Wednesday, December 31, 2008

QUESTIONS THE THEOLOGIANS NEVER ANSWER

From my Noodle, looking at the creche at our local church:

"Mommy, who changed the baby Jesus' diapers?"

Frankly, we're at a loss on that one. Any ideas?

HECKUVA RIDE

It's all ended with me and mine in a better place than we were at the end of '07...which is nice...but as a creature of habit, I'd rather not make a habit of the kind of scrambling we experienced in the fourth quarter.


I remain a mighty lucky man, this much I know.




Thank you all for your continued readership, patronage and pestering. If your 2009 brings you half the good fortune I've had this year, you'll be doing mighty well indeed.

Sláinte and santé, and long may your big jib draw.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

WHAT ARE WE DOING NEW YEAR'S EVE?

You're kidding, right? See the time stamp on this entry? It's about when I've gone to bed for almost my entire non-collegiate life.

I haven't seen a Times Square ball drop live but once* since 1981, and that was only because Noodle was a baby at the time and had woken up needing a diaper change at five 'til midnight.

But you kids have your fun. Just stay safe. Lotsa knuckleheads out there.

* - in 2000 we cheated and watched the St. John's, Newfoundland ball drop at 10:30.

Monday, December 29, 2008

DO YOU SEE A GIANT BUG ON MY MINIVAN?

Been getting calls all day at work from an apparently elderly woman who keeps misdialing the exterminator by one number.

One more call and I think I'll ask if she'll babysit the kids in exchange for me going over to her place and having a whack at whatever's infesting it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

ON THE KIDS' PLAYLIST

Beast: "All That Heaven Will Allow" - Bruce Springsteen

Noodle: "The Pigtown Fair" - Tom Paxton

Friday, December 26, 2008

FOLLOWER NUMBER SEVEN, WELCOME!

Michael down in Florida has picked up on the unalloyed genius we spew forth here, which means that with five more followers I am officially entitled to a messiah complex - although the kids will then think I'm made of loaves and fishes and demand I go pick up that toy they threw into the Hudson, and my wife will get grouchy if I go to the liquor store when I can just make a perfectly good riesling out of that bottle of Poland Spring in the fridge.

This is why Jesus never got married. Family life is too much of a time-suck if you're going into the savioring business.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

CHRISTMAS TUNEAGE

Charles Brown:



Gordon Lightfoot:



Ray Charles:



Stevie Wonder:



That'll do ya a little, if you've had it up to here with "Wonderful Christmastime" by now.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

IN WHICH I GET ALL McGYVER

So tonight at dinner Noodle accidentally bit her tongue. Really gave it a good chomping as only a five-year-old can do. The standard cold packs and other refrigerated soothers were not remotely cutting the mustard...what's a dad to do?


Snapped one of these right off the gutter for my little girl, I did.

Oh, it's not perfectly sterile; of this I am aware. But having told her in the past not to lick the cat, not to eat off the floor, not to drink her bathwater, not to play by the litterbox, not to chew on the DVD case, and not to put the driveway chalk in her ear...how bad could an icicle be?

Reminds me of a song...


UPDATE: Woot! I've just received word this little solution of mine will be featured next week over at parenthacks.com. At last, my fifteen minutes arrives - and remember, you read it here first!

GETTING SN...NO, WAIT, IT'S WIND

So that means it's single digit windchills. You think that's cold? You have no idea what cold is.

The forecast for Christmas Day in Ojmjakon? Overcast, high 29 below.

Christmas Eve? 63 below.

Wow. Just...wow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

GETTING YET MORE SNOW

What a weekend.

25 inches of snow and counting. Forecast says it's all outta here by nightfall, so at least I have time to plow and get out to work at a reasonable time. Give it a day or two and it'll be excellent snow-fort snow. I've already built a most excellent snow fort. It looks a little like this:

And let me tell you: 10,000 uruk-hai are no match for a three-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

STILL GETTING THE SNOW

What am I supposed to do, blog about my plowing and shoveling techniques?

Um, okay.

The trick, as I see it, is advance preparation - before it snows, park your cars on the parts of the driveway that are the biggest pains in the kishkes and with any luck they'll stay clear. If you can find a spot where you can brush snow off the car and have it all land off the driveway, you're ahead of the game. After it snows, broom off the cars, get them warmed up and start plowing. After plowing, move the cars to their regular spots and tie up the loose ends.

Or you could get one of them newfangled garage things and make sure you're not an idiot like me who filled their garage with...I don't rightly know what.

Friday, December 19, 2008

GETTING THE SNOW

And thus, not a whole heckuva time to post much of anything. Stack up a coupla pre-Christmas-wired kids on top and you can see where the time goes -foof-.

But yeah, I'm here. Covered in icicles, but here.

Last-minute Christmas shoppers, if you make your sojourn to Amazon through that Boogershoppe link over there to your right, Amazon slides me some gold. Frankincense and myrrh, not so much.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WAITING FOR THE SNOW

Here's something to get you in the right frame of mind:

HAIL AND WELCOME

To new acolyte "momoffive". Thanks for enjoying whatever it is I've got here, and do tell your friends!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I LOVE IT WHEN THE LACK OF A PLAN COMES TOGETHER

So after the telephonically-truncated nap, I went over to Noodle's school to pick her up to be dropped off at the grandparents' while I met the missus to take care of the various legal things that we'd put off because of general parental day-to-day frenzy: wills, health care proxies, &c.

Stood there at the school like a lox until it sloooowly dawned on me that Noodle was already at her grandparents' because she was under the weather, slunk out, picked up Beast and off we went to Poughkeepsie. 9/9G traffic is many shades of evil in the afternoon, so we took the Milan-Schultzville-Salt Point route to the grandparents. Over the river and through the woods, indeed.

Dropped off the kids, got talking to my father-in-law about growing up eating brains for lunch; seems like every ethnic enclave has its old-school brains dish, and now I can add French-Canadian to the list since he grew up along the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border in Blackstone/Woonsocket, which is the largest French-Canadian area of the continent south of Montreal. All this talk of brains (braaaaaains) was grossing out my mother-in-law a bit, so I took that as a cue to make my exit and meet up with my wife.

And when I got to our meeting place the meeting was already over and done with, and I hadn't done had to be there nohow no way. Five minutes, boom, and Bob's your uncle. Which meant...

Free time. With my wife. And only my wife.

DINNER DATE!

We hadn't had one of those in...I can't keep track of the months, it's been that long.

Suffice to say there's a new entry in the Food and Drink section of the blog, and that's Peza in Hopewell Junction, in that plaza on 52 just west of the Parkway. She: the shrimp scampi pizza. Me: the macaroni & cheese with chicken and caramelized onions.

We like.

A shame it's 40 miles away from us up here in the boonies otherwise we'd be there more often, but if you're a Parkway commuter it's right there for you. Om nom nom nom, ladies and gents.

I even got a smooch at the end of the meal even though I had cheese-and-onion breath. Score!

UPDATE: my old mate Miller reminds me that Longobardi's in Wappingers is also a good one, so it's on the List now as well.

I WANT TO KNOW HOW THEY DO IT

So I get home at 1:30 today, which I figure gives me just enough time for a quick nap before I head back out on my other errands in this insanely compressed day. No message on the machine or my phone, so I can lie down here on the couch and--

RRRRRRING. RRRRRRRING.

The eye doctor. And then Nana. Aaaaand my wife.

How do they do this? How do they know? What sort of fiendish conspiracy is this, I ask you?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

RE-SCAN THOSE LINKS

I've added a few new local restaurants to the "Food & Drink" list. More to come, and you can always email me if you know any other good ones 'round here.

HOT STOVE BASEBALL

This blog is the only entry that comes up when you google the phrase "mooned Fenway Park".

Thanks, son!

(Oy, the things I do when I have a minute of free time.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

SOMETHING ELSE ONLY PARENTS SAY

Overheard just now from Beast's room:

"Don't pee on your friends. Your friends don't like it when you pee on them. Trust me on this one."

The sad thing is, once Beast masters toilet skills he'll be the neatest person in the entire house. Soon to come: extensive photographic evidence of Beast cleaning.

If he keeps this up, and maybe learns a little cooking, every mother in a four-county area will want him for their daughters. Looks, brains, charm, and he cleans? There's got to be a catch. Maybe his dad is dysfunctional.

UP AT 12:30

Celebrated the kids going to bed early just a little soon. They started waking in shifts starting at 12:30. Beast, scared of something. Noodle, potty. Beast, scared of something else.

I am told this is what happens as children's imaginations develop. We will have to teach Beast in particular how to be a brave little bear.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

STILL HERE, NO WORRIES

Just the kind of day where 20 pounds of WTF got stuffed kicking and squirming into a 10-pound bag. Nothing bad, just a lot to (not) get done.

Thank you in advance for understanding.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

NO MUTANT CHRISTMAS TREE THIS YEAR

Got our tree at Heller's Farm in Germantown this year, figuring it was the closest cut-your-own to our place. A whole bunch of real beauties up there if you're still looking, along with a few man-I-shoulda-brought-the-camera weirdo mutant trees nobody's going to buy unless they have a bit of a contrary streak and a spouse who's either equally contrary or extremely understanding.

