Monday, September 28, 2009

Who Are You?

As always - The Cast of Characters

Me (The Daddy)
The Bean: Age 7
The Butterfly: Age 5
The Darling Wife
The Buffett Puppy

Ok, so I won an award!

The Crazy Baby Mama is a fellow blogger and selected mine as one of her 10 favorites.  Thus, the Honest Scrap Award.  Read it out loud.  I think that's the idea.

So, breaking from typical tradition, I'm going to take some time to tell you some things about myself.  This shouldn't be too hard.  I am one of my favorite subjects.  I'm also going to alert you to 10 other blogs written by people more talented than myself.

1) I was born in a cross-fire hurricane (Jumpin' Jack Flash - Rolling Stones)

Actually I was born in Georgia Baptist Hospital during the Summer of Love.  The only drugs I got to do in the Sixties were Baby Aspirin.

2) A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - (A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - Elvis Presley)

In the year 2000, I found out the hard way that I am epileptic.  After ten or so doctors, I finally found one who could control my seizures and the resulting depression.  I take eleven pills a day, but I really love my life, my wife and my family.

3) My mama loves me. She loves me. She'd get down on her knees and hug me - (Loves Me Like a Rock - Paul Simon)

To this day, my mother is my best friend we talk several times a week and she begins every phone conversation with 'What are you doing?'.  So much so, that I now launch preemptive queries when the phone rings.

4) Take this job and shove it.  I ain't workin' here no more - (Take This Job and Shove It - Johnny Paycheck)

I have been on both sides of this equation more than a few times.  The great thing about being a writer is no one can sack you.  Of course, no one has to pay you either.

5) And I haven't seen my girl for fifteen thousand miles - (Mekong - Refreshments)

One of my recent employment stints found me working in Brisbane, Australia, exactly 12 time zones away.  I lived in a house with a crazy Serbian, a Swedish college student, and a New Zealander, but I was never quite sure what she did (other than lots of pills).  We were the most international house on Ross Street.

Two reasons I came back after only 6 months was the fact that The Bean and The Butterfly asked The DW if I was dead and The DW advised me that she could handle being a single mother.

6) When you say Bud, you've said it all - (Budweiser theme song)

My father worked at an Anheuser-Busch distributorship for 36 years. When I moved into the dorms Freshman year, everyone showed up in their vans, their station wagons, their U-Hauls.  I had a beer truck full of all my junk.

7) Your Mother is the only other woman for me - (Little Miss Magic - Jimmy Buffett)

Before The Bean was born, I could best be described as a selfish ____.  But something happened watching that nine week preemie develop that caused a change in me.  When she emerged just a hair over three pounds and spent nearly 2 months in the NICU, it became apparent just how precious and fragile life really is.

Obviously, I've had to amend the lyrics now that The Butterfly has joined our ranks, but with these three women in my life, I shall never need another.

8) I wish I was a girl so you'd believe me - (I Wish I Was a Girl - Counting Crows)

Not really.  Just seeing if you're reading this far.

9) So I give her the car keys. She helps me to bed. - (Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton)

I am convinced this song is about my DW helping her drunk husband up the stairs.  Lousy wine!!!

10) Maybe the last time, I don't know - (The Last Time - The Rolling Stones)

Not likely.  I am having way too much fun writing this blog. 

Now my awards - 

The Crazy Baby Mama

Ricki Schulz

Charlotte's Babblings

Life Between Naps

Uncool Mom

This Ain't No Effin' Mom Blog

Out-Numbered is Jason Mayo


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Disco WAS his Name-O

As always - The Cast of Characters

Me (The Daddy)
The Bean: Age 7
The Butterfly: Age 5
The Darling Wife
And The Dog Formerly Know As Disco

It is possible, it seems, to name a puppy too quickly.  A proper name should take into account several factors.  Does the name suit the dog?  Does the name suit the family?

Does it make you embarrassed to introduce the dog to manly, Not Stay-At-Home Dads at the bus stop?

Do you really to be guy shouting 'Disco' at the top of your lungs when the dog runs into the street?  "Here Disco!  Here Disco Doggie!" I would shout, checking my manhood at the door.

So proper naming protocol should take so serious thought.  Perhaps not so much thought as Holly Golightly did in Breakfast at Tiffany's when she settled on naming her cat, 'Cat'.  But surely there is a happy medium.

So we're wrestling with two non-Disco names now.  "Brand New Country Star" which is a song on Jimmy Buffett's album, Living and Dying in 3/4 Time so we can call him 'Buffet'.

Or "Beach Music", so we can call him 'Shag'.  Or "Beach Music" and call him 'Buffett'.  The DW likes that and usually gets her way.

For fairly obvious reasons, we're leaning towards 'Buffett' because we don't want to evoke the frightening spectre of Austin Powers.  Plus, at some point, the The Bean and The Butterfly will catch on that they've been calling their Best Friend a euphemism for sex.  The thought makes even me shudder.

'Disco' had been a hard sell on The Butterfly to begin with.  She was lobbying hard for 'Bingo', so any opportunity to rid the family of that name was reminiscent of the Chicago White Sox ill-conceived Disco Demolition night in 1979.  Disco records were actually exploded on the field in between a twilight double-header.  That fiasco went about as well as could be expected.

