Bed Time

I have this bedtime thing down.  If you are a new dad and want to know how to instill a successful bedtime routine then brother, you have come to the right place.  I am your go to guide on getting your kid to go to bed.  I am the guru of bedtimes, I am the messiah of bedtimes, I am the bed times of bed time routines.  Am I qualified?  Shit yeah, didn't you read the first couple of sentences?  I am a stay at home dad to three kids for the last 8 years.  I spend day in and day instilling routines and behaviors and I know all the ins and outs.  So get ready to take notes all you parents that are wondering, how do I get my kids to go to bed?

First off, find you some alone time, far away from the children.  I know, impossible right?  Just throw one piece of candy in the middle of the floor between the three of them and walk away.  Boom, you just bought yourself 30 minutes.  You can now leave the room knowing that your kids will be occupied and probably only one or two of them will get hurt.   See, I told you, I know my shit.  

Now that you have some alone time, it's time to start practicing.  First, stomp around for a little bit.  Don't make your footfalls to hard.   Make them hard enough that they can shake pictures off the wall but not plaster.  Find your sweet spot and practice that.   This will be important to master because how else are your kids of all ages going to know that you are about to lose your shit if they don't get to bed?  Stay with me, it gets better. 

While you are stomping around start working on your "I'm getting frustrated" face.  This is a face that you make somewhere past "Jesus H. Christ" and right before "You're not mine."  Once you got that face just right, practice alternating that face in between your stomping.  Remember, a successful routine is all about presentation.  The key is to instill the fear of god on them without giving them nightmares.  

Ok, now for the next step.  Spend the next 5 years establishing a bedtime routine for the older two and then have a third kid to fuck it all up.  Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Just have yourself some tired sex and pop that third kid right out.  It's easy, people do it all the time.  It will be great.  Because without the third kid, how are the other two supposed to forget how to go to bed? 

Once your third kid is about 3 years old and can understand words like "right fucking now", then all your prep work is done and it's time to start establishing your bedtime routine.  You are going to use all that practice to great effect pretty soon, let's get to it.  

Your first step is getting them ready for bed.  So line them up and tell them all the brush their teeth.  Wait 30 minutes after you have told them and then tell them again.  It's all about repetition at this point.  After another 30 minutes ask them if they've done it, have them lie to you, call them on their bullshit and then sit on the toilet while you watch them brush their teeth for the theoretically third time that night.  You'll have to help the toddler though but just throw water in his face until he at least smells cleaner.  

After that, tell everyone to go get there pajamas on.  Remember to be clear with your instructions though.  Don't say "go get ready for bed."  That is going to screw you every time.  Say "go get your pajamas on, don't try to sneak downstairs and watch minecraft videos, don't go outside, don't try to feed the pet ants that we suddenly have and don't go into each others rooms which is beyond me why you would do this anyway when you are supposed to go get ready for bed.  Seriously, we have been doing this every night for your entire lives how can this be so hard?"

While the older kids don't get their pjs on, spend some time with your youngest child getting his pjs on.  This will look like a WWE wrestling match except it's 100% real and when he headbuts you in the nose, and he will, you really will bleed.  

Good job parents, you are halfway there.  

Next, your oldest child will come to you explaining that she hasn't done her homework yet and this will confuse you because you asked her right when she got home from school if she had any homework and she said no.  Now she will tell you that she forgot.  But that's ok, it's only a small project where she has to do some drawing.  She will ask if we have poster board, glue, glitter, pipe cleaners, a 1972 quarter and anything that could resemble planet earth hung from a coat hanger.  Give her a twist tie and a brown paper bag and tell her to make due.  

Now go find your son.  He's probably wondering around the basement somewhere looking for Pokemon.  Remind him to get his GOD DAMN PAJAMAS ON JESUS CHRIST.  

Now off to handle the toddler.  He will be playing in mom's makeup.  It's a given, it's going to happen.  Throw that little guy over your shoulder and wrestle him into bed.  Have him pick out his favorite 2 books that he gets for bed time stories.  Be prepared to read these 40 or so times but only make it every other page before you are interrupted by one of your other two children.  Punish them by forcing them re-enact scenes from your favorite Western thus insuring that the interruptions will soon end.  

