12/28/10

Why Do Cows Walk

"Dad, why do cows walk?" Little Hoss asked me.

Indeed, why do cows walk?

My daughter has been asking more questions than usual of late. I think that they have also become more evolved questions as well, things that perhaps only a prodigy type child would ask. They go beyond the normal dad questions and seem to have entered into the world of philosophy. Does a thing exist only because I think it exists or what is the sound of one hand clapping.

And now, in a trip to the grocery store to load up on pop tarts, why do cows walk?

I realize that in this stage in my daughter's life that I am her primary teacher. Just about everything she has learned comes from me or Ms. Herless. Ms. Herless is her imaginary teacher that she says teaches her things like Ballet moves which seem to resemble grape crushing in the making of fine wine. I'm not really sure where Ms. Herless has come from and when I ask my little Mozart about her, she only says that she is her teacher and she likes to teach her things.

So I ask: Ms. Herless, why do cows walk?

I looked over at the cows in the pasture as we passed by them. They are the same cows that have been there for 3 years, or at least I think they are. They roam a big pasture, eating grass, crapping and basically doing what cows do. I imagine a lot of cud chewing. I have never thought much about them but my kids seem to love them. Perhaps because Uncle Bricksalesman taught them to play "Hey Cow." A fun little game where you yell "HEY COW!" out the window as loud as you can. If a cow looks, you win. That's it. That's the whole game.

It's oddly fun.

But now I am being forced by my Beethoven to think more about these cows as I try to formulate an answer that will surely one day appear on her thesis when she graduates from Yale.

I could explain that the cows walk due to the evolution of the species. That once the cows began as a big old goo pile and that eventually nature selected the more cow like goo pile parts and eventually made a cow. And that's why cows walk honey, natural selection.

But I have a feeling that my daughter was searching for a more metaphysical answer than the biological one. She's a thinker which is what I think motivates her to destroy shit. I don't know how it motivates her but I have got to believe that there is a reason she has dumped my cell phones in the toilet.

Perhaps the cows are walking because they are searching for the meaning of their existence. Are they meant to roam a pasture to one day become only delicious steaks. But are delicious steaks not something noble to aspire to, only second the greatness that is the pig and bacon?

Or perhaps they walk to escape the thoughts that they will never be more than cows. That their nightmare is the life that they have been put into. Seriously, it's got to be pretty damn boring to be a cow.

Although both sounded plausible, I knew they would not give my daughter the intellectual challenge that she was seeking. So I offered her another explanation.

"Honey, the cows are walking because they are having an inner conflict between extensionality and intensionality. Do they judge objects to be equal if they have the same external properties or are they concerned with whether two descriptions are intended to be the same or not. They ponder these things and they walk as it symbolizes the movement towards truth and truth is what we all seek, cows and people. And that honey, is why cows walk."

"No dad! The cows walk because they did a stinky poot!" She roars with laughter.

Ah, my little Einstein.

12/26/10

Just Go To Bed

Go to bed. Go and put her in bed. She is tired and cranky and frankly, I can't take much more today. It's starting to bother me. Normally, I can take a lot. I can be told no. I can be kicked in the shins. And I can even get food splattered on me. And I can do all that with a smile on my face and patience in my voice. However, every man needs a break. He needs time to unwind and come down from his day. He just needs some peace and quiet and that peace and quiet should be delivered to him with a football game and some chips.

So go to bed I say again! It's 7:30 at night and it's time for her to go to bed. I know you don't want to put her to bed. I know it's going to be a hassle. But good old dad just doesn't have the strength to go upstairs and deal with it tonight. My Cowboys game is on tonight and I have given up to many of them this year.

I know that she doesn't want to go to bed and she is fighting you. But she also knows that she is tired. She has been up since 6:30 this morning and missed her nap. I know that she never takes a nap anymore but she should when she's this active. She was running around the house all day today. Going from room to room doing whatever it is that she does up there. Honestly, I just try to stay out of her way. Just take her hand and say it's bed time. Then just lead her upstairs, she'll follow you, trust me.

Make sure you tuck her in and get her a drink of water because if you don't she'll come back down here and bug me. In fact, just go ahead and crawl in bed with her until she falls asleep. She'll stay up there as long as you are with her. Read her books or scratch her back, that usually puts her right down for me.

I know, she might try to get out of bed to come "tell me something." She does this often and she's just fighting bedtime. I'll go up with you in a minute and give her a night night kiss. Then I tell you what, just for me and you, I'll go to the store and get us some special treat and then we can sit down and watch football. Sound good?

Good? Ok then. Go ahead and put Hossmom in mommy and daddy's bed and when she's asleep come on back down and we can watch football. I know honey, I love you to. Tell Mommy that if she is a good girl and goes to bed then tomorrow we can do something special all for her.



12/24/10

Santa's Cookies

"Daddy! We made cookies for Santa!"

Oh yeah? What kind of cookies did you and your mom make?

"Chocolate Chip cookies!"

Hmm, chocolate chip cookies?

"Yeah!"

Maybe you should go tell your mom that Santa likes peanut butter cookies.

"Dad! Santa doesn't like peanut butter and jelly cookies! He likes chocolate chip cookies!"

Are you sure?

"Yes dad, they are his favorite!"

Um, I don't think so honey. I think Santa really wants peanut butter cookies.

"No dad! Those aren't his favorite!"

I'm pretty sure they are.

"Dad, you don't know Santa! He loves chocolate chip cookies!"

Oh I know Santa. Me and Santa are on a first name basis. And I'm pretty sure that Santa would love some peanut butter cookies, no jelly though. And he would like some milk, but don't put that out until you are about to go to bed. Because Santa also told me that he doesn't like luke warm milk. He thinks it's kind of gross.

"No dad! You need to listen. You're not listening! Santa likes chocolate chip cookies!"

Santa also likes Die Hard on Christmas Eve too. If you could find that on Netflix, that would be really great because Santa has a long night ahead of him filled with a lot of little screws and dead batteries. So some Die Hard and peanut butter cookies would really help Santa out.

"You go away dad, you're not helping."

Ok, but if you get a chance, Santa would also like some batteries. Triple A.


12/20/10

The Fit

The boy is in trouble, big trouble The boy is in epic trouble. He's in the kind of trouble that Homer will come back from the grave and create a new Odyssey out of. It will make Odysseus look like a pussy.

He is in the kind of trouble that my kids will talk about when they are 30 and married.

"Wow Bubba Hoss, remember when you got into trouble when you didn't want to get your haircut? Man, when did he let you move out of the basement?"

"Last week when I moved out of the house."

It was that kind of trouble. It was so simple to, that I don't know really why this happened. The boy was supposed to get his haircut. He didn't want a haircut. I explained that he couldn't be a hippy and that a haircut was the only cure. I explained that next he would stop bathing and talking about living off the grid. I informed him that this would not be acceptable in my house.

He said no.

I said yes.

Let the good times roll.

He started with the simple pout followed by a scream. He knows that this does not work with me. I am dad, my word is law. I'm not big on "convincing" my kids on doing what is asked of them. It's not how I parent. Probably because the one time that I defied my own father I received a belt across the legs. That was the last time I really questioned my father. I don't spank but I still don't take no very well from my children. So I picked up my son and put him in the barber's chair.

He decided to match my will with his own. He began to scream and by the time I put him on the chair, he started to kick. I have no idea why as he has gotten many haircuts before. I can only guess that somewhere in the past I have shown weakness and he is now attempting to dethrone me as Dad. Give a kid a donut before bedtime just once and now you are screwed. Constant vigilance is the only answer.

The screaming got louder and the kicking got more violent. It was crowded and I had to decide what to do. People were starting to look at me, obviously judging me. "I bet he does crack" I heard one whisper. "Oh yes, he's a crackhead. No doubt about it. Who else but a crackhead allows their child to act such a way. I bet he has weird fetishes to" her friend concurred.

Hossmom came over to help. Nothing pisses me off more. When I'm worked up I don't like Hossmom coming over to "calm" the situation, it makes me more mad. This isn't about calming anything! This is about family dominance! It's about my authority! One missed haircut now and when he's 16 he is going to be riding around on a motorcycle going to see his pregnant girlfriend in the trailer park. If he's lucky, he might get into Devry. Oh yes, there are bigger things here than a haircut.

"Hoss" hossmom said "let me....." I never let her finish the sentence. I probably should have but I was in the zone here. Hossmom is all about hugs and love. We are beyond hugs baby, way beyond hugs at the moment.

I put Bubba Hoss on the ground and grabbed his hand. "We're going to the car" I told Hossmom very calmly. Then we left the barber's shop.

"Crackhead" I could hear them all whisper.

I had Bubba Hoss by the hand and we were walking fast. The kind of fast walking where his feet are barely touching the ground. We had parked on the other side of the lot so the walk was a little way. He had taken the screaming up a notch and was trying to pull away from me. Which made things worse because now I was mad that he wasn't holding hands in the parking lot which is a big no no.

