In Memoriam

Thank you for coming on this sorrowful day my brothers and sisters. Today we gather to pay respects to all of my shit that the minions have destroyed. Over the last year we have lost much, suffered many transgressions my brothers. We have seen some of our most valued members of my stuff take the next step to the great beyond that is the garbage dump, can I get an Amen.

Life is difficult, full of calamities and challenges. Sometimes we best those challenges, overcome those calamities by use of the all mighty duck tape. Yet sometimes those challenges resist even the power of our sacred tape as they have been smashed beyond all repair, even for the all powerful Hossman, fixer of the wrecked.

This is our time to remember those that have passed beyond. We will remember what they meant to us and what they mean to us now. We remember how we used to spend many hours playing with our Xbox video game controller. We remember vanquishing the zombie hoard, preventing an alien invasion, and tea bagging crap head teenagers. But we also remember the day when one of the minions threw it into dishwasher and then turned it on. When the dry cycle was completed, so was our controller. Goodbye dear friend, we will always remember you.

We will remember our living room carpet. We can never forget it because even though the soul has left it, the stains perpetrated by the minions never will. It is but a husk of what it once was. Cover in juice and urine, it has passed beyond any help that modern science can hope to give it. A vortex has formed near the hallway that sucks up all the hope of all that walk across it. It is not longer a collection of stains, but one giant stain that may gain consciousness and call itself skynet. Beware the great deceiver for he lives there.

We say goodbye to the brand new race track set that the children received for Christmas. We remember the great family fun we all had on Christmas morning, the laughing and the joy shared by all. We also remember when someone decided to take the scissors to the control units. For what reason, no one knows and may never know. But we do remember the carnage we found exactly one month later when we walked in on two children, one pair of scissors and the lost patience of a father.

We have lost cell phones, tv remotes, DVD players. We see the collateral damage of "Let's Hit Each Other With a Stick" by the marks on the walls, the wails in the air. We see stickers left on car windows and left to bake in the afternoon sun. They will never be removed, they will be a constant reminder. It never ends, it never goes away, it will always be with us.

And our newest causalities, my sunglasses. Lost while at the pool. The victim of a very fat toddler foot deciding to use my face as a launching point for a very large jump. The liftoff was flawed and the bridge on the glasses snapped under the strain of the foot. It might have helped if I was informed my face would be used in such a manner, but that is not our way. Our way is to never pay more than 10 bucks for a pair of sunglasses so we don't want to cut our wrists when they are broken which is only a matter of time.

We also say good bye to the replacement pair of sunglasses that I keep in reserve for just such an occasion. Within 1 week of loosing the first pair, the second pair followed suit as it did not appear to wish to survive without it's brethren. This time it was a toddler foot to the temple. You never know where or when the toddler foot will strike, you only know that it will.

We gather today to comfort eachother, but mostly me because I can't own anything without it getting ripped to pieces. Steel cages will not prevent the destruction. They are like acts nature. Sometimes all you can do is remember what they were and be thankful for the time that you had with them. Hold hands brothers and sisters, bow your heads. A moment of silence please. Ignore the crashing you hear, it's only my cell phone.


A Foot In The Ear

Today we will explore the question of why a foot in my ear does not feel good. A complex question that will truly expand one's mind and make you rich and powerful or at least let you get a good night's sleep.

First off, we all know that jamming a foot in the ear at 6:30 in the morning will in fact wake me up, thus this part of the equation does prove valid. However, I still submit that it does not feel good to be jabbed in the ear by a big toe digging deep. You have to ask yourself by doing this action, what will my mood be when I do wake up. Will I be peaches and cream, ready for hugs or will I start mindlessly tossing young children out of the bed. Most likely I will choose option number 2 which will result in crying and and then no one feels good thus proving part 1 of why a foot in the ear hole does not feel good.

Next, let us consider the smell of the before mentioned foot. As a toddler's foot, it spends it's days in sweaty sandals in 100 degree weather. It walks around in dirt and occasionally comes into contact with dog feces. There is also a very high probability of spit or dog slobber on the foot. When this foot marinates over night, the resulting smell can be described as a class 4 toxin. Or to put it in child vernacular you can understand, they're stinky and the fumes burn my nostrils. I offer this as further evidence that a foot in my ear not only does not feel good but it also doesn't smell good either.

