The 8 Hour Car Trip

8 hours in the car, driving home from Texas. How did it work out?

Hour #1: Smooth start. Life is good. No one is complaining. No one is yelling. A few fights between the kids. I give the little guy a sippy cup to use as a shield or a weapon as he sees fit. Just trying to even things up.

Hour #2: Into the second hour of our book on tape. It is more awful than a Chinese finger twist. I don't know what that is by the way, but it doesn't sound good. It's called a plot people, try it out, it works wonders. I try to retreat into my own book. I can actually read in the car without getting sick. However, the massive stink from the backseat makes me sick. Stop number one accomplished. Hossmom wants me to talk to her. I want to sleep. The battle begins.

Hour #3: The natives in the backseat are getting restless. I bust out the emergency candy. I'm a little concerned that I'm using it so early but I feel that I have no choice. I have also turned on the DVD player. We are into our first showing of Madagascar. The first of many, many, many reviews of this faboulous movie. I'm throwing more candy in the backseat like I'm feeding chickens. They keep clunking though. Cluck, cluck, cluck. The book on tape takes a turn for the worse as the author tries to describe a sexy sex scene. I don't want to hear the words "pulsating" or "throbbing" anymore. And I never want to "enter" anything anymore either. We make our second stop so that some little people can run around a rest stop, because that's safe, right?

Hour #4: Lunch time. My old self would just get fast food and eat it on the road. New dad self means that we will stop some place, preferably where they have a playground, and eat for an hour. The place is crowded, way to crowded for me to walk away from the milk Little Hoss dumped on the floor. I'll be honest, if it was empty I would just keep on trucking. Because I'm a bastard. But with this many people, there's no way I can slip out unnoticed. And no one eats their nuggets. I'm still done with my meal in 10 minutes though which leaves me a good 50 minutes to run around the place trying to corral my kids. I used to judge parents that did this in restaurants. Then I had my own and realized it had nothing to do with parenting. They are just kids. You can't hope to stop them, you can only hope to contain them. I get a few looks from others trying to eat. I let them know the irony of their judgment is not lost on me. We rent a movie from a red box. My wife's idea. I can't take anymore Madagascar so we get something we know she'll love: Tinkerbell. It's moments like this that let's me know why I married that woman, she's awesome. I'm not sure if I can return it in my city but I don't care, it's worth the 24 bucks if I have to buy it.

Hour #5: Tinkerbell doesn't work in the DVD player. It's scratched up. It plays the first 20 minutes before it stops and Little Hoss wants to watch it again, and again, and again. I begin to miss Madagascar. Bubba Hoss is asleep though and I'll take te silence.

Hour #6: Book on tape keeps going downhill. There's a plot twist involving Nazi's. It gets to the point where I'm rooting for the bad guys. Both kids are asleep, this trip isn't so bad.

Hour #7: Both kids are up and a little cranky. I don't know why they are up. I begin to think that this is some sort of payback for something aweful I did although I can't imagine what it could be. Short of murder I don't see how I deserve this. Little Hoss want's to hold hands. Bubba Hoss keeps throwing his pacifier at my head. Although I don't know why I keep giving it back to him. I'm nothing but a trained dog folks, woof woof. We stop for potty breaks. I take Little Hoss into the men's restroom and the stall doesn't have a door. We have no choice. But what we really appreciate is the big turd floating there because that says Welcome to our State. It flushes though and I have go to ask myself what kind of lazy bastard can't even flush the toilet in a back water rest stop? Come on man. I wish the perpatrator of this outrage has kids someday and he travels across country. I teach my daughter to art of hovering. She's pretty good.

Hour #8: We realize that this 8 hour trip is going to be more like a 10 hour trip. We stop at yet another rest area because this one has a playground that's really nice. Good job Missiouri, way to come through. I will pay my taxes now. Bubba Hoss takes a header down the slide and busts his lip. Hossmom was in the bathroom and I'm wondering what she'll say when she sees it. I concoct lies, like telling her a rabid coyote ran out of the woods and snatched him but luckily Little Hoss and I were able to wrestle him away, with only a busted lip, how great are we. I realize that she'll never go for it so I think of something that sounds more plausible. I tell her that Little Hoss punched Bubba Hoss in the mouth. I'm going to owe her some candy now. Thanks for taking the fall sweaty, Daddy will make it up to you.

Hour #9: I have no idea why the kids have slept so little during the trip. It's past thier bed time but yet they are still up. We have switched back to Madagascar on the DVD player but it's no longer working it's magic. My feet hurt, my ass is numb and the kids are starting to scream. I go to plan B. I start throwing whatever is in the front seat into the backseat hoping that it will entertain them for a while. I throw Bubba Hoss what's left of the newspaper so he can tear it up. I throw Little Hoss old candy boxes hoping that she'll be distracted trying to find any secret compartments. The backseat looks like a warzone. The UN is going to have to come in and clean this up. And of course by the the UN I mean me.

