I've Got No Excuse

I know that I haven't written much lately.  There is a good reason, a reason that I am reluctant to admit. 

I am afraid. 

I know, Hossman is afraid.  Something that shouldn't exist in this world of unicorns and rainbows.  But fear has found it's way in and it has taken root. Don't tell my children.

You see, I live with a pregnant woman who is in her last trimester. 

Slowly, all the other fathers nod in understanding. 

The last trimester is tough, we all get that.  You have to pee every hour, sneezing requires preparation, food looks great or horrible depending on the hour, you hurt everywhere, strange new ailments like restless leg or sciatica comes out of no where.  Super smell allows you to smell every dust mite in existence.  No room is bright enough, no room is dark enough.  And hormones, sweet lord hormones.  Like a tidal wave rolling in on that beach.

And who is on that beach?

Me.  Only me.  I grab an umbrella in Wilie Coyote style knowing that the only thing that is about to happen is a explosion sound and a dust ring that used to be me.

But what's worse than the hormones.  Any man, anywhere, mentioning hormones.  I may be sleeping on the couch by the end of this post.

Last night, and I'm not making this up, Hossmom punched me in the face.  Granted she was sleeping and claims that it was an accident.   Just like when she ate the last girl scout cookie, an accident, right. 

I know that I am the blame for all this discomfort.  I know that it was my insatiable needs that caused her to be in the "family way" again.  And I freely take the blame for all that pent up rage.  I can't unleash this on you people out in the real world, you would never survive.   You need me on that wall. 

However, I am not completely stupid.  And that means that I try to walk very carefully, choose my words with care.  I will not say such things as "Damn, you are looking preggers!"  That will cause me to lose an eye.  Instead I say "I'm sorry for everything, everywhere, every time."  I respond this way to any questions she answers, no matter what it's about.  "How about that weather?"  "I'm sorry"  

This also means that I may write a little less often the longer this pregnancy goes.  I have to be careful, very careful.  I don't know what will cause the accusation that I don't understand, could never understand, how can I even possibly stomach being a man in the first place. 

For example, I painted the stairway this week while Hossmom was gone on a business trip.  I planed to write an epic post on my daring.  The ceilings are 12 feet high and the stairway increases the danger.  It's a U shaped staircase too.  You can't even imagine the contortions I was doing with the ladder to reach the top.  At one point, I may or may not have been hanging from the light fixture with a paint brush while screaming "Victory" as my son cheered me on.  I was a daredevil, Evil himself would have paid for a ticket. 

But I can't write that.  Because if I wrote that story I would hear this "What the hell were you thinking!  You have a family you dipshit!  What would the kids do if you broke your legs and couldn't be with them because then you would get cancer and die because I checked WebMD and that's what happens because you had to paint the tough spots look at the dog the dog looks sad I'm going to cry now I love you I hate you die don't die I've gotta pee It's 8 o'clock I'm going to bed." 

I guarantee that's how that would play out.  This is my third time my friends, I know how this works. 

Last night I stayed up late to make Hossmom a snack to take to work.  An amusing little thing of basil, tomato and cheese all on a toothpick.  Eat it and go, gourmet right at your desk.  I found them in the sink this morning, scattered, toothpicks broken, dreams shattered.  I guess she doesn't like those and this is just her way of telling me. 

I have two months left, just two months.  I can make it just two months, right? 



Clint, Tiberius, The Man With No Name.

She hates them all.

Flint, Max Power, Studly Mcwhoopass.

She hates them to.

Poncho, Dutch, Hawkins.

She won't even consider those.

Desmond, Jack, Killian.

Those won't fly.

In short, my new child may be born without a name.  It is his mother's fault.  Not good old dad, dad wanted to set him for life with a name like I Drink Your Milkshake Hoss.  Imagine signing that on your IRS forms.  There is no way that guy gets audited.  In fact, I bet he doesn't even have to pay taxes.  All because his Dad stood on that ledge and declared to the world, HERE IS MY SON, HE DRINKS YOUR MILKSHAKE!

And it could be very funny, for only a short period of time.  However, like previous pregnancies, Hossmom has lost some of her sense of humor.  Perhaps it's the constant back pain and getting up 12 times a night to pee, I'm not sure.  But she doesn't laugh at my silly quite as much as she used to.  In fact, I'm beginning to think that she may hate me and blame me for her current condition.  It's too soon to tell, but I believe she may be putting anti-freeze in my morning breakfast that she cooks. 

I'm just kidding.  Hossmom doesn't cook.  That's crazy talk.

Now some of you may be thinking, Hey Hossman is having another boy.  I'm here to tell you, I don't know.  We were supposed to find out but she changed her mind.  When?  When the doctor asked us if we wanted to know.  I said yes, she said no.  I said what?  She said shut up.  I said make me.  She said my sour cream enchiladas suck.  I cried.  Good times.

So I don't know the sex of the baby and it appears that "we" have elected to be surprised and that "we" really don't have a say in the matter.  Instead of coming up with one name now, we have to come up with two.  We have the girls name and I love it.  But for some reason, we are beyond stuck for a boys name.  Mainly because my wife gets all wishy washy on this stuff and I have the inability to consider real names, like John.

For the last three months we have been discussing this and for the last three months she has shot down everything that I have said.  For the first month, I was actually serious about it.  I threw out good names.  Nolan, Ronan, Sawyer, Liam, etc, etc, etc.  They were met with "maybe", "meh", "humphs".  1000 names met with 1000 unenthusiastic responses.  So I've gone to the fringe and now I am considering naming my kid Johnny Biceps.

I think our children know the tension that this has created in our family, they can sense it like they can sense weakness.  If you show up with one ounce of wavering confidence in this house you will soon find yourself playing a "story" with Barbie as she fights off the evil Transformers.  Oddly, Barbie rarely wins and ends up swinging at the end of a rope. 

My son has broken our stalemate and proudly proclaimed that he has a name already picked out so we should just shut our piehole.  He has decided that if he is to have a little brother, he shall be named Arbity, and the world shall rejoice.

I like it.

So that's where we stand, that is the name of my new kid and that is how we refer to him while he is in the womb enjoying my fabulous sour cream enchiladas that Hossmom can't get enough of.  But now there is a new argument between us.

Hossmom says that it should be Arpitty, with a P.  I say that my son clearly said it's Arbity, with a B and only one T.

We asked my son about it.  He said

SQUIRREL! and has refused to discuss the topic any further.

Yup, only 4 more months of this.


Don't Use The Hammer.

I didn't give my son a hammer.  We should all remember this.

I have taught my children to use hammers, of course I have, I am a good father and everyone knows that responsible hammer ownership is in the constitution some where.  So I have taught both of my minions to use a hammer and use it well.  I have taught them that things that are alive, you don't hit with a hammer.  I have taught them that you can hit things that are dead with a hammer, but it's pretty gross.  I have taught them that steel and metal deserves to be hit with a hammer.  And that, is the mistake.

My garage is, as you would expect, my sanctuary.  No one is allowed to give me "design ideas" for my garage.  No one is allowed to tell me how to "decorate" my garage.  No one is allowed to hang anything on my garage walls.  It is a place where work gets done and not a place where the pretty gets admired.  I have a whole other room for the pretty.  It's the basement and if she puts in the lotion in the basket, maybe she can come admire the garage.

I do allow my children to the garage though as I find this to be a great place to have many of the father/children important life lessons kinds of talks.  Things such as "Son, treat your mother with respect or you will one day be nailed to my wall."  The atmosphere is great for those deep learning talks that you must have with your children.  I imagine one day I will explain to my daughter about her monthly cycles in my garage, thus damaging her forever and creating an awkwardness between us that will last a lifetime.  We shall never talk about it after that moment.  But she will also know that this is where I will take "Chester", her future deadbeat boyfriend, and explain to him that if he ever hurts the apple of my eye, he will be nailed up next to my son for disrespecting his mother.

My son and I were in my garage to fix a chair, a pretty old chair.  It is/was quite beautiful.  Made out of what I think to be walnut, mortise and tenon joint work, a thatched back that has, until now, survived my minions.  Walnut is one of the toughest woods known to the every day wood worker and in theory, what you build out of it will be good for the next 100 years.  That was before the Little Hoss testing phase though so as you can imagine, it is broken.

It is broken because that is what my children do.  They break things that have stood up to 25 years of abuse.  25 years and the chair has been just fine.  1 year in my house and all of a sudden a walnut leg gets snapped off.  I am told that it was an accident.  We seem to have a lot of "accidents" in this house.  I don't need to really go into details about how they broke the chair because it's become so common place now that I figure you can just go back and read any of the other 100 posts I've done and extrapolate from there.  You will reach the same point that we are at now, we have a broken chair and my son and I are going to fix it.

