September 30, 2008

Little Girl, Big Questions

Over the weekend, Mia and I visited a local pet store, one of her most favorite destinations. Halfway through the visit, she turned to me and said, "which thing are we picking out and taking home?" Um, hi baby jesus, send help and beer.

Here are the conversations that followed. I've provided some footnotes in order to more fully capture the moment and portray what was going on in my head.

Me: Well, we're not going to find and take home a pet today. We have to talk about pets, taking care of them and what kind of pet might be right for you.
Mia: I want a dog.
Me: I know you do. But mommy's allergic to dogs.
Mia: But. But. But we can wrap the dog up in something and keep it away from mommy.
Me: That's a great idea, sweetheart, but I'm not sure that would work or be something the dog would like. (1)
Mia: Okay. We could get a bird. Or a fish.
Me: Well, both of those sound like good ideas.
Mia: I think I want a fish.
Me: Fish are fun but you have to take care of them. And you should know that sometimes fish get sick and they don't live as long as birds or dogs.
Mia: We'd just have to get a new one.
Me: Right. I wouldn't want you to be too sad.
Mia: It's okay. Like if Uncle E's dog dies, they'd just get a new Biscuit.
Me: Kinda. But they'd probably be pretty sad.

Later that evening I discovered Mia in the bathtub furiously cleaning all her bath toys.

Me: What are you doing, sweetheart?
Mia: I'm cleaning all my toys. If you don't take care of them, they die. (2)
Me: No, Bean. Toys don't die. Only living things can die.
Mia: Like dogs, and cats, and people?
Me: Right.
Mia: Are you going to die? (3)
Me: Yes, Bean. Eventually but not for a very long time.
Mia: Am I going to die? (4)
Me: Yes, sweetheart. In a long long time but it's so far away that I don't ever want you to worry about that.
Mia: I think I want to skip dying.
Me: I think I want to too.
Mia: We can both skip dying.
Me: That would be great Bean. I think we all have to die but I'd like for us to skip it if we could.

And later, while braiding her just-washed hair, she broke out another question.

Mia: What happens after we die? (5)
Me: I don't know.
Mia: Does Mommy know?
Me: No, Bean. Nobody really knows. It's a mystery.
Mia: Why's it a mystery?
Me: Well, lots of people think they know but I'm not sure they're right.
Mia: Daddy, why was King Triton mad when he found out Ariel had gone to the surface?
Me: That's more like it.

You see what I mean? These were tough questions. I can only hope that answering them honestly doesn't somehow backfire on me. What are the toughest questions you've ever faced?
____________________

(1) Or survive.
(2) Hello, heartbreak.
(3) Fuck. You're only supposed to ask that when I'm drunk or you're 30.
(4) If you keep asking these heart-wrenching questions, I might.
(5) What, I've got to tackle pets, death, god and the heavens all in one day?

Posted by Chris at 6:29 AM | Comments (50)

September 29, 2008

The Weekend During Which I Almost Lost My Shit

As the title might suggest - subtly, because I'm all about subtlety - this weekend was a little rough. Let's recap.

On Thursday morning, I received an IM from Beth asking me to come home as soon as I could. She was sick. Now, I expected the worst because Beth is tough when it comes to being sick. Much tougher than I. And she was in quite a bit of pain. So I took over and spent the rest of the day trying to entertain Owen - very mommy-focused and teething - and Mia, who could barely contain her enthusiasm after a double super-happy fun day at preschool.

I canceled all the meetings I had to be at work in person for on Friday and worked from home on and off while playing relief-parent for Beth. Of course, by this time I was also feeling like hell which explains the hour or two I can't really account for sitting in front of the computer in the basement. I must have drifted off or passed out. Huh. Luckily, by Friday evening, Beth was feeling better.

