Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Nougat on The Block...

Miss O refused to share a single piece of candy with me tonight. Oh, if she only knew to whence the Milky Ways mysteriously vanish every night.

I can't wait until tomorrow when Mr. Z ceremoniously kicks off his year-long existential crisis about what he's going to be for Halloween next October.

And by the way, who the fuck gives out Fritos for Halloween? I can pretty much guarantee that there's not a single kid who looks into his/her candy sack at the lone Fritos bag and declares "YESSSSS!" (Except, perhaps, the kids down the block in the "Bandito" family.)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Q: Who Wants to Carve a Pumpkin? A: WE DON'T!

It's Halloween tomorrow and I realized, as I was picking up the spawn today, that we hadn't gotten any punkins yet. So, we jumped in the car and, after a brief stop at the doctor's office for family flu shots (WEEEE-HOOO!), we stopped off at the Kroger and picked up some melons. Wait, are they melons? No, they're not melons. They're squashes... squash... squeesh... punkins.

Everyone was all fired up to do some carving when I realized that there was no fucking way I was going to let those two psychopaths near any knives, so it ended up being the dad-carves-all-three-goddamn-punkins show. Oh sure, they drew the faces on with a Sharpie, but I was the asshole who had to carve, scoop and de-seed. I forgot how much of a pain-in-the-ass it is to carve a pumpkin, let alone three. I tried to get Mr. Z to at least do some of the scooping, but I kid you not, the boy was actually gagging as he reached in to pull out the goop. That was like my favorite thing to do at his age. If de-gooping punkins were a summer job, I would've been been de-gooping from dusk till dawn. Gagging while cleaning out a punkin. Who is this kid?!

Miss O at least gave it the old kindergarten try and scooped some shit out of her miniscule punkinette for awhile. But then they both disappeared and it was just me and the asshole-lanterns. Miss O wanted hers to be a dog and Mr. Z wanted his to be Professor Frankly from "Paper Mario." Yeah, those'll really terrify the trick-or-treaters. It was getting pretty close to dinnertime, so I kinda rushed through theirs a bit. Not that they gave a rat's dick. For mine, however, I spent a little more time and actually tried out that just-cut-off-the external-layer-of-punkindermis-style that I've seen on the internets. I think it turned out pretty cool, although I was ready to whip all three into the street after I finally finished. I managed to cut myself about 47 times and my fingernails are packed tight with punkin-rrhea, but they're done.

Warning to any of the neighborhood punks out there looking to smash some punkins tomorrow night -- you WILL be de-gooped. And your seeds will be dried and baked with a little salt. Wait... went a little too far with that metaphor. You'll just be de-gooped. You can keep your seeds.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

It's Your Roll, Mr. Vader...

Fucking Monopoly. What kind of shithead invents a game that takes a week to play -- and that's assuming you finish. I don't think I've actually ever completed a full game -- it's like one of those five pound hamburgers in Vegas that are free if you eat the whole thing, but no one ever finishes those fuckers and they end up paying, like, 50 bucks for the thing. Those Parker brothers are dicks.

Mr. Z has been dying to play his "Star Wars-opoly" for months, so finally we relent. Shit, that game is like watching paint dry. And once you set it up, you can't move it -- there are cards all over the place and that fucking money and all those houses and hotels. Of course we set it up right in the middle of the goddamn family room, so everyone's almost stepping on it whenever you want to walk through the room. It's like you need to build some sort of Monopoly grotto where you can leave the fucker set up for months at a time. The Monopo-wing.

And by the way, nice grafting of a metaphor onto a game, Parker Brothers. You take the time to add all the movie images and to change all the property names from "St. James Place" and "Boardwalk" to "Mos Eisley" and "Naboo," but you still leave this on the board:

What the shit is that?! So Yoda is zipping across the desert of Tatooine in his X-34 Land Speeder when he comes across a red Studebaker parked on a dune. "Lucky we are, yeeeesss," he declares. "Safe we shall be from Imperial Troopers until next roll of dice it is time, Luke. Free Parking Zone powerful tool in fight against dark side, yeeessss!"

And of course, the force is no match for the true policers of space:

I'm pretty sure that's Mr. McFeeley from Mr. Rogers. "Oh, can't talk today, Mr. Rogers! Lord Dooku has unleashed a rogue group of Gamorrean warlords to terrorize Dagobah and I've got to alert the Federation. Gotta go! Speedy Delivery!"

I can't wait to see what sort of thrilling three hours of gameplay awaits me today! Maybe Princess Leia will finally be able to build a hotel on Alderaan! Then the rent will be doubled, to 100 galactic credits!

Someone kill me.

Friday, October 27, 2006

What's the Over-Under on Dad vs. Mom?

Tonight the old lady and I were making dinner for the spawnage and we were talking about something random -- I don't remember what it was, but it was just a normal discussion about whatever. Probably something to do with the non-existent kitchen we were standing in. While we were talking I heard Mr. Z stage-whisper to Miss O:

MR. Z: Who do you want to win the argument -- Mom or Dad?

What the shit, dude?! That was so not an argument. First of all, we rarely argue, and when we do, it's pretty much never in front of the them. I wish I hadn't said anything, though, 'cuz I'd love to know who they wanted to win. I'm guessing they would've been on my side. Though I'm not sure, because a week or so ago, on a particularly heinous day when I was probably not at my bubbliest, I heard this conversation:

MR. Z: Who's putting you to bed tonight, Mom or Dad?