I was way beyond my emotional parenting level. I am not supposed to parent in this zone. I have taken classes at the dad convention that talk about this. Don't let your children push you past your normal zone, that's the advice. I was not heeding it now.

I was lecturing him the whole way. I'm not even sure what I was saying, I might have been talking in tongues. If someone had come by us I'm sure this looks like a kidnapping and an Amber Alert would be on the news shortly. He was screaming and kicking, I was dragging him along.

We got to the car and I put him in the carseat. I was still giving my 3 year old boy the lecture. I actually said "You will do what you are told boy!" I have no idea where that came from. The hick in my just came out. Next I'll be telling him about how to clean a chicken carcase and the greatness that is Grits. I don't know where I was going with this and I have no idea why I was even talking. He was screaming so loud that nothing was getting through.

I got into the front seat and continued. I mentioned things such as acting appropriately, about how he need to listen to his Dad, about how freedom and the American way is directly tied into doing what Dad tells him to do. I was on a roll here. I'm sure that if I could write what I said, I could use it as a motivational speech in corporations.

I stopped my lecture and took a breath. He was no longer screaming. I turned around to give him Act II of "Dad Losses it".

The boy was asleep. Fast asleep. I had put him to sleep with my lecture. Fantastic.

Game over. He wins.

Nothing I can do about it. He fell asleep and will not really remember this episode when he wakes up. I can't very well wake him up just to continue this lecture and the plethora of punishments I have in store for him. I was going to put him in his room, take away toys and tell him the truth about Santa Claus. Can't do that now.

Do that now and I just look like a dick. He won't get it, he will make no coloration between the punishments and the actions he took to get there. If I do anything now I am just being mean and that is not a good example to set for my boy.

I started to laugh because I recalled what I had said in the lecture. Something about the American Dream and the fall of communism and how he had to make a decision about which side he was on. I'm not really sure.

But I know that everything was pointless and the true reason he lost it was because he was tired. I over reacted and I knew it. And now he put me in my place, showing how irrelevant I can become.

However, the boy still needs a haircut. And I do have my clippers at home, maybe give him the old fashioned buzz cut that I still sport. Hossmom would be pretty upset. In fact, I'm betting that she would start yelling at me as soon as she saw it. Perhaps at that point I can give her a lecture and send her off to bed?

12/17/10

What Dad Wants For Christmas

The holidays are upon us and it's time to do our gift exchange. Many of you are probably wondering what to get dad this year. Let's face it, he can be a little tough to shop for. Not because you don't know what he wants so much, but because you have no idea what an impact wrench is nor where to get it.

But maybe this year the budget is a little tight. Perhaps your spouse got laid off because a souless fast food company decided to be idiots and fuck things up. If that's the case, then let me offer you a few great gift ideas for dad this year that will be much appreciated and won't break the bank. Because the thing dad wants more than anything is a sound finicial future where he's not living on the street begging for a loan from the local crack whore.

1. Go get Dad's tire's rotated. This service is usually free or very cheap but also a massive pain in the ass. So take it upon yourself to borrow dad's car for some illegal street racing and on your way home, if you haven't lost the pink slip, stop in for 30 minutes and gets those suckers rotated. He'll love you for it.

2. If your a toddler, you may find it difficult to drive at the current moment so the tire rotation probably isn't going to work for you. But you have something better to offer. Make dad a cutsey little card. Color it, maybe draw a little flower thing on the cover because everyone loves flowers. Put your name on it so he know's it's from you. Then write this on the inside: "I promise to take my shoes off every time I kick you in the balls." Christmas morning, when he opens your present, I bet 100 bucks he breaks down crying.

3. Dora the Explorer bandaids.

4. Duct Tape. He always needs duct tape.

5. A block of cheese.

6. A tape measure. Then take the tape measure and measure the size of Daddy's biceps. Regardless of the number, say that it's huge. So huge in fact that you've never seen a number this big and demand to measure again because surely you must have messed up the first time. Then when you find out that it was correct, go around telling everyone how big and strong your dad is. Trust me, no matter what size your dad is, he will love this.

7. Postage stamps.

8. The last piece of Christmas ham, with no guilt.

9. A song and dance number. Every Dad thinks that his kids are pretty much the greatest and doing a song and dance number is about the cutest thing you could do. May I suggest that you do "My Little Buttercup" from the movie "Three Amigos."

10. Learn to repair a hole in the wall then actually show dad how good you can do it by actually fixing the hole in the wall that you may have put there.

11. The shake weight. Because it is funny.

12. A tub of Blue Star Ointment because you can never have enough of that stuff around.

13. A section of wall that you HAVE NOT colored on yet.

14. Bacon. Lots and lots of bacon. Bacon wrapped in bacon.

15. A newspaper that hasn't been read yet, or colored on, or cut up with child scissors.

16. Alf, season 1.

17. A peice of paper that states: "I vow to not get anything peirced until I move out of your house and am totally self sufficient. I also agree to never bring up things like this that you did when you were my age. I will completly ignore the hypocrasy." Sign and date said peice of paper.

18. Homemade peanut butter cookies all for him.

19. New shoelaces for the shoes that he refuses to throw away.

20. Turn on a football game (it doesn't matter which one), get him a beer, chips and salsa. Then sit and watch the game with him quietly. The entire game or until he falls asleep which should be around the second quarter.

See, buying economical gifts for Dad is easy and well worth the minimal effort you have to put into it. He'll love any of these gifts for years and years to come.

But if you do find yourself with some extra money, he might also like Call of Duty: Black Ops, currently available at anywhere you find games. I'm just saying.

12/15/10

The Doll

It's all in the eyes. Those plastic soulless eyes that never seem to move and yet I am sure that they see everything that I do. More than that though, I'm sure the thing can see everything I think as well. It's in my mind. I know it is. I can see it as it stares at me.

It knows that I am thinking "Why did I let Little Hoss talk me into letting her creepy little Victorian Doll eat with us?" I thought it would be cute, a little girl holding her doll. But Little Hossisn't holding her doll. Instead she went and got the extra chair and put her doll in it. Now the doll's little head just barely looms over the edge of the table. Enough to pass judgement on me or to perhaps rip my throat out. I'm not sure which at this point but I am pretty sure this thing is evil.

I don't even have a clue where this thing came from. Little Hoss just went down into the basement one day and then came up with this little porcelain like doll. It's wearing some sort of white dress that seems inappropriate for a child's plaything but seems to fit something that came straight from the bowels of hell. It's also a little musty looking and has almost an antique look about it. The eyes seem painted on and the black hairs appears to be styled by Lucifer.

I've known this all along. Nothing good comes from basements. If my daughter starts talking to it I'm going to freak out.

As for now, it's eating dinner with us. She has her own plate, her own glass and her own agenda. We sit in silence, staring at each other. Waiting for one of us to make a move.

"Daddy, can I have another taco?" Someone asks. I'm not sure if it's my daughter or the evil creepy little doll. I am also not sure if 'taco' is hell slang for my immortal soul. I don't move. I don't answer.

"Daddy?" I hear again.

"Not now baby, Daddy is battling damnation."

I see the little demon doll's fingers flex, like it's going for it's piece. I pick up the closet thing to me, a tub of sour cream and prepare to fling it with holy accuracy. But before it leaves my hand Hossmom grabs the tub and thanks me for passing it. Sure baby, I was passing it straight to redemption.

The doll is still again. But the eyes are still active, even if they don't move.

There seems to be talking around the table, at least I think there is. I see my wife moving her mouth and my daughter screaming. I see my son laughing as he is about to launch a flour tortilla at the dog. And yet, I hear nothing. I am surrounded by silence. The doll. Me. Salvation or Damnation.

"Daddy, I'm all done" my daughter says, snapping me back into the hear and now.

"Ok baby" I say as my gaze never leaves the doll. My hands do not move, there is no food going to my mouth. My concentration and dedication do not waiver. I cannot be distracted. Because the minute you are distracted is the minute a little porcelain fist goes straight for your eyeball.

Little Hoss gets off her chair and goes to her doll. She picks the doll up and asks her if she had a good dinner to. Then she laughs for no reason. She puts the doll over he shoulder as she walks away from the dinner table.

I still have not moved.

I see the dolls head tilt slightly up, so subtle that one not paying attention would have missed it. But I saw it. I know what it means.

It means that Taco Dinner night was a draw, neither good nor evil gaining the upper hand. But tomorrow is Spaghetti Night and I'm going to need the carb loading if I'm to banish this thing back to the basement.

12/13/10

The Cave

I should have been concerned when our tour of the cave started but the guide assured us that it would be safe enough for me and the children to go.

Of course, this guy only had one arm. I'm guessing that he lost it in some freak caving accident like the movie "127 Hours". We should have turned back. But we didn't because the kids and I like to adventure and dammit, we were going on an adventure.

So down into the cave we went, with our one armed tour guide.