After you have read your 40 books calmly explain to your toddler that you just can't freaking take it anymore and that they need to go to sleep and suck it up.  Then find your other two children who have by now changed out of their pjs and are instead wondering if the dog will eat pencils.  They discover that he will.  

Now is the time to use your frustrated face and your stomping.  This is why you practiced all those years ago, time to put it into action.  Stomp, scowl, stomp, scowl, stomp, scowl, eventually they get the idea that you are about  to lose it and god help whoever is near you when you do.  Tell them it's lights out but then have them promptly ignore that while you yet again put the toddler back to bed because he's gotten out of bed and he thinks that's funny.  

Finally, shut all bedroom doors with warnings that if anyone comes out of their rooms tonight they are gong to mow the yard in the moonlight and no, you are not kidding, not one bit.  

Great job, you have completed your bedtime routine!  For a celebration, head to your strategically placed lawn chair that is at the corner of the hallway and play on your phone.  This is your little reward, go you!  When you here a door open just say "BED!" and don't even look up.  Eventually you will get to go downstairs and delete that football game you recorded because it is now midnight and you are never going to watch it anyway.  



No one comes to the movies at 11 am in the morning on a Tuesday.  I know this because I am now at an 11 am movie on a Tuesday.  I have the whole theater to myself.  Christ this is awesome.  I have my own home theater system for under 6 bucks.  I am so going to do this more often.  Way more often.

I'm at a crossroads a bit with my youngest starting preschool and my older two in elementary school. This leaves me with two whole freaking days that I can do anything.  Anything at all.  Sounds great, right!  A smattering of awesome sauce on a sesame seed bun of awesome.

But here's the problem.  You can do anything.  Let that sink in for a minute.  Let that statement go through those eyeballs.  Think about it.  Realize what that statement means.  You. Can. Do. Anything.  If you think about it enough that becomes pretty damn daunting.  Holy shit, anything.  Anything is a lot.  It's a ton.  It's anything and everything and all of it.  It took me a while to realize this because at first I was "Fuck yeah, anything!"  Then I started making a list of things that I would do, things that I have been putting off, things that I've never had the time to do.  Then I made the list.  121 things is on the list and I'm going to stop adding to it.  Because now all that extra free time becomes time that is accounted for and the thought of "anything" becomes holy shit.  Anything is a ton.  I no longer have free time and this is what has hit me over the last 2 weeks that Bacon Hoss has been in school.  Anything stretches over the horizon, reaches around the back end and just keeps going forever as it laps your initial meaning of anything.  Fuck.  I may have not thought this through enough.

It was Hossmom's idea that I slow down a bit, to take a little bit of stock and make time for enjoyment.  I still have Bacon 5 out of 7 days and those days are active and filled with family and home.  Add to that the nights that I coach sports or attend activities with my older two.  The weekends get filled quickly with family things or house chores or cello or more sports or mowing or, or, or, or.  It goes on almost as far as Anything does.

So here I am, trying to take advantage of doing something without the kids that has no other value than sitting in my own personal home theater system that is not in my home but might as well be because I'm about to take off my pants and hold my junk for comfort for a little bit.

I could, there is no one in here and I'm seeing a movie that is going to be bad enough that I'm pretty sure it's opening weekend is going to be it's closing weekend.  I did this on purpose, I meant to see a movie like that.  I wanted to see a movie that 1) No one would see with me if they had the opportunity and 2) no one would see the movie anyway besides people like me that are looking to define and refine the meaning of Anything.  And the movie had to be rated R.  That's really just personal preference though.  And no chick flicks.  That's just common sense.   And let's throw some boobs in there because what's a rated R movie without a little skin?

