Tuesday, May 30, 2006

There's Nothing But Crap on the TV Tonight

Miss O fell out of bed last night. We were downstairs and heard a big "THUD!" and then ran up to find her sitting on her floor. No visible contusions or pooling blood, so we plopped her back in bed, repositioned her, and left.

Of course, this morning she denied that it happened at all. I'll tell ya, she is her mother's daughter. Unyielding denial in the face of insurmountable evidence to the contrary. It's quite a trait -- she'll make her future partner silently fume someday with that superpower.

Mr. Z has been consumed with all things 'death,' of late. The boy is obsessed. He talks about not wanting to die, he asks how old the oldest person in the world is, he wonders if the world will ever end -- it's very uplifting. Normally, I try to explain things rationally and usually end up with something like, "Look, you're only seven. You've got many, many, many, many, many, many years left in your life, so you don't even have to worry about it. You've got, like, at least one hundred years." That usually holds him for a few hours, but then it's back to conversations like this one we had last night at bedtime:

MR. Z: Dad, so what's the deal with reincarnation?

ME: Well, we've talked about this before. A lot. It's the idea that after someone dies, they 'come back' as someone or something else, like a person or a plant or something.

MR. Z: So... give me an example.

ME: Dude, do we really need to talk about this again?!

MR. Z: Pleeeeease?

ME: Okay... a guy dies and he comes back as a dog. Goodnight.

As you can tell, my patience is growing ever-so-slightly thin.

Tonight, though, there was no death talk. I was in the laundry room putting stuff into the dryer and he was supposed to be in his room getting into his pajamas. I couldn't see into his room but I could hear him. This is what I heard:


I ignored him. Then:


So I walked around the corner into his room to tell him to get dressed and there I was, standing face to, uh, face with "The World's Most Powerful T.V." He was naked, of course, on his bed with his feet pulled back toward his head, and his bare-ass bunghole was 'staring' right at me. It was like walking into the eye of Hurricane Buttrina. Quite a spectacle, I must say.

Unflinchingly, I said:

ME: Um, here's a question, World's Most Powerful T.V.? Why isn't Mr. Z in his pajamas? I guess maybe he doesn't want his dad to come to school tomorrow to video the dress rehearsal of his puppet show, does he?

And with that, the World's Most Powerful T.V. ended its broadcast day.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Well, It Was A Bee-yeetch!

Whose idea was it to go to the beach on Memorial Day? Not mine, sister. A mass of humanity -- balls, butts and boobs, still pasty and pallid from their winter slumbers, shoe-horned into lycra and on display for all to see. It was quite a sight:

But we braved the sea of sunning Michiganders, found a spot for our towels and frolicked happily in the turd-brown, fecal stew known as Lake Lansing. Luckily, I brought along our chewable anti-malaria tablets, so we should be fine.

One question, though? When did every guy in the world start waxing his fucking chest except me?! What the shit is this all about?! I felt like a goddamn Yeti stalking around the place.

You'll notice that, aside from being very hirsute, I'm quite tall. It's bizarre, though. I seriously think that, besides one or two other Bigfeet like myself, every guy there had had his chest pubes torn off. I guess the ladies find this attractive nowadays. Me, I don't fucking get it. Besides, if I shaved off my chest hair, I'd lose like 15 pounds... and my shirts would be all blousey. Fucking creepy.

All in all, though it wasn't too painful of a day. It was classic, though. At one point, we walked over to the concessions area to get some ice cream for the spawn, and there was this HUGE line snaking around the building. We also noticed a really short line next to it. We stood in the short line and got our stuff in about a minute. Then we realized that the long line was filled with people waiting for their complimentary, Memorial Day FREE HOTDOG! Unbelievable!?! They're waiting in this line in 90 degree heat so they can get a free, limp tube of lips, anuses and teats shoved into a stale bun. Whatta buncha weiners.

I'll leave you with a photo that perfectly demonstrates the spazzitude that is Mr. Z. We had just gotten out of the "lake" and were warming up on our towels. This is Mr. Z in quiet repose:

[That's his foot where most people's head would be. And yes, that is Miss O confidently striding by in the background.]

Here's the Pitch...

We're just about to head out to "the beach" with the kids, 90 degree heat and all... on Memorial Day. Is it a good idea? Will we have fun? Will Mr. Z somehow "lose" his trunks and do the "penis dance" on the beach for all to see? Will I swim out into the lake and never come back?

Stay tuned...

Nothing to See Here

Too tired to post tonight. Just had friends over for some chillin' and/or grillin'. I fired up some very tasty chicken-kebabs with some curried couscous. It was a long day, hot as fuck, and I have nothing left to give. I apologize.

More tomorrow.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

What the HELOC Are You Talking About?!

When it comes to financial dealings, I'm a completely retarded. Literally -- my money I.Q. is like 8. I'm moneytarded. Never been good with money, never will be. When we got our mortgage, it was like the broker guy was speaking Esperanto. I had absolutely no clue what we were doing. Somehow, it worked, because we ended up with a house, but I had absolutely nothing to do with it.

So, part of our mortgage is this Home Equity Line of Credit, or HELOC, which is basically a credit card type thing. Now, I DO understand that interest rates are going up and I realized that we're starting to hemorrhage money with this HELOC thing, 'cuz it's at like 9.5% and rising. The old lady (who knows even LESS about this shit, if you can imagine) and I finally decided that we should do something about it.

We talked to a friend of my parents who's this mortgage lady and she told us to change the HELOC into a fixed rate loan to "lock it in," so the interest rate won't get any higher. Okay, I can understand that. I may be retarded, but I'm not stupid.

So, we went over to Bank One, which is now Chase for some reason, and talked to the loan lady. Cut to about 30 minutes later, and she has us convinced that we need to convert not only the HELOC, but also the 30 year thing into one giant NEW loan at a slightly higher percentage rate than our current 30 year loan.

Ow, my head is starting to really hurt again.

Luckily, we didn't sign the papers yet, because I went home and emailed all this shit to the mortgage lady friend of my parents. She's like, "Don't do that! You're crazy! She's totally ripping you off to get a bigger commission! What're you thinking?!"

See?! I managed to do the wrongest possible thing! And I blame myself, definitely, but I also blame the old lady on this one. Because I'm so fee-tarded, I always think that any sort of money-related person is trying to rip me off. Car salespeople, bankers, cashiers, kids at lemonade stands. I don't trust 'em! The old lady, on the other hand, loves to spend the money. "Go on! Get it! Treat yourself! We're all gonna die -- buy yourself something nice!" Which is how she was in the bank. I was saying, "Hmm... something sounds weird about this. Why would we want to raise the interest rate on our loan? I don't know..." while she was like, "Come on! It'll be great -- we'll have all the money consolidated in one place. Just one payment a month. Let's just do it!" I actually started to think the old lady was getting a commission on this deal.

Anywhich, we're going back in on Tuesday and saying, "Look, lady! We're not buyin' what you're sellin'! We just want to convert the HELOC, so keep your grubby mitts off our 30 year fixed! I feel like Navin Johnson from "The Jerk," when he's in that French restaurant. "You think at a fancy restaurant like this, you'd be able to keep the snails off the food! Now take these out of here and bring us those melted cheese sandwich appetizers you talked us out of!"

It's like people can just smell "rube" when I walk into the room. Moron alert! Bwoop! Bwoop! Bwoop!

I made up for it in the kitchen tonight, though. Remember those "Nasoya Egg Roll Wrappers" I used a while back? Well, they've been sitting in the fridge and I decided I needed to try a new experiment. I mixed up some ricotta cheese, chives, egg, parmesan and mozzarella and made little raviolis with the wrappers. Boiled 'em up for a few minutes, threw a little sauce on there and crap, thems were fancy-good!

So fuck you, loan lady! I may not understand your big "numbers" or your "amortization," but I can whip up fancy pasta outta nothing, ya shit-fuck!

And this is why I hate most people.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Throw Some Turkey Shrimps on the Bah-Bee

We actually had a little barbeque with the next-door neighbors tonight. How neighborly! Turkey burgers and turkey weinees, with turkey ketchup and turkey mustard. And potato salad. The great thing was that Mr. Z and the boy next-door (you remember... the one who deigned to diss the friendship of Mr. Z) are now all palsy-walsy again. In the words of Mr. Z:

MR. Z: We shook hands and reunited. And each day we're going to shake hands before we play.