I headed purposefully toward one specimen that looked something like the tuckamore we saw on our honeymoon in Newfoundland back in '01, but Her Awesomeness' romantic streak does not extend that far and she shot me one of Those Looks that indicated my tastes needed to be adjusted toward something a hair more symmetrical and not the Joseph Merrick of Christmas trees.

On the way back, hey! New market in Germantown! Her Awesomeness reports that the coffee at Otto's is excellent and the cookies look tremendous, but they were short on half-and-half and at 3 in the afternoon we scooped up the last two of their homemade donuts. Eh - they haven't been open ten days yet, so some hiccups are to be expected. You open up a new business and hustle, in an out-of-the-way location in this economy, some slack should be cut.

NOODLE WANTS US TO KNOW SOMETHING

"Daddy, I licked the ends of the bunch of marshmallows, and they stuck together, so now I made...a marshmallow caterpillar! And I ate it!"

FIRST, THERE'S A STORK

Wife got the "How does a baby get into a mommy's tummy?" question from Noodle last night.

Okay, it's like this: First, Daddy makes sure there's Marvin Gaye in the CD player. Then, the--

Look, the rest of you can give us a break right now about the CD player. This was six years ago, and nobody in this house was going to be shelling out that kind of money for any kind of newfangled MP3-playing computer device thing you kids go for, not when we had to be down in't mines for tuppence a day.

/get off my lawn

Friday, December 12, 2008

HOME AMID THE MESS

One bad thing about getting the power back on after it's been out for long enough is that every bit of junk that was lying around when the power went out is still there, but the alarm on the sump pump down in the crawl space at least stops howling like one of the Nazgûl once the power's back, and since the pile of scoodge-encrusted dishes in the sink are now merrily being cleaned in the dishwasher we will score this as a win for having electricity.

Oh, but has it ever thrown off Noodle and Beast's schedule. They've been down at Mémère and Pépère's having a barrel of laughs on their second straight unscheduled day off...and that means no FREAKIN' way were there going to be naps, but they WILL zonk out in The Awesomemobile (wife's car, if you haven't gathered) on the way home, making for one tremendous challenge to get them from sleeping in the car to sleeping in their beds. I'm hoping the restarted oil burner can heat the house in time, otherwise we've got a Phil Collins song on our hands:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

RIDING THE STORM OUT

So I'm spending the night down here in Fishkill because of the impending ice storm...and there's no ice. Lots of godawful blatting cold rain, but no ice. Not here, and not at home.

I'm going to feel a right idiot for asking my new employers to put me up at a hotel down here if all we get is a couple of inches of rain. Still. This is one niiiice room we're talking.

I just wish I had the wife and kids here to enjoy it, too.

Although I did get to have an entire movie theatre all to myself just now for the first time in my l life, and it was the first movie I'd seen without the kids since "Return of the King", and the first movie of any kind I'd seen in a theatre since "Cars", which just goes to show how often we get out.

"Bolt" is good stuff, if you haven't seen it yet. The non-Pixar Disney stuff is really coming along nicely, if this and "Meet the Robinsons" are any indication. "Bolt" is a good one to bring the kids to as well, although there's the odd scary part. My kids loved it when they saw it a few weeks ago, and they're five and three so make of that what you will. It clocks in at 1:30 and change so you might actually get through the whole movie without somebody needing to pee.

And now, I'm going to get me a full night's sleep, if sleeping from 7 until 3 is anybody's idea of full. Nighty-night.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

THE SECOND-CUTEST GIRL ON THE INTERNET

'Scuse us while we get all pretentious with the French subtitles and all, but this young lady wants to tell a story...


Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

TROUBLE WITH THE TREES?

Been too busy/crazed to actually go get a tree yet.

Are there any decent ones still about? Cut-your-own, pick-off-the-lot, whatever. Please advise and I'll give the relevant merchants a mention or two, soon as I finish cobbling together this meatloaf.

MARKING THE DATE

For the first time in months I was able to have an uninterrupted nap today.

You can always tell the parents who have small kids because they're the ones with "take a nap" on the list of the hundred things to do before they die.

And it's taking up half the top ten.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

OH, THAT?

My full-scale debut went well on WHUD and WBPM, or so I am told.

Imagine how it'll be when I hold the copy right side up.

THREE

That's the minimum number of disinfectant wipes it takes to remove seven years' worth of accumulated crudniks from a workspace long buried in junk.

The more you know...

Monday, December 8, 2008

HOLD THAT THOUGHT, KID

Noodle: "Look what I found on the floor, Daddy - a dime!"

Daddy: "You can keep it and put it in your bank, hon."

Noodle: "That's okay, you can keep it. I already have a lot of money."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

THINGS ONLY PARENTS SAY: ADVENT EDITION

"Jesus does not go in the fridge."

"Careful with Jesus or he'll fall behind the piano."

"I'm not sure who changed Jesus' diapers."

"Yes, it would be nice to have angels around to help change His diapers."

"I don't think any penguins were around in the manger when Jesus was born. Slugs, maybe. But they were very very small so we don't usually see them in nativity scenes."

"Honey, the nativity scene is being torn apart by our son and a stuffed kitten."

"No, angels don't buzz people for fun."

YAY, CHRISTMAS PHOTO TIME!

Either it was Noodle acting up, or Beast, or the camera, or some combination of all three. We wound up with a lot of shots like this:

After about 40 of these...we couldn't even get a good photo-session tantrum pic, that's how bad it was...we gave up and went with the one from our summer trip to New Hampshire, viz:

Pretty much a metaphor for 2008, especially the last few months. The splash at the end was a great relief.

(Photo taken at Santa's Village, Jefferson NH. Great place if you've got small kids. It's an old-school amusement park scaled for smaller children, and without any of that Disneyhassling. We like.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

PLAYMOBIL, THE GATEWAY DRUG

According to Wikipedia:

The first Playmobil sets were themed around Native Americans, construction workers and knights. The first construction worker set included a wheelbarrow, a road roller, ten traffic cones, as well as three crates holding 18 bottles of beer. The German Ministry of Youth intervened in response to this set's packaging, which showed two Playmobil figures discussing their beer consumption (-"That's my fifth
bottle today." -"Don't worry, we've got enough beer.")
[1]
Which brings us to the Playmobil nativity set brought home by Her Awesomeness for the kids. Check the size of the flagon the third wise man is hoisting there:

Duuuude. We saw the star and figured there had to be a totally sweet after-hours party or something!

This nativity scene isn't for the itty-bitty ones (<3)>

Friday, December 5, 2008

MENTAL HEALTH BREAK

Ladies and gents, the Benny Goodman Quartet with Lionel Hampton and Gene Krupa.

STRING THEORY, ANYBODY?

No matter how I try, no matter how many times I watch my wife do it, I cannot fold a fitted sheet. In my hands it winds up looking like origami crafted by a drunk in a hurricane.

Clearly there is advanced physics involved here that is beyond my ken.

PARENTHOOD ABHORS A VACUUM

Last month when I landed my new job, I set this week up so that I'd be off today and have one last free day to tie up loose ends before sallying forth in full regalia. It'll be a long time before I rack up any vacation time.

Beast conveniently filled that bit of space with a technicolor-yawn stomach bug, and the mechanic did his part to fill the household's newly-acquired budgetary space with an "oh by the way you need your 30,000 mile service and that'll be four-five-six-fitty or so..."

...so all that loose-end-tying will have to be shoehorned into some other day as I ensure that Beast has a restful day without any of that knees-bent-running-around-advancing-to-the-barf-bucket behavior.

It. Never. Ends.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

NO, SANTA'S NOT BRINGING YOU JARTS

The Cool Mom Picks Safer Toy Guide is out. Lovely stuff, too - and it's a handy dads' guide too since I'm the kind of Santa who's at the point where he'd give his kids a rusty chainsaw for Christmas long as it wasn't encased in an impermeable plastic bubble, sixty twist ties and a mile of packing tape.

A SWELL FIRST WEEK BACK AT WORK

Tuesday: Noodle nightmare at 1:30, insisted on staying up to see me off to work at 3:00.
Wednesday: Noodle nightmare at 1:00.
Thursday: Beast urpage at 2:30.

My new co-workers must be wondering what they've gotten into with this baggy-eyed thing that comes schlepping into the station to do the news.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

FINALLY, HUMAN FOOD AGAIN

The last of the turkey leftovers, soups, carcass bits and other assorted by-products have all been consumed - with the exception of some stock that'll come in handy in about...

HOLY CRAP THERE'S ONLY 22 SHOPPING DAYS LEFT AND I HAVE DONE BUBKES!

Er. Anyway, there's room in the fridge again and at this there was much rejoicing.

TESTIFY, SISTER

Finally. I knew chasing "balance" was a fool's errand:
Have you seen the piles in my kitchen? Have you heard my kids whine for my attention? Have you noticed the unfinished manuscript sitting on top of my desk? I don’t spend all day sitting around inside of a virtual gym, working on my virtual six-pack and flirting with virtual hotties. I spend all day running around like a freaking maniac. I schlep kids to dentist appointments and to after school activities, and I help them with homework and I make dinner every night, and I fill out camp forms and in case you haven’t noticed, I just spent three days cooking for twenty-seven people, and all of last weekend hand-sewing a Native American baby carrier for my first grader’s Thanksgiving costume at school. And oh, yeah, I also, allegedly, work. So of course I’m a freaking novice at balance...
It took a session with a Wii thingy for her to figure this out, so I'm glad she arrived at the conclusion for me; I've got this odd luddite streak when it comes to gaming and gaming-related paraphernalia.

