Monday, July 31, 2006

Apparently, THIS Is How Low We Can Go...

This is what it has come to:

Roomin' in the Rumpus Room, we are. It's about 197 degrees upstairs and, down here, it's nice and chilly, although the humidity is at about 425 percent. It's great because now, after working down here all day, I get to just stay down here and sleep. Soon, after months without experiencing natural light, my eyes will seal shut, my snout will elongate and my transformation into "Mole Man" will be complete. And I shall rule the Underworld!

So, I forked what was left of our savings, after putting the downpayment today on the new kitchen, over to "Chuck the Air-Conditioner Guy" to replace our broken A/C with a new one. Can someone please remind me why we decided to buy a fucking house?! Seriously, I no longer get it. We've got home loans that we'll be paying off for 30 years, we're dumping a ass-load of cash into a fixed-up kitchen that really won't add any value to our house because according to the real estate lady who used to live next door, prices never really change in this neighborhood, our roof is starting to leak, half of our windows need to be replaced, our furnace is probably going to explode this winter, we need a new water heater, we have no furniture... do I really need to continue?

I swear to shit, I am two steps away from moving the family into a yurt.

I'm losing my fucking bananas -- the heat is melting my will to live. Getting the kids to sleep down here tonight resulted in about 18 mini-aneurysms and I almost had "the biggie, Elizabeth." I accept that Mr. Z and Miss O might be a little wound up at the prospect of all of us sleeping together on the floor of the basement, but holy carp, they just would not stop. At one point, I was extremely close to saying, "Fine, I'm going upstairs. You guys can jump around and yell all you want -- the Sump Pump Monster loves active kids. He says they taste better that way. Goodnight!" And then I'd turn out the light and run upstairs. But I decided against it because... well, basically because I was too tired to run up the stairs. Those lucky bastards. They finally fell asleep, about an hour after their regular bedtime, from a mixture of sheer exhaustion and the various gas leaks that we have down here. Bless you, sweet, sweet radon.

I'm really not looking forward to sleeping on that goddamn inflatable mattress. It's so fucking uncomfortable. It's really only meant for good friends who stay with us, not for me. And I sure hope I sleep with my mouth closed, because this basement is swarming with those heinous earwigs. Those things are worse than cockroaches, what with their ass-pinchers and all. Bleh.

Yep... good times.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Nothing Butt Sweat...

Our air-conditioner 'sploded. It was nice of it to wait until it was 94 goddamn degrees so my Balzac can hang down around my knees like some sort of fucking scrote-skirt.

It's the damn kitchen, I tell ya. The minute we decided to pump all this money into fixing up the kitchen, everything else instantly goes to shit. There's a leak in the family room ceiling, we need a new air-conditioner, Mr. Z has to get "Phase I" of his braces already (?!) -- I'm just waiting for the cars to catch on fire, the basement to flood and the roof to blow off in a twister.

And to top it off, I have yet to win the lotto. I mean, how many times do I have to buy a ticket?! I've bought, like, 12 in my lifetime -- you think I'd have won at least once by now. I don't think I've gotten more than one number that matches. I'm starting to think that game is fixed or something. Fucking lotto.

On the bright side, that garden I planted (see June 12th post for the before pic) is now out of control:

The shit's growing like loco weed (which, now that I think of it, is what I should've planted in the first place). In about two weeks I'm gonna have tomatoes coming out of my ass.

Whew, glad I didn't plant pumpkins.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Open up and Say "Hurl!"

The old lady has had her friend A visiting, along with her two kids, over the last few days and the place has been just wacky. I've been working all week, so it hasn't been that wacky for me, but upstairs -- holy shit, it's a fucking looney bin. A's kids are very sweet and well-behaved, but having extra kids in the house has made Mr. Z go off the self-control deep-end a bit. Lots of manic energy that inevitably leads to weeping jags. They've all had a lot of fun, but I think they're all going to appreciate a little down-time when things return back to normal.

Anyway, I noticed that the old lady and her friend were looking pretty haggard yesterday and, in a moment of what I can only describe as "temporary dumb-shittedness," I said, "Hey, you two should go out to dinner tomorrow night. Don't worry about the kids -- I'll feed 'em and put them to bed." I know -- what the shit, self?! But I figured it wouldn't be that bad, so what the fuck.

And you know what -- it wasn't really that bad. Now, if I always had to take care of four kids, I'd hammer a fucking railroad spike through my cortex, but for one night, no problem. I let them play some pre-dinner video games, gave them a nice healthy din-din, and then broke out the secret weapon -- "The Tasting Game."

When I was growing up, our next door neighbors would occasionally babysit and they learned us the genius that is "The Tasting Game." A very simple game -- one person is blind-folded and the others pile a bunch of shit onto a spoon and make them eat it. Then, if they don't barf, they have to guess all of the spoon's contents. It was usually pretty tame stuff -- peanut butter, raisins, maraschino cherries, pickles, chocolate syrup, olives -- it was just the combinations that made it interesting.

I kept it really tame for the kids tonight, only using breakfast cereals, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, raisins and blueberries. We did a few rounds for each kid and then I figured it was time to head up and get them ready for bed. But they insisted that I be the taster for a round.

Now think about that -- sitting at a table, blind-folded, while four kids, aged nine, seven, five and four, pile a bunch of shit onto a spoon and then make you eat it without looking. You won't see that test on "Fear Factor" because no one in their right mind would submit to such torture. Eating grubs and scorpions? No problem. Eating shit off a spoon from four kids under ten? Fuck you.

So, they're laughing their asses off for about 10 minutes and then I hear them approaching, while chanting "Eat it, eat it, eat it!" Well, I'm in it to win it, so I tell them to bring it on and I open my mouth. First off, they switched the regular spoon with a giant serving spoon. There was about 1/3 of a jar of Jif peanut butter as a base, then I tasted some Orange-Mint Icebreakers breath fresheners, along with some Cheetos, Life cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios, Marshmallow fluff, raisins, a jelly bean, and a couple other soft things that I couldn't quite identify. Could've been dried cranberries, could've been turds -- wasn't quite sure.

I panicked only for a moment, when the giant bolus of peanut butter completely sealed off my trachea and acted as a barrier to any intake of oxygen, but after working on it for a few seconds, my respiratory system kicked back in. It was really a foul concoction -- the breath mints really put it over the edge and I was pretty unsettled by the mystery chewy bits. But I finished it without gagging and managed to earn a bit of respect from my tormentors.