Oh and nothing that is going to make me think, can't have that.  I'm trying to avoid a lot of that on this fine Tuesday morning.  So no movies that are going to make me want to quit watching football on Sundays.  No "true story" movies, those are all out.  I want explosions that I can enjoy in my boxer briefs with a nice handful of junk and popcorn.  Just like home without a child waking up at 2 am saying "Daddy I couldn't sleep because the zombie screams coming from the T.V. are making me wet the bed."

You know what's really fun to do in an empty movie theater in the morning, besides avoiding the thought of Anything, is to do random movie quotes by yourself.  I got here early so for the last 30 minutes I have been just doing a movie quote game while I read my phone.  Randomly I may yell "I know!" (star wars) or "What, he says you're good looking wool." (Money Pit).  Movies that I love and it turns out it's pretty damn fun and distracting to do this when you are alone in the movies.

Then I got a little "cast away" on myself because the pre-movie ads starting popping up.  I started talking to them.  Don't know why but it felt pretty funny there for a while.  "Did you know that you can rent this entire theater out for your corporate event?"

Me:  No fucking way Stacy from Cinimark Movie people.  The whole thing?  Jesus tap dancing Christ.

Stacy:  Just ask the manager for details!

Me:  Damn solid advice Stacy, damn solid.

This goes on for a while and I am bit disappointed to realize that my pants are still on but I'm holding my junk a little bit.  Baby steps today, baby steps.

However, the best part of this whole experience is that I can interact with the previews.

That movie is CRAP!  Why are you making that movie!  Movie people don't know real people!  Real people go to work and live life!

Except me of course, if I take off my pants in here I think I'll make it abundantly clear that I am not employable in any real away except as a PSA model for a poster that says "Relax in our theaters but keep your pants on"  The captions will be read by Stacey.

The next trailer is based on a true story.

"Bullshit" I yell.  That movie in no way based on a true story.  Because any movie based on a true story leaves out all the real life stuff like nose picking, cutting people off in traffic and letting your laundry pile up so high that you have to shoo away sherpa's just trying to make a buck.  No, that movie is based on an idolized "real life" where that person never leaves a brown trail in his underwear and his wife never questions her decision of why she married a man who sees movies by himself in the middle of the morning.

2 hours later the movie is over and my pants never came off and I'm a little disappointed at my lack of initiative in this department.  I go outside and the sun hits hard like it normally does when you are trying to hide from the Anything.  It jolts you back to reality that pretty soon you will have to confront your Anything list and the brightness of it is pretty much blinding.

Or you can just turn around and see another movie, something based on a true story this time.  But with boobies.


Birthday Parties

"Don't throw that!"

Shit.  He threw it.  Which is pretty much what happens every time you say something like that to a 9 year old.  By the time you tell him not to throw something, it's already thrown, whatever they are not supposed to throw has already left the hand and really you are just wishing to cover yourself in front of other parents.  Look, I told him not to throw it, I'm a good dad, I'm sorry your baby now has a dart in it's forehead.

In this case, it wasn't a dart but a little rubber super bouncy ball.  Fuck I hate those things but it seems that I can't ever be rid of them.  I have banned them from my house, my car and any place that possibly contains anything with breakable items such as the Louvre.  But the kids always find them and I have come to the conclusion that there are these little super bouncy ball gnomes that in general hate people and suck in general disposition.

The place that the super bouncy ball was thrown was a pizza place.  Lots of pizza, lots of beer and lots of little kids that can get hit.  Why would you haul off and throw that ball as hard as you could?  Because you are a 9 year old boy and in a very general sense, 9 year old boys are dicks.  When they are excited because they are at a birthday party, they are even bigger tools.  It just happens and I have no idea why.  I'm absolutely positive I was a massive prick at 9 and even now as a full grown man I can't explain the behavior of 9 year old boys.

Of course, this is my son's birthday and he wanted to go to this generic pizza place with games and pizza that tastes roughly like freshly laid asphalt.  There's good pizza, there's ok pizza and then there is kids birthday party pizza which cannot even be qualified as pizza under FDA standards.  You could call it a cheese covered pepperoni delivery device but calling it pizza is like calling the Eiffel Tower a stick in the dirt.