Yes, I who have foolproof Pac-Man and Asteroids strategies lodged deep within my cranium, am not all that big on video games these days.

I REMEMBER THAT GLARF BLARGLE FEELING

When the daughter wakes up at 1:30 with a nightmare and then wants to stay up because she wants to see you off to work at 3:00 and then work's okay but the drive home is a sodden clog of pointless traffic lights, and I swear there's a sensor that tells people to get on the phone and call me just as I'm drifting off into a nap...

...if anybody in the service sector is reading this, PLEASE. We in the non-9-to-5 world would rather you email us instead of calling so that we're not jarred awake by ringing phone at all hours of the day...

Gaaaah. I'm a moron. Forgot to get the milk on the way home, of course. And now it's time for Noodle's dance class and throb throb throb goes my head, where in the name of all that is holy is the Advil?

Monday, December 1, 2008

HOW TO LIVE TO 100 98

"Her recipe for a long life was to eat lashings of cream, keep fudge in the car and consume a jar of ginger snaps on the way to church."

Rest in peace, Eppie Buist.

RECALIBRATING THE CLOCK

At this time tomorrow morning, I'll be at work. Not on the air just yet, but getting the hang of things over at the new place. My first official on-air day is December 8

Which means I will have been up for around two hours already. So if any of the next day's posts are a bit off coherence-wise, I hope you'll understand that sometimes glarble forf penguin kershlump.

Hooray for once again being gainfully employed, but a month of putting Noodle on the bus while me and Beast waved her goodbye was tremendous wonderfulness, and now Beast knows a panoply of rock-star moves thanks to being home with me and accidentally switching on VH1 Classic while a Who concert was playing. My son is to pancake syrup and ketchup what Keith Moon was to alcohol, but aside from that his tastes are running more toward the keyboard-player end of things. Which is a relief, because when he gets to be my age and older I'm thinking you want to be living more like Tony Banks and less like dear Keith, who never did get to be my age.

And it looks like Beast wants to be back hanging with his pals at nursery school anyway. Dude's got a girlfriend. I can tell she's his girlfriend because a couple weeks ago when I took him to a special music day back at the nursery school, he glared at me when I called him Sweetness as I am wont to do on occasion because...


...if you're going to use a sports figure for a nickname you could do a whole lot worse, but Beast has yet to discover the glories of the NFL.

It's a shame John Facenda never did lullabies.

Friday, November 28, 2008

THE OLD TRENCHERMAN HAS LOST A STEP

No longer can I gorge on Thanksgiving as in days of yore...not with child-hoisting and mom-corralling and order-taking and whatnot. So before you go believing any urban legends, it's not the tryptophan that'll make you sleepy, and it's not the Detroit Lions. It's just plain old garden-variety exhaustion, added to in my case by all the new-job-running-around-filling-out-paperwork behavior.

You: go to Boogershoppe. Me: go to sleep.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

CAN'T...UNCURL...TOES

My wife's apple pie is that good.

I am full as a tick and will resume semi-coherent posting some time Friday, if I'm fortunate.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

UPDATED PROFILE

And having thrown some of my favorite movies up on my profile, apparently I am the only blogger within Blogger to appreciate the subtle joys of Piranha II: The Spawning.

As such, it's going to have to go into the Boogershoppe as a holiday gift the whole family will love.

(Many other items have been added as well! Anything you buy from Amazon via Boogershoppe, whether or not it's in the shop itself or at Amazon in general, means a little extra stocking-stuffer for the family here. Much obliged, as the Stranger would say.)

I'M BAAAAACK

Landed, a new gig I have.

Details to follow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ALSO, IF YOU DIDN'T NOTICE THERE TO YOUR RIGHT...

...the Boogershoppe is now up and running! Only a few items in there at the moment, things which my family already has and has found favor with, with the exception of that Genesis box set, for which I am furiously lobbying Santa Claus. You buy the stuff through me, same as you would through Amazon, at the same price regardless, and Amazon shows me a little bit of love. And therefore...

If there's something you'd like me to track down, drop a line via knockatize --at-- gmail --dot-- com and I'll try to find it and post it.

Also, for those of you trying to shop local, I'll be trying to get as much local stuff listed as possible in a local version of Boogershoppe, things that you can track down by heading to a Hudson Valley locally-owned store near you instead of to a jam-packed mall full of the sort of people who don't know better than to not walk three abreast in a mall corridor during the holiday shopping season. I'll have the local stuff up soon as I can teach myself the relevant geekery - and again, if you're a local merchant yourself drop me a line and I'll list you. If you've got graphics, what the heck, send them along and I'll try to fit them in. Free, at least until Xmas, while the space lasts.

ONLY THING MISSING IS THE CAKE LEFT OUT...

...in the rain that's falling. My least favorite weather, this cold blatting rain. Six or seven degrees colder and we'd have a proper snowstorm with wife and children all home from school and rolling around in the snow before snarfling down some hot cocoa. But this? Bleh. And just 25 miles away as the crow flies, up on Slide Mountain in Ulster County, there's 10 inches of snow so far.

Why of course this would be the day the minivan door refuses to shut when I'm trying to get Beast out of the car at the doctor's office. The good thing about this is that while I was trying to figure out what was stuck in the door, Beast was madly stomping through puddles and getting his pants soaking wet, which would not normally be a good thing except that he had just had an accident (#1), and by The Guy Code we can consider the puddle-stomping a pre-rinse.

We shan't breathe a word of this to the lady of the manor, mmkay?

So.

Dislodge stuck toy from door, finally get Beast inside, change pants, check in with front desk, into the bloodletting chamber to show son how brave Daddy is when he gets a needle pinch, back out the door, into the car, stop at the CVS, of course the vitamin/fluoride pills the boy needs are common as dirt everywhere else in the universe but here they're on six-month backorder as they are at every other pharmacy in town, back to the car, oh NO don't fall asleep YET little guy...

The heck with it. Beast and I are both feeling vaguely coming-down-with-somethingy, and that cinches things. It's officially the kind of day to veg on the couch - and we'll be making that cocoa anyway, snowlessness be damned. Take us away, Backyardigans!

Monday, November 24, 2008

YESSSS!!

The Beast has drifted off for his afternoon nap on his new day-care-center-style cot. Flawlessly. Soon as I find the cot on Amazon it'll be the first item up for sale in the Boogershoppe.

LOOK WHAT I DONE DID

While distracted by one thing or another, I came across something called animoto.com, where you can cobble together your photos with their music and geekly magic, and produce a mighty slick video - or at least slick by my old-man-chasing-you-off-my-lawn standards:



You get a 30-second freebie to put together, or you can pay $3 a pop for additional length.

AMAZING

How a five-year-old girl can pick out random items of clothing from her closet, put them on, and it looks adorable.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

14-YEAR-OLD GIRL DISCOVERS SUPERNOVA

Very cool:

Moore, a ninth-grader at Warwick Valley High, is believed to be the youngest person to identify a supernova, which is a little more impressive than your ability to find the Big and Little dippers on a clear summer night.

Moore can take astronomy next year, but she should probably teach it. "Maybe when I was four I realized there are things out there you have to explore or you're missing out," she said, surrounded by most of the 10 telescopes she keeps in her
backyard observatory. "I feel like I'm making a difference in the scientific community. That's really special."

Moore found her supernova as part of a research team led by Tim Puckett in Atlanta. Puckett has 28 people in five countries looking for subtle changes in images of the night sky taken by his telescopes. She started looking with her father, Robert, in April and spotted a dying star in September. The find has been confirmed by the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams at Harvard, which named it the very uninspiring UGC 12682. Still, her dad's over the moon about it. He bought Caroline her first scope four years ago and built the observatory with a retractable roof.

Oh, man. I can barely hang a coat hook and this guy's building an observatory for his daughter. More cool stuff here, and if you're an über-astro-geek the particulars from Caltech are here.

THE TRICK...

...is to make the purpose of the mission plain before going into the toy store.
"We're strictly checking out what Santa might be able to bring you and your brother this year, so please don't ask for anything in the store - okay, my sweet noodle?

O-KAY, daddy!"

And it worked. She was saintly. There was even an amazed "she's so good!" from one mom at the toy store. I wish I could put it down to my superior parenting skills, but please. Far as disciplinary skills go, I'm the anti-Great Santini. For once in my life I just happened to be lucid enough to lay out the situation to my daughter at the right time. At any rate, it's a small success, and now I need to chase down a Santa right quick to keep her on the beam.

Speaking of Santas, I'll be rating them locally and you are free to pitch in with your own observations of local Santas you see and I don't get to. Just drop a line, a photo, whatever to knockatize -=at=- gmail.com and we'll see how this works out.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

MENTAL BREAK

In other words, not quite a mental health break.

