The New Website Is Up

I know, this is going to be weird.  But I have finally gotten the new website up.  Which means that most of my content going forward will be posted there.

Don't worry, I'm still writing and things are still happening.  A lot of cool stuff that I really can't talk about yet.  And even though things are changing rest assured that it's only a makeover.  Just a dye job and some eyelash extenders.  I'm still Hoss and the stories will still be written.

So go on over to:

Hossman At-Home

Do me a favor, join the newsletter. It's a platform building thing, and I'm going to need that this year.



My Wife Has Lost It

"Hey, we need to talk about this chore list..." I don't even get the rest of the sentence out.  Hossmom is in our bedroom, hair frazzled, static electricity sparks flying from the ends.  On the bed is every single piece of clothing that our toddler owns.   Everything.

"What?" my wife says.  But the way she says it is more like a challenge than a question.  It's the scene in Pulp Fiction where Jules asks the kid to say "What" one more time.  I'm afraid to even think the word. 

The winter clothes are in a pile by the pillows, at the top of the bed.  Shorts that my four-year-old hasn't worn in years are on the floor.  Old baby blankets, jeans, and clothes he doesn't fit into yet are thrown at the bottom of the bed.  And in the middle, enough pajamas to fully cloth an entire maternity ward. 

"Um, you're busy.  I can come back," I say and try to back away without attracting notice.  It doesn't work. 

"No.  Ask whatever you are going to ask.  We have stuff to do," Hossmom says as she struggles with a pair of PJ pants that were inside out.  When I put them away, I just throw them in the drawer.  My hands don't fit in the tiny legs and I stretch them out.  If the boy wants his PJs on the right way, he can do it himself.

"Ok," I say.  "Want to tell me what's going on?"
"I'm organizing Bacon Hoss' pajamas."
"Because it needs to be done."

Everyone gives my children pajamas for presents.  Aunts, Grandmas, occasionally a random old lady at the store.  So after three kids, we have a lot.  There is an entire drawer in his dresser dedicated just to PJ shirts, another one just for pants, and a third for the overflow.  There's a lot of pajamas. 

"So," I start again.  Don't sound threatening, it's important here not to sound threatening.  My wife is losing it.  "My chore list.  Yeah, just had a few questions.  That's all."

"Ok.  What about?" she says.

"Do I really need to organize the silverware drawer.  I mean, it kind of already does that." 
"Yes.  Make sure you don't put the small forks with the bigger ones."
"Right.  Got it.  And where the list says 'dust the tops of doors', I'm not sure I understand that one."
"Why?  Get a rag and dust the tops of the doors.  We never do it and I'm sure it needs it."

I want to argue here but I also want to keep breathing, so I just shut it.  I could point out that the constant friction between the top of a door and the door jamb is pretty much an automatic dusting.  I mean, right?  Is there really dust up there? 

"And clean behind the couch?" I ask, but only because I actually did that one last week.  I found a banana peel.  The kids and I had to have a talk.

"Yup, take another look." 

I know what's going on here but even for my wife, this seems excessive.  We have family coming in for the holidays.  My brother-in-law and his wife are flying up.  My little nephew is going to open some presents and then check door jambs for dust. 

Hossmom has gone goofy. 

"Sure.  I can take another look.  But this last one, I'm not sure I understand it," I say to my wife and hand her the list.  She snatches it from my hand, a pair of pajama pants falls off the bed and I quickly pick it up before she notices anything.

"Display cutting boards," she reads.
"I don't know what that means," I say.
"Exactly what it says.  Put the cutting boards out that they gave us so they can see them."
"But they are cutting boards."
"I know.  Put them out."
"I usually keep them in the cabinet when I'm not, you know, cutting things."
"Put. Them. Out."

There is a finality to her words.  Apparently, this is not open for discussion.  She throws the list back at me and I grab it in mid-air. 

"There, all done," Hossmom says.  On the bed are nicely matched pairs of pajamas.  Every pant has a matching top.  The ones that don't have been thrown in a box.  I don't want to ask what she is going to make me do with the box.