The first thing he noted was what appeared to be a GIANT FREAKING CRACK in the ceiling. But he let us know that it had been there for ages and the cave was perfectly safe. This was right about the time they were digging the miners out in Chile. I made a mental note to eat our tour guide first should we be trapped in a cave in.

As a father, you are always watching out for danger. You are constantly on the prowl for things that might do harm to your offspring. Broken glass=bad. Nerf football=good. White Pedophile van giving away puppies and candy=bad. Hot mom giving away puppies and candy=good.

We descened further into the cave. To go down, we walked on little stairs carved into the cave. Each stair was wet from condensation and what I can only guess to be blood from virgin sacrifices. Probably done by the one-armed tour guide that was not concerned with the giant crack looming over our heads. But we went on.

There was a hand rail which helped. That was thier "safety" precaution. "Be sure to hang on to the handrail!" the tour guide told us. But the handrail was about three feet high. What was to prevent my prodigy from slipping on the satanic entrails on the floor and swooshing right under the handrail? Is there a net down there that I'm not seeing? As a result, I spent most of my time grabbing the kids raincoat hoods to make sure they didn't plummet to thier doom. This had the unfortunate side effect of choking them instead. But I very calmly explained that a few minutes without oxygen was preferable to the pits of hell that waited below.

When not panicking about losing my kids to a cave in or on the slip-and-slide of death, the cave was actually pretty cool. There were stalagmites, stalagtites and stalagpetrifiedfathers. All very interesting. There were some really cool formations.

Until the tour guides flashlight started to flicker. "Man" he said. "I just changed the batteries in this thing". Sure you did. Butthole. I think this guy feeds off a father's fear. I'm pretty sure I heard him smack his lips and whisper "more, um, more."

Eventually we reached the bottom of the cave and I released the kung fu grip I had on my children. We all stood now looking up at the natural wonder of Mother Nature and thinking about how she would love to kill us in this god forsaken pit.

Then the tour guide turned off the lights. What was supposed to follow, I think, was for each and every one of us to be awed by the total true blackness that we found ourselves. Then small little lights came on and off showing the different formations. And for adults, I think this is a good part of the whole show as you bask in the tranquility of the surroundings.

But when you have two small kids with you, the word tranquil does not apply to people who still believe in monsters.

My kids started to scream. I went down to one knee and hugged them and reassured them that everything was ok. Well, I think they were my kids but I can't be sure. It was dark as shit. I could have been hugging Bubba Hoss and Golem for all I knew. The tour guide chuckled a little and pointed out things that the kids might like. I reassured them that the things that he was pointing out were not demons from hell although given who our tour guide was, I could have been wrong.

Eventually everyone calmed down and we started heading back up. I didn't think it would be as dangerous and for an adult, it isn't. But when you stand 2 feet high it apparently is, as shown by the numeroius concussions that my son recieved from walking up the stairs. Each stair brought his head directly into contact with the cave wall and the screams that he let lose after each one seemed to calm our tour guide greatly.

We made it to the top and out of the cave. I thanked baby Oprah for our survival and agian wondered why I have to be such a cool dad. The kids wanted to go again. But I held my ground and said no, we had cheated death once today and it's not a good idea to antagonize the dark hooded one. But I did ask the tour guide if there was anything else to see.

That's when he pointed at the gift shop and all it's expensive and breakable crap. My kids took off running.

You evil bastard.

12/10/10

Chopping Wood

The handle of the ax chaffed some what each time I swung it over my head for another devastating blow. The muscles in my forearms had long ago passed by the "burn" phase and now were just rubbery. My shoulders ached but each time I brought that ax down, clarity came a little bit closer to a cluttered mind.

I was chopping firewood at Papa Scrum's house. I found it tiring, yet peaceful. I also thought Hossmom might think this was hot. Isn't this what women dream about? Muscles rippiling, grunting, conquering nature. She didn't, she just wanted me to take a shower.

But I found the experience relaxing, a cathartic rhythm providing me a mantra to figure some stuff out. To ask some tough questions and look deep inside to find the insight that manly exercise can bring. Afterward, I'm going to eat some steak and eggs and then plot how to defeat communism while enjoying a montage of me thinking.

The questions came and I was slowly getting answers. What should I do about Hossmom losing her job? Is it better to do the Running Man or the Tornado as a touchdown dance?

And why does my daughter destroy everything that she touches? Why is she so destructive.

This is the one question that I could find no answer for. The answer would not come no matter how many times I brought the ax down. I thought that each time I split a log, the reason would be shining in the middle, a lost knot of insight. But it was not. Only the question remained.

I've turned this around in my mind many times. She just destroys things. It's not intentional, it's just who she is. She doesn't start her day by thinking "I wonder if I can smash dad's bowls." It's not that direct. Instead, she thinks "Wow, that is a cool bowl, I wonder how long I can sit in it." And then before you know it, smash, the bowl is in pieces.

When she drilled a hole in my cellphone it was not to cause any harm to me, it was to see what was inside the cellphone. And she's seen me drill stuff before so obviously her logic was to follow my example. That's why the screen is cracked on my cellphone.

But the question, how did she get this way. Have I inadvertently taught her this behavior or is it more likely that she is super genius that wants to know how things work.

I put aside the ax and grabbed another piece of wood. It was a larger piece. The more I thought about my daughters behavior, the harder I hit the wood. I would miss half the time and send splinters up as little pieces of shrapnel.

She doesn't hit people. She's not mean by nature. She believes in hugs and kisses and princesses. By all accounts, she is a very normal little girl. But she is also a little girl that ties her Barbies by the neck and leaves them swinging from doorknobs. She says that they look pretty and are playing.

She is a little girl that fears almost nothing except the occasional bug. She will jump from the highest point possible without thinking twice about it. In fact, this is how she has dislocated her elbow. Twice. And even with bugs now, I've taught her how to smash them so at least I'm channeling that fear into revenge which is essential in any minion training.

She's destructive. I know this. She's got about as much grace as a drunk Rhino walking home from a stag party. Something's getting dented. Like my car. Back bumper, about a foot to the right of center. That's where she did a header into the car with her bike.

Where does she get this from? How has she learned how to do this. I say to her "Honey, why do you have to wreck so many things?" She says "Daddy, accidents happen." And it's true, I can't fault her reasoning. Around my daughter, accidents happen.

I swing again at the big log. This time I at least hit it but it still refuses to split. I push on, I'm going to split this son of a bitch.

She gave her brother a hug so hard that he started crying. It wasn't on purpose, she just really loves her brother like George loves his rabbits. She tackled one of her friends today trying to tell him goodbye but he wouldn't stay still. So she made him stay still. She likes to stand on my feet with her hard shoes on. I'm pretty sure she has broken my toe.

I don't know if I'll ever get the answer to this question, no matter how much wood I chop. I decide that I have enough and bring back Papa Scrum's ax. I consider talking about it with him, as he is one of my closest friends and I'm sure he would understand. However, there are some roads a man has to walk alone and I think that this is one of them. I don't know why she is so destructive, I only know that for some reason she is. I may never understand why.

I load up the wood and hand the ax back to Papa Scrum. I let him know that I'll probably have to buy him a new one because I seem to have broken the handle. Accidents happen.

12/8/10

DaddysHome Blog

Yup, another blog today. I am right on schedule so let's hope that I've made writer's block my bitch. And if I do my math right ( I add better than I spell) I have new blogs all the way through next week.

I have a blog up at Daddyshome. Check it out, leave a comment, send me praise.

12/5/10

Why The Lamp Is On The Floor

The lamp on my bedside table was on the floor. Actually everything on my nightstand was on the floor in a big lump of destruction.

"What the hell happened to the lamp?!" Hossmom said.

"Oh, you want to know what happened" I asked her.

You want to know what happened to the god damn lamp and all my books, tissues and random bits of my life that I deposit there every night like I'm dumping out my troubles into a bottomless pit that sucks up all the agonizing despair of getting kicked in the balls on a daily basis.

You want to know what happened to the lamp? I'll tell you what happened to the lamp.

5 years ago my wife and I decided that money and free time was overrated. Who needs free time, reading is for saps. And travel had become way to easy and convenient. We needed a challenge. We needed that something that would cause us to be constantly late for any and every event. A late entrance is a fashionable entrance I say! Arrive with flare!

So we had our first child and she was cute. She had more cute wrapped up in her little bald head than a kitten cuddling with a puppy. Sure, it was rough at first but I had always believed that sleep is more of an option than a necessity so we powered through it. After a while, just one kid wasn't enough. So somehow we talked ourselves into another one.

Whamo, first shot too, Hossmom was pregnant and she is always so sweet and gentle when she's pregnant. She's not hard to get along with at all and I never got yelled at because I couldn't find Key Lime pie at 2:00am on a Tuesday. Nope, never happened.

Eventually, kid number two came and all was good with our cute little children. Life was good. Food was good. I never got hit in the balls.

But pretty soon we discovered something very important. Kids grow up. They aren't always little immobile lumps that sleep through the night. Eventually, they learn to walk. And after they learn to walk, they learn to break shit. And after they learn to break shit, they learn to not break their own shit, but my shit.