MISS O: I think Dad is. [pause] Sometimes I wish there were two Moms.

Harsh? Shit yeah, but I didn't take it personally. I was being kind of a dick that day and normally they prefer to have me put them to bed because I tell "wacky" stories and the old lady usually just rubs their backs and reflects on the day (boooring).

The point I'm trying to make is, most of the time kids don't know what the fuck they're talking about. They think you're arguing when you're not, they're fickle with their allegiances -- shit man, they think there's a fucking fairy that puts money under their pillows when their goddamn teeth fall out. You think I'm going to take what they're saying personally? Fuck that.

They do make great drawings sometimes, though. Here's that poster Miss O made in kindergarten:

And here's some bizarre game Mr. Z is making up that involves all the kids in his class as Lego people:

Yeah, they're pretty cute. But they still have no fucking idea what an argument is.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm Hungry As Hell And I'm Not Going to Take It Anymore!

So the old lady's friend M came over tonight to watch "The Office," 'cuz her hubby, R, is on the road. Since we still have no fucking kitchen, we decided to order some food from this bbq place in town that actually has a surprisingly edible bbq chicken sammitch. While the old lady was picking up said sammitches, I had the aneurysm-producing task of a-wranglin' both kids up and getting them to bed. Fucking nightmare. I've said it before, but I'd pay top-dollar to get a some sort of nanny in here whose sole job would be to put the kids to bed. I don't know why but it's the most painful goddamn time of the day and I have zero tolerance for their pre-bed bullshizzle. I'd rather have my nipples sliced off with piano wire. I'm accepting applications now... for the nanny position, not for the slicing off of the nipples.

Okay, back to the sammitches. So I finally come downstairs and the old lady and her pal are stuffing their face-holes with bbq, while my order sits in its silvery heat-preserving paper sheath, a-beckoning. I grab the steaming tube, unsheath it and get ready to annihilate it when I notice that the meat, rather than being whitish and chicken-y, looks strangely brown and beefy. Motherfucker. The morons at "Backyard BBQ: Where the 'Q' Stands for 'Moron'," gave us two chickens and a beef instead of three chickens. Sure, it's an easy mistake to make -- "I'll have three bbq chicken sandwiches please!" sounds almost exactly like "I'll have two bbq chicken sandwiches and one COW sandwich, you fucking imbeciles!"

Of course I couldn't eat it because, as Mr. Z likes to tell all waitstaff, "We don't eat mammals!" So I dumped it in the trash and ate a bowl of goddamn Honey Nut Cheerios. I'm telling you, this town is going to kill me one of these days. Their motto should be "Our food sucks, and there's nothing to do here, but at least the service is fucking horrendous." How can people settle for this level of mediocrity? It's hopeless. I'm just gonna drive on over to the Cracker Barrel, walk in, lie naked on a table and have a wait-person pour melted Velveeta and popcorn shrimp down my gullet until my ass explodes.

I give up.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Let's See You Blow a Bubble with That...

Fuck, blogger's back up -- I thought I was going to get a free night. Oh well.

So, it was Miss O's birthday today -- the big fiverino. It was a strange day. We let her open two presents before school and saved the rest for after. But Wednesdays are the days when their sitter comes to watch them for a couple of hours before dinner so the old lady and I can get a little work done. So I picked them up, brought them home and then watched her open the rest of her presents while the babysitter stood around making money for nuttin'.

Miss O's fave gifts were the new "Groovy Girl" (her name is 'Trini,' but she looks EXACTLY like 'Josie' and 'Bindi' and 'Oki' and 'Ee-ee') and the Groovy Girl car. Apparently, microscopic "Polly Pockets" are out and giant, stuffed, hydrocephalic dolls with yarn-hair are in. Guess I missed the memo.

Then we went to "The International Traveler's Club and Tuba Museum" for a "special" birthday dinner. That's the one place we can go that's not T.G.I. McBennifuck's -- the food is not horrible and it has wacky, stinky, dreadlocked college kids for waitstaff. Mr. Z hates it but it was Miss O's choice, so what can you do? She got the chicken stir-fry. At one point she looked up, a wad of chicken in her mouth, and said, "This chicken is chewier than a Gummi Bear! It's like chicken gum!" And she was excited about it, no less. There you go, all you confectionary entrepeneurs out there -- five year olds LOVE chicken gum! Get on it!

Mr. Z told us that he and his chum B were feeling wacky at lunch and sat... AT THE GIRLS' TABLE!!!! What a fucking stud, that boy is. Fourth grade and he's already lunchin' with the ladies. He's starting to figure the whole thing out -- sit with the boys and talk about soccer, video games and boogers OR sit with the girls, talk about soccer, video games and boogers AND get hugs. He's either gonna be quite the ladies man... or he's gay. Doesn't really matter to me -- I'm just glad he's hanging with the Fridas. The boys in his class are fucking psycho.

Ah, that's enough for now. My heart's just not in it tonight. Besides, I gotta go crap out some hippie food. No wonder they call it the "Tuba Museum" -- the food blows and, after you eat it, you've really gotta empty your spit valve.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Now Make a Wish and Don't Ever Leave Home...