There are a lot of things that happened of course during this birthday party before the super bouncy ball of death.

"Dude, don't use shampoo, that has oil in it."  That was my son that said that.  Seriously.  He said that in some sage 9 year old boy advice, like a guru on top of the mountain.  The answer my young friends is to not use shampoo to clean thine mane as it contains the essence of the oil.  9 year old boys are gross.

"Dude, you fart alot!"  "Yeah I do!  Did you know that when you fart it leaves a green cloud and then that causes acid rain?"  9 year old boys are real gross.

"Bro!  Bro!  Bro!  Bro, look I have balls!" and then the 9 year old holds a pair of super bouncy balls by his junk and the meaning is clear.  They all laugh because this is what 9 year olds do, spread bad propaganda and make dick and balls jokes as they fart.  I've tried to warn my wife that this is coming and now it is here.  She better get as much quality with my daughter and girl drama as she can because in about 4 years this house is going to stink and have a shit load of stiff socks under beds.  And we are going to do this twice.  Good times ahead.

"Bro, bro!"  At this age now everyone is either bro or dude.  "Bro, throw your balls!"

And then he does.  He wings a ball as hard as he can on the concrete floor and it goes flying upward towards the ceiling.  It hits a sprinkler just right on the edge and that bastard takes flight to the right.  It pops the top edge of a chair, honestly what are the odds, and takes off towards some guy and his family. It's like the scene from "Men in Black" where Will Smith says "I'm gonna pay for that."  It pops his beer mug and smacks him in the chest.  Not hard of course but hard enough that he looks around.  He's just here trying to enjoy a cardboard pizza with his family on a budget and I've got kids making fart jokes and throwing balls.

He looks over at me and I think, shit I'm about to get my ass kicked.  You know how you can tell if a guy can fight?  If even the women he is with are tatted up and wear cutoff sleeves.  I'm guessing this guy has had to fight a couple of times.  I'm old and fat, my fighting days are way behind me.

But things go well because this is the midwest and people are actually very chill here.  He picks up the ball and throws it back to the boys.  My pleading look tries to convey that hey, I did everything I could, I told him not to throw that.  But it was in the middle of a dick joke and ya know you kinda have to follow through on a dick joke.  He head nods at me as I apologize and everything is ok.  I make a bee line to the boy with the super bouncy ball.

"Give me the balls" I tell him.  They all laugh now.  God damnit, walked right into that one.  "Fork them over, where are they at?"  I hold out my hand.  He then spits two of the quarter size balls out of his mouth into my hand.  God damnit.  Should have seen that coming.


Lost Hiking

A mile in and I kept looking back.  I was having little panic attacks because I thought I had forgotten one of my kids, that maybe my 3 year old got taken by a mountain line or a troll, trolls are bastards.  But I would look back and see no kids.  I would see nothing but the hiking trail behind me.  Not even troll prints back there.  Just me, by myself, in the woods.  I would turn back to look in front of me and within 5 minutes I would look back again pretty much out of habit.  After 10 years, you get in this groove that if you can't see your kid then someone is probably getting thrown in a river.

Not today though, today is just me.  It's weird, really weird.  And for some reason slightly uncomfortable.  I'm not really sure why, but it is.  Sometimes change happens gradually and sometimes it happens at an exact moment.  This is my exact moment, in the woods with no kids.

The two older kids have gone back to school now, summer is over.  They were sad and to be honest, so was I.  I am not one of those parents that can't wait for school to get back in.  I'm the opposite actually.  I spend so much time over the summer doing things with them, big and small adventures, that I miss it when it's gone.  We saw the worlds biggest overalls this summer.  And the worlds biggest painted shamrock and the worlds largest covered wagon.    The kids make things more fun.  An art museum is pretty cool but when you add kids it becomes way more exciting.  Will they attempt to break a 400 year old painting?  Can I get to them before they rip it off the wall?  Where in the hell did they get the cheetohs from?  It's like extreme sports for parenting.  Have I turned into an adreline junkie after 10 years?

