Month: April 2008

Whereas I say "crap" far too often

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fake smile With Mother’s Day coming up oh-so-quickly, I know that I have a finite amount of time to force coerce help the kids to do some crafty project for Mother’s Day, else I end up just getting some worthless trinket for them to give her. There are a couple of obstacles in the way of this though, not the least of which is that CareerMom isn’t much of a “keeper.”

By that I mean that she doesn’t really keep things from the kids. Oh, she’ll post something on the refrigerator, but it’ll stay there for months and months until finally I throw it away, or put it in my goodie bag of kids’ crap. She will, however, keep old shoes, handbags, textbooks from college (seriously!), and other useless junk, but take that cute macaroni and glitter ladybug the boys made in daycare and it’s a quick trip to the garbage for it.

To say then, that any crafty thing I try to put together out of cardboard and spit would probably earn about two minutes of endearment before getting relegated to a corner of the kitchen counter where I will stare at it for weeks while prepping dinner until such a time as I need that particular corner for some chopped produce, prompting me, in exasperation, to throw the item away, would be an understatement (and…a very long sentence!)

On the flip-side, I purchased a craft thingy last year for upwards of $50 and it turned out pretty darn disappointing. What’s a guy to do?

So honestly ladies, are crafty things from the kids REALLY desired, or is it one of those things you feel obligated to desire simply because society says you should? Assuming money IS an obstacle, what would you REALLY like for Mother’s Day?

And if you say something like, “A hug from my kids,” then I’m just going to be forced to remove your “Commenting” rights.

It’s that craaazy time of year again!

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birthday Each year around this time, I go into scramble mode for gifts. With Mother’s day falling usually on or around my birthday, it’s easy to forget that there’s other stuff going on–like CareerMom’s birthday! (she’s older than me by three days) And when you have kids, it doubles your responsibility.

For example, instead of just getting her a birthday card and present, I instead need:

  1. A card for her birthday (from me)
  2. A present for her birthday (from me)
  3. A card for Mother’s day (from me)
  4. A present for Mother’s day (from me)
  5. A card for her birthday from the boys
  6. A card for Mother’s day from the boys
  7. Some kinda somethin’ from the boys for her

It’s a wee bit crazy all the things I have to get done by early May. I’m still not sure what to get her from the boys for Mother’s day. I know the idea is to get the kids to do something, but I don’t have that kind of time without her here to do it and anyway, the last time I tried, I ended up doing it myself thanks to that zero attention span thing kids have.

But what I really don’t like about this time of year, is the inevitable contemptive vibe I get from women whenever I venture into a greeting card store. You can almost feel it oozing out of the other customers and the ladies hovering around. It never fails that someone asks if they can help me and it’s all I can do not to say, “Um, I’m looking for a card! DUH!” (Here’s your sign!)

But this year took the cake.
Let me set the stage:

I walked into the Hallmark store, because last year I did Target and ended up spending like $4 for some generic card anyway and I figured I might as well get a name-brand one for the same money. Anyway, I was one of the only people in the store and after waving off the ever-so-helpful worker-bee, I finally found several cards that weren’t too sappy, but had enough truth and love to them to be keepers.

As I walked over to the counter, one lady was off to the side straightening things up while another lady, presumably the manager, stood behind the counter talking to her:

Manager: Has it been busy?

Worker-bee: Eh, it’s come in waves.

Manager: It always does.

I walk up and say, “Here comes a small wave,” which elicited chuckles from both.

Now, as I went to put my cards up on the counter, there was a bottle of Windex sitting there and the worker-bee rushed over to move it like it was a copy of “Playgirl” magazine that, if I saw it, might scar me for life. Attempting to put her at ease I said, “Don’t worry, I’ve seen that kind of thing before.”

And she says…

“Have you just seen it, or have you actually used it?”

When I was in the 10th grade, I had this vile woman for an English teacher. Her name was “Mrs. Davis.” The things that came out of this woman’s mouth were astonishing. Once, after she said something snide about my parents in front of the class, I actually called this woman out on the front porch and gave her a tongue lashing such as most 10th graders can only dream about giving a teacher. Since she knew she was in the wrong, and in front of 30 witnesses, I knew I could get away with it.