I don't really have time to post tonight -- gotta wrap Miss O's presents and make a card. I can't believe she's turning five tomorrow. It's freaking me out. I mean, it is and it isn't -- it definitely seems like it's been five years since I saw her vernix caked noggin poking out of the old lady's birth canal, but five seems so old. I'm not one of those people who wants their kids to stay babies forever -- those fuckers are insane. It's just that both of them are getting so independent. They're in school all day and, after school, they can pretty much entertain each other until dinner. I actually have to barge in sometimes to get them to interact with me. "Hey, over here! Remember me? Dad? Ring a bell?!" It's freaky shit.

Of course, they're not that independent -- they're constantly flipping their collective lids and I know they both still need me and all. I'm just saying, in the not too distant future, they're not going to want to have anything to do with me.

I think we need to get a dog.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Counter Attack...

So they started work on the kitchen today. When the two dudes showed up at 8, the kitchen looked like this:

Three hours later, they were done:

I really like what they've done with it -- it's so much more open, and it's so much easier now to see what's in the cabinets without the doors. So I ask the dude when he thinks things will be finished and he says, "Oh, I can probably have the cabinet doors on by Friday." Hey, Friday, that's awesome. Pretty quick turnaround.

Then I asked him when the other small things, like the stove, dishwasher, sink and counters might be making an appearance, and he said, "Oh, I don't know... around November 6th or so." Then came the "What the shit?!" heard 'round the world. I have to wait 14 days until I can set something down on something?! The original design dude said five days, start to finish, and now this clown's telling me that I can't cook something or wash something or lean on something for two weeks. Ain't that a bizznitch.

I guess we'll be either microwaving, toasting or George Foreman-ing (you know I'm breaking that fucker out). Of course we can always order in. We've got our pick of the take-out litter: shitty Mexican, shitty Chinese, shitty pizza or really shitty Thai.

Hold on... 14 days, there are four of us and three meals a day... carry the seven... that's 168 meals. I think I'm just gonna pick up 14 cases of these:

"Yo Miss O, if you're done picking at that "Type XII Style 1 Enriched Protein Bar," send it over my way! Shoot! Heat that bad boy on the George Foreman -- them's good eatin'!"

Saturday, October 21, 2006

More Cake? Sure, Why the Fuck Not!

I took Miss O to her friend Miss C's birthday party today. It was supposed to be a drop-off, but Miss O felt it necessary for me to stick around for the two-and-a-half hours, standing awkwardly in the kitchen with the birthday girl's parents, talking about kids, cake, kids, schools and cake. Did I mention I stood there for two-and-a-half hours? And talked about cake? They were nice folk, though. ("Blended family," they call them. Both divorced with a kid each, and they're expecting a new one. Sounds like a fucking nightmare to me.) They did have a very cute boxer puppy, though, that I was petting for the entire two-and-a-half hours. I think I wore a bald spot on its back.

For the party they rented one of these fuckers for their backyard:

At first I thought they were insane -- who rents a fucking moonwalk for a birthday party? But then I thought back to the wretched netherworld that was Mr. Z's last birthday party at Caesarland, and I realized that they were brilliant. In fact, part of me wants to buy one of those fuckers, stick it in the backyard and attach slides from the kids' windows into the goddamn thing, so they can zip on in whenever they damn well please, instead of waking me up at 7:30 on a Saturday morning.

Did I mention I had three pieces of Oreo cake?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Water You Drawing, Miss O?

Miss O drew what I feel is the greatest thing she's ever drawn today at school. It's a mermaid and here's how she explained it:

MISS O: She heard something jumping out of the water, and then she realized it was just her. She's not very smart.

MR. Z: A mermaid who's not very smart. Whattya know about that?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What's Cookin'?

As a parent, I'm right there for all of my kids' "firsts": first bath, first haircut, first steps. The firsts are always bittersweet for me, as they signal both the joy of their growth and the heartbreak of their imminent independence.

Tonight, I once again witnessed a wondrous first. I was chatting with Mr. Z as he snuggled into his warm bed, when he let forth with a thundering butt-blast of heinous flatus. Seizing the opportunity, I grabbed his sheet and comforter and pulled them over his head, hermetically sealing the boy in his very first "Dutch Oven."

At first he struggled, trying to fight his self-inflicted gas chamber, but eventually he succumbed, and inhaled deeply the moment. He realized that there's only one "first," and it's an experience to be savored. When the stink-silt settled, I released him from the putrid pocket and regaled him with the dazzling history of what the Spanish call, "El Horno Holand├ęs."

His response? "That was awesome! Let's do that again!"

Of course, my son. There is always room for seconds.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Whole New Level of Crabby...

I achieved a whole new plateau of crabbitude today as a result of the two consecutive weekends on the road and having shitty sleep due to Miss O's latest health crisis. Mr. Z and Miss O were both working my last nerve at dinner, gabbing away, not eating and ignoring the shit out of my requests to chill the fuck out. So I actually raised my voice a bit (which, believe it or don't, I am not wont to do) and declared that there would be no desserts tonight and no TV during Miss O's breathing treatments. Mr. Z burst into tears, while Miss O looked at me and said, "I'm younger but I'm acting like the big sister."