In all honesty though, I do love when the minions help me fix things.  They are getting pretty good at it which should show you how much practice they get at it.  We do have a rule here, you break it you fix it.  They seem to like the rule, maybe because they get to spend quality time with dad in the garage.

I have the chair clamped up which took some work as it is an odd shape.  I had to use 5 different clamps to get it just right and get the damaged chair leg flush with the side rail.  It was being stubborn so I needed to whack it.

I grabbed my hammer.....

Then I thought no, this isn't a hammer job.  Responsible hammer ownership begins with knowing what isn't a hammer job.  I tell my son instead to grab my rubber mallet.  It's not a hammer.

The mallet won't damage the wood but it will give me the proper force to smack the leg back in. I let my son help because honestly, what kind of damage can you do with rubber mallet?  Dumb question.

I tell him to whack away.  This marks the highlight of his day.  His father has given him something heavy and destructive and permission to swing away.  This is his moment in the big leagues.  The grin on his face is tentative, like he's thinking I am messing with him.  I smile back at him and nod, yes son, swing as hard as you can.

He brings the mallet up, eyeballs his target and swings with all his little arm.  Boom, he makes good contact.  He even misses my face, which is a plus.

He hit the chair leg right where I wanted him to hit it.  It slides closer to where it needs to be.  I tell him to go nuts. And he does.  Because I am an idiot.

He swings and hits.  He swings and hits.  He swings and hits.

He is in his own little world now.  He's almost feverish.  Dad said he could swing with the mallet.  Dad is not stopping him.  Swing and hit, swing and hit.  This may be the best day of his life.

I'm enjoying watching this.  I'm enjoying his enthusiasm.  I am enjoying his smile.  I am a good father.

Without warning he turns.  He has grown bored.  He needs something new.  He finds it.  The hood of my new minivan.  He swings.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" I scream as I reach for the mallet.  If I could only reach it before it makes contact.  If only, if only, if only.  My fingers come within millimeters of the handle.  I am to late.

BOOOOOOONNNNNNNNGGGGGG!  The rubber mallet makes contact with the hood.  It bounces back.  The shock waves of air expand out toward us like I can see them.  He prepares to take another swing.

My kids destroy stuff.  It's what they do.  It does not matter what it is.  Nothing can withstand their combined might.

This is why I practice responsible rubber mallet ownership.  Well, at least I do now. 


Man Weekend Goes Viral

My sister calls me at 10:30 at night.  I am concerned, normally family does not call me that late.  In my head I am thinking the worse.  My parents maybe?  Grand parents?  I answer the phone.

"What the hell!" She says.  "How come you didn't tell us!"

I'm not thinking the worst anymore.  I'm thinking that I shouldn't have answered the phone.  I am in trouble with my sister and since she used the word "us" I'm thinking that I am in trouble with my whole family.  Of course, my head is now thinking of everything that I have ever done to my family that I have not told them. 

I used to keep my teenage porn collection at the back of the laundry in the bathroom when I was young.  Maybe someone finally realized why I liked doing laundry so much.  I used to open all my Christmas presents early and then re wrap them.  I did that for like 5 years.  Have they finally clued in?  And once, only once, did I take apart everyones favorite toys and then ran like the child coward that I was.  Is it time for payback? 

Other than that, I can't think of anything that I haven't told them.  I give them updates from time to time on what's going on.  "Hey, we are having another kid."  Then I hang up.  Admittedly, I don't talk long on the phone but I do inform.  Kind of.  Mostly.  Probably not much. 

"Seriously, how could you not tell us?" She says again while I'm thinking.  I've got nothing and I tell her that.  Now she thinks I'm hiding something, which I should have once I found what what it was. 

"We were reading the news and guess who's picture is on the front page!"  She says.  Now I know what she is talking about and yup, probably should have told her that. 

For those that have followed the blog for any amount of time, probably know about Man Weekend.  It's the annual weekend that alot of guy friends get together, dress up with some ridiculous facial hair, roll to Walmart to create a scene, then drink the rest of the weekend.  Here are some pics to help you remember.

It's a great time to just be with guy friends and not have to worry about anything else. And there's beer, lots of beer.  We think it's funny.  We think it's hilarious.  And apparently the world does to.  Thus, my sisters phone call.

Last weekend something odd happened.  One of the guys took our Man Weekend and put them up on Reddit.  Within hours, we were the front page.  Apparently, this is a big deal and I'll admit I wasn't ready for what happened next.  Over the next three days our little man weekend pics got 3 million views, 1000 comments and a whole lot of What the Hell.  Click here to check them out.

Viral, weird man, very weird.

Then CNN called and wanted to do a story.  Weird and surreal.  Somehow our little fun weekend had gone online and found a small bit of popularity.  And I neglected to tell my family about it or call my sister, who loves this kind of stuff.  When we shot the pilot of for the reality show she was calling every night to see what was happening.  That I had forgot to tell her about the CNN thing is a pretty big blunder on my part.

Because now, as my sister had just informed me, we were on the front page of CNN.com under the headline "When man weekend goes terribly right."  And there, for the whole world, was man weekend in all our skeevy glory.

The dirty stache weekend.  Biker weekend.  Amish weekend.  Pencil thin weekend.  Elvis weekend.  All 5 years that we have done this was right there.  And now my sister was reading it and demanding why I had been so lax to tell her that her brother has embarrassed her on a global scale?

"So I guess they printed the article, huh?" I told her.  "Probably should have given you a heads up on that one......"

"You think!"

I left it to my sister to call the rest of my family and let them know that they probably didn't want to associate with me anymore.  It would be in their best interest if they said they didn't know who that Fat Elvis was and just go on their merry way.  She disagreed.

But as quickly as fake Internet fame comes, it goes.  We reached 3 million views and the CNN article in 3 or 4 days.  Then, nothing.  Quiet.  The little ticker on the picture page has not gone up by 1 since then.   It sits at 3,007,101 views and I think that is probably where it stays. 

I will leave everyone with a bit of advice though:  Drink Beer, get famous.  That's apparently how this works. 


The Crime Scene

I should have known when she walked those long legs into my world that she would end up getting in trouble.  A figure like she's got won't buy you good will with everyone, sometimes it buys you nothing but headache and that headache is staring at me right in the eye.  I'm not sure what she did wrong and I'm not sure why she ended up hog tied like she is.  But I know that somehow this problem landed on my desk, wither I wanted it to or not.

I have my suspicions of course who did this to Barbie.  I always have my suspicions in this house.  This house has history and this history has a name.  Little Hoss, always near by but never quit near by enough to make it stick.  Whatever Barbie did though, she's paying for it now.

What should have been a good ice cream eating Saturday somehow took a turn for the worse for Barbie.  Now she has ended up tied upside down on the broomstick.  She obviously took a left turn on the way to the ice cream social.

The crime itself was done in a patient way, almost like they were just playing with her and let their imagination take over.  The hands are the most telling point.  It's not some sort of haphazard knot back there.  Those hands are tied with precision.  Loped around carefully, tight enough to make sure she couldn't get free but just lose enough to make her think she could.  This one was working on many levels, this is some deep shit here.

I don't know why she is upside down either.  The simple answer is that the broom was upside down on the floor when the perpetrator tied Barbie like a King Kong trophy.  But life ain't simple.  It's dirty and nasty and complicated.  It takes left turns when the only way to go is to the right.  Straight lines may get you there faster but life enjoys the scenic route and sometimes that scenic route ends up being tied upside down on a broomstick.

I sent in Mr. Bones this afternoon after there was to much quiet.  He's a cagey character.  Just enough of the underworld in him to get him through the door but he knows where his bread is buttered.  If he ever wants to become the full fledged Halloween decoration that he aspires to be, he would come back with some answers.

He didn't come back though.  He didn't even call.  I only got silence and in this house silence ain't golden, it's deadly for toys.  So I went to look for him and it didn't take long.  I found him strung up on the door knob like he didn't have a care in the world, just Mr. Bones the skeleton hanging around.  Well, he should have had a care because he was missing both his legs.  Snapped clean off.  He took the same wrong turn that Barbie did and know he ain't talking at all.

I showed Hossmom the photos of the crime scenes.  She's my partner.  A cute little number that has my babies.  A bit rough on the edges and a bit soft on the inside, but she gets the job done most times.  She keeps me on the straight and narrow when I can hear the bottle calling my name and  the bottle calls a lot after I've been home alone with the kids on a rainy day.

"You need to have a talk with your daughter." she says.  "That's concerning" she says.

