Thursday, August 31, 2006

Magnetic Letters Have Magical Powers To Distract Toddlers

A friend recently bought my daughter some of those magnetic alphabet letters and now she can’t stop playing with them (or throwing, eating, using them as weapons, etc.) She just started figuring out which side sticks to the fridge, and she’s also testing every surface in the house to see where else it might stick also. Even to the point of getting angry when they don’t stick and then she starts scratching the wall (definitely not a good thing) with them screaming and yelling in her Ewok babble language. The language that only a parent oddly understands.

We found a great distraction the other day for those times we’re cooking, breathing, going to the bathroom, playing a video game (that’s just me) or just taking a break for a few minutes. We stick her in the high chair and move it right up to the refrigerator. And it works! So far…

If this keeps working, I may patent the idea. And then I can buy one of those fancy sub-zeros’s that has lots of surface space and holds lots of beer. And then I’ll start drinking beer, since I'm not really a beer drinker now. And then she can spell out "Daddy Drinks B.U.D."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

“No Please, Tell Me About Your Operation and Family Medical History”

I’m not sure if this only happens to me or other people. Or maybe I project some aura unknown to me that tells people that I really want to hear about their medical problems. This has happened on more than a few occasions and it’s starting to bother me because I’m the last person in this world who needs to hear these stories. Have you read my posts about my extreme fear of needles or passing out getting a flu shot or avoiding the dentist and her “instruments of death”?

Last night in my boxing class, this other fellow “norm” finally showed up to class after a few months on hiatus. I said hello as usual, and small chitchat about the weather, the fireman’s wife and her daughter’s new boobs implants and how they've grown some more (normal gym conversation) and then she goes on to tell me in great detail about her bladder and how the doctors performed surgery and how she can’t eat ice cream after 10pm.

BladderWoman: My bladder is sagging, ya’ know because there’s these two muscles that hold it up….. Imagine two big nasty veins...

Me: Uh….huh? You don’t say…hey, look, that chick that screams when that Brittany Spears bad remix song is playing just walked in….

BladderWoman: …And they had to perform the entire surgery through my vagina, so they didn’t have to cut my side open…

Me: That’s, uhhh….pretty nasty. That musta’ hurt. I hope the doctor bought you a drink first (nervous chuckle)

(nasty descriptions…me channeling out)

…and then they stuff pig fat up in there and then the tissue grows around it and then the bladder is against…(blah, blah, blah…)

What? Pig fat…like from a pig?

BladderWoman: Yes.

Me: So when you eat bacon, does that make you a cannibal?

(she slowly walked away)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My Father-In-Law Might Be Crazy

He sends us the strangest pictures ever since he got a digital camera. He lives out in Georgia (which is reason #1 for crazy) and recently went to a sheep farm with his lady-friend (we don’t call her girlfriend because she’s like 100 and it’s pretty obvious she’s not a “girl” anymore). You would think “Hey, Sheep farm. I’ll take pictures of Sheep doing…uh, Sheep things - Like riding tractors and racing the Chickens!”. But Nooooo! We get pictures of close-ups of grass, blurry pictures of the wood banisters, a fly on the windscreen, fur? It’s like handing a camera to a 4-year-old high on sugar and letting them loose.

I can see if these were “the test pictures” you know, the ones that don’t come out quite right and then you delete them. No, he uploads these to Snapfish and sends the family links to check out his great pictures, and then we all email each other saying stuff like “Huh?”.

I keep telling my wife we should be calling the police or Mr. T for intervention. I hear he has some new TV show where he tells you “You some kinda of Fool, Fool!”. Mr. T will make it right. And then children all over the world will be able to sleep at night once again.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I Admit It, I Know Nothing About Baseball

I know this comes as a shock to people but I really don’t (or ‘did’ until last night). And while I’m at it Football and Basketball included. No, I’m not from a farming village in Romania who has just discovered T.V., I have a really good excuse from this – I’m an artist and I’m from L.A.

Over the weekend we were invited to a minor league baseball (The "Quakes" - like in earthquake) game way out in Rancho Cucamonga (really, really far east of L.A. out in the Inland Empire –the “empire” with no castle). The family that lives out there has really gotten into this minor league baseball thing since they’ve been opening them on the far outskirts of L.A., places like Lancaster, Lake Ellsinore, Bakersfield, etc. The stadiums are pretty nice and remind me of those old Disney cartoon’s “Casey at the Bat” type-stadiums. Lots of families, very cheap ticket prices, parking, food and extremely clean. I liked the experience.

