December 18, 2006

Weekend Lessons Learned

Yet another weekend has gone the way of Elvis - left the building. For the most part, it was a great one. In order to recap the weekend, I present some "lessons learned."

Lesson One: Things Change and The Mighty Fall
This weekend I set foot in Tower Records for the very last time. After Christmas, my beloved music buying institution will not reopen. Ever. So I decided to take one last stroll down the aisles and, yes, see if I couldn't capitalize on the situation, sad though it may be. It was pretty terrible. They're selling everything down to the shelves and listening stations (I didn't see a price on the stations but the shelves are going for $35 a pop, in case you were curious). Most of their remaining stock is crap they couldn't give away but I was able to find seven CDs I couldn't live without. Grant total? Twenty-eight bucks. Times sure change.

I'll miss the store with the big yellow sign that sold over-priced CDs. I feel like I grew up in that place. I knew the store by heart yet there was always the prospect of finding a hidden gem, an artist I'd never expected to see or a title I'd been searching for for years. That's not a feeling you get walking the aisles of "superstores" with their shelves crammed with Top 40 bullshit. And it's not something you can replicate online.

Lesson Two: Best Laid Plans...You Know The Rest
Before I was a dad, I was a guy who liked to know what he was doing the rest of the day...or even week. I wasn't regimented but I liked to make and keep plans. Having a kid taught me the error of my ways. Because having a child forces you to realize a flexibility you never knew you had. Of the things we had planned this weekend we were able to get to, well, one or two of them. Maybe? Life - and a toddler - intervened. But, you know, there are worse fates for a weekend.

Lesson Three: Balls Rule, Buckles Suck
Having a toddler forces you into playing lots of games that, prior, would not have been considered games. Like throwing a ball at a fan. This is now called FanBall. Or chasing a ball around the kitchen with a broom. Welcome to BroomBall. Or finding balls that daddy has hidden around the living room. Introducing MysteryBall. The rules of these games evolve as do the overall levels of complexity. We're eagerly awaiting Extreme BroomBall or Full Contact FanBall or the slightly hazardous Flaming MysteryBall. Until that time, however, we'll fill any voids with Insanely Annoying Buckle Showdown.

Mia has several items - her booster chair and her high-chair among them - which contain buckles. It is her mission to put these buckles together at random times throughout the day. While unpredictable, when she wants a buckle showdown, someone better be on-hand to help or it's not going to be pretty.

Now, with the balls, there are lots of variations to keep everyone happy, even the parents. But with the buckles? Not so much. My message to would-be parents? Never buy anything with buckles. Trust me on that.

Posted by Chris at December 18, 2006 7:12 AM

Good Monday morning sunshine! (okay, that was a little forced, wasn't it?)

Buckles do suck. Velcro rules.

Love the concept of FanBall or Mystery Ball. I'm assuming FanBall is played with a beachball type ball?

Posted by: coolchick at December 18, 2006 7:26 AM

Originally, I was going to ask about the absence of Flaming Fan Ball, but realized that in order to keep the flames fan-proof you'd have to use kerosene, and then I realized I was telling you to use kerosene when playing with your little girl and that just seemed wrong.

Instead I offer Big Words. Remember when those other people were stoned in college (because, of course, we never got stoned, y'know) and were trying to say words from their Chem text? And everyone would laugh as they fumbled around? Well, that fun isn't restricted to those with THC in their systems... just try these out with Mia:
- canteloupe
- hexadecimal
- rosemary

Have fun.

Posted by: Jeff at December 18, 2006 7:33 AM

If the weekend were actually like Elvis, surely there would be drugs involved to help with the pain of the work week?

Posted by: E :) at December 18, 2006 7:37 AM

Do NOT purchase Mia a belt. Not until you are 100%--no--1000% sure that she can buckle AND unbuckle it herself and she is fully potty trained.

I speak from experience.

Posted by: Alissa at December 18, 2006 8:05 AM

Ah yes...the buckle showdown. I remember it well.

Posted by: wordgirl at December 18, 2006 8:16 AM

You brought back many hours I spent when Queen B was that age, having to come open a buckle that she had snapped, so that she could have the pleasure of snapping it again. Hour, after hour, after hour. Heaven forbid if it took longer than .03 second to get the buckle back open, too.

Welcome to buckles, friend!

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at December 18, 2006 8:23 AM

Enjoy the simple years, Chris. Soon you will be getting up at 3 in the morning to go stand in a cold line of other Dads, waiting for a store to open so you can get Mia the latest video device.
Yes, the simple years. Trust me, balls and buckles rule!

Posted by: Maribeth at December 18, 2006 8:29 AM

Be sure to post pictures of Flaming Mysteryball.

Posted by: Liz at December 18, 2006 9:08 AM

I hate to be a spoilsport but broomball is actually already a sport. Probably not quite the same way you play it but it does exist. :)

Posted by: Cassandra at December 18, 2006 9:17 AM

Hi, Norma. You had a total "Empire Records" experience! Damn the Man! (Great soundtrack, BTW)

And did you never go to college, my friend? Broomball?! Drunk skating coeds with a ball and brooms trying to score goals?

Posted by: Pammer at December 18, 2006 9:24 AM

Perhaps she'll take up curling when she's older. It's almost the national sport of Canada I understand.

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. (Not original with me - I'm pretty sure it was John Lennon).

Posted by: ann adams at December 18, 2006 9:37 AM

Just wait until she learns how to unbuckle buckles - always fun times when they learn how to unbuckle themselves from the car seat. Ugh.

