Thursday, March 29, 2007

Random Thoughts For Another Thursday

What? Men Can Get Pregnant?
I noticed this morning that my new bottle of men’s vitamins have a warning label that says “WARNING: Do not use if pregnant or lactating.”

Men That Shower In Cologne
There’s this “higher-up” I work with that literally smells like I’ve just drank a bottle of Eternity for Men after talking with him for 2 minutes. And then oddly enough, I can go to lunch with people and then they’ll ask me “do you wear Eternity for Men?”

The Police: in concert!
The last concert the wife and I attended was Lionel Richie back in November for her birthday. That was the most I’ve ever spent (or should be spent) for any concert – nearly $500 for the two of us - but we were in orchestra seats, and the wife has practically been the leader of his fan club since 'Dancing On The Ceiling'. With my birthday coming up (April 6th) I've looked into possibly getting tickets for The Police and they’re $250 each (not counting Ticketmaster’s no special service, service fee’s) for seats that are about 3 big rigs away from the stage.
I like The Police, but that that much. When concert tickets prices are more than Cirque Du Soleil and there’s no half naked bendable frenchy’s, then it's a rip-off.

Workin' The New Shiny Grillz
I just got my invisalign braces last week- has anybody tried these? Getting them on/off for the first few days was really tough. I was even contemplating ditching the entire program because eating became such a HUGE chore (I was starting to lose weight by not eating as much.) After a week it isn’t so bad, cleaning them seems to be the real hassle since I didn’t buy their $100 cleaning kit (with the price you pay, that part should be included!) This girl at work has some too and recommended soaking the aligners in hydrogen peroxide…? I may be out on a limb here, but isn’t that stuff lethal? I think she wants to kill me.

She Sings Like A Little Angel
Is there nothing cuter than your kid singing? I honestly don’t. L.A. Daddy made a little video of his daughter singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” which by the way, helped me learn the lyrics (if you’re a new reader, I haven’t been to many baseball games...) My own daughter has been singing the “Happy Birthday” song nearly all week and I swear, when she sings – bunnies, kittens, and unicorns sliding down rainbows appear and I get butterflies in my stomach.
Then they all die from the smell of Eternity for Men.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

CHiPs: Ponch and John Would Be Very Upset At Today’s California Highway Patrols' Lack Of Integrity

Go ahead; ask me how my weekend was? It was going pretty well -- the weather was in the 70’s, my daughter just got a clean bill of health from the doctor on Friday (pneumonia is gone!) and I paid a visit to the accountant to do the taxes (we’re getting a refund… not a lot by any means, but hey! It sure beats OWING) Yup, things were good until I got a speeding ticket on the freeway.

I know this happens to good people (like myself) all the time - it’s a fact of life. But this is different, I’m actually angry! The California Highway Patrol Officer (Garner, I.D. No. 18233) COMPLETELY LIED on how fast I was going? Yeah, yeah, everybody says that – but in truth, this policewoman did!

O.K. I admit it, as I always have - since the age of 16 (what seems like a very, very long time ago), I’ve gotten 3 rightfully deserved tickets. The last one was about 4 years ago driving through the open Arizona desert around midnight going 85. When the good sergeant walked up, I pretty much told him “yup, I’m guilty.” The one before that, maybe 7 years ago, speeding on 'the 101' going 69mph (BTW- nobody goes 69 on ‘the 101’ unless you want to die!) I was cool with it. I was the idiot who didn’t slam the brakes like everybody else when the “B&W” appeared and moved-up slowly to the front of the herd. But again, I totally admitted it - that good officer wrote the ticket as 69mph in a 65mph zone and we both made a joke about the weather (it was a feel-good moment.)

