The Meltdown and Rain Boots

"Don't you want to wear your rain boots, Bacon Hoss," my daughter says.  She looks over at me at the sound of the soft "noooooo" I tell her and sees my eyes roll back into my head.  My daughter doesn't realize her mistake until she the excited "yes! yes! yes!" coming from Bacon Hoss.  Now he's fixated on the idea of wearing the Batman rain boots.  I sigh.  I don't know where the boots are.  We are late.

But we are always late.  It's part of having kids.  If we need to be somewhere and it takes 30 minutes to get there in the car, we have to begin leaving the house an hour earlier.  Little Hoss has started picking up on this and asks why we have to leave so early now when we go places.   I smile and on our next scheduled appointment somewhere I tell her to learn and watch.  "Time to go everyone!  Get in the car!"

25 minutes later everyone finally has on shoes, coats, socks, pants and Bubba Hoss eventually is able to seat belt himself in between telling me Star Wars facts that not even George Lucas can tell.  But we can't go because now Little Hoss has forgotten her book and has to go back inside to get it.  Eventually, everyone gets back in and I point to the clock.  25 minutes from the time I uttered the words "time to go" and by the time we actually start the car.

I think my daughter learned a good lesson but she is too young to really get the subtlies that are required when you parent  She's only 11, a bright 11, bu still a young kid.  And I can't fault her for trying to help get us out the door.  She was going to put on the toddler's rain boots for him, isn't she helpful?

What she didn't know is that I had already thought of this.  I should pat myself on the back because there have been days where we have left without any shoes on and had to turn around and come get them.  Today's problem though is that I can't find my toddler's extra special awesome Batman rain boots.  This is why I had the Spiderman shoes in my hand.  If I put them on fast enough he wouldn't realize they weren't the right ones.

And it's not even raining, not that that matters.  Bacon Hoss goes through phases and currently, we are on a Batman and Barbie phase, an interesting combination of dream house and bat cave.

"Honey, I don't have your shoes.  You have to wear these," I tell him as I watch his eyes clothes and the waterworks come.  That's the next stage we are at, a meltdown at everything.  Not the right shoes, let's scream and cry about it.  The Ipad run out of juice, that's a meltdown every time.  The moon isn't full, you better believe that is a reason to scream.

"Alright hon," I tell Little Hoss.  Go find the shoes.  She looks at me like I'm joking.  I am not.  She started this mess she can go ahead and get all into it.  Maybe it's a bit cruel or maybe this is the best lesson for birth control a young girl can have.  Either way, I'm not moving.

No one ever puts their shoes back where they are supposed to go.  It's simple.  There is a shoe basket.  The shoes go into the basket.  Then you wake up the next morning and put your shoes on and hopefully, you have remembered to put on your socks first.  This is where we find ourselves now, my daughter looking for Batman rain boots on a sunny day.

I sit back down and give helpful hints.  "Check behind the couch," I tell her.  "If they aren't there, look in the oven."  Yup, I've seen shoes end up in the oven before.  Don't know why.  I used to ask why when things like this happen but I find that no explanation can make me understand  Now I just take it as par fo the course.

Little Hoss eventually finds the boots for the toddler.  He gets himeself up off the floor and she puts them on.  There, we are ready to go.

"Hey Bacon," my 9 year old now jumps in.  "Do you want to wear your special creeper sweatshirt?"

Sigh, eye roll, slight muttering under my breath.

My toddler loses his shit again when he realizes that the extra special awesome creeper sweatshirt isn't hanging on the hooks which is conviently located next to the shoe basket.  We start over.

"Bubba Hoss.  Go check the oven.  And if it's not there look in the shower upstairs."