They never stay away for too long -- no one is immune to the charms of Mr. Z. Except, of course, me.

The bbq was good -- though it's a bit weird, because the old lady and both of the neighbors are professors while I... I'm a big dummy. There's usually a point in the conversation, when they're getting all academic and everything, that I pretty much feel like this:

Then I usually make a fart joke and everything's fine.

New thought. The old lady was cleaning up the play room yesterday and she had this big pile of papers she was going to toss. I gave her a "hold on there, little missy," because I wanted to see what she was getting rid of. Of course, she came back with her "What are you going to save here?! It's all junk." But they were all drawings and writings that Mr. Z and Miss O had done over the last couple of years and I thought there might be some nuggets of save-worthiness in there. Like this, for ejemplo [click to see]:

It's a "worksheet" that Mr. Z made for Miss O for when they play "daycare," a mysterious game they enjoy in the basement. Mr. Z pretends to be the teacher (or at least an aide, because the teacher is a giant stuffed elephant we have named 'Marta') and Miss O is the student. This is apparently a list of important words for Miss O to learn.

I love how random the three word choices are: bamboo, Gaparon, narwhal. I wish I were there to hear all three used in a sentence together:

I konked the narwhal on the head with bamboo as it attempted to spear the wedge of Gaparon with its horn.

Good job, class. Okay, nap time.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Menards Are Killing Me!

Well, if you ever question whether or not you're doing a good job as a parent, just watch "The Squid and the Whale." I just did, and holy crapfuck -- nice family. A pre-adolescent sticking cashews up his nose, drinking beer in his room alone and wiping spunk on books in the library?! I didn't do that kinda shit until well into high school. Whew! Okay, I don't feel so bad about my parenting now. Holy shnykees.

Had a good day with Miss O, today. Played dinosaurs for awhile, she helped me sharpen the blades on the "Grass Ripper," and then we went to Menards to get some boards. But we didn't get any boards. Why? Because I can't fucking pull the trigger on any sort of home-improvement chore, that's why!

I don't know what it is -- I just needed some 2x6s to build me a raised bed for a vegetable garden I've been thinking of "crafting." But then I get there, and they have like 500 different kinds of boards. Oak? Pine? Cedar?! It's my whole commitment thing again -- "What if I pick the wrong kind of wood?! What if it warps?! I don't know... maybe I should get back online and do more research! I JUST DON'T KNOW!" I'm such a moron.

I think I finally decided to get some of that "fake wood" I've been hearing so much about. Won't warp, won't splinter, lasts forever. I think it's made of the same shit my fake lunchmeat is made of. Hemp, or soy. Of course, they don't have it over at Menards, so I think I actually have to go over to Home Despot, where I vowed to never return again. Word on the street is that they're an evil company. I read this big expose about how all these customers and employees have been maimed or killed at their stores and their attorneys threaten the families and make them settle out of court and shit. Plus they're big old Bush supporters... I hear. I dunno, it's probably bullshit, or, more likely, Menards is just as bad and I just haven't read anything about them yet. But I've decided to boycott the Despot.

I'll probably end up buying the fake wood there... BUT I WON'T BE HAPPY ABOUT IT! I'll show them -- when they ask for my zip code... I WON'T GIVE IT TO THEM! MWAHAHAA! I might even make up a zip code. Completely screw up their database. "What's this?! This zip code doesn't even exist!?!?! Oh my GOD! All of our data has been rendered USELESS!!! CURSE YOU CRABBYDAD!!!!"

If I don't quit dickin' around, though, I'm not going to be harvesting tomatoes until November. Last year, all my 'maters had black spots on them. And by the time I buy all the wood and plants and mulch and shit, each one of my black-spotted tomatoes is going to have cost me like 10 bucks to produce. Worth it.

The shit you find yourself doing to keep a tenuous grasp on reality -- it's fucking ridiculous.

Where's that clip of Miss O laughing? I think I need it again.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dad, What Rhymes with Placenta?

Mr. Z created a book of poems for the old lady on Mother's day called "Poems for My Mom." So you figure, hey that's nice of the boy -- what did he do, write a couple of poems? Awww.

He wrote 21.

Of course, they're all totally bizarre and I really don't think any of them actually has anything to do with the old lady or moms in general, but shit, there's 21 of 'em! There's one that he has been reciting pretty much daily since Mother's Day and it seems to have become some sort of comforting mantra for him. Perhaps he's repeating it to himself so as not to be upset by the dickhead neighbor kid who doesn't want to play with him anymore. I know not. But here it is (click to read):

It's only one of many. All your favorites are there: "Spam," "Pick on Bill," "The Green-'n'-Yellow Mohawk," and, of course, "Ode to Bears." He just cranks things out like this. Ever since he was three, he's been doing this kind of thing.

There -- I just ran up to his room and took a picture of the top shelf in his closet that's filled with these cardboard archive boxes of the books he used to write:

He alternated between reference-style books (about fish, insects, mammals, dinosaurs) and story books about his imaginary Apatosaurus friend, Abby. He was like a boy possessed, and used to crank out a book a day. Freaky shit... but a good read, I must say. Short and to the point. (Me no likee big words.)

His volume has definitely decreased over the years and, lately, he's gotten more into cartooning and creating his own trading cards. But he loves to get those boxes down and read the old books. I think he's even a little freaked out by some of them. Weird shit.

What's my point? Fuck, I don't know. But I do know that I created a little audio file to keep on my desktop for when I feel my crabbitude becoming too overwhelming. It's a snippet of Miss O laughing during a recording session and it fucking cracks my ass up every time I listen to it. Now, I might be venturing into self-indulgent dad land here, but I think even the most cynical fuckshit will find this mildly amusing:

If you don't laugh at this, you're a dick.

Sorry, I'm just feeling uncharacteristically wistful this eve'n, apparently. Oh well. Tomorrow I spend the whole day with Miss O, and then I have to cut the grass with my piece-o-carp manual mower, so I'm sure I'll be nice and cranky by tommorrow night.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Oh Yeah?! Well... Get off My Property!

So here's something awkward. The neighbor kid, who normally hangs out with Mr. Z, has decided that he no longer wants anything to do with Mr. Z. What the shit is that about?! That's not his choice. He should feel honored that Mr. Z wants anything to do with him, goddamn it.

Anyway, it sucks, because Mr. Z is taking it very personally. He can't understand why, one day, everything is hunky-dory and the next day, he's a fucking pariah. I tried to explain that kids (other kids) are fucked up and they're all little bastards, and that this whole thing has nothing to do with him. I don't think he was buying what I was selling, though. He tends to dwell on things like this, and I'm sure he'll be battling with it for awhile.

Oh, and to make things even more difficult on him, we realized that we're going to be out of town for his little puppet show at school. Yeah, can you believe that shit?! After I sewed that goddamn "The Messenger" outfit?! He was beside himself when he/we found out. I felt like a GIANT ASS. I'm going to ask his teacher if they can maybe do a dress-rehearsal the day before so I can come in and video it, or something. Basically, I'm a fucking dick.

So yeah, we're going to Chicago a week from Thursday to drop the kiddlies at my folks' house, and then the old lady and I are going to my 20-fucking-year college reunion in the middle of Iowa. Technically, it's my 19th, but the school is so small that they clump a bunch of years together to make it worth one's while. I'm actually looking forward to it in a big way. College was the best eight years of my life -- HA! See what I did there? I pretended that it took me eight years to complete my degree, when it really only took me seven. Oh, SNAP! Hoo-boy!

Seriously, though, it was a great place to go to school. In the middle of nowhere, surrounded by total outcasts, like myself, who never quite "fit the mold," man. You could try anything at this place -- Rugby? Played it. Radio station? Program director. 'Shrooms? Ate them. Bands? I was basically the only guy with drums on campus, so I got to play in a bunch of bands: "Caesarean Sexion," "Christ Skin Boots" (our singer was the son of the campus pastor... surprise), "The Non-Dairy Creamers," "She-Man & the Masters of the Universe." And to top it off, I met the old lady there. So shit, for a chucklehead like myself, the place was nirvana.

And my life has plummeted downhill ever since.

But it'll definitely be fun to go back and awkwardly hang out with people I now have nothing in common with.

And play frisbee with them.

And their children.

Shit, why the fuck am I driving all the way to Iowa?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Okay, Now I Get the Whole Thimble Thing...