But I'm pretty used to them going back.  My daughter starts 5th grade and I'm sure the girl drama is coming because that's what they do.  I've had to handle some of it in the past and everyone tells me it's going to get worse.  The tween years are going to be tough which scares me because I know the teen years are going to be a god damn nightmare.

My son goes into 3rd grade and he is excited to learn more math.  He's been practicing in his head he tells me.  Then he asks me why an octopus has 8 arms.  Then he starts talking about minecraft.  This is an 8 year old boy in a nutshell, no train of thought ever logically moves to the next one.  It's a random statement of fact followed by a completely unrelated question.  A narwhal has a horn and why are the tires on cars black.  I've gotten used to it so much that I will often do the same when he's not here.  I miss my boy.

But this year, this year the changes are really coming.  My youngest, Bacon Hoss, has started preschool.  3 years old and he gets shipped off twice a week.  I pick him up in the late afternoon.  So now, for the first time in 10 years, I've got some serious time on my hands and I'm not sure how I am going to react.

Drop off did not go well.  He cried, I cried, Hossmom cried, he punched me, I left.  It's a very up and down relationship.  I knew that this was coming and I knew that I probably wouldn't handle it well.  Twice before I've had to do this and the adjustment period takes some time for me.  Am I even a stay at home dad anymore?  Have I abandoned my child to the cruel world?  Is it to quiet and is it ok if that makes me feel uncomfortable?  I'm not really sure what to do with myself.

So I decided that in the short term here I'm going to go get lost in the woods and fight bugs and trolls if I can find those little buggers.  I'm going to spend some time with my thoughts which are trending on the "why am I such a loser dad" side at the moment.  I wasn't ready for the little panic attacks and mannerisms though, like constantly thinking that I've lost one of the kids because I don't hear them walking behind me.

By my 3rd mile I've given up looking behind me and I am now trying to think positive.  What can I do with my extra time now?  Hossmom suggested writing and cleaning house.  I suggested napping.  We will meet in the middle somewhere, I will write about napping.  Then I will take a nap.  But napping can only take up so much time, right?  And eventually, I'll clean enough that I don't need to clean anymore.  Ha.  We all know that's crap, we are slobs.

I could get a job.  That would be good, yeah?  I mean, it's been 8 years since I quit working, time to go back?  By mile 4 I decide that we probably shouldn't rush that part just yet.  I got lost for a little bit back there thinking about that so obviously we need to table that train of thought or I'll never make it home in time to do..........

To do something.  I'm not sure what but I have planned to give my self the month of September to figure it out.  There are a crap ton of house projects to be done but I'm not sure how it will go without a child throwing screws under the fridge, it's kind of our thing now.  I could start blogging again, get some practice going before taking it further?  I like that idea, let's do that.  That way I can nap, write, clean, be home when the kids get out of school.  I like that.  I have time to decide though, lots of things to try out before the month is out and I make some decisions.  Like seeing a movie at 10 am.  I bet that is cool.

And day drinking.  I should start day drinking as soon as I get done with getting lost and looking for my children.

I don't think this transition is going very well at the moment.


The Screw

"Son, I need the screw.  Give Daddy the screw."

Bacon Hoss doesn't move, he doesn't even blink.  He just kind of stands there, looking at me, almost like he is making a mental bet with himself.  How long can dad hold up the microwave before it comes crashing down and the back wall gets ripped out.  I bet not to much longer.  I hope it hits his foot.

"The screw son, grab the screw and give it to dad.  It's right there by your head on the counter.  Grab the screw and hand it to dad."

Still nothing.

"Son!  Please, grab the screw!"  My arm is starting to shake while I'm pointing with my free hand.  He finally looks at the screw.  Just looks at.  He doesn't make a move to grab the screw but at least he has acknowledged it's presence.  Yes, the screw exists son.  It's not some metaphor that I'm using.  I'm not saying that life is like a screw, that any time you think you have things under control life twists a screw in your eye to show you that you don't have a handle on things.  The only thing you have is an over the range microwave oven that you are installing.  You need the screw.  Desperately.  Not the idea of the screw, not the thought of a screw, not the phantom of the screw, just the real god damn screw.