The Butterfly LOVES Jimmy Buffett songs, so much so that she knows all the words to "Volcano" and "Fins".  We're still working towards "Margaritaville".

Enter The Bean.  Her feet are firmly in the 'Disco' camp.  "Buffett is a stupid name," she counters.  "Disco already has a name.  It's 'Disco'."

I point out that he mostly just lays near the fireplace and sleeps.  In fact, he sleeps a lot.  Maybe we should cut back on the Whiskey in his Water and add more Sugar in his Tea.  He dozed to the funky tunes of The Trammps' "Disco Inferno" and yawned at the Brothers Gibb falsettos in "Stayin' Alive".

I also pointed out that he hasn't had any household accidents ever since I've been calling him 'Buffett'.


Scratch that.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Happiness is a Wet Puppy

As always - The Cast of Characters

Me (The Daddy)
The Bean: Age 7
The Butterfly: Age 5
The Darling Wife
And introducing Disco Doggie

The great philosopher Charles M. Schultz once wrote that "Happiness is a Warm Puppy".  John Lennon had a slightly different take on it, but this rare instance, Lennon could not be more wrong.

The Bean and The Butterfly saw that their cousins had a beautiful Golden Retriever puppy.  This resulted in what can only be called the Greatest Ad Campaign ever envisioned by a seven-year-old mind.

The Bean taped notebook paper to our most of our walls with crude sketches of a dog and the tag line: Only Thing I Want.

After a day, The Butterfly joined the effort.  Blue Post-It notes now covered our walls, and I found them impossible to ignore.

I've written the text for a children's book called Daddy I Want a Puppy in which the main character Lily uses her seven-year-old wiles to convince her father that a puppy would be a good idea.  She also tries to convince him that it should be the rest of the family that performs the walking, bathing and scooping duties.

Life Imitating Art all over again.

I did what any good father would do when faced with insurmountable pressure: I caved.

Lily The Bean has succeeded.  Disco Doggie is adorable.  He is a honey-colored Golden puppy and is curled at my feet as I write this.

The DW takes Disco Doggie outside every time he whimpers.  He mostly just rolls in the grass and comes back drenched and muddy.  He then proceeds to "do his business" on the carpet.  The fact that so much "business" could come out a little body is astounding.

But Disco Doggie is here for the long haul.  The fact that he eats socks and shoe laces and growls at his reflection in the mirror makes him all the more lovable.

True Happiness may very well be a Wet Puppy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Puff Piece

As always - The Cast of Characters

Me (The Daddy)
The Bean: Age 7
The Butterfly: Age 5
The Darling Wife

The Bean and The Butterfly had a Book Fair at their school on Tuesday.  The DW and I encourage them to pick out lots of books.

The Bean returns with her usual fare - books on Dora, on Barbie, on the Wiggles.  I quickly nix these and send her back to find "good" books.

Amid all the books based on rubbish television series and Disney princesses, I find an old classic - Puff, the Magic Dragon.  I essentially order The Butterfly to add it to her pile.  She does so happily.  She likes the idea of a Magic Dragon.

Did I happen to mention that the Book Fair was on September 15?

We get home and start to read the book in a sing song fashion.

Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee 
Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff,
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff

Adorable lyrics.  Wonderful imagery.  I'm checking out travel brochures for Honalee as we speak.

But then... (ominous music) -

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave,
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave.

The Butterfly began to sob uncontrollably.  She refuses to turn the page and insists on staying with Puff as he cries in his cave.  Jackie Paper abandons Magic Dragons.  Butterflies do not.

Did I mention the Book Fair was on September 15?  Did I mention that I learned from The Crazy Baby Mama that Mary Travers (Mary from Peter, Paul and Mary) died the following morning?

Perhaps The Butterfly's crocodile tears were more poignant than we thought.  Perhaps in some strange way The Butterfly knew to hold Puff close.

Perhaps Mary Travers stayed with us long enough to ensure Puff was in warm, safe and loving hands.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ants Marching

As always - The Cast of Characters

Me (The Daddy)
The Bean: Age 7
The Butterfly: Age 5
The Darling Wife

The DW and I were doing a random bit of cleaning.

The Bean enjoys this.  Well, actually she only enjoys spraying blue stuff on glass and wiping it up.

But this was a special cleaning.  This involved the vacuum.

The Bean and The Butterfly are not supposed to eat in the living room.  This is a rule, but one they interpret as more of a guideline.

The DW got it in her head that this was also the perfect time to rearrange the furniture.  So I went all He-Man and moved the heaviest chair in the house.  Beneath it was a veritable treasure chest of puzzle pieces and Barbie clothes and small stuffed things.  The Bean enthusiastically picked them up and put them in, what I can only imagine, the appropriate toy box.

We also have one of those Monster Wrap-Around Couches.  Guess what else I had to move?

The Bean was suddenly less interested in cleaning.  She sprinted into the DW's office and hid under the desk.

Beneath the Monster Wrap-Around Couch, we discovered about 30 candy wrappers.