Watch this. It starts off adorable, then sad, then weird, then...well, just watch and prepare to laugh your buttocks off.

EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS

Been wondering if taking care of Cousin Lil for two days entitles us to an extra 1/184th of a child dependent credit for the year.

Wife and I really need time off when thoughts like that go gamboling through our heads.

Friday, November 21, 2008

SNUGGLED

Noodle and her cousin Lil are finally asleep in their bed, as is Sweetness in his room. You could shoot an insurance-company commercial with them right now, they look so content.

Hope the poor girl doesn't get to find out what an active sleeper Noodle is.

ONE OTHER THING ONLY PARENTS SAY

"Son, you can't play the guitar with your butt."

ERASMUS B. DRAGON IN THE HOUSE

Beast and Noodle were up for random reasons repeatedly last night - I can't find Ramone! says the boy, I had a bad dream Daddy and now I need a dream about feeding a baby calf says Noodle, and so on and so forth. Me, I can skate by vegging with Beast during the day, but my darling wife has to go to work and grocery shop what with Cousin Lil coming by for the weekend. Thus the title of this post, with apologies to the Car Talk guys.

Couple new tracks from The Kids' Playlist, though.

Noodle:

Strike The Bell and House Party - both Dan Zanes

Beast:

Home By The Sea - Genesis (the "sit down, sit down, SIT DOWN" part in particular)
Rock Steady - Aretha Franklin

Thursday, November 20, 2008

MORE THINGS ONLY PARENTS SAY (SALIVARY EDITION)

"Don't lick your purple rock."

"Don't lick the wall."

"Don't lick the cat."

"Don't lick the driveway."

"Don't lick the chalk."

"Don't lick your brother."

"Don't lick the mailbox."

"Don't lick the countertop."

"Don't lick the earthworm."

"Don't lick your toes."

"Don't lick the pumpkin."

"Don't lick the camera."

"Don't lick the refrigerator."

"Don't lick your paintbrush."

"Don't lick the bottle of glue."

"Don't lick the bowling ball."

"Don't lick my keys."

And the pièce de résistance :

"Don't lick your name into the dust on the car. You can't spell it yet."

THATCLOSE

...to 1000 profile views, I am. And only a few of them are me checking to see how many profile views I have. Thanks to everybody for your continued readership, and do become a Follower if you appreciate whatever it is I'm offering here.

UPDATE: we're there! Woohoo! Alert the international press and get the Grucci Brothers here stat for some fireworks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

MY SON, THE ROCK

Just got home from the doctor's and Beast's annual checkup and flu shot. Not a peep out of him when he got the needle. Ah, but tell him he's got to turn off the Yo Gabba Gabba for lunch and watch the waterworks commence.

YOU BETCHA

Hooray for insanely cold weather. Bring it on, straight through April - because when it's freakin' cold out, Noodle and Beast drop their arguments with Mommy and Daddy over what to wear, and right quick they do. I get them hustled out the door right on time and looking like a couple of Fargo extras; Noodle has even taken to talking like a little Marge Gunderson on mornings like this: "It's cold, oh yah, Daddy..."

Spent a moment wondering what'll happen if she tells her kindergarten teacher "prowler needs a jump, hon."

And here we are, and it's a beautiful day.

ABOUT TIME WE HAD A HEARTWARMER OR TWO

Tremendous job by the Krebs family of White Plains, who have adopted three boys from the Ukraine. Read the whole story here, and here in the Journal-News, and also note that in the same day's paper is a story on adopting foster kids currently living in Putnam County, with similar events taking place locally in Dutchess and Ulster as well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

COMING SOON FOR THE HOLIDAYS: BOOGERSHOPPE

Classy name, yes?

Once it's up - target date will be the Monday before Thanksgiving - the way it should work will be pretty typical: if you're buying holiday gifts online, do so through this site and I get a little kickback at no extra cost to you. It'll be an expansion of the three-item shop I've got here now - so if you're in the market for a certain Britax child safety seat, you know what to do.

Tell your friends!

IT'S IN MY HEAD

And in yours now:

A NEW FEATURE: THINGS NOT TO BRING INTO THE HOUSE

This new blog segment will be devoted to those items which you allow your children to bring into the house reasoning that oh, they're harmless enough. And then you find out the truth.

We begin with a seasonal item: the humble acorn.

No, not the ACORN we heard so much hollering about during the campaign season, merely the ones that fall from oaks and their relatives this time of year. And are collected by youngsters around the nation, especially certain five year old princesses who shall go nameless here.

And are brought into the house and kept in an old coffee can until such time comes as Daddy can dig a hole or two in the yard and plant them.

Except for one.

Which will roll into a quiet nook or corner of your home, there to rest until the cats find it at two in the morning, at which point a hockey game breaks out. Old time hockey. Lily in particular was doing a credible impersonation of Joe Kocur at Herman's expense, and that's what dragged yours truly out of bed to locate the acorn at the root of all this. Good luck finding a dark-brown object less than a centimeter in diameter at two in the morning. I had no shot at success, and so went back to bed after separating the combatants.

CRUUUNCH. NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM.

Looks like Herman found the acorn, and is eating it.

HURRRRRRRRK. FTOOEY.

And is sending it back up. Joy. Oh sweet sweet joy, to be cleaning acorn-studded cat-barf at 2:15 in the morning.

(with apologies, sound-effect-wise, to the late Don Martin of Mad Magazine)

Monday, November 17, 2008

CRACKING GOOD NEWS

No, I haven't gotten a new job yet.

Wallace and Gromit are coming back!
The new film sees the pair open a bakery - Top Bun - only to find a 'cereal killer' is targeting all bakers in town. As Wallace is busy wooing a new love interest, Piella Bakewell, it is left to Gromit - who doesn't speak - to uncover the killer.

And now, I am going out to the living room to do the Happy Dance with Sweetness.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

THERE'S A SWITCH IN MY CHAIR

A sensor. Someplace. I'm sure of it. I sit down, start typing, really get into a groove, and within seconds either the phone rings, the internet connection craps out, the cats start kvetching, or Noodle wants to show me the new material she's trying out for her bedtime-stalling routine.

I shudder to think what would happen if our doorbell actually worked.

UPDATE: She's added a fourth trip-to-the-potty request. Hoo boy.

IN WHICH I AM COMPELLED TO SPEAK OUT

Supposedly, allegedly, these are the top ten last lines of movies of all time. Bleh.

Omitted, the real top ten:

"Oh, Auntie Em, there's no place like home!"

"Well...I'm back."


"And like that...(poof)...he's gone."

"That'll do, pig...that'll do."

"As you wish."

"Say, friend - you got any more of that good sarsaparilla?"

"This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

"They fought like warrior poets. They fought like Scotsmen. And won their freedom."

"I'm known to locate certain things from time to time."

And my #1...
"Boo?

Kitty!"

HONEY?

Honey?

You said to bang on the roof when I was done cleaning the gutters and you'd steady the ladder while I climbed down. So I'm done, and I'm banging.

Honey?

Sure is windy up here today. Gutters look sweet, though. She must be watching the game.

Honey?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

THE FLOOR WAS CLEAN FOR FIVE WHOLE MINUTES

The clock read 4:28 when I put away the swiffers and the vacuum cleaner and explained to Noodle and Beast please! don't trash things tonight...

Which they didn't, not at first.

4:33, from somewhere in the kitchen: hurrrrrrk. hurk hurk hurk GACK splat.

Thanks, Herman.

Friday, November 14, 2008

#300

It better be good, right? Something memorable, yes? Okay, here goes:

My son just wiped something moist and strange-smelling on my face, and I really don't want to know what it is.

(5 minutes later)

Okay, just chocolate milk. All is well.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

AND THEN -THIS- INDIGNITY

Bloody hell, I'm going to have to accost Jann Wenner if he ever shows his face in town. Rolling Stone's list of the Top 100 Singers of All Time starts out very well indeed with this fine lady atop it:


And then Ray Charles is at #2, Sam Cooke at 4, Marvin Gaye at 6, Stevie Wonder at 9, Orbison at 13, Al Green at 14...and then it falls to bits.

Snubbed: Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Teddy Pendergrass, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Philip Bailey, Levi Stubbs...and one Francis Albert Sinatra.

ANOTHER PERFECT DAY

Noodle loses her first tooth, as noted earlier:



That will be the cover of Noodle's first solo album, Fathe Value.

After that blessed dental event it was rather quickly downhill.

(Update: things as described below were not quite as lurid as had originally been perceived, thus the edit.)

Wife loses her first car - hooray for Route 9 traffic lights that operate when malls aren't even open, and double hooray for people who don't know what to do at said lights, especially when an emergency vehicle is trying to get through. Hint: panicked leaping on the brakes and screeching to a halt when everybody else is expecting to slow down and pull over is NOT the move. The oil slick on 9 didn't help matters any. So, bye-bye to Ol' Red. New Red (the minivan) becomes Ol' Red. For reasons known only to them, the rental-car company has provided Her Awesomeness with an enormous truck she needs a step-stool to climb into, and as we speak she's at Ruge's in Rhinebeck lining up a new ride. In the meantime, we're going to use the truck to pick up a few day laborers and threaten to turn them in to La Migra unless they come across with some scratch for Beast's nursery school.

