But it was ok, because I had awesome hair. It was truly great hair, with almost a little spike going down the middle. I even had to brush it, a task that I didn't spend much time on because I was young and had great hair and bad ankles. My girlfriend would run her fingers through it, men would want to. I sometimes considered growing it long to shock society and with my awesome young rebelliousness.
Then I started losing my hair, very young. Each day just a little would leave me and circle down the drain or where ever lost hair goes, probably to the island of lost toys where they make wreaths out of it. Soon, I started to notice that I was losing my hair, that my hairline was slowly creeping backward in the greatest retreat of life. I thought that perhaps it was falling and sticking to my chest, which was becoming much more hairy. I had very little chest hair in high school. By the time I left college, the hair on my head was about gone and the hair on my chest was a forest.
But it was ok that I was losing my hair because I had strength, great strength, almost Hulk-like. I had played football in high school and lifted a lot of weights in college. I had grown into my body, a hairy chested man with large forearms. I used to lift heavy stuff just to try and impress Hossmom. I moved her 6 different times when we were younger just so I could lift up the big chair. I just wouldn't lift it, I would lift it over my head like it was a paperweight. I would carry it up 3 flights of stairs while my future wife looked on. Then I would put it down and if I caught her looking again, I would lift it up again. However, life happens and I stopped lifting weights, I stopped lifting heavy things. We got married and thought about having kids. We moved again and I assured Hossmom that I could move a lot of it myself, who needs movers when you are as strong as me? Then I tried to lift a very awkward entertainment center and put it in the basement of our house. Strong me would have just hoisted the bitch up and carried it down. However, somehow I lost my strength. I could get it about halfway before the trembles would start. I couldn't complete the maneuver. I set it down and noticed that my back started to hurt as well. I had to slide it on carpet to move it. I was a bit humiliated but still told Hossmom that I had lifted it with no problems. Except for the awesome pain in my back.
But it was ok because even though my young strenght had left me, like my good ankles and hair, I still had great knees. This was a big deal to me because I had seen a lot of friends always complain about thier knees and some even had to have surgery. With all my sports, my knees made it through great. Torn ACL? You can't tear steel cable,s baby. My knees were good, they were great, they carried me with purpose from one place to the next, annoucing authortiy each step. I played a softball game and did well, I think I even wrote about it. I hadn't played in a while but no worries, I was good. The next morning, I couldn't walk. My knees hurt. They were swollen. I had to actually ice them for 3 days. I had never done this before in my life. Hurting knees suck ass.
But it was ok because my eyesight was great, the last bastion of my youth. Bald, no young strength, bad knees and glass ankles. My eyesight was always a little pride and joy. Everyone was talking about getting surgery, so happy they didn't have to wear glasses. I couldn't relate to them and I was happy about that. I don't want some wierd laser cutting my eyeballs. It sounded more like torture. My eyesight was great, eagle like. One night driving home Hossmom asked me why I was squinting. Was I? Apparently I was and I noticed that things at night were harder to see clearly, words on signs were more blurry than a young man should see them. I went to the doctor next week and he confirmed to me that I was no longer 18 and needed glasses.
But it was ok. Bald, bad knees, no strength, glass ankles and glasses. But at least I didn't have any hair in my ears, the sure sign that you are old and crazy. No hair in these ears, I can still claim that I am young. Sure, I think teens should get haircuts and jobs. I think speed limits and curfews are great ideas. I think that politics can be very interesting. I think today's music lacks any heart and meaning, give me the classics of grunge. But no hair in the ears thus allowing me to claim that I am still young and hip.
I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror. Something was there that wasn't there before, just sticking out of my ear.
I want tampons and maxi pads to come in very nice discreet packages like when you get a dirty mag in the mail. Is this so hard to ask for? They should be in a special "guys in a relationship" aisle and not be out in public so that women can look at us in disgust when we are forced to buy them for our significant other. In fact, they should be in an aisle that is closed off by a beaded curtain and where eye contact is not allowed. And there should never be a price check on these, let's just call it 10 bucks be good.