We woke up early on Saturday and Mia and I headed to her swimming class. We came home then she and I headed back out to run some errands and pick up lunch. After that, Mia's attitude quickly devolved into something resembling Joan "No Wire Hangars" Crawford. Owen wasn't pleased either. And in the Most Uncool Parenting Moment of 2008 (So Far), I actually uttered the phrase I've had it up to here with that attitude which instantly made me feel George Burns Old (if George Burns were still alive, that is). Mia and Beth went off to watch a local marching band competition because Mia is nothing if not obsessed with marching bands. Meanwhile, Owen and I hung out, he screamed at me, I took it and replayed the movie Spinal Tap in my head hoping for a laugh. We eventually sat down and watched an old episode of Knight Rider I found on TV. Owen loved it. The Hoff comes through again.

Around 11:30 on Saturday night, something started bugging Mia. I ended up with her all night. And as much as I'd like for you to think I was incredibly put out by this thus continuing my weekend of parenting hell, I've got to tell you that it was pretty wonderful. I have the feeling there will be fewer and fewer opportunities in which I can wake up in the middle of the night to find my little girl wrapped around me. I'll take all of them I can get.

God had it right with that whole resting on Sunday thing. I'd like to report that I did nothing but sit around in my jammies and watched football but it was a little more involved than that. Luckily, the kids were in good moods and Beth and I both continued to feel better.

Now its Monday (duh). I have three ten or eleven hour days ahead of me but I'm not going to sweat that too much. I've vowed to take Thursday and Friday off. My brain, my body and my attitude needs it.

And that is how I almost lost my shit this weekend. How did you spend your weekend? And what's pushed your buttons lately?

Posted by Chris at 6:15 AM | Comments (25)

Haiku For Monday #236

Proposed: Amendment
twenty-eight making Mondays
illegal. Agree?

Posted by Chris at 6:14 AM | Comments (6)

September 26, 2008

The Weeklies #55

The Weekly Spam. What They Don't Want You To Know What It Does To Your Body. Uh, what?

The Weekly Source of Stress. Work, chock full of all-day meetings and high expectations. Combined with the cold I seem to have acquired.

The Weekly Annoying Bodily Function. Sneezing. I can't stop sneezing.

The Weekly Read. A few months ago, I picked up Kevin Brockmeier's The Brief History of the Dead. I read the first page and a half and knew pretty quickly that it wasn't what I was in the mood for. I picked it up again this week and gave it another shot. The verdict? Different, but pretty good. The book is by no means science fiction, however Brockmeier imagines a not so distant future in which a virus has eliminated most of humanity from the earth while, in parallel, a city inhabited by the dead - those wiped off the earth but not yet whisked away into heaven or whatever otherworldly future awaits. Those inhabitants survive in the city so long as one of the living remembers them. It sounds like heavy stuff and it is. But it's immensely readable and very well written.

The Weekly Personal Triumph. On Wednesday night, Beth and Mia went to see Disney On Ice. Five minutes after I arrived home - after an all day meeting - I took charge of Owen - teething and in a very mommy place. I was braced for a hellish evening but, you know what? It went really well. We played, we ate and by 8:30, Owen was fast asleep in bed.

The Weekly Great Gig In The Sky. While Richard Wright - one of the founders of Pink Floyd - wasn't the world's greatest keyboardist or have the best voice, his impact was immense. Last night, I popped in a recent David Gilmour DVD in which Dave and Richard performed some of the best and even most obscure Floyd songs. It was fantastic but a little sad to watch.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Are we seriously supposed to believe that John McCain suspended his political campaign out of sheer concern for the economy? Despite the fact that members of congress from both sides of the aisle repeated that they wanted neither McCain nor Obama involved, lest the proceedings become nothing but a political power play? Don't postpone the debate - now more than ever we need to see what these two have to say.

The Weekly Photo.

The Weekly Hypothetical. Okay, so, yesterday I alluded to the fact that I haven't visited many of you in (your blogs, not your houses because as you all know I'm on your doorstep with cupcakes every evening) in ages. Does that make me a horrible blogger?