The rest of the night went off pretty much without a hitch. It's the Tasting Game, man. So simple, yet so powerful.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hey, There's Always Next Year...

Well, I think I pretty much went 3 for 4 this year in the old lady birthday crap-shoot-o-rama. Two of the four were no-brainers -- the new Thom Yorke solo CD and this CD by Nikka Costa that she's been eyeing. But believe it or don't, I think the ring I got her actually did not suck and she might actually wear the thing on a semi-regular basis. Maybe.

She wanted a turquoise ring and that's what I went a-searchin' for. The thing is, 99 percent of the turquoise rings out there have some sort of Native American thing going on with them -- they're "rope-y" or they have a coyote on them or some sort of featherage. Not that there's anything wrong with those sorts of embellishments -- they're just not the old lady's cup of tea. Not that Native Americans drink a lot of tea... I mean, they might and they might night... I'm not making any commentary on Native Americans or their beverage choices at all. Of course, they can drink whatever they like. Not that I'm saying they're drinkers... I'm not saying that at all! I mean, look, I was just trying to find a fucking ring, all right?!

Anyway, I ended up getting a ring from this hoser up in Saltspring Island, British Columbia that looked like it just might work for her. It had a nice turquoise stone, it was silver and that was it. Here it is:

That's nice, right? So, yeah, I think she digs it. It fit and everything. She told her friend A, who's staying at our place with her two kids, that she really liked it, so I guess she does. I guess I'm just not used to a genuine "I really like it," so it's hard to accept it when it really happens.

Now, the earrings I got her, on the other hand, major dislike-age. El Stinko. P to the U. When she opened the box she said, "Oh... look at these." Yeah, that's what you want to hear when someone opens a gift. That's basically the same thing she would have said if she had opened a box filled with a couple of moose testicles. "Oh... look at these." And the thing is, I thought I was right on the mark with the earrings and way off with the ring. Therein lies my dilemma -- I can discern no clear pattern of like or dislike when it comes to the old lady, therefore, I have absolutely no idea what to get her. I'll go up to her with a catalog, say Anthropologie, and say, "Hey, what do you think about this skirt?" thinking that it's something she'd like. Every time she'll say, "Eh." Then she'll turn a couple of pages and see some bizarre wrinkly 80s looking blouse or something that I would have NEVER picked for her and say, "Now THIS I like." It's a goddman impossible task, I tell you. Here are the crappy earrings I got her:

Hell, I thought they were old-fashioned, kind of, and dangly, which I thought she liked and they were even in this special case at the dumbass jewelry story. You know, after 20 years with this woman, the only thing I've learned, when it comes to gift-giving, is to keep the fucking receipt. Next time, I'm just going to put the receipt in a nice box and then, after she opens it, I'll hand her the earrings/clothing/necklace and say, "Oh, and here's what you'll be exchanging."

She really liked the presents Mr. Z and Miss O gave her:

The pinwheel and the shiny rock. Now those kids KNOW her. Those gifts were brilliant! Sure things! That's it -- they're buying all her presents for Xmas.

But, I am pretty sure she liked the ring.

I think.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Dead Man Gifting...

The old lady's birthday is tomorrow and, well, I have no idea if she'll even remotely not-hate what I got her. I'll know in about 10 hours. I do know that she'll love the things the kids got her. Mr. Z, on his own initiative, mind you, bought her a shiny purple rock from the store at his camp. With his own money, no less. Ain't that a kick in the jodhpurs. And Miss O painted a little pinwheel thing at camp for the old lady to stick in one of her potted plants. Another perfect gesture.

Me? I probably could've put a turd in a box and had the same odds that she'd like what I got her. Hell, it would've been a lot cheaper and I would've at least been able to say that I made it myself.

Maybe next year.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Owe Whuh?!

So, yeah, the trip to Iowa. Once we actually got there, it wasn't that heinous. We found Aunt S and Uncle R's wacky house out in the middle of bumbleshit USA and loaded on in. The house looks nice enough from the outside, but inside, it kinda looks like "Antiques Roadshow," "a gayer Liberace" and an overzealous taxidermist used the place as a vomitorium.

The living room was done in a kind of gilded Egyptian furniture meets Faberge egg motif, the bedrooms had some sort of Bourbon Street meets the Olde West vibe and the basement gave off an antique toy/Ted Nugent trophy-room whiff. Apparently, the Aunt and Uncle used to travel overseas and fill up a shipping containers-worth of foreign shit and then ship it back to Iowa. The idea was that they would sell it, but methinks they just backed the fucker up to the front door and dumped.

And speaking of dumps, as I predicted, mine were WAY off on this trip. I don't know if it was the air-pressure inside that rented minivan, or the 11 1/2 hours of sitting on my ass on I-80 eating shitty granola bars and Balance Bars, but I basically crapped once the entire weekend. Now you may say to yourself, "Dude, what the shit? So your poop schedule was off a bit -- big fucking deal." You don't understand. I shit at 9:38 a.m. every goddamn day and sometimes, when I'm feeling saucy, I'll pinch off an extra one right before bed. If my defecation docket varies by even a fraction of a second, my very being teeters on the brink of obliteration!

Needless to say, I was on edge the entire trip. I was like an impacted Howitzer.

So what the fuck else happened? Well, when we got there at like 10 p.m., which is 11 p.m. in Michigan, mind you, Mr. Z and Miss O were out of their fucking minds. Like spider-monkeys-with-ADHD-and-on-crank-out-of-their-minds. And there was all this ugly breakable shit everywhere. I almost ran down to the basement looking for a tranquilizer dart in Uncle R's gun collection that was conveniently sitting, completely unlocked-up and at seven-year-old height, on the table next to the GIANT REAR PROJECTION SCREEN TV. But, instead, we just waited for the circuit overload that eventually leads to the major meltdown that leads to the uncontrollable sobbing that leads, finally, to peaceful slumber. Works every time.

Saturday was the big day -- the reunion picnic in the park. And it was all I had hoped for and then some. Crock pots full of beef in its natural drippins, ham hunks on a bun, deviled eggs, giant balls of meat-like consistency, cucumber slices floating in, I don't know, pee?, and some sort of potato and motor oil casserole. There was basically nothing we could feed the kids except a couple pieces of veiny fried chicken and Rice Krispies treats. I ate about 12 deviled eggs to see if I could jump-start the poop chute, but the gears remained a-seized.