I want to pat myself on the back every time I see a kid in public smack-talk his mother or father because I can't even imagine my kids doing this. I saw a kid call his mom stupid the other day, and not in a joking let's play way but in a mean "you are dumb" kind of way. The mother just asked him if they should go home. I can't even conceive of my kids doing this. They would barely get the "stu..." out before hell rained down. I have no idea what I have done right in the parenting arena, but I've done something and for that, I pat myself on the back.
I want Doritos's flavored Taco shells to go away. Very far away. I puked in my mouth writing this sentence.
I want to do the 6 minute ab workout.
There is a black cat that comes to my back door every night around midnight. It howls and howls and howls. The dogs seem to be able to ignore it and I'm not to happy with them. It would appear that my cat has got himself a little tail in the outside world. However, I want my cat to understand that you don't bring the needy ones home. This is what you get. Never give them your real address, just tell them that you are "in the area."
I have 14 stains on my living room carpet. I know, I've counted them. I want to understand the physics behind how they keep multiplying without my knowledge. Do they separate like single cell organisms or is this more of a horror story plot where they magically appear every morning until my walls start bleeding and my house tells me to get out? And for the record, if this happens, I will get out with no questions asked. On a side note, always make sure the T.V. is off at night.
When guys are together without women around, we make dick jokes. I have no idea why we do this and I have no idea why they are so funny. However, I want my wife to laugh at them when I tell them to her later. When she asks me what I did with the guys at the ballgame, I want her to laugh when I tell her that I told my buddy that his Johnson is like a shriveled twizzler instead of her just rolling her eyes and reading her People magazine. We need to communicate, honey.
Just because the sun is up in the morning, this does not necessarily mean that sleep time is over and it's time to get up. I want my children to understand this on Saturday at 6:30 in the morning.
I want band aids to fix my hurts like they fix my kids' hurts. That would be awesome but unfortunately doesn't seem to work on a 30 something old man. With my kids though, it dries those tears straight up where as I tend to just keep on bleeding.
I want bigfoot to be real and to be my best friend so that we can go camping together and scare people. Then steal their coolers. That would be awesome.
I want home repairs to be simple and cost less than 10 bucks instead of me looking at my broken ice maker for 3 hours wondering if I sacrificed a chicken if it would start working again. After another 3 hours of looking up possible repairs of it on the Internet, I want it to work after I spend the final 3 hours of my day trying to fix it.
I want red meat to be healthy food again.
I want pie to come in sizes 1 piece, 2 pieces, whole pie, or I.V. pie. I love pie.
In college I once failed a class called "The Care and Management of Companion Animals" I want to know how I did that because let's face it, that took some serious work there.
I want teeth to get better with age, not worse.
I want an easy post that I can do for Mondays so I can just jot down a few things and then go to bed.
Paper, rock, scissors.
Paper, rock, scissors.
I lose again.
Paper, rock, scissors.
I wonder why I keep playing and what makes it worse is that I wonder why I play when the prize is every marital decision that my wife and I have ever made.
In truth though, this simple child's game has kept us sane for 17 years and you really can't argue with the results. However, when anyone cares to look at the results of those matches for the 17 years we've been together, you will see that I have lost a good 97% of those matches. So in truth, our marriage works because I do the things that Hossmom does not want to do.
Early on we decided this way to resolve who had to do certain chores that no one wants to do. Who wants to change the cat litter? No one.
Paper, rock, scissors.
I change the cat litter.
This continued when we had children. Who wants to empty the diaper pail?
Paper, rock, scissors.
I empty the diaper pail.
Who wants to get up with the children in the middle of the night when we both are so exhausted that sleeping in the middle of the road sounds like a good alternative?
Paper, rock, scissors.
I get up in the middle of the night.