Hour #10: The book on tape hasn't ended because it's that bad. Bad books always go on forever. The kids have literally been having a screaming contest for the last 30 minutes. I have even used my "dad voice" to get them to quiet down a little bit. It worked for about 10 seconds and now my own voice is horse. Please god let us get home. Let us get home. My wife doesn't believe in spanking the children, I'm hoping she's reconsidering that idea. When I was a kid we visited my grandmother's house every weekend for about 5 years. It was only 30 minutes away. We never made the whole trip without stopping to get licks. It was the same place every time, by two dumpsters on the side of the backwoods highway in southern Arkansas. I understand my dad now. I'm sorry Pop, we deserved those and I promise never to spit on my sister again. Home is in sight, I'm almost out of the book on tape nightmare that we have been living. I hope the Nazi's win. I hope that the heroine kills herself. I hope the bad guy wins the day, gets the money, and lives a very quiet and peaceful life. I hope that the author decides never, ever to write again. If he does, he's going on a car trip with us.



Shoveling snow sucks major dick, much to my surprise. It makes no sense to my southern brain where having snow was a joyous occasion and anything that you chose to do in it was naturally much more fun.

Walking in the yard sucks but walking in a yard full of snow is awesome because you can pee in it and see your artistic results. Falling down a hill sucks because it hurts and you get grass in your crack but rocketing down a hill in a sled is awesome. Again, that is what my southern brain thinks. Until this year I have never experienced snow above my shoe line.

The very smallest flurry back in Texas was cause for celebration. All the schools closed down, people didn't go to work and there was a good chance you would see kids using socks as gloves because in Texas we didn't need gloves. You knew that you only had limited time to play in, 24 hours and then it would be gone like a good Tijuana hooker. The crabs last forever and so do the memories. So naturally, when I moved up north, I thought the snow would be fun.

The first snow fall is fun. The second isn't so bad. The third is ok. By the fourth you are tired of it. And when it snows in March, hell almost April, you are like What the Fuck?! It's March man, I should be in shorts.

Honestly, I'm offended. I don't know who I'm offended at but I know that I am offended. Seriously, almost April here man, why the hell am I spending my Sunday morning shoveling snow. This is an affront of some kind.

My new friends up here told me that I needed to shovel and it wasn't just something that I saw in the movies. Ok, no problem, it's snow, how bad can that be. Well guess what, snow can be heavy and it sucks monkey balls.

It may be the choice of my snow shovel though. When I bought it I had no idea what the difference was between all the shovels. I bought a cheap one with a wooden handle and a metal blade. I was thinking less on how it would feel on my back and more of choosing an appropriate weapon for that Christmas eve when the weird smelly guy shows up in the Santa costume with a hatchet and asks where the coeds are staying. I figured that I could get some pretty good swing out of this thing. Knock some skulls together, John Mcclain style. I spend way to much time watching movies.

So far I've used the shovel 7 times to shovel my driveway and deck and zero times for knocking a psychopathic killer in the face while uttering some kickass catch phrase like "You just got plowed." Then I would smirk and get some hot coed loving. Oh Hoss, you are so hossy. Make me a woman. That would be so cool.

My back hurts now and my legs are stiff and I'm wondering why our driveway is so god damn long and why I never noticed, ever, in any house I have ever lived in, how long the driveway is.

I did take the kids out this morning and tried to convince my 3 year old and 18 month old that shoveling was FUN FUN FUN. Look kids, you can make big stacks of snow right here in the drive way. Let's do that!

I'm am very proud to say that my kids are smart. They didn't shovel shit. They ate the snow though, and not even the snow on the driveway where it would have been a little helpful. Someone's not going to prom. I will hold that grudge.

But we did manage to build a snowman though. This one was the first one ever for my kids. After all the snow we have had, and they assure me it's been a mild winter (bullshit), we have never made a snowman. As it turns out, again I'm a southerner here, some snow doesn't pack, who knew? Oh, we tried and managed to just make a pathetic lump of snow that didn't even come as high as my shin. If a snowman took a poop, this is the pile that he would leave.

There is dry snow and wet snow. Wet snow is for snowman making and dry snow is for--well nothing. There is nothing in my mind that dry snow is good for. Go skiing you might say. Yup, that's a good idea. Let's throw a 250 pound behemoth on some sticks and hope that he hasn't lost that coordination and agility he had when he was 18. Money says that I would put my head through your car door. You want to take that bet?

I even worked up a sweat today which pissed me off even more. When there is snow on the ground there is no way you should be wearing just jeans and a short sleeved T-shirt. But that's what I was wearing. Again man, it's almost April, why is there snow?

By 4 pm all the snow had melted. Very funny, very fucking funny.


I'm So Proud

As most of you may know, my 3 year old daughter likes to break things. Just about whatever she can get her little monkey hands on, eventually she will snap in half like a vanquished foe. Then she throws it down and spits on it declaring her awesomeness to anyone who dares to challenge her.

So it was no big surprise that my little Mongo came running up to me today screaming "Daddy! Daddy!" In her little hand she held a wheel. It's a green wheel, plastic of course because toy manufacturers love to drive all dad's apeshit by making all their toys out of plastic. They obviously have never let a 3 year old destructor road test any of their toys.