There was a classic Mr. Z moment when one of the kraaaazy uncles pulled out a cooler filled with about 100 water balloons. All the kids were chucking them at each other and Mr. Z jumped right into the action. Soon, all the balloons were gone, so cups were grabbed and water started flying everywhere. I looked up from my deviled-egg-a-thon and saw Mr. Z filling a cup at the water fountain. I thought, "Wow, he's actually getting along with all the other kids here and he really seems to be having fun... like a normal kid." Then, I saw two kids sneak up behind him and completely drench him with four cups of water. That's when the true Mr. Z joined the party. He started bawling at the top of his lungs and it was one of those moments when time stopped and everyone seemingly ceased talking and turned their full attention to him. Knowing that it was only going to get WAY worse, I grabbed his hand and walked him away from the rubber-neckers to talk about what had happened.

In classic Mr. Z (and, of course, classic ME at his age) fashion, he honestly felt that it was perfectly fine for him to throw water at other people but it was totally unacceptable that anyone might do the same to him. He felt utterly betrayed and wanted us to drive back to Michigan that instant. We talked it over for a while and, while he never saw how ridiculous his reasoning was, he was able to calm down and enjoy the rest of the day. Man, that kid is so me it's fucking scary. He's doomed.

I don't know... this is really rambling on here. Let's wrap it up. Uh, the old lady spent some quality time with her brother and her cousins, the kids found a frog, I'm really fucking glad we stopped at two children, pretty much everyone but the old lady and myself are crappy parents, and if you wait long enough, the ham-headed husband of one of the cousins WILL say something extremely racist.

Oh, and if you eat enough deviled eggs, you WILL shit, but it's not going to be something you're really going to enjoy.

Monday, July 24, 2006

How Does One Say "Blaaarrrrghhhh!" in Spanish?

Okay, let me clarify. Taco Bell is on my shit list NOT for giving me the shits. That would be like putting, I don't know, vomit on my shit list for tasting like barf. What's the point?!

Nay, they are on my shit list because we stopped off there for lunch, while on our hellish road-trip, and I bit into a 7-layer burrito with a little something... extra. See, Taco Bell is the last fast food place to which I will give my money. Most of the others were either checked off my list after I read "Fast Food Nation," or because I decided that I no longer enjoyed diarrhea as much as I did when I was younger. But I always seemed to give Taco Bell a free pass, for some reason. While I didn't eat there very often, I did stop off now and again - whenever I had to pack my colon quickly with seven layers of pre-digested sludge.

So, I ordered my 7-layer, squirted a little hot sauce in the open, anus end of the burrito, and took a big ol' chomp. As I was chewing, I looked down at the taut tortilla tube in my fist and noticed something protruding out from my whence I had bitten. Now, I can't really describe what it was I saw because I'm pretty sure I blacked out for a minute or so after I saw it, but it looked a lot like a very colorful birthday invitation, with little colored round stickers stuck to it, and maybe a piece of diaper attached to it. I KNOW! THAT MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE BUT THAT IS WHAT WAS STICKING OUT OF THIS MONSTROSITY THAT I WAS CLUTCHING IN MY HAND!

After I came to, I spit the bolus out of my mouth and into the wrapper, got out of the car and stumbled into the "restaurant." (Why I didn't take a picture of this thing is beyond me -- I think I was in shock. But the old lady saw it and will vouch for its existence, so I know I'm not going crazy.) I was ready to shove that miscarriage of a meal into the maw of the pimply-faced manager and demand a full refund and a new stomach, but unfortunately, my wrath was diffused by the "developmentally delayed" young man behind the counter. He asked me, very courteously I might add, if he could help me and I simply said, "Um... yeah, I bit into this burrito and... uh, there seemed to be an extra layer that didn't really seem to be... food."

He grabbed the bunched up wrapper from me and bolted into the "kitchen" area announcing, with great urgency, that "SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS ORDER!" I felt kinda like a dick, but, hey, I figured it was a good learning experience for him. A "teachable moment," even. Fuck, I don't know?!

He came trotting back and asked if I wanted my money back or a replacement burrito and, now completely tapped of anger, I mumbled, "Well... I'll take another burrito... but make sure they stop at seven layers, this time." He yelled back, "Seven layer and stop at seven layers this time!"

I thanked him and grabbed my freshly excreted, warm bean-sleeve and walked back to the car, feeling like an asshole in addition to being nauseated. I tried to eat the new burrito, but it tasted too much like... failure.

And B.M.

So, yeah, that's why Taco Bell is on my shit list. Just had to clarify that.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Hey, remember how I said it was going to take us eight-plus hours to get to Iowa? Ha, ha, ha... woo, that was a great one!

11 1/2.

I'm too busy attempting to collect the pieces of my ass, that were ripped beyond recognition by this trip so I can take them to the seamstress and have them stitched back together into something vaguely reminiscent of my former non-ripped ass, to post anything substantial tonight.

One thing I will say, however, is that you, Taco Bell, are SO on my shit list it's not even funny. You are muerte to me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


The power went out this morning and was basically out until 2:30 this afternoon. Some asshole drove his car into the transformer at the end of our street and 'sploded it real good. Nothing like a power outage to remind me how much of a moron I am.

Obviously, I couldn't do any work. Fine. So, I went to check my e-mail. Oops. Maybe I should post something on my bl-- oh... right. So I went up to the kitchen to make some toast. Or not. Well, then I thought maybe I would make myself a nice banana milkshake. I actually had everything out and lined up next to the blender before I realized that... well, that I'm a fucking idiot! Then I looked at the microwave to see what time it was. FUCK! Then I looked at the stove to check the time and guess what? Electric. Which is probably a good thing, because I was about ready to stick my fucking head in the oven and end it all.

So, tomorrow we embark on a trip of potentially hellish proportions. We're renting a minivan and driving eight plus hours to Iowa to have a family reunion with some of the old lady's kin-folk. Drive out Friday, get in around dinner, have the reunion on Saturday and then drive back Sunday. Wee-fucking-hoo! Of course, Mr. Z and Miss O are thrilled because a) we're renting a minivan, 2) they basically get to watch DVDs for eight plus hours straight, and iii) they'll get to eat crappy road food along the way. That's fucking heaven right there.