Finally, let us take into account the delicate nature of the ears in general and look at the result of it being constantly smashed by toenails that need a good trimming. Repeated injury to the ear region by un-cut toenails can result in what is known by the boxing term as "cauliflower ears". This has the unpleasant result of making me look like Chunk from the Goonies and I do not enjoy Baby Ruth candy bars.

I believe that I have successfully described why a foot in the ear does not feel good. So in conclusion, please knock it off, I'll be up in a minute.

Tomorrow we will examined the possibility that getting smacked in the face by a Barbi doll feels worse than a foot in the ear.


The Eye Test

The optometrist asks me to read the bottom line. I'll admit, it's a bit fuzzy and I may in fact need glasses. It's almost like being drunk without drinking, which sucks massive balls. What fun is that? I may need glasses but I'm going to give it the old college try and pretend that I'm still young and vibrant and young and vibrant people don't need glasses. I may have to start listening to Beiber. However, I may need glasses.

I'm pretty sure the bottom line starts with a L, then a V or perhaps a Y, I'm not sure. Of course the next one is an O or possibly a C. If you ask me, this may be a trick test. However, the last one I know for sure. The last one is a lizard.

That one I can defiantly see, it's defiantly a lizard. And it's moving too. This is a very challenging eye test and I'm sure that it's a conspiracy to make me old. I do feel that I am doing quite well though. I may have missed the Y or V conundrum, but that's a lizard. I can feel it in my bones, a lizard flying through the air. To prove how good my eyesight is I can also tell you that it's a green lizard and his name is Mr. Bangle.

The optometrist takes a step back and looks at me like I'm having a stroke. I just point to my kids, who have decided that the best place to play with Mr. Bangle is in front of the eye chart. They make life very entertaining.

You never get a break from parenting, ever, ever, ever. And that means that sometimes you have to take your kids to your eye appointments. You just make the best of the situation although in this case I feel that they have improved upon the situation as I wasn't doing so well Mr. Bangle came into the picture.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened. I've had to do things like this quite often as my kids are to young to be given jello shots dropped off at the local rave. When we sold our last house, I negotiated the price and signed the contract while drawing a princess. ON a side note, contracts signed in pink crayon are not valid.

Because of the annoyed look from the doctor, I ask my kids to please sit quietly which is like asking a 5 ton whale to do magic. Sounds great in theory but the laws of the universe do not allow it. They do try as I have asked as the doctor asks me to again read the next line up.

This one I can see more clearly. There is a V, an O, a possible F, an S (hopefully), and Buzz Lightyear that is going to infinity and beyond. He has to go rescue Mr. Bangle.


Two Teens At The Pool

The girl is probably about 16 although my ability to tell ages sucks. She came to the pool with what I assume is her boyfriend, a young lad that seems very proud of his truck. He did his mandatory "I'm awesome" jump into the pool to impress his girlfriend. She's young enough that it did impress her.

For the last 10 minutes they played little flirting games before settling down on the bench that is built into the pool. It's big enough for two young people and their games. Since setting up residence there they have been edging closer and closer to each other.

I was 16 once and I know whats about to go on under water. He'll move closer, she'll giggle, he'll make his move and they both will laugh at how clever they are.

Or I'm just a total crotchety old man now that no longer trusts young people. It happens when you become a parent. In their heads, I'm sure the song Hungry Eyes is playing, or whatever other Dirty Dancing equivalent exists for teenagers now a days.

I like my public neighborhood pools like I like my movies--G rated and no adult situations. I could do something about this, such as firing a tranq in Mr. Hands over there. I'm sure father's every where would appreciate my attempts to up hold virtues. However, I have no intention of doing anything myself.

I don't have to because I have minions and my minions are well trained. They love doing cannon balls from the top rope.

By the time the girl looks up from the enchanting eyes of Mr. Hands, it's already to late. Little Hoss has already filed her flight plan with Control Tower Dad and has received clearance for take off. By the time the two teens realize what's going on, Little Hoss is already airborn and is starting her re-entry.

She lands with a huge splash about a foot away from them and has succeeded in quenching the lustful duo. She pops her head up, spits water at them, and says "Hi!" It's all about first impressions.