All this leaves me working on the best doggone cobbled-together spaghetti-and-meatball combo you ever did see, but I'm trying to time it out so that it'll still be warm when my beloved comes back home.

Barring a deer jumping out in front of her truck, that is.

Please eat tonight, kids. And no throwing fits at bathtime or bedtime. Daddy's begging. Give us three hours of Stepford-Child behavior and for you, dear children, it's ponies and Camaros and all the Yo Gabba Gabba you can handle.

THE OLD GROUCH WOULD'VE BEEN 78

Happy birthday, Dad.

Just to get you up to speed quickly, wherever you're at: my wife's still beautiful, Mom's still talking people's ears off, and your grandchildren are still adorable. And smart! In fact, the grandson you never got to meet at this very moment is walking around with his toy cell phone stuffed into his underwear, and if that's not a sign of incipient genius I don't know what is.

Turns out you were right about that broadcasting career not amounting to much, although it did take 20 years. Tenure, good benefits and a government pension is sounding mighty sweet right about now, although those last two are about to get chewed up a good bit up in Albany.

I just wish you'd laid off the True Greens sooner, y'know?

HELLO, MURPHY - WE WERE WONDERING WHEN YOU'D POP BY

Her Awesomeness has been in a bit of a vehicular scrape on Route 9. She's fine; her car, not so much.

UPDATE: totaled. And off we go to shop for a car, because it's not like money's tight or anything.

PAGING MR. T. FAIRY TO THE WHITE COURTESY PHONE

Noodle's first tooth has fallen out. Pics to follow!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ADDITIONAL YO GABBA GABBAGE

Don't Bite Your Friends?

Did that really have to be said? But again, it's going to get stuck in your head after the first couple of listens. And then you'll have the munchies.

IN PRAISE OF BEER AND NAPS

Is there anything more satisfying than rummaging through the fridge looking for leftovers to cobble together for a lunch, and finding a beer from a six-pack you'd thought was long since consumed?

Yum.

This also concides nicely with my planned post-kids'-nap trip to the grocery store to bring back cans and bottles, and frees up garage space for a while seeing as beer is going to be strictly a luxury item until such time as the financial picture becomes clearer.

IN WHICH WE GET MEDIEVAL

As you can see from this blog's new RSS feed from Noodle's school, we have an Idiot at large in town who has jammed up an entire town's schedule and wasted tight public resources with his manifest dungforbrainsedness. We have in our midst a certified Drooler. A knucklehead. A moron. Was I supposed to say something more sensitive like troubled youth instead? Feh.

On the other hand, should our perp be caught and brought to account for his bogus threat, I'm not sure it helps matters to add to his street cred with a quick trip through New York's criminal justice system.

And then the pumpkins quietly decaying on our front porch gave rise to an idea. A modest proposal, if you will...the stocks:


One hour, in the middle of town, pelted with whatever's gone bad from the fall harvest - and then a clean slate. Nothing on the juvenile record, nothing in the DNA database, no anger-managment or idiocy-abatement sessions. Just a taste of humiliation and then all's square and we move on. It's cheap, it's quick, it's cathartic, and it unmistakably ties actions to their consequences.

IN WHICH NOODLE EXPLORES THE SOUL-EATING MACHINERY OF THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS

So far she has wanted to be a princess when she grows up, a veterinary instructor, and now she aspires to be a Yo Gabba Gabba cast member or writer or something.

Say what you want about the entertainment business, you cannot watch "Party in My Tummy" and keep a frown on:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

MORE THINGS ONLY PARENTS SAY (BLADDERCENTRIC EDITION)

"Real pirates don't pee in their pants."

"No, we can't clean the floor with your pee."

"Even Herman goes in his cat box, and he's not too bright."

"Either we're going to run out of pants or we're going to run out of pull-ups, and the only thing we'll have left is the princess pull-ups Noodle used to wear."

"Toilet paper is NOT for bowling."

"There's no such thing as too tired to pee."

"...and they're called kidneys. No, no, not there, those are kid knees."

HUZZAH TO FOLLOWER NUMBER FIVE

Appropriately, "momoffive" has joined our ragtag band as our fifth follower. Welcome!

And incidentally, if you've got your own parenting blog and want a bit of linkage, just ask and ye shall be hooked up.

Monday, November 10, 2008

WONDERFULLY CLEAN IN THE MORNING

It's available in just a few hours as of this posting. Want want want want want:

Daddy promises Santa he will be an extra good boy this holiday season.

DESIGN NOTES

I have been informed, in a constructive way, that this blog's color scheme would put Hieronymus Bosch off his lunch.

Yes, I've had a design tweak in mind, but when I spend my days thinking like a three-year-old it's hard to upshift into geekliness, especially when said geekliness hasn't gotten a serious workout in decades.

I'm also pondering a way to set up podcasts here, for those of you who simply can't do without the sound of my voice after 19 years of having it inflicted on you at the top and bottom of every hour every weekday morning.

But for now, zonk-time.

OKAY THEN

A

We've been having one of those evenings where I sit down to the computer thinking finally there'll be a nap or at least a bit of down time, but what winds up here on the screen is the letter A and then I have to get up and attend to business, three hours go by and the A is still sitting there.

Mocking me, because I no longer remember what I was going to write after the A; however one of the interruptions was most pleasant, as a local person of some standing (and that's as specific as I'll get) actually took the time to come by the house and tell me in person how much he appreciated my radio work.

Good thing he didn't come by on one of those days spent doing housework in the nude. (KIDDING, he said in capital letters, knowing that there are some things that should not be envisioned let alone depicted in reality. Of course I don't do all that much housework.)

At any rate, my recollection of the encounter is available over at my sibling blog, Brian's Bag-Letter Bonanza.

I'D LIKE TO CHECK YOU FOR TICKS...

...although I wish it wasn't necessary after every simple walk in the woods.

November rules. At least when you get a nice day it does. The tourists are giving it a rest until after Thanksgiving, the nights make for comfortable sleeping, and I think the kids and I could have just have taken our afternoon naps out there in LeafPile 2.0, if it wasn't for the outside chance of a deer tick stopping in for a late-season nibble and a bit of the old Lyme-disease vectoring. Instead every trip out to jump in the leaves has to end with a thorough checking of little ears and scalps and rumps and such for ticks. And if we ever find one? Why, we'd extract it and eat it as if we were mommy and daddy baboons and Jim Fowler was watching us from a tree stand in Botswana.

And so here's wishing our area's deer hunters all the best this fall, especially at a time when a larger number of them really do rely on the venison to keep their larders full for the winter. I sure do wish the next administration in DC would repeal the hundred-year-old federal law banning market hunting, but even as is it's a win-win-win-win-win-win: it's free venison (or at least venison purchased with one's own sweat), it gets people outside, it's better for the deer population, and it preserves young trees and plants in the forest undergrowth for all the other animals that live in the forest. And of course fewer deer mean fewer deer ticks, although the little buggers can hitch a ride on other animals if need be.

And it's one less hundred-pound rat suddenly jumping out in front of my car.

Stupid Walt Disney and Bambi with that "MAN had entered the forest" crapola, raising a generation of boomers on the overweening cuteness of the forest world and how hunting was awful and scary and mean to the poor widdle deer. Obviously the Disney people of the day had never seen deer starve to death over the winter, or it's relative the moose, in rut, trying to make sweet love to a Volkswagen (safe for work). If I ever make a movie I'm going to be sure some melodramatic set of pipes intones "DEER had entered the southbound lane of Route 9-G" somewhere along the line.

THEY SLEPT ALL NIGHT

Both of them. On time.

Will wonders never cease?

Beast is usually no problem at all, being the low-maintenance relaxed Dude he is...wish he wasn't so relaxed about getting to the potty on time, though. Noodle, on the other hand, has a brain that operates on a whole 'nother level. No way is she sleeping when something interesting is happening in the house, even if it's just one of their hair-trigger toys switching on for no reason. This time she went right out without kvetching or stalling or anything. I tried motivating her by saying the only way she'd get to give mommy bye-bye kisses before she left for work was to go to sleep early, so we'll see if that works in about 33 minutes. There's also the second motivating factor of her Mémère coming over after lunch so I can take Her Awesomeness to the podiatrist. All that distance running has left my darling with an owie that requires expert attention, and because she may have to be off her feet tonight there is a possibility we will splurge and...order a pizza.

And that will be its own drama. Beast pulls the cheese off his pizza and then doesn't eat much of the remaining slice before demanding another, and Noodle likes hers cold. Weirdo.

29 minutes. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

BEHOLD: THE LEAF PILE

Awww, yeah. There is nothing better on a Sunday afternoon in November:


And to make it sweeter still, for once My Gigantic Pasty White Bald SpotTM isn't in the picture. My dermatologist told me I'd better get something done about it before helicopters try to land on my head.

My head is not the sort that would be aesthetically pleasing without hair. I'm the anti-Ed Harris in that regard. First, it's huge, my head. A virtual planetoid. Asymmetrical, also. And then there's blotches and uneven bits and flat areas and a chickenpox scar shaped exactly like the Great Red Spot of Jupiter, only just a little smaller. Put me and my cranium over in the category "Put That Away, Would You? We're Trying To Eat" with Don Zimmer and Uncle Fester - and remember, at least Zim can wear a cap when he's on the job and Fester's supposed to be horrifying.


