Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Be Afraid

I’m a worrier, a born empathizer. I’m anxious. I’m Woody Allen without the cool, come-what-may attitude. I get nervous. Becoming a parent is most likely not the ideal situation for a person with these qualities; I now have four times the people to worry about as I used to. But it’s too late for that now.

I took the three older children to Davis-Kidd Booksellers this evening to get them out of the house and in an effort to give Kristy the chance to relax with just GK. Naturally, upon arrival, they had to go to the bathroom. Now, I know that there are all sorts of things for a parent to be concerned with when it comes to their children – violence, drugs, kidnapping, Caillou – and, rest assured, they’re all in the back of my skull, stewing, just waiting their turn to be brought to the forefront. But they’ll just have to wait, because tonight one of my greatest fears was realized once again – the public bathroom. Is there any criminal so insidious as a small room, containing other, smaller rooms, where the general public is allowed to relieve their bladders and bowels? Yet here I was, actually opening the door for my children, my offspring, to enter. It must have been 200 square feet of porcelain and tile, and it felt like the three of them did everything in their power to touch every square foot of it. This was a bookstore, however, and you’d think that the patrons, the learned people, men wearing tweed and glasses, would have the courtesy to lift a seat, would be practiced in their aim. Judging from the puddles and smears and paper thrown about like so much confetti, these people were just like any other people. And there, amongst it all, amongst the dribblings of colds and flu and plague and whatever else was festering and growing in there were my kids. These kids are not pristine by any stretch of the imagination, yet my first inclination was to have the boys drop their drawers in a corner and, without touching anything – ANYTHING! – pee in the corner. I wanted to sit S on the sink, on a bed of paper towels, to do her business. Truth be told, I thought about taking them back out in the bookstore to pee out there, probably in the self-help aisle, and more specifically, in the OCD section because I know it would be neat and orderly and clean to my specifications. But they’re “big boys and girls” now and insist on doing things themselves, actions such as lifting lids and flushing, the boys leaning precariously into the gaping maw of the urinal. Once this is all taken care of, my next inclination is to scrub them raw before we leave, because I still may have to touch them, and there is the possibility that they will be on or near my bed later. But the water in the faucets doesn’t get nearly hot enough, it never does, and most public restrooms these days have stopped stocking steel wool for just such an occasion. So they did their business, cleaned up as best was possible without a decontamination zone, and exited.

This next bit is one of the most frightening parts, because I’m sorry to say we didn’t leave the store at that time. I’m sorry to say that they were sent back out into the store, among the books and toys, amidst your very own children.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

One Of Us

Well, we’ve decided to keep her. The way we understood it, we could return her to the hospital if we were in any way dissatisfied. We have 30 days to do so according to the fine print. Yet after only three days we’ve decided to hold on to GK. Jumping the gun, you say? That is possible. We should wait until the 30th day to be absolutely sure, you suggest? Well, now that you mention it…no, nope, it’s decided, she can stay. The other three kids are attached already and, besides, she doesn’t take up all that much room right now. In fact, she’s staying in a basket on a table. How about that? No crib, no bulky baby bed to be put together and adjusted. Kristy found a basket someplace and GK fits in it just perfectly, just like a loaf of bread. They call it a Moses basket, but its buoyancy has yet to be tested. And the Moses basket is on an end table next to our bed. So she’s like a knick-knack.

We live in a 1200 sq. ft. house. You read that right – twelve-hundred square feet. With six of us now, that means 200 sq. ft. apiece. I could play the dictator card and take considerably more for myself, breaking up the rest of the square footage according to seniority or according to who can fetch a beer from the fridge for me the quickest, but I’m a fair, benevolent dictator. I may, however, claim as part of my 200 the bathroom. Living in such close quarters there are some rules GK is going to have to learn fairly quickly, the sooner the better. An example of some of these rules are: 1) turn off the light in your room when you leave it, 2) everyone is to remain quiet while Daddy is watching his DVDs, 3) any food that is unwrapped, peeled or prepared in any way must be eaten in its entirety, 4) flush the toilet. When these are learned then her stay here will be much more pleasant. And once she learns them all I’ll need her to explain them to her three siblings, who appear not to have learned any of them.

