Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Workplace Holiday Party – Bad DJ’s, Free Alcohol, Picking Fights With Dwarfs And Home By Midnight

Last night was the big party, I love these things – it gives me a chance to talk with people I normally don’t chat with on a daily basis (in case you don’t already know - I’m a ‘talker’) Meet co-workers significant others, which is always interesting, for some you can tell why they never leave work; others you feel really sorry for. And it gives those of us around the office a sneak peak as to who’s on the ‘way out’ (drinking like nobody’s business, doing crazy stuff like breakdancing to “Cool and the Gang” or “Celine Dion-club remix”) or on the ‘way up’ (hanging out in the VP’s circles, laughing real loud like Pee-Wee Herman at unfunny jokes.) It also gives us a chance to see which VP’s assistant will be drunk of her/his butt, freak dancing with a busboy.

This one was held at a trendy club in Hollywood, the kind where they hold the line outside to make it look like it’s “happenin’” inside (with Rog and Rerun.) I hate it when they do that- what are we 21 year-olds? I don’t think so! - I have a kid, and dream of going to bed at 10pm these days. It just irritated us since it was just our company taking over the place and it was cold outside (did I mention its been in the 30’s at night? This is L.A.- things like that don’t happen here. The earth is very angry.)

Anyhow, it was fun. We stayed out until our $50 ran out on the babysitter meter, I talked so much yelling over “Beat It” and Madonna’s “Holiday” that I lost my voice, and we were given extra cocktail tickets since the HR woman knows my wife and I pretty well. Other than that, pretty uneventful – I know all of you were hoping for a Christmas party with orgies, heated debates over how a Lexus really is just a Toyota (plus 30k), and a drunken boss who picks fights with midget bouncers (in high heels), etc. Me too…maybe next year we’ll invite Willie Ames and Charo.

Pssssst! By the way...we're leaving for Disney World with the wife's family for Christmas and New Year's, so no blogging fo' me. Take a break and spend some time with the family. And if you happen to find a Nintendo Wii....let me know.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Being Up At 5:30 A.M. Isn’t What It Use To Be

Boy, there sure is nothing quite like waiting in a line, in 32-degree weather waiting for a Nintendo Wii at the local Best Buy that makes you feel like a parent at Christmas. I stood out there wondering – is this what it’s going to be like when my daughter wants some “hot” hard-to-find toy in the future?
I was about 73rd in line and down in front were parents who were camped out in tents (yes, tents and stoves) since 4pm yesterday. We all heard that this place was getting a HUGE shipment this morning, the last before Christmas.

I was chatting it up with the other parents around me for a while; each was trying to convince the other why they should get one before the other. I swear it could have been its own reality show—it went something like this:

Dad ‘Shady Looking’: (looked like he closed the bar a few minutes ago) "If I don’t get my son one of these, he won’t talk to me for another 3 years - he’s 8." (eyes shift around)

Mom in Puffy Christmas Sweater and Snowman Scarf: "It’s this or laptop for my kid. This is my 8th time waiting before the store opens. If I don’t get one before Christmas, I’ll kill." (she stares at ME)

Mom Heavy Smoker With Deep Voice: "I work all the time, if I get this then my kids will stop bothering me." (takes another puff)

Mom Who Looks Like She’s 11: "My son wants this so he can make friends (puts her head down) he doesn’t have any."

Grandfather Short Pudgy: "This is for my straight-A grandkids…if these S.O.B.’s don’t open that door; I’m going to kick all of their asses! " (fist in the air, then looks at ME)

Mom With 1 Gallon Steel Coffee Mug: "This is for my 5 boys; I can only afford one gift. I was down at the Target, they have 2 policemen, one was my 2nd ex-husband…so I came here. (smells coffee) Did I mention I have health problems?"

Dad With Glowing Bluetooth Headset: "I’ve got my wife at Walmart, Grandma at Costco, older son at Circuit City, if we don’t get one - I’m mailing bombs to Nintendo..." (yells into headset "GO!, GO!, GO!)

Dad Who Didn’t Move Or Acknowledge Anybody During Entire Time: (talks without moving) ..."I wonder if the police are going to show up this time. Because if they don’t (unintelligible)….." (then looks at ME)

(heads turn, all eyes on me)

Me: This is for me. (thumbs up!)