You can't argue with the results, that would be poor sportsmanship. So why don't I just quit, why do I insist continuing this way of making unpleasant marital decisions? Because I can't help myself, I can't back down. It's a competition and it bothers me that I continue to lose. I can't stop because deep down, buried in my all American soul, I believe that the underdog will make a comeback and whip the Russian Hockey team that is Hossmom in paper, rock, scissors.
But I can't. I keep doing it. She's in my head man, she's in my head. 17 years.
Little Hoss picked up paper, rock, scissors from school. Apparently they are teaching her the proper things in kindergarten and I am happy. We are sitting outside when she challenges me. I promptly lose, as is my style.
She challenges Hossmom.
Paper, rock, scissors.
Little Hoss wins.
Paper, rock, scissors.
Little Hoss wins.
Paper, rock, scissors.
Again, Little Hoss is the victor.
I'm paying attention now, something is happening. For 10 minutes Little Hoss continues to win. For 10 minutes she dominates my wife. The family dynamic is changing right before my eyes and I'm giddy, I'm clapping at every win. Hossmom wins a few here and there but it is only because Little Hoss is off rhythm sometimes. She'll get better with time.
I have created the perfect paper, rock, scissors champion. My wife's wit and ability to guess the right play and my ability to be awesome. Little Hoss continues to beat Hossmom. Hossmom is not sure what to do.
But I do.
This is my minion. I have taught her well.
I hearby proclaim that Little Hoss will be my champion for any paper, rock, scissors decision making. She will stand in for her father, who is too weak to continue. She will take up her father's flag and fight those battles of who takes out the trash or who goes to the grocery store at 10 at night for a gallon of milk. And with every victory, her cries of victory shall herald the coming of awesome and the legion of Hoss!
Hossmom does not like this idea but it's to bad. She lost to Little Hoss in the paper, rock, scissors match to make this decision.
I am standing by the front door. We have two little side windows that flank the door providing a great way to glimpse out whoever comes up. It is also a great way for guests to glance in and see me walking around in my underwear or scratching my balls. It's an image that will scar your soul.
I am looking out one of these two front windows as I have been doing every morning. I have been here for a good 20 minutes already and I know that I will make several more trips here today. Eventually, I will open the front and stand on the front steps and continue to stare. This is what now defines me.
My son is standing by my side. He is looking up at me, expecting me to say something or do something. I say nothing. I do nothing. I stare. He is talking to me. I do not answer but I do pat his head absently. Eventually he will grow board with this and begin to try and pull my pants down. It's a side effect of him trying to climb my leg like he is an Oregon logger. He believes that if he can just get right into my face he can force a reaction.
He is wrong.
I still stand there, not moving but my mind is racing. Possibles come in and out of it. A mental check list of the things that I had to do to get to this point. A review of everything that perhaps I have done wrong, second guessing some of the steps that I have taken. Self doubt is present but it's to late for that now. It has been planted, now all we do is stare. And hope.
For 3 years I have been in a battle with my lawn. When we moved in, it was hideous. Weeds ran rampant, unchecked by modern society or it's weed controls. If the amazon has a lawn, it would look like mine. The first year was spent digging out huge limestone boulders that were buried just inches below the surface. This explained why nothing grew there. The year after that, I hit the weeds head on. Dandelions become the thing that I have nightmares about. They were everywhere, they multiplied and took much of my grass with it. But I destroyed them, sprayed them into the hellish depths from which they came.
Last year it was the clover, the resistant clover. There has been talk at NASA at making the next space shuttle out of the clover in my front yard. Heat resistant, plentiful and it ignores all the screams and curses that I hurled at it. Scientists came to my yard and tried to take samples. They were never heard from again. I pity them.
Lines were drawn in my yard. On one side, clover. On the other, my grass. The clover was slowly moving forward, chocking off the grass. It looked hopeless but a man pushed into desperation will take desperate measures. That is what the clover never counted on.