Oh, I'll have a talk alright.  I'll sweat her until the good cop goes home and does the dishes.  But she won't talk.  No, she won't talk.  But her little brother might if I give him some candy.  Lucky for me, I always have some candy in my pocket. 


Athletic Talent

She grips the ball tightly in her 6 year old hands.  There is sweat on them, but she doesn't notice it.  Her concentration is on the pink and white ball that she is holding.  It's slightly under deflated, with a mud smear on the lower right half of it.  Mud means victory, dirt means greatness, she gazes at the ball.  Her tongue sticks out, she does not know she is doing it.  Its like she is subconsciously tasting the air of awesome around her.  She takes one step back, then another.  She stops and thinks about it some more and then takes 4 more steps back.  This is going to be wicked.  She knows it.  She can feel it. 

She starts to run with the pink soccer ball held tightly.  She is going to drop it.  She is going to kick it.  She is going to do it like the coach taught her to do it.  She is going to send this bitch into orbit.  Crowds will go wild.  Mothers will give birth and name their children Little Hoss.  6 years old and she is a legend. 

After running for a half a mile she drops the ball.  Her foot comes up, she pushes it against the wind with all her might.  The ball falls towards it's destiny, her foot rockets to great it.  There is a moment where she can see the accolades that will soon come from this monumental moment.  She makes contact, she gets her whole foot into it.  The ball sails, the ball booms, the ball shoots off her foot.

And then hits her squarely in the face.  Right dead center.  This couldn't have been planned any better on any TV show anywhere.  CGI couldn't made this happen, but Little Hoss could have. 

She is stunned.  How did she manage to kick the ball backwards?  She is not really sure.  She falls on her rump as she thinks about this odd question.  The ball is supposed to go forward. The ball was supposed to end up by the moon.  Instead, the ball did a seeker right to her nose, which may now be bleeding.  She is not crying, not yet.  But she wants to.  She wants to because fuck all that hurt. 


My son is running.  He is running so fast.  He is running faster than fast.  He is the little engine that not only could, it did and did it with a smile on his face.  He's chasing the ball, chasing the ball, must chase the ball.  Dad says get the ball, he wants the ball, he wants it so much, ball ball ball.  His coach says get the ball, so he will get the ball.  And when he gets the ball he is going to kick the ball.  He must kick the ball.  He will kick the ball, kick kick kick, ball ball ball.

Where's the ball.   Get the ball, find the ball, where's the ball.  He will find the ball so he runs runs runs.  Maybe this kid has the ball.  Hey kid, do you have the ball?  C'mon kid, do you have the ball.  Kid, I need the ball.  I must get the ball.  That kid must have the ball.  I don't see the ball so that kid must have the ball.  His 5 year old brain is a maze of logical masterpieces.  Ball, I don't see the ball, so that kid must have the ball.  He needs to run faster.  What makes you run faster?  Screaming like Conan mounting a woman.  That makes you run faster.  And swinging your arms like you are swimming through air, that makes you run faster to.

He thinks that the screaming and air swimming will announce his intention to get the ball and his coach says get the ball so he will scream and yell until he gets the ball.  And that kid must have the ball because he is running to and you only run if you have the ball, baLL, BALLLLL! 

Cut him off, that is what coach says, so I will run up to this kid while screaming and swimming and cut him off.  C'mere kid, I want the ball.  I must have the ball.  Give me the ball! 

He catches the kid.  The kid does not have the ball.  "Hey kid," his face says "Where the fuck is the ball?"  He doesn't have the ball, there is no ball at all the be found.  No ball at all.  This is also the moment where he notices that the kid actually isn't on our team at all.  He is one of the siblings of one of his teammates.  And he also notices that this "he" is actually a "she" which is weird because this is a boys soccer practice.  She's a girl.  He's a boy.  And only one of them has soccer practice today. 

He looks up, seeming to come out of his fugue state.  Where is everyone he thinks?  What are they all doing way over there?  That's like on the total other side of the field.  He wonders if they have the ball.  He runs. 


She has mad soccer skills.  She knows it and Dad knows it.  Everyone knows it.  She has mad soccer skills because she practices alot.  All the time, like right now in the living room.  Dad says to not play soccer in the house so technically she isn't practicing soccer.  She is just kicking the ball a little bit, just a touch to keep her game up.  But she can't kick it to much because  Dad will notice and then Dad will tell her not to kick it in the house and then he might possibly throw her outside.  She doesn't want to go outside, she wants to play indoor soccer because it's cool. 

She picks up the ball and starts bouncing it.  Dad didn't say anything about bouncing the ball in the house.  This, of course, means that it is ok to bounce the ball in the house.  And if we are going to bounce it, then we must bounce it hard.  Dad says to not ever do anything halfway.  He says if you do something, then you have to do it hard.  She is not sure what that means really, she is only six.  But she takes it to mean that in some fundamental way, she must break something. 

She lifts the ball above her head.  She stands on her tip toes, she has to be at least 6 feet tall at this point in time.  She's a giant and she has the strength of the giant.  She is going to bounce the ever loving shit out of this ball.  She is going to bounce it so hard that it is going to smack the ceiling.  She is going to smack the shit out of the ceiling.  Where it goes from there is really anyone's guess.  Perhaps it will hit the mantle, where all the picture frames are.  Do those have glass in them?  Perhaps it will smack the TV which seems to be more fragile than her old TV.  Her old TV weighed about 1000 pounds and could take a beating, she knows because she tested it out.  Dad won't let them touch this TV.  He's boring. 

She brings her arms down, putting as much force as she can in throwing the ball to the floor.  This is going to be awesome.  The ball leaves her fingers, time slows down.  The ball makes contact with the hard wood floor.  Boom goes the dynamite, the sound echos around the room.  Her grin on her face is unmasked as she imagines the destruction that is about to happen.  The ball bounces up and launches. 

And hits her square in the face.  Again. 

She falls on her butt, again, as she determines what this means. 


He found the ball.  He knows where the ball is now.  Bubba Hoss is all over this ball.  He is going to get the ball this time.  He has been practicing hard, just like dad has told him to do.  And now he knows a couple of things that he didn't know before.  He now knows for instance that there is actually a ball on the field.  And he knows that it is most definitely a boy that is kicking the ball.  He is pretty sure that this boy is on his team which is important to know so that you don't go chase some stranger into the crowd.  That stranger probably doesn't even have the ball.

But the kid he is chasing now, he knows for a fact that he has the ball.  He sees the ball and dear God in heaven he wants the ball so bad.  That's what soccer is after all, it's all about the ball.  So he must go get the ball and he must catch the kid with the ball and he must kick the ball oh please oh please oh please let him kick the ball. 

He starts screaming and air swimming again because he has zeroed in on the ball and he must kick the ball.  Ball ball ball he will kick the ball he must kick the ball.  The ball is his world, it is his mecca and he will go to his mecca so he can kick the ball kick the ball kick the ball. 

He has almost caught the kid with the ball.  He does not know the kids name at the moment but that doesn't matter because he has the ball ball ball and the kid has the ball so he will run faster to kick kick kick the ball.  Run, run, run he must run faster, must run as fast as the screaming will allow him to run.  He is manic as he chases the kid that chases the ball.  His Dad wonders if he is starting to foam at the mouth.  All that he cares about is the ball and the kid that has the ball so he must catch the kid with the ball ball ball.

Hey a leaf.

He stops dead in his tracks.  He is looking at a leaf.  Cool, it's a leaf that is dried out.  And he notices that it's got an ant crawling on top of it.  He wonders where the leaf came from.  Probably a tree, he thinks.  Yes, leaves come from trees so it would only make sense that this leaf came from a leaf tree.  It's really just common sense. 

He sits down besides the leaf.  He hears someone screaming at him about a ball.  "What ball?" he thinks.  This isn't a ball.  This is a leaf.  He wonders what it would sound like if he crunches it up with is hands.

I find that some of the best moments with the two minions are when they have no idea that I am watching them.  I will sit and just look at what they are doing, what they are saying to themselves.  My role in these little moments is just to watch.  It is not to correct, it is not to judge.  It is not to change anything short of something that will actually cause them serious harm , or possibly my house. This is where a father gets a glimpse into their little minds.  Sometimes in these moments you find sparks of genius.  And other times in these moments you find your minion taking yet another shot in the face or that your son has discovered a leaf that is way more important than a soccer ball.  Either way, these are the times that belong to just me.  Sometimes you get to share in their success and other times you get to share in their failures.  But the important thing to remember is that it is theirs, success and failures, and something that they must learn to deal with.  We are lucky enough sometimes to just get a glimpse into them. 

That and it's just funny. 