The teens look around for the parent of the now annoying child. Hi, I'm right over here kiddos. The guy reading the book and I have no intention of calling off my minion. This is state sanctioned and I even wave at my daughter. Yes, Dad knows exactly what's going on.

Little Hoss decides that they are all now best friends and sits between them on the bench. She tells them that sh is 5 years old and is going to school soon. She also tells them that she can do spins in the water. She spends the next five minutes doing the spins and demanding that they watch her and comment on her water acrobatics.

I know that I am coming off like the dad from Foot Loose here. But I also know that if you are old enough to catch that movie reference that you probably have children yourself now and fully support my inaction. Look, I'll even ease up a bit. I tell you what, I will be ok with all manner of dancing at my pool as long as there isn't any fucking going on. See, I'm reasonable. More so than my daughter who is now showing them how she can touch the bottom of the pool. Your attention is required.

The teens are playing along and being nice but after 15 minutes of this they have moved away from her to the really deep end of the pool. They think that they can resume their touching/flirting/statutory activities. But yet, I have done a remarkable good job of teaching Little Hoss to swim and the deep water has no fear for her. She can do even better spins in the deep water! Would they like to see? I'm a dick but a remarkably well prepared one.

Little Hoss is getting tired now and I think that the teens know it. But no worries, I just put Bubba Hoss in his swim jacket and handed him his dual action water guns. We call him "Dead Justice" and I've told him that there are some varmints in his pool. With his swim jacket on, he won't get tired for hours.



Can I have a hug--there has never been a more manipulative statement than that. On the surface, the statement seems harmless enough. It's an expression of a desire for human contact, a bonding experience showing love and craving comfort. But it is also a great way to get little butts out of bed and denying me any chance of peace and quiet that I have been craving.

5 days Hossmom has been laid up. 5 days of single parenting and 5 days of dispensing meds every 4 hours. 5 days of running to the doctors appointments, pharmacies, water parks, grocery stores. 5 days of managing 2 active and opinionated toddlers and taking care of a sick wife. 5 days with no breaks. And at nighttime, my refuge from the ass whippery has been invaded.

It starts simply enough. Daddy, can I come down and give you a hug? How can I say no to this? What kind of monster am I? How can I be so cruel. So I say yes and Bubba Hoss comes down, taking his sweet damn time sliding down on his butt. Of course he is not alone. His puppet master comes right after him. She sent him down as her ignorant foot soldier just in case there was any blow back from getting out of bed and coming downstairs at 10:00 at night.

I give them both a hug and remind them not to be loud and wake mom up, I don't need that at the moment. I just want to watch my crap sci-fi and vegetate for a while.

Little Hoss now uses this opportunity to ask if she and her darling little brother can get a toy to sleep with. After all, they are already down here, might as well make it a multipurpose productive meeting. They both soon find a toy, the same toy in fact. A tugging match begins, some screaming and finally pushing. I separate them and tell them to go to their opposite corners until the bell rings.

Dad, can we have another hug?

Fuck. Sure, why not. I should have said no. They use the family hug as an excuse just to get close enough to each other so that they can start pounding on each other again. I pick them both up by the back of their PJ's. One of them actually spit at me but I'm not sure who. I am a fool.

I lose it and I'm not proud. No more hugs, for anyone, ever. I have had enough of this trickery, it is done. I practically toss them back up stairs from the ground floor. I make it very clear that no one is going to get out of bed from here on out. Should anyone choose to test that, I am prepared to go off in such a way that it will make the Apocalypse look like Sunday brunch. I tell them I'm going to boobie trap the stairs like the Vietcong. I explain to them what punji sticks.

But I give them each a hug and tell them that I love them because I can't help myself. There is something about a 3 year old child looking at you that makes you crack no matter what the demand.

I head back downstairs and sit. I turn the TV back on and start my show. It doesn't matter what show, any show. I just want to sit, just for a little bit.

I get a text message from mom, who is now awake upstairs. The phone is the modern day small ringing bell. It goes off when she needs me.

She wants me to come up and give her a hug.

And since I am coming up anyway for the hug, can she have another pain pill and the rest of her medicine. Can I make her something to eat as she is hungry and feel free to take the time to cook something, she hasn't eaten all day.

Drugs, not hugs. It's my new motto.