IT'S LIKE BAKLAVA, ONLY WITH MUD

No pics, but if the kids' Sunday morning play session needed a narrator, it would've been this guy:


If the name eludes you for the moment, maybe the voiceover guy on this video will help:

In other words, the kids are fourth-quarter-at-Soldier-Field filthy. One layer of mud, one layer of driveway chalk, another layer of yard mud, one layer of last week's Halloween candy, one layer of puddle schmutz, a third layer of mud, topped off with a dash of stinkfoot.

Perhaps the village firehouse has enough water pressure to get them presentable for lunch.

GLARB? FARF NORGLE VOBBERPLOP

If it's seeming more incoherent than usual around here, that's because Noodle kept us up for a couple hours in the middle of the night with the full gamut of five-year-old stalling tricks: Potty. Water. Scared. Fan on. Fan off. Can't find one of the massive phalanx of stuffed pugs she sleeps with. And potty again. Lather, rinse, repeat, from 1:30 until 3:30 this morning.

Let's see what the National Sleep Foundation has to say:
Some children learn that saying they are afraid is an effective stalling tactic or a way to avoid bedtime. On the other hand, some children and adolescents with sleep issues really have an anxiety disorder...

Nice straddle, guys. Either it's stalling or it's a visit to another doctor? (eyeroll) Thanks. (/eyeroll)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

SATURDAY MORNING LOVE SONG

Neil Finn is a genius, and I am a big sap, but I defy you not to fall for the hook on Split Enz' "Message To My Girl".

Friday, November 7, 2008

SOOOOPER GENIUS

Not that I want to brag, but we just had our first teacher conference -slash- report-card review for Noodle, and saving for college is going to be tougher for us than we thought because we've got maybe six years tops between kindergarten and RPI/MIT/Caltech/Starfleet Academy.

Noodle does have her occasional attention-span issues -- those of you who know me or my mom are saying no, really? Do tell right about now -- but so far we couldn't be happier with her progress in the classroom and can't wait until next year when she she cures cancer, finds bin Laden and singlehandedly kills him with a Wuxi Finger Hold, whips Tiger Woods at Augusta, picks up Nobel Prizes for physics, chemistry, literature and bowling, solves the Kobayashi Maru scenario and wins the World Series for the Cubs.

Okay, yes -- with that last one we're seriously overreaching.

MEANWHILE, LURKING BY A STONE IN THE MUD...YOU?

Any more followers out there? My fiendish plan to have every humanoid in this galactic sector reading this blog by Thanksgiving finds itself becalmed. Commenters are welcome as well, of course. Who doesn't enjoy a little dishing?

Both the wee ones are home today, and we've got Noodle's first teacher conference this afternoon. Our initial indications are that she's a complete angel at school and saves the hellionosity for mom and dad and little brother. Although right now she and Beast are quietly watching Monsters, Inc. after a remarkably sane breakfast.

Please don't let it rain all day. I really need to get the little varmints outside.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

VICTORY IS MINE

So the bus with Noodle on it is scheduled to arrive home at ~3:43. It's her first time riding the bus home instead of to the day care center to be picked up by mom, and I do NOT want to screw this up.

At 3:00, I set the kitchen timer for 33 minutes to allow myself enough time to get myself and Beast out the door to greet her with ten minutes to spare, and set about swiffering the kitchen and living room floors.

At 3:25 I notice out of the corner of my eye my neighbors walking back into the house. Thinking I'd gotten the time wrong and they'd just gotten their son off the bus himself, I metaphorically soil myself and run outside. HEY, DID I MISS THE BUS? And the flop sweat pours forth. I've gone and screwed up the simplest and most important thing to get right all day.
From across the street: NO, EVERYTHING'S OKAY. JUST BE OUTSIDE AT 3:43.

Me: SO I'M JUST AN IDIOT, THEN.

WELL, YOUR WIFE DIDN'T USE THAT WORD, BUT CLOSE ENOUGH.

Then it was the sweet sweet scent of cleaning chemicals that must've (additionally) addled my brain. 3:33 comes, the beeper beeps, I gather in the Beast to take him outside to meet his big sister and
DADDY, I MADE PEE.

Between the cleaning fragrance, me shvitzing like Patrick Ewing, and now the fresh and copious wizzination, it's getting quite...piquant...in here. Run to his room, get fresh pants, forget fresh underwear, go back to his room, get the underwear, forget the wipes, go back to his room for the wipes, and ohlordohlordohlord why is he fighting me now?
(s0b) BAYBAW (s0b).

His baseball. Back to his room yet again for the ball, throw open the front door to listen for the bus (and to get some fresh air in here), off with the moist, a flourishing of the wipe, a bit of the old how's-your-father for the undercarriage, on with the fresh underwear, the fresh pants, the fresh socks and shoes, and out the door we
It's raining.

Of course, since it was raining he didn't want his raincoat, oh no. Had to have the winter coat. On goes the coat, out the door and down the stairs to the driveway to go, here comes the bus and
Why is there a baseball rolling out into the road? (Let it go, man, 'cause it's gone.)

Oh, so it's my son who's got that arm. Nice to know, what with the Yankees not picking up Pavano's option and all. So the rain stopped the moment we unfurled the Barbie umbrella, we got Noodle off the bus and into the house safe and sound, and

And nothing, finally. We crashed on the couch in front of some Yo Gabba Gabba and that was that.

THEY USED TO SHOOT RATS 'ROUND HERE, SON

I am totally bringing a camera with me next time I take Beast to the Rhinebeck dump.

Transfer station, sorry. Even after all these years I'm not used to bringing my garbage - recyclables, sorry - to someplace that's clean and dry and paved. I grew up on trips to the old town dump next door to the transfer station, where my dad would attempt to get the Ford Fairlane wagon down the rutted dirt one-lane road to the dump, where there'd be fascinatingly colossal piles of reeking garbage on one side, mountains of scrap metal on another, and maybe a small trash fire burning in the back. Everybody take a deeeeep breath now!

Nowadays it's a whole lot neater and cleaner. The regular garbage goes into special bags in one place, the cans and bottles go over yonder, the newspapers and coupons and flyers and such go into this bin...but it's the cardboard that Beast wants to see, because cardboard goes into

THE CRUSHER!



Wrong crusher, obviously, but a worthy excuse for some classic WB. This is the cardboard crusher we're talking about here. Beast helps me toss the cardboard in the collection box, the contents of the box go into the crusher, the man flips the switch and WHOA. WHOA DADDY WHOA WHOA WHOA THAT'S COOL DADDY! WHOA.

Obviously I'm going to have to find some massive construction site for this kid to visit.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

O MY

Congratulations to our next president, Barack Obama, and I hope I'm wrong about him and his party. We really need leadership in Washington to not suck right about now, but I look down to DC at the Rangels and Bachmanns and Murthas and Icebox Bill Jeffersons and think...

...we gave THEM the power too.

And as for here in New York, the Democrats will control both houses of the legislature as well as the governor's office. This is bound to work out wonderfully for all concerned.

Looks like we'll be flying into some turbulence shortly.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

THE MANLY ARTS, PASSED FROM FATHER TO SON

Herman's dietary routine, translated into pidgin BASIC, which I haven't used since 1982 so forgive the lapses:

1 REM V=the amount of semidigested cat food that'll be coming up Herman's esophagus if he keeps eating stuff that is obviously NOT a food any other cat on the planet would eat
2 REM B=our budget for nice things
5 LET V=0
7 LET B=50
10 INPUT "Has Herman eaten his insanely expensive veterinary cat food?", F$
20 IF F$="Y" THEN GOTO 40
30 IF F$="N" THEN GOTO 10
40 INPUT "What else has Herman eaten?", E$
50 IF E$="DEAD LEAF" THEN LET V=V+10
60 IF E$="KETCHUP" THEN LET V=V+15
70 IF E$="TOENAIL CLIPPING" THEN LET V=V+20
80 IF E$="SHOELACE" THEN LET V=V+35
90 IF V<20 THEN GOTO 40
100 PRINT "GAAAAAAAAACK"
110 LET B=B-10
120 GOTO 10
130 END

Next week I'll get to work on a subroutine to calculate the free time lost to cleaning up the copious by-products of Herman's reverse peristalsis. Which brings me to the meaning of the title of this post.

Like many three-year-olds, Beast is a most observant little tyke and is absorbing information every waking moment. Her Awesomeness and I are aware of this when it comes to things like obviously blue language and behave accordingly, but when it comes to descriptions of digestive matters we revert to collegiate form.

Result: Beast now knows several synonyms for "vomit", including gack, puke, hurl, barf, boof, and toss cookies. Which I maintain is as it should be for the lad, because a young fellow is not considered eligible for a Guy Card unless he knows at least 50 synonyms for praying to the porcelain god, and at six Beast is well on his way.

Heck, I just added "Cantar Oaxaca" to my extensive synonyms list this very evening.

FOLLOWERS DOUBLED AGAIN!

First one follower, then two, then four...thank you and welcome to "FlinchOnce" and "mbunt13".