Suffice it to say, I have a hard time holding my tongue. And it took everything I had not to let this woman have it. Instead, I just said, “No, I’ve used it quite a few times. In fact, more than my wife.”

And I took my stuff and walked out of the store.

Looking back, I wished I HAD said something a little more barbed, but then I probably would have just earned myself some bad juju and I don’t need anymore of that right now.

But couple this woman’s attitude with the fact that I didn’t even get any gold stars for my envelopes and I just may have found enough reason to never visit Hallmark again!

 

What’s a few calories among friends?

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tee ball Despite being the runt of the litter, when I was a child, I played all kinds of sports. Back in L.A. (Lower Alabama) our mainstays were baseball and football, with a smattering of other sports. But back then, soccer wasn’t respectable and you can forget about any other European-inspired sport such as lacrosse.

My mom was bit of a health-food hippie nut and in an effort at bulking me up for football, she was forever making me drink concoctions made up of milk, brewer’s yeast, lecithin and Lord knows what else (no sugar of course). I don’t care what you put in it, it always came out tasting like the backside of a piece of bubble gum that someone peeled off their car’s undercarriage. It was nasty! And she didn’t even have the common decency to blend up a banana in there or anything. Despite her efforts, I remained a short, skinny thing that lost more teeth than I can remember during football scrimmage, and who inevitably was lying on the field picking grass outta my helmet while the other team was doing the victory dance in the endzone.

So before practice and games I was drinking disgusting things, and during the game, we were lucky if we got cold water to drink. I remember playing an “away” game one time and they served us Gatorade during the game. We thought we were in heaven–we had reached the pinnacle of sports greatness! The next week it was back to lukewarm water, but oh for that one day we were football GODS!

Now, it’s my son’s turn to start playing sports. This weekend MLI starts T-ball at the local YMCA. The team consists of six boys (I guess an injury won’t really be a season-ender for the team) and they practice AND play for a whole hour each Sunday. The coach sent out an e-mail announcement on Monday introducing himself and as an “Oh yeah, before I forget…” he tossed out there that we parents needed to talk amongst ourselves and figure out the snack schedule.

Come again?

The snack schedule? What, they can’t play for an hour without needing sugary snacks and beverages?

OK, OK, I admit, I wasn’t completely caught off-guard about this, but it wasn’t until CareerMom admitted that she didn’t know what the etiquette was for bringing snacks, that I got online and found out that this whole snack bringing thing is nothing short of a disaster waiting to happen. I mean, it appears that a parent’s whole future standing in the community could be based on their first snackage provision.

So, I prostrate myself before you, oh parents of the community. Give me your wisdom. Do I worry about peanut allergies? Do I try and do something healthy or do I give the kids what they really want? Do I care what others think? Do I bring enough snackage for the players AND any brothers and/or sisters who might tag along?
Help me PLEASE!

Today, on earth day, I weep for my country

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earth day

Heard this morning on my Sirius radio, while tuned to “American Morning” a CNN production:

Regarding what Pennsylvanian’s want the Democrat candidates to address: “...and Maria wants middle-class reform,After FICA gets paid and after Fannie-Mae gets paid, and the other bills…momma only has about two hundred dollars to go out with!”

I swear to all things Holy; I almost spit out my coffee when I heard a supposedly responsible news agency air this as a voter’s legitimate concern. Boy are our priorities outta whack!

And people wonder why Republicans are against even more social freebies.

I’ve Forgotten What This Post is About Already

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Forgetfulness

When you were little, do you remember how excited you used to get about going somewhere fun? And I bet that when you were getting to ready to leave, you made sure you had everything right?

Going to the pool: 

Got bathing suit…check. Got flippers, mask, squirt gun, flip flops and balls. Joey is soooo gonna get pounded by my new water cannon..hee hee!”

Going to the theme park:

“Alright, let’s see, I have my funnest shoes on, my favorite t-shirt, my allowance aaannnndddd my pack of Big League Chew bubble gum.”

See, when you were little, you remembered to take the things that were most important to you. Sure, you may have forgotten your towel, or your bottle of water and the sunscreen, but really, those are things you could live without. The REALLY important things you remembered.

