Wednesday, December 31, 2008
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
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
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
Friday, December 26, 2008
This is why Jesus never got married. Family life is too much of a time-suck if you're going into the savioring business.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
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!
The forecast for Christmas Day in Ojmjakon? Overcast, high 29 below.
Christmas Eve? 63 below.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
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
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
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
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
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.
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.
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.
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
Monday, December 15, 2008
"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.
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
Saturday, December 13, 2008
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
"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."
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
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 fifthWhich 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:
bottle today." -"Don't worry, we've got enough beer.")
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
Clearly there is advanced physics involved here that is beyond my ken.
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
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
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.
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.
...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
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.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
You: go to Boogershoppe. Me: go to sleep.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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.)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
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.
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?
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
You get a 30-second freebie to put together, or you can pay $3 a pop for additional length.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
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.
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.
"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?
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
Wife and I really need time off when thoughts like that go gamboling through our heads.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Hope the poor girl doesn't get to find out what an active sleeper Noodle is.
Couple new tracks from The Kids' Playlist, though.
Strike The Bell and House Party - both Dan Zanes
Home By The Sea - Genesis (the "sit down, sit down, SIT DOWN" part in particular)
Rock Steady - Aretha Franklin
Thursday, November 20, 2008
"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."
UPDATE: we're there! Woohoo! Alert the international press and get the Grucci Brothers here stat for some fireworks!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
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!
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.
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
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
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.
Omitted, the real top ten:
"Oh, Auntie Em, there's no place like home!"
"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...
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.
Sure is windy up here today. Gutters look sweet, though. She must be watching the game.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Which they didn't, not at first.
4:33, from somewhere in the kitchen: hurrrrrrk. hurk hurk hurk GACK splat.
Friday, November 14, 2008
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 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.
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.
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?
UPDATE: totaled. And off we go to shop for a car, because it's not like money's tight or anything.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
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.
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.
Say what you want about the entertainment business, you cannot watch "Party in My Tummy" and keep a frown on:
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
"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."
Monday, November 10, 2008
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Friday, November 7, 2008
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
...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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
You can find out more about HSP and related diseases at the Vasculitis Foundation.
(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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
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
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
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
Hail and farewell.
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
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
ME, cuddled with the kids:
Aww, honey. Look what I got.
How come Beast's not squirming like he usually does?
Because he's concentrating on eating his boogers.
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
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.
"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
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
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
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
Black Coffee In Bed - Squeeze
Cheap Sunglasses - ZZ Top
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 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.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
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.