Fast-forward to today, I’m going 72-73mph, on ‘the 210’ in Pasadena. I know this because I was using cruise control off and on. I get pulled over, (side note- a ‘sinister sedan’ was in the next lane over, going way faster – who gets pulled over? Scary car or the little bright red one with the white roof and prominent car seat in the back? But whatever, I got caught.) What was I saying? Oh, so the policewoman immediately asks for my info, walks away for 5 minutes, and comes back with a ticket that says 80mph!! Huh?!?
I asked if she paced me or used radar (very nicely) – she said she was following right behind me for awhile (which she wasn’t, I saw her jump over a few lanes.) but I signed the citation anyway. Then she told me very sternly to go to traffic school, which I would likely do anyways. But you know, I wasn’t going 80. The wife even knew that looking at the giant speedometer in the middle of the MINI dashboard. I want the truth to be written down, not some embellishment of the truth, then I’ll do traffic school. Why? Because I want police to be honest, is that too much to ask for?
I am seriously considering showing up on the court date to contest the speed, but after some reading it looks like it’s definitely a case of “he said, she said”, and 99% of the time you loose no matter what (unless of course, aliens plan to invade earth that day.)
I know this might be insignificant to some, but I really want the police to be truthful, especially with everyday unimportant things like giving speeding tickets because if they aren’t honest with the small things, how much of the big important stuff is embellished or (gasp) fabricated?! It’s things like this that makes regular people, like me, highly cynical of law enforcement.
I keep wondering why in the world would this Highway Patrol woman embellish the speed. Does this make her look cooler back at the base? Do they make more money off you for every mph over the speed limit? Or do they really want to make me look like a true ‘beyond a shadow of a doubt’ criminal speeder?

Has this EVER happened to anybody? Seriously I’m looking for advice. FIGHT ‘the man’ (or ‘the woman’) – I really want the POLICE to be trustworthy, people my daughter (and I) can have assurance in.
Or do I just shut up, pay the undisclosed fine (there goes that ‘tax-return’…), do some traffic school online or at the local comedy club, and hope somebody else deals with it one day?

On a light-hearted note- when the patrolwoman gave me my ticket, my daughter yelled out “THANK YOU!” The patrolwoman didn’t even react.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Random Thoughts For Thursday

The Baby Monitor Is Worse Than The Alarm Clock
If a tree fell in a forest (in China) our baby monitor could probably hear it and then start flashing like a disco (we have one with those sound light bars.)
In the early days if the kid even breathed funny two light bars would glow like an RPM meter and the wife or I would rush like EMT’s to her room - checking for signs of life, room temperature, aliens, etc. But now, we’re a bit more relaxed. We wait until we get at least 5 bars of light before even thinking about getting up. In fact, the bars have to stay at 5 for a whole minute (or more) and then one will wake the other to go check. Does that make us bad parents?
Although, I must say, when she was sick recently, we’ve been on EMT/paranoid alert again, just like the old days.

Borat Was A Disappointment
We ‘Netflixed’ it. I was really anticipating this movie from all the word-of-mouth and reviews; I even started laughing prematurely at the DVD menu. In reality, there were only like 4 or 5 funny parts (The egg laying, rodeo, the feminist interview) everything else seemed too staged. I honestly felt a little ‘duped’ – like that Blair Witch Project movie.
The part where he wrestles the fat naked dude was just wrong. It gave me nightmares…I still see creepy man-boobs when I close my eyes…(shiver)

Vacation Where?
Our original plans to France this fall changed when the wife decided to go back to school for her MBA beginning this summer (which is very exciting; more on that later...) So now we’re scrambling for someplace to go this May/early June. We know what we want – island, beach, nothing “touristy” but not empty. So far we’re exploring Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Antigua, and/or Costa Rica (although that may be too hot in May/June.) The kid just got her passport on Saturday, which she is very excited about – walking around with the little book pointing at the picture.
Has anybody been to any of those places, or have any recommendations?