Which is why this weekend was very disconcerting for me. I forgot everything!

Since CareerMom was out of town all last week, I’d banked some free time and had scheduled a round of golf (I KNOW! ANOTHER ONE!) at an uber-snobbish golf course about 40 minutes from the house. I called a buddy of mine to join me on Sunday at 1 p.m. and I was sooo looking forward to it. So we got up Sunday morning and putzed around, and I tooled out of the house around 11:45 a.m. figuring I’d have plenty of time to grab a bite to eat and get in a few warm-up shots at the course. When I arrived, I started driving around looking for a parking spot and saw some random guy cleaning the dirt out of his spikes. It was then that I got a sick, sinking feeling in my stomach–I’d forgotten my golf shoes.

And it wasn’t just that I’d forgotten my good shoes and I had on some so-so tennis shoes. No, I had on my slip-on driving shoes and there was no way I could play in them. Being 40 minutes from the house, I knew it was impossible for me to get home and back in time to tee off even within 15 minutes of my original tee time, so I called my buddy and I bailed. I was pretty ticked, he was pretty ticked–it was not a good feeling.

Driving home, I figured, “Well, if I’m not going to do something fun since CareerMom and the kids are at a friends house playing, I might as well do something constructive.”

I changed clothes and headed out to the Home Depot to get some deck boards to replace a few of mine that were cracked and splintery. I selected my boards and then waited in line for at least 15 minutes–and this isn’t one of those, “Oh, I’m so frustrated that 2 minutes feels like 15 minutes” times. I think it was really like 15 minutes. Some newbie schmuck was trying to figure out what all supplies he needed to lay down some hardwood and he was having a crisis at the checkout counter.  Anyway, I FINALLY got up there, she rang me up and I realized I’d left my wallet at home.

As I was driving home to retrieve it, I yelled so loud and long in my truck that I saw stars and my voice was hoarse for an hour. I know…real mature!

And then, this morning, I forgot my coffee.

It’s not been a stellar three days for the old memory. In my defense, I’m on about three different medications for my allergies-slash-sinus infection and I suspect that has something to do with it. But I also wonder how much of this has to do with just getting older? For Pete’s sake though, I’m only 34, how much worse does it get?

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My Moral Conscience Won’t Let It Go

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Something happened last weekend that I’ve been wanting to write about, but I know that no matter how I tell the tale, I’m not going to come out of it looking like a good parent; especially since in the middle of it, I found humor in my son’s predicament.

So here goes:

MLI has been wanting to play golf with me, but he’s too young to play actual golf. So I took him to the PGA Superstore (LOVE that place!) and bought him a little driver for kids. On Sunday, I took him to the driving range with me and we hit a few balls. I didn’t want to do too much “teaching” the first time out, so I pretty much just let him sit there and hit the balls however he saw fit.

That done, we opted to go next door and play some mini-golf. This place has seen better days. Half of the astro-turf is threadbare and it’s lined with bricks rather than actual cement, but it’s cheap and MLE was more interested in looking at the large plaster animal characters than he was actually playing mini-golf.

As we neared the end, I explained to him that once we hit our balls in the last hole, they were going to disappear down a tunnel and our game would be over. This worried him, so I looked around to see if I could find where they collect the balls and sure enough, I found a wooden hatch about ten feet away. I walked over and opened it up and found several balls floating in about six inches of water. The hole was about 3′ deep and 2.5′ x 2.5′ wide and the water was pretty nasty. I called MLE over to show him where the balls went once they went in the hole and he was excited to see his ball floating there.

But his attention quickly turned and he got up and went over to play on the alligator statue while I watched several large koi swimming in a small pool overlooked by a waterfall with a giant gorilla on top. The next thing I heard was a shrill scream. I turned around and didn’t see MLE anywhere.

Suddenly it hit me…he’d opened the hatch and fallen into the ball collector hole. I ran over and opened the hatch and pulled MLE out screaming and crying. Other than a pretty good scratch on his arm and being pretty soaking wet, I think he was more scared than hurt. But as I’m standing there holding him and trying to calm him down, every news story and movie I’ve ever seen or read where someone fell in a well, flashed through my mind.