Ear Infection

People, we are going down like the Titanic. Our iceberg is an ear infection, a brutal affliction that reminds us mortals not to go swimming, ever. Children get ear infections all the time, no problem. Go to the doctor, get some drops and whammo everything is back to normal in a couple of days.

However, it is not the children that have the ear infection. It is the mighty Hossmom that has been struck with this plague since Friday and it has gotten worse. As it has deteriorated, so has my patience with the children.

I'm terrible at this, I admit it. I'm awful at taking care of sick people and I try so hard. But I never seem to know what to do. For the past three days I have been running the whole family to the doctor and back for drops, pills and voodoo spells. But no weed, this is not a medical marijuana state and this is a drug free family. Please just ignore that very large bottle of Vicodin on the dresser.

Trying to take care of a very sick wife and two high strung kids, it turns out, is a fucking beating. Someone is always crying, all the time, all day. It's midnight and the only reason no one is crying now is because Hossmom is finally sleeping (thanks Vicodin!), and I may have slipped some Bourbon into the kids dinner time milk. It is the first time for the last three days that I have gotten a bit of peace to myself. I may start drinking. That's a stellar idea, lets do that.

After the doctors visits I have been having to go pick up different medications in order to give Hossmom some relief. Who knew that an ear infection on an adult could be so rough? The whole right side of her head is pink and inflamed and I know it's got to hurt like a bastard. However, Hossmom doesn't do pain real well. She always said that she could do big pain well and pointed to the fact that she gave birth to two kids and was tough.

What I don't tell her is that when she did give birth, she cursed me and punched me in the crotch. And afterwards, there was a lot of crying. Like there is now and I have no idea how to handle crying.

It's my Achilles heel in the awesomeness of Hossman. I just stand there like a dear in headlights, not knowing what to do or what to say. There wasn't much crying in my house growing up. We came from the school of "suck it up" because my father was in a wheelchair most of my life. How can you cry when you can still walk? Dries up those tears pretty fast.

When Hossmom isn't crying because of the pain, Little Hoss and Bubba Hoss are playing their new game that they have called "Punch Me In The Face." They stand on opposite sides of the room and each put a fist out. Then they run at each other. Whoever gets punched in the face loses. It's 3 to 2, in favor of Little Hoss. The game ends with someone usually crying. I swear I didn't teach them this.

For 2 and 1/2 days though I thought that I handled this well. I really did. I got everyone what they needed and I cleaned the shit out of the house. This is also the weekend that I had planned on doing big projects, things like cleaning crayon off the wall and removing sticky hand prints from the TV screen. It went well. I would be forcing the kids to clean then Hossmom would need me. I would go upstairs and put drops in her ear, which hurt her so that she started crying. I would stand in the middle of the floor for about 5 minutes until I heard crying from downstairs. I would then leave Hossmom while I went to see the latest scores of Punch Me In The Face.

That would break any man. But I held my own until tonight. It was bath time. The kids were getting undressed and screaming. I was screaming at them to be quiet. My daughter reminded me that Kylan says to calm down. Then Hossmom comes out of the room crying because she needs something. She is topless to so that distracts me, as it would any full blooded hetero man. I put Hossmom back to bed while giving her pain pills while continuing to scream at the kids to get undressed for bath time.

I finally get Hossmom back to bed and this time I'm rubbing her back because that seems more appropriate than standing there and looking at my feet.

I hear the door open. I hear laughter. I hear the door close. Of course, why not?

I run downstairs to see my two kids, buck naked, running around outside. But on the plus side, they did follow directions and get undressed. I think that was my breaking point.


Out Redneck Me

Your family cannot out Redneck my family. I do not put this as a challenge, but just state a fact. We can't seem to help it, it just seems to come out of us. And when it does, say around July 4th, you would be hard pressed to out-do us.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself that your family would run circles around me and mine. You are deluding yourself, and I say this with a bit of pride mixed with a bit of embarrassment. Just a touch though, because even I stop and watch what we are doing and think, Jesus Christ on a rubber crutch; that's hick.

But if you feel you want to step up to the plate, by all means, add some comments so you can see how you stack up. You better bring your A game though, because if you can't top starting a grass fire in a dry field during the Fourth of July, you should really just take your ball and go home.