The last baseball game I actually attended was about 10 years ago. It was free through work (during the workday event), I showed up, got my free food, hat, said “hi” to the boss and his wife, then got up, and left (to see a movie). It took about 15 minutes.
The time before that, well, I was around 8 or 10 years old. My uncles took my brother and I to a few Dodger games, but I never paid attention, the freaks that practically live at Dodger stadium were much more interesting. And we liked running around the halls with our cousins, not sitting in cramped seats with smelly people.

So last night, I actually “watched” and I got weird stares from people around me (like I was cousin Balki from “Perfect Strangers”) when I was asking my wife (near whisper) questions like “Why are there 2 guys on first base?” “What’s an RBI?” (Rats Been Injected?), “When is this inning over and why is it taking so freakin’ long!” “Are the guys allowed to throw the bat like that?” My wife knows this stuff; she grew up in Ohio and went to college in Georgia (it’s ‘core’ learning in places like that). Out here, well, we did have to play some of them in P.E. but being the creative genius that I am, I was pretty good at forging notes, at a very young age, about having “selective” Asthma. Selective meaning that on days we played Baseball, Football, Basketball - my chronic Asthma would kick in. There’s nothing quite like sitting on the outskirts with the sick kids. They were my “peeps” for the hour and I learned a lot about D&D, Zork, Comic Books, and Star Trek talking to them. Though I never shared their enthusiasm for any of them, but I can carry a pretty good conversation about them like a Mo-Fo.

Now I can add Baseball to the list. O.K. maybe not yet.

Friday, August 25, 2006

My Evil Clothes Twin

I hate it when this happens!! I come into work today with an olive green shirt and a specific shade of jeans wearing brown shoes. While standing at the elevator this morning this guy walks up and stands besides me. Something about this guy...Hold on! The dude is wearing pratically the same thing as me. (Nooooo!!....Sometimes I wish I had the power to freeze time, for 10 seconds, so I can get out of dodge - fast!)

Seriously there's nothing that makes you feel really stupid than two guys dressed exactly the same, waiting for an elevator, when people are walking by and you're one of them. I got really nervous (which isn't like me, all all), what do I do?

1- Walk away slowly and don't acknowledge the "incident"(could that be too obvious...)
2- Do I say "Hey Man, Nice threads. I see you got "the memo" and then wink followed by a pistol-point hand gesture (laugh at it and hope he laughs too, but this guy could be somebody important. They don't laugh at things like this)
3- Ignore it like you never noticed (and just imagine everybody walking by thinking "Hey Ma! look at those freaks, they're dressed the same...Heee-Hawwww!")

It's split second decisions that can make or break somebody. I ran to the nearest exit, which happend to be the bathroom. Stood at the mirror, washed my hands, counted to 30, then walked back out. He was still there (I screamed on the inside). I seriously need to start taking the stairs.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Taking Pictures - Smiles Everyone, Smiles!

A relative sent us pictures of a recent trip they had in Savannah, Georgia. Apparently they've never been there even though they've lived in Georgia for over 38 years (well, not really 38 years, but close).
I wouldn't mind visiting Savannah one day, we watch HGTV and they did some Dream House show out there and that movie "Garden of Good and Evil" was filmed there (the movie was bad, but the location was nice). Very old historic place, restaurants, hotels, and lots of interesting monuments, etc.

The first thing I noticed was, in the pictures of them standing next to monuments, they don't smile. They just kind of stand there with this constipated look and their eyes are like "If you don't take that picture now, I swear I'll crap in your Jello-Puddin' tonight!!". I remember this look, it's the look that old Pioneers took in the late 1800's when doing photo portraits. You know, the old black and white/sepia pictures where the Father sits in the chair and the family stands around him looking like they can't wait for him to kick the bucket so they can take over the farm and raid the gold mine.