Me? I get to make small talk with people I don't know, I'll have my fill of various grilled meats and ambrosia salad, and I probably won't shit for three days. This is going to be great!

I sign off with a conversation with Mr. Z during his shower tonight:

MR. Z: I really hate you, Dad.

ME: What?!

MR. Z: It's opposite day! I mean... it's NOT opposite day.

ME: Oh. I really hate you, too.

MR. Z: I'm not looking forward to this trip to Iowa.

ME: Oh, I am!

MR. Z: You mean you're NOT looking forward to it.

ME: Oh, right. I mean, wrong. Now, keep playing with your penis and don't turn off the shower because it's not time for bed.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Blogishment

I have a handy new tool for helping to behaviorally modify Mr. Z. Now, when he freaks out/loses his shit/threatens his sister/doesn't listen/generally engages in unacceptable sassiness, I no longer threaten with a TV/video game suspension consequence -- all I have to say is, "Okay, no blogging tomorrow." Works like a fucking charm.

Because of some weekend shenanighastly behavior, his bloggage was suspended through tomorrow. But he has fallen into line very quickly and has been quite cherubic the last couple of days. He keeps saying, "I can't wait until Thursday! I've got the best idea for my blog!"

WHY didn't I get him started on this earlier?! Like two ulcers ago?!

Oh, and this boy, the same child who told me last night that George Bush was violating the Monroe Doctrine, told me a story tonight about skeleton soldiers who shot turds out of their mouths that bounced down a hill and landed on a king's head. And then the King launched into a song called, "Don't Judge a Turd by Its Cover."

I think that story violated the Monroe Doctrine.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Today I Am Still Just a Bill...

I think I've typed here before about Mr. Z and his insatiable need for justice in the world. Not that it's always 'true' justice, in fact, it's often Mr. Z-centric justice, but he does seem to focus on many of the inequities in the world and he spends a lot of time (a LOT of time) discussing his thoughts with the old lady and myself.

He's obviously picked up on the household political leanings, and, while we've never forced our opinions of the current administration on him, he has come to his own conclusion that most of our country's leaders are "really mean."

Here's a classic situation: he'll be playing some bizarre game with Miss O (say... "Mouselet and Butch in Jump-a-Roony Trouble") and I'll overhear one of them say, "And then she bonks him in the head with her shoe!" I'll chime in with a , "Guys, we don't play any games where anyone gets bonked in the head with a shoe or with anything else. That's too violent."

Then Mr. Z will usually say something like, "Yeah, Miss O. That's something George Bush would do... right Dad?" And I'll say something like, "Well, I don't know if George Bush has ever really bonked anyone in the head with his shoe... but he does have us embroiled in a senseless and tragic war where thousands of innocent people are being killed so... anyway, just don't bonk anyone in the head, all right?"

So, anytime anything comes up where someone has done something wrong, or some injustice has been committed, Mr. Z is always there with a "Cuz that's what George Bush would do, right Dad?" Sometimes I lamely try to qualify with a little, "Well, Mr. Z, it's not always George Bush... he has a whole group of people that he's surrounded himself with who also... and that's not to say that they're necessarily evil people but... and there are some people who really agree with what he does but... um... yeah, you're right, George Bush probably does try to cut in line like that boy at camp did."

Tonight, at dinner, Mr. Z was clearing his plate and he whipped out, "George Bush is violating the Monroe Doctrine!" I was flummoxed. I wasn't even sure which one the Monroe Doctrine was. Was the one that stated that the US wouldn't get involved in conflicts between European powers and their colonies? Or was it the one that had something to do with dumping all that tea in the harbor? Or did it have something to do with levies? Or... whigs?

I told him he was probably right and that he should "go look up the Monroe Doctrine" just to make sure. And to report back to me and tell me what it said.

How the fuck should I know?! All I remember about my American History class was that I whizzed through the memorization of the preamble because of Schoolhouse Rock. And if they had done a Schoolhouse Rock on the Monroe Doctrine, I would've fucking known that, too. But they didn't. So I don't.

But I sure as hell know what Conjunction Junction's function is. It has something to do with trains... I think.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Well, last night was a lot of fun -- I drove over to Grand Rapids to see some old friends who were in town to rock and/or roll. They did do some rocking and a touch of rolling and not a single hip was broken, which at their age is a bonus.

The great thing was just getting away and hanging out and talking with people over the age of seven. What a great thing! At no point did I have to tell any of them to put all four legs of their chair on the floor, I didn't have to wipe any boogers off their noses and I didn't even have to threaten them with no dessert if they didn't stop spazzing out. Well, one guy did have a booger in his nose, but I figured it was his problem, so I let it "hang."

We caught up on everyone's families and shit and it was all very 'old man' of us, but it was really great to just chat it up about whatever. It was funny, at one point, I started talking about how I spend most of my time in the basement working and how I've started making these chipboard notebooks to help recycle paper and shit and one of the guys paused and said, "So... you're like really losing your shit, huh?" So I realized that, to me, making those notebooks is my attempt to take on a little project, to do a bit of recycling and to just start thinking about different ways to be creative. BUTT, and here's the rub -- to the rest of the world, I'm a fucking freak. See, there's a fine line between thinking you're doing something cool and being a fucking insane, reclusive misanthrope.

Good to know.

After the show, around one o'clock, I began my hourlong trek back home. It was really dark and peaceful and I was cranking some tuneage in the car when I looked up and pretty much shat my panties. You know how, sometimes, the moon looks REALLY FUCKING BIG and it just freaks your shit out? Well, this moon was WAY BIGGER THAN THAT! I swear to fuck, I thought the thing was going to crash into the earth. It was freakish. I was already way tired, and I had consumed this nasty drink that was made for me that contained vodka, Red Bull and, I think, diarrhea, so I'm sure I wasn't necessarily responding rationally. I stopped short of phoning the old lady and saying "Goodbye forever," but man, what the shit?! As I continued driving, it got smaller -- which is pretty fucked up in and of itself, until it returned to normal moon-size by the time I got home.

I know there's some explanation for the phenomenon, and I think I actually knew what it was at one time, but I like to think it was all due to the freakish, collective mind-control power of redheads and twins. Maybe the albinos were in town and they were all whooping it up in the woods with the satyrs and the wood sprites.

Boy, am I tired.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Son of Crabbydad?!

Don't have much time to typee-typee today, as I'm off to Grand Rapids to see some old friends. In the meantime, you might want to check out Mr. Z's first post on his brand new blog.