My Friend Bob

I'm sitting outside on the back porch with my very good friend Bob.  It's a cool night out, slight breeze with the hint of a fire going on inside someones house.  It's just right after dinner and I'm enjoying the last of the day, the part where the night kind of slowly creeps out and you can just sit and enjoy it.  I believe this is called "sunset" in some circles.  I call it me and Bob time. 

The kids are inside.  The wife is inside.  Just Bob and I are here to enjoy the view.  The crickets are starting to come out to play us a little tune.  I want a beer but it's all the way inside and I don't want to go get it.  I could ask my family if they would bring me one but they won't as long as Bob is out here with me. 

I'm reading a book with the last of the light.  I am relaxed.  There is no one jumping on my crotch.  Should I decide to get up and walk around, there will be no toys that I will impale my feet on like some bush booby trap.  No one will ask me to do the laundry, clean a room or fix a toilet.  I can just take a quiet stroll if I want to. 

Bob doesn't talk much, which is fine with me.  I enjoy the quiet.  Most of my day is filled with endless questions and loud noises.  Occasionally, there is crying if someone got punched or we happen to be out of pop tarts.  But out here with Bob, it's nice and restful, a man can hear himself think with Bob.

I do pose questions to Bob at times, mainly just to get my own thoughts straight.  Should I or shouldn't I type of questions.  I'll ask him if it is a good idea to seed the yard again this fall or should I just wait until spring.  Should I encourage my daughter's new found love of fashion or should I squash it because eventually that means she will want to wear things that are to short, to bare and to revealing.  Should I tell my son the truth about Santa or wait until he discovers this stuff on his own.  I find his silence gives me more answers than an expert panel. 

Bob and I have gotten quite close over the last three days and I find it a downright dirty shame that I am going to have to kill him soon. 

Bob, my friend and compatriot, who allows me peace, is a spider.  If I were to describe him, I would say that he is about the size of a nickle.  He has hung his web right to the side of the outside door.  It gets torn up by the wind a bit but every morning, it's back in place.  I think he is a tad OCD which explains why he doesn't talk much.  Maybe he is afraid that his weirdness will scare me off and our friendship will be at an end?  But how could it when it keeps everyone else inside and I get to sit out here by myself. 

My wife has a different perspective on Bob.  She describes him as a large basketball sized death bringer with legs.  He's got pincers that could be used as the jaws of life.  Bob will have babies that will grow bigger than him and eventually join up with Mothra to eventually defeat Godzilla.  We are all just potential meals to Bob and he spends his evenings spinning his webs and his plans to destroy us all.  She is not a fan of Bob.

Neither are my children.  There is a lot of screaming when they see him.  Then they run around in a circle for a bit.  Eventually, they break something because that is what they just do naturally.  Perhaps a window this time or the vacuum cleaner, something to give me a challenge.  But all that screaming is done inside the house because they will not step near Bob.

No one will and as he guards the threshold to the backyard, I am alone with my thoughts.  In the quiet.  In the peace. 

I know Bob for what he is.  A therapist that prescribes tranquility.  I go outside to let the dogs out, he makes sure no one follows me.  I'm sure that Hossmom has a chore list three miles long.  But she is bared from coming here by her own fear.  I am free of the chores.  I am free of the demands.  I am free. 

For three days Bob has given me this respite and I have enormous gratitude to him.  That is why he hasn't taken a broom to the face just yet.  I have been running interference for him.  Hossmom started asking nicely.  "Please kill that monster on the back porch before it abducts one of our children" she said. 

I told her I would.  Then conveniently forgot about it. 

"Honey, death is on the back porch, please destroy it." she asked again.  I was busy that day, couldn't get to it. 

"If that unholy of hollies is still outside today I'm going to divorce you, take the kids, and leave you with the fat dog."  That one got my attention. 

Yes, Bob must die, there is no other way around it.  I could just push him off but no, I will not share him with another.  Besides, Hossmom will demand to see a torn body as proof of his demise.  So there is no other choice, I grab my broom. 

I tell him that I am sorry, that I didn't want this.  I tell him that if it was up to me, we would just hang out.  And if he had babies, I would talk to them too.  Eventually they could find porches of their own and create the very friendship that I find so rewarding with others. 

I think he understands as I take my stance and do what must be done.  A piece of me goes with him. 

Hossmom comes outside for the first time in three days.   She nods at the destruction that she sees that I have caused.  I am nothing but the tool for her whimsies and today I believe that tool is tired, so tired.  The kids come out with her. 

They all look in the backyard for a while, for just a moment it is silent and I am hopeful that we have turned the corner as a family. 

"Kids, go get Daddy a shovel, he needs to pooper scoop.  You guys help him."  Then she leaves.  Bubba Hoss throws a potted plant over the railing, Little Hoss breaks a wooden stair by jumping on it. 

I'm sorry Bob, you will be missed. 



My sons room is jacked and I'm not sure what to make of this.  I am at a loss which is unusual for me.  There is no little awkward joke coming from me.  There is no smart quip that reflects the woes of society, nicely packaged in a one line zinger that I would say to the dog, my most trusted companion.  Except when he shits on the floor or eats the garbage.  Then I don't like him.  But most times, he's man's best friend and the eater of all things that fall on the floor, let us give thanks.

The dog and I are looking at my son's room.  I am speechless because I don't know what to say.  He is speechless because he is a fucking dog.  Regardless, we both just look at my son's room and decide what to make of this.  He farts.  He blames me.  The comedy breaks our silence.

"What the hell man??" I tell the dog who still decides its not the time to talk.

Being a father has shown me a lot of things in my time.  I have seen poop smeared on walls, I have seen crayons used on walls, I have seen gallons of snot used to create masterpieces on walls.  I have lost a lot of walls in my time as a father.  But this, this is a new one on me.

On my son's walls........

There is nothing.

But the horror doesn't end there. There is nothing on his floor either.  There is nothing on his bed, there is nothing here or there, there is nothing everywhere.

Now I know that it may seem like I have lost my mind or my sight.  You are probably thinking, Hossman, your son cleaned his room.  Great for him.  Go eat a hot dog and stop writing about stupid crappola.  

But if you read my blog, then you know such a thing is not possible.  Have we not mentioned the horror of the walls?

There are no posters on his walls.  I have no idea how he tore them down.  There are no books in his bookshelf.  There are no shelves in his book shelf.  There are no pillows on his bed.  There are no covers on his bed, there are no sheets on his bed.  There are toys on the floor, there are no toys in the toy box, there is no toy box.

I look at the dresser.  There is a lamp, a solitary lamp pushed all the way back to the wall.  But there is nothing else on top of the dresser.  There is no piggy bank, there is no school photo, there is no nail gun.  Not that there should be one up there but on occasion I do leave tools lying around where my children can get them and maim me while I sleep.  It's a game we play called "cripple dad".  I'm still winning but there have been some close matches.

I open the drawers.  There are no clothes in the drawers.  No pants, no shirts, no pjs.  In the top drawer though there is still some underwear but not as much as there should be.

In short, my son's room is bare.  It looks like someone just dumped a mattress in here and then took off on a union break.  All of his belongings are gone, everything, gone.

I have made enemies in my past, this I know.  I may have told a few people that they should take on as a tutor the local baboons so that they could learn some manners.  I may have inferred to some in my past that a tick on the ass of my trusted dog is a better companion.  Sure, I don't know when to temper it sometimes, but still, this goes to far.  My son's stuff has been jacked.

But of course I immediately go to my first suspicion, aliens.  I have killed more than my fair share of aliens.  I have round them up in the online gaming world and marched them into oblivion.  Aliens have no sense of honor though and they have decided that this is the only way to get back at me for the years of painful defeats I have put them through.

Then my son walks in and shatters that idea.  I do believe, Mr. Watson, that we have a lead.

"Where is your sister?" I ask him.  I know, my head shouldn't go there first, but c'mon, it's my daughter.  This is the type of thing she would do.

"At school"  he says.  Intriguing.  The plot gets thicker.

"Ok."  I say.  "Hey buddy......"

"Yea dad?"

"Where's all your stuff man?"

"Oh!" he says with a big smile on his face. 

"We hid it!" he tells me, still very excited.

"Who is we?" I ask.

"Daaaaaddddddddd"  he says.  "Me and my friends silly!"  he tells me like somehow I am now the idiot.  But it begins to make sense.  We had playgroup today.  He had his friends over.  They went to play in his room.  They were quiet, they were nice.  They came down and ate lunch.  They didn't say a word, they didn't act different at all.

He goes to his closet and tries to open the door, but he can't.  He's pushing on it with all his might and yet, it only opens about a foot and then stops.  He slips inside and vanishes.  I am intrigued and terrified at the same time.