In case you’re wondering, none of use ended up getting one -the store only had 24. Once they yelled out the news I ran to the car and locked the doors (I wasn't sticking around.) And if my daughter wants something that's hard to find in the future, I'm wrapping cash in a box.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Who’s That Sexy Man In The Mirror With That Shiny 'Iced' Gold Grill?

I guess I can reveal my secret to everybody since Dad Gone Mad revealed his. I’m getting braces in a few weeks, but unfortunately not the kind I want: a gold grill with diamonds that read “Who’s Yo’ Daddy” - the wife doesn’t think that’ll go over well because “technically” I’m not everybody’s daddy.

My bottom teeth got a little bad after I kept making excuses for 11 years about getting my wisdom teeth taken out (sidenote- why in the world are they called that "wisdom teeth"?!) and when I finally did get them removed, the aftermath wasn't so pleasant. I'm a little annoyed at the prospect, you'd think in the year 2006 dentist would be able to use 'lasers' or something to straighten teeth in 10 minutes or less, and then rush home to dinner in a flying car.

I’d like to think there are a lot more adults getting braces these days, but in reality there probably isn’t (actually, I don’t know, I haven’t been paid 2 million dollars the government to do a study – but I am open to the idea.) Braces have this stigma of being a 'teen-thing', so of course I’m not announcing it to people (only strangers). Thankfully somebody invented some invisible-braces (well plastic toy-looking ones, without the vampire teeth) so people don’t know your little secret and can’t tell your wearing anything- kind of like those women in those tampons commercials jumping around in white shorts on the beach during their periods.

So my scientific work begins (without millions of dollars), do any of you adults wear braces? Any with these 'Invisaligns' ?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Playing Santa With The Kids AND How I Learned 'The Truth' About Santa!

Kittenpie @ Life of ‘Pie got me thinking about this - Do most of you parents “do” the Santa thing with your kids? If so, what are your traditions and how do you reveal ‘the truth’ about Santa. If you don’t “do” Santa - why? I want to know...

I never really thought about it until today (yeah, weird I know.) My daughter is only 17-months and the only Santa-thing we do is teaching her how to call the old guys in the malls “Santa” (or any old guy with a white beard.)
In my own life, I’m a little jaded - I found out ‘the truth’ when I was around 5 or 6. It was a horrible experience. I went out to the garage on that Christmas Eve to turn on the outside Christmas lights and saw two BMX bikes (from ‘the Santa list’.) I remember standing there in shock like, “did he come early?” and then I heard an angry voice behind me yelling, “what do you think you’re doing!!” Before I could think or talk I got chewed out and sent to my room. All confused I had no idea what to think –random stuff filled my head like “God, I hope these aren’t my parents..…maybe my “real” ones will come this year to take me away”. Actually no, I thought that all the time. I think it was just simple confusion.
Anyhow, my father comes in maybe about an hour later and starts yelling at me like I robbed the corner 7-11 and tells me not to tell my brother anything about “the incident” and then goes on to say “you’re not getting anything for Christmas!”, He then left, slamming the door (I remember my framed poster of Chewbacca falling off the wall that moment and breaking – Chewbacca didn’t deserve that.)
I sat on my bed confused, “why did Santa come early and why was I in trouble. Santa must be an angry teamster.”

Low and behold, I did end up getting the bike late the next day. My parents gave it to me after my brother was riding his new bike up and down our cul-de-sac street all day with the neighbor kids while I sat in the garage and observed. But my Dad warned me “don’t tell your brother about Santa not being real”. Then it hit me – “What, he’s not real?”

Oddly around that time, my younger brother told me that he knew Santa wasn’t real. All parents lied about it to make the kids behave (yes, younger brother.) Some kid, Billy Bologna (not his real name) told him at preschool or on the street. And then he went on and told me why didn’t I just go along with it - I’d get more gifts if I did.
That’s probably the smartest thing my little brother ever said his entire life. Because God knows most of the stuff he says these days isn’t.