It's late, I'm exhausted, and I have no time to get into details. Here's all you need to know:

1. Mr. Z's class is putting on a puppet show.

2. It's Cinderella.

3. He's playing "The Messenger" and "One of the Evil Stepsisters."

4. He needs to bring in the bodies for these characters, sewn, by Wednesday.

5. Guess who gets to do the sewing?

Schools are growing some big ole balls these days, I'm telling ya. Whatever happened to the "Puppet-made-out-of-a-fucking-lunchbag" puppet?! Or "ye olde sweatsock" puppet?! They've got the nards to send home a sewing pattern for TWO characters?! Hey, while I'm at it, why don't I carve a to-scale model of the Prince's castle out of a goddamn redwood?! Because I've got shitloads of time! Yep, just sitting on my fucking ass over here!

So, the old lady said she'd do the "One of the Evil Stepsisters" costume, because 1.) she's got the skizzils to sew on all the extra embellishments and B.) she can actually sew. That left "The Messenger" for me. Super.

We went to JoAnne's fabrics, a fucking bizarro spinstress hangout, the likes of which I've never seen. We grabbed a buncha fabric and doo-dads and narrowly escaped having some rickrack hot-glue-gunned to our foreheads.

Then tonight, while watching the final episode of "Alias" EVER (a fond "Adieu" to you, Sydney and Vaughn) I bondo-ed together "The Messenger," only managing to lose about two pints of blood through wee holes in my fingertips. Here are the results:

Okay, so the old lady's outfit looks way the fuck better than mine, but I can GARE-OWN-TEE that no other dad even attempted to thread a needle, let alone create a regal, messengerian vestment such as mine. It's a little rough, but I'm thinking my little suit-lette might even pass military muster. "Your glass slipper, me lady."

I'm losing my fucking mind.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Odds & Ends...

Random weekend moments:

While I was chasing some delinquent parents' delinquent kids around the Y locker room, the old lady took Mr. Z to the 3-D IMAX movie "Deep Sea." He's a huge fan of the undersea world, and apparently the film flipped his lid. He gave me a pretty much real-time recap of the flick, but this was my favorite quote:

MR. Z: There was a great scene with a Wolf-Eel!

ME: Really? What did it look like?

MR. Z: It looked like an old person trying to concentrate.

So I looked it up in his "National Audubon Society Filed Guide to North American Fishes" and I'll be damned if that's not the perfect fucking description of a Wolf-Eel:

It's like looking in a mirror.

Here's what Miss O told me yesterday during lunch:

MISS O: Buttocks. [pause] My brother invented that word.

I decided not to challenge that one. He may not have invented it, but he's certainly done his part to keep it alive and well in the household vernacular.

Tonight, during his bath, Mr. Z shouted out:

MR. Z: Hey Dad! I have a third leg! You wanna see?

ME: No thanks.

Some moments are best left to the imagination.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Don't Make Me Rat-tail Ya, Kid!

Wouldn't it be great if the birthday party I took Miss O to today were the complete opposite of what I expected? That would be great, but, of course, then we wouldn't be talking about MY LIFE WHICH IS COMPLETELY PREDICTABLE!!!!!!!!!!!

It started out okay -- got to the Y, herded the kids into the "Kids Gym," which is basically a padded room with a climbing wall. They loved it. Ran around, climbed, fell, didn't bleed. Some Ritalin kid was trying to whip a giant purple ball at all the other kids' heads for a while -- had to laugh when he totally bit it trying to jump over this one padded ramp. What?! The fucker deserved it.

Cake and presents followed. What's with the fucking goodie bags, by the way?! Look, it's your kid's birthday, and I didn't see any "No gifts, please" on the invitation, so don't try to alleviate your fucking guilt by handing my kid a plastic bag filled with three weeks worth of crappy-ass candy, okay?! And Miss O sure as hell doesn't need any more shitty plastic whistles/eye-patches/pencils/hand-clappy-sticks/magnifying glasses/oversized dice/rubber lizards-snakes-dinos/superballs/bracelets/Spongebob figurines. She's got a fucking dentist to give her that crap. Just take the goddamn gift for your kid and then drive the goddamn goodie bags over to the Dora landfill so they can choke a few more rats and seagulls.

So, then it's off to the pool! Whee-hoo! Of course, the mom takes the three girls to the girl's locker room and I get to take birthday boy, violent older brother, normal boy and CRAAAAAZY red-headed kid to the men's locker room. Have you ever tried to get four kids you've never seen before, all hopped-up on dino cake and shitty goodie-bag candy, into their bathing suits? It ain't pretty, lemme tell you. And you can't really raise your voice at them to get their shit together or even help them get their suits on because a) there are a bunch of naked old men in the locker room watching and 2) they might go tell their moms that Miss O's dad yelled at them and then pulled off their Scooby-Doo underwear.

It was a fucking nightmare.

I finally herded them out to the pool and things got a little better. For about one hour. Then I had to take the little satan spawns back into the locker room to get them dressed again. Remember how shitty I said it was getting them into their suits? Yeah, that was pretty shitty. But getting them into the showers, out of their wet suits, toweled off and then back into their clothes was the biggest pig-fuck I've experienced in years. I came THIS CLOSE to locking all four of them in lockers and bolting. Especially that red-headed kid. What is it with redheads? It's like they didn't gestate long enough and they're "not quite done." Their hair didn't darken enough, their skin is almost clear -- I think they freak me out more than twins do. They're nuts, these little redheads. Freaky.

I finally got them outta there, though I'm pretty sure they were all wearing each others' underwear. Not my problem. I thanked the mom, grabbed Miss O and fled. Miss O had a great time, which is what it was really all about. And all it cost me was about 3 gallons of stomach acid spraying the inside of my colon for three hours.

Swimming party for four-year-olds! These people!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Eat Your Cake and Let's Get Outta Here!

I have to take Miss O to a birthday party tomorrow that's being held at the Y. It's a swimming party, so that basically means I can't drop her off and bolt, because there's no fucking way I'm going to leave her at a pool with some high school lifeguard making sure she doesn't drown. So there's a good two or three hours pissed away, sitting in a humid pool area, stressed out and making sure no one kills my kid.

And I know I'll end having to watch the other kids, too, because no other parents will be stupid enough to stick around. I'll be the fucking helper dad -- setting out plates, filling up cups, fishing the turds out of the water. Whee, should be a goddamn blast.

What kind of asshole has a swimming party for four-year-olds? They might as well have it around the rim of an active volcano. "It'll be great! Four-year-olds, big pool of water -- what could go wrong?" I hate birthday parties.

We went to a birthday party last weekend for the kids of a woman the old lady teaches with. It was a goddamn Dora shit-fuck. Dora plates, Dora napkins, Dora cake, Dora pinata, Dora cocktail weiners. Now if they had a couple cans of Dora beer, or fired up the Dora bong, I wouldn't have minded. These people, though -- "Gee, little Susie seems to like that Dora character... let's shell out mucho dinero for a bunch of worthless shit with her hydrocephalic head plastered all over it, use it for 10 minutes and then ship it off to the Dora landfill, where it can lodge in the throats of thousands of seagulls until they squawk "Socorro!" and then become "muerte." Fucking Dora. And why does that kid have to fucking scream all the time?! "HOLA!!! SOY DORA!!!! CAN YOU AYUDA ME AND BOOTS TODAY?!!!! SWIPER STOLE MY FUCKING HEARING AID AND YO NECESITO TO SHOUT MUY LOUD JUST TO HEAR MYSELF!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! SOY YELLING!!!!!!!!!

And to top it off, the minute I walked into their house, one whiff told me I was fucked. It smelled like I walked right up the urethra of a fucking cat. They didn't even have to mention that they had 'em. I knew instantly. My lungs started closing up and the wheeze-fest started. I actually had to drive home and get my goddamn inhaler. People and their fucking cats! Piss, turds and fur. Fucking menaces -- the cats and their owners.

Ah, I gotta go sleep. Fucking cats got me all riled up.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sing It, Miss O!

I'm going to try something new tonight. I FINALLY finished a song with Miss O. She actually sang it back in March of 2005 (when she was three), but I haven't gotten around to finishing the music until, well, now. Look, I'm a busy guy, all right?!

So, I uploaded the tune to this "Internet Archive" place that I don't really understand. It's some kind of online archive for all kinds of shit, but all I know is that they'll host the song for free and I'm a cheapass. Click on one of the links below to hear it (listen with headphones for extra pops & cracklies!):

"Washclosh" by The Miss O Beat -- way-compressed 600k version

"Washclosh" by The Miss O Beat -- hi-fi, supersonic 1.3 MB version

Let me know what you think. I'll pass it along to Miss O. And be nice, fuckers, she's only four.