My son is four.  He gets his own pajamas at night.  And as a four-year-old, he has absolutely no fashion sense, none at all.  Bacon Hoss will grab a pair of truck pants, complete the ensemble with a winter jacket, and then we are ready for bed.  Usually, I let him do his thing.  Gotta let the little guy express himself.  I don't think my wife cares for the most part.  Not until family is coming into town.

"Are you afraid that your brother and his wife are going to check to see if our son's PJs match?" I ask.
"Maybe," she says.
"I don't think they are that weird."  Not as weird as my wife.  I don't say that though, if I do she will throw me into the box. 

"Help me put all this away and take the box to the garage," she says, ignoring my quip. 
"Can't.  I've got to go hang cutting boards on our wall somewhere."
"Ok," she says like this is the most normal conversation to have.  She grabs an armful of PJs, making sure that they are neatly organized as she grabs them.

"When you're done," she says, "can you give the cat a bath?"

It is going to be a very long Christmas.

Happy holidays everyone.  That's it for this year and I'll see everyone in 2018.  Assuming, of course, if I survive bathing the cat. 


7 Ways To Avoid Hanging Up Women's Shirts

I put my wife’s shirt on the hanger, say a quick prayer, and then watch it slide off onto the floor.  You would think that after being an at-home-dad the last nine years that I would have figured this out.  I have done enough laundry over that time to fully clean all the sails for an armada of 1642 Spanish galleons.  Nope, women’s shirts still confuse me.  

No shirt made for any woman will ever stay on a hanger unless there is some sort of magic involved.  Apparently, I’m a muggle.  The necks are too large and they are made out of some sort of fabric that doesn’t exist in this realm.  The shirts even give you false hope.  There are these little strappy things hidden in a lot of them so that they can be attached to a hanger.  I refuse to do this because it’s obvious that the hanger industry has conspired with the magical shirt industry.  Just so I’m clear, I have to actually pay attention to the hangers I’m buying?  It’s a hanger.  It hangs.  I think not Mr. Big Hanger Conglomerate.  

Instead of learning to do the impossible, I have spent the last nine years coming up with ways to avoid hanging up any and all women’s shirts.  Oh, and taking care of children.  Mostly, the shirt thing though.

I present to you, all my comrades in laundry (not in the Russian comrade way, go U.S.A.), my tips and tricks for avoiding hanging up women’s shirts.  

1.  Go get your trusty nail gun.  I believe that I can safely assume that we at least have the very basic model?  I should hope so, we are not savages, are we?  Take the nail gun, the shirt, and the hanger to your wife’s closet.  Place the shirt over the hanger and press both against the wall.  Fire your nail gun up, watch your fingers, and pop 25 two penny nails through the shirt and hanger.  Technically, the hanger is now hanging on the shirt.  Close enough.  

2.  Stop doing laundry.  Learn to be Elsa, let it go.  Sing the song if you want to while you cower under the mounds and mounds of dirty women’s shirts.  It’s ok, you will look appropriately crazy singing while you sled down a hill full of silky shirts and their bullshit straps.  

3.  “This shirt will hang up fine,” your wife will say.  It’s a trap!  Don’t buy it.  Take a close look at that shirt she is hanging up.  Why, it’s not a woman’s shirt at all, no sir.  It’s one of your collared shirts that she has appropriated.  She will wear it to make you lose your mind because none of us can resist the look of our wife in one of our button downs, can we?  Don’t fall for it.  That’s a man’s shirt and thus is very easily hung up.  Call out your wife.  Not publicly though, that’s a mistake.  We all want to continue to stay married.  Go back to your bedroom and your landfill of women’s shirts.    

4.  Fire.  Man created fire!  It’s our greatest invention.  Fire has brought us from caves to living in high-rise condos while we sip on tea brewed over a fire.  Well, some people.  I’m assuming that people that can afford high-rise condo’s in any American city can also afford a maid to do their laundry for them.  Screw those people, right?  For us suburban Neanderthals though, we still got to deal with this unholy of holies.  Fire’s original purpose was not to ward off the dangers of the dark.  Hell, no.  It was to burn Mrs. Grog’s stupid sundress fur that she picked up on vacation.  Mr. Grog couldn’t handle it and since nail guns weren’t invented yet, he used fire to sacrifice all women’s shirt to whatever devil invented them.  So let’s all pay attention to Grog, may his memory live on, and just burn the fracking shirts.  