Bendable French Canadians
Cirque Du Soleil is coming back to L.A. this August for their new show “Corteo”. The wife and I love going to these things. We’re contemplating taking our daughter who will be 2 by then (or for those exact-age people “25 1/2 months”.) We think she’ll sit through it since their shows are usually loud, bright, crazy music, and people swinging all over the place like monkeys. Normally we wouldn’t have considered it, but they sell tickets for kids as young as “2” which has us wondering – what is the “right” age to introduce this to kids?

Funny Things The Kid Is Doing
We just bought her Christmas gift now (I know 3 months late - we’re bad parents, but she didn’t know) which was a fancy little kitchen. She loves it, although now if you’re anywhere near it when she’s cooking “bloop” (her word for "soup" and the only thing on the menu) she forces you to sit down and eat.
She’s learning new words and sentences daily - “I want that”, “I’m splashing”, “Sit down”, “I want crackcorn (Popcorn)”, “Sushi!” and repeats that one line of ‘Old McDonalds Farm’ - “E.I, E.I. -O” about a million times each day. Even in her sleep (we can hear on the baby monitor…)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

So What? Your Kid Is Crying, So Is Ours. It’s All-Good.

We had some friends and their ‘youngin’s’ visit from the far away country of San Antonio, Texas this week. We like these people, we’ve known them for years and I think they think we’re cool because we’ve been to the Alamo once.

As with most visitors, we spent some time down at Disneyland (aka, ‘the tantrum capital of the world’) I’m not exactly sure what it is about the place, but I’ve seen more kids crying there than any History Channel show on child labor of the 1800’s.
In retrospect, the place can be too much for toddlers – the waiting in lines, the $14 “spinning lights” that you don’t buy them, the $8 chicken strips they wanted then don’t eat, the kid wanting out of the stroller to run into crowds... It’s enough to make any parent break down.
The friends’ 16-month old and our 20-month old were in peril mid-day. These kids needed naps before they turned into nukes. So the other dad and I did what most fathers do when it’s our turn to mind the kids when they sleep while the women were out hunting for game (or shopping.) We headed for the nearby hotel bar (at the Grand Californian) and relaxed outside in a quiet area, on rocking chairs, talking about Football (Ha! Just kidding.) Actually I think he’s the only dude in Texas that doesn’t watch Football.

Later in the day, the kids were at it again. The whining, the screaming, the crying, but something was different – strangers don’t even twitch when a kid is in breakdown mode, which is something we’re not entirely use to. It was practically expected there.
Usually while out some childless couple, single, or empty nester always shoot us some kind of “stink-eye” as if saying “Can’t you control your kid!!” if the kid breaks down in public. Like in some restaurant, we go into panic mode where we make some impulsive emergency exit plan (“you finish eating, I’ll take her outside, I’ll be back in 2 minutes, pay the bill, GO! GO! GO!!)
Parents would make great CIA agents because we’re trained on sensing circumstances and making quick decisions that produce immediate results (or people will die!!)

Being among that crowd with the freedom to relax almost makes the price of admission worth it. Almost.

EXTRA! Some Disneyland tips we found for those like us traveling with young kids:
1. If the kid needs a nap in a quiet place, park the stroller inside (or outside in the garden) at the Grand Californian Hotel. There are rocking chairs outside and nice comfy sofa’s inside and the waitresses will even serve you booze!
2. If you can, do the Fantasyland rides first thing in the morning or after 8pm (if the kid hasn’t fallen asleep yet.)
3. The parks have this place called a Baby Center where you can pretty much nurse, feed, or escape.
4. If the kid is into it, do the Princess lunch at Ariel’s grotto (make reservations.) The girls loved it and surprisingly it wasn’t expensive ($20 for salad, entrĂ©e, dessert and drink) and toddlers under 3 eat for free (they’ll make you some special little plate at no charge.) Oh, and the most important part - the Princesses are pretty easy on the eyes (which always makes it more enjoyable for us dads.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Men Are From Mars, In-Laws Are From Uranus