I'm not exactly sure what the stuff was that I sprayed on it but I can only assume that it came from a little Chinese man in a run down shop on the bad side of town. I am sure that after I got my spray, he disappeared into myth and legend. I fought the clover, the battle was epic, bards could not find the words to describe the summer long battle. I planted some new grass seed last year. Unfortunately, it did not survive the napalm bomb that I unleashed. Some had to sacrifice so that others could live. We honor their memory.
When it was over, most of the clover was dead. Eventually I would return to the battlefield of last summer and examine the carnage that had taken place. I took my rake and began to remove the fallen, making sure to crush any survivors that lingered. Mercy is for the weak. When I finished, I looked down and I saw hope for the first time in three years.
I saw dirt. Clean fresh dirt. It was there, unblemished by the 3 year battle. Pure, no weeds on it's surface. No grass either but that is what this spring is for.
2 weeks ago I put down grass seed and watered it with my soul. I covered large areas with it and gently covered it with peat moss like it was a new born babe. It took most of an entire weekend and my constant reminder to my children to stop digging in the front yard, Dad is trying to fix this. Finally.
Every morning for an hour I would stand by the front side windows by the door. One of my children would turn on the water and run through the sprinkler. I would watch. They would come inside and I would hug them. They would hug me. And I would stare. Every evening we would repeat the ritual but add in some prayers, prayers for growth, prayers for life. For two weeks, this has been my life. I am literally watching the grass grow.
I am rebuilding the yard's life after a brutal 3 year campaign. Often times what comes after is harder than the destruction that came before. But I am a patient man so I watch and I wait. I watch to see what progress we have made. I keep vigilant for any remaining survivors that may come. They are there, few and far between but they are there. When I see them, I crush them with my fist. I find more satisfaction in this for some reason. The toxic spray is tucked safely away to do no more harm. But make no mistakes, I will unleash it if need be.
We use any survivors almost as currency to enter the house. No one is allowed to come inside from the front yard unless I see tiny little fists with a weed or two. When it's probably disposed of, you may enter. Hossmom is not fond of this rule but who is fond of carnage? It's a necessary rule or otherwise what was before will be once again. This cannot be allowed to happen.
So I stand for 2 hours a day watching the front yard. I realize that I have become the very cliche of the suburban father. I do not care, all care has gone out of me.
But when I look out there and see my new grass starting to thrive, hope arrives. And with hope, perhaps a good lawn.
Maybe. Out the window, watching the grass grow.
"Dad" my daughter says. "Why are you and Mom yelling?"
"Dad" my son follows up. "Yelling is to loud, you shouldn't yell at Mom."
I am an opportunistic parent and I find that this is the perfect opportunity to teach my children some life lessons.
First off, I tell my children that Mom and Dad aren't yelling at all. We are having a heated discussion and as in most heated discussions the one that talks the loudest wins. It's simple math really. Both my kids look at me and I can tell that they don't understand the dynamic that is currently going on with their mother and I. Which is to be expected, Hossmom and I rarely if ever have "heated discussions" and I can't remember if we've had one in front of the kids at all before now. We usually save up our energy for after bedtime. Of course by then we are both tired ourselves so we call it a draw and just move on.
However it appears that this heated discussion is taking place and my children need to put the debate in the proper context. But for the record, I'm very proud of my kids for calling me out on "yelling" at Mom. Mom is sacred, they get that and I dig it. Now they just need to know what's going on, so that they can understand.
You see children, your Mom is a wonderful lady that everyone loves. She is the rainbow after a spring storm, the early morning light that washes away the night. And like the rainbow and the early light, she never ever admits that she is wrong. Ever. And she only does this with Dad. Dad doesn't know why but this drives him up the freaking wall. All day all he really wants is a nice little apology and for her to admit that she is wrong. Dad's logic is undeniable, it's has the strength of the granite that holds up the mountains. And yet, Hossmom ignores the laws of nature and stubbornly refuses to give me the satisfaction of her ever being wrong. She knows this and yet she still continues on. Sometimes she will be wrong on purpose knowing that it will drive me crazy. This is called being a "woman" and she plays the part very well. Dad doesn't understand this and this is no surprise. Just because you are married for a long time does not ever mean that you will ever understand women because it's a myth, it cannot be done. Like perpetual motion, it only exists in theory. Take note son, this will save you a lot of trouble in the future.