I told you we were going to grow exponentially. Let's keep it up!

(This post brought to you by the Department of Exaggerated First-Down Celebration Dances On One's Own 14-Yard-Line With Twelve Minutes Left In The First Quarter.)

Monday, November 3, 2008

NOODLE HATH A LOOTHE TOOF

Just got back from Albany Medical Center and heard mostly excellent news about Noodle's HSP. The blood pressure's just a hair high but there doesn't appear to be any sign of relapsing. Also, as expected we learned she's still way way tall for her age. 3' 11" at just a couple months past five years old. How's the weather up there, kid?

Also, as the hed alludes, one of her front teeth is wobbling about a bit. Just in time for a nice round or two of "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth".

Tooth fairy's a bit skint this time 'round, luv.

MR. BRIAN WILL SEE YOU NOW

So this morning it was time for my initiation into the tragicomic world of Daddy Tries Making His Daughter Presentable For School All By Himself. Not quite all by myself. Her Awesomeness and the girl-child wisely consulted the night before and got her clothing picked out in advance, so that's one hurdle jumped for me already. Degrees of difficulty for the rest of it, mainly hair care: 1) I'm a guy, 2) I've had pretty much the same low-maintenance haircut since I was four, and 3) never has their been anything placed in my hair as decoration other than sticks and mud, and that was also when I was four.

And nine.

And this one time in college when I inhaled.

Noodle's new schedule means she gets an extra hour or so of sleep, so there wasn't hardly as much not-a-morning-person hell-on-wheels behavior to muddle through as when she had to be awakened at six.

It went...fairly smoothly. We were all done more than half an hour before the school bus arrived, she didn't look a bit like an escapee from the mines, so there was even time to make myself presentable for the bus-stop crowd. I hadn't noticed this since these hours used to pass at the radio station, but since September the end of my driveway has become the new neighborhood hangout, where all the hoods and greasers go to be seen.

Off to Albany with Noodle after this is done, and then tomorrow comes the true test.

HOT DIGGITY - 2 FOLLOWERS!

I doubled my total, so at this rate I'll have the entire world reading my blogs by New Year's.

Thanks to new follower "e.f." for coming on board!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

OFF TO ALBANY TOMORROW

We are hoping that maybe this will be our last trip up to Albany Med for quite some time, seeing as Noodle's Henoch-Schönlein purpura appears to have been in remission for a good six to nine months now. We haven't seen any fresh weirdness in quite some time, but there are still questions we need to ask of her nephrologist.

You can find out more about HSP and related diseases at the Vasculitis Foundation.

HE'S RUN RINGS 'ROUND ME LOGICALLY

Me, some time in the distant past, to Beast and Noodle: "Food that has green in it is good for you!"

(Fast forward to the present.)

Beast: "I eating my booger, Daddy. It green, so it good for you. That what you said, Daddy."

Me: "But boogers don't count as food."

Beast: "But they taste good, Daddy!"

Me: "Can't you just gorge on Halloween candy like a normal kid?"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

WHEW, THIS IS DIFFICULT WORK.

Managing that one follower I have, that is.

Won't you look over to the right for a moment, click in the appropriate place, and join whoever it is in getting regular updates on whatever this is?

PARENTING TRUISMS, VOLUME 1 - ON THE CAN

The more your child has to go to the bathroom, the farther you will be from a potty.

When on the road, your child's need to go potty varies inversely with the speed of the driver immediately in front of you.

When searching for the nearest public bathroom, the most direct route to the potty will be blocked either by a gaggle of teenagers or somebody on crutches.

The first public bathroom you find will be filthy.

The second public bathroom you find you will only be able to use once at best, because the sound of the flushing toilet will be audible in the next time zone and will so thoroughly freak out your child that the third, fourth, fifth and sixth public bathrooms you find will be deemed unacceptable if they look anything like the one with the big scary loud toilet.

If the big scary loud toilet in the next stall over flushes before your child has done their business, they will be freaked out and refuse to use the toilet they're at. Proceed directly to the seventh available toilet as alluded to above.

Auto-flush electric eye toilets will either be terrifying and unusable, or your child will delight in repeatedly setting off the sensor and completely forget the business at hand until such time as the toilet overflows.

If the toilet in the next stall over is being used by somebody whose most recent meal appears to have been burritos and Utica Club, again there will be a freaking out and a potty refusal.

If all else fails and you pull over to make a dash for the nearest tree, within one minute a police officer will arrive at the scene to investigate the situation. Meanwhile, seventeen meth dealers, half the Gambino family, and one recently-indicted member of the state legislature will insouciantly blaze by in the opposite direction.

Friday, October 31, 2008

HALLOWEEN

Life ain't fair, kid. Beast got just one extra Halloween, yesterday, at the day care center he and Noodle attend, whereas the big sister gets a second extra Halloween today at her school - featuring a parade of extreme cuteness, and thanks to The ManTM Keeping Me Down A Little Early, I'll be able to watch and photograph the proceedings. The little diva has -two- different princess outfits - yesterday's was the standard E-Z-Tear getup from Walmart, today's is a whole 'nother level, purchased at Story Land in New Hampshire back on summer vacation when we had that kind of money.

This one's got the tasseled pointy hat, y'all.

But why do the princess shoes have to be so. damn. narrow? Did Cinderella's evil stepsisters get jobs in R&D for Amalgamated Plastic Princess Shoe of Shanghai?

Last night Noodle got out of bed and wasn't supposed to do that, but then the little lady told me she did it to get a picture of me off her dresser, to sleep with all night long.

Aww. There's something in daddy's eye.

The Beast will have to go quite a ways to top that kind of spontaneous adorableness, but he'll try his darndest when he wakes up. Any minute now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

FOLLOW YOU, FOLLOW ME

Hey, take a gander over to the right and become a follower of this blog. It's new!

UPDATE: Sweet! I've got one.

TELLING MOM

Well, whaddya know. She didn't have a conniption or anything. I was bracing for a meltdown, but she held it together nicely and began threatening to show those empty suits what for.

Down, Ma. Down. Easy now.

So it's back to getting the house ready for winter this afternoon, while the weather's still decent. I'll be on a ladder, which is always good for laughs.

Watch for a blog detailing my job search shortly, where you'll be able to share in my struggles and laugh at my failures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

THANKS FOR THE HITS - KEEP 'EM COMING!

And that means all thirty of you.

Look for lots more posting here in the days and weeks to come, and maybe there'll be enough material to spin off into a new blog - after all, I can no longer say things aren't interesting, and I can also dash off things that I hadn't in the past for fear of The Man slapping me down. (Moot points for $1000, Alex.)

In the meantime, I do appreciate your warm thoughts and support, whether this is the first you've read of me or whether you heard me stink out the joint on the air back in '89.

So. Who needs a guy whose marketable skills include running off at the mouth? Anybody?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MY WORK HERE IS FINISHED. MY WORK THERE AND THERE AND THERE HAS JUST BEGUN

Date: October 28, 2008
To: Everybody
Re: What I prefer to call my final vacation memo


CHRIST, NOT ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE BITTER AND MAUDLIN FAREWELL NOTES.

(Just thought I’d get what you might have been thinking out of the way.)

First of all, I want to thank everybody I’m going to forget to thank later on. It’s been just shy of 20 years, and also I’m senile, so forgive me in advance.

C’MON, BURN SOME BRIDGES. GIVE ‘EM WHAT FOR. TELL ‘EM WHO’S GOING TO BE FIRST AGAINST THE WALL WHEN THE REVOLUTION COMES. CRY HAVOC, AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR…

Not so much. Check this out:
• I get to leave the snow shovel in the garage until sunrise.
• I get to make something for dinner other than “whatever takes 5 minutes”.
• I get to sleep for seven whole hours. All at once.
• I get to completely ignore the idiots in Washington and Albany.
• I get to give my wife more kisses.
• I get to put my daughter on the school bus.
• I get to play in the leaves with my son.

That’s not a bad deal at all. More people should be so lucky.

BULLET POINTS? YOU USED BULLET POINTS? DORK.

Old habits, sorry.

Many thanks to everybody who has offered assistance and good wishes. I may just take you up on that one day, but I’m lucky enough to have Celeste by my side. (Hooray for jobs with tenure!) And offers of help go both ways – if there’s anything you need from me, I’ll lend a hand as best I can.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, on the table in front of me is a beer with my name on it. And if I can’t find my name on the first beer, it’s definitely on the second one.

GOODBYE TO ALL THAT

So.

Guess who's just become a stay-at-home dad?

YET AGAIN, THINGS ONLY PARENTS SAY

You don't have to recycle boogers. Get a tissue.

Mommy made nice meatballs and you're chewing the tires on your brother's car instead?

I'll explain what "prairie dogging" is some other time.

I told you before, if you keep hitting the pumpkin with the mallet it's going to-- (sfx: mallet going through pumpkin, pumpkin goop gets on child's shoes, screaming ensues) See?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

THE BIG BANG

4:45. House is spotless.

4:46. Children arrive home from birthday party.