I found The Bean without too much trouble.  She isn't very good at hiding.

I asked The Bean "what was up with all the candy wrappers?".

The Bean isn't very good at lying either.

She explains that these Giant Ants had put the candy wrappers under the couch.

I ask a follow up question - "did the Giant Ants also eat the candy?"

The Bean wasn't ready for this one.  She looked at the floor and said that "no, she ate the candy.  But it was the Giant Ants who didn't throw away the wrappers because they don't believe in recycling."

I asked where the Giant Ants were now.

"They're gone.  I shooed them away."

Somewhere Dave Matthews is smiling.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ballet Hair

As always - The Cast of Characters

Me (The Daddy)
The Bean: Age 7
The Butterfly: Age 5
The Darling Wife

I am now convinced there is a pecking order amongst we Stay At Home Dads.

There is the Little League SAHD.  The Tennis SAHD.  The Soccer SAHD.

Then there is the Ballet SAHD.  I could not be less in my element being a Ballet SAHD.
There was one other Ballet SAHD at the studio.  He refuses to make eye contact with me.

The image to the right is what Ballet Hair is supposed to look like.

My version didn't look much like this at all.  In fact, my version might be considered a crime against hair.

It's not that hard according to My Sister.

"First, you brush her hair," she says.  I think I've blogged before about my incompetence with this task.

"Then you make a tight pony tail, twirl it into a bun, hold it in place with some bobby pins, add the scrunchie, and affix more bobby pins."


"Just try it."

As luck would have it, The Butterfly was first in line.

“Hold still, Little Butterfly,” I say.

As expected, The Butterfly doesn't hold very still, but I did my best.

My Sister remarks that she "looks like she fell off the turnip truck".  So she swoops in and within a couple of minutes, The Butterfly has perfect Ballet Hair.

I watched.  I took notes.  I was ready for Prime Time.  I was ready for The Bean.

The Bean held very still and I performed all of the steps above.

Her hair comes a-tumbling down and the scrunchie falls to the floor.

The Bean kisses me.  “Thank you for trying, Dad,” she says.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Potty Training - It Isn't Just For Kids Anymore

As always - The Cast of Characters

Me (The Daddy)
The Bean: Age 7
The Butterfly: Age 5
The Darling Wife

First off, I want to acknowledge a fellow lunatic The Crazy Baby Mama. Her blog is amazing - funny and informative.  She's also on Facebook, so Find, Fan and Follow.

Now on with the show...

Potty Training.  The Bean didn't like being potty trained, but she also didn't like sitting in poop.  So grudgingly, she accepted that sitting on a kid toilet (the cleaning of which is much nastier than a diaper) was better than the alternative.

At the same time, the DW and I were retraining ourselves as well.  We both had bad cases of potty mouth.

We are actually lucky that one of The Bean's first words was "Duck".

Now obviously, nobody wants to have the kid who's shouting obscenities in the classroom.  It would be preferable if our children never heard a stray word until they've sat through Back to the Future or at least E.T.  Given my druthers, I would require them to weather 4 hours of Gone With The Wind just so Clark can finally tell Vivien how he really feels.

But that's just not reality.  Grammy has been known to drop a swear on occasion.  She likes to say, if they've never heard it, they don't know what it means.  Besides, she says, they're just words.

Fast forward to a 3-year-old Bean.  She's standing in our kitchen with a sippy cup of milk.  Suddenly, the blinds come crashing down on the floor.  She cocks her head and says something that rhymes with "Duck".

We weren't sure what to do.  The Bean, our precious little 3-year-old, has just dropped the F-Bomb.  The King of Curses.  The Mack Daddy of Swears.  One of George Carlin's seven dirty words.

I was honestly not sure how to handle it.  Certainly, a 3-year-old shouldn't even know, much less utter, the forbidden word.  However, given the context of blinds coming crashing down to the floor, it seemed apropos.

So I just laughed.

I didn't even fix the blinds.

Since then, The Bean has become a 7-year-old Puritan.  She even made a sign that says No Sh*T.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

None Too Crazy About Lazytown

The last thing we bought from Iceland was the Sugarcubes featuring Bjork.  We tried it out for a while, but it just wasn't working out.  We ultimately had to return it.

Lazytown is what we bought with the store credit.

Conceptually, it isn't a bad show.  It features a little girl with pink hair and her puppet friends.  Cute enough, right.

There is also a sort of superhero guy who advises them to eat apples and vegetables and other healthy snacks.

The antagonist encourages them to eat junk food.

The antagonist sets traps for the little girl and her puppet friends.

The antagonist hides behind trees, dresses up in disguises and tries to capture them.

The antagonist is named Robbie Rotten.  It took me about a month to realize his name wasn't Johnny Rotten.  God Save The Queen.

What's even more frightening than some maniac hiding behind trees and luring children with promises of chocolate is the way he looks.  Sort of a cross between an evil clown and Ben Stiller.

I've sat through a couple of episodes with The Bean and The Butterfly (who absolutely love the show).  It's sort of like H.R. Puffinstuff  except with a possible child predator.

So I ask this, Iceland, is it too late to get Bjork back?