Yes, I know I haven’t posted in awhile. When the kid is recovering the world slows to a crawl; and when some in-law visits while the kid is sick – the world stops (and a giant magnifying glass appears…)

The wife’s sister came out for a visit over the weekend from Georgia-bama (my term used for inhabitants on the border of Georgia and Alabama), which always makes for an interesting time. The majority of in-laws live in rural areas of the Midwest/South. As with any in-law visit, it always seems we’re been examined by everything we do or say so they can go home and tell everybody about it (or worse – blog about it.)
They view us (I should rephrase that - ‘me’) as some kind of circus freak who isn’t like them. I’m not sure exactly why that is after all these years – I breathe and eat chicken from a bucket just like them.

After some reflection I think this stems from the first time I met the wife’s family a long time ago, ‘the men’ were in the TV room and ‘the women’ in the kitchen. With a shove by the pre-mrs, I went to join the herd of men sitting in front of the TV with something called “Foot-ball” on:

Future In-Law #1: (quick glance at me, then eyes on TV) Who’s your team?

Me: My ‘team’? That would definitely have to be the “A” Team… (big smile, ‘thumbs up’)

(TV mysteriously silenced, all eyes on me like I’m Richard Simmons holding a raw hotdog and gripping a sparkler from my butt cheeks)

(TV resumes life, all eyes on TV)

Future In-Law #2: You a “Buck”, ”Eyes” fan?

Me: Buck-eyes? What’s that?

(*gasps* even from the young children in the room -- Really, really uncomfortable LONG silence….)

Future In-Law #1 to #2: (loud whisper) What’s wrong with this guy?

So now anything I do is freaky ‘she-at’, even if I eat a cookie.
When asked what antibiotic my daughter was taking, I said Red-Bull and vodka. And we split it.

I can’t wait to hear what they all think of that!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It’s Days Like These I Wish I Had Magical Powers

Two nights ago, while the wife was at the gym and I was on kid duty (coloring and drawing), my daughter instantly became quiet and start shaking, almost shivering, while whimpering, nearly crying “Dada”.

I freaked out.

I instantly went into First Aid mode (I took a class last year), I began talking to her, making her look at me while her eyes became heavy and started closing while she muttered a few words in-between. She was breathing fine except she was really warm, almost too hot. I’ve never felt so helpless my entire life; a million things were going through my head.
I called our doctor (we have a great pediatrician office that has a 24-hour on call doctor), after a few quick questions, and some checkups, she had a fever and he gave me some instructions on how to soothe her. She was fine after an hour or so, nonetheless still uneasy with rattled nerves. I was told the body could shiver when a fever is rising (nobody warned me about this?) Thankfully it wasn’t a seizure; she doesn’t have any history of it and if it had been she would have been unresponsive and blacked out.

We watched her throughout the night virtually taking turns, with a doctor on-call waiting to see if we should take her to the local hospital.
Next day- she was fine. As if nothing happened - acting normal, playing, talking, asking for stuff she couldn’t reach. Her temperature was hovering around 100, nowhere near the 105 the previous night. We were told if she was acting normal, she should be O.K.

Last night, it happened again, nearly the same routine. Except this time led us to the local hospital where they began performing a bunch of tests on her. There’s nothing more horrible for a parent than having your kid in a hospital, crying, wanting you to protect them, and you can’t. I wished so hard that I could take her place.
Then came the waiting. Waiting for the results of all the tests while feeling like nothing else in the world matters than to see her happy, saying funny things, and playing again.

We found out she has pneumonia and everything is going to be all right (after 10 days of antibiotics and check-ups.) Later, she was back at home playing and talking to the dog. It really is hard to imagine that this was the same kid a few hours ago. Because if it were me, I would be asking for KFC, somebody to rub my feet, and maybe a t-shirt or some kind of award to hang on the wall that says “I survived. Make me cookies.”