I go over to the door and I push.  It doesn't budge, something is pushing back.  I get it open just enough to stick my head in.

And there it is.  All of his shit.  Everything in the world that he owns is right there, crammed inside a tiny little closet.  Every book, scrap of clothing, posters, toys, wall decorations, everything.  And on top of this huge pile of junk sits my son on his thrown of possession.

"What the hell man!" I say.

"Fooled you!"  he says.  "We hid it!"  I need to tell him to stop hanging out with his sister, she's a bad influence.  My nice little boy has become a criminal mastermind.  What begins as just cleaning out a room now will soon turn into cleaning out a bank vault and hiding in caves.   He will spend his ill begotten earnings on ice cream and power rangers crap.  I don't mind the ice cream but the power rangers stuff sends shivers down my spine.  That's no way for a grown man to live.

I tell the other families at playgroup what happened, how their sons may have corrupted my sweet innocent evil genius boy.  However, I leave one out.  A sweet little girl, Papascrums kid.  She's nice and respectful and mostly shy.  The only innocent in this debauchery of the jacked up room.

"Oh no she was in on it to!" Mrs. Papascrum tells me.  This is her direct quote:  "Want to make sure she gets the street cred she deserves"

There it is.  There is Soze.  And poof, she's gone.  



"God Dammit!  The road is closed!  God Dammit!" Hossmom yells at me but I don't tell her she's yelling at me because that would just make her yell at me more.  She is calling me on the phone from about 50 yards away.  She is in her car staring at the road closed sign that is pretty much right in front of our house.  It's late, probably around 10 or so.  But she can't pull into our driveway because, you guessed it, the road is closed.

As an experienced husband and father, I've done this before, I've handled this situation before.  So I do what you are supposed to do when in this situation.  I point out something to Hossmom that is just going to piss her off more.

"Of course the road is closed" I said.  "Didn't you see the signs for the last three days?"

Yup, this is pro shit I'm doing.  You shouldn't try this at home. 

She doesn't answer right away which is how I know that she is plotting my doom.  I should have just shut up but I couldn't help myself.  They are putting in speed humps in our neighborhood and for the last three days they have had signs up saying that the roads will be closed while they do it.  I just assumed that she would know that.

"Of course I've seen the signs" you dip shit she doesn't say but I can tell she's thinking it.  I'm in her head man.  "But they were supposed to be finished by the time I came back!"  She is yelling loudly again.  I consider for a moment discussing the drying rates for freshly poured concrete but to my ever loving credit I don't say anything.  It was a close call though.

"This is stupid!" she tells me.  After being with my wife for many years, I can tell her moods with just a short conversation.  Her current tone tells me that she is pissed off and willing to crack the first person she sees in half.  For the sake of the world and humanity, that must be me.  I cannot unleash this on the rest of you.  I take one for the team, you all owe me now.

"Stay put" I tell her.  My voice is calm, the same calm that a snake charmer would speak to a deadly cobra.  Hello Mr. Cobra, you don't want to bite me, I'm your friend, please don't chomp my eyeballs.  Unfortunately, snakes sometimes do chomp eyeballs. 

"I'll come out and get the car and take it the back way and you can just walk on home."  I thought this was a brilliant idea.  It's so close to our house that it is easy for me to do.   It would take less than a minute to walk out there, get the car, allow her to go inside and jump into her pajama pants, and then take the car the back way into the neighborhood.  She will be nice and cozy inside, I will be alone with my thoughts in a short car ride and away from any possible dishes being thrown.  I am awesome.

"I can't!" she tells me.  "I've already turned around."  She sounds even more mad and I'm not sure really why.  But it is not my place to question, only to avoid the wrath.  I tell her to take the back way home then and I'll get her something to eat. 


I'll admit, I'm at a loss here.  I ask her how is it possible that she doesn't know the back way into the neighborhood.  We've been here 4 years, this should be pretty simple.  This was apparently the wrong thing to say.  She screams at me that she only has to come in the normal way and that the back way is for redneck dip shits like me who need to shower 12 times a day to get the stupid off.  I made up that last part but I feel that you can get the gist of what she said. 

The next 15 minutes I spend telling her how to get into the neighborhood the back way.  She spends the next 15 minutes taking the wrong turns and asking me how I can pass myself off as a man.  Eventually she gets home.  When she gets in the door I quickly give her a hug.  I'm an experienced fighter and I know that there at times where the best thing to do is to get in close to avoid big haymakers. 

She plops down on the couch and once again we go into the stupidity of speed humps.  Why do we need so many?  Why does it take so long?  Why are they stupid?  Why does the local construction crew suck so much cock?  This goes on for about another 15 minutes. 

"Calm down honey."  I say.  "You don't want to wake the kids."  The worse thing you can do to an upset person is to tell them to calm down.  It never works and has the exact opposite affect.  No one ever calms down.  What they do is yell even louder and start imagining how gratifying it would be to put a ice pick in your head. 

"I know you are upset honey." I try again.  Idiot comes to mind.  "Please don't yell at me."

"I'M NOT YELLING AT YOU!" she yells.  I point out the irony of her saying this while she is yelling.  I hide her phone so she cannot call a divorce lawyer. 

My mind is racing here.  I'm wondering how we ended up in a fight, how I am somehow responsible for the road closure and how I can quickly diffuse the situation.  There is an answer here, I just have to find it.  And I do. 

I do because I am an experienced husband and like I've said before, I've done this.  I know the score, I know what's up and I know how to get out of it. 

Hossmom is pregnant.  This will be our third, and our final, minion.  If you've read my blog you will know that pregnant women are not the most agreeable to be around at times.  I'll catch shit for saying it but I know it to be true.  I'm not claiming any hardship on my part mind you, but it's a fact that is undeniable.  Hormones are raging, you have to pee every 2 hours, sometimes you pee yourself and your back never stops hurting.  I get it, I know it's tough.  And as a result, husbands everywhere get the brunt of the frustration that comes out of nowhere.  Hey, we are just the guys that happen to be around when they need to vent and let the crazy out and to take the full responsibility, it is our fault that they got knocked up in the first place. 

I know all of this but I seemed to have forgotten some of it.  I know about the mood swings, the irrational anger that comes out of nowhere.  I've done this before.  And I'll have to do it again. 

I immediately agree with everything she is saying.  Fuck the speed humps!  How dare they care about children's safety!  Those bastards are all probably union and sleeping half the time.  I bet that they make a ton of money making the speed humps.  You know that they use substandard materials and pocket the rest!  You know what, I'm going to call them and demand that they immediately open that road! 

That's how you do it.  Trust me on this, there is no other way. 

I have 6 more months of this.  I am going to have to console her when the dog looks sad even though he always looks sad.  I will have to get her tissues when the "sad" commercials come on.  I will have to fight the injustice of the world like speedhumps and stupid drivers.  And I will do all of this gladly, it is my role in all of us. 

I do this to keep all of you safe, and you all owe me.  Big time. 



I had a dream last night and because of this dream, I will be completely messed up for the rest of the day.  I might as well just go back to bed as there is nothing of worth that will be accomplished today.  It's over, I'm calling it.  The trainer is throwing in the towel and I'm pulling into the garage, my race is over.  See what I did there?  I mixed sports metaphors between boxing and NASCAR.  That's what's happening to me today.  So fuck it, I quit.  That's what stupid people do, they quit.  Well, they quit and enter their daughters into beauty pageants at age 3, give them something called Go-Go juice and then go on reality TV to brag about their awesome parenting.  That family is going to have some awesome pregnant teens working at McDonald's.  At least I'm not that bad.

Last night I dreamed that I was doing a series of job interviews.  This in itself shouldn't be that worrisome.  I used to be great at job interviews.  I was personable, charismatic and knowledgeable.  You wanted to hire me, the core of your bones vibrated with excitement after I was done.  I was witty and funny while maintaining professional standards.  When I was done, you thought "Man, I want that guy working here."  But in the dream last night, I was not that guy.  I was a fuck up.  I was stupid. 

I was interviewing, for some reason, in my wife's field of advertising.  I know completely nothing about advertising.  You would think that I would have picked up something from listening to my wife talk about it for so long.  But nope, I still know nothing about the inner workings of advertising other than the SAG salaries of the actors that are hired.  Oh, and if someone gets drunk at work.  I know about that stuff too because it's fun to gossip.  We should all do it more. 

In this dream, I desperately needed a job.  I can't remember why.  However, the first problem was that I was trying to interview while at the same time taking care of the kids, one of which was a baby.  The baby would cry, I would try to answer a question, my son would pee on the floor and my daughter wouldn't stop dancing on the interviewers desk.  I don't think the interview was going very well because I remember thinking "I wonder if he will notice the children?" 