Most people I know smile in pictures. I smile in pictures, make faces, "stage" events in pictures, even my daughter has learned to smile when the shiny little box is pointed at her. It's a picture for crying out loud! You at least smile; you just don't stand there. I honestly don't get it. But then again, these people are weird. Maybe Robots really can't smile or love.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Boss’s Boss, Boss’s Boss, Boss - Is In The House

Yup, he’s at work in the building today walking around stopping by people’s desks looking around and getting presentations of things were working on. This guy is really huge too (Sorry I can’t say who though for fear of waking up in a hole tomorrow morning in Antarctica just for blogging about it).

If you know anything about Hollywood there are basically 4 guys that run the entertainment world - This guy is one of them and he’s always in the trades (when he farts, people read about it the next day). When he’s with his entourage and makes a bad joke, you laugh like if Jerry Seinfeld himself said it while doing the Hustle, and you laugh like you mean it too. People at work got a little more dressed up than usual today, just in case he says “Hey you! Yeah, You! What’s your name, huh? I want you to be Executive Vice President of T.V. for Yellow Dogs!” Or something like that. And when he says it, you better be ready to say “Oh my God! I LOVE yellow Dogs, I own 10 at home and they’re all named after your old ex-wives!!” (minus the last part.)You have to be prepared for anything in this business.
I remember hearing stories about the old media mogul heads of the 1930’s and 40’s who had the power to fire secretaries and janitors who just looked at them 'funny'. Thankfully this guy isn’t like that. He’s actually pretty personable and not that eccentric. In fact, he is much, much better mogul than our old media chief.

And if this guy happens to ask me to be V.P. of everything Blue this company ever made, well then, Blue would be my new favorite color, then I would go out and buy a Porsche (a blue one, of course).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Teaching My ‘1-Year-Old’ How To Draw – Lesson 2

I’m determined to get my daughter to draw something. Being a designer/artist myself I really want to think some type of gene passed onto my daughter. I have visions of the future -- gallery shows or great film premieres all produced by her and she getting some award and me standing among a huge crowd (in the front row, of course) clapping loudly, looking at everybody pointing and yelling “That’s Ma’ Girl!” I want that dream to come true –is that too much to ask?
After the first unsuccessful lesson at 12 months I thought I would try again at 13 - she’s older and wiser now; she has a few teeth, can walk on her own, and can say a few words too (just like great-grandma!) And when she plays with her food and throws it on the floor, it looks just like a Jackson Pollock painting -- so why not?

Preparation: 4 primary color crayons, smooth newsprint sheet of paper, and hide every distraction known to man (and toddler). Play soft classical music in the background (like they did when I was in Art School).

Bring the subject in! (I mean daughter)

I didn’t give her anything this time, just drew on the paper for a little bit while she watched, pointed, and giggled. Then she grabbed the crayon out of my hand, stared at it, and started ‘tapping’ on the little funny doodles I made. In my mind I’m thinking, “She’s drawing!! She’s actually drawing!! My spawn is drawing!!” Then she stopped, looked at the crayon and started eating it this time BITING on it (nasty!) with her teeth and peeling the paper off and ate that too.

After the crayons were wet and ‘clumpy’, she handed them to me one at a time (better than throwing them like last time), crumpled the paper, threw that at the wall and then cried for mama to rescue her from the lesson. She’s a very fervent artist; I wonder if Georgia O'Keeffe or Mary Blair started out like this.

I’ll try again next month.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Weekend Drive To The Outlet Shops

Over the weekend my wife insisted we drive an hour away to "the outlets" way out in Camarillo (a place between L.A. and Santa Barbara). This particular outlet, which is coined as a ‘premium outlet’, gets really crowded on the weekends. Why? I'm not sure. From the crowds you'd think they were selling everything for a $1. But that's not the case at all. Most stuff there is just as expensive as normal department stores. I'm really not sure how taking 10% off the retail suggested price is considered "outlet" shopping. When I think of outlet shopping, I'm thinking garage sale pricing where things go for $.25- $5 max. It's all a marketing conspiracy to me.

The most entertaining part of the day trip was the nearby Camarillo Air Show happening overhead. Old planes were doing donuts and making a bunch of loud whining noises like in 1940's war movies (or "pictures" as people over 90 call them). I never really thought about it, but I didn't think places still had Air Shows anymore (didn't they have accidents that closed them down?) I found myself moving the stroller around quickly to avoid being under a stunt airplane – just in case.
When I was a kid my Dad once took my brother and I to the now defunct, El Toro Air Show down at the base in Irvine (which I think is turning into tract houses or some mall) I remember there being a lot of survivalist-type people there tailgating in the parking lot hooting and hollering at the planes overhead. That's about all I remember.