5.  Go find a fitted sheet, preferably one with lots of stains on it.  No reason for the stains, I’m just assuming that all of us could use new sheets.    Now take that sheet to the University of Laundry located somewhere on the East Coast.  Spend 50K and three years learning how to fold the sheet.  Come back to your house and show your wife how easy it is to fold a fitted sheet.  Then try and hang up one of your wife’s shirts.  You still won’t be able to do it, even with all your fancy learning.  This gives you the basic argument that women’s shirts are not meant to be hung up at all.  Case closed.  Throw the shirt in the linen closet and hang up the fitted sheet, which somehow stays on the hanger.  

6.  Ignore the problem, just like your budget issues.  Eventually, all the shirts will magically be hung up on their own.  Be careful though because when this happens, for some reason your wife may start to complain to you about something.  The word “shirt” will get thrown around a lot.  Play dumb.  “Shorts?  Sure, the shorts are in the drawer.”  Continue to ignore the problem of the shirts until you get that weird twitch in your eye from unresolved shirt issues.    

7.    Start a religion, not a cult because that’s creepy, and register it.  Your main tenet will be “NO WOMEN’S SHIRTS ON HANGERS.”  Make signs and then have your apostles go door to door handing out pamphlets.    Change the very culture that we find ourselves in.  Hopefully, praise to the no-shirts, the world will come to realize that women’s shirts must never be put up on hangers.  On December 25th, we can all give each other bottles of bourbon or wine, dealer’s choice, and talk about the old days of women’s shirts and hangers.  

Enjoy the read?  Good, then do a fella a solid and hit that little Facebook share button down below.  Yup, they are brand new. Let's test a few of them out and see if we can give an early Christmas present to Hossman.  He's a nice guy, I swear it. Unless you are between him and a peanut butter cookie, then all bets are off. 


Destroying My Son

"Do you want to learn or do you want to continue to get your butt kicked," My 10-year-old son says.  Those words are just full of a condescending attitude, that bullshit dripping from each and every syllable.

"I want to learn," I say as he tries to grab the game controller away from me.  I jerk my hand away, taking advantage of my two extra feet of height to thwart him.  It's my only attempt to keep the power shift from happening even though I'm pretty sure that has already occurred.

"Behind you, Dad!  Behind you!"  He says.  It still sounds condescending.  Like he is stating the most obvious answer in the world.   He's acting like I'm a flat-earther and he's Bill Nye.  Jesus Christ, I can feel his eyes roll when I get light sabered in the back.

"Dad.  You have to check behind you."
"I was checking behind me," I say.
"No you weren't, that's why your character got chopped in half."
"Yoda didn't get chopped in half.  He's just resting his eyes a bit."

My boy slugs me in the shoulder as I hit the respawn button on the Xbox.  We are playing his new game in the living room.  My daughter sits on the couch, checked out to the world with her headphones in.  She treats her phone like a personal assistant but I'm pretty sure she isn't as crass with it as my frustrated son is with me.

The toddler is banging on stuff and chunking it off the top of the stairs.  Yeah, that's where we are at with him at the moment.  Every stuffed animal gets a free flying lesson from the top of the stairs.  He has the dog with him.  I should talk to the boy pretty soon just to make sure we know that living things don't get the death push from up there.

This leaves me and my middle son playing Star Wars Battlefront II.  I'll admit, the game is pretty cool.  The graphics awaken my own ten-year-old self, gets me excited.  Yoda, Vadar, Luke:  all the characters that you can play.  Do or Do Not is no longer a movie tagline, it's real life and I'm getting my ass handed to me by someone that thinks that fart contests are cool.

Well, they are cool but that's another story.

"Here, let me show you," Bubba Hoss says again.  This time I just push him away.  I'm going to destroy him this time.  I'm going to Yoda these nuts all over his character, make him truly question his existence.  I'll get Han to make out with Leia and make kissy noises until he can't take it anymore.  My goal here is to put him into therapy for the rest of his life, the best kind of fatherly vengeance.