Then, during Miss O's TV-watching-less breathing treatments after dinner, she asked, "Why can't I just watch a little TV," and I explained that it was because she was goofing off and she didn't eat her dinner. Then we had this exchange:

ME: You know, there are starving kids in this world that don't have anything to eat at all.

MISS O: You've told me that like one hundred times already.

ME: I know, but it's true. And when you waste food like that, it's really not very nice.

MISS O: Yeah, but how is my food going to help feed the kids who are starving?

ME: Uh...

MISS O: Are you going to give the food I didn't eat to those kids?

ME: No, but if I knew you weren't going to eat it, then maybe we wouldn't have bought it... and, then those kids... uh... might have... well, they could've... look, just eat your dinner next time, okay?

MISS O: [silence]

Then, when I finally got her up to bed, she asked me to sing her a song. I explained that she had dilly-dallied (yes, I actually use that word... a lot. I'm turning into Mrs. Piggle-Fucking-Wiggle) and therefore, wouldn't get a song. But then I realized I was just being crabby for crabby's sake, so I made up a song:

ME: It's time to go to sleep, Miss O, it's time to sleep right now. So close your eyes and sleep, Miss O, and dream about a cow.

MISS O: More.

ME: Uh... it's time to go to sleep, Miss O, it's time to snuggle up. Relax and get real cozy now, and dream about a--



MISS O: [hysterical, phlegmy laughter]

ME: [trying to suppress hysterical laughter] Now, go to sleep, you farter. What'd you have for lunch, bologna and skunk?

MISS O: No, I did not. I had peanut butter and jelly.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hair Banned...

When I was back at my 'rent's house over the weekend, I spent a little time digging through a box in the hall closet that was filled with crap (almost literally) from college and from when I was living in Hell-A with the band. I came across a letter from my mom, circa 1988-89, that had this brilliant paragraph:

First of all, I'm not sure but I think my very own mother was suggesting that I cultivate some mulletude. Were I not in my twenties at the time, such a suggestion would be tantamount to child abuse. I did, however, recall that my hair was highly ridiculous in the 80s (and on through the 90s), but I had to see just what hair era, "hair-a" if you will, she was referring to. Then I found the motherlode. This is, most likely, the coif to which my mother was reacting:

Holy fuckshit! That 'do is so fucking ludicrous on so many levels, I have no idea where to start. First off, I have about a gallon can of shellac in the thing -- if I had run into a low door jamb, that lid would've shattered into a million pieces. Two, where's the fucking chinstrap on that thing? I can just imagine lifting that helmet off of my head at night and gently resting it atop a styrofoam head next to the bed. Holy carp, the top of my head looks like the centerfold from "Untamed Hippie Pubic Mound Monthly." And nice red and brown lentil necklace. Man, I wish I knew someone with a time machine so I could travel back to 1989 and kick myself in the nuts. What a douche.

Here's the band publicity pic from the same hair-a:

And we wondered why we never got a record deal. Looks like the line for the mensroom at a "Flock of Assholes" concert.

I will never question my mom's judgement again.


By the way, Miss O did indeed stay home from school today. I took her to the doc to make sure she didn't have strep throat (she didn't) and then we played Groovy Girls for the rest of the day. It was fun, except for the her-being-sick part. She even let me be the horse. And the flying dog. She stopped short of letting me be an actual Groovy Girl, though. I mean, she only has FIVE of them. Why can't I be a Groovy Girl, goddammit?! I think she doesn't like how I do their hair:

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Brief Recrap...

I fucking hate summing up a whole long weekend after not blogging for a few days. What a pain in the fanny. Well, let's see what I can pinch out for you...

We left on Thursday in white-out conditions -- it was fucking insane. 'Twas a blustery day to say the least, silly old bear, and I was white-knuckling across the Michigan tundra for a solid coupla hours. I would've had the old lady spell me after awhile, but I wanted to make it to Chicago alive. Don't get me wrong, she's a great driver, she's just from the school of I-drive-ninety-regardless-of-conditions-so-hold-on-to-your-asses-fuckers. It's a great school from which to be an alumnus when the sun is shining and the roads are dry, but wet and blizzardy, fuck no. So yeah, drove through the arctic circle while Mr. Z and Miss O watched the "They Might Be Giants" dvd and one of the discs from "The Electric Company" box set. They did a stellar job and, when the snow stopped and the sun peeked out near the Skyway, I surrendered the wheel to A.J. Foyt and shoehorned myself into the shotgun pod:

There's your car photo, anonymous -- best I could do.

Got to the 'burbs by 9ish CST (yes, Mr. Z and Miss O were once again treated to a "real-live sunset" -- now they've seen three) put the kids to bed and hung out with my 'rents and my sister until too-fucking-late-o'clock in the morning. Couldn't sleep in on Friday thanks the itchy sheets on the bed and the GODDAMN SYNCHRONIZED LEAF-BLOWER SQUAD that apparently only had from 8-8:30 a.m. to blow every leaf in the world into a giant pile right outside my fucking window. Excuse me, but what the fuck happened to the rake?! It's just like that Billy Idol cover of "Mony, Mony." When I heard it in high school, he'd just sing it and people would listen to it. Jump ahead to my sophomore year in college and every starts shouting that "get laid, get fucked" shit during the verse. From whence the fuck did that come?! It's like I went into suspended animation and then there was this big all-Earth meeting where everyone got together and decided that from that moment forward, people would shout this shit during the verses, then they reanimated me and everyone's shouting this shit and I'm sitting there like an asshole going, "Wait... what? What wall did that bounce off of?!"