Screw plastic, we require cobalt steel. It should be able to withstand a mac truck running over it, turning around, running over it again and then the driver getting out of the truck to hit it with a hammer. I would so buy that toy. I don't even care what kind of toy it would be, but I would buy it.

So little Mongo hands me the wheel and says "Daddy fix it." As soon as I see it, I know that I can't. The wheel belongs to her little shopping cart that she has had for the last 2 years. Now I must say, I am quite impressed that this thing has lasted this long. But it's one of her favorites and now it has snapped. My guess is that she was trying to see if she could punch holes in the wall with it.

I'll also admit that I hate to break my daughter's heart. All the tough talk that I might do, she plays me like a violin and I hate to disappoint her.

"I can't honey. It's broken for good." I say as I examine where it snapped off. It's a clean break, but it's an actual break. No glue could hold this, no screw would make it through the plastic without ripping it apart. It's officially broke.

"No Daddy, you fix it." she sounds so confident.

"I can't honey, it's broken."

"No Daddy, I help." she says and then disappears. I have no idea what is coming next as I hear her in the kitchen going through one of the drawers. My first thought is that she is going to get a knife and hold it to my throat until I fix this thing. I'm already making plans for my escape.

I know that I will break down and go by her a new one. I'm weak, I'll admit it. She'll learn her lesson of not to play to rough with her toys and then daddy will go buy her a new one. Because I'm a sap.

She comes back in with something in her hands.

"Here you go Daddy. I help!" she says, she is so proud of herself.

She hands me a roll of duct tape.

I swear to all that is holy I have never been so proud of my daughter as I was at that moment.

The wheel now works fine.


Dad's Advice.

I'm in a podunk town in Texas this week visiting my sister.

There are four kids with me, my two and my niece and nephew who are the same age as my two. We have the rest of the family coming over this afternoon and both moms (my wife and my sister) seem to be in full cleaning mode while I watch the kids in the backyard.

I am a bit bewildered as when I offered to watch the kids both gave a sigh of relief. Honestly, out of the jobs that need to be done, watching the kids was the easiest of the bunch, at least that's my take. Let them run around, eat some dirt, maybe play catch me-catch me, and then go sit on the porch while I give them something sharp to play with. That should keep them entertained for hours before we go to the emergency room. Why are the mom's so relieved?

But I think I know why. Being around two mom's, when I used to being by myself, is a tad bit stressful when watching the kids. I think Dad's are a lot more loosey-goosey when it comes to this. And I think that's a good thing because mom's worry way, way too much. Thus the source of their stress when they are watching the kids.

The kids are running on the backyard. I hear twice, twice, from two different sources of "be careful." They are running on grass. Honestly, it would never even occur to me to say this. Grass is god's way of telling you not to fall down on concrete, come over here where it's nice and soft. If it's not a lesson that they have learned yet, the sooner the better. At least at this point the teeth they knock out will actually grow back. You don't want to make that mistake when your 12. But that's more of a dad's philosophy.

They say "Don't climb that!"

I say "Don't fall off." Much, much better I think.

They say "Don't eat that!"

I say "Black and yellow kill a fellow." I grew up eating varmints.

They say "No jumping."

I say "tuck and roll, then pop up in a fighting stance." You never know when the next ninja attack is going to come from.

They say "The dog can't climb ladders."

I say "Don't haul the 5lb dog up by the neck because dogs don't climb ladders."

Well, that's what I should have said but I didn't because as a good dad, I wasn't paying attention. That's another thing that I am constantly being accused of. Conspiracy I say, conspiracy.

So when we were all sitting outside again I didn't give the advice that I should have about dragging a 5lb dog up a ladder by it's neck. But in my defense, the rest of the group was now outside. We were talking and enjoying ourselves and all of a sudden I look up.

I see the tail end of Roxy, a Pomeranian, just swinging back and forth. The right leg was twitching. Honestly, I didn't know what the hell I was looking at right at first. I mean honestly, who expects to see this? Did the dog jump and get caught in some weird time vortex and was suspended in midair? Could the dog fly, like super dog because that would be way cool. Maybe it isn't a dog at all, but an animangus who was using a levitating spell. That would be cooler than super dog.

But nope. It was my 3 year old daughter who had fallen in love with the dog and wanted to play with it. All. The. Time. She loved to take the dog for "walks" which I'm sure the dog interpreted as the Bataan Death March.

And it was my 3 year old daughter who was now trying to power lift the dog up the ladder so that the dog could then go down the slide with her. But she was losing some steam but was stubborn enough not to let go. She was just catching her breath, while the dog was not because the leash was attached to the collar. The collar, of course, was attached to the dog's neck. And it was swinging like from a hangman's noose.

It was the moms who jumped into action while I was trying to process what was going on. They quickly got the dog down. Don't worry, she's fine. The vet assures us that that leaning will go away in a matter of weeks. We can all learn to live with the night terrors.