The next match lasts less than a minute.  He force choked me.  He did it while laughing.

"I told you, look behind you," he says.

I'm going to smack him.

I go to the garage and grab one of the folding lawn chairs and put it in front of the T.V., the universal sign that Dad is getting serious.  I was playing games before he was even thought about.  First person shooters?  I was there at their beginning.  Standing is wearing me out, my knees start to hurt and I was too far away from the screen to see properly.  I do some thumb stretching exercises and crack my knuckles just to get into his head.  You hear that, boy?  Knuckles are cracking, I'm going to destroy you.

"Again," I say.
"Are you sure?" he asks.
"Start it, smart ass."

He does but it seems he is reluctant to hit the button.  He doesn't want to be seen as picking on me, pilling on the garbage he's throwing my way.

The game starts.  He's the Galactic Empire, Vader.  He always wants to be Vader.  It's happened so much that I've had a sit-down talk with him.  Don't be evil, it's really a simple lesson but one that I feel doesn't get talked about enough.  He ignored me.  The Dark Side has claimed my boy.  My duty is clear now, I must destroy him.

"Bacon Hoss, get down here," I yell at my four-year-old who has stopped throwing things over the stairs.  His little feet come pounding down, jumping off the last two steps instead of walking down them.  We don't do normal in this family.  He skips to my side.

"Yeah, Dad?" Bacon asks.
"Sit tight."

I can see Bubba Hoss stalking me.  He's trying to outflank me, get behind me yet again.  I can pretty much hear him salivating at his next force choke.  Or maybe he'll try to throw me off a ledge this time.  He is totally focused on my destruction.

But here's the thing.  He's 10.  That's it.  Still a kid.  He hasn't learned to think tactically yet.  It's all button smashing and charging ahead without a plan.  Bubba Hoss is counting on his superior eyesight and faster reflexes.  However, he has not yet read Sun Tzu's Art of War.  He has failed and doesn't know it yet.   Know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.  In short, Bubba Hoss has forgotten the face of his father.   He has forgotten who I am.

I know that he is trying to get around me, to come at me from behind because I'm watching his screen.  I let him come in closer.  He's actually snickering.  He's trying to be quiet about it and failing.  I let him come.

So close.  He's so close.  One little force choke button away from defeating dear old dad once again.

I grab his controller, my reflexes still fast enough for the occasional surprise.  Tactics.  Games are all about tactics and strategy.  Bubba Hoss has forgotten this.  He thinks the game is contained, only what happens on the screen determines the outcome.

"Hey!" He starts to scream but I don't listen.  This was my plan.  I give the controller to the toddler.
"Go!" I tell him.  "Go!"
The toddler takes off while I use my free hand to hold Bubba Hoss back.
"Top of the stairs, boy!  Top of the stairs!"

Bubba Hoss tries to break free of my grip.  He cannot.  I've got him.  I use my legs to lock him in front of me.

"Uh-oh.  Looks like Vader is having some troubles," I say.  The character on the screen is turning in circles so fast that it's just a blur.  My four-year-old is doing some button smashing of his own.  But not on my half of the screen.  On my half, Yoda very calmly walks towards Vader.

"You might want to turn away, boy.  This isn't going to be pretty," I tell him.
"You cheated!"
"There isn't cheating in war, son.  It's just the way it is."
"It's still cheating!"
"I'm teaching.  Do you want to learn or get your butt kicked?"

I have never said something so satisfying in all my life.
My vengeance is not quick.


Should I Allow My Wife To Work...

Today, I let Dear Wifey go to work!  I know, it's a big thing letting Dear Wifey go into the big downtown without me.  But she was just so cute getting ready this morning, how could I not just sit and smile?

Dear Wifey got dressed and then even managed to start the car, all by herself!  I was so proud of her when she rolled down her window and told me that she would need to put air in her tires.  I asked her if she knew where the gas station was but she left without hearing me.  I hope that Dear Wifey knows what to do:)

Dear Wifey got there safely, but not without some trouble on the way.  She ran into traffic!  Oh, Dear Wifey, don't I know how bad that sucks.  Traffic is so hard, right?  As a man, I totally relate to driving in traffic while going to work.  It's such a big change for her, leaving the house without the kids to actually enter the world without me by her side.  How will she manage without me there???