Posted by Chris at 8:21 AM | Comments (51)

September 25, 2008

It's The Economy, Stupid*

A few months ago, I started talking politics and ended with a question for all of you, something about the issue that most concerned you. You, being brilliant, mentioned the economy quite a few times.

Now, I'm going to have to admit to being a bad blogger lately. You all come by and visit and I rarely return the favor these days. What with the big important job, two kids and the need to sleep more than three hours a night, I'm running short on time. And yet you keep visiting despite my lack of reciprocation and for that I'm grateful. My point - aside from telling you how awesome you are - is this: the few blogs I have managed to visit over the last week echo the concerns you shared earlier. The state of the economy is justifiably freaking you out.

Back in 2001, after planes flew into buildings, wars were declared and the security of our lives was color-coded, the economy went to hell and my job went with it. I was employee number 30 of a small company that grew to over 200. Despite my loyalty and pretty damn good performance, I lost my job in the third round of layoffs. Now, sure, I landed a job - my current job - two months later. Sure, we managed to feed ourselves and no one got too overly freaked out. But it proved that the things you count on being permanent sometimes aren't.

How has this economy (or lack thereof) affected you? What are the first sacrifices you'll make? Or have you already started? And, most importantly, how would you fix the situation?

The reason I ask is this: real people - people who stand in assembly lines or ride desks all day, people with children, single mothers, stay-at-home fathers, people trying to sell their homes or put gas in their cars - are the ones who feel the most acute pain and the people in the best position to find an answer. Not politicians.

* No, I'm not trying to insult you. It's a now-famous James Carville line from the '92 presidential campaign.

Posted by Chris at 6:15 AM | Comments (50)

September 24, 2008

All The News That's Fit To Store in A Box And Collect Dust For Sixteen Years

Did I ever tell you that I was the editor of my high school newspaper during my sophomore, junior and senior years? No? Well, it shouldn't be too surprising, I guess. I was downstairs this weekend, picking through the boxes we haven't yet managed to unpack (we've been in this house for a year) trying (and failing) to find an adapter for a guitar pedal when I stumbled on a pile of old issues of the hallowed high school publication, the name of which I am withholding lest I give too many details of myself away. Combing through the now-forgotten issues was interesting. I've forgotten so much. And, sure, some of the writing is pretty darn embarrassing but some of the reporting is actually pretty decent.

Because I never want to be accused of not sharing enough with you, not giving you some insight into my formative years, I now reproduce the final editorial I wrote in 1991, my junior year in high school. I've left it entirely unedited, changing only specific names that would bring stalkers to my doorstep.

As we leave Bea Arthur High, whether it is only for a summer or forever, we must all remember what this school has given us and what we have given in return. We must remember the four factors that have made this year, like so many others, so prosperous. Those factors are the community, student body, teachers and administrators.

Bea Arthur High began as a farm school in 1967 when the areas which are now Midgetville, Abe Vigoda Estates and TJ Hooker Acres were cow infested. The community did not play as important a part in the school then as it does now.

Take for instance the Bea Arthur community newspapers. Bea Arthur High has a column in the Bea Arthur Times and there are always pieces of news about our school in the Bea Arthur Herald. Take a look at how many "Arthurites" came out to see the homecoming parade this year. The community is honestly involved in our welfare and our education.

It is said that there cannot be a well-run school without a good student body and this year was no exception. We have proven ourselves worthy of accepting responsibilities. From picking our student leaders to choosing the cafeteria menus, we have demonstrated that the power of a teenager should not be underestimated.

We, as students in Vandalay County, have everything going for us. We are located in one of the best-rated school districts in the country and are faced with one of the most outstanding educational programs around.

Bea Arthur High students are also blessed with teachers and administrators who care about us, rather than making themselves look good in the eyes of the parents. There are few teachers or administrators in this world who would take personal phone calls from students to give us extra help or allow us other privileges we requested. We should consider ourselves lucky.