Shameless plug alert:
[and remember, if you want to hear more, you can always go to Mr. Z and Miss O's rockin' music machine!]

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Where's A Giant Mallet When You Need One?

I don't know how it is in other households, but the bedtime ritual in our abode is akin to driving red-hot railroad spikes up my nostrils with a sledge-hammer. Through my ass. Every goddamn night it's the same, fucking thing:

ME: Did you guys brush your teeth yet? No?! What've you been doing?! Look, put the book down, get some toothpaste on that thing and brush. What? You have to poop now?! Why didn't you do that before?! Fine, go poop but no reading on the toilet. Because I said so... and because it'll give you piles! What? You don't wanna know! Look it up. Miss O, get your jammies on! No, it's inappropriate to show that to your brother! Because that's private. No, he doesn't have one. Yes, I'm sure. Huh? Because I've seen it, now get dressed. Mr. Z, are you still pooping in there?! Well pinch it off and let's go! And turn on the fan! What did you have for lunch?! Rotten Elk?! Miss O, I'm going to count to three, and if you're still naked there's gonna be no story tonight. One! Two... Yeah, I thought so. Mr. Z, did you wash your hands? Then why are you putting them on your sister's face?! Get in there and wash -- that's disgusting! You think she wants your poop on her face?! Yeah, ha-ha, that's funny. Dad said poop. No-- YOU GUYS, CALM DOWN! IT'S BEDTIME -- YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE CHILLING OUT NOW! Mr. Z, where are your boxers? Go get them and put them on, please. Dude, she doesn't need to see that. No, stop that! Yes, I know it's stretchy. Now quit doing that or you're going to pull it off. No... you guys--hey, you better not--THAT'S IT! NOPE, FORGET IT! NO BOOKS OR STORIES TONIGHT! NO, I'M SORRY, I TRIED TO BE PATIENT BUT YOU GUYS KEPT ON FREAKING OUT! I know you're sad, but you should've listened when I told you to get ready for bed. Aw, c'mon... here's a kleenex... just wipe your tears... I know... shhh, stop crying... Okay, tell you what. If you get in bed right this minute, I'll tell you a very short story. All right, and I'll sing a song. Okay, but that's it. There you go, no more tears now... Okay. Once there was a little girl named Miss O who had a pet badger named Doug, who-- YES, I'LL BE IN THERE IN A SECOND TO SAY GOODNIGHT! JUST CHILL OUT! Okay... um, a pet badger named Reggie... Wha? Oh, sorry... Doug...

Every... fucking... night.

My day will come, though. When I'm, like, 95 and incontinent and they have to change my poopie diaper, brush my tooth and then put me to bed. Then they'll see! Boy, I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Styx in Your Craw

Sometimes I forget the awesome power I wield as a parent. In the wrong hands, such power can be, and often is, lethal. It's no surprise that 99% of all people are complete fuckups because, face it, 99% of their parents were fucked up. What's my point? I have no, fucking idea! My intro paragraphs are always shitty filler anyway.

But I do know this: I have the power to make the band "Styx" the greatest band in the world to my kids. And I did just that this past weekend.

On Saturday, I let the old lady sleep in and decided to take the kidlets to Barnes & Noble to get some gifts. I had to get two presents for some professor's kids, whose party we were all going to attend later that day. Then I had to get something for a kid in Miss O's class who is having a birthday shindig next weekend. Finally, I had shit for Mother's Day, so I thought I'd pick up a CD or something for the old lady. The trip was a nightmare in the making, but I decided to make it as fun as I could for everyone. Why? Because I'm a lover of the fun, goddamn it!

So we're driving there and, as I'm flipping through the crappy, Seger-soaked airwaves, I hear the opening strains to "Come Sail Away," by the always melodious, always gay "Styx." And I say that as a true fan of the Styx. I saw them at the International Amphitheater in Chicago, circa 1979, and I still have scars on my cornea from their laser light extravaGONZO!

I decide to make "Come Sail Away" the GREATEST SONG EVER! I start out with a little:

ME: Hey, guys! This is the greatest song! It's about a boat... that's sailing! Check it out!

See, I never actually listen to the lyrics of any songs, so I can never tell them what the songs are actually about. The old lady, she knows the words to pretty much every song ever written. Me? I'm all about the music. Lyrics are stupid. I mean, for all I know, "Come Sail Away" could be about how Dennis DeYoung used to love to have dogs shit on his head, while he pulled his toenails off with a pliers. It's possible -- I just like to think it's about a boat that's sailing.

ANYWAY, I crank it up and start singing along with the first verse:

ME: I'm sailing a-way! Something something COURSE on a VIRGIN something...

I look in the rearview mirror, and the kids are getting into it. Hands are tapping, heads are beginning to bop...

ME: We'll search for tomorrow, flah flah guh SHORE/And I'll try, oh lord, I'll try... TO CARRY ON! ALL RIGHT -- THIS IS WHERE IT KICKS IN!

And then they fucking kicked it in. Say what you want about the Styx, but they could "kick it in" with the best of 'em.

When they get to the chorus, the kids figure it out and we're all singing at the top of our lungs:



They were loving it! And then came the big instrumental, spaced-out, synthy middle part. I cranked it way up and BLEW THEIR MINDS!!!!

ME: This is where the ship starts floating up out of the water and starts sailing into... SPACE!!!! ISN'T THAT AWESOME?!?!?!


Well, it went on and on, for about, oh, however long the song is. Like 50 minutes. By the time we got to Barnes & Noble, we had taken a trip around the galaxy and our car was covered in star flakes and moon dust! We had drunk Space Nectar from the Big Dipper and danced the "Bleep Bloop" with Ursa Major! It was a journey we would never speak of aloud, but also one we would never soon forget.

And I think I pretty much succeeded in making it the greatest song they've ever heard. Hell, Mr. Z even asked if I'd burn it to a disk for him! That, my friends, is power. But it wasn't only my power. Nay, I got a little help from some "Blue Collar Men" from the Windy City.

Domo arigato, Misters Roboto.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Calgon! Take Them Away!

Banner day today:

1. Once again, a horrendous breach of parental etiquette, nay, a complete subversion of the parental code occurred when a neighborhood mom showed up AT OUR DOOR, after school, in the pouring rain, WITH HER CHILD IN TOW, and innocently ASKED if Miss O wanted to play with her daughter. What the shit, woman?! That is SO WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS!!!!! One just DOESN'T DO THAT!!!!

Internally, I was flipping my goddamn lid while murdering her. Actually, I was murdelizing her. Externally, I said, "Sure, why not! Come the fuck in!" (in so many words). But here's my moment of brilliance -- as the mom was scooting her freshly unencumbered ass out the door, I added, "Oh, hey hold on a sec! Let me give you our PHONE NUMBER so you don't have to go out in the rain next time, just to see if we're home." And I jotted the number down in BIG, FATTY SHARPIE and stuffed it into her fucking hand. I added a pert little, "Give us a call when you're ready to pick her up!"

I don't know where I got the danglers to pull that one off, but it sure felt right. I would have revelled in my victory a little longer but her goddamn kid was busy hacking some god-awful lung spew all over our house and I had to start coating Miss O in a protective layer of Purell. That's right -- this chick drops her kid off with fucking Boola-Boola! God DAMN, that lady's got bigger nads than I!

I think I'm going nail one of these to our front door:

These people! Fuckers, one and all!

2. Mr. Z looooves to talk. He has a fundamental need to fill in all available space in the world with conversation. He doesn't do it to annoy me, it's just like breathing for him. I accept it. Shit, I wouldn't have anything to write about if the kid kept his mouth shut. But sometimes, the chatter is so inane, I think even he would be embarrassed by it, if he had to listen to it himself. Today's example:

MR. Z: Dad? Can poops feel anything?

ME: What?! Are you serious?! What are you talking about?!

MR. Z: So, they can't see or hear anything, right?

ME: Are you insane?! Of course not.

MR. Z: [under breath, as he's leaving the room] Glad I'm not a poop.