I don't know why I just went off on that tangent but... oh yeah, the rake. Same thing as the Billy Idol story but just substitute "leaf-blower" for "get laid, get fucked."

Yeah, so... Friday was fine. The old lady went off to Anthropologie to buy herself a $9000 blouse or something and I took the kids to the park with my mom. Very wholesome fun but it was kinda windy and cold and after about five minutes, my ears got that cold-wind-throbbing-thing and I was ready to go home. I did manage to snap a pic of Mr. Z right before he was ingested by a wild, stoned, hydrocephalic lion:

The rest of the day was fine, the kids played nicely with their cousin and I ate a shitload of not-shitty food for once. Stayed up really late again, but at least this time we were playing the greatest game in the world. By the way, what's up with those cretins playing on the web site?

Now THAT'S a party.

Saturday, we had a brunch/early birthday party for Miss O with my brother's family, sister's family and the rentals. The old lady birthed an incredible confection for the occasion:

Her talents never cease to amaze me -- she can bake the shit out of a chocolate cake, that woman. Mighty tasty (and the cake was delicious, too. HELLO!). We played some party games, Miss O opened some presents and all in all, it was a mother-fucking Norman Rockwell painting. Here's Miss O rockin' out with one of her gifts:

It's this incredibly cheap, yet way awesome microphone that has built-in applause FX and an "echo" button and she's been singing these hilarious tunes through the thing. I've got to record some of the shit she's coming up with. Classic.

Okay, this is getting way too fucking long. Let's wrap it up, who needs a ride home? Uh, the old lady and I went to visit a friend of hers with a new baby downtown and we had dinner and chatted and the kids weren't there and it was most excellent. My sister and her husband went to her 20th high school reunion and they came home all tipsy and regaled us with all the sordid details and then her drunk husband fell down the stairs. It made me do a blow-snot-outta-my-nose-laugh, which I haven't done in months. And I thank him for that. What else? Oh, when we got back on Saturday night, Miss O had somehow contracted the cold/cough/phlegm/fever thing she gets once a month, so I got to do the 1:30 in the morning run to Walgreens for cough medicine, which was fucking GREAT! Then we got up and drove home. The end.

All in all a great trip, except for the Miss O is now sick part. She'll probably stay home from school tomorrow and, of course, the old lady teaches on Monday, so my day will be fucked. Hoorah. And I've actually got an appointment with the reflux doctor, so I get to take along Miss O and her full-body snot chrysalis. Excellent.

Ah, it's good to be back.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Load up The Salt Truck, Mother...

We're getting ready to hit the road for Chicago and this is the view out the kitchen window:

Snow... in October. The old lady just got back from the store and said it's basically white-out conditions on the road. I guess that's life in the Big Mitten. Stupid Mitten. If we don't make it back alive, it's been nice knowin' ya.

I'm going to try to post from my 'rent's house... we'll see. Their computer is in the room that Miss O sleeps in -- I'll have to keep the tip-tappin' of the keys quiet so as not to disrupt her slumber. She's crabby enough with a good night's sleep -- a sleep deprived Miss O is not a pretty sight.

All right then... where are my galoshes...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sure, I'll Take Some of Them Cooties...

I've mentioned before that Mr. Z has been having some troubles at recess with that neanderthug by the swings. Well, thanks to some teacherly intervention, that seems to have been resolved but there's the ongoing recess dilemma that has also been plaguing the lad -- all the boys play soccer/football/basketball during recess and Mr. Z... well, let's just say he ain't what one might call "sporty." There are one or two other "non-exerty" type boys who he tends to hang with, but his options are slim. I've suggested that perhaps he might want to wander on over to where the girls are playing and see what voodoo they do during recess. That's usually met with a look that's loosely translated to, "What the shit, old man?!"

Fast-forward to today, and the boy comes home all excited telling me about a new game he played at recess... with the girls! Apparently, it's called "Huggies" and it involves the girls chasing after him and a couple of other nerdarinos -- when he gets caught, the girls hug him and pretend to kiss him. HUGGIES!!! The boy is a fucking GENIUS!!! I never got to play "Huggies." Hell, I never even got to play "Walk Nearies." If he's doing Huggies in fourth grade, who knows what kind of shit's gonna be going down on the playground by junior high. Shit, I better give him "the talk" soon. One too many "Huggies" and he's gonna be changing Huggies.

Oh, and here's the fortune I got tonight from a not-completely horrible new Thai restaurant we tried tonight:

What the fuck?! "Being an able man. There are always."?! Always what? ALWAYS WHAT?!?!? That's lame even for a fortune cookie. I don't know if it's a code, or what. It's not a palindrome. I tried to find an anagram in there. The best one I got was "Benign anal beam. Lay her seawater." Which makes a LOT more sense, because I certainly wouldn't lay her seawater if her anal beam were malignant. What kind of monster do they think I am?!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Go West, Old Man...