So welcome, GK, to your new home. Know that you are welcome and know that you are loved, not just because you are our newest daughter and sister, and not simply because we found only the nicest wicker basket for you to sleep in, but mainly because with a full 27 days left on the agreement with the hospital, we decided now to keep you.

Top 10 Questions

Top 10 questions regarding GK during her first 48 hours in the world from C, JP & S:

#1 - Did Mommy's big belly pop?
#2 - Can I hold her?
#3-10 - Did she poop?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Introducing

GK
Born Sunday, May 28, 2006, 10:28 a.m.
7 lbs. 2 oz.
20 inches
Baby, mother, father and siblings are all doing terrific.





Tick-Tock

It's 5:25 a.m., Sunday, May 28, 2006. Kristy is walking around the house with contractions seven minutes apart. Today is the day. Stay tuned...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Radio Free Memphis

This post has been a long time coming. Over a month ago, you'll remember, I wrote a post about the longshot possibility of me being on the radio. Just to catch you up, a friend of a friend suggested I record some of these VERY (his word, his italics and all-caps, if I remember correctly) witty posts for NPR to be played in the days leading up to Father's Day. Long story short - read the post for yourself, it's VERY (my italics, my all-caps) witty. So here we are just over a month since then and I haven't heard boo from the contact at NPR, leading me to the only viable conclusion: that NPR - National Public Radio - hates children. Not just my children, but all children, your children. Hard to believe, I know. There is the possibility that the idea just didn't appeal to them, or that they didn't find Urf! as witty as we all do, or that they just couldn't juggle enough time slots in their production schedule for such bits, but that's all a very vague probability that we needn't waste time on just now. It's much easier to assume that NPR is full of kid haters. This is unfortunate because it's the kids who are their future listeners and it is they who NPR will eventually go to with their hands out when it's time for the annual Begging For Money.

Still I wonder, did The Trio somehow offend NPR? Is all the talk of boogers and farts (sorry, Mom - my Mom told me she didn't like that word, that it offended her, before hurrying me off the phone during a commercial break for American Idol, a show which offends me) and childhood antics too much for the delicate sensibilities of NPR's listeners? Well, now that I read that, it's possible that that's the case. Who wants to turn on the radio only to hear me say fart (sorry, Mom)? Who wants to hear a broadcast of JP singing a Beastie Boys song or S reciting most of the alphabet? Who? We do! So let's start an E-mail writing campaign! Just address it to...well, I can't find her name now, but send it directily to NPR at...okay, Google NPR for their address...and let's make a difference! Let's show them that our children are people, too. Maybe not people with money, not yet, not that I know of anyway, but people just the same - short little poor people. The producers and writers and Garrison Keillor will bow quickly under the pressure caused by the onslaught of E-mails from all 36.97 daily viewers to Urf!, unless 20 or so of those daily viewers are my Mom, as I suspect. But even then, she has all night to write E-mails now that she's boycotting NPR and American Idol, blessedly, is over for the season.

[Happy Birthday, Mom!
Happy Birthday, Nonna!]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Something Burning At The End

We're down to the wire. There's a light at the end of the tunnel that is the school year. The Trio all have their last day of school tomorrow and I am anticipating it with all the gusto of my own days spent in class because when they're finished with school then I get my mornings back. I can go to the gym. I can have a leisurely breakfast at one of my favorite downtown restaurants. I can sleep in. Kristy will spend the summer at home with four children while I get up and virtually sneak out of the house before anyone else is awake. Is this selfish? Probably. Should I feel guilty? I probably will, eventually. But there'll be time to think about that over a Spanish omelet at Bon-Ton Cafe. For the entire school year I've been responsible for getting these three little morning-time monsters up, dressed, fed and out the door (you can read more on that here), so for a couple of weeks anyway, I'm going to revel in just a little Daddy Time.