That exchange can be explained in one of three ways:

1. He doesn't actually think half the time when he speaks, and he just had a bunch of extra words he had to get rid of.

2. He knows I'm hurting for material to write about and he's just floating it out there for me.

3. He's losing his fucking marbles.

Knowing Mr. Z, I'm gonna stick with number one. Can poops feel anything?! Hell, everyone knows that poops die the minute they hit the water. Duh?! Poops can't swim!

And with that nugget of wisdom, I bid you "Good Eve." DAMN, I need some sleep.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day.... Period!

It being Mother's Day and all, I figured I'd discuss a little situation that is going on with the old lady.

All right, so we've basically been together for about 20 years -- since the college days. We get along amazingly well, considering all the time we've spent together over the years, and, by now, there's very little we don't know about each other.

So, I don't mind if, say, I'm brushing my teeth and she's taking a whiz right next to me (in the toilet, of course). Big whoop. And I don't mind if she feels comfortable enough to, oh, rip one in bed, a la Shelley Winters, to my Ernest Borgnine. I'm flattered, actually... after I stop dry-heaving, that is. I've even given her the nickname "The Rear Admiral." She has quite a talent.

But I have to draw the line at her leaving a fully-engorged, horrendous-traffic-accident-looking tampoon afloat in the crapper for me to just happen upon every month. Good god, it's like that voodoo guy from Indiana Jones has just ripped the still-beating heart from that guy's chest, tied a leash around it, and plopped it into my commode. If anyone wants proof against an Intelligent Designer, take a look at the mess in my potty -- the "being" who created that shit is a sick fuck.

Am I outta line here?! I mean, how hard is it to flush that shit down, woman?! Of course, in her defense, I know she doesn't do it on purpose. She says she forgets to flush it, now and again. Fine. But whenever I complain about it, she always says:

OLD LADY: Oh, come on. It's not that bad. It's like a band-aid.

A BAND-AID?! If you've got an injury pumping that kinda shit out of it, a Band-Aid ain't gonna help you! We're talking compression bandages for a sucking chest wound. It's like walking onto the set of "Platoon" in that bathroom, sometimes. I don't know whether to flush it down or toss it into a cooler packed with ice and rush it to the nearest hospital so it can be re-attached.

I don't know how you women deal with that shit every month. It seems so... medieval. I mean, we can send a man and/or woman to the moon but you guys still have to put those things in your... things to soak up the... stuff?! It's mind-boggling!

So, Happy Mother's Day to the Old Lady. She's a fantastic mom, a perfect partner and a saint for having stuck with me for so long. But unless she starts flushing the plugs with a little more regularity, she ain't gonna be getting one of them fancy "Pecan Divinity Tubs" any time soon.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Gouda for You, Miss O! Whey to Go!

Holy Shit-Ass! After approximately two years of refusing to eat cheese or any vaguely cheese-like product, Miss O, of her own volition, mind you, has re-entered the world of the cheese-eaters! My head is spinning!

So, the kids are taking baths and the old lady and I, realizing we don't have shit in the house in the way of food, decide to order in some pizza for din-din. Mr. Z loves pizza, but we always have to end up getting something like "chicken fingers" for Miss O because of her (now former) "no cheese" directive. It has been a fucking pain in the ass having a child who won't eat cheese. That basically rules out 80% of the foods kids normally eat: pizza, mac & CHEESE, grilled CHEESE, string CHEESE, lasagna, CHEEESE... and a shitload of other cheesy shit I can't even think of right now.

We had basically resorted to surreptitious cheese concealment, slipping it into scrambled eggs and "bean" burritos. I don't think it even really mattered that she wasn't eating cheese -- she drinks plenty of milk and eats cottage cheese (!) and yogurt. I think we were hiding it in her food just for the satisfaction of tricking her into eating it. Silent victories are still victories, my friend.

Anywhich, I asked her if she wanted chicken fingers tonight and she said, "No, I'll have some pineapple pizza." I reminded her, "Okay, but remember, that has CHEESE in it." She paused and replied, "That's fine, dad. I like cheese."

No you dinh-unh!

I checked once more, "Are you sure?" She said she was. Fine. So, we ordered her a mini pineapple pizza and she fucking ate it!!!!! It blew my mind! We were all REALLY quiet while she was eating it -- we didn't want to fuck anything up. I gave Mr. Z the look of, "If you fuck this cheese-eating thing up, you will be forever banished from this house," and he, amazingly complied. It was fucking nuts.

So, I guess that's one less thing to bitch about. The kid eats cheese now. Cross that one off the list. Left is right, up is down, nothing makes sense anymore!

Miss O capped off the night with a great moment. She was sitting on the crapper before bed, trying to eke something out before retiring for the evening when she stood up and started pulling up her underwear. I asked:

ME: Did you poop?

MISS O: Nope.

ME: Then what's that? [pointing to a tiny rounded smellet, floating in the bowl]

MISS O: Oh, I don't know. Just something I squirted out of my butt. Maybe it's a diarrhea.

[SFX: toilet flush]

[end scene]

Friday, May 12, 2006

Nectar of the Dogs

I forgot about wine! Shit, I don't have to worry about stress when there's vino in the hizzouse. Tonight I whipped up a little farfalle with lentils, carrots, onions and parmesano, and washed it down with a nice little Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre combo from Australia (fuck, don't ask me -- I just copied that off the label). The week just melted away, magically. Sure, I'll wake up tomorrow morning dry as a week-old johnny-cake, but it'll be worth it.

I went to the eye doctor today during lunch because I'm pretty sure the asshole doc who gave me my last prescription fucked it up. I got these ridiculously expensive Dieter glasses from this fency-shmencie "optical shop" in Chicago, and they just haven't been right since I got them... like 5 months ago. I've been walking around like Helen Keller for almost half a year (the 'blind' part, not the 'deaf' part), so I figured I should get a second opinion. This guy was great -- gave me a new prescription (told me the old one was strangely wrong) and ordered me up some new contacts. The shitty part was that he put those dilating drops in my eyes and I had to drive back home and keep working. I felt like Ray Milland in "The Man with the X-Ray Eyes" all day. I could practically see people's skeletons and shit. I kinda felt like one of those Keane painting kids:

Why am I talking about my eye appointment?! I have no fucking filter. Do you want to hear about the dump I took this morning, too? It was a good one! Shit, I've got to learn edit my end-of-the-day Joyceian brain dumps.

I am determined, though, that this weekend I will record the kids singing their "Slippery Dick" song. It's gonna happen this time. I've got the perfect accompaniment for it, too. Mr. Z came up with this great minor-key dirge melody for it, so I'm going to do a little Tom Waits thing to go with it, a la Mr. Z's old song "Butterscotch Beard." (Song #7 in the Music Machine). It's going to be great. When I finish it, I'll post it here.

Fuck, I just realized it's mother's day this weekend and I don't have shit for my mom or for the old lady. These fucking holidays are going to be the death of me. Oh well, guess who's taking the kiddies out to do a little shopping this weekend? Ding, ding, ding! And there are so many choices here in middle Michigan. Let's see, there's a "Cracker Barrel" down the road a bit... I could always get them this:

What the carp is a "Pecan Divinity Tub"?! It looks like a see-thru roach motel at full capacity. And the roaches seem to be resting comfortably on rolled up, used wads of toilet paper. What the fuck goes on inside a "Cracker Barrel"?! If you ever see me in that place, put a goddamn bullet in my head, will ya? People are sick.

Oh, I'm officially a derelict. I stole a rug out of my neighbor's garbage can, yesterday. They're moving and had all this crap out there to be picked up. What?! It's not like I put it in our living room. It was nice and big and I'm going to use it (in the basement mind you) to put under my drums so the sound doesn't echo all over the fucking place. There's nothing wrong with that! There aren't any blood-stains on it or anything... at least no big ones. Actually, it is kinda creeping me out, but I really needed a rug down there and I didn't want to buy one. So lay off!

The weird thing is that the neighbors probably saw me take it out of the garbage and carry it into the house. You know they're like, "There's that weird stay-at-home dad again... does that guy ever work? And what's he going to do with that old rug? You know... I haven't seen his kids in a couple of days. Maybe we should call somebody..."

I should probably just put an old Chevy up on cinder blocks in my front yard and call it a day.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

So, so tired...