I'm all a-flustered a-cuz' we're going back to Chicago AGAIN on Thursday. This time, the whole shit-and-shiboodle are going. My sister is coming into town for her 20th high school reunion and she's bringing her daughter and hubby, so we're going to whirlwind in for two days and then whirlwind right the fuck back out. Of course, every time we go out of town, we inadvertantly screw Mr. Z over by making him miss some sort of school event. This time it's the "International Potluck Dinner" on Thursday night. I don't think he minds missing the dinner part -- he's more bummed about missing the 4th grade musical performance where they'll probably be singing some borderline offensive "international" song, like "La Cucaracha" or "Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto."

The problem is, there are supposed to be SNOW FLURRIES (what the shitfuck?!) on Thursday night, and I sure as ass don't want to be stuck on the Skyway for five hours again, like we were before Xmas. So I explained the sitch to Mr. Z and he was pretty cool about it. He's a good boy... been keeping his lid-flippage to a minimum, of late.

He's been spending most of his free time with Miss O, acting out the ridiculously complex storylines of their favorite game, "Allie and Son." Just to give you an idea of what we're talking about, here's an actual character list that Mr. Z whipped together this afternoon while they were playing:

I counted about 60 characters, and the fucked up thing is that they have a unique voice for each one of them. The names are hilarious: "Magda Chicken," "Bob BokChock," Willy Crakatoe," and everyone's favorite, "Mr. Gerald Nosed." They're fucking insane, these two. Of course, Mr. Z is always coming up to me and asking, "Dad, do you know any of the characters in Allie and Son?" and I usually reply, "Yeah.. Allie and Son." Then he'll ask, "What about Sir Loin-Steak and his son Robbie Loin-Steak?" and I'll say, "Oh yeah, those guys are great." Then he'll ask me who else I know and I'll say that I don't know any more, and he'll ask me what different characters talk like, and I'll tell him that I don't know, and he'll ask me what different characters do for a living and I'll finally say something like, "Look, dude, it's great that you and Miss O have this game that you love to play and that it makes you guys so happy but I REALLY don't pay attention to all the characters because there are like 5 million of them and they're constantly changing and frankly it's just not that interesting to me, so why don't you guys keep playing it and stop quizzing me about it, okay?!"

Then he'll just look at me like, "Fuck, dude, rain on my goddamn parade, why don't ya. I'm just trying to share my youthful ebullience with you, and you take a shit on it. Whatever, old man." Then I'll feel like a dick and I'll say, "Oh, hey, is that a list of all the characters you have there?! Let me take a look at it so I can remember some of their names. Maybe I can be one of the characters, huh?"

And then I have to be "Grandpa Johnson."

Monday, October 09, 2006


Miss O made me completely flip my lid tonight. So, she's been reading stuff here and there for a while now, but, being the contrarian that she is, she refuses to read if she knows we want her to do so. So we pretty much either have to overhear her reading something to Mr. Z or wait for her to bestow a word or two upon us whenever she fucking feels like it.

Tonight, as she's brushing her teeth, she picks up the face cleanser tube thing and reads "Deep Clean." Wow, pretty cool. Then she picks up a can of mousse and reads "Extra Hold." Sweet! So I suggest that maybe she could help me read the book tonight before bed. Surprisingly, she seems game and runs into her room to pick out this:

Apparently, it's the book she checked out from the library at school. So, she hops into bed and I open the book, but then she grabs it from my hands and informs me that she's going to read the whole thing. Okay, sure, sure, go ahead and "read" the "whole thing," I snicker to myself, like an asshole. And then she proceeds to read THE WHOLE FUCKING BOOK BY HERSELF! SNAP! I was flabbergasted... flummoxed... fluhBOYgened! And it's not some "See Jane's Dick" book, either. Check this shit out:

One fucking month into kindergarten and she's reading books. Holy fuckstain. Now, I'm not one to diss Montessori... I mean, thanks to last year and this past summer, Miss O can pour beans from a pitcher into a cup like NO ONE, but they're not necessarily pushing the ol' reading over there, ya know what I'm saying? I think our kids are just not the "Montessori types." They'll wear the socks... let some other kid knit 'em.

I'm sure tomorrow, Miss O will deny it ever happened, but I saw it with my own failing eyes -- the kid is reading. Who knows what else she's holding out on... can she tapdance? Perform chismbop? Go five minutes without whining?

Only the mysterious Miss O knows for sure.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Just Got Back from Chicago and All I Got You Was This Crappy Post...

So, yeah, the trip was pretty much what I said it was going to be in my last post:

Got in late - check

Couldn't sleep in - check (next time a see a fucking leaf-blower, I'm shoving it right up the blower's blowhole)

Hellish drive to office - check

Awkward seeing co-workers in person - check

Dinner with friend - check but no sushi... went for crappy bar food instead. Southwestern Chicken Salad + Bad Merlot = Corn-studded midnight crampy dumpage.

Dehydrated in morning - not so bad, actually. Just a little parchy.

Hung out with 'rents - nice

Set up for wedding then hung out for five hours waiting to play - check

Ate at T.G.I. McDoogleDicks - actually, ate at a nice little boite... not a bloomin' fried vegetable in the place

Stomach cramps/diarrhea - No?!!! I couldn't believe it. And that was after a P.B.R. and three cans of Schlitz?! What the Schlitz?!

Reception Hall Manager told us to "Turn it down!," not the bride's mother. [We turned up.]