That's right, my brother started a smallish fire in a dry field as we were preparing to watch fireworks. He apparently thought it would be a great festive idea to light a sparkler in knee high dry grass. And when the sparks from the sparkler (that's how it gets it's name) caught the grass on fire, he did what any normal man would do. He screamed like a girl and dropped the entire sparkler in the grass. It did what it naturally does; it caught the grass on fire. I know, this isn't too redneck. But this part is: my brother ran away screaming that it was too hot on his foot. This allowed my wife, who we have made honorary redneck, to jump in and take action. She quickly sprinted, with beer in hand, and stomped out the flames. With her flip flops. Without spilling her beer. Of course she didn't use her freshly opened beer to douse the flames. That would not be redneck. Protecting the beer in spite of a possible environmental disaster, that's a tad redneck.

It gets better.

We did all this in Arkansas. Cue banjo music now please.

You are thinking you can out do the ignorant use of fireworks, right? Son, my story is just starting.

To borrow a phrase from Jeff Foxworthy: You know that you are a redneck when the people eating at the Waffle House are pointing and making fun of you. This is what they were doing as the Waffle House was across the street from our grass fire. But it wasn't the grass fire that they were laughing about. It was the fact that we had miscounted, as rednecks do, the number of lawn chairs we would need to watch the fireworks. We didn't have enough. Rednecks are inventive though and the Duct Tape Company should personally thank each and everyone of us for promoting their particular brand of tape.

Instead on sitting on the scorched ground, my brother in law and I decided we had a much better idea.

We had a van with us. We realized early on that the seats in the van could become unattached and pulled out. Normally, this is for people who wish to pack more things into a van. For the redneck though, this counts as lawn furniture. So as my brother in law and I wrestled the big seat out the back, which was damn heavy, the Waffle House people started pointing and laughing. I even caught a few cell phones pop out and start to take pictures. I wanted to ask them why they were so high and mighty since they were eating waffles for dinner. But I didn't because I was to comfortable in the van seat. The seat belts also came in handy in case the van seat tipped over, which was small issue.

So here's your picture: van seat in the middle of a scorched field with a family drinking lots of beer waiting for fireworks being made fun of by the Waffle House people.

Who wants more?

Later in the evening, before the fireworks, we realized that we had brought tons of beer but not juice and what not for the kids. That's called good parenting. So my brother in law, who is Mexican and has a Mexican Redneck name, decided that the gas station/repair shop across the street was a good place to go get some supplies. He got the supplies and then proceeded to try and cross the very busy street to get back to us. From my very comfortable van seat in the scorched field, I watched Mexican Frogger as he dodged in and out of traffic carrying some water and what appeared to be an off brand of grape soda. Rednecks don't pay good money for the real soda, Shasta works fine for our children. All he needed was a sack of oranges and the picture would have been complete. He was in the left hand turn lane for a good 10 minutes. And I do want to point out that since he is Mexican, my family can now claim the tittle of International Redneck family. Suck on that. When he got back, I was surprised to find that he didn't have some sort of jerky in his back pocket.

Stay with me here. Van in the scorched field watching Mexican Frogger carrying warm generic grape soda, Waffle House people laughing.

You could make a case here that your family is more redneck than mine, but you would still come up short because I haven't even mentioned my extended family yet. There isn't enough room on the Internet to truly do them justice. But just some tidbits for you: I have a cousin with two first names, I have a cousin that once ate dog food for a snack, I have a cousin whose sweet southern drawl for some reason makes you crave pecan pie. I grew up thinking that swimming in a drainage ditch after a good rain was a privilege and I have used outhouses that were considered fancy if they had toilet paper in them and not bits of magazine articles. I have family that can talk pistons and hunting with enough conviction that they make Ted Nugent look like a left-wing pussy. The ship my family came over on was called the Good Ship Betsy. That's a ship that probably likes a healthy dose of Nascar. Hell, even the Hossman nickname comes from my ability to hold on to an old live car battery longer than my friends. For some reason, we considered this a sport.

It's who we are and no matter where we all live, it's who we will always be. We may hide it at times, but eventually it will come out on the Fourth of July every year where part of that family is sitting in a van chair in a scorched field with kids drinking generic grape soda.

You are thinking that perhaps you can compete with this level of Redneck and perhaps your family can.

Until you see my three year old nephew grab an open beer from the top of the cooler and take a huge chug.