Dear Wifey texted me throughout the day.  She said that she had lots of meetings.  Meetings!  With MEN!  MEN!  Oh, she's in trouble now, isn't she?  I told her to just keep her head down and to remember to add numbers or get someone coffee.  Numbers are hard because they aren't cleaning or cooking.  She was just so precious when she tried to explain to me about ad campaigns.

She had to go get lunch and do some networking.  Wow, networking for Dear Wifey.  She's a fish out of water, isn't she?  It is so hard talking to other people about work stuff that I was really worried about her.  She even sent me a picture of her with other people eating at a fancy restaurant.  I had to remind her not to talk about menstruation in front of work colleagues.  But you know wives, she probably did it anyway.  LOL.

Dear Wifey called me, all upset in the afternoon.  She said that she was trying to read a spreadsheet and that it was really big.  I asked her what was wrong with that.  She said it was just so many numbers and fancy business words. "Don't worry," I told Dear Wifey, "When you get home I will explain monies to you."  That seemed to make her feel better.

At the end of the day, Dear Wifey had to come back home.  But before she could make it here, she had to talk to a mechanic about the air in her tires.  I guess she couldn't figure out how to fix that after all.  Ha Ha.

I let her back into the house and asked her how her day was.  Dear Wifey said it was hard and that there were a lot of people doing business things.  I patted her on the back and then allowed her to go back to her kitchen.  Dear Wifey survived and didn't kill anyone!  Lulz and whatever the fuck else.


We should all be good and pissed off about that condescending garbage written up top.  If you are not, then you are part of the fucking problem.

I see articles like this all the time except from the other side.  Dear Husband is left alone with the kids, to say, make breakfast.  And holy shit, he makes a disaster of it.  But it's ok, he's ONLY A DAD.  What the actual Jesus Fuck?  That's the message:  Dad doesn't know what he is doing so let's all celebrate it.  Go to any big parenting site and I guarantee you will find at least one story like this. 

The last one of these I read was a dad who only had to get his kids ready for school.  They weren't even toddlers.  They were goddamn teenagers.  How fucking hard is that?  And what was the last line of the article?  "He survived.  LOL." 

There's a name for this.  It's called the buffoon dad.  It's the Homer Simpson syndrome.  An inept father who can't be bothered to actually parent his kids.  And we fucking celebrate this.  But you know, buffoons aren't funny if there isn't any redemption.  It's just sad. I read these and pity everyone involved. 

Stop giving us father's credit for stupid shit.  None of us deserves any special recognition for making breakfast, taking the kids anywhere, or buying a gallon of milk.  I mean for fuck's sake, is our bar for success so god damn low?  And when these articles are written, when that message gets out there, it demeans us all.  So fucking stop it.  Does everyone see now, when the story is flipped, how pathetic that shit is? 

Where are the awesome fatherhood stories?  The ones that show dad's doing something truly remarkable?  I mean, Christ people, these dads are everywhere and should be celebrated.  I know a guy that runs two boy scout troops, the pack, two soccer teams, works full time and countless other activities.  Including making fucking breakfast for his kids without a fucking word.  He does it because he's Dad.  Let's celebrate that guy.  That's right, Micah, let's celebrate you.  That's the guy that we should all recognize as an awesome father. 

But those stories don't really exist.  They are hidden behind every post where a father can't even manage to get to the kids to school by 9 am.  Let's continue to go down this rabbit hole.  Why aren't we celebrating the moms that bust their ass to bring in the income?  Those women are the role models and we should sing their praises.  My own wife has provided for us for nine god damn years.  That's who we should be tipping our hats to.  The parents that bust ass 24/7.