That cutesy sleeping through the night phase where they aren't walking. That only lasts a couple of months. They should put that on the warranty or something.

It's like having a baby tiger cub. Aww, they are so cute. Look how cute they are and ohh, are they sleeping together now, aww, let's keep them. But then the baby tiger cub grows up to a big mobile tiger cub and mobile tiger cubs like to put daddy's xbox controller in the dishwasher and then turn it on.

You know what else they like to do? They like throw daddy's phone in the toilet. Twice. They like to take daddy's drill and "fix" things as well. Finally, they like to hide from you to the point where you are freaking out so bad that you are about to call the police only to jump from behind the curtains and scream "Surprise! You're an idiot!"

So we had two kids and they got mobile. Then we decided to move because that was great idea. So we did. And we lived in a shack until we found a house. Then I moved us ourselves and the kids thought it was so cool that daddy is so big and strong and can move us to this nice, new pretty house. Besides, daddy's back will heal in time.

Because a new house has new carpets and new carpets need to be colored on. And the walls. And the cabinets. And the hardwood floor. And the toilet because my kids have something going on with the toilet. I'm just not sure what thier love/hate relationship with the toilet is.

But atleast as they grow up, they do sleep through the night. Until they decide not to anymore and the only place they want to sleep at is with you. And for Christ's sake dad, you take up to much space, scoot over! And I don't want covers, it's to hot. And daddy I wet the bed.

That's just one kid. Then the other kid decides to move in the bed as well because if big sister is doing then he's got to do it. Soon you have a whole Tet Offensive going on with the bed and you are on the losing side.

Eventually, you end up sleeping with no covers on a corner of the bed that even that cute little kitten wouldn't fit on and your a grown man wondering why you have to put your pillow half on your own night stand just to get some sleep.

And sooner or later, that plan backfires when one of the kids has a spastic leg thing going on, kicks you in the balls at 3:00am. You freak out because some little foot of fury is attacking your genitals and you flail blindly to protect yourself. And then your lamp gets hit and all your stuff goes flying off your nightstand.

That is how the god damn lamp got knocked off the god damned night stand.

This is the speech that I gave Hossmom. Spittle was practically flying out of my mouth.

At that exact moment, a giant fake plastic lizard came from over the bed to hit me square in the face. I wasn't even looking and it caught me right in the upper cheek bone area.

Hossmom still can't stop laughing.

"Where did that come from?" She asks.

Oh, you want to know where Godzilla the giant lizard came from and how it ended up hitting me in the face during my speech?

5 years ago Hossmom and I decided that.....................

11/28/10

The Friday Five

Five Things To Put On My Resume

5. I don't clean toilets.

4. What would Jesus do? He would hire me.

3. I will wear a tie to the interview but do not expect it everyday. I demand to work in an environment that cherishes tank tops and cut off jeans.

2. I can hang from a stripper pole.

1. I am a great speller and me use grammer correctly!

Ouch

Hossmom got fired.

Bam, there it is. There is the bottleneck. There is the subject that I haven't written about but also the one that I can't get around. Hossmom was given her walking papers.

But to be more PC about it, it actually wasn't a fire. She was layed off along with a whole lot of other people at her advertising company. The reason being is that they lost their big client, they lost thier big Scooner Tuna, the Tuna with a Heart. And when that happened, eventually my wife lost her job.

As you can imagine, for a stay at home dad, this is a problem. This is a very serious problem. I could understand more I think if Hossmom got fired because she sucked. But that wasn't the reason, she's freaking awesome at what she does. She got let go, along with 1/3 of her company, not based on performance but something completely and totally out of her control.

Now our one income? It's down to no income. This is going to seriously affect me.

We knew it was a possiblity when the client left her agency. That was right about the time that I started posting only once a week. Now you know why. It's hard to be funny when you get dick slapped.

But atleast they told her before Christmas, because that's always the best time to tell people that they are going to be let go at the end of the year. It makes the holidays oh so special and upbeat.

Hossmom didn't want me to write this one. And even now, she is a little nervous about what I might say. She was happy with the company and considered many of her superiors professionals and good at thier jobs. She was worried what I, a Texan, might write about this. She thinks that I can't be subtle and it might look bad on her.

So I agreed to shelve the idea but I couldn't get around it. What's the big deal anyway? I wasn't going to go on my blog and call her company a souless pit of dispair that uses people only to piss them away once they've gotten everything out of them. I wasn't going to go on and on about how we moved our whole family away from our own family to take this job. I wasn't going to call them a big bunch of twatwaffle dicksuckers (is that one word?) that have brought ruin to my little domain? I am way more subtle than that.

And besides, I don't blame them really for what happened. I know that it was a business decision. The money that was coming in to employ my wife left. So my wife had to leave. And as much as I am encouraging her, she is absolutely refusing to steal any office supplies.

I sympathize with the company. I know that it cannot be easy to let such a huge portion of quality asskicking staff go. That's got to be a difficult decision to make. And they said so, as they fired them in big groups. They told her that it was a difficult decision and that they feel so terrible about it. That it wasn't easy to cut off the arm that had given them an "iconic" advertising campiagn. Then they went home to thier paid mortgages and food and struggled with the decision even more.

I won't say who the client is that they lost, that wouldn't be cool. And when it comes down to it, it is because the client left that my wife lost her job. The company can only react to what the market does. So even though I feel like the client screwed us big time after all the hard work we put in as a family, I won't mention who they are. I might spit on a carhop though. I'm sure that will make me feel better.

The truly sad part of this whole thing though is that Hossmom will no longer be a part of a company that she really liked. As corporate gigs go, this one was a pretty good one. They gave mother's and father's day presents, they had a beer garden, they threw pretty good holiday parties. And she is going to miss being part of all that. She is going to miss being part of that culture. It was a good setup, both there and at home. They paid my wife and in return, she busted her ass for them.

Having a stay at home dad in the house allowed my wife to work long hours without hesitation. She could take the last minute project or fly to another part of the country without worry. The company got her best and I took care of the home front. It was a good system.

But here's the kicker. Since she got fired, in a sense, so did I. The family needs health insurance. The family needs dinner. So the whole stay at home dad gig might be coming to an end. And I thought I was doing a pretty damn fine job. How many 4 year olds can sing along to David Allen Coe or head bang to Black Sabbath?

The hope is that she will get a job before me and that we can continue this ride we are on. She's interviewing and there are some positive signs. Maybe it will work out, maybe it won't. But I've done my resume. The first one I've had to do in 10 years.

In my professional life, I worked for a single company for a little over 8 years. They kept promoting me and the "resume" was nothing more than a paragraph of why they should promote me. I haven't done a real resume since graduating from college.

So I ask you, the working people of the world, is it still ok to put "ASSKICKER" under qualifications?




Breaking Through the Block

Houston, we have a problem.

I can't write. I'm stuck. I'm shit. I am the proverbial artist that is pounding his head against the piano keyboard trying to jar loose the genus that is stuck between my ears but the only thing that is coming out is blueberry jam. Why blueberry? Because it's my favorite.

From the countless emails and comments I've been getting from friends and family and people I don't even know, this is becoming a problem that is affecting more than just me. People come up to to me and start small conversations but it usually leads to them saying "Man, you are a great speller."

After that, they ask what is going on with the blog. Where is the new stories? Where is my daily chuckle? Surly Little Hoss has wreaked havoc on something while my son continues to refuse to be potty trained. They ask these questions in small little hushed whispers, like they are saying "Look Hoss, I heard you got cancer. I'm sorry. You ok?" Like it's some big secret.

Then we'll talk about it a little more and sooner or later they'll let me know that the stuff I've written recently is worse than not writing anything at all. Again, in hushed whispers. It's tough telling someone that they suck so I sympathize with them and wonder myself what the hell has happened.

But I think I know and I think I'm going to work it out tonight.

I talked to some of my dad friends about this problem because after two months, even I have become concerned and I don't worry about anything. We threw out ideas of how to rectify this, how to overcome this mental road block to the stories that used to flow so easily. There were a lot of suggestions.

One was that I should go and run with the bulls. But I'm fat and slow and I'm sure I would get gored so that was out. Another was that I pay someone to pretend that he's me and make up shit on the spot. I considered that one for a while.

Papa Scrum suggested that I take it slow and small and just do the Friday Five's again. Then he made me do yard work.

But finally, another dad friend had a good idea. He said that a lot of famous old timer writers, that now have furniture collections named after them, would lock themselves away and get plastered. They would drink and force themselves to write until they overcame the great beast and tea bagged him on the chin.

This is an idea I could get behind and this is what I am going to attempt to do tonight.

The problem isn't the stories or the ideas, they are there. There's a ton of them. I keep a little notebook near me so I can write them down. But when I sit to write the stories, they die a horrible unheroic death near the third paragraph. I don't know why, but they do. I stop and look at what I wrote and I laugh. Then I have no idea where to go from there. The beast has stomped my brains to mush. And so the story remains unwritten, the adventure untold and it writhes in pain like a little tadpole without water.