Throughout the last days of school, we must all remember what the faculty and community have done for us. They have given us a good education while making it seem reasonably painless. Since we walked in the front doors, however many years ago, we have grown emotionally and physically.

We must say goodby now, whether it's for a few months or forever. The memories we have all made for ourselves, the student body of '91, will live forever.

"I'm sad to say it's time to go but until we meet again along the road, remember this, on your journey home, when you hear the thunder's roar, you're not alone. We wish you well." - Whitesnake


First, yes, I fucking quoted Whitesnake. In an editorial. I'd cry but I'm laughing too hard. I was so fucking cool.

The editorial is pretty cringe-worthy. I mean, I didn't just kiss the school's ass. I got a crowbar, opened it up and climbed right inside. The funny - or sad - thing, though, is that I remember really thinking like this. I guess that's just my glass-is-half-full personality shining through at a formative age.

What moments - or any evidence of your youth - do you look back on the most and find cringe-worthy? And - because I can't stop asking questions - who's up for more cheesy high-school editorials?

Posted by Chris at 6:14 AM | Comments (39)

September 23, 2008

Signs

Yesterday was a long day and I have this sneaking suspicion that it's going to be a long week. Why, you ask? Well, let's look at a few of the signs. You know it's going to be a long week when...

...you roll down your car window and, since you parked it outside over the weekend due to the fact that you had your driveway redone, the evil chestnuts that have piled up on top of your car manage to fall into the car hitting you square in the face reminding you how insanely sharp they are and that mother nature is one sick bitch from time to time.

...you realize that the pants you wore - the ones you selected in the dark, mind you - have a rather obnoxious and obvious stain in the crotchal region which makes it look like you either had a minor accident or you really, really enjoy being at work, if you know what I mean.

...you arrive in the office, enter the elevator and immediately become stuck when the power fails with a woman who promptly freaks the fuck out and, instead of actually pushing the call button to get the security guys on the phone, repeatedly pushes the little picture of the phone next to the call button and freaks the fuck out more when no one answers.

...you are freed from the elevator and realize that when the power is out this includes any and all bathroom ventilation which results in a disgusting smell leading you to believe that somehow livestock is sneaking onto the 12th floor of the building and has cracked the code to the use of modern plumbing.

...you are in said bathroom musing about aforementioned smell even wondering how sheep could use a urinal when you realize two very important things - a) you're talking out lound and b) you're not alone.

...the doughnut you bought on the way to work tastes like ass which, let's face it, is really hard for a doughnut to accomplish.

...you are late to every meeting and conference call you have which is about as imaginable as the Pope leading a group of homosexual pro-choice protesters in a satanic ritual inside the Vatican because you are a compulsively early person.

...you have a dentist appointment and are sure to get the flossing lecture and, upon said realization you floss like a person possessed and discover that your floss is made in Ireland which is really strange but you're not sure why it's strange.

...you realize, quite suddenly, that you have a boatload (Love Boat sized, not your standard dingy) of work to do before an all-day meeting you've scheduled for Wednesday.

...you realize that you've finally turned into the asshat responsible for scheduling an all-day meeting.

...you slowly begin to feel like ass throughout the day and not the kind of ass that looks great in a pair of tight fitting jeans and turns heads but, instead, a cellulite-ridden kind of sloppy ass.

Like I said, there's a very real possibility that it's going to be a long week. And how about you? Do you believe in signs? And how do you make it through a long week?

Posted by Chris at 7:11 AM | Comments (39)

September 22, 2008

Pockets Full Of Rainbows

This weekend was chock-full of post-summer goodness and some not-so-goodness but on the whole it was a pretty great weekend. And a busy one. Let's see - Friday night football game, yard work, swimming class, a trip to a local park, visit from the grandparents, teething...there was just a lot going on. Including being awake.

On Saturday night, Mia was a little under the weather. I stayed up with her all night, alternating between sleeping on the floor holding her hand or full-on holding her in my arms and sitting upright with her head buried in my t-shirt. The only sleep I'm sure I got was between the hours of 6:30 and 8:00 Sunday morning. Which is why I walked around all day Sunday like this:


The most perfect moment of the weekend? Friday night.