Of course, this is only my side of the "heated discussion" and for full context it's important to include Hossmom's side. You see kids, she says that Dad is the protector, the strength that lifts up the family. He is the rock from which we all stand. And like the rock, he can't see for shit. He can't see that whatever we are having a "heated discussion" about has it's roots much deeper than just whats on the surface. Yet, he refuses to discuss these root causes and only focuses on the here and now. He needs to learn to communicate, to talk for very long periods of time so that the fundamentally issues can be addressed. Because if these root causes are not examined, no behavior can change. And if behavior cannot change, then I AM NEVER WRONG! Sorry, I'm supposed to be writing from her vantage point, just got a bit carried away.
So children, you can obviously see that this isn't screaming and yelling, but two conflicting ideologies trying to find common ground so that one day we can live in harmony that comes from being wrong and addressing root causes at the same time.
Do you understand children, does this make sense to you?
"We can't hear the cartoons" they reply.
There is probably a lesson in that, I just can't see it.
Here's my story. It seems that we were having a ton of children over for Easter. More than I had anticipated. Probably over a 100 or so, maybe even more. It wasn't my intention to have so many children come over but how can you say no to a child during a holiday? I remember what my holidays were like when I was a child and I am constantly trying to recreate those memories for my own children and the 100 or so that are coming over.
That means that the house is decorated with Easter things all over. A nice giant stuffed bunny greats everyone at the door. A nice bunny and not the scary kind that has sharp fangs and likes to steal your soul. I have repainted almost every room down stairs a nice pink or light blue to also go with the season.
In the kitchen the smell of fresh baked cakes, sweets and bacon (bacon is perfect for every season.) We had colored 10 dozen eggs previously and had spent hours getting them to look just right. Some even had some golden flakes sprinkled on them right before they dried so everything would stick. And of course we have plastic eggs, in which we have hidden candy or college scholarships. All these were hidden around the house. Some were hidden in plain sight and others were hidden in very tricky places. There is on on top of the roof that you can only see if you look up while coming to the front door. I have put a ladder near it as well as a "hint" for the 100 or so kids that are coming over.
Of course, to complete the perfect Easter for each child, I have arranged that each gets there own Easter basket. This is something that they can call their own and take back to the orphanage with them. Something that is special to them and it's important to me that each child feels special and important today. Each one has a chocolate Easter Bunny big enough to be a doorstop if needed. Each one has enough candy to keep a dentist in business for 20 years straight. And all 100 kids, some from orphanages, some from war torn countries, will get one.
However, it seems that I have miscalculated. I am two baskets short. This will not do. I will not have two children leave this house disappointed. Everyone gets an Easter basket, everyone. As you can imagine, with such a large group the logistics of things can be a bit tough which certainly explains how I miscounted. So I need only two more Easter baskets on the night before Easter, 9:00pm. This is why I'm at the local drug store hoping that they have at least two more Easter baskets. Just looking for two for the under privileged kids. Did I mention that some of them are orphans?
This is, of course, all bullshit.
There are no 100 kids that are coming over. There are no orphans coming here to celebrate Easter. There is no giant bunny at the front door, there is no egg hidden on the roof. In fact, there are not 10 dozen colored eggs with gold flakes. There are no plastic eggs with college scholarships. There are no cakes being cooked and sadly there is also no bacon.