I know that my wife, and others, perhaps will think this is my own damn fault, why didn't I bring the screw with me before I heaved a heavy microwave up.  Well, I did.  But I did forget for a short moment there that my 3 year old was "helping" me.  What that usually means is that he goes through my tool box and plays with very sharp and dangerous things like box cutters while I tell him to be careful.  He helps by not stabbing me.  It's a good arrangement that mostly works well except for the time my son used a hammer to smack my car.  But it wasn't my kneecap so I count that as a win for me and Bubba Hoss, my second born.

This time however my youngest, Bacon Hoss, the three year old terror that he is decided that the best way to help was to take the two attaching screws off the counter right next to me and then put them on the kitchen counter across from me.  About a foot short of how far I can reach while making sure the microwave doesn't rip off the wall.  That would be bad.  I may have to abort and just unhook it from the wall, set it on the ground, cry a little bit and then go get my screws from my tormentor.  But that's not how Dad's work.  Nope, I can do this if my son, my young bright boy (you hear that boy, you are smart and kind and awesome) can just give me the fucking screw!

"I will give you candy.  Do you like candy.  I will trade candy for the screw."  He is smiling now, I'm getting somewhere, I am making head way here.  Then I feel warm breath on my balls.

Nope, not getting anywhere at all.  Just warm dog breath on my balls as our dog decides now is the time for some good old fashioned crotch sniffing.  We've had him for about a year now and well, we are having some issues.  One of those issues is crotch sniffing.   The other is carpet eating.  These are literal terms and not euphemisms for some night time activity that you do in alley ways with Brenda.  Brenda is a freak.    Dobby, the dog,  likes to sniff crotches and eat carpet.  You get used to it after about 6 months and I die a little bit inside when I realize that crotch sniffing is something you can get used to.

I push the dog away with my knee, my hand slips on the microwave a little bit and I brace it back up while I try again with my son.  We are pushing 3 minutes here and it's like some weird punishment concocted by a nun at catholic school.  "The screw son!  Daddy needs the screw!  Give me the screw!  I know you know what I'm saying!  If you don't give me the screw all paw patrol puppies will get ebola!  Give me the crapping screw!"  I want to say "fucking" screw but I can't.  He said fuck once and I got in trouble even though he is the one that said it.  Totally unfair.  But crapping is fine apparently.

He grabs the screw!  He has the screw!  "Tis?" he says.  Yes, that's the one!  That's the screw, that's what I need!  If I can just screw in one I can let go and go get the other one because honestly I don't see it and I'm not sure where you put it but I'm taking bets that it's in the toilet.

He holds the screw out.  He doesn't walk toward me but at least he's holding it out.  I start to reach out my fingers, my arm is about gone but it's so close, it's like 4 inches away, it's right there!  It's like every action movie where the hero just needs to reach the gun to beat the bad guy but his fingers just can't reach. At the climax, the hero finds a way to grow an extra 2 inches and the day is saved.  I can do this, this can happen in real life.  I believe!  Almost there, the screw son, give me the screw!

"Here Dobby" my son says.  He drops the screw, the dog hears it, the dog goes nuts trying to paw at it.  The screw gets flung under the fridge.

I'm not the hero in this movie.  I am the bad guy and this is my origin story.  


Vacation Time

Shhh, don't mess this up for us.  Not a sound, not one freaking sound from anyone.  I think the kids have forgotten that we are home.

Hossmom and I are laying in bed.  She is reading a book and there is no one trying to rip it from her hands.  I'm just sitting here typing away and no little fingers are pushing random buttons or randomly deleting important financial files.  I once bought stock in a Hong Kong fishing lure company thanks to the magic of 3 year old kid fingers.  The returns were not great.