Man, I'm fucking tired. I had my short work day today and had to constantly keep moving with Miss O to keep from passing out. We drew, hit the grocery store, played some guitar, shit we even made some chocolate-chip cookies:

Which ROCKED, I must say. Lemme tell you, if you are into baking at all, you've got to get this book:

No, fuck that, even if you're not into baking, get it. I cannot understand people who say, "Oh, I can't cook." What the crap?! Can you read?! Basically, that's all you need to be able to do. Read some words, and then move your hands around and dump shit in stuff and then twist a knob and put the stuff you mixed around into a really hot area. Then, when you hear a dinging sound, you pull the shit out of the hot area, let it cool a bit, and then you shove it into that big hole in your face. That's cooking. I can't cook. Fucking morons.

Mr. Z got this little bug bite, or something, on his eyelid the other day. It seemed like nothing but then, yesterday, it was all swollen up and there was this little red streak thing moving away from it -- turns out he's got cellulitis and has to take this antibiotic four times a day. See, it's little shit like that that makes me fucking exhausted. Not only do I now have to worry about him getting some sort of eyelid elephantiasis, but I also have to drive over to his school at lunchtime every day and pour him some pink antibiotic juice to suck down.

You fuckers without kids don't get it. It's non-stop shit like that, day after day after day. It all adds up until you find yourself sitting in your basement, taking pictures of a plate of cookies, so you can post it on the internet and hope that some schmuck comes along and acknowledges it so you can prove to yourself that you're still alive. "Oooh! Three people looked at the picture of my plate of cookies, today!!!! I'm a somebody, I'm a somebody!!!" [Don't get me wrong -- I appreciate the four or five people who swing by to read my drivel. I use the word 'schmuck' in only the best sense.]

I even tried to record Mr. Z and Miss O singing their "Slippery Dick" song today, but that quickly devolved into a fucking nightmare. I was trying to set up the mic stands, and they kept knocking them over, and then Mr. Z started yelling at Miss O not to sing during the chorus. Then Miss O kept smacking her ukulele into my $1000 microphone, and Mr. Z kept yelling--

I was just too exhausted to deal with it today, so I pulled out the ultimate parental weapon. I simply stated, "You know what? Forget it." and shut everything down. If you ever want both of your kids to simultaneously burst into tears, say that. It's like a parenting neutron bomb -- all the buildings are left standing but any child within the targeted area is destroyed. It's not that I did it on purpose, I just had to eject myself from the situation. They forced my hand.

We all bounced back, though. I boiiled up a batch of Edamame as a peace offering, which was greatly appreciated. After a good dinner and a couple of piggy-backs upstairs, all was forgotten.

Now I've gotta trudge upstairs and go to sleep. If only I had someone to give me a piggy-back.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Miss O and Her Drawrings

I kinda feel like I've been neglecting Miss O on the blog, of late. It's a lot of "Mr. Z and his craaaaaazy penis," but I want to make sure Miss O gets her fair shake, if you will. So I must inject a little Title IX into the blog-o-mundo tonight.

The girl has been going nutso with the drawing lately. Sure, she used to draw before, but it was always a scribble here, a scrapple there. Mmmm... scrapple. Now, she is driven with a tunnel-vision-like intensity and frankly, Mr. Shankley, she's cranking out some great shit.

My favorite thing that she's doing right now is adding GIANT BEAVER TEETH to the mouths of every person she draws. Like this:

Those are awesome choppers! They're like Arquette family quality.

She's also picking up a lot from her brother, as evidenced by this, her first comic strip. Notice the talk bubbles and action text:

She's starting to read a lot lately, too, and is, consequently trying her hand at writing as well. Apparently, based on this word, her Montessori class is currently learning how to speak Icelandic:

It's awesome, and I'm loving all the crap she's churning out, but our place is getting overrun with the shit. And I don't have the heart to throw any of it away. The old lady just chucks it, the minute it comes home, but I'm a MAJOR pack-rat and I'm constantly saying, "Ooooh! This one has 18 teeth! And look at all those belly-buttons! We've gotta keep it!" By now, I'm pretty sure most of the problems with deforestation in the world today are a direct result of Miss O and Mr. Z's blossoming art careers.

Maybe I could sell the drawings on ebay as "early Picassos," like those fuckers at Costco. "Starting bid is $10,000 for this very early work from Picasso's 'buck-tooth' period called 'Girl with 47 teeth, arms coming out of her neck, balls for hands and feet and 14 nipples.'"

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Be Like Ike

The other night, Mr. Z was telling me about the report he was writing for school about Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was a little bummed because he would have preferred to write about Harry S. Truman, his favorite president. It's weird, ever since the boy was like, one, he's had this bizarre fixation with Harry Truman. He even named this little wooden acrobatic toy Harry S. Truman when he was about two. I found out later that it all stemmed from this U.S. Presidents placemat my parents had that he used to use. When I looked at the pictures on the placemat, I realized that Truman's coloring was really over-saturated for some reason and his whole head had this glowing, orange quality to it. He looked like some sort of Oompah-Loompah General. Apparently, that's very appealing to a one-year-old.

But I digress.

So, Mr. Z is feeding me various tidbits about Eisenhower when he says:

MR. Z: Hey dad, have you ever heard the phrase, "I like Ike?"

ME: Sure, that was Eisenhower's slogan, right?

MR. Z: How did you know?!

I went on to explain that, while I may seem like an utter chucklehead, I actually did learn a couple things while in school. He was dubious, but he continued to riff on the "I like Ike" phrase until he eventually came up with:

MR. Z: How 'bout "I like Ike's bike?"

ME: Hey, that would make a great t-shirt!

See, I like to make 'wacky' t-shirt transfers for the kidlets because... well, because I guess I'm too old to wear them myself and I really hate my kids walking around with goddamn 'Old Navy' plastered all over their chests. I've made them Ramones shirts, They Might be Giants shirts, Bjork shirts -- basically shirts that scream, "I have no idea who is on my shirt but isn't my dad fucking cool and ironic for making this for me?!"

So I've been working on the 'Ike' shirt and I think I'm getting close. Here's what I have so far... let me know your thoughts (you can click on it to make it magically grow):

He looks so proud of his Stingray, doesn't he? Although it looks like that banana seat is gonna jam his Elaine Nardo's straight up to his epaulettes. And I'm pretty sure that if he works up a sweat peddling, them woolen slacks of his sure ain't going to breathe very well. It doesn't matter, though. He's Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the "D" stands for "Dang, Mamie! Check out this sweet ride!"

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Egg Lore of the Egg Role

I felt pretty energized today and I have absolutely no idea why. There's either a full moon or I had WAAAY too much green tea today. Hell, I even decided to "cook" something new for the kiddies for dinner, instead of throwing chicken nuggets and broccoli in front of them again for the 364th day in a row. I know, what the shit, right?

Yesterday, during my near-hourly trip to the grocery store, I picked up a pack of these, for some odd reason:

Egg roll wrappers! Who knew?! I figured, "Hey, I can cook some shit up, shove it in one of those bad boys, roll the fucker up, fry the shit out of it and, voila, hand-held tube of food! Count me in, Nasoya!

So, I stir-fried up a little chicken (fake chicken, courtesy of the evil chemists at Morningstar Farms), some carrots, a few water chestnuts, a little broccoli and a fistful of pineapple. Then I plopped a spoonful onto one of the wrappers, rolled the fucker up, and stuck it in some bubbling oil. About a minute later -- TUBE OF FOOD!

Here's the kicker -- they rocked! The kids ate 'em, I ate 'em, hell, the old lady even ate one. No cookbook, no internets, just a little something I like to call "Crabgenuity." I swear, I should have my own fucking show on Food Network. I'd walk in there, slap Molto Mario across the face with a piece of fatty prosciutto, and show those hacks a thing or two about Cookin' on the Go! I'm like a Kitchen MacGyver. I could make a complete dinner from a package of egg roll wrappers, a can of Hearts of Palm and a maraschino cherry, and still have time to defuse a bomb. Watch your ass, Morimoto -- 'twill be my cuisine that will reign supreme!

Like I said, I think I may have overdone it with the caffeine today.

After dinner, I overheard a great exchange between the old lady and Mr. Z:

MR. Z: You know what? Raisins bear a striking resemblence to poop.

THE OLD LADY: You said a mouthful there, dude.

Out of the mouths of babes... and old ladies.

Later, when Mr. Z was upstairs "building a log cabin" in the bathroom, I heard him shouting downstairs to me:

MR. Z: DAD!!!! DAD!!!! DAD!!!

I came running up the stairs, certain that he was either being mauled by a bear or he had a giant turd stuck sideways in his ass:


MR. Z: (calmly) Oh, um, did you know that Ocean Sunfish can weigh up to 100 pounds?