No Granny asking for polka BUT, we did ACTUALLY PLAY polkas with the bride's grandfather who just happened to bring his accordion! Best moment of the whole trip! The dude was about 85 years old and played the fuck outta that thing!

The band sounded pretty darn good, I must say. Strangely good. Eerily good... BOO!

Drunk sorority sisters of the bride coming onstage to sing - check, but no one spilled/vomited into my backpack... Bonus! But one of them did pull the afro wig off of my head and wear it for the song. [*Note to bridesmaid who wore my afro: you might want to burn your hair and slather your now boil-ridden scalp with some sort of salvy balm. That thing hasn't been washed since the Truman administration.]

Got back to my folk's house at about 2 a.m. but had no problem falling asleep.

Had breakfast with the 'rents, got some bagels, hit the road, no Bears traffic, no Levi's outlet, made it home by mid-afternoon, played with the kiddlies and that's it.

I think the greatest thing about the whole trip was the fact that I basically didn't stop talking from the minute I got there until the minute I left. It didn't matter who was in front of me, I was a goddamn Chatty Cathy the entire time. I'm tellin' ya, there's nothing better than talking to REAL people without the assistance of a keyboard and/or a webcam. I must have seemed mildly insane, but it felt great to just gab. "So, how many seats you think we'll win back in the House?" "Wow, the office sure looks different! Look at all these desks!" "Boy, you can't get food like this in Michigan!" "Yeah, I got these new socks from Old Navy and they are surprisingly comfortable!" "You know, sometimes I just sit my cold, darkened basement and sob uncontrollably." "Hey, do you have an IM address? We should IM each other... every day!" "Hey, you want to see some pictures of my kids?" "I love talking, don't you? It's so FUN!" "Sure, I have lots of friends... kinda... and sometimes they even leave comments!"

People were polite and usually let me ramble, their faces contorted into a half-smirk of equal parts pity, beffudlement, unease and revulsion. Kind of like the look one might give someone who is seated naked, in a pool of their own urine, eating their own gangrenous foot. I'm kind of getting used to that look.

But I do feel strangely refreshed and ready to start making a few changes. I've got to get out and meet actual people above the age of eight. And I've got to find some people to play music with, too. And I've gotta get TiVo. And I think I need to change the oil in the car. And I might want to wash my afro before the next gig.

And I've gotta get some more of those socks from Old Navy.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Road Worrier...

Well, it's off to Chicago tomorrow... SOLO! Three days without the fambly -- my nipples are pointy just thinking about it. Though it's really not going to be all that exciting. I'll get in late tomorrow night, so that's worthless. I'll try to sleep in, but I won't be able to. I'll have breakfast with my folks and then probably end up driving downtown to have lunch with the gang at work, which will be a hassle (the driving, not the lunching). Then it'll be really awkward seeing everyone because they're used to seeing me on a video screen, instead of in person, and I don't necessarily translate all that well into reality. Then I'll have to fight the traffic back up to my 'rents house, which'll blow. Then I'm planning on going out to dinner, hopefully for some sushi, with an old friend. That'll be fun, though I'll probably drink just enough Japanese beer and/or saki to dehydrate the shit out of me, and I'll drive home, fall asleep in my childhood bed and wake up feeling like I'm inside-out. Then I'll rehydrate, hang out with the 'rents some more and then book out to Bumbleturd County to set up for the wedding we're going to play. We'll run through some songs, have a beer or two and then wait about seven or eight hours until we're supposed to play. We'll probably waste some of the time going to a strip-mall T.G.I McTuesdigans for some baked corn husks smothered in melted death and topped with pork crinklins. Then I'll have stomach cramps, followed by explosive diarrhea, and then I'll still have to wait about four more hours until we play. Finally, we'll start playing, but after the first half-measure, the bride's great-aunt will be yelling at us to turn down and the groom's nana will ask if we know the "I'm 900 Years Old Polka." Then, everyone will finally get shit-faced enough to finally "get" us, and they'll try to pay us an extra 500 bucks to keep playing until 2 a.m. We'll take the money, but we'll be out of songs, so we'll play a 45 minute version of "Low Rider" and we'll fake our way through "I Will Survive," which will be sung by the drunk bride and her drunk sorority sisters, one of whom will trip over my bass drum and spill her tumbler of Jagermeister right into my backpack, containing my last change of clothes. Everyone will eventually filter out and I'll start breaking down my drums, while the groom's brother stands two inches away from me blathering, "Dude! You guys were so AWESOME! I was like totally rocking out and when you played 'Surrender' man, holy shit I was like 'NO WAY, DUDE!' And then I---BLAAARRRRGGHHH!," and he'll puke into my backpack, with the Jagermeister-soaked no longer clean last change of clothes. Then I'll load the car up, get my cash and drive the two hours back to my 'rents house, where I'll shower and then try to sleep, which I won't be able to do, and I'll just lie there in my childhood bed, thinking about how I'm too old for this shit and wondering why the sheets are so fucking scratchy. I'll sleep for about five hours and then I'll get up, inside-out once again, and stumble down for some breakfast and 20 gallons of water. I'll hang out for a bit and then say, "Well, I've got a long trip ahead of me," and I'll say goodbye and drive to Trader Joe's, stock up on nuts and wine and peanut-butter filled pretzels, and then I'll stop at New York Bagel & Bialy and get three dozen bagels, and then I'll sit on my ass on the highway because there'll probably be a fucking Bears game going on, and I'll eat the bagels and nuts and pretzels and then realize I have no water in the car, and I'll start choking from the dough-bolus that's wedged in my trachea. Then I'll finally make it to the Skyway, cruise through Indiana, think for a second about stopping at the Levi's outlet right next to the nuclear reactors, blow it off and make the never-ending trek back home. I'll finally get home around 6:00 p.m., just in time for dinner with the fambly and bath time. After that, we'll put the kids to bed and I'll listen to just how hellish the weekend was for the old lady. Then I'll shower and try to sleep, which I won't be able to do, and I'll just lie there in my grown-up bed, thinking about how I'm too old for this shit and wondering why my sheets are so much less scratchy than the ones at my parent's house. I'll sleep for about five hours and then wake up way more exhausted than I was before I left.