Tonight it ends. Tonight I break through. I have put the kids to bed and have vowed to ignore them for the rest of the night. I don't care if they start a fire, I'm getting this done. Hossmom is setup with total crap chickflick TV, she's good. I threw meat at the dogs and told them to watch the house.

I have a case of Corona and a can of chew. I am going to write all the stories in my notebook even if it takes 12 hours. I am going to meet the beast head on and tell him to suck my balls. These stories are getting out. One way or another, they are coming. They may be crap, they may be awesome. One thing is for sure, there will be tons of misspelled words. Think I can't spell sober? Wait until I get into beer number 6. But they are going to come out, one way or another.

I know the problem. I'm an emotional writer. If something is on my mind, I can't think of anything else and so there is a bottleneck. Until I unclog it, nothing is going to happen.

Tonight I unclog it. At the very least, it should be a fun ride. Well, for me anyway because I'm drinking. This might suck for you guys.


11/8/10

Daddyshome

I have a new post up at Daddy'shome. It's about a stroller. There, that's all the preview that you are going to get. And if it's funny enough, if it makes your Monday a little better, go ahead and feel free to share it on your facebook thingy or whatever you kids are using these days.

11/1/10

The Trap

There's a cheese grader on the floor. It's a bit hard to see underneath the Mt. Vasuvious of stuffed animals but you might catch a glimpse of the shiny metal if you look just right. But of course you have to actually be looking for it. If you're not then you just see the toy salad that my children have made in our daily routine of freaking destroying the house. The walls are still standing, but just barely. The toy salad is topped with the Parmesan of the toy/crap world--puzzle pieces. Or are they the croutons?

This mound lies in the middle of the hallway, right at the bottom of the stairs. To the casual observer this placement may look arbitrary and almost haphazard. The kind of mound that any destructive 4 year old and 3 year old toadie would make. But I know my children so I should have been aware that this was some sort of Vietcong trap. I should have known.

I had to step over the pile for the 100th time, each time asking the minions to please pick your shit up. Each time they said ok then promptly ignored my request. Eventually, I lost my patience and my temper. This was their plan all along. Clever. My children are very clever.

Tired of them ignoring me, I thought that I would give them a show of force. Prove who the alpha dog still in in this beotch. I walked to the pile and kicked it, I kicked it hard. The plan was to send the arms and legs of destroyed toys across the room and smack sickeningly against the opposite wall. Then slowly they would stick and slide down while making a creepy sliding noise. The plan sounded very good in my head.

But I wasn't wearing any shoes. Or socks. Just my bare feet.

The top of my big toe hit directly on the cheese grader. An interesting fact: a cheese grader can also be known as a skin grader, although unless you are a 12th century dungeon master, you would never know it.

I am now missing the top of that toe. I have troll feet already, good for stomping at fires on my front porch and scaring small children that wander underneath any bridges. Now they have the addition of authentic "battle damage". All I'm missing is a spiky club.

What was meant as a show of force had ended up with me staggering around on one leg while trying not to get little drops of blood on the floor, blood that only I would have to freaking clean up. That's what we call in the business of parenting as "adding insult to injury." The stuffed animals didn't even fly that far and I'm also pretty sure that the cheese grader scuffed my hardwood floor to.

The minions either thought I was being funny or they were laughing because they have learned how diabolical they can be.

Well played children. Well played indeed.

10/24/10

A Halloween Skin Flick

Halloween cometh and I am excited.


As a kid we used to go to my grandparents house because she lived in the good neighborhood were we were bound to get at least on candy bar. As compared to where we lived, out in the middle of no where in bum fuck Arkansas. Our neighbors probably would have given us some chicken feed and perhaps would have let us use their outhouse.


I wish I was kidding, but sadly, I'm not.


Anyway, Halloween was a good time as a kid. I used to go as a scary Hobo, year in and year out. At the time I liked the costume because I thought I was unusual and at least original. Plus, my mom got to put on a fake beard. I thought I was making the choice to be a hobo.


As a parent, I now realize how manipulated I was. My parents encouraged me to be a hobo every year because of the money. I just threw on some of my grandfather's old clothes and put some black on my face. Didn't get much cheaper than that. As a parent myself, I can appreciate that.


Last year my boy went as Captain Kirk. I chose it for him because I knew there would come a time when he wouldn't want to listen to me any year and I thought that this would be cool. This year he is going again because I have convinced him it is a "cool spaceman". He's still gullible enough to believe me. But as a compromise, because I'm not quite as cheap as my parents, I got him a cool sword at the dollar store. Captain Kirk is so cool that he goes with any weapon of his choice, suck it. I don't want to hear the naysayers, you have no place on this blog.


Slowly as we grew up Halloween got less cool and fun though. I'm not sure what happened, but once you grow out of Halloween, it becomes just another day. I have tried to fight this for years and until I had kids, it was a losing battle.


However, year in and year out, at least I try to get into the spookiness of the season. Every year I read a scary book and watch as many scary movies as possible. I know that it is a lame attempt to capture what was in my youth, to once again live to be scared like Stephen King's IT did to me. It's getting harder and harder but at least I'm trying. Netflix is making it easier.


My book this year was called "Elsewhere", a predicable story about people who are scared of ghosts but not realizing they are ghosts. I give it a 4 out of 10 on spooky meter. Since the book crapped out though, I have been making the rounds through Netflix and again, I am becoming disappointed.


There are certain things that every horror moving must have. The first is bad acting. Luckily, this is in great supply on the trash I have been making my way through. I would highly recommend "Grave Dancers" should you be interested in this. Secondly, there has to be some sort of a twist. You know, I am your father kind of thing. I've found a couple but nothing that really has blown me away.


Finally, there needs to be some nudity. How you can make a horror film without showing some T and A is beyond me. This is the only reason as a kid I ever watched any of the Friday the 13th movies. So far, this is the one real element of horror movies that has eluded me this year and I don't get it.


Seriously, you're not classy movies people. When you show someones brains getting spattered across a truckstop bathroom, you've left the argument for "art" way behind. Come on people, these are teenagers! They demand coitus!


For example: "Teeth". This delightful little flick is about, wait for it, a girl who has teeth in her vagina. Just by the description of this film, there has to be some nudity in it, right? It's about a monster vagina, there has to be pay dirt.


Nope. Nada. You never see the monster. This isn't Jaws people, it's about a toothed vagina! Nothing.


The next movie: The Death of a Ghost Hunter was equally disappointing. There was a short bathtub scene but it was more glimpses than anything else.


Searching for skin in bad horror movies has become my white whale.


"Wicked Little Things"--a wicked little nothing.


"The Deaths of Ian Stone"--the death of my faith in horror movies.


"Survival of the Dead"--describes the audience after watching this non T and A flick.


I am beginning to think that they don't make movies like they used to, thus pushing me father and father into cranky old man mode where I talk about how they used to make "Talkies".


I hit a little pay dirt, and redemption, in a movie called "Lake Dead" which was truly one of the worst movies that I had ever seen. However, with that said, there was a very good doink session between two randy characters in the woods. Then they end up dying. This scene alone brings me back to my Nightmare on Elmstreet childhood and redeems the whole genre.


However, I am beginning to believe that I will never get to relive my Hobo wearing, outhouse visiting Halloween childhood. But I am hopeful.


Next up on the list is:

A Brush With Death: A group of cheerleaders spend the night in an abandoned farmhouse.


Or


The Initiation of Sarah: Humiliated and rejected by the stuck up Alpha Nu Sigmas that accepted her more popular sister...............blah blah blah.


Perhaps I can find my Moby afterall.

10/18/10

The Loaf

I ran a stop sign on the way to get a loaf of bread. I do not feel bad about it. If there was a cop there watching, I still would have done it while giving my best Bo Duke rebel yell. I then would have found the nearest dirt road to ditch him on and complete my maneuvers by jumping over hay bales in my SUV. Don't worry, I stayed at a holiday in last night, it's cool.

I have to get to the store quick to get more than one loaf of bread. It's personal now. I have to get there before all the weekenders show up and take all the bread. The weekenders, they are my nemisis. They are the people working all week and then descend on the grocery store like locusts every weekend. It starts on Friday around 4 and doesn't let up until Sunday night. After they are done, it's like the zombie invasion has come and all the supplies are gone besides one can of cream corn. But if cream corn was on sale, I would go get it. I would brave the hoard because this is what my life has somehow become. Chasing food sales with a vengeance. I am the Van Helsing of grocery shopping.