4:48. House looks like a 300-pound pumpkin exploded inside a toy store.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

ON THE KIDS' PLAYLIST

Beast:

Pinball Wizard - The Who
Sing A Simple Song - Sly and the Family Stone

Noodle:

Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive - Dr. John

Friday, October 24, 2008

FIFTEEN POUNDS OF CRAZY IN A FIVE-POUND SACK

My tiny little brain is still trying to re-absorb the week.

Noodle has been alternating between nightmares and needing the potty, Beast turned 3, the Nana had to be hospitalized for a bit of falling off the wagon, yours truly had to blow up his schedule for a three-hour congressional candidates' forum and then get said Nana off to the hospital, and Her Awesomeness has been lost somewhere in a cloud of flour as she attempted to bake Beast a birthday cake as well as a couple of banana breads for the big school bus driver's appreciation day today, plus it's over to Kingston for a lighting part that just came in so that I can fix the living room lights and then off to the Wal-Mart to return some insufficiently flattering Noodlewear. She's not being spoiled...it's just that she's 99th-percentile tall for her age and standard clothing sizes don't work all that often. Add that to Wal-Mart's superior quality control (/sarcasm) and it would have been less of a time-suck to buy the nicer stuff straight off, except that the bank account is approaching Bush-approval-rating levels.

Yeah, you caught that right, I'm doing electrical work. Red's hot, black's not, why is my hair sticking straight up and what's that burnt-flesh odor I'm smelling?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

OW

Note to self (and all other dads out there):

When giving your child a ride on your shoulders, do not give them a sippy cup or they will experiment with gravity and fluid dynamics using your scalp as a target. This is especially troublesome if, like me, you have a bald spot and if, like me, the beverage in question is cocoa.

Thanks a whole bunch for the spillage and sticky hair, son, but be aware that if you weren't so damn cute it would be on right now, ya little punk.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

WHAT, NO PONY?

Here are some little girls with some pretty cool grandparents. This is their playhouse:





Holy moly!

Lorraine was meticulous about every detail. The two-story dwelling was built just like a house, with real siding, windows and a roof. The exterior includes a front porch, a gazebo, a second-story deck and an attached garage to house the girls' electric toy cars, as well as gorgeous landscaping that includes flowers and plants.

450 square feet. That's bigger than our old apartment in Hyde Park. But I dunno...the Code of Building Stuff For The Kids dictates that all playhouses be built strictly of scrap lumber and other materials found lying around out behind the house, and there's a minimum number of protruding rusty nails required for that always-exciting possibility of a trip to the hospital for tetanus shots.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ON THE KIDS' PLAYLIST

Beast: Yesterday I Had The Blues - Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

It goes something like this:



Awww, yeah.

AVE ATQUE VALE, FAIR HOOVER

The faithful reconditioned Hoover Windtunnel that compliantly snarfed up eleven years' worth of stuff to which no self-respecting vacuum cleaner should be exposed has finally bought the farm. Our replacing the carpeting with laminate may have been the final insult to its dignity, but hey - the kids have allergies and the last tenant's dog dander was still in there someplace.

Hail and farewell.

600 GREENLIGHTS

I'll be doggoned. The fine folks at Fark have seen fit to greenlight some more of my headline submissions, to the point where I have reached the magic 600 mark - and since most of what I submit over there has little if anything to do with raising young'uns, I am pondering an additional blog in which I might deposit whatever's not worthy for Boogerland.

In the meantime, not a day goes by where Noodle and/or Beast doesn't blurt out some new word you'd expect from somebody with a far more advanced vocabulary. Noodle for one is nailing the context, so she's not just parroting what Word Girl's saying. Brag brag braggity brag brag brag.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

ON THE KIDS PLAYLIST

...is a Steely Dan album cut whose name eludes me because I put the mix CD together at random and it's out in the car and I'm too tired to go get it right now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

THE $22,800 BABY MONITOR

Holy moly:


So not quite everybody is having trouble out there, seeing as they have 23 G's around to drop on a baby monitor.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

MOMMY AND DADDY: THE SCREENPLAY

Eat your heart out, David Mamet:
ME, cuddled with the kids:

Aww, honey. Look what I got.

WIFE:

How come Beast's not squirming like he usually does?

ME:

Because he's concentrating on eating his boogers.

WIFE:

Long as we don't waste any food...

You should hear some of the conversations that start with Her Awesomness saying "Brian, come here and look at your son." Usually it means he's butt naked and something from the condiment shelf is smeared all over his body.

Friday, October 3, 2008

WHY, THOSE ROTTEN GOOD-FOR-NOTHING SPOILED BRAT KI-- HEY, WAIT

AWESOME job, guys:

They have most things kids their age want, the boys said. "We decided we want to give rather than get way too much," said Matthew, the older of the identical twins by 2 minutes. Last week, Mom and the boys were at Lloyd Town Hall and wondered why there was a line of people outside the building across Church Street. The people were waiting to get into the Highland food pantry of Ulster County Community Action. "So many people in this town are so poor," Andrew said. The boys didn't look the other way; they went across the street and inside. They looked at the half-bare shelves and saw a solution.

Themselves.

"It was our choice. Mom said we could have a little (regular) party or a big blowout party that donates," Matthew said. To the shock of their friends, they chose to donate. Now the boys have invited both their classes from Highland Elementary School, along with a few other friends and family, to their home Oct. 12.


The whole thing, you read it.

And for anybody in New York reading this, here's the links to many of the county-level groups who provide this kind of help.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

THE WISE HEADS OF THE SENATE PREVAIL FOR OUR CHILDREN

Hey, great. The Senate passed their version of the bailout bill, just tweaked a teensy bit from the original so that it's no longer a measly 3 pages, but 451.

Here's the full, gruesome PDF. Skip ahead to page 300 for the good stuff, to wit:
Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to any shaft consisting of all natural wood with no laminations or artificial means of enhancing the spine of such shaft (whether sold separately or incorporated as part of a finished or unfinished product) of a type used in the manufacture of any arrow which after its assembly-
"(i) measures 5⁄16 of an inch or less in diameter, and "(ii) is not suitable for use with a bow described in paragraph (1)(A).''.
"(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.-The amendments made by this section shall apply to shafts first sold after the date of enactment of this Act.

And so, parents of America, the answer to all our problems from the learned men and women of the Senate: yes, you WILL still be able to warn your kids that they'll put their eyes out playing with that stuff.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

MESSING ABOUT ON FACEBOOK

You can go look me up on Facebook now and find (so far) a few pictures of the beastlings and a couple of me from the days when my mom thought I'd look good in lederhosen.

NOBODY looks good in lederhosen.

Monday, September 29, 2008

MORE THINGS ONLY PARENTS SAY

"You can pee on the jellyfish, but you can't poo on the jellyfish."

See, Beast has a couple of toy jellyfish that he uses as targets to...oh, never mind.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

FLYING SOLO

Her Awesomeness was booked at her school's open house, and that meant me getting to show off my culinary skills for Beast and Noodle, who are generally skeptical if I so much as pick up a fork even though I've fancied myself at least competent in the kitchen.

In other words, yay for Lunchables and pizza delivery.

But the meal and the bathtime and bedtime went off with a minimum of drama and squawking, something I figure can be repeated on a regular basis so long as "once every six months" counts as regular.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

ON THE KIDS PLAYLIST

Beast:

Black Coffee In Bed - Squeeze
Cheap Sunglasses - ZZ Top

Noodle:

The Pigtown Fair - Tom Paxton
Dear Mr. Fantasy - Traffic

Said track I now have to track down for a new riding-home-from-school-with-Mom CD, since Dave Mason (once upon a time with Traffic) played a free concert in our town this evening and she and Beast were diggin' it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

AND APPARENTLY I'M OKAY

Noodle and Beast were fascinated by the wires and electrodes and whatnot coming off the Holter monitor I was wearing yesterday. 24 hours of that attached to me was what I got for mentioning offhandedly to the doctor that every three or four weeks I have heart palpitations just as I'm drifting off to sleep. No biggy, sez he, but he had me wear the device as a precaution nonetheless. Which means that YOWCH the nurse OWWWW yesterday ARGHH pulled off YEOWWW seven AIYAYAYAYAAAGH electrodes from my MOMMY chest hair KELLYCLARKSON.

And supposedly I'm fine, though I could stand losing two or three stone. Hard to do what with me being married to a culinary genius whose family hails from the land that invented Molson and poutine.

FOR NOW, THE SARLACC IS SATED

Five waffles the Beast ate tonight, plus a couple of eggs and half a cantaloupe. A growth spurt he is having, yes.

Om nom nom nom nom.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'M NOT DEAD...I THINK I'LL GO FOR A WALK...I FEEL HAPPY

Here's a change of pace: I'm taking me to the doctor's today. Overdue for a physical is what I am. Yeah, count me as another one of the geniuses who snapped out of it and called their doctors after Tim Russert dropped dead right there in the newsroom. And seeing as I spend much of my working life (like right now) in the newsroom I'd rather not go out Tim's way, and am hoping for something more along the lines of "shot by a jealous boyfriend at the age of 124."

Besides, as George Burns said, I can't die - I'm booked. It's my responsibility to repeatedly tell my daughter she's the most beautiful creature ever to walk the earth (well, she is) and make megaloud fart noises on my son's tummy.