But I'll have a real fucking bagel for breakfast and that'll make it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Shit Heard 'Round the World...

Last night I literally thought the world was ending. The old lady and I were awakened at approximately 3:00 a.m. by the LOUDEST, LONGEST, TURD-IN-YOUR-TROUSERS THUNDER EXPLOSION EVER 'SPLODED!!!! The thing was, we didn't know it was thunder at the time. In all seriousness, the explosion lasted at least five seconds and it was a single, drawn-out boom, not a series of cracks. I actually thought it was a bomb and was waiting for the blinding flash that was going to precede my turning-into-a-skeleton-and-then-dust. We sat there for a couple of minutes repeating, "What the shit was that?! Was that a bomb?! Is the house on fire?! Is that your pee I'm lying in or mine?!"

Of course, the old lady eventually rolled over and zonked right back to sleep. I, on the other hand, was WAY up and wasn't going back down any time soon. I went in to check on the kids, to make sure that they hadn't turned to skeletons and then dust, I went downstairs to see if all the windows had blown out, I looked out the windows to see if I could make out the approaching Russian troops, a la "Red Dawn." Nothing, though I think I may have seen Patrick Swayze rummaging through our recycling. But I couldn't accept that it was just thunder -- it was what thunder would have sounded like if you were listening to thunder from inside the thunder's asshole. I even looked in the mirror to see if my hair had turned white. It really fucked with my head.

I'm telling you, the world is falling apart. It's fucking raining everyday, there's ultra-mega-thunder exploding all over the place, my tomatoes are growing human brains inside of them -- it would really suck if all those rapture people were right. Boy would I have egg on my face if they ascend toward the skies while I sink, covered in open sores and on fire, into the bubbling, primordial ooze.

Of course, it's raining again tonight, and I heard some thunder already. I think I'll just shit in my boxers before climbing into bed so I won't have to bolt up at 3 do it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The "O" Stands for "Ow! My Shin!"

I had bath duty tonight, and I was splitting time between Miss O in one tub and Mr. Z in the other. I was helping the boy wash his hair when I heard Miss O shout, "DAD! COME HERE! EARWIG!!!" So I left Mr. Z with soap in his eyes and bolted to the other bathroom. I found Miss O at one end of the tub, gesturing toward the other. There, bobbing in the soapy sea was a little orange floaty thing with a nasty earwig afloat on top of it, hanging on for dear antennae. I grabbed a kleenex and plucked the mini-turdlet-with-legs from its perch, depositing it in the crapper. I was pretty creeped out, and would have definitely exited the earwiggy water immediately, but Miss O just went right back to playing.

I love that she's not one of those girly-girls who screams and throws her arms up when she sees a bug. She's an ass-kicker, this one. Which is a bit of a problem, of late, 'cuz she's kinda been kicking Mr. Z's ass a tad. He's not the most aggressive of lads and lately I hear a lot of, "Dad, Miss O just kicked me!" or "Dad, Miss O just pinched my arm!" I explain to her that we don't kick/pinch/slap in our family and that she needs to express herself with her words and then I usually tell Mr. Z to stop being such a narc. Hopefully it's just a phase and the beatings will begin to taper off.

But frankly, Mr. Z bosses her around so much, a little kick here and there from the girl isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world. I mean, it usually gets him to stop whatever the fuck he was doing that made her kick him in the first place and it seems to be more effective than me just saying, "Mr. Z, don't boss your sister around so much." So it's behavior mod, Miss O style -- instead of a little shock from a Skinner box lever, it's a mary jane to the shin. And if DCFS comes a-knockin', Miss O gets hauled away instead of me. It's really the perfect situation.

Actually, though, the two of them have been getting along incredible well, lately. It's really weird. The old lady and I have been able to sleep in a bit on the weekends because they can entertain each other until, like, 9:30 now. Shit, if we moved the breakfast cereal down to a lower shelf, they'd probably never wake us up. They have all these fucked up games they've made up where each one of them plays about 15 different characters, each one with a more annoying voice than the last, mind you. But I think it's all the weird, fucked up, childish shit that Mr. Z has to suppress all day at school for fear of being completely ostracized as an uber-nerdarino, that just explodes when he's safely at home with his 4 1/2 year old sister. He can just be his oddball self, a wiggy eight-year-old kid, instead of the under-control-fourth-grader he has to portray in public. It's really great that they have each other.

And maybe if I buy him some shin-guards, there'll be many more years of oddball games to come.