And I have to get at least 3 loaves of bread. It's the good bread, not that high quality cardboard that I usually buy for the kids and me. The stuff I buy is usually $1.38. That's right, I know exactly how much a loaf of bread costs. The good stuff runs me almost 2 bucks. However, this weekend, and this weekend only, there is a sale on the good bread for 99 cents a loaf. This is the bread that you must handle gently or it will tear. It's the down pillow of breads, light and fluffy while still providing warmth in the tummy. The stuff I usually buy can be used as home base by the local kids playing baseball. It's tough and rough, which kind of explains my children. I feed them ruffage, gives them a good constitution for the future. I'm trying to introduce them to grits as well, the very sustance of my own childhood. So far, they hate it. But you won't hate it when you spend your whole day stacking bricks and mixing cement. Wait, that was me as a kid. My kids spend thier whole day hitting me on the head and jumping on my crotch.

As I jump the curb and leave the road behind me, I ponder how I came to this point. When saving 39 cents on a loaf of bread was a matter of great importance. Does it really matter enough to run down the poor cows in the field that I am now driving in? Somehow, to me, it does. I buy roughly 8 loaves of bread a month. That makes a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches, another staple of ours. That means that if I can buy 8 loaves at 99 cents, stack the extra's in the freezer, then I save a total of $3.12 a month. I am running over orphans for 3 bucks. I'm not proud man and yet, I do not change my tactics.

When you are working on a single income, the grocery bill is one of those areas that you can move around a bit. Shop a special here, get something a day old here, and pretty soon you can buy a good loaf of bread every once in awhile.

I jump back on the road while screaming my apologies to the cows and make it to the store. The parking lot is full. When I normally go to the store there is no one there. There are only a very select few of people that shop on Mondays at 9 am. I am no longer accustomed to waiting in lines. I like my purchases to be freash and not picked over. The only screaming kids I want around are my own. And I want my cheap bread.

And if it's is smushed by the weekenders? If it is torn apart and picked over, trampled by greedy weekender hands? What do I do if it is?

So help me god on all that is holy, someone's car is getting keyed.

10/11/10

The Shuttlecock

I took the minions to the art museum. You may be disagreeing with this, knowing our children as we do. But I parent like other people do extreme sports. I base jump parent. It's the only way to live. Some other parents may go to the potter barn or a nice china shop as an afternoon outing. But really, if something isn't labeled as priceless how can you live on the edge as we like to do? A broken fancy flowered tea pot can be replaced. A broken Rembrandt lands you in jail. Sometimes even I question why I do the things that I do with the kids. I'm sure it would be easier to just sit home counting the piles of laundry that remain undone but it wouldn't be as exciting.

We have a good art museum here. It's got a lot of fancy stuff by a lot of fancy painters. And the modern art area is in it's own complete section which makes it easier to skip entriely. I don't even have to walk through it. Judge me, I don't care. But I just can't seem to understand how a bunch of toilets nailed to a wall is art. I don't know what emotion that is supposed to spark. I freely admit that my understanding of art consists of "that one has boobs and that one does not."
I would also like to tell you that I want a better understanding of art. That would be the mature thing to do. But I have no desire to do any such thing. The redneck in me is alive and well.

The real reason that we wanted to go to the art museum on this particular fine day though was because of the giant shuttlecocks in the front field of the museum. Seriously, gaint shuttlecocks. Those things that you play badminton with. We have two of them right in front in a giant field. They are about 2 stories each. I don't get why they are there but I do like the fact that they are there. I know, it's modern art that I don't get. And I know that they contain no boobs at all. But still, this one I find very cool because there is a hint of silliness in it and I like silliness. None of us should take ourselves so seriously.

For a while I wanted to picnic under the shuttlecocks and today was that day. So after running the ring of fire that is the European section of the art museum, we headed outside.

Today was also field trip day at the art museum. I try to avoid field trip days. My kids seem to think that they get to go with the groups and sometimes I may or may have not lost them. Hossmom reads this blog so I need to be careful what I say.

All the field trip kids were also outside. And they were near my shuttlecocks. They were all over them. They were climbing on them. They were hiding around them. I'm even sure there were some awarkward first kiss moments under there as well. My point is they were treating this thing like Jodi Foster in the Accused.

So we couldn't picnic under the artwork. I also don't like field trip days because they fuck up my plans and it's frowned upon when you smack around kids that aren't yours. But we made due, we ate underneath some trees. Not a giant shuttlecock, but charming in it's own way.

Eventually the field trip kids went back to their Pink Floyd schools to be another brick in the wall and Little Hoss and Bubba Hoss ran to the shuttlecocks.

Little Hoss leaned against the giant shuttlecock and apparently that was enough to send Paul Blart the mall cop out at us. He came running down the stairs yelling "Don't touch the art!", almost tripping over a destroyed Monet that was not my kids fault. The minions froze, as did I.

Out of breath, panting, he explained that no one is allowed to touch the giant shuttlecocks. Not the three thousand field trip kids, no. Apparently they can make it their own personal urinal. But we are not allowed to touch it.

I thought about arguing but the guy had a point. Don't wreck the artwork. I get it. My children try very hard to not destroy anything that doesn't belong to me. My stuff they have not problem with destroying. And eventually we may destroy every priceless piece of artwork out there but at least we will be polite about it.

Although what gets me is that the docent didn't have a problem with the 3000 kids before us and somehow we got singled out. Perhaps Little Hoss' reputation proceeds her. That I could understand. But most likely it was because large groups scare him and he was looking for stragglers of the pack. Someone nice and easy that he could correct, perhaps the little sick ones that he could separate from the herd. That way he could go back to his bosses and tell of how he inserted himself in a child riot and was able to keep the artwork safe. His bosses would be pleased, give him a raise, and he could drive home in his Volvo.

We left the shuttlecock alone and watched the docent leave. We picked up our mess and stood back looking at the giant shuttlecocks.

We still don't get it. But at least we aren't touching it.

10/4/10

Daddyshome

I have just returned for the annual Stay At Home Dad Convention. Fun times and I find myself better for it. Curious in what a bunch of dads learn at a convention? If so, check out my special post at Daddyshome and you'll get the idea.

9/29/10

Welcome to My House

**Hossmom has been working a lot of late hours and I came up with this little ditty very late at night after every creature in my house crapped somewhere they weren't supposed to. Best case scenerio: my mind is gone. Worst case: This is my reality.*****

Pick a tune and sing along!

There are stains on the floor
Fabreeze don't work no more
The cat ain't here anymore
And the dogs are keeping score!

There are crayons on the wall
They lock bathroom stalls
While ignoring my calls
And then stomp on my balls

Chorus:
OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH--------
It's all beginning to fall apart
Wreaking my failing heart
Don't know where to start
Everyone wants a pop-tart
Welcome to my house!

Vivi thinks pooting is really funny
Glen Close once cooked a bunny
Our noses are always runny
And I make no money!

It's a wreck inside
I've lost all my pride
Bring your sherpa guide
I want to run and hide!

They wreck all my stuff
Homer drinks Duff
Things are getting kinda ruff
I'm not very tough.

Chorus:
OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH--------
It's all beginning to fall apart
Wreaking my failing heart
Don't know where to start
Everyone wants a pop-tart
Welcome to my house!

Hossmom's not home.
I look like a garden nome
Where the hell is my phone
The kids want an ice cream cone

The yard is a wreck
There's poop on the deck
Raise your hands, what the heck
She punched me in the neck

For dinner we had toast
I don't want to boast
Put it in gear and let 'er coast
I do better than most

OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH--------
It's all beginning to fall apart
Wreaking my failing heart
Don't know where to start
Everyone wants a pop-tart
Welcome to my house!

9/26/10

Just One Chance

Redemption. Everyone deserves it or at least a chance at it. The young make mistakes that may define them and the old have memories that won't fade. Everyone deserves a chance at redemption, especially those that need it.

I began walking up to the plate. The bat on my shoulder was heavier than I remembered from my past. I haven't played softball in 3 1/2 years, since the days of Team Beer. You may remember reading about some of those triumphs, the days of glory and epic comebacks. Days where a hard slide often predicted the outcome, an outcome that we are reminded of now only by the scars left from that slide. Week in and week out we played on Team Beer rising from one of the worst in the league to forgone champs.

Those days are gone though. We have all moved on, had kids, changed cities. Work got more important, family time became a higher priority. So I left Team Beer, as many others did. I hung up my glove and put away my cleats.

But I was asked to play with my Dads in a charity softball tournament benefiting SIDS. I hadn't played in a little while. Hadn't caught anything other than a green bean being thrown at my head. But a chance, just a chance, to relive some of the past triumphs. How could I say no?

That's how I found myself walking up to the plate with the bases loaded with two outs in the very last game that we would play that day. The first two games didn't go well for us. I thought that, since this was for charity, that it would be a bunch of teams just playing for the fun of the game. That everyone would be playing around, we would be laughing, it was after all for charity. The first game showed me that I was wrong.

I don't like douchebag players in general. In any sport that I play, douchebags always seem to show up. You know the players. They are the ones that exploit loopholes in rules rather than let skill decide a game. This was the first team that we played. They refused to swing the bat. They wanted the walks. Mr and Mrs. Douchebag watched each pitch go by, not swinging. In a charity game. For fun. Lunch was provided for free. Elmo judges you.