The second most entertaining part of the day was walking past the "Guess?" (Big in the 80's, but really -who shops there anymore?) outlet shop. They had a Dj playing weird dance booty-hip/hop music while a fashion show was going on. It looked something like this:

Friday, August 18, 2006

Where Can A Guy Get A Decent Haircut?

I came across an article in the L.A. Times about new men’s salons popping up around town. It had me thinking--

Back in the day, years ago, I use to frequent places like Fantastic Sam’s and Supercuts, but then I had just about enough of their mistreatment and finally left them forever. Those places really suck at men’s haircuts because they’re really quick to pull out the chainsaw razor and chop your hair off in 2 minutes or less like your going off to war in 10. They never listen to what you want (because your a guy and it doesn't matter) and do there own thing. I hated it and I always walked out feeling like a stupid looking dog walking out of a groomer, minus the bows.

How did this happen? Do guys not count anymore?

When I was a kid, my Dad use to take my brother and I to a real barbershop on the bad side of town (it had the barber pole and everything). That place rocked! It was run by an older couple and the guy looked just like Abe Lincoln (he was always in the presidents day parade at Disneyland –not sure if they still do that?) and he would always take a least a half-an-hour on you even if all he did was talk (chit-chat about school, friends, TV, complained about the government, etc.) the way real barbers should. It was great – you were actually a real person and if you wanted to have a haircut like “the Ricker's”, or “Michael Knight’s man-fro” or somebody else - you could always count on Abe to do it (even if it wasn't exactly close).
It all ended when I was in High School, “Abe the Barber” died, it was depressing. His wife closed the shop and I was forced into Supercuts hell. I hated haircuts for the next 10 years.

Later, I became good friends with a gal who happened to cut hair, but at a “salon”. My wife and I love her, although I’m still not all entirely comfortable in a “salon”. Ya' know with women getting eyebrows done, pedicures, cheesy-techno playing in the background or 80’s light-hits like Peter Cetera playing overhead. I always feel like I’ve just put on a dress sitting there. It’s not bad, but just seems unnatural for a guy to be in such a place. But it’s a whole lot better than Nazi-cuts.

So I come across this – looks like some smart people have finally figured out guys do count and are finally getting places of their own. They’re sports themed for now (I’m not a sports-guy) but they do things like serve beer – how cool is that? Anyhow, if I were to open my own place it would be themed to more of a “The Rat Pack”-feel or something like that and it would be in a basement (like a speakeasy) with no windows in the front and serve cocktails like sidecars and whiskey-straight up (with waitresses in bunny outfits), and maybe have horseraces on the T.V.s’ with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin playing overhead. Oh yeah, and give good haircuts (that classic Cary Grant-handsome look) with old-school Barbers who do stuff like hot towel straight blade shaves while they sport slicked back hair and twirled mustaches themselves. A real man-man’s place. I’d go to a place like that any day.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I’m “Parent-Assembly Required Challenged”

When I was a kid, my Dad could practically build anything, from assembling bikes to building a car in the garage any summer afternoon just for the shear thrill (even melting tin nails and pounding sheet metal for the frame). I never doubted his Dad skills; I thought this was some ability that just magically appeared when a man became a Dad. It was evolution at its best. Also, the possibility of watching lots of MacGyver growing up reinforced this thinking.

I was wrong and T.V. has once again failed me.

This past weekend I had the joys of installing a KidCo baby gate on our staircase for a few hours (I’m no stranger to installing, referring to what is now known as “the pony incident” or “the magnetic baby-locks clash of 2006”). I was reliving all my past experiences - pictures that didn’t make any sense, thousands of ‘small’ objects, instructions that could have been written in Latin then translated into English by James Brown. This project had to be the mother of it all. I did what any sane, frustrated adult would do – I dropped everything and asked my wife to finish the job before I sent a burning bag of dog crap to the manufacture. It took her another hour to figure it out.