My daughter was not happy. It was HER puppy. Anything that she likes is hers. Like knives, baseball bats and Sherman tanks. I can relate.

So let me say it now, so she will have the advice before the incident: Dogs don't climb ladders.

But they might fly off roofs. Let me know how that works out.


No Shit

I had to take my daughter to the restroom today at the grocery store. No big deal really, we are awesome at this. In and out, pee and poop, hands washed in under 2 minutes.

We go in the men's bathroom because the one time I tried to take her into the female bathroom there was a lot of purse throwing. It did not end well.

We also have to take my one year old son with us because the purse throwing thing comes back if I just leave him out front begging for change.

So we go in there and grab our stall. There is another guy in the stall next to us. I have no idea what he is thinking. Maybe I should have just leveled with him right up front. Dude, I'm not going to lie to you. This is going to get weird.

He might clench up. In fact, I'm sure he did.

The conversation he was hearing from our end was pretty striaght forward. Pull your panties down honey. Let's go pee-pee on the potty. There you go, good girl. I'm hoping to god that he knew that I had a toddler with me. But like I said, this is going to weird.

We are getting settled up and I turn around to gather my son, assuming that he was standing nicely and quietly exactly where I left him.

He wasn't. He was down on all fours and halfway into the next stall laughing at the guy while he was pooping. And there's the weirdness.

I grab him by the back of his hayseed overalls and begin issuing every form of an apology that I can think of.

Sorry my son snuck up on you while you were pinching one off, not cool, I agree, I don't watch my kids very well, in fact I'm thinking about giving this whole father thing up. Please, just continue your poop.

I'll admit it, we didn't wash our hands. We just got the hell out of there, back into the car and ordered pizza for dinner.


Daddy Kicks Ass

I have taught my daughter many things over the last three years. Because that is what a father is supposed to do, that's what a father is good for. Where else is she going to get this knowledge from, the special knowledge that only a father can teach?

I don't see Hossmom teaching the difference between chin music and a wild pitch. And I don't think there is any other way that Little Hoss could figure out craps without dear old dad teaching her what the pass line is and to never bet on box cars.

It's been fun. Little Hoss knows how to rock out, she knows how to play the air guitar. She knows how a flamingo stands and she knows how to play peek-a-boo with the rhino. I'm awesome and my little minion is proof of that.

She can sing the entire last verse of David Allen Cole's You Don't Have to Call Me Darlin'. Bar songs, only a father can teach that.

But as a minion, I decided that it was time to up it a little bit. She's been a pretty good little minion in training but it was time to kick it into high gear. She does her tricks, I give her a cookie and we progress. However, now we needed to be more vocal about her father's greatness.

It was with this in mind that I decided to teach my daughter how to say "Daddy Kicks Ass."

We've been working on this for a while, starting slowly at first. I taught her to say "Daddy Cool". She got that pretty good. Then we evolved to "Daddy Rocks" then follows it up with a high five. But now we needed to go further, push the boundaries a little bit.

I know that I may be biased here, but every time I teach my daugher something new, I see that something special in her. Honestly, I see her and think she is just slightly ahead of the curve. She is stronger, faster, smarter--the 6 million dollar toddler. In short, Little Hoss Cool. What better way to announce the fact than have my daughter enter a room, wait for a lull in the conversation and then yell "Daddy Kicks Ass." I will stroll in and wink at a couple pretty ladies, grab me a martini and then wow people with my discussions on the global economy and the use of correct grammar.

But there were a few setbacks at first. I rethought my brilliant plan of "Daddy Kicks Ass" and decided to change it up. Mainly because I knew that if Hossmom learned that I intentionally taught our 3 year old daughter to cuss, I would be sleeping in the driveway until she turned 18. I don't need that kind of hate in my life.

So we changed up the wording a little bit. Instead of Daddy Kicks Ass we went with Daddy Kicks Booty. An appropriate substitution that may in fact be a little more helpful by using the vernacular that she already knows.

Every parent teaches there kid where the body parts are. It's one of the first things you teach. Head, shoulders, knees and toes KNEES and TOES! You move on from there. I decided to mix it up a little bit though when it came to my daughter's sensitive areas. Instead of vagina we use the word Koochie. That's what we called it as a kid. And instead of posterior sitting flab, we went with booty. She'll squat on the ground and then point to her booty, she's a genius.

So we started.

"Little Hoss, say Daddy Kicks Booty." This was going to be awesome. I was already planning my next entrance to a restaurant or sweet 16 party.

She just smiled.

"Ok, honey, let's try this again. Daddy Kick Booty"

This time she pointed to her own booty.

Ok, no problem. I know how to communicate with her. After all, I did teach her to play air guitar to AC/DC.

I squatted on the ground in front of her, got down on her level. Looked her straight in the eye, grabbed her by her shoulders so she knew I was serious, and said "Little Hoss, Daddy Kick Booty."

At this time I became detracted, only for a minute. The dumb dogs were fighting over a left over peanut butter cracker on the floor. "Newt, Kahn!" I yelled. "Hus........"