During the interview, I was then asked to take a written exam about advertising.  This used to be something else I was completely awesome at.  I don't have test panic, I don't cram 10 minutes before one.  I once rolled into a calculus exam 30 minutes late, was the first one to finish, got a B and glory followed.  This one was not like that one.  How messed up to you have to be pining for the good old days of taking a Calculus final? 

The first question on the written exam was to define the word "arable."  I have no idea what this word means.  I don't even think that it is a word.  I asked Hossmom about it as she is a word nerd and she replied that it is a word as in "You had a arable dream last night!  Would you like to buy some flowers Governor" she said in her best cockney accent.  She was not helping.  But in the dream I was sure it was a word, a word that I didn't know and couldn't think about because at the current moment my daughter had gotten a hold of sharpie markers and was writing on the walls.  And what was she writing?  Arable.  And yet, I couldn't define it.  I was going to get the job. 

The next question was "What should the first 75% of the clients advertising budget be spent on."  Of course, I don't know the answer.  Why would I, I've never worked a day in the advertising world.  My answer did not go off well as I replied with "Boob jobs"  I laughed and for some reason my son laughed.  The guy doing to interview did not laugh.  Fuck all.  Nothing is worse than when a joke doesn't go well.  There is awkward silence as everyone realizes what a numb nuts you are.  A social incompetent who would do better tending to animals, probably cats, so that you won't make people feel weird in the real world. 

I was given an hour to finish the test but I couldn't finish it because I couldn't get past the first two questions.  So I ran, with kids in tow.  I called my wife and told her to tell her people that I'm sorry I'm so stupid and to tell them that I accidentally stabbed myself with a pen while trying to use it as a fork. 

And when I woke up, that's the way I felt.  I even asked Hossmom why she wanted me to work in advertising.  Now we can analyze the dream.  It's obvious that I have daddy issues.  I'm not really sure of course, as I am stupid apparently, but everything comes back to that so I'll go with it.  Could it also be that I haven't been employed for 4 years and my son starts kindergarten next year?  Will I choke on interviews?  Is it the knowledge that when I eventually go back to work I will have to once again start at the bottom of the rung rather than the level that I earned before leaving the working world?  I managed people, I made important decisions, I controlled a budget.  I was a fixer, I was the guy you called on when things were about to get public and nasty.  And I was good at it, I was not a stupid imbecile trying to define a word that doesn't exist.  Is that guy gone forever, has he been destroyed by dirty diapers and piss stains?  I'm worried that he might be.  Has Spongebob Squarepants taken away all the intelligence I used to have?

I have never taken the stay at home dad thing lightly.  I have always treated this like a job.  I wake up in the morning with the family, I cook breakfast, lunch and dinners.  I go to events, I'm involved in the national organization, I try to help others that are struggling with it.  But this is not something that translates well into the working world.

Unless of course the Webster's Dictionary cares to hire me.  After all, I did come up with a new word, Arable.



I have a to do list.  This is most commonly known as the "honey do list".  This is a sweet way of saying this is the shit my wife wishes that I would get accomplished each day.  She's a ball breaker and the pay is for crap. 

Normally though, I do not allow Hossmom to write on the to do list.  I have a good reason for this.  It's because, god love her, she has no idea what's important to get done around the house first and her mind often results in tangents.  I like linear thinking, straight forward directions with clear goals.  Hossmom is more of the "take out the garbage and also, while you are at it, go ahead and solve world peace.  Thanks honey!"  As you can see, that  makes no sense.  It works better if on one day I take out the garbage, then clean the garage.  See, I'm out there already, it just makes sense.  The solving world peace thing is a complicated issue that is going to take at least a whole other day and therefore, is not related.  So I won't do it and I won't allow it to go onto the list that I already made.  It's my sneaky way of preventing her from ever putting anything on the list and therefore allowing me more time to nap and play video games while the kids run around naked flinging peanut butter at each other.  I am an awesome parent. 

There is another reason why I don't allow Hossmom to write on my list.  I can't read her writing.  When she's in a hurry she writes in some sort of bubble code that only her and mermaids can read.  Most times I have no idea what it says.  It works much better if she leaves her Mayan Pictograph writing off my list and just tell me what she would like done.  This allows me to pretend that I heard her and therefore, once again ignore it.  I have a very complicated system. 

However, there are times when she gets the list without my knowledge and writes her gibberish down.  I will then spend the entire morning trying to decipher what it means before finally just doing a random chore and hope that it was the one she wanted done.  Though "cleaning gutters" sometimes gets done before "boss coming to dinner" which allows for many hilarious blogs to be written when I fuck it up. 

And that's what I'm doing right now, I'm looking at my list and her alien cryptography that she left on it.  It's throwing me for a loop which is good because that matches her writing.  I think, and I'm really not sure, but I think I can make out an S.  It could be an 8 though.  And I'm thinking that there is an E right after the S, it's that or some weird bridge doodle because she does that to.  Finally, it ends with an X.  Maybe an X.  Possibly but that just could be wishful thinking on my part. 

I could be mistaken, but it appears that my wife might, maybe, have put sex on my to do list. 

There are many complications to this and with my wife, there is always a deeper meaning that totally passes me by.  Is she sending me a message?  Do I.......do I get to have some sex soon?  Or is it only after I finish my other chores on the to do list?  Is it even sex that she had written down for me?  It could be "soup" just as easily.  There is another word in front of it and I'm not really sure what it says.  It looks just like scribbles to me.  Is it more of the message?

Is she saying we need to have more sex?  Have we gotten to the point in our marriage where we have to schedule such a thing?  Well, we are parents to two kids.  This week I have 2 soccer practices, one of which I coach, 2 soccer games at complete different times, a girl scout meeting, a build a bear meeting, play group and our normal Friday adventures.  I have a lot of shit going on.  If you have kids, you know that it's not necessarily unheard of to schedule sexy times.  Passion?  Passion is when the house is clean and the only one smacking me around is a good looking lady with a broom.  Sometimes I think I should write porn. 

"John went into the room.  All the bills were paid and he still had money left over for his hobby.  The kids put themselves to bed but only after insisting on cleaning their rooms.  His flip flops made the flip flop sound as he walked to the couch.  His flops were covered in duck tape and he was happy that it was holding and he didn't have to buy another pair.  She was on the couch, sleeping.  Before she went to sleep though she gave him the remote and demanded that he watch all of the football game so that he could tell her about it when she woke up early tomorrow.  John had never been so turned on in his entire life."

Good stuff.

However, not knowing the first word of what she put on the to do list has got me a little worried, especially since now my hopes are starting to get up (ha!).  It could say "No sex for you ever unless you clean the gutters and get dinner ready for my boss who is coming over early today.  Entertain him for 4 hours until I get home at which point I will be to tired and you will get NO SEX". 

That could be it. 

She put two other things on my list but honestly, I haven't paid them much attention in the 4 hours I have been looking at it.  It would appear, and I don't speak bubble, to say that I need to mail Zippos to Peter.  Hmmm, that's interesting.  We have no Zippos and I know no Peter.  I promise you I'm not making that part up, the pun that time was unintentional.  Or is this more code though??  If so, it kind of sucks (ha again) because I would expect her to be more creative than "Peter". 

The next one below that says "Call a;dlkfjads;jiuothertheworhowejfr;qwejfrl;asdjkf  @ adoifasdhfgpohft"  Your guess is as good as mine on that one.  Am I supposed to call Peter to ask if it's ok to have sex?  Is Peter cool with this?  Does he have to sign off on it? 

Well fuck Peter.  I don't care what he thinks.  I'm just going to do what I think is best and interpret it the best I can.  What I'm going to do is to mail Zippos to some random Peter guy in the phone book, then I'm going to call him to let him know that they have been mailed, and if I do those things there is a possibility I can have some Prom Sex(?).  Sometimes, you've just got to take a shot in the dark and hope that it all works out, regardless if Peter gets his Zippos. 



Our day is a blank page and we have not filled it, it remains as white as the moment it arrived with the sunrise.  There is nothing on the schedule, there are no activities planned, there is not a place to be or a thing to do.  Nothing.  That is what we are doing today.  Nothing.



Fuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkk.  I'm bored. 

School starts tomorrow for the Hossman Family.  We have seized the summer, we have conquered it, made it quiver as we rode through it.  We have seen the country, we have taken the road less traveled, we have explored.  From the first of June until this week, we were nonstop.  We seized the day and throttled it.  Now we sit here, my two children and I, and we have nothing. 

"Daddy!" they scream in unison.  "What adventure are we doing today?!" they ask. 