Later, while walking around the house, I began to wonder why in the world do we need all this stuff? What did parents do 20 years ago when all of this stuff wasn’t around? Who convinced us that if we didn’t have the baby gate, the locks, the table bumper guards, the baby crash helmets that we’re horrible parents and when our kids are calling us from prison it’s because we didn’t secure the linen drawer.
Frankly, I’m tired of the marketing. My parents didn’t have any of that stuff I think I turned out fine. All of my childhood damage was psychological (the way God intended it to be!)
My wife disagrees, of course, and now we’re off to get another baby gate. This time, a pressurized one (no assembly required) that works right out of the box.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Grossly Overweight Kids

Living in L.A. you see a lot of strange stuff and pratically every type of person that walks this earth - everything from the "fake ‘n’ bakes", real pirates, to living Morlocks hanging out in North Hollywood - but nothing bothers me more than really, really overweight kids. These aren’t the kind that are a little chubby with some baby fat, but who are seriously huge (like the Stay-Puff marshmallow man). And its not older kids like in Jr. High or High School, but toddlers, preschoolers, early elementary age kids. The sad thing is most of these parents think it’s cute to see a pot belly and no neck on a 2 year old. I’m sorry, but personally I think it’s disgusting and nothing to be proud of.

What kind of habits are these parents teaching here? Imagine the problems when they get older. Not only will the kid be a prime bully target, but it's also gross and extremely unhealthy, have you seen the statistics on how many kids are getting Diabetes now? (Diabetes was rare in kids just 20 years ago, now it’s getting much more common). The sad thing is most parents are trying to blame McDonalds and other fast food for this stuff, as if fast food is a new phenomenon that hasn’t been around long. What happened to self-control and being a parent when it comes to sweets and limiting junk food? I know the advertising has gotten pretty bad these days on marketing junk to kids, especially on channels like Nickelodeon, but commercials were around when I was a kid watching Saturday Morning cartoons like GI Joe, He-Man and The Smurfs (yeah, I watched The Smurfs…I always wanted Gargamel to catch one to see what he would really do). I wanted all the junk food, Mr. T cereal, and toys with kung-fu grip but I never got any of it. My parents drew the line somewhere.

We saw a friend recently who is guilty of this; one of her kids is going into first grade and looks like she’s 12 and a perfect circle (if she tripped on a hill she would roll uncontrollably and would only stop if she hit a brick building, maybe). When her daughter wants sweets and junk, well she gets her sweets and junk as a preventative measure to a meltdown. I wanted to shake this friend and yell (like a pimp) “What’s wrong with you woman! Are you on crack?!”

Crack is my excuse for everything these days. Millions of parents are on crack with really fat kids with big cracks.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Rules of Man-Etiquette

I have this co-worker, I work very closely with, who always has something stuck on his face. Either an eyelash, smudge, or often fuzz stuck in his eyebrows (where that comes from, I don’t know quite know..maybe he kills teddy bears at lunch). I’ve always wanted to say something because it’s a distraction and I would want to know if I were in the same position - but I usually don’t, I let him continue the conversation hoping he’ll eventually remove it during a bathroom visit, or wait for a woman co-worker to bring it up (the women at work tend to notice these things).

I’m not the only guy who does this- every guy he works with does the same thing. I’m not sure why that is that men don’t let each other know stuff like that. I mean, if a fellow guy's fly is down we always say something like “hey dude, the barn door is open” as a courtesy. But that's about the extent of it.

I wanted to experiment (for the sake of mankind). So last week while talking to him there was something sticking out of his nose and I just couldn’t concentrate (being a Dad with a little one I wanted to take a tissue and wipe the thing, but that's wierd and my Jedi mind power doesn't work very well) so I made a point to tell him “hey man, it’s not like “I’m looking”, but you’ve got something sticking out of your nose”. He got all hissy, and a little offensive as if I were talking about his mama or worse poking fun at his villages' women - then ran off.

Later I kept thinking to myself how he’s going to tell everybody I’m the guy who looks up people’s noses. Now I know why guys let it go... it’s not worth the hassle.

Monday, August 14, 2006

She Walks! She Runs!

And it took only 13 months and 3 days. My daughter has been cruising the furniture and walls for a few months now. She’ll even throw in a few steps on her own once in awhile and when we “oh and awed” (like Smurfs) she’ll immediately end the floorshow.
But today my wife and I were determined to make her walk on her own. We both sat on the floor facing each other and started moving further away making her run between us. Eventually we would stand up and back away then she would just start chasing us (while giggling like Elmo.)