I thought about tiny Jessica McClure who fell in that well in ’87

I thought about all the miners who have lost their lives deep underground

I thought about Lassie and Little Timmie

…and in the middle of all that, I suddenly found myself trying not to laugh at the situation MLE had gotten into. He had been curious and look where it got him. I wasn’t laughing at his fear, I was laughing at the absurdity of it all and in the fact that, despite how scared he was, he was fine–and wet!

But looking back, I know that it could have been worse. What if that hole had been deeper? What if he had fallen in and really hurt himself? The “what if’s” can drive you crazy. This could have been one of those sad stories you see on the news where something terrible happened to a child and the parents are suddenly up on charges of neglect or endangerment.

When we got home, there was no hiding from CareerMom that something happened, but I’ll be danged if I was going to tell her the truth. She thinks he just fell in the koi pond while swinging on the rope, after I had told him not to of course.

I know…I’m horrible and I’m probably going to hell for blaming this completely on my son. In my heart I accept a certain amount of blame, but I also know that no good could come of telling the truth.

Sometimes a little lie doesn’t hurt anyone.

Let’s Get Physical, Physical!

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tub time When I was a youngster, my brother and I lived in Montgomery Al. Behind our neighborhood was a maze of drainage ditches sunk several feet down in the ground. We spent many hours exploring these tunnels and generally shirking household chores whenever possible.

One time, while with a group of other boys, we discovered a locked wooden box in a smaller side tunnel. The lock was solid enough, but the box was made of thin plywood. Naturally, a bunch of boys would want to know what was in such a mysterious box and it only took a couple of “drops” on the concrete floor of the ditch to crack it open. What spilled out of the box was nothing short of every teen-age boys’ dreams…

It was full of porn magazines! There must have been a hundred of them; all varieties, all types. I don’t have to tell you what we did with these magazines. Suffice it to say that getting us to go outside and play wasn’t hard for our parents for a couple of weeks afterwards. About a month later, some retard took those magazines and ripped out a bunch of pages and spread them out along the road. I’m sure some of the older boys, like my brother, had by then absconded with a few magazines for their own edification, but I had not and for me, the fun was over. I say all that to illustrate that at a young age, I had a pretty good understanding of anatomy. I mean, I knew MY anatomy (cough, cough…intimately) and after that, I knew the basics about women.

Well last night as I was putting the boys in the tub, MLE, standing naked beside the tub, suddenly reached down to touch himself like most toddler boys will, and after grasping “down there,” he looked down and then started whailing like a banshee. I immediately looked to see what was wrong. There was nothing apparently wrong though; no diaper rash, no obvious boo-boos, nothin! I thought maybe he just wanted in the tub, so I put him in where he continued to cry on and off for the duration. I took him out and put his jammies on and he cried the whole time while also reaching for himself and acting like he was in pain.

My first panicky thought was “testicular torsion.” It’s where the blood supply to one testicle gets crimped off, or they flip, which also cuts off the supply. I had a friend in high school that had this happen during P.E. and they just got him to the hospital in time to save his manhood. There’s about a 6-hour window from the time it happens, to getting it surgically corrected before saving the testicle becomes a near impossibility.

Not wanting to completely panic, I figured I’d offer him his nightly bottle because it WAS nearly bedtime and I thought that maybe he just hit a wall. He went down quietly and slept through the night and this morning he was happy as a lark. So luckily, no “torsion.”

But this got me thinking about how little I actually know about physical development. I had to go online to find out if his testicles had even um…dropped yet. Because when I looked, one minute they looked like they were there, the next moment they seemed drawn up. I read online that this is common, so maybe that’s what happened and for whatever reason, it hurt.
OR
I now suspect that something else was going on and I’ll tell it from his point of view:

Yaaah, bath-time! Man, I LOVE bath-time. Hurry up daddy, get the water ready…cuz I’m freezing my balls off.
Speaking of my balls…wait…what? Where’s my balls? Where’s my balls?
OH MY GOD! SOMEBODY STOLE MY BALLS! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I probably should have warned you…