Look, I know what I write and I know the comedic value of a character being placed in a situation that he isn't familiar with.  Fine, go with it.  But as a father if you aren't familiar with cleaning the house or changing a diaper, there is something wrong with you.  And we shouldn't cheer it on.  We should give some real god damn stories that at least show you what it looks like to actually fucking try.  Yes, show the failures, but also show that Hulk Hogan moment.  The whole world is going to shit, your back is up against a wall and the audiecne thinks you aren't going to make it.  Then bam, you figure it out, do things your way and save the day.  That's a redemption story and it's the one that we should all be writing.  Not the sad sack of shit that thinks he deserves credit for learning how to carpool. 

Because here is the truth, and it's been said a million times now but let's say it again:  Dads Don't Babysit.  We parent.  Even when we fail, we fail as a parent.  Celebrate the comeback story, not the clueless turd that never bothers to learn from his mistakes.  At the very least, our measure of success shouldn't be if all the kids are all alive at the end of the story.  We are better than that, let's show it. 


How To Watch Movies As A Dad

Princess Belle needs to lay down some weed and feed.  A whole crap ton, actually.  She would probably be better suited to just going down to the local gardening store and getting a sprayer and a truck delivery.  Seriously, she needs to buy it in bulk.

At the start of Beauty and the Beast, maybe 15 minutes in, Princess Belle is dancing in a meadow. She breaks out into song, like you do.  What I see, as a father, is not the story of a woman who falls in love with an abuser.  Well, I do see that.  But what I see as a suburban father (and homeowner) is a field full of weeds.  Oh, I'm sure others may call them "wildflowers" or "set design."  However, to the highly trained suburban dad, I call them "shit that ruins my yard."  And I'm a little miffed at the Beauty and Beast village that no father figure has stepped up with his weed spreader to take care of the problem.  If you don't nip it in the bud now, at the source, it's only going to spread.  Then you are going to have the HOA coming down on your ass.  Who needs that?

This is what fatherhood has done to my movie watching.  I constantly get pulled out of the story because I can no longer ignore some things that I see.  I want to.  I try to.  I can't.  The movie will be going along fine until I see something, that as a dad, makes me cringe.

Bladerunner, both the old and the new movie.  They are both very dark movies and I don't just mean the subject manner.  Hey, I'm all down for the robot love of the future.  Apparently, all this robot love takes place in the night.  Which means a lot of lights.  But here's the thing, even with all those lights--neon and colorful--it's still very dark.  The Dad in me wonders how much electricity they are wasting.  I know that shit isn't free in the future.  Is there some Blade Runner dad going around turning off all those lights when no one needs them?  And if he is, he's probably dying inside because it's obvious they are using the wrong wattage.  That light isn't bright enough.  Which means they probably aren't using the good LED energy saving brands.  With so many lights to change, it's probably the cheap knockoff shit which means they burn out a lot.  How often do they have to replace those bulbs?  Whoever runs that city is just making more work for dad.  I would totally watch a movie where utility bills don't exist.  It would be some post-apocalyptic thriller where a dad has to scrounge around for the proper wattage light bulb and eat people on occasion.

Marvel superhero movies send my inner rage out of control.  When Hulk smashes into a building, what I see is property taxes going up.  Oh, sure, the buildings probably have insurance.  But that means that they are going to have to make a claim, which means rents are going up.  Don't Millenials have enough to worry about?  Rents are already out of control.  And we all know that debris is going to ruin sidewalks and that's the real rub, where the real consumer is going to get hit.  Sales tax will have to go up to repair those streets.  I don't see Captain America out there with a hard hat laying asphalt.  And let's be clear, I can't welcome all those Millenials into the suburbs.  That will make my taxes go up, with all their demand for affordable housing. Then the Avengers will follow and bam, my sidewalks get jacked up.  What happens if they break a water line?  Who's going to pay for that shit?  If it's on my property, me, that's who.  I'm going to have to sit out in the front of my hose, with my water house, spraying down aliens and Iron Man while screaming "Get Off My Lawn!"  And, I'll mean it.  Surubarn dads have lawyers, I'm going to sue.