There is no one here in bed with us.  There is no one getting up asking for a glass of water or to check for monsters.   There is no homework that has been forgotten at the last moment and no one is trying to throw the dog through the window in some weird Island of Dr. Moreau experiment.  It's just quiet.  All three of them are quiet.  And it's a bit weird and a bit awesome.

The 3 year old is with the other two.  I think they are playing a game but are trying to be quiet.  We told them it was time for bed and I think they believe that they are "getting away" with it.  I would let them get away with it all the time if they were this quiet.  Christ man, I would do this every night.  I would love this to become the new normal in the house.

You know what, this is like a vacation.  and I don't mean the type where I take the kids with me, constantly apologizing to people on an airplane or leaving very good tips to waiters based on the amount of food that my toddler has flung on the floor.  Then of course I have to make an agreement with a hotel manager where I just give him a credit card and we both agree to never speak of the unfortunateness again.  It's like traveling with a rock band but without the massive amounts of cocaine and instead of STD's one of the kids usually has pink eye which is like an STD just no where near as fun acquiring.

Those are trips, this is like a vacation.

Do I have to be anywhere right now?  Nope.  Can I just sit on my butt and enjoy whatever it is that I'm doing?  Yup.  Is there a 4 foot tall 8 year old trying to crash my junk while a 10 year old reads me passages from Tween Drama 4?  Nope.  This is vacation.

Now of course, I know the old parental adage of if it's too quiet then something is going really, really wrong.  Hell, I live by that.  But tonight I have made a choice.  I'm going to pretend that my three spawn are not plotting the downfall of western civilization through a cleverly designed coop focused on the control of pokeballs on the black market.  Instead, I'm going to touch my wife's butt and see where that takes me.

So let them whisper away, giggle that dad doesn't know that they are up.  Let them believe that they are super sneaky and by god why don't they have a higher allowance.  Go for it, conspire all you want as long as it's done in quiet whispers and without the assistance of foreign governments.

I'll happily be here pretending that I don't hear you  while I quietly walk across room and lock my door.


Bile and Cabbage

"I want to play the trumpet" Little Hoss told me.  I am a very supportive father, I encourage new experiences!  I say yes to adventure and to the unknown!  Hard?  Pish posh Mary Poppins, we don't like it unless it's difficult!

So of course I said "are you sure?  I mean, are you really sure?  The trumpet?  The very loud trumpet?  The trumpet that makes very loud sounds?"

Alright, fuck it, I was not thrilled with the idea of my 5th grader playing the trumpet.  I did take her to a real life dinosaur dig this summer so you know what parenting world, you owe me this.  That's right, I'm calling in the chits.  I can't be the Mister Encourage all interests all the time.  And with the trumpet, I'm drawing that line.

I'm not against music.  Music is great.  Music is just fine thank you very much.  Music that doesn't interrupt my peaceful evenings is even better.  And yet, who are we kidding.  No parent has peaceful evenings.  Saying you have a peaceful evenings with kids is like saying you are just going to have a salad at the Chinese buffet.  That isn't working tubby, we all know that an all you can eat buffet is a challenge that is questioning your very manhood!  So load me up on the stuff I can't pronounce because it's going to meet some stomach.  I should work out more.

No, evenings after school and sports are not peaceful.  They are peaceful in the way that an artillery firing range is peaceful.  Which I mean to say that they are loud and chances are someone is going to get hurt and lose a toe.  So I'm not feeling to bad when I decided to perhaps encourage my daughter to check out some other instruments, like the drums.  Ha, I'm kidding, I'm not giving my kids sticks and telling them its ok to hit something.  I like my walls like they are thank you very much, which is covered in spaghetti sauce for some reason and with no holes.  Well, some holes.  We got a lot of holes in our walls.

But what about a stringed instrument?  Those can sound nice and not like a goose getting the prison treatment from a bigger redneck moose with tattoos that make me uncomfortable.  A trumpet is just loud, really really loud.  And a new student learning to play the trumpet is going to be loud and pretty bad.  And there's lots of spit.  I will admit, the spittle would go well with the spaghetti walls.