O.K. so tell me people? Do you still do Santa? And do you have any stories about “the truth”

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Stunt-Man Toddlers Who Look Like They’ve Battled Jackie Chan And Chuck Norris At Gymboree

This weekend, I was feeling like a pretty bad parent. A few days ago my daughter was jumping up and down, laughing and yelling in some weird language, in her crib and in the process hit her bottom lip.
It’s a little weird walking in a store, just me and the kid, and then some strange old middle-aged woman gives you a comment like “Oh my God! What happened to her!” and then looks at you -the Dad, of course, with those ‘suspicious’ eyes (you know the ones that say “I Know What YOU Did Last Summer”). Well, to tell you the truth, I felt as if my shirt transformed into a pork-grind stained wife-beater, a beer can AND a 3-day beard magically appeared on my face (like in those old Bug Bunny cartoons) that instant.
I’m not one to make excuses, normally I would have cracked something amusing like “Aliens”, “Fight with Webster”, or whatever, but in this case I told the truth hoping she would go away (the little dog in her cart wearing underwear told me that she was a serious woman.) Even though, she still gave me weird looks as she walked away behind some aisle.

Things only got worse when yesterday she started running in the garage and tripped on a doormat. When we picked her up, there was blood. Man, there’s seriously nothing worse in the world than to see your own kids’ blood (heck, I don’t even like to see my own blood!) She was fine after a few minutes, but the lip grew like a mo-fo.

Now she looks like Angelina Jolie with her two big lips. Maybe she can start a modeling career (or maybe not, she might weight too much at 23 pounds.)

I know that at 17-months (as of today!) kids are prone to all kinds of falls, slips, tumbles, etc. but in today’s world where parents get locked up for anything that resembles anything 'suspicious' - I don’t know, that’s the part that freaks me out the most.

So as of today, I’m wrapping my daughter in bubble wrap (the kind that I like to pop out of boredom to annoy the wife) until her coordination gets a little better- I don’t know maybe by kindergarten. The nice thing about this solution is not only the ultra-safety factor (people ship Picasso’s in bubble-wrap) but if she were to fall – the sounds of “pops” will warn the wife and I of any impeding danger.

O.K. so am I being paranoid here, or should I start making getaway plans to Mexico? I can’t be the first parent ever to go through this…

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A 'Novel' Idea From Mrs. (KFC) Chicken

To fill everybody in - Mrs. Sanders (from Chicken and Cheese) started this "Mother of all Memes" basically she starts a story, and then passes (tags) it to somebody else, and then that person passes (tags) it...you get the idea. It's my turn. If you're not interested in reading this, there's this pretty funny video on YouTube that had me cracking up earlier today - go check that out. For the rest of you, read on:

(by Mrs. Chicken @ Chicken and Cheese)
I thought I saw him at the grocery store. It was raining that afternoon, and he had an umbrella. The red and white triangles that made up his portable shelter partly obscured his face, but I caught a glimpse of his eyes. Those eyes. Huge, blue and empty.

When he left me I remember searching their vast cerulean expanse for some sign, some flicker of love. It rained that day, too. Why does it rain when you lose someone you love? My tears left him unmoved. I don’t know why that surprised me.

The baby kicked in my cart and I let my gaze fall on her face. Her father’s eyes stared back at me. Green eyes, warm and full of life.“Mamma?” she said. “Mamma!”

(by Binky @ 24/7)
The question-turned-exclamation jarred me out of my reverie. There was pressure in my temples and behind the hazel tint of my colored contact lenses. "Mamma's here," I cooed. My voice was a manufactured kind of soothing. I leaned in and brushed a kiss over Bethany's forehead, where a drop of rainwater hung like the tiniest Swarovski pendant. Its chain was made of fine blond locks.

"What do you think, baby girl?" I asked as I pulled her into my arms. "Is it time to go home?" Her searching legs and center of gravity found all the right contours as she settled atop the jut of my hip. I tugged at her coat until the hood framed her face, then I stepped into the rain. A small deluge of water streamed off the curve of the lowercase "o" on the Save-A-Lot sign and landed at the back of my neck. I could feel the tag from my shirt sticking sharp and soggy to my skin.

I sighed against Bethany's face and tried to avoid the bigger puddles on our way to my twenty year old Civic, which was miraculously close. One row over and three cars ahead, I saw a familiar red and white umbrella spanning the gap between an open door and the driver's seat of a rusty 4Runner that had to be as old as my own piece of junk. They guy I'd mistaken for Paul sat sideways and watched the rain as he talked into a cell phone.