Nothing I tell them, absolutely nothing.

They are confused and I don't blame them. 

I am sure that nothing sounds pretty great to many of you out there.  That you would love to do nothing, to sit at home and contemplate nothing, to have nothing as your greatest goal and achievement. 

Try it for a week.  It blows.  Nothing is not fun, it is not exciting and pretty soon nothing rots your brain.  I have been there, I have taken that train ride.  Eventually, nothing turns your mind into nothing. 

We saw a big ball of twine and gave a back country boy a hug.  We saw a missile silo.  We have gone camping, swam in lakes and seen a dead body.  We have wandered through museums, we have gone fishing, we have danced with worms.  We have held guns, we have yelled in nature, we have drawn pictures.  We have seen the sun come up and light the clouds with pink splashes, we have seen the sun come down and mark still waters with yellow tint.  We have done all of this in the short summer that we had.  Now, now it's time for school and the day before school is rest, preparation, contemplation.  And nothing.  A whole lot of nothing. 

It turns out that I don't do nothing well.  And neither do my children, which doesn't surprise me.  In the absence of the challenge of a giant water slide to conquer or a sun burn to make, nothing does not seem to entertain my children.  And on days like this, when nothing is the only thing on the family calendar that hangs on the fridge, I am reminded of why we don't do nothing very often.  Because my kids, and probably most kids, decide nothing is not very fun.  So they take nothing, stare it down, and turn it into something.

And that something usually involves destruction or me getting kneecapped.  Something is always better than nothing.  Nothing means sitting in a chair all day or when that tires us out, laying on the floor with the dogs.  Nothing means that there is a place out there that isn't being appreciated or a drywall that isn't getting holes in it.  And that, my friends, we just can't have.  That is what my children's philosophy is.  If nothing is the challenge, they will rise to it and decide to make it something and that something usually comes with me having to fix it with tools and money. 

Halfway into our nothing day I am called upstairs, the kids left me on the chair to go create something from nothing.  I decided that I need to walk before my legs cramp up from sitting to long.  And it's been too quite, a sure sign that nothing is getting the shit beat out of it.  I walk into my son's room.  He and his sister are in giggles, they are almost crying with laughter.  I do a quick inventory of the room.  Everything seems to be in place.  I don't see anything broken, smashed or on fire.  I count our animals: 1 skinny dog, 1 fat dog, 1 cat, and the memory of another cat from long ago.  Check, we seem to be fine.  But I am mistaken.  Because I have allowed nothing to cloud my mind, weaken my reasoning, and forget who my children are. 

They point to the ceiling.  I look up. 

It appears that we are no longer doing nothing.  Today we are doing something. 


Bucket Pee

"I peed in a bucket!" my son screamed.  He was very excited.  He then decided to pick up the bucket to show my wife and I.  Except it wasn't a bucket, it was an empty flower pot because I always have great expectations when I buy the flower pots but they never seem to remain filled with dirt and flowers.  Perhaps because my son likes to pee in them all of a sudden. 

"Mom, Dad," he said very calmly.  "This is my pee bucket."  His junk was still out of his pants.  Pretty soon I sure someone in this family is going to be arrested for exposure.  Now he was showing us his pee bucket.  But as a flower pot, as you all know, have holes in the bottom.  Good times.  Good times. 

My wife shot me a look and it wasn't the "aw, look at how cute that is" look that she sometimes gives me when the kids do something unexpected.  It was the look that told me that somehow I was to blame for all of this.

"This isn't my fault!" I said as pee dribbled out of the pee bucket.  The look had immediately put me on the defensive. 

"Who else is going to teach him to pee in a bucket!" She said.  "This is totally your fault, this is something you would do!"

Granted, this does sound like something I would teach my kid, but this time, he's using only his imagination and getting no help from me. 

I've taught my son to pee on trees, flowers, car tires, inside bottles, on Cheerios and we have begun snow peeing as well.  It's an art form and you can only master after years of practice and eventually with the help of beer. 

But I've never taught him to pee in a bucket.  It's never even crossed my mind although in hindsight, it probably should have. 

"This wasn't me!  I didn't teach him this!" 

When it comes to boys, sometimes my wife thinks we are all the same.  That if one has done something, then another boy has done something.  And if I didn't teach him to pee in a bucket, then it is my DNA that is to blame for him peeing in a bucket and then picking it up to bring it to us, dripping and all.  It's all of manhood she blames and I'm the one that gets the brunt of the accusations.  I take the punishment for all men, you all owe me.  My wife blames me, you, everyone with a penis.  Why on earth would anyone want to pee in a bucket? 

Well, to be honest, it is kind of fun.  I'm not sure why but I can understand it from the prospective of a 4 year old boy.  Filling a bucket up, pouring the bucket out, putting stuff in the bucket, peeing on the stuff in the bucket.  I can totally get that and I know that the ladies out there are getting grossed out.  But the guys, they know that for some reason, it's cool to pee on stuff.  It's primordial, like marking your territory.  It just feels right.  I don't know why, but I get it.  And because I get it and because my son did it, I am to blame.  It's not me honey, it's all of mankind.  100 bucks says that if Neil Armstrong could have peed on a moon rock without damaging his junk, he would have done it.  And I guarantee there is a NASA engineer out there somewhere that has worked on this national problem. 

"Go dump that out!" my wife says. 

"Good job boy!" I say right after her.  Then I get the look again.  I couldn't help it.  He peed in a bucket, he had good aim.  In my book, that's a win. 

My wife walks away while shaking her head, disgusted by all things boy.  I go back to reading my book on the porch.  Life is good. 

Five minutes later, I hear my daughter.......

"Dad, Bubba Hoss peed in a bucket!" she screams, excited. 

Yup, she gets it.


The Resturant

"Dude" I told my traveling companion.  "If there is a bar fight in this place, I don't think I could hang.  I"m just letting you know."  He laughed at my funny joke, my god damn funny joke.  Always making a joke, have to be screwing around when I should have been reconsidering why we were choosing to it here with our children. 

This was a local establishment.  This is kind of a rule with me when we go adventuring to places we have never been before.  Eat come place local, eat some place that you can experience the town in.  Eat at a joint where the regulars go, stay away from the chain restaurants.  It's the flavor of the town I'm looking for, it's soul.  And you only get that if you eat local. 

In a little place like Cawker City, KS, there isn't much to choose from.  There was a Mexican joint down the street however when I want Mexican food, the middle of Kansas is not where I would go.  I'm sure it's a fine place with great food, but I didn't want to take any chances to ruin my ball of twine adventure.  Let's keep Montezuma revenge down by the border.  Good food, bad bathroom time.

Our other choice was this place which was remarkable for the amount of tin that it used.  It wasn't a large venue by any means, about the size of a small house, complete with a screen door.  I wonder if they are baking cookies inside?  There was a patio area as well, blocked by some sort of fencing, I assumed tin.  The placed looked like it would be right at home at the edge of a trailer park, serving the finest 4 dollar malt liqueur.  We wanted local, we got local.  We walked in, 2 stay at home dads and our 4 children. 

We passed through the screen door, making sure to slam it on our way in to bring as much attention to ourselves as possible.  There was a bar area, perhaps the whole restaurant was a bar area, I'm not sure.  The lighting wasn't great and it's hard to tell whats what in neon red lights.  There appeared to be 6 gentlemen at the bar, fine upstanding citizens.  We refer to these as "locals". 

Like a sitcom, they all swiveled on their bar stools.  They looked at us.  They didn't say anything.  We didn't say anything.  Even the kids didn't say anything.  Everyone stared.  Silence. 

This was awkward. 

Not a sound was made, by us or them because after 30 seconds of long silence it always becomes an us or them situation. 

My eyes darted from face to face, trying to find out if perhaps one of these locals was the owner.  Perhaps they could show us to our table because in a place like this, "wait to be seated" is the norm.  I looked behind the bar for maybe a bartender but instead saw a opaque looking mirror covered up by brands of beer that sat in front. 

The silence continued.  Was there a waitress?  I couldn't find a waitress.  I was looking for a waitress, desperately.  Surely she could restore some proper order here or at least provide some impartial refereeing as I got my ass thrown through the opaque mirror.  Of course, I didn't see any waitress.  I assumed her body was probably stuffed in one of the trunks in the parking lot, with the bartender as well. 

I read to much, my mind tends to envision the worst case scenarios from the stories I've read.  But being who I am, Hossman, I also envision that in those worse case scenario's I am the hero.  Soon I would get rushed by the six gents on the bar stools and I would give a war cry while tearing off my shirt.  My daughter (she's Hoss to ya know) would grab a beer bottle and smash it's end on a table and use the jagged pieces to pierce eyes out while I body slammed one of them.  My son would look at the neon lights, so pretty the neon lights, so pretty. 