Before Daddy Time starts, though, the people that run the school where JP & S go, the work camp we send them to every day, are going to extract a little more precious time out of us. There is some sort of program planned for tonight. I don't know anything about it other than there will be food (nine-month-pregnant Kristy is required to make a desert today for it) and singing and that my presence is expected. JP is holding a flag and S is holding a candle during the singing portion of the program. For that, I give up a Thursday evening. JP sings every night, the flag is just gratuitous showbiz glitz as far as I'm concerned, and S is always walking around with candles, or matches, or some such incendiary device. I suppose there will be other children there, all running around, wiping their noses on whatever is handy, their hands most likely, and then my pant leg.

My fear is that this sort of thing will become the norm. I was talking to a friend yesterday who had spent the morning watching his daughter "graduate" from kindergarten to first grade. Seriously, people, these kids are going to have enough milestones in their lives without us parents forcing them on them for the sake of our scrapbook needs. Isn't the promise of summer enough? It was for me. But this has all snowballed beyond my control.

So this will be one last hurrah for the school year. One last chance to play with friends, one last chance to sing and run and laugh. One last chance to poke your neighbor with the flag you're holding but not paying attention to, and one last chance to catch a playmate on fire with a candle. Screaming and singing and general carrying on is on tap for this evening, it's the final price we pay before a summertime of sleeping late and "staying up late," as C has been looking forward to, and Daddy Time.

Rock'n'Roll

I've been linked to by the Memphis blog Rock'n'Roll Minor Planets, wherein she misspells Urf! and practically dares me to continue blogging. I suppose it's better to be linked poorly than to never have been linked at all. I've also decided to list a few fellow Memphis bloggers over there to your right. I know this list will grow, but I'm beginning with the ones who have linked to Urf!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Imperfect Parent

The Imperfect Parent is pointing at Urf! If you got here from there and then I just sent you back there, then I'm sorry, I know how confusing the internet can be. Thanks Imperfect Parent! Check them out!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Family Motto

I was recently reading a very touching piece in The New Yorker by Calvin Trillin on his late wife, Alice. In the article he mentions a family motto that he, his daughters and Alice had, "Pull Up Your Socks." Trillin recalls Alice lamenting that this motto may have been too "flippant." It got me to thinking that maybe we need a family motto. I found it odd, in fact, that we didn't have one in place already. My family, my little fiefdom, should have a motto to look to for inspiration. A few came to mind right away - "We're Out Of Milk," "Where Is The Remote?," "Your Shoes Are On The Wrong Feet." It will need to be a motto The Trio can take pride in, something they can shout from the top step and one day tattoo across themselves, or at least write it in their own dust. I believe any of the aforementioned mottos are a nice enough fit. Other possibilities include "I Want," "Where's Mommy?" and "Don't Touch Daddy's Drink."

Once we come up with a decent motto, though, we may need a coat of arms - something that really strikes fear, or confusion, in the hearts of the other families at the park. Coats of arms have really fallen out of style in the 21st century. In fact, I don't think I know one family with a coat of arms, nothing they're willing to display with pride anyway. So what would our coat of arms look like? Perhaps a shield with a Pop Tart emblazoned on it, or a sippy cup full of curdled milk or maybe just a likeness of me looking addled. Or maybe it won't be a shield at all, we rarely use them around here. Maybe it will be a TV screen or a trash can or a refrigerator door left standing open. Other coat of arms design possibilities include: a silhouette of bedhead, a toothpaste-caked toothbrush and a pile of laundry, possibly clean, possibly not.