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Wanted: Somebody To Discreetly Take Away The New Drum Set The Neighbor Kid Just Got

Actually, I think I just want to hire some muscle or “Dog: the Bounty Hunter.” I don't care what it costs - take my MINI Cooper (the oil changes are freakin' expensive anyway, and I don't even want to know what it cost to change the brakes.) This kid needs to be stopped!

Our new obnoxious neighbors just keep getting worse. We use to live in what we considered the 'best neighborhood this side of the Mississippi' or this side of 'the 5' (L.A. reference.)
The neighbors are great, most have kids (we have one too), we watch each others pets while gone, we have block parties on major summer holidays. Everybody gets along, drinks respectable wine, and we have quite a diverse set of families. Sure, the wife and I aren't 100% completely happy with our house, we would like more space and the yard is small, but we're fine with it - because it's hard to find good neighbors.

Enter the new "family". Essentially a porn producer, his teenage son, and his girlfriend (actually she's no 'girl' anymore...) She’s this middle-aged Asian woman with a bad boob job (size DD & D), dresses like Lindsay Lohan (just wrong, especially on this woman) and has some weird eyelid surgery thing going on which makes her look like a Muppet with heavy makeup (or a really bad transvestite that just walked away from a train accident.) Oh, and did I mention she owns some massage parlors around town (so I've heard...)
I’m not even going to start on the dude of the house.

O.K. I understand these people need to make a living to pay for their big fancy hoopty SUV's and LCD TV's in their gold trimmed bathroom, right? I get that. But they're not to nicest people; they're really rude to everybody and make no qualms about it, even to the point of blocking driveways.
Then they give the kid a drum set and let him play at 10pm with the window open. What's wrong with this world!?

While taking out the trash cans tonight, I saw a box for an electric guitar. Just great - I'm guessing he's scoring his dad's films with that "chika-chika, waa-waa" music...

This is no place to raise a kid.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Girl Scout Cookies Are Phat – Except Ones With Fake Sugar

Has anybody tried the new ‘Sugar-Free Little Brownies’? They’re not really brownies, they’re more like hard cookies that taste like Nyquil mixed with 2-Buck Chuck.

I tried to ‘like’ them by eating 3 - I thought my palette ‘needed to be cleansed’ or something like that, but no they tasted worse with every bite.
I didn’t know what to do with them after nearly spitting out the 3rd (I couldn’t just throw them away, some orphan in China spent hours baking them in her Easy Bake oven.) I had a few options 1-Take them back to the parent (that’s rude, it’s not his fault) 2-Stick a little sign in it that says Free Bird Food and put them in the hall at work (people love free food in the halls) 3- Use good ol’ fashion bartering—

I ran into a fellow co-worker on the way to the bathroom:

Me: Hey, did you get your Girl Scout cookies from Bob?

Co-Worker Gigi: You mean Natasha?

Me: Yeah, him too.

Co-Worker Gigi: Not yet. I got a box of Thin Mints.

Me: You’re lucky. I got the new Sugar-Free brownies that kind of taste like dog butt or licking the sidewalk.

Co-Worker Gigi: (strange look, uncomfortable pause)

Me: I’ll trade you for some Thin Mints?

Co-Worker Gigi: (pause) No, that’s OK…

Me: You sure? They taste just like Diet Coke! I’m sure your kids love Diet Coke!

Co-Worker Gigi: I don’t have any kids.

My sales tactic needs some work.

The wife tried one (or 2) last night and it had the same effect on her. She told me I deserved it for trying to get ‘all healthy’ with the Girl Scout cookies. I didn’t buy them because they were ‘Sugar-Free’, I bought them because any mention of ‘Brownie’ sounded pretty good at the time (kind of like how Popcorn Chicken sounds good about now...)
My advice to those who haven’t bought any yet – stay away from the ‘Sugar-Free Little Brownies’! And you Girl Scouts – give me some sugar (in those Brownies!)