Every Lego movie makes me cringe.  Sure, they are clever and action packed.  However, when there's an explosion in a Lego movie, I see a thousand tiny parts going every where.  Those tiny little Lego bricks that hurt like a son of a bitch when you step on them in the middle of the night.  It's like I have PTSD from Lego injuries.  The center of my foot gets sore just thinking about it.  And they jack up the vacuum cleaner, especially those clear ones that I can't see.  That's a 1/2 hour just to fix the vacuum cleaner.  Then you've got a busted scene and someone has got to put it back together.  Yeah, that's going to be dad.  Three hours of work just so that I can do it all over again when Batman comes screeching through.

Seriously, watching movies is exhausting with dad brain.

Aliens came on recently, the second one that is really good.  Ripley was getting ready to beat some mother queen ass.

"Little Hoss!" I screamed.  "Get in here!"

"What?" She asked.

"Come here and watch this movie."

She sat and together we enjoyed Ripley running around trying to save Newt.  The little girl gets taken, the mother queen lays some gross looking eggs, Ripley saves the day and they escape.

Little Hoss buried her head into my shoulder, right at the good part where Ripley doesn't know that the Queen smuggled herself on board.  Little Hoss knows that something is coming, she can feel the tension of the scene.

"Look, baby, you need to watch this," I said.

"Is it scary?" She asked.

"Yeah, totally.  Watch."

Sometimes being a father means facing those fears together.

The Queen rips Bishop in half, Little Hoss screams.  Ripley runs away, leaving the little girl.

"She can't leave!  She can't leave Newt!" Little Hoss yells at the screen.  "Be brave, Rip!"

And then Ripley shows up in a front loader robot to kick some alien ass.  Little Hoss cheers, I cheer even though I have seen this movie a hundred times.  The fight is on.

"Get her!  Get the Queen!" Little Hoss says.  She's jumping up and down.

"See that honey!" I said to my daughter.  "That, that is what I wanted you to see.  When you grow up, be Ripley.  That's who you have to be!"

A dad's brain never turns off, I don't think it can.  That doens't mean that it always sees the bad things though.  Sometimes it sees the awesome and takes the opportunity to show his daughter how to jump in some heavy equipment to throw monsters out of the airlocks.

But yeah, when I see an airlock, what I think is "Close that thing, you are letting all the cool air out.  Do you have any idea how high our electric bill is?  Where you raised in a barn?"


The Nut Ninja

Photo by Frida Aguilar Estrada on Unsplash

The fight moves from the stairs to the living room floor.  Little fists of fury swing wildly, hitting air, occasionally connecting with a pillow that Bubba Hoss holds up to defend himself.  The toddler, Bacon, tries to push it aside so that he can get a clean shot.  He is small and the pillow is large, his target just out of his reach.  He's a four-year-old that just wants to hit his older brother in the balls.

Bubba dodges left, feints right, tucks and rolls like Captain Kirk escaping a green alien.  He slides past the dog and near the couch.  The toddler follows, stalking with heavy footfalls and the sour-stink breath of too many juice boxes but somehow not enough sugar.

There is a laugh, it is maniacal.  A high-pitched cackle that would give Wicked Witch of the West goosebumps.  Whose laugh is it?  The toddler determined to destroy nuts or the older brother that is clearly toying with this little welp?  I do not know because I'm sitting in my chair placing bets on who will win first.

The dog jumps on my lap, tail wagging enough so that it smacks the fake leather.  We can't afford real leather, we have children.  The fake leather makes a sharp pitch when his tail hits it.  It sounds like the dogs own version of maniacal laughter.  The dog licks my face once, turns and presents his butthole inches from my face.  He is showing dominance.  He jumps, one of his feet pushing squarely off one of my own balls and somehow I have become a casualty of the nut hitting game I currently watch

The dog crashes against Hossmom, she holds her wine glass up high to prevent any spills onto our wine stained couch.  She grumbles, mumbles under her breath at the dog or the children.  It's tough to determine which because I have re-entered spectator mode.  My two boys continue to go at it with Bubba Hoss using his superior 10-year-old reach to keep the toddler at bay.

The fight has been going on for at least 15 minutes.  The opening bell was my announcement "go upstairs, your mom and I would like to sit in peace."  What they heard was "Go to your corners and then come out fighting."

This is our quiet time routine in the middle of the evening, that twilight time of "after dinner" and "just before bedtime."  In this strange dimension, quiet time means something completely opposite than what one would think.