The Book and 50,000 Words

Last week I hit 50,000K mark on the word vomit that is slowly becoming my book.  It’s a nice little milestone to reach and one that I should be proud of.  That’s me being humble.  So fuck that.  
I hit 50K words on “the book”, the mythical thing that has been in production for freaking forever.  The ideas have been floating around the head for years but things kept getting in the way.  There is an actual plot, plot points, characters and their development, subplots and interactions, themes, the whole shebang.  I’m pretty pumped.  
“The Book,” which should always be capitalized now and spoken about in whispers, has taken shape.  The story that was abstract in my head is now in physical form.  I’ve given this thing life and hopefully, there is a soul in there.  But what if it’s an evil soul and causes world destruction as it matures into a finished manuscript?  Is it the Hitler of books?  
Screw it, so be it.  It may be the most colossal piece of trash ever created but it has been CREATED and that’s the point.  If it’s going to be evil then let it be the evilest.  I will love it anyway.
 There is no need for me to print off the pages, to actually have a physical manuscript.  But I do it because sometimes late at night I like to pick it up and hold it.  I like to feel it’s weight and pet its pages.  Is it doing ok, does it need anything else?  Perhaps a good plot twist, maybe more developing in the first act?  The Book doesn’t talk back but one day it will.  
It’s far from finished.  I don’t have any magical word count to reach.  But when I write I never really do.  I just tell the story until the story is done.  Most of the time, I have an idea in my head and see where it takes me, making little pit stops along with way.  
But The Book is different.  There’s an outline, a convoluted and large outline that is it’s own being as well.  It took me two months just to do that outline and it’s constantly getting a makeover to make it look pretty.  It does a good job of linking one plot point to another, to being the roadmap of The Book.  I know where the story ends and I know how to get there.  I just have to keep writing, keep chugging along to tell the story.  
The Book is a funny story, the ups and downs of what happens when a grown man tells his children “Please stop breaking shit, the moms are starting to look at us weird.”  Oh, there are hugs and kisses in there, on those beautiful pages.  There are also stories of my son whacking my car with a hammer and my daughter flashing her goods to some Mormons.  
The book will be finished sometime over the next month I think, maybe two.  The first draft of it will anyway.  Then I will go back and change it, dress it in something pretty, letting the words act as accessories to what I hope it will eventually look like.  But for right now, it’s still a young book.  
But it's MY BOOK and at 50K words it’s growing up just fine.      


What Happens When You Turn Your Back On A Toddler

Notice How He Even Got In Between The Fingers
I've done fucked up and I know it.  I'm better than that.  I'm not some sort of a rookie, a noob that doesn't understand what can happen when you don't pay attention to your toddler.  I make fun of guys all the time that say "I only turned my back for a second."  And what did I do?  I turned my back for only a second.

I was talking to my sister on the phone.  It was a call that required all my attention.  My boy and I were having a great day, a day filled with the park and coloring.  He was happy, I was happy.  I thought that I could be on the phone for just a couple of minutes and nothing would happen.  Jesus, I'm better than that!

I walked into my kitchen and even did some dishes while I talked to my sister.  I had her on my headphones so I could set the phone down while I talked to her.  I was multi-tasking, a skill that I thought I had perfected!  I need new multi-tasking lessons.  My son is about to give me a free one.

I looked up.

"Shit.  I have to let you go, sis.  Ollie has gone and put on blackface."

Not full on blackface, thank the lord for small miracles.  But his hands and much of his wrists are covered in black marker.  He decided sometime over the "I only turned my back..." that he was done coloring in his special coloring book.  Coloring hands are way more fun.  So that's what he did.  I'm sure he was laughing all the way too but I couldn't hear him with my earbuds in.

And he had to choose black marker because that makes it way more fun and way more difficult to get off.  He has to go to preschool tomorrow and I know exactly what is going to happen.  I'll practically give him a bath in rubbing alcohol trying to get the marks off his hands and wrists.  But I won't get it all because I pick up the marker pack we were coloring with and nowhere on the package does it say "washable."  Another rookie mistake.

I've been in the game for 9 years, 9 years of caring for children and I'm still making these mistakes.

"What happened, buddy?" I ask him.

"Daddy!  Daddy!  Look!  I colored." he tells me.

Yes, son, you colored.  Now you have to wear gloves to school tomorrow and I have to tell the teacher it's because we are afraid of germs.  Great, you are Howard Hughes now.  Have fun with that.

He then points to the table showing me his little black smudged handprints.  They are also on his chair, his clothes, and probably some on my computer which I left near him.  Suddenly my lazy afternoon has been filled up.  The rest of our day's schedule is full thanks to a toddler and the parenting cliche "I only turned my back for a second."  


Kids Chess in the Thunderdome

"Move over, I'm going to beat this kid."

When I heard my daughter say this, I spun around and my shoulder caught the bookshelf that I was standing next to.  Several books fell to the ground and I thought that I was going to have to get my daughter out of a fight and repair the library all in the same day.  This would be a new record of destruction for us.

But what I saw was not my daughter whooping some poor kid.  I saw Little Hoss moving her little brother out of the chair in front of the white pieces of the chess board that they keep at the library.  I walked over and asked my son what was going on.

"She's going to play this kid.  He thinks he can beat her."