Yes, despite the bellowing voice in my head that's saying, "BAD IDEA!" I've decided to let the boy start his own blog. He has been bitching about it for weeks and, frankly, anything that decreases the stress around here of late is welcomed with open arms.

I haven't really thought through the ramifications, if any, but, hey... what could possibly go wrong?**

**[Note to self: On Saturday, July 15 at 4:28 p.m., I actually typed the phrase "what could possible go wrong?" with regards to Mr. Z. Cue locusts and acid rain of frogs.]

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I Think I'm Going to Katman-don't

I have nothing to write tonight. I'm tired, I'm ornery and I have the new Bob Seger song that all the local radio stations have been playing every hour on the fucking hour on a continuous loop running through my idea-free brain.

Now if you'll excuse me, it feels like I've gotta drop a couple of "Night Moves" before hitting the sack.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It IS Easy Being Green

Thanks to my friend S, I now have a shitload of recycled paper with which to make my wacky recycled chipboard notebooks. I made four tonight:

I think I like making these fuckers so much because, unlike the shit I do at work, this is a quick, easy task with a well-defined beginning and end. Cut paper -- punch holes in paper -- cut chipboard -- cut holes in chipboard -- wipe drool off of chin -- put shit together -- DONE. So mindless and so enjoyable. I can just feel my gray matter liquifying and pooling in my skull. Me likee easy job.

I'm keeping this short tonight because I have to go watch the premiere episode of "Project Runway." My summer gayness is kicking in and I must heed its peacocky call. Damn that Bravo network and its flashy, metrosexual-friendly programming!

Tonight, as Mr. Z was taking a bath, he said:

MR. Z: Dad? You know that saying "Make like a banana and run?"

ME: Um... yeah?

MR. Z: Yeah, that's a good one. [pause] So, I don't get it.

ME: Well, you know how chimps are always running around with bananas in their hands?

MR. Z: Yeah?

ME: That's where it comes from. If you want to leave someplace really quickly, you're kinda like a chimp with a banana, running around. So you "make like a banana and run."

MR. Z: [silence] Huh.

ME: No, I'm just kidding. It's actually "Make like a banana and split." You know, like split meaning "to leave" and split as in a "banana split."

MR. Z: Oh. That's so funny I forgot to laugh, Dad.

ME: Yeah. Hey, don't forget to wash your butt.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

With This Ring I Do Thee Return

Well, the old lady's birthday is rounding the bend, once again, and so far, I've got bupkus. This woman is fucking impossible to shop for. I think, in the almost 20 years we've been together, I've been right on the money, gift-wise, twice. Once, I got her a watch about which she had said, "I would like to get that watch someday," so I can't even really count that one. The other was this ring I got her about 15 years ago, when I lived in L.A.:

It looks gold-ish in the pic, but it's actually silver and the stone is either carnelian or blood agate or something. I have no idea why she loved this ring and not, say, any of the other rings/bracelets/necklaces/earrings I've purchased. To be fair, she says she loves everything I get her, but I know bullshit when I smell it, and come birthday time, I smells me lots of bullshit.

So, I don't know... I'm going to probably go for another ring this year. She had this buddha ring that she really loved (she got it when she returned a ring I had gotten her a couple of years ago at "The Mexican Shop" in suburban Chicago) but it flew off of her hand during class this past year and broke into little bite-sized Buddha piece-lets. Of course I tried to glue it back together and totally fucked it up, so I feel I owe her a replacement. And I feel I owe the Buddhists an apology.

There's basically no place around here to look -- there is one shop in East Lansing that I might check out. I don't know though -- I walk into those places and stare at the shit and I think to myself, "Hey, now this could either be the perfect ring... or she'd fucking despise it." It's such a fine line.

And she's going to read this, too, so she's gonna be like, "Shit, he's going to buy me another fucking ring. Motherfucker. Well, I better practice my bullshit 'No, really, I love it!'"

It's too bad she doesn't like diamonds, 'cuz I could totally set her up with this sweet, iced-out teeth grill I found online:

But, with my luck, she'd probably return it and get the platinum grill with the emeralds, instead.

Ain't life a bizzle?!

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Boy Has Discovered My "Tell"

First off, welcome to the person from Pennsylvania who found this blog accidentally by doing a Google search for "five across your lip." I love the fact that when that classic phrase is typed into Google, this blog is the first result. I like to think that Fred G. Sanford is looking down upon me and thinking, "What a dummy."

So, I'm talking to Mr. Z tonight as he's getting ready for bed and he asks:

MR. Z: Dad? How come sometimes, when you tell me to stop doing something, you're smiling and kinda laughing?

It's over. He's found my fatal flaw -- my achilles heel -- the Colonel Klink in my armor. It happens all the fucking time. He'll be engaging in some really wrong, spazzmotic behavior and, suddenly remembering I'm a dad, I'll be forced to tell him to stop doing said spazzmotic behavior. Unfortunately, nine-times-out-of-ten, I find whatever he's doing to be pretty fucking funny. It usually involves him dancing around naked, pointing his shvantz where it shouldn't be pointed, making fart noises, pretending two round, orb-like objects are breasts/balls, contorting himself into some pretzel-like shape in a strange place, singing some mildly offensive song at the top of his lungs -- basically being ME at age seven.

I'll know that I'm supposed to tell him to stop, and most of the time I'll get out a "Mr. Z, would you stop doing that, please?! You're going to hurt someone/yourself/your voice/your genitalia!" But sometimes, when the thing that he's doing is just SO me, I smile/laugh as I'm attempting to parent and I usually have to turn away or bolt into another room so as not to dilute my 'serious message.' Well, I guess I don't have to hide it anymore -- he's been on to me the whole time. Sneaky bastard.

It's tough, because he really is a lot like I was as a kid, poor guy. I was very goofy, spazzy, bizarre, annoying, just like he is now. The problem is, I tended to take it too far... a lot. Any time there was a scene that involved me fucking around and laughing hysterically, it usually ended up with me bawling my fucking eyes out. Which is why I get on his case a lot when I see him heading toward that inevitable crash and burn. I want to head him off before it all blows up in his face. Like, if I could just stop him from dancing naked like a moron as he runs down the hallway, I might just be able to prevent that scrotal rug-burn that's lurking around the corner.