We went down to the school on instrument night which is when you get 300 kids together and tell them not to worry, learning is fun, blow on this.  Man that sounded bad when I read that out loud.  I'm leaving it.

I was there for an hour and a half.  I sent Bacon Hoss home with mom, you don't want him bored in a crowded room.  You ever see that movie Pet Cemetery, that little kid?  It's going to be like that only with more "let it go" singing to go with the kneecapped parents.  That kid, that kid is a bit rough.  Back to the story.

Every kid in the school district is there and all their parents who are looking very nervous and some I think are crying a little bit, those in the trumpet line.

I tell my daughter that man, that trumpet line looks really long, how about we try that short line first.   You hate lines, I hate lines, down with lines!  Lets do the short line.  What's the short line?  The flute, hey how about the flute!  Jesus plays the flute, Hitler played the trumpet, do you want to be like Hitler?  Good, let's be about Jesus, not Hitler.  Good life lesson.  Parenting at it's finest.

Little Hoss couldn't blow the flute and make a sound.  She kept trying and trying but not a squeak.  The flute is out.  The trumpet line looks pretty long still, how about this line.

The clarinet.  Little Hoss loves the clarinet!  She can make sounds on the clarinet!  Crap.  The clarinet, played by a 5th grader, makes a sound that looks like the prison goose is getting off lucky.  She wants to play the clarinet.  The clarinet is the goose that is getting passed around for smokes and chocolate.

But wait, more lines, lets get in more lines!!!

Tons more lines!

We get in a long one.  I know it's not the horn lines, those are obvious by the look of parents who have given up.   We wait in this line for a good 20 minutes before we get through the door to see what instrument is this.

Drums.  The motherfucking drums.  One of these teachers didn't label these lines and I will have my vengeance, in this line or the next.  We try the drums.  She likes the drums.  The drums don't make her dizzy like the clarinet did and she can make a sound on it.  She can also make holes in walls without the help of little sticks.  The music teacher helps my daughter out, teaching her some basic rhythms.  She picks it up pretty well.  She's a natural he tells her.  My daughter lights up.  The teacher and I need to have some words later on, at night, in a dark alley, with drum sticks.

Little Hoss wants to play the drums now but we have time for one more line.  A smaller line.  It's my hail Mary play so we take it.  One more line.

The cello.  The sweet, sweet cello.  The teacher there was packing up before I jumped forward and asked (pleaded) to stay just 10 minutes longer to give my daughter a chance to try it out.  Maybe she will love it, don't you want my daughter to love music?  She agrees and I promise to take her out to a nice dinner later.  My wife will understand, it's all good.  Little Hoss plucks and a nice deep "bong" comes out.  She smiles.  Then she uses the bow and it's a nice solid note.  She tries some other notes and although they are scratchy, they are not a blaring horn.  Sorry trumpet people, I don't mean to rip on you but come on, give me this one.

"Ya know" I tell her, "that cello is pretty cool, right?  It's big and we all know that bigger is better, right?"  She smiles and plays some more.  "The cello was played by Katy Perry, and I swear, her and Taylor Swift rock out on the cello all the time."  She keeps playing.  "You know who doesn't play the cello?  Hitler.  Hitler didn't play the cello.  How about the cello?"

She picks the cello.

She likes it because it is big and apparently several of her friends and their very smart parents have picked the cello!  Yeah, go cello!

We are now cello people.  I don't know what that means really but as I write this I can hear the constant "bong, bong, bong, bong" of a cello being practiced upstairs.  Sure, it's a lot like water torture but it could be worse, it could be a swing band playing up there to a crowd of mental patients.  If I focus a little, I can pretend its just a garbage truck backing up, for an entire 1/2 hour every night.  Every.  Night.

But Little Hoss tells me she has to practice because they are going to learn a new song soon.  It's called Bile and Cabbage.  Hand to god, I looked it up in her music book.  Bile and Cabbage.  Not Fur Elise, Bile and Cabbage.  Ok, I can do Bile and Cabbage, in fact I think Bile and Cabbage fits just fine around here.