Oh shit yeah.  It's on now.  As my son explained it, this young blond hair boy was explaining how to play chess to my children.  He didn't like being corrected by my kids.  Now Little Hoss has decided that a game is the only way to settle this epic battle.  I wanted to hug her, not only for accepting a chess challenge but for not being me at that age.  I got into a lot of fights that usually required some explaining to my parents afterward.

But as the parent in this situation, I would require no explanation.  My girl is going to the Thunderdome of chess skewers and forks, have at it!

My daughter can play chess.  I taught her.  She plays me on occasion.  She's no Bobby Fischer, but she knows what she is doing.  She can skewer a piece and castle and it's become second nature to her.

Now, I'm no chess genius either.  But I have found that if you learn some basic strategy and combine that with some tactics, you can beat 90% of the public at a friendly game.  Most have a passing knowledge of chess and we have taken it a bit further.  I've tried to get the kids to watch chess tournaments with me at times but they fade after the first 5 minutes.  Baby steps, baby steps.  Let that first step be wrecking the random stranger that appears to be talking down to my daughter.

Part of me wants to stick around and be the cheerleader.  I want to get some sports stands around the board and my giant half-gallon of soda.  Perhaps I'll start a little tailgating party in the parking lot, get some beers out and turn on my radio for some analysis.

I leave them though because this is a challenge between kids and I don't want to see the other kiddo cry.  That wouldn't be very fatherly, would it?  It's all about the competition, about fair play, right?  But there is the other dad side of me that thinks "You gonna let that boy talk down to you like that?  Kick his ass, honey."  I don't know which guy to listen to so I leave them at it.

I head back to the children's section to watch my youngest son destroy the toys they have back there.  Occasionally he'll hit a truck with a book and I consider that a win.  He plays chess too sometimes with me although at 4 years old that usually means that he is going to stick a piece in his mouth for a little bit.  That's ok, know your pieces on an intimate level and the rest will follow.

Little Hoss and her brother come join me about 5 minutes later.  I lift my head up from the book that I really wasn't reading.

"How did it go?" I asked her.

"Easy.  I castled early and then it was pretty much over.  I just got his pieces one at a time."

"That's great," I say.

But what I mean is:  That's my girl.  Don't ever let a boy tell you what you can and cannot do.  Now go over there and punch him in the balls for good measure.   It's important that I don't let this Dad out to much, he doesn't play well with others.  He's still needed but he's kind of a jerk.

"Can we go get some ice cream, Dad?"

"You're god damn right we can."


The Toddler Proofing Company

I have decided to launch a new company.  Hossman’s Toddler Proofing.  It’s going to make me a million dollars and when I get all that sweet money I will make sure that I forget all you lowly peasants.  But first, buy my products.

The first product in my genius plan will be the Crazy Shake Timer.  It will look exactly like an egg timer, an old fashioned one.  That means it’s vintage and bitches go crazy for vintage.  You set it for 5-minute increments right when you need to clean or do something important like eating all the crumbs in the chip bag before you throw it out.  You paid good money for those chips, get everything out of it that you can.  When the timer goes off, you stand up and do the crazy shakes.  I’m assuming that every parent that stops by to read this knows exactly what crazy shakes are.

But for those that don’t, the crazy shakes are from the cartoon Team Umizoomi.  Bot, the robot, of course, will say at the end of every episode that it’s time for crazy shakes.  My 4-year-old demands that we do it and when a 4-year-old demands that you shake him, god damnit you do it.  Not a baby though, don’t shake the babies.  I find that my productivity drops way off when my toddler is around.  So the crazy shake timer is really just finding a way to automate the constant interruptions.  After the crazy shakes set the timer again and then go find that bag of chocolate chip cookies because I bet there is a least one more in there you fat bastard.

Our next product is revolutionary and will probably get a lot of hot supermodels wanting to endorse it.  It’s called the Bathroom Muffler.  It’s basically just a shit ton of styrofoam, thick stuff that can be duck taped to the bathroom door. Once installed by one of our supermodel installation ladies, it will successfully block all sounds from outside the bathroom door-- like a screaming toddler.  It will also cancel out any loud banging coming from outside the door.  So when the 4-year-old is screaming “Dad!  Daaaadddd!  What are you doing?” you don’t have to reply “I’m taking a dump, what do you think I’m doing!”

Now, you may be thinking why not just use sound proof egg crate foam?  Listen, Mr. Moneybags, we are trying to make these things affordable for the American family.  We cannot afford official high-end shit, kids suck up money like Bill Oreilly soaks up harassment lawsuits. (hahahahahaha, that made me laugh.) Our styrofoam can be found for almost next to nothing if you go down to the docks on the lake after the 4th of July weekend.  Just pick up all the old cheap coolers that I guarantee will litter the shore.  The beer smell will remind you of college.  Bring your toddler and the crazy shake timer.