Once you start thinking of a motto and coat of arms, then we naturally have to consider a family song, a battle anthem. Currently, on the way to school, The Trio is enjoying "Shake Your Rump" by The Beastie Boys off the album Paul's Boutique and "People Watching" by Jack Johnson off the Curious George soundtrack. Neither of these seem appropriate. I would have to nominate "Goon Squad" by Elvis Costello off Armed Forces, "Fly Me To The Moon" by Frank Sinatra, the version on Sinatra at the Sands, and "Run Run Run" by The Velvet Underground from The Velvet Underground & Nico.

Well, we have a lot to work on around here so I better go. But rest assured and beware, The Trio will soon be coming to a park near you to take over your swings and your slide and your plastic tube they like to crawl through. And you'll know them right away, they'll be the ones marching up with a banner reading "No Shoes On The Couch!" and wearing shirts printed with stylized pictures of a half-eaten waffle and singing "Shake Your Rump" at the top of their lungs.

Ready For My Close Up

JP announced his plans over the weekend. Well, not so much announced them as whispered them to his mother, but she can't really keep a secret. He says that he and S are going to make movies. He already has the titles, the first is to be called I Keep Forgetting and the second will be called Not Very Smart. Naturally, I hope he succeeds with his filmmaking dreams, but I'm afraid there are a couple of deterrents that need to be dealt with before beginning. The first is that he has very little budget for one, let alone two, movies. In fact, he has no budget at all. There is some change laying around his room and he may be able to trade up on a Power Ranger action figure, but nothing in the quantity that JP will need to have his dream flourish. The second hindrance these projects have against their being made in the near future is JP's almost complete lack of ability to write the alphabet. Now, granted, most Hollywood blockbusters these days require very little use of the English language to appreciate them, but if I know JP he is going to go for that smaller, arthouse feel, and for this reason command of the written word past the letter D may be crucial. There are other obvious problems as well: union labor agreements, demanding studios, monomaniacal stars, and a bed and bathtime that prevents shooting too late, on weekdays anyway.

I'm curious as to what a JP Film would even look like due to his inspiration being largely Rugrats In Paris and Clifford, The Big Red Dog cartoons. He does have some appreciation for The Marx Brothers' Monkey Business and the chase scene from The French Connection, but I fear this may be too little too late. I feel that, despite the obstacles ahead, with hard work and dedication and without the distraction of dinosaurs and juice boxes these films may have a chance. Whether they succeed or not, I certainly don't mean to dissuade him, and I hope that his and S's partnership is fruitful - I can't recall a brother/sister film collaboration right off, but could see theirs being a Cohen Brothers-style working arrangement, once the money and alphabet situations are corrected.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Night Is Nail Night

Toenails. Is there a more useless piece of body ornamentation than the toenail? Infinite in its unimportantness. Yet tonight is when The Trio gets theirs cut. C started it by asking his mother if he needed his cut. What is she going to say? No? Not likely. On any given night, any given kid will join us in our bed and that is where their little toe knives go to work, slicing and dicing our legs and backs. So of course she was going to cut his toenails. And of course JP would want his done and then, naturally, S. And it went in that sequence, too, as though birth order decreed clipping order. What an odd little group we've put together here, fighting bath, fighting sleep, fighting vegetables, but loving the pedicure.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Recovery

I started Urf! to talk about my kids and the silly things they do, but I feel as though I've been talking more about myself lately. Of course, the kids have been pretty boring of late. I had my surgery yesterday and it went swimmingly. I was wheeled back to the operating room shortly after 7 a.m. and left the building before 2 p.m. to go home. I had a piece of broken disk removed through a one-inch hole in my back. I have some pain back there now but it's a different pain than I had, it's a better pain. It's the kind of pain that you know will go away at some point. And the sharp pains that shot down my right leg are gone as well. Thank you, Dr. Feler.

I went to work today because I own my own business and nobody is paying me to not be there. My regulars seemed surprised that I was back, amazed even. I'll tell you what was amazing - going to work for the past eight weeks in the kind of pain I was in. That's what's hard to believe. The pain I have today is nothing in comparison...but that could be the Loritab talking...or the gin.