And that's as far as I got before my little angel reared back her ninja foot and kicked me square in the balls. Well not exactly square, probably half balls and half taint, her little pointed shoes, stupid Dora shoes, making solid contact to my groinal region.

As the air rushed out of me I realized two very important things. First off, never turn you back on an armed toddler, and a toddler is always armed. Second, I should have really taught her what a metaphor was prior to uttering the words Daddy Kick Booty. Obviously what she heard was Kick Daddy's Booty. And being the good little girl that she was, she complied as any good minion would. You don't question your orders, you just carry them out.

I didn't teach her the difference between figurative language and the literal. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I'm grabbing my crotch as all these thoughts go through my head. I have to admit though, she did well. Given my current position, it was the only way she could actually reach my booty to kick it. A very good martial arts move, maybe she's got a little Bruce Lee in her. Or maybe a little bit of a dirty street fighter. But all that got erased from my mind as the warm wave of stomach groin pain reached further behind my eyeballs to let me know that perhaps, just perhaps:

Daddy doesn't kick booty.


Murphy's Law of Parenting

They will make it a point to eat anything that you ask them not to. Like dirt and jewelry.

A dog will shit on your floor within 24 hours of you mopping it.

You will find the overdue book the day after you go to the library.

That "weird" smell that you can't find is always a diaper in the most secret hidden place.

A Stay At Home Dad always looks like a pedophile to stay at home moms at the park.

Cereal is always better than the dinner you just spent 2 hours cooking.

The maximum amount of time that a room will remain clean is 10 minutes. It's usually occurs between 4 am and 5 am.

Laundry ninja attacks you just when you think you are finished.

All parents wish for children on their children. It's the only real revenge that a parent can take.

Yes, that's going to leave a stain. It always leaves a stain.

Sex with consequences sucks donkey balls.

That great hiding place for cookies will always be sniffed out by the cookie nifflers that your children have become.

It's always the older one's fault.

Leftover night has nothing to do with saving money, it means I hate cooking.

The box that the $300 toy came in will always be more entertaining that the actually toy that came in the box. Unless the toy can be used as a weapon.

A child assumes that anything that she wants is in her father's pocket and if it's not, he's just being a dick.

If you really wanted to read that newspaper/magazine article--it will have puke on it.

No one poops alone.

Waitress will always put that Caution HOT PLATE! right in front of your one year old.

Food that your child won't eat will end up on the floor. You won't feel bad about your cooking skills until the dog throws it back up on the table.

Your most cherished tool is their most cherished toy.

Everything is a weapon.

There is no such thing as a clean car.

They will always want to get in the car until it actually time to get in the car.

The bigger the crowd the bigger the scene.

Everything will end up on the floor surrounded by slobber.

Please feel free to add you own.



What the fuck am I doing here? There is no way in hell I should be doing this. Fuck this, I'm turning around right the crap now.

Shit, shit, shit, shit.

Ok, no problem, I can do this. I promised my wife that I would go and so I am going. I just wanted to get out of the house for a little bit. I thought that I would go return a movie, maybe drive aimlessly about town for a while. Just some fresh air that doesn't stink of baked gold fish mashed with day old apple juice.

A fatherly walkabout, maybe go a little native and take off my shirt for any stray ladies that might be passing through town.

That plan got shot when Hossmom handed me the list of things that I had to get at the grocery store. So here I am hoping beyond hope that perhaps a meteor will actually strike the store. That's right, I am actually wishing for extra-terrestrial carnage so I won't have to do what I'm about to do.

I've been with my wife for 14 years and I have weaseled my way out of this for the entire 14 years. It was a Cal Ripkin like streak. It was unbroken with a couple of close calls where I had to fake death but I got out of it.

Now it's over and I'm walking through the store looking for the feminine hygiene aisle. God Dammit. Crap. Shit. Crap.

Where the hell do they keep this stuff anyway? Honest to God, as I'm walking through, I can't ever remember seeing an aisle that my wife described to me as being there. She promised it was. Hell, I do the shopping every week and I have never seen this aisle. But there it is and I turn into it.

There are 5 women currently in the aisle perusing the products that are currently for sale. Crap. Shit. Crap.

For some reason I was hoping that this aisle would be deserted and I could sneak in and out and get what I had come for. No such luck because Karma has decided to kick me square in the balls.

Look, I know the argument for this, of why I shouldn't be embarrassed. The words "maturity" and "natural" come into that argument. But there is not a man alive that doesn't feel the same way as I do right now as I quickly do a head fake like I accidently turned into the wrong aisle, so sorry ladies, I was just looking for the milk.

I remember once as a kid I would throw stuff in the toilet just to pee on it. It was awesome. And you know what, it's still cool to pee on stuff. That's what you are dealing with here ladies, all guys are still basically just 10 year olds snickering in sex ed class and then go out and pee on stuff. It's just now we shave and are a much better aim. And I wouldn't have been doing this when I was ten and I don't want to be doing it now.