The boys are locked in combat now, arms intertwined in the struggle.  They leap to the couch, stand on it.  Together, they bounce on the cushions, leap off the arms and dig their dirty little nails into the fabric.  Hossmom again holds up her wine on instinct.  The dog joins the fray.  I should make a sign that says "our furniture is not playground equipment" but I find that the statement has the same effect as asking for quiet time.

Can the toddler get the nut shot in?  I give him 4 to 1 odds.  He is outgunned and lacks the tactical knowledge of his older brother.  However, he charges forward with the confidence of the fanatic.  Swinging, swinging, missing the balls of his older brother.  The dog barks his encouragement.

Bubba Hoss goes down.  His foot got stuck in between the cushions and he tumbles.  His head hits the soft padding of the wine-soaked couch.  The toddler sees his opportunity, leaps forward, a battle cry erupts from his lips.  His fist goes back, the tension of a taut bow ready to be released.

Bubba puts out his foot, his hands fly to his crotch in the universal protection gesture.  He lashes out, catches the toddler in the chest.  The blow is deflecting, not solid, but good enough that it catches Bacon Hoss unaware.  He slips, goes to a knee and then starts to slide off the couch backward towards the floor.  Before he makes contact, in that moment that lasts for an eternity, he yells his final words before he will start crying.

"God Damnit!"  From the mouth of babes.

Hossmom's eyes snap up, away from her phone and whatever article of pop culture she is reading.  The wine glass, still held in the air, tips a bit.  We have a new stain on the couch.  Those eyes don't look to the toddler, who lands with a thud, but to me.  Lazer focused right to the middle of my soul.

Bubba Hoss goes quiet and his gaze also goes to me.  He knows the phrase just uttered, the final desperate cry of the nut ninja.  I hear my daughter start to thunder down the stairs as the swear was yelled loud enough, and in that toddler way--all lispy and cute, that it has taken her away from the four million texts that she sends each night.

The toddler whimpers and sits up.  Everyone is looking at dad.  The dog jumps up on my chair, once again presenting his butthole to my face.

God Damnit.  The boy said God Damnit as he was pushed off the couch.  The room finally gets quiet, which it only does when someone does something that they know to be wrong.

I throw my hands up into the air.  This is it, the pinnacle of fatherhood achievement.  Nine years as an at-home-dad, countless misadventures, enough cusswords uttered to complete a New York Times crossword puzzle.

All my children have used an appropriate cussword, at the appropriate time, before the age of five.  Little Hoss once told the cat to "fucking move" when I was attempting to put together a random toy and had just said it to the cat five minutes before.  At age three, Bubba Hoss said "shit" when he dropped a toy behind the couch.  And now Bacon Hoss, four years old, let's loose with a God Damnit.

I would like to thank all those that have supported me through this training.  To Hossmom for all of her evil looks, to my children that have stood by me in the toughest of times, and to my niece that gets out a swear jar every time I spend time with her.  But most importantly, I would like to thank the divorce lawyer that will be serving me papers next week.

"Ok, that's it.  Bedtime!" I bellow, ending fight night in the Hossman household.

"Did he just say..." my daughter begins.

"No questions!  Upstairs!"  I gather the children and begin to start the bedtime routine that I am sure I will be doing alone tonight. Hossmom still has some wine in her glass.   "Move!"

I grab the toddler by the shoulder and turn him toward me, letting the other two hide away upstairs from the upcoming swear lecture that we seem to give an aweful lot in this house.

"We don't say God Damnit, boy.  Got it?"

"Yes, Daddy."

"Seriously, don't say it."

"Ok," he says.

He holds his arms wide.  We are going in for the hug to seal the pact we have just made.  Don't cuss.  I take a step towards him.

His right arm drops too quickly for me to understand, he takes a step forward and I notice that his thumb is on the outside of his fist.  I admire his proper technique for a quick second, distracted by it.  The punch hits me in the balls, square, catching both the left and right like a 7-10 split.  I double up and pitter-patter feet zoom upstairs to the music of that maniacal laugh.

"God Damnit."