But I suppose it's also my job as a parent to let him get scrotal rug-burns. That's an important part of growing up. So I guess that's why I'm smiling when I'm telling him not to do something. It's just my way of saying, "Dude, you remind me of myself... and boy are your balls going to hurt in about 20 seconds."

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday Night Ramble...

You know, I always used to laugh at the phrase, "I do, and I do, and I do for you kids, and this is the thanks I get!" but now, I fuckin' get it. That's parenting, boiled down to one, right-the-fuck-on sentence. You do, and you do, and you do some more and you basically don't get dick in return. Sure, there's an occasional hug or even a rare "Thanks, Dad!" but, if you're looking for an immediate return on your investment, parenting ain't the game for you.

And I'm fine with that. I'm in it for the long haul -- I don't plan on seeing any real payback until way down the road, when I'm dried out and wrinkley and crappin' out petrified smellets in my nappies.

Like, take this weekend, for example. Both days were geared completely for the enjoyment of the spawn. I took Miss O to her swimming lesson, took Mr. Z to the library, went to see a concert on Saturday night, took both kids to family swim at the Y, grilled out for dinner tonight and then went to a new ice cream jernt for dessert -- all to tickle their cute but ungrateful fancies. I think they enjoyed all of it -- I have no idea.

But here's the thing -- Saturday afternoon, I said to the old lady, "You know, they have those free concerts downtown. Let's go tonight -- the kids will love it." Sure, they usually go to bed at 8 and the concerts don't even start until 7:30, but what the fuck, it's summertime and we need to live a little. So we drive down there, park, and start walking to the concert. I think the band was called "Sea Cruisin'" or some shit, and they were playing "50s and 60s classics"! It's exactly what you'd imagine -- four old fuckers, "rockin' out" to "Little Sister," "Brown-Eyed Girl" and "Twist & Shout." The thing is, they were probably not much older than me and, to tell you the truth, they weren't bad -- I mean it was painfully cringe-inducing but they had their shit down.

Where was I... oh, we were walking to the concert and Miss O tripped. This kid falls down once every goddamn hour, lately -- I don't know if she's just in a clumsy phase, needs new shoes or suffers from extremely brief bouts of narcolepsy, but she's a fucking klutz. Of course, she skinned her knee, and pretty badly, too. So, she's bawling and the old lady runs into a CVS to get a box of band-aids. Okay, problem kinda solved. Then we find a spot to sit, amongst the "ramps & canes" crowd that's boogie-ing down to "The Wanderer." We spend eight bucks on two ice-cream sandwiches for the kids, which they kinda eat and mostly just smear all over their heads. Then, during a particulary slow, quiet tune, Mr. Z knocks over this really long, REALLY LOUD, two-by-four barrier thing and it crashes to the ground and everyone looks over at the freak family with the ice-cream covered spazmo children. So I fix the barrier and then we just sit there, staring at all the normal families, with the peaceful children who dance and sing and "have fun" until we decide it's time to leave.

Did they enjoy the concert? No fucking clue. By the time we get them to bed, it's about 9:30 and we say goodnight and add our worthless weekend caveat, "Okay, we let you guys stay up really late tonight, so be sure to sleep in so you're not all crabby tomorrow."

They both get up at 7:30 this morning and they were a fucking wreck. It was like tag-team bawling all morning, the climax happening when Mr. Z comes running into the kitchen screaming, "MISS O PINCHED MY EYE!!!!" I didn't even know you could do that!

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, the payoff. There isn't any. You've gotta just do shit that you think they'll enjoy and maybe they will and maybe they won't. They certainly won't tell you either way. But it feels good to make the effort. I think.

Then, maybe someday they'll go to another kid's house and realize how fucking sweet they've got it going on here, and just maybe they'll think to themselves, "Wow, Dad was right -- we do have it pretty good. I should've really shown him how much I appreciated all his efforts more often... too bad he's dead now."

Friday, July 07, 2006

That's Not a Regulation Flotation Device

Mr. Z came running downstairs after camp today with a "great story":

MR. Z: Dad! Something dramatic happened at camp today!

ME: Really?! What?

MR. Z: There was a poo in the pool! Someone did a #2 in the deep end!

ME: No way! Did they make you get out of the water?

MR. Z: No, they told us about it after we went swimming, when we were getting dressed.

ME: Oh, gee, that was nice of them. I hope you swam with your mouth closed.

MR. Z: What?

ME: Nothing.

MR. Z: It was SO dramatic!

ME: I'll say! Hey, make sure to really brush your teeth extra well tonight.

MR. Z: Why?

ME: Oh... just for fun.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

It's All Starting to Make Some Sense...

I made a couple more recycled chipboard notebooks -- this time for the spawn. Mr. Z is a big fan of the "Cheez-It," so he got this one:

And Miss O loves her the flakes of frosting:

I love making these things, and the amazing thing is, we haven't thrown out a chipboard box in two weeks. I can feel the earth cooling off already! Of course, the boxes are backing up down here in the basement -- can't quite keep up with the demand. The problem is the paper. The old lady finished that fancy grant of hers, and there's no more scratch paper coming in. Gots to get me some more of that stuff. It's like liquid gold... that's... made of... paper. Again, if'n I had any sort of motivation, I'd go out to, say, your Kinko's or your local library and see if they have any recycled paper they wanted to unload. But that would take effort and, thus, I have no paper.

Okay, so I was just going through a box of old shit and I came across an envelope full of letters that I sent to my parents from overnight camp, back in 1975. Allow me to vent for a second. What kind of sick parent sends a 10 year old, extremely "sensitive" young lad to northern Minnesota for four fucking weeks?! I cried like a goddamn shit-ass infant for 28 miserable days. Will someone tell me where the fuck DCFS was in 1975?!

Here is but a sample letter from my joyous, soul-crushing imprisonment near the boundary waters:

When you turn the letter over, it's just a dried stain where my tears of abandonment had once pooled. Can I get a what the shit?! I can't imagine sending Mr. Z off to another state for four weeks. Granted, he's only almost eight, but that boy ain't gonna be much more independent in two years, let me tell ya. And the thing that kills me is, my sister and brother weren't shipped off anywhere, apparently. The letter was addressed to my entire family, minus me.