On Friday evening, we went to the local high school to check out the football game. In case you're just joining our program in progress, we live very close to my old high school. So close, we can hear the band. And Mia is a sucker for a good marching band. We hit the home games whenever we can. The four of us walked to the school but by the end of the first quarter Owen was well past his bedtime and had had enough of the noise. Beth and Owen walked home while Mia and I stayed for the halftime show. Early in the second quarter, Mia wanted some explanations about the intricacies of the game.

Mia: Daddy? What are they doing?
Me: One team has the ball and tries to get it to one side of the field.
Mia: Why daddy?
Me: Because that's the way they score points.
Mia: Why do they want to do that?
Me: Because that's how you win, by scoring points.
Mia: Oh. Which team do we want to win?
Me: The one wearing the black uniforms.
Mia: Oh. Okay.

It was then that she got incredibly excited about cheering our team on at the top of her lungs. Much to my chagrin she chose to support the team in an interesting way. She shouted, Go black guys go! You can do it, black guys! Luckily she quickly switched to a new cheer moments later without my intervention. And man did she cheer her little princess underwear-wearing ass off. It must have worked. By halftime, we were ahead. The drill team took the field and Mia took to the bleacher steps and did her very best to reenact the dance step for step. Then the band played and Mia stared in awe at the drummers. After the show, it was time to leave.

Despite the fact that the dance routine proved stiff competition, the walk back home was the best part of the evening. Twenty minutes of talking, just the two of us. Early in the walk she told me she saw a rainbow. Her conviction forced me to look around. Sure enough, the halo around each of the streetlights we passed was ringed in a rainbow. I'm going to pick it and take it home to mommy in my pocket, she said. I'll help, I replied. The few people who passed the two of us randomly stopping to jump and pluck invisible rainbows from the sky in order to stick them in our pockets might have thought we were a little strange. I thought we were wonderful.

We talked about the rainbows, preschool, swimming class and even the parrot Mia had been uncharacteristically brave enough to hold. The conversation wasn't particularly remarkable. But it was one of the top ten evenings of my life, just me and my daughter, walking down the street in our neighborhood, hand-in-hand enjoying one last summer evening, talking about our lives. Together.

What's been your favorite little moment recently?

Posted by Chris at 6:49 AM | Comments (30)

Haiku For Monday #235

I get drinking in
the morning. I don't condone
it, but I get it.

Posted by Chris at 6:48 AM | Comments (1)

September 19, 2008

The Weeklies #54

The Weekly Spam. It's a tie between Turn Your Banana Into A Steel Pole and Hillary To Spend Rest of Campaign in Soundproof Glass Box. Now, if we could turn McCain into a banana and get Palin into that box, I'd be happy.

The Weekly Surreal Moment. Despite all the run ins with strange people, it was last night's trip for ice cream that took the cake. The ice cream cake. Close to our place is a local ice cream place and often at that ice cream place you can find a man with a parrot. That's not a euphemism. It's an actual guy with a parrot. He's a very nice, seemingly normal guy and if you're lucky he'll throw his little superman cape on the parrot, put him on a remote control truck and give him a ride around the shopping center. It is indescribably ridiculous and absolutely hilarious.

The Weekly Read. This week, I slogged through I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. It was a bestseller and got some attention when it was released so I picked it up six months ago and just got around to reading it. Let me give you a piece of advice - don't. Tucker Max is an asshole. He admits to this simple fact in his book almost constantly. The book is nothing but a compilation of stories about getting outrageously drunk and having sex with an endless string of women. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, if that's what you're into. But Max is seriously the most obnoxious, most misogynistic man on the face of the planet. The stories are supposed to be funny but they're just cringe-worthy at best. The funniest part of the book was unintentional - in one story, Max pinpoints the exact moment at which he realized he didn't want a career in law opting instead for life as a writer. Why is that funny? Because the book is terribly written. Sure, he throws in big words but he doesn't seem to be able to settle on verb tenses within his stories and pluralizes things with apostrophes. It reads like a bunch of really badly thought-out blog entries that he printed out on his home printer and had bound by some vanity press somewhere. So, really, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell is a pretty crappily-written book by and about an obnoxious asshole who does nothing but drink and take advantage of women who he thinks are, by default, pretty stupid. Why would you want to read that?