We lost that first game by 19 runs. They might have had 2 hits. They celebrated their ability to stand still and do nothing at all. Who doesn't swing in slow pitch softball game for charity? For babies?

My competitive juices were now up but it was not enough to make up for some of my own mistakes in that second game. Some balls I fielded well, made strong throws to first. Others I let roll right under my glove. I had a chance to make an easy catch in left field. It hit my glove and bounced out while laughing at my small penis. It hit the ground and made comments about the promiscuity of my mother. I have had better games.

But all that was behind me as I stepped up to the plate. The third game was different. They were there just for fun to, just like us. I'm pretty sure the left fielder was hammered. This is the type of game I thought we would be playing all day. Everyone swung at the ball, jokes were being made, nothing was being taken to seriously. It was actually fun. But after losing the two previous games by a combined total of 1 million to 4, I wanted to actually win one.

We were down by 1 run. The bases were loaded. It was our last at bat. There were two outs. I dug in to the batter's box.

I should have had inspirational speeches going through my head. The voice of William Wallace should have been bouncing around inside my brain followed up by the Gipper being hugged by Vince Lombardi. But they weren't.

My knee's hurt, the first time in my life that has been an issue. With all my football and other sports, I have never had knee problems. Now they actually ached. And it turns out that I have also discovered what shin splints feel like. I threw my elbow out in the second game. My lower back was about to have a spasm. I was no Crash Davis and I could not breath through my eyelids.

I could hear Little Hoss cheering "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" louder than thunder. She's always my biggest fan and supporter and is never afraid to show it. Both of my kids where there and saw me make all my mistakes. But could they now see something different, that Daddy could still do it and come through? I don't want to fail in front of my kids, that's what was going through my mind. Please god, let Daddy be big and strong just one more time.

The pitch came. My forearms were burning and ached. The ball arched high and slowly rolled over it's apex to begin it's downward descent. My eyes got big. Redemption quietly came toward me as Little Hoss' voice got louder.

I swung.

Everyone deserves at least a chance.



9/23/10

Eat Your Dinner

I am living a cliche. My whole family is. We are participating in one of those tried and true parental moments that every family has to go through. Depicted in countless movies, written about so much so that it's a more popular topic than Twilight fan fiction. And it's a right of passage for every child so that when their own children pull this shit, they can at least get the payback that they deserve.

Little Hoss is sitting at the table. She's slouching in her chair and has been there for a good 30 minutes. She won't eat her dinner. She is just looking at it like it's some sort of toxic waste that I dug up from the backyard. But if it does decide to mutate and smack her in the head, I won't be disappointed. It's a test of wills and I'm not sure if I'm winning or not. But if I lose this battle then I might as well go ahead and plan for her to be knocked up when she is 15 and her boyfriend needs to live with us because his parents kicked him out. I hate Chester and always will.

Little Hoss can be a bit of a picky eater but not that bad, compared to what I've seen. If she complains during dinner I always give her the same response. You can either eat your dinner or go to bed. It's one of the other and I don't care which one you choose. At least that is what my outside look says. I actually do care because I want her to eat her dinner. She has never chosen to go to bed. She hates going to bed. Thus she eats or at least nibbles.

Tonight she chose to go to bed. Son of a bitch. I hate it when Little Hoss calls me on my bullshit.

She was up in her room for 20 minutes. I don't know why today of all days she chose to rebel against my authority. It's been rough. I'm tired and dinner took a long time to cook. All I want to do is read a book, maybe kill some zombies and then go to bed myself. That is not happening.

Eventually she comes down thinking that everything is forgotten. But it's not. Hossmom and I can't forget this one. It's either bed or dinner so back to the chair she goes. She sits and stares, stares and sits. Hossmom portions out what she has to eat. 1 green bean, 2 mouthfuls of rice and 2 pieces of porkchop. At this point it's not how much she eats but the fact that she eats because we told her to. That was a half hour ago and still nothing.

Every kid does this. I remember doing this. One time as a kid my brother, sister and I were told to eat our peas. Disgusting little things, really. We banded together, we unionized. United we stood and declared that we would not eat our peas. My dad just looked at us. I have learned throughout my childhood that it was not a good idea to challenge my father. Usually he broke any stand off with a belt and by god I thank him for those lessons now!

So we sat there, looking at the peas, while my father retired to the living room to watch Solid Gold and thier dancers.

My brother is stubborn and does not take direction well. He refused to eat anything. My sister, who is equally as stubborn but somewhat more devious, started hiding her peas in her glass of red Koolaid. Me, I'm a good boy. I don't like trouble. I took each pea like it was a pill and shot each individual one down with a chaser of koolaid. In the end, I ate all my peas. But also in the end, I was the only one that did. Things haven't changed since then. My brother still doesn't take suggestions well and my sister is still a bit passive aggressive. Me? I'm still the good boy although now I am looking at my own daughter pulling the same shit. It occurs to me that she may be a perfect mix of my own brother and sister with nothing of me in there. Stubborn and devious, that's Vivi.

I have tried everything. I gave the "starving kids in Africa speech." I complained about how long it took me to cook dinner. I threatened her with the loss of toys and privileges. I have become my own mother. Sweet Jesus it's true. Pretty soon I'm going to start flinging dishes in the sink and screaming about sacrifice.

There is a scene in the "Christmas Story" in which Randy, Ralphie's little brother, won't eat his dinner. The dad claims that he is going to get his screwdriver and cram the food down. I respect this man because now I understand this man. Although I would never use a screwdriver, I'm not a monster. No, I would use something that would do the job better such as a crowbar and a mallet.

But in the end, I take the mother approach because deep down, I'm a big pussy. I sit next to my daughter and start to joke with her. I start doing "dinosaur" bits on her leftover food. I ask her to show me how a dinosaur eats. Pretty soon her dinner is finished. She ate her one greenbean and rice and I ate the entire rest of the plate. A couple of things dawn on me as we leave the table.

First: dinner did in fact suck. The rice was plain, the green beans were overcooked and the pork was not seasoned. Perhaps my daughter just has a more advanced pallet. Second: I need to be more stubborn and devious and hide things in the Koolaid.

9/20/10

Daddyshome Post

I have a new post over at Daddyshome. Click here if you want a laugh.

I know that I have been somewhat lazy over the last several weeks but I think it's going to change this week. I feel good right now, energetic and full of optimism. Of course, it's 7:30 in the morning and the minions haven't wrecked anything yet. Should they start a riot, everything could change.

Enjoy the post and I'll be back on Wednesday with my normal stuff.

9/13/10

Jeff the Squirrel

Jeff the Squirrel is in trouble. It's big trouble. It's Big Trouble in Little China type of trouble. It's not looking good for our little resident and his little family. Got to do something here, can't back away. But I'll be honest, I'm at a loss.

So I do the only thing that makes sense. I send in the minions. It's time to see if their training has been for nothing.

Jeff the Squirrel, as you can figure out, is a squirrel. But he's our squirrel. He lives in our backyard. When we first moved in, it was just him. Little Hoss was only 2 and Bubba Hoss didn't care about anything that he couldn't crap on or eat. But they all loved the squirrel. So as is our nature in this family, we named him. Jeff seemed appropriate at the time. We name everything and the kids help.

We have Ted, which is my wife's car. We have Edgar, my car. We have Ted the Garden Gnome, no relation to the car. We have Fred the cheese frog which is actually a tree frog that hangs on our windows. Arnie, Little Hoss's blanket. Princess Candycane, the big inflatable snowman I put up at Christmas that my neighbors love so much. We are a naming family. And we have Jeff the Squirrel, who at this moment looks like he's fucked.

Jeff appears to be a family man type of squirrel. A good guy, gathering nuts for his little ones. Sometime over the last 2 years, he found himself a woman. Wooed that little thing and somehow convinced her to move in to his tree with him. Next thing you know, a kid pops out. I feel a certain connection with Jeff the Squirrel and often talk to him about our parallel situations. Just trying to get by without losing all of our nuts.

But Jeff and his family are screwed at the moment. Because right now, there is a big freaking Hawk swooping down on him from our back porch.

The kids came and got me from doing the dishes (code for "I was playing a video game) and said "Dad! Jeff the Squirrel is playing with an Owl!" Naturally, I thought they were full of it and just trying to help the digital zombies escape my wrath. So we went to the window. But it was not an owl I saw sitting on our porch, 10 feet away from us. It was a huge freaking hawk. It was almost cartoonish, all he needed was a fedora and a cigar and I would have thought we were watching a Disney flick. And he was going after Jeff.

In the zoo when you see them you marvel at their majestic nature, secure in the knowledge that they won't come down and claw your face off because of their little leather hood. When you see them in real life you think, crap, that things huge and is going to claw my face off.

But what to do? Jeff the Squirrel needs our help. The Hawk, who we have now named Hans Grueber, takes another swoop at Jeff. He misses, thanks to some fancy Heisman footwork by Jeff, and landed in a tree in the yard.