ME: (hyperventilating) Really? That's excellent. [hack, wheeze] Don't forget to wipe really well.

I've gotta get me some sleep. I think the caffeine just wore off and this post is even starting to confuse me. We'll talk tomorrow.

And don't forget to wipe really well.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Go Ahead... Call DCFS

As a parent, I worry a lot about reality elbowing its way into my kids' lives. Violence in movies and on TV, kids saying inappropriate things at school, sick images on the internet -- basically, I don't want them to grow up any quicker than they already are. It's something I think about a lot and frankly, Mr. Shankley, it gives me a little bit of the shpilkes.

Well, this morning I had quite the wake-up call. I heard the spawn get up around 8-ish, and I finally moseyed down around 9 to see what they were up to. I walk into the office and find young Mr. Z staring at the computer screen. I took one look at the screen and my face turned white as a sheet. No, he wasn't looking at some sick, twisted fetish newsgroup - no, no, it was much, much worse.

He was reading my blog.

Goodbye, childhood! I am such an a-hole! Look at that! I can't even swear anymore! I have gathered up the last, meager drops of my son's innocence and taken a giant, steaming turd atop them. All of my empty words came flooding back to me as I stared at his betrayed little face: "Never, ever swear, Mr. Z," "You shouldn't talk about poop so much," "It's not nice to say bad things about people, son," "Never end a sentence with a preposition, boy!" The transformation from Crabbydad to Crappydad is now complete.

And I felt soooooo bad for him. He looked up at me and said, "Dad, you really use a lot of swears in your blog. The f-word, the s-word, the c-word" (crap -- I am forbidden to use the other c-word). "And you said Loordelanz, Jr. was creepy, too." I'm telling ya, it ripped my heart out.

I shut down the computer and blurted out a half-hearted "Mr. Z, I told you never to read Daddy's blog! You really should not have looked at that!" But I knew it wasn't his fault. I thought for a second and then tried to explain it to him.

"Look, Mr. Z, that blog is kind of like dad's private diary. Crabbydad is just a character that I've made up -- someone who is waaaay crabbier than I am. He's a fictional character who doesn't really understand our family, or the things we experience everyday. And he has a pretty foul mouth, too, as you read. So he tries to explain what he sees from his very limited viewpoint -- he's just really confused a lot. Does that make any sense?"

[blank stare]

"See, it's kind of like those 'Akiko' books that you read. They're written by Mark Crilley, a man, right? He's not a young girl who travels into outer space, is he? No, of course not. He's an author and he's created a character who does things and thinks things that he couldn't possibly do or think himself. That's kind of what I'm doing with this Crabbydad guy. It's really just an exercise for me to write everyday. I'm just trying to become a better writer, and I'm doing it by writing in this very private blog that I don't share with anyone else. You see?"

He seemed to buy most of it, but responded with, "Then why don't you just write things down in a notebook?"

Touche, little man.

I went on to explain that I tried to do that, but I didn't have the discipline to do it everyday, and the blog made it easier for me to write, and blah, blah, blah, I'm the worst father in the world, my children are going to hate me forever, and I'm going to die penniless and alone.

I don't know -- we talked about it a LOT today, and I think he understands, kinda, what the dilly-o is. It's just killing me, though! It must be so confusing for him. I think it would have been easier for him if I just did something like walk into his room in full drag and say, "Son, your dad likes to dress up in women's clothing." THAT would have made more sense.

I also tried to delude myself into thinking that, just maybe, he only read a few posts. But this kid is like Evelyn Wood on 10 cans of Red Bull. He kept saying things throughout the day like, "Dad, I did think it was funny when you were talking about Cottonelles." THAT WAS MY SECOND POST! He basically read the entire archives! AAAAAHHH!

I'm pretty sure he won't read it again, though. I pulled out the old, "I can tell who is looking at my blog, Mr. Z, so I better not see that you've been reading it. If I do, I'm going to have to get rid of the Game Cube." What the hell -- I'm already a horrible father, what's a little threat piled onto the daddy dungball I've already rolled.

I'll get over it, I guess. He had to figure out that I was a fraud sooner or later.
I'll tell you, though, I'm going to be dealing with the fallout from this episode for months. Who knew that this was even a thing to worry about?!?! Arrrrr, curse you Al Gore and your internets!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Hey Mow!

I realized today, as I was cutting the grass for the first time this season, that I've chosen to take care of my lawn much like I've chosen to take care of my kids. Just as I could have hired a nanny to watch the kids, making my life a fuck of a lot easier, I could have bought a gas-powered mower, or even hired a lawn service, and made lawncare maintenance a piece of grassy cake. But instead of getting some boss, cherry riding mower, I chose this:

It's the "Scott's Classic," or as I like to call it, "The grASS Ripper." Sure, it produces absolutely no greenhouse gases or noise pollution, but, OH, how I pay for my environmental good deed. You know those football blocking sleds they have where you're supposed to plow into them and try to push them a foot or two while the shithead, alcoholic coach stands on the back of it and yells, "C'mon! My Gramma can block harder than that, Mahoney!"? Well, pushing the "Scott's Classic" is JUST like that, except there's no blocking sled or alcoholic coach and I'm not wearing football gear. And my name's not Mahoney. It really has nothing to do with football. Forget I mentioned it.

Basically, it takes more than twice as long to cut the grass, it doesn't do as good a job as a gas powered mower, and all my neighbors look at me like, "What a hippie dickhead." Well, they look at me like that anyway, but the "Scott's Classic" sure ain't helping matters.

The only real positive is that while I mow, I can listen to my iPod. That's basically the only time I can really listen to music. I can't listen when I work, because I can't write/edit with music playing. I can't listen in the car because... well, because I never drive anywhere. I work in the fucking basement. I try to listen to tunes with the kids, but they want to hear shit like "King Tut," 80 times. And I can't listen after they go to sleep because that's the time when the old lady and I sit around and complain about how fucking exhausted we are.

So I cut the grass. A lot. Actually, the old lady and I often fight over who gets to do it. That two hours pushing the ol' "grASS Ripper" is like a fucking spa getaway to Palm Springs. Except that after it's all over, instead of being relaxed and smelling like seaweed wraps and massage oil, my shoes are green.

Oh, one last note. Remember how I bitched the other day about moms bringing their kids over, unannounced, and basically dropping them off at our house? Today, one mom and two dads pulled that shit. Yeah, I know! It was a fucking weekend daycare center here today. Like all... fucking... day. The ballsacs on these people!

Sure, I watched them run around the yard all day, like the stand-up crabster that I am. But I did it from behind the wheel (er... 'bar') of the "grASS Ripper," with the iPod a-blarin'.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Hey, Who Wants Fake Ice Cream? I Don't!

Took the kiddies to "The Cone Zone" tonight for "ice cream" after dinner. Of all the places we can go to get frozen confections in this town, Mr. Z has to go to the fucking "Cone Zone." It's like a cheaper Dairy Queen, if you can imagine. I mean, we're five minutes away from MSU's dairy store where they practically squirt the ice cream out of the quivering cow teats into your waiting maw, but nope, it's gotta be "The Cone Zone."

And it's hilarious, because every time we go there, the boy can't make up his mind. "I think I'll get an Avalanche! No, maybe a dipped twisty cone! No, wait, I want a shake!" But he always ends up getting a fucking Slushie. A SLUSHIE!?!?! What the shit?!

So, he gets his grape Slushie, Miss O gets a cookies 'n' cream Avalanche, the old lady gets a cappucino shake and I go for a chocolate shake. After two sips of his $2 cup of purple ice, he says, "Man! Why did I get a Slushie?! I should've gotten an Avalanche! I'm never getting a Slushie again!"

Oh, but you will, my son. You will. I've cursed the boy with my tentative gene pool. I'm the same way -- can't make up my mind. Can't commit. There might be something better! First it's a shake. Do I really want that? I don't know. That Slushie sure sounds good! Next thing he knows, he'll be stuck in his goddamn basement, afraid to take a vacation because he might miss something while he's away. Poor kid.

Then, as we're driving home, we pass the Kroger and what do we see in the parking lot? The fucking carnival is in town. Wheee! The kids are screaming, "Let's go to the carnival! Please! Can we?!" The old lady and I throw out a tandem, "Are you nuts?! Forget it!" Then Miss O starts bawling.