Okay, now I'm pissed! What the fuck were they doing while I was weeping in the woods, wiping my ass with poison ivy and, most likely, fighting off the untoward advances of Uncle Bud. Yeah, that's right -- the counselors made us call them "Uncle" whatever. Holy fuck, the more I think about this, the sicker it sounds. Damn, my dad must've owed some dude a lot of money, or something. "Gee, we really can't seem to pay you the balance of what we owe you, Rocco. Tell you what, why don't you "borrow" my middle son for a month or so. It'll be fine -- he's kind of slow, anyway. We'll just tell him he's going to camp. Just let him shoot a bow and arrow every now and then, and he'll never be the wiser. Go ahead... take him."

No wonder I don't like to leave the fucking house.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Poor Kid Never Had a Chance

It's really great when you find out that your kids spontaneously do shit that you used to do when you were their age. Actually, it's pretty depressing... for them. But for me, it's great.

Case in point, the other night, I was rapping with Mr. Z before he went to sleep and he pointed out this little face that he liked to look at on his ceiling. Now, we have these 80s, whipped-cream-style ceilings, with all this swirly, prickly plaster shit sticking out from them.

It's ugly as shit and if you were to accidentally brush a part of your body across it, you'd look as though you'd have been mauled by a puma. But, if you're a seven-year-old falling asleep, it's great for staring at and finding faces.

So, I lie back on the pillow and Mr. Z points out the face -- he says it reminds him of "Roo" from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories:

Well, I thought it was fucking hilarious because it actually did look like Roo. A lot. He said he liked to look at it as he was falling asleep because it was "cute" and it made him feel happy. Which is so fucking insane because I totally did the same exact shit when I was his age. I'd look for faces in the ceiling, in the knots on the 70s paneling in my room, in the carpet, in the scabs on my... knees. How fucked up is that?!

I mean, it's not like I taught that shit to him -- it was encoded somewhere in my moronic dna and, through the miracle of science, he's now doing the same bizarre, self-soothing nighttime ritual that I did 34 years ago! Holy fuck, could I use a bong right about now.

It's incredible that he exhibits these strange little behaviors from my childhood, but when I actually think about it and start extrapolating a few years -- well, frankly, I get pretty freaked out. What other freakish/misguided/just-plain-wrong behaviors of mine are going to start popping up?! Is he going to lie awake in bed every night obsessing about death? (Too late.) Is he going to start burning ant hills and caterpillars with a magnifying glass all summer long? Is his fourth grade teacher going to say, during the parent/teacher conference, "Mr. Z thinks he's a very funny boy, and sometimes he is. And sometimes... he isn't." Is he going to burst into tears on the playground every time someone steals his hat? Is he going to start smoking bowls in the back of the Schwinn shop in town with Jim Fitzgerald when he's 13? Is he going to be the head of "Students Against Drunk Driving" and plan a non-alcoholic party and then blow off said party, get wasted, pass out, and have his friends drop him off at home unconscious, ring the doorbell and drive away?! Is he going to going to become so isolated and friendless as an adult that he is forced to sit in his basement, late at night, vomiting out meaningless prattle into a blog, hoping that maybe someone, somewhere might read it and comment on it, and that will be the closest thing he'll have had to an actual friend in years?!?! [Wait... was that last part out loud?]

Shit, I hope the old lady's genes kick in soon, or the dude is fucked.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hey, That Didn't Suck!

Well, I was all set to rant and rave about how it's a fucking ridiculous idea to think that we could actually take a mini-vacation somewhere and have a good time but, dammit, we did have a good time, nay a great time, and it went of with nary a hitch. I know... what the shit, right?

There's really nothing to tell -- picked the spawn up after camp and actually hit the road on time. Didn't forget to pack anything, made it to Ann Arbor in under an hour and found the hotel, no problem. The hotel wasn't too shitty -- the Hawthorne Suites -- kinda like a Red Roof Inn with a real tie instead of a clip-on. It seemed clean (no roaches or earwigs in the rooms) though I did watch a pill-bug make its way across the bathroom floor as I initiated the bathroom with the perfect dump. Actually, that was when I knew the trip would be a good one. Perfect dump = perfect trip. It was a "TNW" - a "technical no-wiper." I mean, I'd never be so confident as to actually "not wipe," but were I more of a derring-doo-er, I would've been resi-doo free. Why I'm telling you this, I know not.

So, we passed on the complimentary buffet dinner going on in the lobby -- it kinda smelled like a Godfather's Pizza place mixed with chlorine and a touch of assiness. So we retired to the room, found a nearby Cottage Inn Pizza (great pesto pizza), had a coupla "pies" delivered and let the kidlets watch "Hoodwinked" (again!) on the cable. Okay, that pissed me off -- 10 bucks for a movie?! That's about 4 bucks more than the people who made "Hoodwinked" spent on their animation software! But, fuck, the kids liked it and it helped them stop spazzing for an hour, so 10 bucks it was.

Oh yeah, before dinner we swam in the pool. Apparently, when the hotel advertises a "heated pool," it means... well, it means they're full of shit. My balls are still up around my neck after my initial jump into that fucking ice bath. But, again, the kids fucking loved it and I spent most of my time in the hot tub anyway, so it wasn't a problem. And that just reaffirmed the fact that the old lady and I have to get a fucking hot tub, and soon. Although, I think the one we get shouldn't have jets that blow bubbles straight up your poop-chute, like the one at the hotel did. Apparently, it was trying to work on my lower back pain from the inside out. And I didn't hate it, I have to say. Though it might have been nice if it would've bought me dinner first. Hello.

Okay... the movie ended and it took about 2 1/2 hours to get the kids calmed down enough to sleep. Mr. Z has (finally) learned how to make fart noises with his armpit and had Miss O laughing until about 9:45 p.m., the exact time when I walked in and pulled out the old, "If you guys don't stop talking this second, we're going to forget the parade tomorrow and just load up the car and go home." Which they knew was complete bullshit, but they must've felt sorry for me or something because they indeed piped-down.

This morning, we got up, had a mildly nauseating breakfast in the lobby/buffet area, took another perfect dump, drove into Ann Arbor proper, found a parking spot and an ideal spot for watching the parade. And I can't tell you how much I want to live in that town. It's everything that our town is not. It's hip, it has great restaurants, great stores, the people are alternative -- WAAAAH! I WANT TO LIVE IN ANN ARBOR! Although I'd still be sitting in my basement all day, so what the fuck does it really matter?!