The Trio have been good and have maintained a wide perimeter. They haven't asked me much about my condition and I haven't shown them the incision, which is being held shut with glue by the way. I imagine one day, in the next few years, I'll show the new baby the scar and try to convince her that that's where she came from.

I'd like to thank everyone who has written and called to ask how I am feeling. Thanks especially to Kristy who has been taking care of me even more than usual and who now has to do all of the heavy lifting instead of just most of it. Thanks to my sister, Elizabeth, who herded the kids to school yesterday morning, brought us dinner last night and then was gracious enough to take The Trio to a baseball game tonight, leaving Kristy and I here alone - she eight months pregnant and me hobbled by surgery so there's no chance of a romantic evening, unless the Loritab and gin have something to say about it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Surgery Eve

Tomorrow morning, 7 a.m., is my surgery. Cross your fingers. Not you, Dr. Feler!!

Candy From Strangers

I was at the Schnuck's on Union this morning getting some things for work when I came up to a bottleneck in one of the too-narrow aisles in that store. There was an old man in the way - one of the typical characters of Midtown with his wild gray hair, disheveled clothes and walking stick protruding from his basket and taking up even more space in the passing lane. With my typical aplomb I rolled my eyes and pushed by him anyway, but being sure to say excuse me as I did and to assure him that he wasn't in the way. This man followed me, calling to me for what, I assumed, was a handout (this is Midtown, remember). I finally admitted to hearing him and stopped. He asked if my mother was still alive, which seemed an odd question. I said she was and he asked me to tell her that she did a good job raising me, that I was very polite and you don't see that much anymore. He explained that he was just a simple old man, a Southern gentleman and a retired psychologist. I thanked him and agreed with him that people weren't very polite these days. Then I felt guilty for rolling my eyes and for trying to outrun a crazy old man. The guilt is probably something else gained from childhood.

We try to raise The Trio to be polite people, good citizens and helpful to humanity. Or at least to not fart in public, at least not at a restaurant, at least not on an acoustically balanced wood booth. I figure we'll concern ourselves later with Peace Corps applications and Nobel Prize nominations. For now, I'd just like to hear them answer with a yes, sir or yes, ma'am - not to me, because that was never an issue in our house growing up - but to strangers, elders who they haven't been told to call by their first names yet.

It's nice to see something you were taught as a very young person be validated as an adult. To be polite was taught to me in ways I didn't even realize at the time. It's not taught as a subject in school, but with a look, a gentle reminder and then another look, more stern this time with the upper lip curled slightly under. Thank you. Please. May I. If the parenting is effective, it becomes ingrained in us as much as eating right, playing nice, washing our hands and not talking to crazy-haired Southern gentleman ex-psychologists we don't know.

Monday, May 15, 2006

More Dining...

As you saw in the previous post we at at Cafe Ole yesterday. You can read more about it at Dining With Monkeys, a blog created by the amenable Stacey Greenberg, who lives in Overton Square with her husband and two little monkeys.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day 2006

Today is Mother’s Day and we all know what that means – only 34 days until Father’s Day. In preparation for the upcoming Father’s Day, The Trio wanted to fix their mother breakfast in bed, so we got out the two eggs we had left due to poor planning, some bacon and bread for toast. Because it’s a special day and they love their mother so much, they washed their hands before touching her food. Since that was the last of the eggs we all sat around watching her eat. After breakfast I fell asleep and I’m not sure, nor do I care, what went on around here. It was a beautiful day, in the low 70s with a nice breeze, so after that nap we went to Peabody Park to swing and slide with the other kids and their moms. All the running around in the sun, and the fact that only one of us had eaten any breakfast, made us all famished so went for lunch and a round of margaritas at Cafe Ole on what must be the nicest patio in Midtown. From lunch we went to Davis-Kidd bookstore, one of our favorite hangouts, then home where we all fell asleep. Well, we all napped except JP. I’m not real sure what he did while the rest of the house was asleep so I’m sorry if anyone received any odd phone calls. The cars were still parked where I left them so I’m fairly certain he didn’t go anywhere, or else his parking has just really improved. After waking up I did for Kristy what I do best – chores. I mowed the lawn and did some laundry.