We were out numbered.  We were (obviously) from out of town.  No one knew we were here.  There didn't appear to be any authority figure present.  My best bet was to take the first blow and let our other Dad run away with the kids.  I doubt he's much of a fighter anyway.  In the silence, I started to think of ways to stall thus giving him time to move towards the door. 

"Hi!" I said in my best Texas drawl and a volume that was 3 times to loud.  Be friendly, be gregarious.  Be the guy that shows no fear.  Don't wet your pants in front of your children.  I even waved, an exaggerated wave like I was just introduced on Wheel of Fortune and was trying to get Vana's attention.  Let's see what they make of that, I thought. 

One of the men got up from the far end of the bar.  He began shuffling towards us.  I checked his hands for perhaps a switch blade or a length of rope that he would surely tie me up with so that he could put the ball gag in without interference.  I thought back to my joke I made outside and wished I would have just kept my mouth shut. 

He came close, way into my personal space.  Inches from me I could see his nostrils flair like he was taking in my aroma.  I was uncomfortable with him that close but couldn't back down, that would invite the others and I'm sure at least one of them had a ball gag and a set of handcuffs stashed somewhere on their person.  I braced myself as he leaned in closer, inch by inch. 

And then he gave me a hug.  This shit just got Deliverance weird. 

I am not normally a hugger and when I am I make it a point not to hug random gentlemen that I meet in a sweaty dive bar in the middle of Kansas.  I admit, at this point, I had no idea what to make of the situation.  No more jokes came from me because I thought surely the joke is on me.  While I was giving him the half shoulder hug you would give a distant relative he was giving me the big bear hug you would give your dear old ma, god rest her soul. 

"Hi folks!"  he said.  "Sit anywhere you like!"  As the choices were limited to 2 tables, the bar or outside where my screams could be heard, I chose the bigger of the two tables. 

"Let me get you folks something to drink!"  His volume was louder than mine and yet, he seemed to pull it off way better than I did.  "How about some Sprite for the kids!  You guys want a glass with that Sprite?"

"Sure" I told him once the realization set in that I wasn't going to be tied up and called Piggy. 

But that seemed to break the ice for everyone in Cawker City, Kansas.  There was no more silence.  There were questions.  Where were we from, where were we going, does anyone know you are here and can we have your cell phones.  In fact, things got down right friendly, like they had known us their entire lives.  They offered me a beer.  One of the patrons ( I assume) came in from the patio and went behind the bar.  She got herself her own beer and then headed back out again.  I quickly realized that this was how this place operated.  This was the local flavor that I was looking for, without the ass raping of course. 

Soon we had Dixie cups (no ice) set in front of us.  The cups were pretty dirty so I cleaned them with my shirt so as not to offend.  I don't think this is the type of place that you send stuff back strictly because you would probably just get something equal to what you sent back.  But that's the way we like it, that's the way we adventure.  And this is why you always go to someplace local.  The character of the joint shows the character of the town.  Apparently, Cawker City is a hugging type of small town America and it's a damn fine place with a damn fine local restaurant. 

Soon a waitress did appear out of no where and didn't seem to be locked in someones trunk after all.  We placed our order and I will admit, we had the best home fries I have ever eaten.  Anywhere.  Home made, hand cut, delicious.  The cost of our meal for 6 people was less than 40 bucks and a couple of dirty dixie cups, well worth it. 

I found out all about the big ball of twine and they pointed the way to me as we talked for the next hour.  I got some town history, a little gossip and several life stories.  This is what adventuring is all about.  As we got ready to leave, I got a series of high fives, handshakes and one more hug for the road because everyone needs a road hug. 

We of course saw the big ball of twine that night.  We made it home just fine the next morning.  My traveling companion relayed the story to his wife.  She remarked that we probably through them off their game a bit, to gay dads walking into a small joint in Kansas.  Gay dads? 

By god, I bet she is right.  I bet they thought we were gay.  And what do they do with gay dads on an outing in Cawker City Kansas.  Why, they give them a hug of course. 


The Big Ball of Twine

I have been asked, on several occasions and not in the most sincere of voices, why on Earth do I want to go see the world's biggest ball of twine.  I have been asked, with some snickers, why I would want to drive 4 hours into the middle of Kansas to see something such as this.  People then would ask "With your kids?" on the off chance I forgot that I had children.  And sometimes I do forget I have children which is always a mistake because if you are not on constant guard, they tend to smash you in the nuts and destroy the house. 

People would ask where the great giant ball of twine is.  People would ask me where I would stay when I got there.  People would ask me why, why, why I was going to see the ball of twine. 

But no one never asked me What the ball of twine is.  And there, my friends, is the rub. 

I will admit, the idea for going to see a giant ball of twine, several tons, started off as a joke.  It was an off hand comment.  What are doing today?  Oh, going to see a ball of twine.  It was that simple, a small little ha ha to make uncomfortable silent moments more bearable, to showcase how funny I am.  There the ball of twine stayed, a punchline in an bad joke. 

But it refused to stay there.  Over time, my mind would go back to it.  A few moments of the day here, a few moments of the day there.  The joke started to become a little more serious.  Questions came into my head, like why wouldn't I go see the ball of twine.  What else have I got to do today?  The world is open to me, I can do anything I want because my awesome wife makes all this possible. 

The kids and I have the whole summer to fill.  There are things to see, experiences to be had, memories to build.  The ball of twine?  Yes, we will see a giant ball of twine strictly because I have been a very unique opportunity to stay home with my kids.  An opportunity that most father's don't get.  This opportunity won't last forever, it will last only as long as they tolerate me.  Sooner than I would think, they will grow up.  They will not want to take road trips with dad.  They will want to spend time with their friends.  They will want to go to summer camps, they will want to spend alone time with guys named Chet.  They will go to high school and then college.  They will stop coming home on summers so that they can go to retreats in vans so that they can "discover" themselves.  And of course, Chet will be there. 

I will be at home.  With the cat and my fat dog.  And no ball of twine. 

This all started 2 years ago.  I put the word out to the other Dads I hang out with that there was a ball of twine out there and damn it, we were going to see it.  My reception was a bit less than enthusiastic.  But they were in.  But we can't go on a Tuesday, we were all doing something else.  We can't go over the weekend, we need to spend time with the wife.  Monday is out, Monday is a shopping day. 

And so it went.  The first year passed and no ball of twine was seen.  The second year came and so did summer responsibilities.  Soccer camps, vacation bible schools, trips to see families.  The ball of twine got pushed back.  I talked about it, I waxed poetic verses about how it would be epic.  A random road trip to a random attraction.  Year 2 went just like year 1. 

School came and Little Hoss went to kindergarten.  I was locked in now, I couldn't go anywhere.  I had a schedule to keep.  I had missed an opportunity.

But the thought of the ball of twine was still there and over those two years, it became important to do so.  I would think about it, I would research it.  Sometimes it felt almost as if I obsessed about it.  I realized that the ball of twine had become my white whale, the mythical sea beast that was always just out of my grasp.  It would rub against my thoughts every morning I put Little Hoss on the bus and drove Bubba Hoss to preschool twice a week.  I thought about it as I did grocery shopping and made lunches.  I thought about it as I sat at the soccer fields. 

The ball of twine isn't just a ball of twine.  It's not just a bunch of farmer's rope that some guy spent 60 years collecting, although that is what it appears to be.  It's more than that. 

It represents an opportunity.  It represents the gift that my wife has given me by allowing me to stay home with the kids until they are older.  It is a chance to make memories, to have experiences unique to us only, before the chance to make those precious memories are gone.  It is a chance to show the kids our country, to see rolling hills of wheat, to feel wind so hard that it almost pushes you back, to see the kind of communities that dot the landscape of America.  To live their culture, to leave the city behind and do something, do something that on the face is completely silly.  To make memories that would last as long as I do. 

That's what the ball of twine is and that is why we needed to see it.  That is why we needed to go.  We needed to catch our white whale, which really isn't a ball of twine but the memories of doing something silly with the children, just because we can. 

I will go back to work one day.  I will get up in the morning and shower and shave.  I will put on nice clothes.  I will not get kicked in the balls.  There will be no stains to clean up.  There will be no breakfast to make.  There will be no snuggle time on the couch while we wake up.  There will be a quick bagel and a commute to an office, that is devoid of color, to sit in a cubicle for 8 hours.  There will be the commute home, the talk radio about sports or politics, the deadlines of my latest projects. 

But this year, if I do this right, there will also be memories of going on a random road trip with my children.