I wonder around a bit, go check the special on chips on aisle 5, make a stop at the bakery for a free cookie and then head back to the special aisle Mordor. The five ladies are gone but now it's a mother/daughter team and an older lady that reminds me of my own mother. No fucking way, let's go check out the toys that my daughter plays with. Maybe I'll throw a ball at a wall or find the meat section and punch some cow like Rocky.

This pattern continues for a pretty good while. Leave, come back to find some female, too embarrassed to enter, leave, come back to find more females, leave to go look some hot chick in Redbook, come back.

This can't last for ever, got to man up and get what I came for. This time there are only 2 women there, stocking the shelves. I figure this is as good as it's going to get as they don't remind me of my mother, my sister, my wife or any other female that I may know.

I enter the aisle and am overwhelmed by the selection. I've seen fat man buffets that have had less to choose from. I look at the list that my wife gave me to make sure that I get EXACTLY what I'm supposed to get. However, Hossmom scribbles like a rhino that has just been given meth and I can't make it out.

As a husband, this is something that I know I don't want to fuck up because I will be paying for it for the rest of my life. It's the same reason why I never buy clothes for my wife and why I highly recommend none of my male readers do either.

Here is the reality of clothes buying for your wife:
If you buy a size too big then your wife automatically assumes that you think that she is fat. If you buy a size that is to small your wife assumes that that is the size you wish she was. And if you actually, by some miracle of the almighty, buy the right size, she thinks that that you are having an affair because there is no way you pay enough attention to her clothes to know her right size. Basically, you're fucked. A no-win situation.

And that pretty much sums up my current predicament.

Infinity, Ultra Thins, Night time, day time, water skiing, seriously--what the hell man. I shouldn't be here.

I realize that there are some guy readers that may have no idea what the hell I'm talking about. You sir, are single and I applaud you. I'm not going to make this any clearer than I am now. Just turn off your computer and go play some sports.

I feel like I've been staring at my selection a little to long. I have no doubt that by now the two females behind me think I am nothing but a massive perv and if they started slugging me while calling for the police, I would totally understand. When a mother of two walks up I take my best guess and just throw it in my little hand basket and run away like I just saw the T-Rex from Jurassic Park in my side view mirror.

I'm hyperventilating by the time I get out of the aisle. Almost must done, thank you Jebus. I look at the rest of my list. Cranberry juice and Oreo's.

Aw come on man, seriously?!

I get everything I need and begin to scope out the check out lanes. I have a strategy for this. I need a line that is fast moving that barely has any people in it. Do I want a guy checker or a girl checker? Both could be equally as bad. I rule out anyone under the age of 30 as well figuring that a teenager would just start giggling as soon as I put everything on the counter. I decide to go a male checker hoping that they won't see any connection between the Cranberry juice, cookies, and the other product I have.

I'm in luck, they just opened a new lane, it's a dude, a little younger than me but not much. I run over an elderly gentleman to make it first in the line. I'm praying to god that there will be no price check moment. If there is, I'm completely ok with knocking the checkout guy completely on his ass before he even can turn the microphone on. That's another reason to pick a guy.

He rings me up and it goes smooth. He asks me if there will be anything else. I want to say "yes, I need guns and ammmo, something to help me trim my manly beard, a bumper dumper, and perhaps all the nudie mags that you have in the back." I want to say anything that makes me appear to be all man. I have no idea why. I know that this is just butt-ass stupid but I can't help it.

I almost want to explain it to him. I want to tell him my total life story, starting with how I like to pee on things, and end right up at this current moment so he can see how I got here and that I am not a sicko perv that likes to cruise the feminine hygiene aisle.

"Nothankyou." I say and turn to leave.

"Would you like your receipt?" he says.

I just keep walking. Don't look back, don't look back, never ever look back.


Man Weekend

Freedom. Sweet, sweet freedom. The kind of sweet freedom that an open road in a quiet car delivers. The kids, the wife, the household chores; all left behind. The constant pressure of fighting over nap time, fighting over playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Fucking Star on the radio vs. Metallica, of watching Dora the Explorer (how I've come to hate you) vs. anything on the History channel--all left behind.

It's someone else's job this weekend because Daddy is bolting for several days of doing things that I probably won't ever admit to my kids that I did. Let the wife fight the good fight this weekend, I'm out. No more trying to show the kids how smart dad is because he got the final Jeopardy question right because I have no one else to impress. Yes honey, Daddy will get you some juice, but look real quick, Daddy knew who was Secretary of Defense under Nixon, isn't Daddy smart? They don't care.

Once a year I am let off the leash. I am allowed to roam in the wild without being tagged first.

Welcome to Man Weekend.

Once a year, as we got older, a few of brave souls thought it would be a good idea to leave all the pressure of acting civilized behind and let loose. Pretty much like we did every day in college where the only thing you were worried about is if you could get up for your noon bowling class. But now that we are all grown up, a lot of us are married with kids, we don't get to do that as much. We don't get to let off steam in a completely judgment-free environment.