What there is is 10 colored eggs, some Easter grass, assorted chocolates enough for 2 kids and some plastic eggs filled with pennys. There is also some sidewalk chalk that my wife thought would be great to add to the kids Easter baskets. Easter baskets that I currently don't have which really explains what I am doing at the drug store the night before Easter. I don't have Easter baskets for my own children.
This is all an elaborate lie that I have made up on my drive over strictly for the benefit of the teenage cashier that will surely judge me for being a bad parent. How can you wait for the last minute to get your Easter baskets she will think. She will know that perhaps I am not the greatest parent in the world but just some idiot slob that waited until the last minute.
I could tell her the truth, that I just couldn't find the time to go get the Easter baskets. That the kids were with me all the time so I couldn't just do it during the day. And when my wife went after work, they didn't have Easter baskets. I kept meaning to go earlier but Hossmom has been getting home late and by the time she got home, I was exhausted.
I cannot tell this to the check out lady because she will see it for what it is. She will see that I am lazy and obviously don't love my children, my family, or my country. I should be shot.
So I will not tell her the true story of my Easter. If she asks, and I'm not saying she is going to, but if she does, I will tell her about the orphans. The imaginary orphans that need Easter baskets at my awesomely decorated house even though there isn't a stitch of Easter decorations up. She doesn't need to know about that part. Because for some reason, the opinion of a complete stranger who hasn't lived life out in the real world yet, matters to me.
I don't know why and I'm not sure why I have even come up with this elaborate lie.
I walk into the store and see the checkout lady.
"Where are your Easter baskets? I have orphans at my house."
I need to go to a different store now. Perhaps in my next incarnation of the lie I can say that I invited Jesus to. He needs an Easter basket.
The trick to pulling the tooth is to use dental floss. It took me a bit of time to realize this. At first we used just plain old thread, color pink of course. My daughter likes pink and if we are going to do this then by damn we are going to do this right. But the pink thread didn't work although we tried it 10 different times. It wouldn't stay on the tooth, no matter how tight I tied it on. Every time Little Hoss got up and started hopping, it would just slip off. Eventually she just ate an apple and out popped the loose tooth.
That was last week, but this weekend we are back on the horse. We will pull this tooth the right way, which means tying a string to the tooth, then to her big toe, then watching to see how long she can hop around before putting her foot on the ground. She is not graceful, much like her father, so I am pretty sure this won't take long.
Why do it this way? Why not I say! Have a little adventure in your life, do it the fun way for once for Christ's sake! That and I find myself eager to recreate memories from my own childhood from time to time. Sure, my daughter will never know the joy of trying to ride a pig or the Rocky like exercise of chasing a chicken that has escaped. On the flip side of that though she will never have to "clean" a chicken carcass which turns out is very messy and disgusting. But this I can give her, something we can both share. A memory that she will have of her early childhood, the same one that my father and I had.
I'm doing it now much the same way that my own father did. Tie a string to the loose tooth, shorten it and then tie it to the big toe. Push the child and let the madness ensue. Of course there are other variations of this tooth pulling strategy such as tying it to a door knob. Little Hoss has even come up with her own variation (I'm so proud) of tying it to the dogs collar and then throwing his ball. Her plan is well thought out and I'm sure that we will give it the old Hossman try soon.
Where is Hossmom in all of this? She's here although off to the side for a bit. She is not sure what really is going on. The puzzled look on her face soon gives way to questions, such as "What the hell?" She apparently never had fun as a child and spent her early spring days writing essays and marketing briefs. We tell her not to worry, we have a plan which is usually code for "this is going to go horribly wrong in a horrible way, get the medical card ready."
I expect to see some eye rolling at this point and then some light protests where she makes fun of my hog raising days. The word redneck will be uttered and yet will continue on.
To my utter surprise she asks us to hold on a minute while she gets the video camera. Hossmom is on board, hells yeah.
I love my wife, she continues to indulge and surprise me everyday. I know that she will have a calming affect on us, perhaps put the kibosh on future plans. But today, yes today, we are pulling a tooth as a family.