Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Swine Flu Sucks! A Lot!!

I don’t care what the doctor says; I blame the chocolate covered bacon I bought at the Fair.

Never in a million years did I ever expect that anybody in my family, or even anybody I knew, would ever get hit with some media scare worldwide epidemic. Boy was I wrong…

My daughter’s been learning about all kinds of animals in preschool the past few months and wanted to see some “real” ones. Apparently the ones on TV, in books, or I draw aren’t good enough for her anymore.

So here I thought, “Hey! The L.A. Zoo is pretty dirty and smelly so let’s avoid the place because we could get bird flu by just walking through the turnstiles.”
And “The L.A. Country Fairy is pretty dirty, smelly, scary, and last time I was there I ate a deep-fried Oreo and nearly died near the deep-fried pork chop on-a-stick wagon.”
But 5 years ago we paid a visit to the Orange County Fair down South and saw Huey Lewis in concert.


And they have dancing cows, acrobatic horses, race car driving pigs, chickens that play ragtime on piano’s while smoking cigars… you know things people normally don’t see everyday - except if you live in Fontana. But Huey Lewis would never visit Fontana.

What could be better, right?

It all happened just after the visit to the chocolate covered bacon cart… Oh, in case you’re wondering, it’s basically salad-style bacon bits in chocolate clusters, but packaged in a Chinese take-out box. It’s like salty chocolate - Weird!
So there we were watching the Chinese acrobats holding live horses, on their heads, and then the horses were speaking Chinese and stuff (“Don’t drop us! Don’t drop us!” – I understand Chinese fluently) and then my daughter says “Daddy I’m not feeling good…”

“Don’t worry, they’re not going to drop the horses anymore…”

Two days later we’re at the doctor and while he’s telling us the news (“You’re daughter has Influenza A, subtype H1N1 othewise known as…”) I’m thinking to myself does that mean my family has to join some leprosy style camp now far away somewhere, like Fontana, separated from civilization?

Thankfully we weren’t sent to Fontana (Thank God!) It just meant my daughter was sick for 3 more days, which wasn’t too bad. But then my wife got bronchitis after getting the plague, but then recovered after the week. And fortunately nobody turned into a pig or started squealing while sleeping like I’ve heard so much about on ‘the News.’

The lesson learned: don’t ever go outside again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Man’s Man and the Modern Man

Men from generations past are much different than the ones today.

For example, my Dad was a mixture of Dwayne F. Schneider , Rambo, and MacGyver. He could fix just about anything with duct tape, the Swiss army knife on his key chain, and if needed the clothes on his back.
One time our car broke down and he used his own belt to substitute the broken engine belt. It lasted just long enough to go get ice cream and then pull into the car shop – our garage.

He looked down on people that used things like, AAA, power tools, mechanics, air-conditioning, or bottled water ("use the water hose!")

Now that I’m older and a Dad, well I get pretty excited when I can hang a picture on the wall straight. And I do it only so I can use the leveler app on my iPhone. I love that app. And I love my friends at AAA.
I’m not anywhere near as handy as my Dad especially given my track record the past few years – fixing that broken toilet (story link here) which is still kind of broken but I’ve learned to live with the hissing. And the time I changed the oil in my car (story link here) with assistance.

My iPhone now has a pretty good handyman on voice controlled speed dial. I programmed it - wait for the beep and say “iPhone, get me the handyman on the phone… now!” and it does. And then I say, “Now continue playing more Depeche Mode songs” and it does.

My daughter just got a bike for her birthday and the little girl next door got one on the same weekend too. So two other Dads’ and me were outside on the driveway trying to put these things together with no luck for about an hour. Why 1,200 pieces is beyond me! They might as well just pack the box with raw sheet metal, flower stickers, and pink paint.
Anyhow there we all were, me with my iPhone looking up the manufactures website to send a complaint email, and the other guys with all sorts of tools spread out all over the ground. Some still in fancy cases all shiny and new, perfectly organized by size, make, and color.
After I sent my complaint email, I looked up and realized how mortified my Father would have been if he were around.

“What's wrong with all of you!? AND with tools that are organized and NOT just thrown in a paper bags and jars? Bunch of communists!”
He probably would have run us all over in his 1978 truck still being held together with a roll of duct tape.

I felt ashamed.

Ashamed for not knowing what to do. Ashamed for not paying attention more to my Dad when I was growing up. Ashamed that these guys were my neighbors. Ashamed that my child is growing up without a Dad that can to put a simple 1,200 piece bicycle together in 12 minutes flat like the instructions say it should. Ashamed because the happy little girl pictured on the box probably has a Dad that put that bike together with raw sheet metal and pink paint in his sleep.

“Stop!” I yelled to the other guys. Then after the beep I shouted, “iPhone, get me the handyman on the phone… now!”

"Daddy attached the stickers!"

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday Sunshine Sparkles Princess Ballerina Fairy Olivia Newton-John!

(It’s that time of year again; my annual letter to my daughter on her birthday.)

Miss Bean! Or as you now call yourself “Sunshine Sparkles Princess Ballerina Fairy”,

Happy 4th Birthday! I say this with both enthusiasm and sorrow as the year has flown by far too quickly. I know it’s cliché to say but I really can’t believe how fast these 4 years have gone by. I still remember the day you were born (with the attacking Ninja’s) like it was yesterday.

A few things I’ve enjoyed the past year watching you grow:
  • Stories of your imaginary sisters Sauna and Nana from Cloud Mountain, and their baby brother Lightening Bubblegum.
  • Our trip to Paris and the experience through your eyes.
  • How excited you get doing chores, helping, and putting stickers on your chore chart.
  • Asking for a cat and then drawing pictures of you two playing. It didn't work but I admire the effort.
  • Listening to you sing just about anywhere and ballet dancing in the aisles of stores without even thinking.
  • The tea parties you throw while dressed up like a Fairy or Princess.
  • Playing restaurant in the car on the way to school by taking meal orders and telling your mommy and me the specials of the day - like "Tree Pie."
  • Painting and drawing together. Seeing your vivid imagination at work.

Your favorite things at this moment:

The color Pink. Souplantation. Music from Elvis, Bee-Gee’s, and Coldplay. Movie night on the giant screen with the neighbors, any art projects that we do together, Ballet. Anything that has to do with Paris. Making crafts and pictures for friends. Playing games on the iPhone and Wii. Making Pizza’s together while singing Tom Jones songs. Anything that has to do with Ariel or Silvermist.
Watching DVD’s Blue Hawaii, Little Mermaid, Fantasia 2000, The Three Caballeros, and AristoCats over and over again.

Tonight on the eve of your birthday as we made, of course ‘pink’, cupcakes for your preschool class I realized how much I’m going to miss you at 3. But at the same time I’m looking forward to the memories waiting for us when you're 4.

You may be a year older, but in my eyes I’ll always see that cute little baby girl with those big eyes, huge smiles, and silly belly laughs - even when your 30.