The Parent Control Volume Remote will be our next big seller, after the success of the Bathroom Muffler.  This specially programmed remote will have only 3 settings.  Setting 1 will be called “Nap Time” and immediately mute the T.V. and it cannot be canceled for at least 2 hours.  This prevents the fat god damn dog from accidently stepping on the remote and jacking the volume up to 50 and ruining nap time for everyone. Seriously, screw you dog.  You owe me.  Setting 2 on the remote is labeled “Sexy Porn Time.”  It sets the volume of the T.V. to a very low whisper, only audible over heavy breathing.  Use only around 3 am when the whole house is asleep and you really don’t want to wake anyone up but need just a little bit of sound to achieve lift off.  Finally, setting 3 on the remote will be called “When the older kids have friends over.”  This setting will automatically turn every speaker in your house to the loudest volume.  You will still be confused as for why you can’t hear anything other than preteens tearing your house apart but at least you are making an effort.

The last product in our revolutionary new Toddler Proofing company will be called the “Picky Eater Food Dispenser” and is the flagship of our product line.  This white box contraption easily fits on your dining room table.  It will have huge compartment space for all the lunches and dinners that your toddler has decided not to eat.  After they take one bite of their peanut butter and jelly sandwich the machine will automatically open and take the sandwich away, storing it for later because your toddler will declare he’s “done.”  Every 5 minutes, when your toddler tells you he’s hungry, even though you just had lunch, the white box will open and again deposit the sandwich on the table.  Your toddler will scream, take one bite and again declare he is done.  The cycle will continue for 45 minutes until finally it just spits out a cup full of cheerios on the floor and flings the sandwich towards the wall.  This action allows you to add to your collection of food stains on the wall without the hassle of your toddler doing it.  There is also a handy paper shredder built right in so you can just open up your wallet and destroy your money rather than wasting trips to the grocery store.

I believe in these products and have no doubt that they will revolutionize the way we take care of our families.  Why go through the bother and the fights that you know you are coming anyway?  My super awesome, super handy Toddler Proofing program will….

Wait, the crazy shake timer just went off.  Back in a bit.


Another Piece of Reddit Fiction

This little story did pretty well too on Reddit.  It story made me laugh.

The Writing Prompt was:  "Here is your sword, that purges all evil.  Here is your shield, to protect all you hold dear.  And here is an infinite mug of coffee, arguably the most dangerous of the three."