For the most part, the kids behaved themselves for Mother’s Day and that’s always the best gift, isn’t it? That, and to be left alone.

My own mother told me years ago to be careful and conscientious because you never know what kind of future mother you’re marrying. She didn’t say this to dissuade me from a relationship with anyone in particular, it was just good motherly advice. She said a lot of things and you can categorize this one under Something I Remember. It’s true, though. You can know your prospective wife is a good dancer, a good painter, a good conversationalist and a good kisser, but until she gives birth there is no way to know what kind of mother she’ll be. I got lucky. The girl I met when I was 17 has turned out to be a caring, compassionate and enthusiastic mother. Not only is she good at actually having babies, but she’s good at protecting, nurturing and loving them as well.

In a few weeks I’ll have two daughters and all I can hope is that they’ll learn mothering – if it can be learned – from their mother. I am fortunate to have been raised by a supportive woman and to be married to one, and I’m sure that one day I’ll have grandchildren who will have mothers that are just as competent as their predecessors. They’ll raise their children to the best of their ability, unconditionally, loving them even when there is the slightest chance that one of them didn’t wash their hands before cooking them breakfast for Mother’s Day.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Power At His Fingertips

On the way to school this morning C taught JP how to roll down his own window in the backseat. I don't think JP will be any more excited when he actually learns how to drive a car.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Inevitable Surgery

Well, I visited with the neurosurgeon a couple of days ago and I have a ruptured disk in my back. The L4 disk, to be specific. And he wants to do surgery next Wednesday because, well, that's his job. The procedure, from the way he explained it, seems fairly simple and there is minimal risk of, shall we say, "accidents." However, should there be an accident, should I be rendered paralyzed from the waist down, there is something I want all of you to do for me. This concerns my children and how I want it explained to them. Consider this a living will for how to handle the kids as they come to terms with the fact that they will never see their father walk again, that we will never be able to ride bikes or just amble around the block. And this is especially for my daughter who is yet to be born, who will never have a memory of me pushing her in the stroller or walking her down the aisle at her wedding. I want each of you to swear to me that you will tell the kids that I was a world champion distance runner in my day. What are they going to do? Deny it? I'll never be able to prove it. Don't worry about the medals and memorabilia, we can buy medals at a costume shop and use Photoshop to craft a scrapbook full of news articles. But I need your help to help me lie to The Trio and to keep that lie up, this is not going to be easy. It's not so hard to believe, I am a runner and I have run a few 5Ks. I was planning on running a half-marathon or two this year before the disk ruptured, so there is always the possibility that I would have become a world champion distance runner at some point.

There is a very good chance that nothing bad will come from the surgery. In fact, there is every reason to believe that I will sail through it and recover quickly and easily, possibly even running again in the near future. In that case I will need to come up with some other scheme to impress the kids. I'll think about that while I'm recovering. But until then, thanks in advance for your help.

Oh, one other thing while I'm thinking about it - if I'm confined to a wheelchair, don't let JP take me out of the house alone. He has a short attention span and I'm afraid he'll take me down the block, get sidetracked, and leave me someplace. Thanks again.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Baby Shower

Kristy is currently carrying our fourth child. I'll do away with the suspense for you - it's a girl. Since this will be the last of the brood (really, it will be, I promise) I see no reason for you all to spend a lot of money showering us with gifts. However, we'll need a new stroller, so I've included a picture of the model I like below. The only design change I will request is that the box itself be one for a Sony 32" flat screen plasma television, HD ready, of course. In fact, if you'd like to just send the box with the TV in it, then I will assemble the stroller myself. And if we can get this kid watching television early enough then there really won't be any need for the part with wheels - she can just watch the world go by on 32 inches of flat screen technology.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Time Travel