Watching her walk on her own really made my mind wander (insert a cartoon thought cloud bubble over my head). She’s no longer a baby and officially a toddler, and how time is truly flying by. How something as simple as walking can lead to playing soccer, hide & seek with daddy, 19-mile marathons and in the far off future walking down the aisle getting married. I kept thinking to myself “Wow, I’m going to remember this day for the rest of my life”, even down to the poop stench coming out of her butt that I had hoped my wife noticed first so I didn’t have to change her diaper.
It was enough to get me a little veclemped, just thinking my little girl is growing up right before my eyes.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Traveling With New Rules

I’m not going to get into this whole thing with those arrested UK terrorists (I’m just glad something happened to prevent anything). And this isn’t going to prevent us from our upcoming Disney World trip this Christmas. What troubles me most is the after effects of new rules that could affect carry-on baggage while traveling. You know, no liquids, gels, electronics, etc.

I can’t imagine an even more boring trip without the iPod, Nintendo DS, or Laptop watching my own movies. The last time I flew, the plane was showing movies like “Dreamer: The Horse Who Should Have Been Put Down” and “The Notebook”. I don’t want to watch that stuff! And the music on the airline stations was either classical (which I don’t mind when I’m working), country (sorry, I don’t like hee-haw) or some weird mix of 80’s soft-rock (Michael Bolton, Kenny G, and Amy Grant type-stuff) – Definitely not my cup of tea.

So when anybody asks me if I’m ‘discouraged from flying’, I’m answering “Yes!” but not because I don’t think it’s safe, it’s because I can’t imagine not taking my own entertainment, food & snacks, and Fiji water on the plane.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

“I Don’t Ever Want My Kid To Be On T.V. Or In Movies”

Only in L.A. can you say this, get dragged into the street, and then stoned like you’re some leper. At work, some meeting got off-track (as they usually do) and the natives started talking about how ‘wouldn’t it be cool’ if their kids were “actors” or “actresses” on T.V. and in the movies. There are a few parents here who have agents for their kids who do little odd jobs like “kid #8 on skateboard”, nothing famous by any means. When my turn came I said how I would never let my kid get into any of that. I got scowls and looks with lasers shooting out of them.

Well, while in college my roommate and I use to work as pages on T.V. shows (long story on how that happened) we worked on a huge variety of T.V. shows for over a year and let me tell you, those actor kids aren’t normal and their pimpin’ parents are freaks who will do anything to get their “talented kid” famous. Which leads to a lot of screwed-up kids who grow up into screwed-up adults. I don’t care what kind of impression you might have of these famous kids; in front of the camera they may act happy, easygoing, and “normal” but behind them are lots of publicists and at least one harsh stage parent. That’s the reality for about 95% of the kids I came across (the adults are even worse!). They’re crazy, spoiled, usually experimenting with something, and are catered to like divas and kings. The stage parents I came across overlooked all this (because their kid is going to be famous!!) and the producers want the parents to bend over backwards for them.
I read recently how that Dakota Fanning is doing some movie were she get molested in it (and they show it!) How freakin’ sick is that? I bet behind the scenes there’s some pushy agent and willing parent who want her to go for the Oscar no matter how low they have to go.

So yeah, I don’t want my kid in that world. And parents that do don’t realize what kind of world is on the other side. I won’t say which shows I worked on (this isn’t that Parez Hilton blog).

(Silence filled the conference room)

Look at what happened to all the Diff’Rent Strokes kids! The only one who wasn't on crack was Edna Garrett

“Ahhh” nods of agreement.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

That Ugly Plastic Horse Needs To Find Another Home!

I did something that could be bad. I’m not sure. I made my wife (well convinced) her to return the ugly Radio Flyer Pony her sisters gave us for our daughters birthday a few weeks ago (if her sisters are reading this…’we love it! and our daughter, like Depeche Mode, 'just can’t get enough’) The horse has been sitting in the corner for few weeks now (this is the horse that took me hours and hours to assemble…its diet consists of human blood).
I didn’t like the thing from day one. It’s ugly. It’s plastic, and oh, our daughter only rode it twice and wanted nothing to do with it ever again. So my wife finally gave in, disassembled it (like in 10 minutes? I still don’t understand how…) and took it back. I cheered! Victory!