The Weekly Music. Metallica is one of the most overrated bands in history. There, I said it. Throw things at me if you want but I probably won't ever change my mind. That said, Death Magnetic is probably their best album in recent history and shows off exactly why they're so highly thought of. Death Magnetic is a return to mid-80's thrash form, with some really strong song-writing and some great instrumental prowess. What's marred most Metallica releases - and prevented some of them from being really good albums - is production. With Rick Rubin in the producer's seat this time around, the production is clean and crisp. If you never liked Metallica, Death Magnetic won't change your mind. If you've been waiting for a truly decent Metallica album, this one is right up your alley.

The Weekly Photo.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Oops, look, Sarah Palin's email is right there on the internet where we can see it. Any why, exactly, was she using her Yahoo account for official government business? Because personal email accounts aren't subject to the same data management and auditing as those pesky official accounts.

The Weekly Hypothetical. Someone's making a movie of your life. Who plays you? And who writes the soundtrack?

Posted by Chris at 5:58 AM | Comments (35)

September 18, 2008

The Giant-Headed Lived Happily Ever After

It's a well-established fact that Mia wants nothing more out of life than to either be a princess or be surrounded by princesses. And, in turn, get married because apparently that's what most princesses do. Over the weekend, Beth and I revealed to an awe-struck Mia that we had actual video and pictures of our wedding. We hauled out our wedding album and leafed through the slightly dusty pages. Then we broke out the video - the thirty minute version, not the two hour extravaganza. The three of us then sat fascinated (Owen wasn't at all fascinated unless drooling was some indication of his awe) watching the wedding that took place nearly nine years ago unfold.

Mia was transfixed. I don't mind saying that our wedding was absolutely beautiful. The ceremony was in a beautiful church, the reception in a beautiful place, and Beth looked absolutely beautiful, like the princesses Mia is used to seeing only in books or animated movies. So I don't blame her for staring. I'm sure it must have been marginally interesting to see me in a tux but I'm not going to fool myself into thinking that Beth wasn't at least 95% of the box office draw.


Me, well, I just cringed. Our wedding photographers and videographers were fantastic. The results of each were spectacular. Yet I'm not thrilled by the ones featuring yours truly. Because of my head. My head looks absolutely huge in the vast majority of the pictures, not helped by the hair style that looks as if a small brown rodent curled up and fell asleep on my massive dome. Sure, I know that 99% of this is my own imagination, that it's all in my giant head but it's the way I see it. Now, imagine that giant head in full, life-like video. Imagine that head with a shit-eating grin getting cake stuffed down it. And imagine that head dancing. Not pretty.

On a side note, watching the video has convinced me that I will never dance again for any reason under any circumstances. Further, I urge all white men, except for those granted natural, god-given talent, to heretofore cease and desist with the dancing action. Us white guys just can't pull it off.


What struck both Beth and I more than the size of my head was the fact that everyone looked so young. Nine years is both a little and a lot of time, depending on your perspective. Beth and I looked about 12, like we were getting hitched in some quasi-religious ceremony after being promised to each other at birth. And our parents all looked so young. Grandparents, now deceased, were there, walking, living, breathing. It was a shock to see my grandfather. I have a strange, postmortem subconscious relationship with him to this day. Couples now broken up were together and couples now married had just met. And everyone's glasses looked too big.

Time does not heal all wounds but it does indeed wait for no man. Even dancing white men with big heads.

