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.