Later, that night I felt guilty and had a dream. The ghost of Christmas past visited me (he looked like Webster) and I remembered one Christmas when I was a kid (all roads lead to some horrible childhood memory) when I wanted some cheesy racetrack that made the cars crawl up the wall. I played with it for like a week and then got bored. A few days later when I went to play with it something happened. It ‘mysteriously disappeared’. I later found out my Dad took it back to Toys R Us. I dreamt my Dad at the counter and when he looked was Gary Coleman with a knife! No, it was me.

I woke up in a cold sweat!!

Two things: I have to do something about this guilt. Get rid of it somehow (beer, chocolate, T.V.). I'll show that plastic horse it can't haunt me!
Second, I'm not sure why Webster and Gary Coleman always invade my dreams about morality and guilt.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Just When I Thought It Couldn’t Get Any More Gross

My daughter got sick again, a cold. We were on a pretty good streak for about 5-6 months. No colds, fever, etc. Just some cries when the teeth came in and that’s about it. But last night it all caught up with her (and us).
She was cruising along the kitchen cabinets, as usual, trying to open the baby-locked doors and then she became very quiet. She just stood at the base of the doors with her back towards us for like a minute, then 2, then 3 no reaction even when we called her. Very still and didn’t say a word. (“Why is she quiet? Is she chewing on something? Is she eating a bug, old fossilized French fry, choking on a magnetic letter…?). When I went to investigate this unusual silence, this is what I saw (where’s the camera when you need it):

Her hand near her nose and a bunch of snot (like an explosion!) all over her face and hair – all gooey with air bubbles– and she’s playing with it like clay, feeling the texture between her hands, springing it between her fingers, wall, face (mouth). Some stuck in her eyebrows. Then I started feeling a little queasy...

Back in the good “ol’ days” when she was sick this stuff just dripped off her nose and straight into her mouth, she really wasn’t coordinated enough to “play” with the snot. No coordination like now. Who knew that she would play with it (I didn’t get an owner’s manual)? But then again, really thinking about it, this is probably some new magical fluid that just showed up (a gift from heaven?!)

After I screamed, I ran around the kitchen searching for tissue, paper towels, Haz Mat suit to wipe her… then 409 to clean the walls (yes, I’m such a “new parent”, as those with 2, 3, 12 kids are probably thinking right now.) Every time I walk into the area, I still feel the presence of contamination (as if radiation mutated snot lives there waiting for me to fall asleep...)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Movie Date Night And A Potty

Friday night the wife and I got a sitter and finally saw a movie... in a theater! Not on Netflix, or cable, but a "real" movie theater. How soon we forgot the $10 "value popcorn meal deal", the $4 small bottle of water, the 30 minutes of TV commercials before the movie. After the initial excitement I was beginning to wondered what really was the big deal. Yes, I remember now - it's the "idea" of going somewhere without the kid that makes it seem exciting for a few hours (like you're out past parent curfew).

The most entertaining part (after Pirates 2, by the way...I liked the 1st movie a little more) of the night had to be my trip to the restroom, when I went in to do my 'thang', it was empty and quiet, but then I heard some talking coming from the handicap stall. A Dad and his toddler daughter inside--

Are you finished honey?
Girl: Uhh, I think so. Nooo! Wait (growls). O.K. Noooo!! Uhh...
Dad: Honey, you need to eat more fruits and vegatables..
Girl: Popcorn is a vegatable!
Dad: Honey, peaches and apples...are you done yet?
Girl: I think so...wait!
Dad: O.K. Stop talking and concentrate


Girl: This girl at school told me that there's this funny part in the movie where the dog....
Dad: Are you done?
Girl: Uhh, I think so. Nooo! Wait (growls). O.K. Noooo!! Uhh...

That's going to be me in no time. Note to self, carry prunes and a magazine or good book.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Everyday Phrases I Now Use, That I Never Would Have Used, Before Becoming A Parent:

Is she constipated?

I think I see Poop, or liquid, coming out of her skirt/pants/shorts

Smell her butt. I smelled it and I think it has crap in it.

Look in her nose; I think it's stuck way up in there.

Are you sure it should be that color?

Take a look; it has mustard seeds in it?

I don't remember feeding her this.

Guess where I found this shiny penny!

Was that a fart or a burp?

Stop calling that strange man "Dada".

How did that defy gravity?

What's she chewing on?

Put your finger in there and pull it out.

Is that a rash?