We took them to that piece-o-shit death orgy last year and Miss O cried the entire time while Mr. Z almost puked. Mr. Z wanted to go on that bungy-jump-trampoline-not-really-a-ride ride and decided he was going to try to do 20 back flips in a row. Well, he did. And when they unharnassed him, he looked like that Powder kid from that movie... what was it called? Oh, "Powder." It would have been hilarious if I didn't think he was going to have a fucking aneurysm. He looked like Shemp from that Three Stooges episode where he was pretending to be a little kid and he ate a box of cigars. And if any of you understand that reference, you're my fucking hero.

It was a goddamn nightmare. But I know I'm going to end up taking them there tomorrow. I just know it! Why? Because deep down, I probably believe that it'll be different this year. It'll be better, somehow. And if I don't take them, I might just miss the best ride ever! We might just have the time of our lives!

And it'll turn out to be a goddamn grape Slushie.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Moleskine Memories...

Okay, no heavy introspection tonight. I've gotta empty my notebook of Bozeman leavings, so here goes:

1. When I was visiting the Chico Hot Springs with G and his amazing wife and child, we were soaking in this incredibly balmy pool when a couple of chrome-domed yahoos showed up and entered the water. They were loud and obnoxious and pretty much sucked all the mellow out of the water with their assholishness and lack of hair. G overheard this exchange between them:

Dickhead1: Hey, we should buy this place!

Dickhead2: Yeah! Turn it into a Hooters!

Bald people... fuckin' assholes.

2. On my flight from Bozeman to Minneapolis, I made my way to my seat and saw some dude sitting in the seat next to mine. He actually seemed pretty cool and I thought to myself, "Wow, perhaps I'll meet someone on a plane who might actually become a friend!"

Then he pulled out a teeny, tiny Mini Bible-ette and started thumbing through the pages.


I don't know, it just creeped me out. Especially the size of the bible. Those things seem even more threatening to me when they're wee. But I made sure not to alienate the dude, just in case there was some sort of plane trouble and I needed a little divine intervention from the flying spaghetti monster.

3. On the flight from Minneapolis to Detroit, there was some ancient husk of a man behind me who must have had black lung or emphysema because it was a phlegm-o-rama back there. He just kept hacking and hacking, over and over, hurling his sputum against the back of my seat. Five bucks I end up with neckphysema or some shit like that. Take the fucking train, Grampa!

4. Before the Minneapolis flight took off, I was bored so I decided to look at each person, as they walked by my seat, and determine which celebrity they most resembled. Here's what I wrote down as they passed: Professor Irwin Corey, Louis Nye, David Duval, Miss Jane Hathaway ("Beverly Hillbillies"), Kirk Douglas, Jonathan Winters, Baldy Beardo, The Dad from "Family Matters," Bea Arthur, Michael Imperioli, Marilu Henner, Armand Assante, Ross Perot, Riki Rachtman, and Daniel Vosovic with acne. Yeah, it was a pretty revolting flight.

5. Lest we forget, it was Thursday bath night tonight, and both of the spawn had classic moments this eve. I was doing some laundry, so I just let them hang out for awhile before giving them their respective shampoos.

I stopped in to check on Miss O first, and when I walked into the bathroom, I asked:

ME: Hey, Miss O. What's going on?

MISS O: Oh nothing. My buttocks and my vulva are having a light-saber fight.

ME: Okay, I'll come back later.

So, I walked down the hall to check in on Mr. Z and had this exchange:

ME: Hey, boy. What's shakin'?

MR. Z: Hey, Dad. Hey, you know that hole on the penis where the pee comes out?

ME: Um, yeah?

MR. Z: Don't you think it looks kind of... cute?

ME: Hey, I'm going to go wash your sister's hair now. I'll be back in a minute.

Yep, it's good to be back home.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

... And Boy Are My Arms Tired

Hey, I'm back. Miss me? Me neither. A lot has happened over the last four days, and I haven't really digested most of it yet. Especially the Montana-sized breakfast burrito I had right before getting on the plane yesterday. I will try, however, to chip away at some of what I took away from my "Magical Journey out of the Basement!"

First off, here are the three things I learned while away:

1. Walking into a bathroom stall in the Detroit airport is exactly like walking into the rectum of the person who occupied the stall before you. And that person has a really smelly rectum.

B. I need to get back to listening to WAY more music.

3. Bozeman is the driest place in the universe and, no matter how much water you attempt to drink, you will still look and feel like this within 24 hours of your arrival:

K. Never eat a breakfast burrito in Montana one hour before getting on a plane, unless you want to produce your own bubbling, sulphur hot springs at 30,000 feet.

5. A job is just a job and that's all it should really ever be. It should be a means to spending more time with your family and friends and living your fucking life and eating good food and being creative and doing the shit that makes you happy. Unless, of course, your job is "Chief Bikini Inspector."

R. I really hate making lists.

You know, the trip was great but it really became more than just "getting away." It started to be more about finding my priorities and making connections with people who are interesting and complex and who go through the same bullshit I go through on a daily basis.

I know it sounds like I'm talking "all serious and shit" and it might be, as the kids say today, "harshing your mellow," but I just need to get this crap out there. I'm sure by tomorrow, I'll be back to BMs and penises and "Aargh! Me so crabby!"

I think the main thing I realized is that, if you want to do things traditionally (have a full-time job, hire a nanny, mostly spend time with your kids on the weekend, make a lot of money, etc.) things can be pretty simple. And I'm not editorializing on those who choose to do those kinds of things. In fact, I'm saying that the world is set up so that's pretty much the course you have to take if you want a fairly normal life. All the supporting infrastructure is there to help you "git 'er done."

If you fuck with the system, though, things get really complex, really fast. If, say, you decide "Well, we can split everything up 50/50, we won't make as much money, we'll have to create some totally complex schedule for work and for taking care of the kids that can and will change at any second, and it'll be crazy as shit but at least we'll have more time with the kids while they're still around the house and they still want something to do with us," then your life will basically be a complete pig-fuck.

But that's cool. So I chose pig-fuck over the simpler life. No problem. I just have to find a way to fit in some things that will help defuse the pig-fuckedness. Like listening to more music, or writing and recording more songs, or posting asinine ramblings on a blog, or drinking more martinis, or baking more, or swimming, or flying really long distances to see friends whose lives are as pig-fucked as mine, if not more pig-fucked, and talking about how pig-fucked-up life can be, but then getting really wasted and laughing for a half-an-hour about how Stalin tried to create a race of super-soldiers by attempting to breed humans and chimpanzees.

And that, my friends, is what it's all about: Humanzees.

So, I'm really glad I went away. And I'm really glad I'm back. And I'm going to try really hard not to spaz out as much as I was spazzing before I left. And I'm going to do everything in my power to dig as deep as I can in my backyard until I hit a hot spring. And then I'm going to sit in it. And while I'm sitting in my backyard hot spring, I'm going to win the Lotto. And with my Lotto winnings, I'm going to breed myself with a chimpanzee to create a Crabbanzee who will take over my job and let me hang out with my family and sit in my hot spring hole and do whatever the fuck I want.

And then I'll probably get arrested for fucking a chimpanzee, even though my plan is to merely artificially inseminate it, but no one will believe me because I'll be sitting naked in a hole in my backyard doing nothing but posting to my blog and eating "Take Five" candy bars. But you know what, none of that will matter. Why?

I have no idea. How the shit did I get from "I learned a lot in Bozeman" to artificially inseminating chimps? Goddamn you Stalin!

Monday, May 01, 2006

A River Runs through Me

I've discovered the antidote for crabbiness. The crabbidote, if you will. Two words: natural hot springs. Holy fuckstain, we've got to get something like this back in Michigan. You drive up into the mountains, give some hacky-sackin'Deadhead five bucks, and you get to go stew in a bubbling, hot cauldron of Earth pee. It's like a terrestrial golden shower. Mother Nature sure has some soothing piddle.

In fact, I have so little residual crabbitude in my system, I don't even know what to type. I talked to the kiddies and they're getting along fine without me, so far. Can't quite vouch for the old lady -- I'm sure her crabby quotient has increased exponentially. For now, however, that is not my concern. Harsh but true.

I will have plenty to report upon my return, but right now, I've yet another hot spring beckons. (A hot spring beckons or a hot springs beckons? I don't know and, frankly, I don't care.) I will leave you with a quote from Miss O from our short phone call:

"'Lint' is my favorite word... and 'Steven.'"