morning. But if you listened closely you could hear tiny gurgles.

Hopefully by tomorrow I won’t notice the gurgling.

The girls have a new look. It’s short. When I saw them this morning I was a little alarmed. It looked as if they’d been scrubbed and deloused in preparation for prison. They seem to like their haircuts, though. I have to admit after-bath hair care is now a snap. Instead of wrestling with snarls and tangles my comb just glides through what little hair they have left on their heads.

Julia looks in the mirror and says, “I piddy.”

Piddy the fool who cut off all my hair. . .

By the way, Julia is pooping on her little potty on a fairly regular basis. We’re celebrating each movement as if Alfred Jodl had just signed the unconditional surrender.