On a scale of 1 to 10, this one is a 30.

Check her butt.

I have Poo on my hands again.

Are you sure a thermometer goes there?

I forgot to put Butt Paste on this time.

“Cute”, “Adorable”, “Sweet”

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Dentist Wants To Hurt Me. A Lot.

I fully admit it. I’m a big baby when it comes to pain. Shots: I need to bite on those Popsicle sticks (or a bullet) and look away. Give Blood: Not intentionally, only when I fall or pierce and then pass out. Papercuts: I scream like a schoolgirl who just found her boyfriend making out with her best friend behind the locker room.

I have good reason for this behavior…! When I was 12 I was in the hospital for appendicitis and the young nurse-in-training at the time poked my arm to get blood and inadvertently hit my bone. It hurt. A lot! (In fact, It hurts me now just thinking about it). My entire body never forgot that shivering internal feeling. And to a 12- year old boy I don’t care how hot that nurse was. She was the devil. All her flirting and sneaking me ice cream didn’t help either. O.K. at the time, maybe just a little.

So imagine my reaction when I got a toothache last week and didn’t tell anybody (well, my wife) about it until it got really bad. I only go to the dentist for nothing more than a cleaning. I’ve been pretty good about cavities since I was in Jr. High (haven’t really had any since then)…. but for this I had to grudgingly see the dentist. She told me I needed something called “crown” (...huh? like prince Charles or the Burger King, King?). When I didn’t understand what that meant she literally drew me a picture on a post-it (ahh, now that’s speaking my language!) of a tooth, being shaved down, being drilled and then being capped. When I realized what they were going to do, I told them “Look! Mel Gibson is waiting in the lobby”, and then I ran away. (I’m writing this from a cave in Guam.)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lunch At “The Sizzler”

Over the weekend we met my Grandparents for lunch at a Sizzler way out in Ontario (Outside L.A…. in California, not Canada). They LOVE Sizzler, even more than bingo (yeah, that’s big). Let me give some back-story on my Sizzler awareness – I haven't been to one since maybe 1991; didn’t know they were still around. Where we live, there aren’t any around. I thought they had gone the way of the DeLorean or Baywatch (People use to talk about it, now they don’t).
Growing up in the late 70’s/80’s my parents use to take my brother and I there on the weekends often (with a coupon, of course) to get their Las Vegas style buffet (precursor to Hometown Buffet I guess). My parents had (still have?) an obsession with Buffets (and they have really big bellies to show it)…I, on the other hand don’t (and thank God, not the belly). Buffet food scares me a little. As a kid, I did love Sizzler’s all-you-can-eat deep fried shrimp though; I remember one time, I really wanted my birthday dinner there when I was like 9 or 10. These days I only like deep-fried Oreos (I’m kidding).
But something was strange about this particular Sizzler in Ontario; the place hasn’t been updated since the 70’s or maybe even cleaned since 1981. When we sat down, I put my arm up on the table, and when I picked it back up it was stuck to the sticky tabletop. I had to use some effort and when my arm finally lifted, it sounded like peeling a fruit-roll up. When we moved to another table, same thing...but this time my pants stuck to the chair.

Imagine my reaction to the buffet. If you were to throw a chicken nugget at the window, it would shatter. People could die.

But hey! Seniors love it. They can get a whole lot of food and funny-tasting soft serve ice cream for $4 (for us 'youngsters' the same meal cost 3 times that.) The only thing cheaper would be hanging out at Costco, running around getting free food samples. Next time we meet them, I'm requesting Costco or Bingo.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Wanted: Professional Potty Consultant

Help! Does it exist? If not, somebody please invent this job? I want to just hire somebody to come into my house for a day or two and get my daughter to use the "le' toilet". Is that too much to ask? I would pay good money for service like that and I'm sure there are millions of other parents like me too who want to flip the bird to Huggies/Pampers world headquarters in Butte, Montana (Actually, I don't know where they really are, but Butte, Montana would seem fitting).
My daughter has this "thing" with kicking, screaming, and turning around while changing her diaper. Poop smears; I get it on my hands, the Banana Republic shirt (just wrong!)...the other day one hard poop marble jumped (escaped the diaper), then rolled away across the floor...It's crazy and I just want it to end. Now.
There has to be a 12-month old potty-trained kid somewhere in this world.