So, the parade was fine -- lotsa sirens, convertibles, democratic candidates, wacky moustachioed, olde-fashionede bike riders:

I could've certainly done without the one float called "Huron Valley Parents of Multiples." I've never seen anything more horrific in my life. I had to cover Mr. Z's and Miss O's eyes to protect them from those replicants. Now, you know I have a (well-founded, mind you) irrational fear of twins, triplets, and whatever other abominations of nature out there that walk amongst us humans. There were swarms of them in the parade, smiling their identical smiles and staring through me with their lifeless clone-eyes. Yeesh, I'm getting the chills just thinking about it. I would've taken a picture, but everyone knows that they don't show up on film. Look, parents, if you have multiples, keep them to yourselves. I'd rather not know they're out there.

There was also a great anti-war group that marched, banging drums and cowbells and bottles and shit. We were going to march with them but realized the kids wouldn't be able to see the parade then, so we just cheered extra loud when they marched by. Mr. Z saw some old guy carrying an "Impeach Bush" sign and asked if we could get one for our front lawn. I tried to explain how that might piss off a couple of our more conservative neighbors and we finally decided that we're going to get some "Another Family for Peace" bumper stickers for the car. Maybe as a treat, I'll make him a "No Blood for Oil" birthday cake.

So, the parade ended and we trekked on over to Zingerman's Deli, another incredible Ann Arbor institution. Great breads, bagels, cheeses, sandwiches, etc. -- but because it all has "flavor" and isn't called "T.G.I. McHoolifucks," it'll never see the light of day in our shit-ass town. We chowed down, sandwiches, fancy soda pops, GELATO!, and picked up two dozen REAL bagels to take back with us. I swear, if I had more (any) motivation, I'd look into starting a franchise around here. Though it would never fly here -- the town just went BLOOMIN' ONIONS because an "Outback Shithouse" just opened up near the mall. Morons.

So, that's basically it. I'm too tired to finish the story. We got back, had a water-balloon fight, unpacked, had dinner and put the spawn to sleep. No fireworks tonight. I mean, it's impossible -- it doesn't get dark here until about 10 p.m., and there's no fucking way we're keeping them up that late.

You know what, fireworks can wait. Along with sunsets. Give them something to look forward to when they go off to college.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Wow, That Was a Bädde Idæa

I can't pinpoint the exact moment when I figured it was a good idea for the family to visit the BRAND NEW IKEA near Detroit on the 4th of July weekend, but I really wish someone had put a bullet in my brain before we all actually got into the goddamn car. Holy fuckstain, was that shitty idea!

The fucking humanity that zombie-walked through this giant blue and yellow, life-sucking warehouse of mostly-crappy Scandinavian fürnitüre, while shoving spum-covered Swedish meatballs into their collective torte-holes -- it was truly a sight to behold. Every asshole in Michigan who has just-too-much taste to not buy their furniture here, and just-not-enough taste to buy it here, was at IKEA. And they were all walking REALLY FUCKING SLOWLY right in front of our cart. I think I had about 100 micro-aneurisms. Unfortunately, I lived through them.

We went there for one thing: a bench for the front porch. That's all. Of course, they didn't have any. Fuckers. So we had to spend a coupla hondo on worthless kräppe that we didn't really need to justify the hour long drive. Granted, we got a couple of cute things for the kids' rooms... but that's not the point. What is the point? I have no fucking clue. All I know is, we waited in line for lunch for about 45 minutes and I ate the DRIEST SANDWICH EVER and I still don't have a goddamn bench.

Give it up for Mr. Z and Miss O, though -- they were fucking troopers. Minimal whining (they actually whined less than I did) and they actually seemed to have enjoyed themselves. Of course, they ended up with all the cool loot, so what's there to whine about?!

The one thing I did come away with, though, is that ONCE AGAIN, I'm glad we don't have a fucking minivan. You should never go to IKEA with more than a 4x5 empty space in your vehicle. You don't plan on it, you don't necessarily even WANT to, but you will fill every free inch of space in your car with Swedish kræppe. It's like, you go in there, you black out and then you wake up, in your car, surrounded by shïtte. Those fucking Swedes, man. Sneaky bastards.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Man without A Plan...

The old lady and I aren't really the family-vacation-planning kinda parents. We're usually so enmeshed in the day to day fuckshit that we never seem to be able to look ahead to long holiday weekends coming up to plan "the perfect family vacation." It's usually like, "Why the shit is the neighborhood so empty? Damn, it's the 4th of July weekend... we should do something." And then we end up renting a movie, getting ice cream, and lighting a sparkler in the driveway.

Last year was no exception, and we ended up going to the Lansing 4th of July parade. It was one of the most depressing "events" I've ever witnessed. The parade basically consisted of a cop car, an old Cadillac, a three-legged dog and a sickly troop of Brownies. We kept looking up the street for the real parade and, when people started walking back to their cars, we were like, "Wha? That was it?! Did a neutron bomb go off nearby?" It was fucking pathetic.

So, last night I was sitting around, pissing away a few more hours of my life with the "Norm 69," when I thought to myself, "Damn, it's the 4th of July weekend... we should do something." I talked to the old lady, and we decided that something had to be done. At first, we thought a trip to the new IKEA in Detroit was the perfect way to celebrate our country's independence -- by buying cheap, Scandinavian furniture! Then we realized that, with the kids in the car, we wouldn't be able to fit too much shit in the trunk and, well, fuck.

Then I remembered that there's this town that everyone's always talking about called Frankenmuth:

I mean, Mr. Z is always asking about WWII -- why not spend a day in a perfect replica of a Nazi village! And, apparently, their chicken dinners are sehr gut! "Just smile at the people, Mr. Z... thank the man for the giant pretzel, Miss O... just don't tell them your dad is Jewish... heh, heh... that's it... Guten Tag, everyone... isn't this fun, kids?!"

Or not.

Then, there are the Sleeping Bear Dunes, up north, near Traverse City. Apparently they're spectacular, giant... piles... of sand. "There they are, kids! Look at all that sand! That's a lot of sand, huh?! Yep, really worth the goddamn five hour drive it took to get here, aren't they! Okay, back in the car!"

Fuck that.

Then I remembered that we're only an hour away from Ann Arbor, the town we really wanted to live in. So, after a little research on the ol' internets, we are booked into a hotel (with a pool/hottub) for Monday night and we're going to be potentially marching in the parade with a bunch of war protesters.

Looks like it'll be a hippie 4th of July after all, Virginia!