“Oh, I gotta go, I gotta go, I gotta go, I gotta go,” said Chet the Magnificent. The dragon stopped in mid roar, about to blast this twig of a man, because Chet was now running around in circles. This made no sense to the dragon who had eaten plenty of newcomers before. “Have some decency man,” the dragon thought. Chet couldn’t hear him, of course, and if he could it wouldn’t matter because all Chet was thinking at this moment was to find the nearest bush.
Chet was the chosen one, destroyer of evil and conqueror of the minions of hell. With his sword he sworded with his shield he shielded. Monsters wrote dirty limericks with his name on bathroom stalls and put his real address in Craigslist personal ads. They cursed the very air he breathed and as each of them fell Chet’s fame grew.
With boundless energy, Chet never failed to meet a demon head-on. This enterprising hero never seemed to grow tired and the dark rings under his eyes only worked to entice the ladies even more. Most times he almost seemed nervous, electric like, a combination of a boxer puppy crossed with methed out cat. But his quirks only served to remind his foes that he was unpredictable, like the mage who had given him his weapons had predicted.
Ollie the Wise and Opulent first gave Chet the sword and said: “Go forth and sword things. It’s good for you.” Then Ollie gave Chet the shield and said: “This thing is heavy, I don’t want it anymore.” And finally, Ollie gave Chet the last of the hero’s treasures and said: “Take this bottomless coffee mug from 7/11 and find the will to destroy all. Also, to much coffee may make you poop, so watch your intake and check your blood pressure from time to time.”
Today Chet had too much of the bottomless coffee and it did what coffee does: jack you up and make you miss your first-morning meeting because you’ve got to run to the bathroom. Normally, Chet would have taken care of business earlier, perhaps on the secret bathroom stall of the 4th floor. But the dragon roared from his cave and Chet momentarily forgot about Ollie the Wise’s advice.
Chet the Magnificent raced to the cave and stood to face the beast. The dragon roared, Chet roared, and then Chet’s stomach rumbled. A loud gurgling base came from Chet’s midsection and then a small squeak came from his backside. The dragon, not sure what kind of game weirdo Chet was playing, decided to roar louder. Chet stood straighter, his face turning red from embarrassment and not from the heat coming off the dragon, raised his sword.
He had gotten the sword up about halfway when the lower half of this manchild’s body decided nope, it was time to poop instead.
And so we find our hero desperately running around in his plate mail armor, looking for perhaps a large rock while the confused dragon looks on.
Sadly, Chet could hold it no more and a torrent of filth came rushing out of his nether regions like a mudslide over the Niagra. Clump, squoosh, clump, squoosh, squirt--the sounds of a man losing all his dignity and finding it slowly piling up in his boots.
The dragon stepped back immediately like he had been slapped. Understanding came to the dragon as the smell of Chet’s shame came to his nostrils. “Holy crap,” the dragon thought. “This guy pooped his Cussies, (the correct term for leg armor, go ahead, look it up. Don’t look it up)”
Chet though was named the Magnificent for a reason and knew there was only one thing to do in this dire situation. He quickly threw his sword to the floor and turned to face the dragon. The dragon let out a minor roar, not sure what was happening or what weird fetish this guy had. Chet let mother nature take it’s course, all the while making direct eye contact with the dragon. The dragon tried to avert his gaze but Chet held him by sheer force of will. “Look at me! Look at me! I can’t finish unless you look at me!” Chet let loose with a torrent that sounded like an oboe being played by a 4th grader.
The dragon, overwhelmed by the situation finally broke eye contact and jerked his head hard to the right. His skull smashed into the cave wall, sending a spiderweb of cracks up through the ceiling. The cave came crashing down on the dragon ending his reign forever. Chet was spared as at least today he had found some luck.
Squishingly, Chet bent over and retrieved his sword and his shield that lay at his feet, wiping the little brown specks from them as he secured them back onto his armor. He turned gingerly and walked out of the cave. Chet the Magnificent, destroyer of destroyers, scourge of evil and drinker of bottomless coffee. Oh, Chet, may your name and your legend live on. And may you always carry some handy tissues and reading material in your saddlebags.


For those wanting to read the comments on the original story on Reddit,
click here and enjoy!


Whose Is Bigger

You don't have to pull your pants all the way down to your ankles in order to take a leak.  Well, if you're a female you probably do.  But men don't unless we have a peeing distance contest going on and in that case, you do whatever you need to do God Damnit.

I was trying to explain this to my youngest, Bacon, while in the bathroom of Culver's.  Culver's is an ice cream and burger joint.  Tonight we were there because of a school function.  Something about raising money for the school or to show community spirit.  I don't know, it starts to get all wrapped together like a burrito towards the end of the school year.  I spend 50% of my day running around in my van going to one kid thing or another.  It's to the point where I'm happy if I just show up with the right kid.

Bacon had to pee so into the bathroom we went.  Pretty normal but he is 4 now and it's time that we got some man lessons in him.  "Son," I said.  "This is the urinal.  You are going to use this now."  Later I will show him how to shoot guns at stuff.  That's going to be tough as I don't know really how to shoot guns at stuff.  But I do know how to pee at urinals.  One small baby pee step at a time, we can get to the guns later.

He starts to drop the pants when I stop him.  "No, son.  Do it like Daddy."  I unbutton my pants and step up the urinal.  "See, we don't pull our pants all the way down.  That keeps our butt warm.  Pretty cool right?"  I start to pee hoping to show him how this is supposed to work.

Bacon screams "You have a big penis!"  Then he starts laughing and pointing.

Kids make things weird and awkward all the time.  It's part of their job description.  I'm pretty sure somewhere they have a toddler union and that they have to reach a weirdness quota.  I appreciate the compliment but now that he is pointing and laughing I'm not sure it was a genuine compliment.  Like Mighty Mouse being a small mouse.  

"No, son.  We are not talking about penis right now.  We are learning to pee in the urinal.  Now open your pants and pull your penis out."

"Daddy, I have a small penis!" he yells.

That's when I hear the guy in the stall start laughing.  Nothing is better than getting in a dick size competition in front of an audience.

"Dude, just go pee," I tell him.  I have decided that urinal lessons can wait.  He pulls his pants all the way down to the floor, gleeful in his exposed butt and his exposed junk.   Next time I teach him we are going to make sure that the little guy and I are alone in the bathroom.

Wait, that doesn't sound very good either.  Fuck it, we are going back to diapers.