Posted by Chris at 6:15 AM | Comments (53)

September 17, 2008

How I Almost Beat A Street Performer With His Own Saxophone

As has been explained many times, I sometimes work in suburban Monkeytown and sometimes in the heart of Monkeytown itself. Yesterday was a downtown Monkeytown day. I ditched my car in the usual overpriced parking garage which, coincidentally, is narrow enough and deep enough to qualify as one of Dante's circles of hell. As I exited the garage, I walked past the metro station and playing in front of it was Bad Street Saxophonist Guy. Now, I know I've mentioned him before but, to briefly recap, BSSG shows up and plays in front of the metro station fairly regularly. His presence is marked by an elaborate keyboard setup powered by a car battery and, of course, his ever-present saxophone. And BSSG is a terrible saxophone player. Like, so bad that if he were the last saxophonist on the face of the earth auditioning for the role of Clarence Clemons in a Bruce Springsteen tribute band, he wouldn't stand a chance.

Seemingly unrelated (I'm trying to weave a rich tapestry of bloggy goodness here people), princesses in my house continue to be a big deal. Mia insists on wearing dresses constantly, even to bed sometimes. Whenever she's home, on go the "glass slippers" followed closely by one of the several tiaras we own. On some occasions, she even insists on being called Ariel or Belle or Cinderella. And god forbid you don't comply. You'll be banished from the castle. We play elaborate games of Cinderella (girl goes to ball, clock strikes midnight, shoe is lost and I track down the missing princess), Ariel (prince - me - goes down with the ship, is rescued by cute mermaid - Mia - and awakened by being sung at) and Aurora (evil stepmother - me - laughs maniacally, princess pricks finger on spindle, three good fairies - me, me and me - arrive to kiss her and wake her up). I've created a much loved mixed CD for her consisting of nothing but music from Disney princess movies which she listens to over and over each night. She insists on wearing princess underwear. There are some times at which I think I've reached the Princess Saturation Point. Like when I realize I've been humming something from Beauty and The Beast for the better part of fourteen hours or when I am asked to drown then be revived for the 17th time in twenty minutes. Yesterday morning as I was leaving my car behind in the parking lot was one of those times. I'd been humming something all morning and it suddenly dawned on me that it was A Whole New World from Aladdin. I tried humming a Zeppelin song (because I'm sure Zeppelin would hold no truck with Disney) and it was working as I made my way up the elevator and into the great wide world. For a while.

Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream
[Me: Ahhh, yeah. Good song.]
I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been
[Me: What a nice day out. Oh look, Bad Street Saxophonist Guy is back.]
To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen
[Me: Man he sucks. What's he playing? That sounds familiar.]
They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed
[Me: Noooooooooo! Khaaaaaan!]

What was that sick fuck mediocre musician playing? A Whole New World. It was all I could do to stop myself from wrestling his saxophone from his two hands and savagely beating him over the head with it.

What are your best and worst coincidences?

Posted by Chris at 7:58 AM | Comments (17)

September 16, 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Say what you want about people but, if nothing else, they're incredibly entertaining. I mean, I wouldn't have any of those good bathroom stories if people weren't, as a whole, a little off. It seems like at least a few thousand times a day, I find myself asking the question what were they thinking...or at least something similar.

For instance. Watching coverage of Ike the other day, for instance, I was wondering exactly what was wrong with all the people who refused to heed the mandatory evacuation in Galveston. I grew up around there. It's flat. Water gets high, the island floods. It's pretty simple math. And when the Pope gets up and is getting ready in the morning - a routine that I like to think is comprised of being awakened by trained monkeys dressed in Elvis costumes, an aide bringing him a big pile of pancakes and a half gallon of Sunny D, and surfing internet gossip sites - and he walks into his closet, what makes him pick out one of those really, really big hats? McCain's pick of Palin as his running mate led me to the same what the hell question though I pretty much figure he's just run full-tilt into senility. When Tolstoy wrote War and Peace, was he thinking I'm going to write the best piece of literature ever or merely this bitch is gonna be long? And when celebrities go out in public without underwear, what are they thinking? Not to worry, my vagina's invisible.