Because let's be honest, I have people looking up to me for examples. Drunk Daddy is not really a good role model for the minions and all Hossmom thinks is that Drunk Daddy stinks like drunk ass and should sleep his drunk self on the drunk couch.

But this weekend, we go native. We go primitive. We go the way that men would live all the time if they never, ever had any responsibility or bills and plenty of penicillin.

We even have a theme each year. Last year it was the "Dirty 'Stache" where we all grew 1980 mustaches and then went to Walmart for group pictures. Trashy and awesome, does it get any better? This year's theme--Dirty Handlebar Mustache.

As I had moved in the last year, the road trip was the only way that I was going to make it. 8 hours on the road with just my Ipod, a book on tape and a whole box of slim jims and soda--neither of which I allow myself to consume anymore because both give me massive heartburn and is not good for my cholesterol. Christ, when did I get so old? But fuck it, it's Man Weekend, I'm going to live it up like I'm 20 again.

That's all I needed, tunes and crap food. But unfortunately I brought something else with me. A fever of about 100. Hossmom tried to convince me not to go. She brought up the very valid and logical point that traveling with the flu is a very bad idea. But as it was Man Weekend and I am most certainly a man, logic went completely out the window. Fuck logic, I'm going. There was no way that I was going to miss this.

9 hours later, driving on the fuel of stink and stale fart, I arrived at my destination. A buddy's house who's wife was gracious enough to allow us to do this at her place as she smartly got the hell out of dodge. This is not a place for women. If a woman was there, saw what we are really like around a bunch of guys, none of us would ever ever get laid again. Seriously, even I'm disgusted.

There is also a competition each year as well. Who grows the greatest Dirty. I was prepared. Hell, I took two months to be prepared. I'm a stay at home dad. I have no job, I had the time.

"Dude, holy shit! Totally not fair!" several exclaimed as I entered the garage.

I had grown an entire beard. I looked like a cousin to the Unabomber complete with wild eyed look and scraps of paper with mathematical equations on them.

"You're shaving out side. There is no way you are leaving that beard abortion in one of my sinks" the Car Dealer said. No problem, I had come prepared.

30 minutes later I came back from the backyard where I had used my own clippers looking very, very dirty. The handlebar mustache ran from my upper lip all the way down to my neck. I had sideburns that ran from my ear and then actually connected to the 'stache itself. 2 months of dedication and it was worth it. I must say, it was awesome. Although no chick would ever touch me with this small animal on my face, it was still awesome. It looked like I should be mining coal in West Virginia or driving an ice truck in Alaska. Dirty, dirty dirty.

And I understand why some thought it might be unfair. They all had jobs and couldn't go the completely untrimmed beaver look. But then again, fuck em, they get to eat lunch by themselves as well and not have hot dogs thrown at their head by a remarkably accurate 1 year old.

But the fever was still with me but I played it off like it was just a headache instead of the gastro-intestinal battleground it had become. 12 guys showed up that first night and it was a good night even though I felt like monkey's were doing the hula behind my aching eyeballs.

I remember a few things that first night. 1st, the cure to the common cold is beer. Lots and lots of beer. Pretty soon, I had forgotten I even had the flu and was feeling damn good. I knew I stank but honestly we all did. It was bad enough that the EPA showed up to measure the green house gasses and then left screaming. I remembered that having only 1 bathroom for 12 guys is no problem, no problem at all like you would expect it would be. We all peed in the yard. But we were good about it by either trying to kill weeds and write our names in cursive rather than in block letters so that it would look better when the grass came in and the dead spots were obvious.

I remember the pizza guy showing up. Normally you wouldn't think much about this. However, I remember feeling very bad for this 19 year old kid. He walks in and I know has to be shocked by the massive amount of dirty handlebars, and believe me, they were dirty. But not as nearly as shocked as he would be as soon as he realized that the entire garage was covered in porn. Good porn, bad porn, french porn. Name a porn magazine, outlet or playing card and it was displayed in all it's glory.

One of the guys brought 2 huge boxes of porn that it would appear he had been keeping for years. We had porn going back to 1986. I found Playboys in there that I distinctly remember got me through some very rough times in college. I found a magazine that I had never heard of ever and was sure that just by holding it I would get gonorrhea.

And there was the pizza guy in the middle of Handlebar and porn and stink. Awesome. He screamed like a girl. And he screamed even louder when we invited him back to hang with us after his shift if, and only if, he could grow a handlebar mustache in the next 3 hours.

And I remember some of the beer games. Beer pong, drink because I said so, and flip cup--the last game I remember actually playing. It's a relay game, 6 to a team and it makes no sense what so ever so I won't actually describe the rules to you. At first, we just had captains picking teams and then we got creative. This usually happens when guys get drunk and get competitive. We will fight then make up bullshit rules about anything.

The first team was fat guys vs. skinny guys. Oddly the fat guys (my team) lost. Then we went married vs. non married. Married guys (my team) lost again. Finally, we went old guys vs. young guys. Of course the old guys (my team again) lost. So it would appear that being fat, old and married does not translate into good drinking game statistics.