(by me)
Hastily reaching into my purse holding Bethany firmly, I could faintly hear the sound of his voice. His mumbled words were almost too reminiscent of Paul’s. The way he laughed as he said “Gouda” into his plastic phone brought back imagery of the two of us, sitting together last winter on the living room floor, sipping Merlot watching “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” Occasionally Paul would jokingly burst out vocabulary in his comedic English accent – expressions like “Don Perignon!” and “Caviar Dreams!” oh, how I loved Caviar and that faux bear skin rug.
With keys finally in hand, stumbling to open the rusty car door, I could sense this strangers stare against my cheek. His phone chatter abruptly ended and I could hear the sounds of squeaking cowboy boots crushing the wet pavement.

I tag Occidental Girl to continue (Note to Occidental Girl - "Cowboy Boots" maybe with spurs?...just a suggestion)

Participants List (go to Chicken and Cheese if you want to participate):
Occidental Girl
Mrs. Maladjusted
Desitin's Child
Tater And Tot
Word Girl

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

When You Smell Alcohol On The Dentist, It May Be Time To Scream.

I started getting a little nervous this morning while waiting in “the chair” when the dentist walked in late and told the assistant (in a loud whisper) she was out until 1am closing a local restaurant bar – and she had a headache to prove it.
When she got closer to me, she smelled like my old great uncle ‘Pete’ (the one who hung out at the racetracks, smoked cigars for breakfast, and always offered strangers cookies), which made me even more nervous. I started to scream, on the inside, when she dropped the tools on the floor and said the sound of the metal tools hitting the floor made her want to squeal like a fish (yes, 'fish')
Her usual unintelligible slurring didn’t bother me though (she has some Persian accent... at least I think it’s Persian – or could be from some remote village in Canada) my wife and I usually make jokes later about things we think or thought she said to us like, “My horse is in the bathroom” or “Brittany needs to buy underwear.” In reality, she’s actually saying stuff like “Rinse your mouth in the bathroom” or “Brittany needs to buy underwear.”

I've always had bad luck with dentists, they all creep me out and my wife and I have been through a lot. These people are hard to find. This one has been pretty good over the last year; I’m almost inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt - this time. But if this happens again, the search is on. Although, I’m sure she would be a good drinking buddy down at the racetracks.
What would you do….?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Art Of Christmas Shopping Procrastination: Don’t Think About It And It’ll Go Away!

So what did you do over the weekend? Perhaps you, like millions of others, did some Christmas shopping? What did “I” (and family) do you might ask? Well, surely not Christmas shop. We did what the French do best - just ignored it and did something fun (minus the cigarettes). We went to San Diego. There sure is nothing like 78-degree, cloudless, sunny weather that gets you into the “Christmas Spirit” (I even had Hot Chocolate with marshmallows- you can’t get more “Christmas” than that!) Although I can’t honestly say the weather was that good all the time; it did get down to 50-degrees at night (Brrrrr! – practically snow weather.)

We haven’t been down to San Diego in about 4 years, and we heard about this event they have called “Christmas at the Prado” (which was renamed “December Nights”) up at their Balboa Park area. We had a good time, Balboa Park is an absolutely amazing place – it looks like a piece of Spain landed in the area. Ornate Moorish/Spanish Renaissance architecture with towers, manicured gardens, great city views, and enough museums to make any 16-month old scream from boredom. Add Christmas lights and about 4 million people there that night (well, not 4, maybe ‘3.4’) and you have quite a bash.

The best part was walking past the (lonely) Atheist Coalition booth that had a bunch of creeping looking, sour-faced hippies working it and then about 100 feet up the way was some crazy over-the-top Jesus freaks wearing t-shirts and holding signs like “Repent!” When I passed the dude with the sign, I told him that he should talk to the dudes down at the booth - they needed Jesus (I would have liked to have seen that conversation...)

One thing I really like about San Diego which is much different than L.A. -- the people -- they're much friendly there. Total strangers will just chat with you as if they’ve known you for a while. You don’t get that in L.A. unless you know them somehow (or you just had a fender-bender or sell crack).
Or it could be the fact that if you have a kid (or a dog) people deem you as “approachable”.

What about all of you? Does having a young kid (or dog) make it easier for strangers to talk with you?