Posted by: Traci at December 18, 2006 9:42 AM

well, although we did a number of things that childless couples are able to do, like party into the wee hours, drink heavily and sleep in the next morning, over the weekend I think in many ways yours sounds much more fun.

Aside from that whole buckle game. That i can do without :)

Posted by: suze at December 18, 2006 9:51 AM

These sound like fabulous games! Now if I had a kitchen big enough to swat a ball with a broom!

The GBK went through a buckle stage, where you absolutely HAD to let her buckle her own car seat straps. Of course, we think she's a little OCD, but we adore her anyway. Now she thinks buckling her carseat is SUCH a bore.

Posted by: Sam at December 18, 2006 9:51 AM

My niece is a couple of months older than Mia, and she is obsessed with buckles. Buckling and then unbuckling, buckling and then unbuckling over and over. And demanding that you help her. Help me, cookie, no, and mine are her best words.

We missed you yesterday, but I'm glad to hear you had a good weekend even if Mia wasn't feeling her best.

Posted by: bad penguin at December 18, 2006 9:55 AM

Just wait until she's consistantly able to get the buckles together and throws a tantrum when she can't get them apart (just so she can put them together again).

(I think it's important to clarify: I'm not bragging, here. Just keeping you informed as to what's coming up.)

Posted by: s@bd at December 18, 2006 10:05 AM

No buckles. Duly noted. Although the ball games do sound kind of fun. :)

Posted by: Zandria at December 18, 2006 10:05 AM

I taught my nephew a game when he was 4 years old. This game can only be played at my house. I have a split/loft thing going on and my kitchen is above my living room seperated by a banister. I blow up a huge balloon they use to tie to cars at dealerships and we take our positions he up top and me down bellow in the living room. The banister acts as a net of sorts and the fact that he is above me is awesome to him.

We named this game... BalloonBall.

My nephew turned 7 years old last month and he spends the night with me at least once a month and not one visit goes by without a game of BalloonBall.

Posted by: Kelly M. at December 18, 2006 10:21 AM

Pshew, I was worried you were throwing like metal buckles at stuff. That would hurt if it were to hit flesh. Again, buckles, not a good idea.

Posted by: Heather at December 18, 2006 11:27 AM

...and just when you thought you had all the info on "broomball" I've included the link to the wiki on it. Going to college in MN, I was able to witness this bizarre winter ritual first hand. The fact that "equipment" is sold for this sport baffles me.

But I'm just a kid with a new hair cut, er em...I mean from the east coast and what do I know about anything, right?

My best to all,

Posted by: JackassJimmy at December 18, 2006 11:46 AM

We play a rousing game of "Table Ball" that involves patio furniture and a spatula. Good times.

Posted by: whit at December 18, 2006 12:07 PM

Broomball was played league and tournament style on the Canadian military base that I grew up on. Dumb, but it looked pretty fun!

Posted by: Much More Than A Mom at December 18, 2006 12:07 PM

Well my Monday started with a 6 year old refusing to work and pretending he couldn't see and ended with a 3rd grader growling in my face, throwing checkers at me, using rulers as guns and threatening to kill me. Yep. Being a teacher rules.

Posted by: Sharri at December 18, 2006 1:16 PM

And somehow they never get tired of the buckle thing. Maya still screws with them sometimes. Stupid buckles like to eat baby fingers too.

Posted by: Melissa at December 18, 2006 1:17 PM

You said BALLS (or variations thereof) eleven times. Giggle. Snort.

Posted by: Krystyn at December 18, 2006 6:44 PM

This post reminded me of the Friends episode where Joey wants to play Fireball with the bowling ball and the blow torch. I wouldn't recommend Mia play that one!

Posted by: Beth in StL at December 18, 2006 8:02 PM

A Tower records memory. College in Boston. Early 90's. Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" was hitting the airwaves. Tower had a contest where you could go down there and win prizes for having a large ass. My roommate pleaded with me to join her in this endeavor, but since I could not decide whether it would be worse to win or lose that one, I bailed out. Good times.

Posted by: Sphincter at December 18, 2006 10:21 PM

Oh, the buckles! We play that came too. You'd think they'd stop when they got frustrated, but Noooooooo. We also play I Can Put The Top On The Bottle But I Can't Get It Off Again. Hours of fun.

Posted by: Annie at December 18, 2006 10:31 PM

I really want to see pictures of Full Contact Fanball (a game that will TOTALLY be duplicated in our house as soon as the demon is a little bit older) and Extreme Broomball. You should be putting up a patent for these new and awesome sports before someone else does, and makes scads of money that you could have had! ;)

Posted by: erica at December 19, 2006 12:38 AM

Anna had a thing for buckles too. Though sometimes she would climb into something that had a buckle then buckle herself in and scream to high heaven when she couldn't get out again!

Posted by: Jeff A at December 19, 2006 1:30 AM

My spouse plays broomball on monday nights at our local arena.... should you be interested...

It's realllllyyyy rreaaalllly freakin realllly boring.

Posted by: DavidR at December 19, 2006 2:33 PM

It IS sad about Tower. We even have one here in Davis (just a few blocks from our house). It had been YEARS since I'd shopped in a Tower. Back in the day, THE record store for a band to do an in-store in No. Calif. was Tower on Columbus in San Francisco. Even though the chain started in Sacramento, S.F.'s store had the cachet.

Posted by: Marilyn at December 20, 2006 1:19 AM

I'll email you the pics I took of Tower on the Sunset Strip with its big "Going out of business" sign. Heartbreaking to see such a landmark go. If they build a condo tower on that corner I am going to scream.

Posted by: amy at December 20, 2006 1:21 PM