Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Alvin: Dead. Theodore: Dead. Simon: Dead! Dead! Dead!

Just about every morning I stop in front of the house and wave goodbye to everyone whether there’s a person standing in the window or not (and, thankfully, there usually is).

Yesterday I stopped in the road and threw kisses and waved goodbye. When I looked away from the window I saw a chipmunk sitting upright on the front porch. It looked as if it was waving its little arms.

Normally, I’d think something like this was cute; a little woodland creature sending me off to work in some sort of Disneyesque fantasy moment. The problem is I’ve murdered several chipmunks over the past few summers - killed them in truly brutal ways that involved poison, a garden hose, a pellet gun and a shovel.

With this much chipmunk blood on my hands, there was no way I could interpret this rodent’s actions as being friendly. I witnessed a throw down. This was a bold, hate-filled animal creeping me out like Max Cady just out of prison.


I’m waiting for his next move. Or maybe I should take it.

No matter what happens, I don’t see this ending well for either of us.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The harder it is to get - the more they'll want it.

Lisa and Sarah at work both told me about Pete’s Hamburger Stand in Prairie Du Chien. In fact, Lisa described it to me some time ago. She didn’t say Pete’s made the best hamburgers, but she did say they were really, really good and I should try them if I had the opportunity.

Last weekend was my chance.

I walked up to the stand and there were no lines (I was told there were always lines). There had been plenty of rain so I assumed that Pete’s clientele had been washed out. I walked up to one of the two windows in the shack and saw a big grill with nothing but onions sizzling in water. One grill, two windows. I’m not sure how I didn’t notice the guy inside the tiny shack holding a huge tub filled with balls of raw meat but he startled me. He very politely told me that he was making up another batch and it would be about 15 minutes before anyone got a hamburger.

The girls were waiting in the car so I asked them if they felt 15 minutes was too much to ask. They didn’t think it was too much so we killed time in a toy store. We bought a pair of Romper Stompers. The version we now own aren't called Romper Stompers, but that’s what they are. While we were in the toy store Deb asked me if I should go get in line while they continued browsing. I told her that the guy with the raw meat said fifteen minutes and that because of the rain there didn’t seem to be anyone left on the entire block, let alone near the hamburger stand.

When we walked out of the toy store I looked down the street and there were lines streaming from both windows in the stand.

I didn’t run, but there was no way I was going to wait another half-an-hour for a hamburger. I got in line and tried to see how many burgers were left. It seemed as if the patties were flying off the grill. Would there be enough to cover my order? The hype from home and the hype from the people standing in line talking about how great these burgers were was amping my brain. Finally, I made it to the window.

"Two with. Three without. All with ketchup, salt and pepper please.”

I sounded as if I had been ordering these things since infancy.

The burgers were tucked into bags and I handed them to Allie (I carried the root beers and chips). I told her that if she dropped the bags on the wet pavement our lunch would be ruined and our entire vacation along with it. She assured me she was up to the task.

Now, I don’t know if it was because it was incredibly muggy as we sat in the car by the riverside or maybe it was because Julia was screaming and crying because she couldn’t have her own bag of Doritos; but there was no choir of angels when I tasted my hamburger. It was good. It was satisfying. It had an unusual texture because it’s basically boiled in water on the grill. The water is infused with the flavor of all the onions that are boiling next to the patties so that taste makes it way into the meat. But I think I’m more of a Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry kind of guy.

That’s not to say the next time I’m in Prairie Du Chien I won’t stop by. . . just to see how long the line is.'s.htm

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Brush with Death

A few nights ago I went upstairs because Julia was sobbing. I went into her room and she's repeating, "I don't wanna die. I don't wanna die." So I asked her why she thought she was going to die.

"I swallowed some toothpaste."

I explained that toothpaste fatalities were rare and that she had nothing to worry about. She bought this and stopped crying.

Tonight as we got ready for bed she started crying about brushing her teeth. "What if I swallow some toothpaste?"

You can pretty much guess what happened after that.

I just belched. Surprisingly it didn't taste like Colgate Dora the Explorer Bubble Gum Fruit.

I'll let you know what happens on the flip side.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm Sitting Near Debbie

She's eating her birthday cake.

It's not her birthday.

It's not cake.

Deb's birthday was yesterday. Instead of the usual cake she wanted some kind of weird, frosted, quasi-cake experience made from pumpkin.

Pumpkin strangeness is what she wants; pumpkin strangeness is what she gets. After all, at her age who knows how many more birthdays she has left.

"Allie! Why do you love your mommy?"

"Because I do. Because, um, well, she um, she loves me and she's a nice mommy and I was born with her and uh, uh, ARE YOU TYPING THIS?"


"Oh. Because she is my mommy and because she's part of the family and she loves me and I love her. And that's my answer. ALRIGHT?"

"Julia! Why do you love your mommy?

"Because she let's me play in the car. Because she's nice to me and I like her so much and I love her and that's it. And because she's part of the family, too. That's it. Okay?"


I had to delete the last five sentences I typed. There's no need to make fun of Debbie's advanced age. I'll just say I hope she had a good birthday and that I love her.

And not just because she lets me play in the car, too.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Sunday, when Julia went away to spend a week with her grandparents we thought that might be a good time to separate her from her blankie. Reports tell us that Julia did fine all week long without her best friend so I think we'll keep pretending her worn, pink blanket belongs to the ages.

Unfortunately, Operation: Grosse Pointe Blankie has become a little more elaborate than I expected. Everyone is in on it including Allie. Tonight Allie and I put on a little dog and pony show to distract Julia as I snatched her blankie from her backpack and slammed it inside our blanket chest.

Julia thinks blankie is lost.

Right now she's standing eight feet away from her most treasured possession. Right now she's watching me type this blog and right now she still doesn't realize how easily any of us could produce the goods.



Julia is a big poopy head who doesn't know she could turn around, open a chest and be reunited with her one, true love in a matter of seconds.

Someday, when she reads this, I'm going to be in deep shit.