This was our moment. We either act now or loose Jeff and his little squirrel babies. Can't do it man. Can't walk away. Can't let the kids see this. We either stand up and fight or cower in fear. This is a life lesson to teach the minions. Today, we fight Hans, yippee ki yea motherfucker. So we go out on the back porch.

It occurs to me that I have said and taught my children a few stupid things in the past. Things that Hossmom will probably smack me for later like she did when I told her that I taught Little Hoss how to use the nailgun. This could be one of those things.

Reading this you probably are worried about the children. This tells me that you've never read my blog before. I'm worried about the Hawk, man. I know my kids, I know what they are capable of. My daughter broke an "indestructible" cell phone without even thinking about it. Honestly, I'm a little scared for Hans.

So without much thought, because that's how this things usually work out for us, we head out to the back porch. The dogs follow. They see the hawk swoop once more at Jeff. They bark and run back inside. Cowards.

We get to the railing. Jeff is climbing up a tree, does a mid-air somersault matrix thing, twists and runs the other way. Well done, my friend. We need to act now.

I look at the minions. The wind goes still. The sun glimmers through the trees creating areas of shading in which Jeff squirrels though trying to avoid the next attack. The kids smile at me. I nod. They are unleashed.

"ROAR!" They yell. Bubba Hoss has been enamored here lately with Dinosaurs. It's the scariest thing that they know.

"Rooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!" They scream together again, drawing out the syllables. Hans turns his head and looks at them.

"Hey Hawk" Little Hoss yells. "You go away, that's my Jeff!" Yup, my little girl is taunting a hawk.

"Cock a doodle do!" Bubba Hoss yells. I have no real idea why. But I will give the little man credit. It's loud and he has followed up his sister's threat.

Now they both start yelling cock a doodle do. Louder and louder and louder. I think that Hans the Hawk is confused. I know I am.

Hans looks at Jeff again. Then he flies away.

Not even mother nature can handle the loudness of my children. We all clap as Hans flies away, surely cussing that he won't be earning his 20% on the beach. Jeff the squirrel heads up his tree and his family follows.

So when some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall hawk grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."

8/31/10

She'll Never Know

She'll never know that my day doesn't begin until I get a big enthusiastic hug from her in the morning and my day doesn't end until I get big dinosaur hugs from her at night. All the other times I'm just waiting for my hugs.

She'll never know that my proudest moments of her is when she sticks up for her family. My heart swells when I see her protect her little brother. I've done something right, I just don't know what it is.

She'll never know that when she is being a bad girl that I try to hide my laughter when she is explaining to me why she did it in the first place. I can't help it but I have to be tough so that she doesn't do it again.

She'll never know that I totally get why she breaks so many things. My whole life, I have been the same way starting with the riding lawn mower I took apart and tried to put back together causing it to flip over on my father. I completely understand the compulsion and there is a part of me that loves that she acts just like I did. I still do it and I can't explain why.

She'll never know that she is the best helper a father could ever wish for. I would rather install a fan with her than with anyone else.

She'll never know that I like it better when she tells the stories more than she likes it when I tell them.

She'll never know that whenever she sneezes in the sunlight I feel a greater connection to her than she could possibly imagine. Both my children and I do this and it's a genetic thing. I love it.

She'll never know that I love princesses as much as she does.

She'll never know that if she cries enough, I really will give in and do whatever she wants.

She'll never know that one of my big fears of the world is when I have to go back to work. Not because I fear work, but because I won't be able to hang out with her anymore.

She'll never know that her father is only big and strong because she thinks so.

She'll never know that I fix things because she asks me and that I can't take the look in her eyes when I say I can't. One way or another, I will fix it and she needs to always believe this about me. Whether it's a busted toy or a problem in her life, Dad can fix it.

She'll never know that on her first day of school, I will be more nervous than she will.

She'll never know that when I get writer's block, she is the muse that breaks it. She also breaks my phone, my tools and my patience but it is all worth it when I can write again.

She'll never know that when even when I tell her not to punch that kid, there is a part of me that wishes she would punch that kid.

She'll never know that I try to be the same exact parent that my own father was. Everyday, that's my standard.

She'll never know that the reason she has wide feet is because of my genes. Sorry honey, that's all my fault.

She'll never know that I'm just as scared as she is most times but as Dad, I just can't show it. I'm brave for her. I don't like the dark either.

She'll never know that when she says that I'm am the greatest builder, I'm really not but I believe that I am because she told me so.

She'll never know that when she thinks I'm not watching her, I am because I love seeing her playing by herself or with her brother. Even when she is doing something that she shouldn't be doing, I let her do it just so she can discover how far she can go.

She'll never know that when she got up on that horse during her Horsemanship class, I admired her more because it's something that I can't do anymore. Horses don't like me and I don't like them.

She'll never know I'm a better man because I am her father and that no matter what, she'll always be my little girl.

8/17/10

Sparkle Screens

Glitter just won't glit itself people. No, you have to get in there and get your hands dirty. Do you think that if you just leave it out it will magically go where it's going to go? Well, maybe if it's windy or the dog licks it and then licks something else, then yes. But glitter glue will do no such thing. Nope, you have to get your hands dirty, you have to get into it up to your elbows. So if you want red glue glitter to stick to your father's brand new window screens that he spent all afternoon building, you got to be prepared to get your hands dirty.

Normal people may just buy replacement screens, but MY dad decided to build his own because for some dumbass reason he bought a house that didn't have any screens. And it turns out that all the windows are an unusual size so that he can't just get premade screens. He has to special order them. Believe me, you don't want to hear that old bastard go off about the cost of a "special order."

So what did he decided to do? Build his own screens. He said, Hey, Little Hoss, you and your brother want to help your old man build some screens? We said yup, Knuckles and I. Knuckles is my little brother and runs interference while I redecorate things like the carpet or the wall. I know I'm only 4 years old but if there is one thing I know, it's interior design. Or in this case, exterior design.

Old Man Hoss went with normal white framed window screens with a black mesh screen to help block the sun. I said "Hey, old man. Don't you think that is kind of boring?" He said no and then distracted me with some bright lights and a sucker. Knuckles was busy chasing a bug so he wasn't any help.

So we went outside to the back porch to do some cutting and stuff. Well, the old man cut while Knuckles and I got out our color supplies and made some pictures for good old Mommy, god bless that woman. Dorthy Mantooth is a saint I tells ya.

The old man got two of the screens done and I was looking at them. I said to myself "Self, that's pretty damn boring. You know that that screen needs? That screen needs some glitter. In fact, all of them do."

So Knuckles and I went through our supplies. We found some markers, construction paper, and of course glitter. Honestly, I don't know why the old man keeps letting me play with it. Seriously dude, you would think that he would have learned his lesson by now. But then I found the extra pretty baby, the thing that would bring the whole ensemble together. Purple Stick Glue. Yeah baby, I saw this at the store and knew I had to get some of this stuff. Get this, it's glue in stick form, and it's purple! How great is that?!

Anyways, the old man finishes building two of the screens and puts them up against the house. I said to the old man "Hey old man, how about some glitter on that bad boy." And he says no and I think that's stupid but I can't say stupid because I get into trouble so I call him a dumbass instead.

So Knuckles goes into action to distract my main man. He starts crying because I may have pushed him. I'm not saying I did and I'm not saying I didn't. I just saying he started crying. So while the old man is messing with Knuckles I grab the red glue glitter and the purple glue stick and go on over.

I tell ya man, I was in a zone. In less than a minute I produced a freaking Jackson Pollock. I was all over the place on that thing. In. The. Zone. It was straight up awesome dude, straight up awesome. My hands were working completely independent of my body. Some red glitter there, maybe a little purple glue there and then bam, Gold Glitter! Didn't see that coming did you my brothers? And I got to tell you, that stuff shows up great against white frames. And where it got on the black screen, well that just sparkles. Freaking masterpiece.

The old man gets done with my distraction and turns back around. I don't even notice because I'm busy in my happy place right now. He grabs me by the shoulders and pulls me back. You would expect that he would love it right, I mean how can't you? It's an abstract piece that deserves to be in the MET brother! But the old man doesn't see it that way.

What's he do? He goes ballistic. Goes absolutely nuts, batshit crazy. Has the nerve to ask me why I did that. I tell him "Hey baby, I make art for arts sake, stuff it." It's not my fault if he can see the genius that I created.

He just goes on and on about how I have to be careful and listen, blah blah blah. He gets some water and trys to wash it off but get this, purple glue doesn't come off with water and you can't scrub to hard or you will ruin the aluminum screen. So my artwork remains, suck it old man. Don't stifle my creativity.

By now he's pretty pissed. Says that when he puts these up our house will look like it belongs in a red light district. Says that all we need is ladies in underwear dancing in the windows. I guess my man here just doesn't appreciate sparkles. But he should because everyday from Noon to 3, those windows are sparkle in all their purple glory.