I found myself today driving around the neighborhood I lived in from 1977-1985, and noticed that it was growing up. I don’t mean it was spreading out into the nearby community, but that the smaller houses had been torn down and the new houses built on their lots are huge. I wished my kids had been with me, and I’d like to take them back soon so they can see a part of where I grew up before it’s completely changed. It also made me wish that things could stay as they are, that my kids would stay young and never grow up, get jobs and move out of my house. And then I laughed and laughed and laughed…

I’m currently reading the novel Oracle Night by Paul Auster, and in it he discusses the idea of time travel and whether it would be morally wise to change the outcome of history. It got me to thinking, “What if time travel were possible?” Seriously, this is what I was thinking. And I wondered if I could travel back to any day of my past, with my kids, what day would that be? What did young me do that would impress these little people? What would help explain to them who I am and, indirectly, who they are? I finally decided on Christmas Day 1974 because I got some cool stuff, like an Evel Knievel motorcycle with action figure, some sort of plastic train engine and, more than likely, an inchworm – JP would’ve loved this array of goodies. And I’d like to see The Trio, who all look like me anyway, in washed-out 1970’s photos sitting there playing with me, dressed in similar plaid pants and turtlenecks as I wore. And wouldn’t those old photos freak people out now? To look at them and see me sitting there with my own children. At least it would have given me some sort of idea as to what to expect. If we time traveled today then I’d know I’d have three kids someday. If we waited about a month then I’d know there’d be four, but you really shouldn’t time travel with an infant that young. Of course I wouldn’t know who their mother is because she was only two on Christmas Day 1974 - her daughter would be three. And there would be all kinds of stuff I could do to them if I were four and they were three, four and eight. I could push them down or tell them to “shut up” or take one of their toys away from them and run and hide without feeling guilty or being arrested because we’d be peers, and at that age I didn’t know any better. I’d get in trouble, sure. My mother, their grandmother, wouldn’t have any of that behavior on Christmas Day.

But now that I think about it, really think about it, this whole idea might not be such a good idea. Time travel could probably mess things up. These kids have systematically lost every little battery door on every TV remote control we’ve ever had. Can you imagine if they lost the battery door of the time travel machine and the batteries fell out somewhere between now and 1974? Nobody ever thinks to buy extra batteries for Christmas Day, so we’d be trapped. Trapped on Christmas Day 1974, which would be fine for me because I’d age normally and still be 35 now, but my kids would be 35, 36 and 40, and they’d probably still be living at home and still hogging the Evel Knievel motorcycle with action figure.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Dining Out

The latest post isn't here. It's here.

My friend Stacey writes one of the most practical blogs I've ever come across. It's called Dining With Monkeys wherein she eats out with her two sons and reviews the restaurants from a parent's point of view. A few days ago she put a call out for guest writers and I obliged and it is now posted for your enjoyment. However, it's not the first one I sent her. When she put the word out, I was lamenting the days when we could go out and eat on a whim (and a $20 bill), so I wrote a review of ordering a pizza in. I found it to be very witty. Stacey did not. She roundly rejected it, I could just see her printing it out for the sole purpose of crumpling it up and throwing it across the room, laughing at the inane idea and the elementary writing...but I digress. I also give you the submission below. But go to Dining With Monkeys and read that one, too. And bookmark Dining With Monkeys and visit it often for it is chock full of good writing...and some writing of mine as well.

Entry number one:

Kristy and I, and our Trio, ate at Soul Fish CafĂ© last night, which Stacey has brilliantly reviewed in a previous post. We don’t get out much because, well, we have three kids and play a weak zone defense which is why S fell off a bar stool last night. And since the kids are bored with wasting food from inside our house, we ordered from without tonight. I’m not sure this is what Stacey had in mind when she invited guest reviewers but, as I said, we don’t get out much.