Finally, after several hours I slinked off to bed. My goal this year was to not be the first married guy with kids to pass out. I reached that goal only because one guy just had twins and the other guy, my hippie brother in law, beat me to it. I was feeling good, no fever and relatively few weeds killed in the front yard.

We were woken up the next morning by the organizer of the event. Big Boy opened the door to our room where my Hippie brother in law and the Twins dude were sleeping on whatever we could find. He almost gagged.

"It smells like a can of assholes in here!" he exclaimed. Oddly, I smelt nothing as my flu was back. Or I was hungover. Again, I'm not 20 anymore and it's a very painful reminder to realize that I don't bounce back the way I used to.

We had a 10:30 appointment for pictures. It was 10:00 am already. There were no showers to be had. Awesome. And I had to get into costume.

We all thought that going with a biker look would be great to go with the Dirty Handlebar Mustache. But I wanted to stand out, just a little bit. So I took it a step further. I went ultra-gay biker.

I had a medium-size black shirt that said "Kiss Me I'm American." I haven't worn a medium since I was 12. I had a bandanna that had a picture of a skull on it wearing a bandanna. I had an red, white and blue neckerchief that I tied around my neck. And I was wearing a gold sparkle belt. Completely awesome. I must give it up to Hossmom though, she put the outfit together and thought it was funny as hell.

But the last touch, it was all me. Instead of jeans, which a true gay biker wouldn't wear, I wore cutoff jeans. I had to be careful because everytime I sat down I would teabag anything within a 10 foot radius.

There were other costumes. Hippie brother in law bought a bunch of fake tattoos and shaved his head. He's a teacher by the way. Uncle Brick Salesman had a plaid shirt that made him look more like a lumberjack salesman. And one other guy, who couldn't grow a very convincing stache, busted out the leather chaps. Good times.

We get to Walmart and then the looks start coming. Our biggest fear was running into a real biker gang and getting our asses kicked. My second fear was freaking out any families and kids. I'm still a father, although perhaps a bad one at the moment. The stares came along with the pointing. I was on full display and knew that I had reached the image I was going for when a little lady passed us and said loudly enough "Oh my God." I don't think God has anything to do with this one, honey.

When you take pictures at Walmart they put you in a very small room. Not a good idea for any 12 guys as 12 guys naturally stink. But 12 guys that spent the night drinking and fouling the toilet all night? Really, really bad idea. I don't think the photographer got that this was all a bad joke but then again, it was hard to see her through the stink lines. Or it could be that her eyes were watering because of the smell and not because of the joke. I'm not sure, but she went by her job very quickly.

In the end, we asked her to look at the pictures and choose the winner of the Dirty Stache contest. She said it was close, but she chose me. She said it was certainly a dirty stache but the gold belt put me over the top.

Afterward we went to lunch at a place called Bone Daddy's which is a Hooter's type restaurant. Normally I think my friends and I are funny but we were in rare form. Soon all the waitresses were coming over for the spectacle, especially when one of our number decided to apply for a waitress job. He runs about 270. We didn't think he had a chance until the manager came over and interviewed him.

Getting out of that place was a hassle because it was the lunch rush and by this time I was feeling very self conscious with my junk hanging out every time I sat down. We were given a very wide path to do our walk of shame.

I exalted in my greatest stache award as we went back home. I needed some water, bad. I had nothing to drink except beer in 24 hours and I was hurting. It was not to be. The keg got floated the night before but luckily we all brought a case. I don't remember much more from that weekend except being tired and feeling like I go in way over my head.

Around 5:00 pm that night I got a call from Hossmom. Little Hoss was throwing a fit. She hadn't seen me in two days and was insisting that I was just outside in the yard and couldn't understand why I couldn't come in to see her. She was screaming, full on tantrum. I talked to her on the phone and tried to calm her down but she just kept on saying "Daddy inside" in that little girl voice that cuts to the quick of any father. God dammit. This is man weekend and now I can only think about snuggling on the couch watching Lady and the Tramp for the millionth time.

Eventually she calmed down enough to tell me that she loved me and to let me know that Bubba Hoss, my son, was ok but missed Daddy to. Rarely have my kids not seen me for this many days.

The next morning I awoke feeling worse than the morning before and headed home. The drive was still good and quiet but without the slim jims and soda. Those had been replaced by granola bars and water. When I got home that night both kids woke up and wouldn't go back to bed until I was in there with them. Which wasn't a good idea at first because they didn't recognize me as I hadn't shaved off the Dirty Stache just yet. After some initial stranger/danger moments I reassured them that Daddy was home and the smell was only the smell of victory. When I sang You Are My Sunshine for the tenth time, they both went to bed.

It's taken me a full week to get over that one weekend. My kids go to bed at 7:30 and I was in bed minutes after them. I'm popping whatever pill Hossmom floats my way. I finally shaved and now I look like a 12 year old fat kid but I'm home and my kids love me. Next year, perhaps the Man Weekend theme can be business casual with wine spritzers.