There was an all too quick decision made for pizza – three raucous votes for pizza – so Kristy called Domino’s. It was delivered fairly quickly and, to our surprise, came out cheaper than what we had been told over the phone. A full $7 cheaper – perhaps they’ve stopped the practice of charging the idiotic delivery fee. Kristy paid and tipped – tipping is done before eating here, not so much for the quality of service as much as the “waiter” knows where we live.

The Trio, given the options for various toppings had chosen the always adventurous cheese, while Kristy and I had sausage and mushroom. I prefer everything – everything you could think to put on a pie – on my pizzas, but I deferred to the lady of the house, the very pregnant lady of the house. The nice thing about dining here is we are allowed to take our seats in separate rooms. The kids chose a room with a television theme and were amused by dinner theater with the likes of Steve, Blue and Magenta. They love them some pizza and the sound of lips smacking almost drowned out the incessant blathering about clues, thinking chairs and whatnot. The beverage of choice was milk, JP accepted some Ovaltine in his. S made a few furtive moves for the couch but was quickly rebuked and put back in her place.

Kristy and I ate in the traditional dining room, which I found to be dim and the table littered with a TV guide, half-finished Soduko puzzle and unopened mail. But there was original artwork by Elizabeth Alley and good reading material – I perused The Believer magazine while Kristy read a young adult science fiction novel. Along with our pizza (which proved to be predictable) we had hot wings (which Kristy found to be very hot), homemade sweet tea and a Red Stripe. I ate three pieces of pizza and three hot wings but learned long ago not to comment on my wife’s food intake.

We were made to clean up after ourselves and were somewhat put off by the full-to-overflowing garbage can in the kitchen. Someone should take that out, but it will have to wait until after the Kroger-brand chocolate ice cream, the sole offering on the sad desert menu.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Peanuts Redux

Not eight hours after writing the previous post, S and I were watching Woody Allen's Match Point when she commented that it looked like the boy in the film was sucking on the girl's mouth. So I turned off the movie, sang her the tainted peanut song, and sent her to bed.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Peanuts

In theory, we try to limit our kids' television viewing. In practice, they watch television. They have their DVDs - Dora the Explorer, Looney Tunes, Rugrats, et al - and they watch some shows - Caillou, Big Big World, The Simpsons - and then there are the grownup shows. C has taken a shine to How I Met Your Mother and Lost, but it seems the other two could take prime time or leave it. I don't screen TV stringently for nudity or language, but there are shows such as the CSIs and the Law & Orders that show the results of violence in scenes that are far too graphic. When previews for horror movies come on, too, we'll have the kids look away.

I'm not sure that this was such an issue when I was growing up. I remember watching Welcome Back Kotter and McCloud and those didn't seem so bad. Going to see Grease at the drive-in was about as risque as it got until I got a little older and then depended on aunts and uncles for the good stuff. The Amityville Horror and The Omen came out when I was young, though I wouldn't have dreamed of seeing those. But there was a song my mother sang us - it was like a lullaby about a peanut. Does anyone know the one I'm talking about? It's about a child who found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut, and it turns out the peanut is rotten, but he ate it anyway, ate it anyway, ate it anyway. Well, long story short, the kid dies of some weird rotten peanut botchulism. He goes to heaven, which is a nice, sweet touch, I guess. But it's a song, nonetheless, about a child dying from eating something as unremarkable as a bad peanut.

She sang me a lot of other songs that I sing to the kids - Row Row Row Your Boat, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had A Little Lamb - but with all due respect to my mother, who is a wonderful and concientious one, I believe I'll stay away from peanut poisoning ditties, at least for tonight, because tonight is when we all gather around the TV to watch The Sopranos, mother#*%&$@*%!!