The reason I bring this up is due to the fact that I had pretty much the defining what the fuck moment in my life yesterday morning.

I'd just walked out of the parking garage at around 7:00 in the morning in scenic Monkeytown. The street-sign told me I'd get run over if I kept walking so I stopped. Also stopped next to me on my right - a mere two feet from where I was standing - was a rather large, hairy shirtless gentleman driving a dark blue Saturn. Yes, it was already a warm morning but still, a shirtless man driving around Washington DC is not something you see all that often, especially that early. As I shuffled around and he inched forward, something else became abundantly clear. His penis. Yeah, that's right. Said fat, hairy gentleman was not merely shirtless. He was completely and utterly naked. It was then - upon noticing that I'd become aware of his flagrant nudity - that he shot me a knowing glance, winked and raised and waived a small American flag then drove off.

Now I ask you - on many, many levels - what the fuck? Who the hell drives around downtown DC with nary a stitch of clothing on? And what was with that whole flag thing? Was he, like, a nudist for America? Was he saluting it in some strange new way? Or was he merely trying to give his old flag a new pole? I suppose I'll never find out. And quite honestly, I'm okay with that.

What are your big WTFs?

Posted by Chris at 6:32 AM | Comments (40)

September 15, 2008

The Weekend (In Five Acts)

It was a busy weekend and I'm appropriately beat as a result. I give you my weekend.

Act I: Swimming Lessons. We kicked off Saturday morning by heading to an indoor pool at the local community center for swimming lessons. For Mia. With the exception of Owen, the rest of us know how to swim. Anyway, the class was a hit. Mia - with my help - swam and kicked and splashed and generally had fun so that was cool. As soon as I entered the pool, I was assaulted with all those sounds and smells of, well, indoor pools which instantly took me back to my own swimming lessons which I distinctly remember being awful, full of chlorinated eyes and swallowed pool water. Mia seems to have had a better experience. Thank god.

Act II: Lebanese Food. We were able to get out on Saturday night for a date. We found ourselves at a Lebanese place and, not knowing what we were getting ourselves into, we ended up ordering much more food than we could possibly eat. But damn was it good. And the Lebanese sure have a way with the chickpea.

Act III: The Art Show. A good friend of ours is an artist. A damn good one. (Hi Andrew!) He had a solo show on Saturday night which we were able to roll ourselves to after eating way too much chickpea-loaded Lebanese food. The show was fantastic as was the location - Glen Echo Park. Just off the Potomac River, Glen Echo is a National Park. It began its life as an educational institution and, at the turn of the 20th century, found itself an amusement park. While most if its attractions were decommissioned in the late 60's, many of the art-deco buildings remain and have been restored. Even the carousel which has now been open for 88 years. Pity I didn't have my camera with me. I'll just have to go back.

Act IV: The Pool, And Time. Our neighborhood pool officially closed for the season last night. But not before we squeezed in one last swim. It's hard to believe it's almost fall. Mia pulled out a bunch of books for me to read to her yesterday morning, one of them a Christmas book. I was pretty shocked when I realized that Christmas is just a little over three months away. It seems like my favorite phrase lately is how did that happen. As in my daughter is going to preschool - how did that happen or my daughter knows how to write all the letters of the alphabet - how did that happen or my son could pretty much be a starting linebacker for the Redskins - how did that happen. I'm pretty sure someone is fucking with the space-time continuum. I wish they'd stop. Meanwhile, we squeezed in that one last swim and it was bittersweet. And nice, since it was about 95 degrees yesterday.

Act V: Birthdays And Their Coincidence With Major Acts of Terrorism. My in-laws both have early September birthdays. Unfortunately my father-in-law's birthday is September 11th. On the bright side, we'll never miss his birthday. We went to the in-laws' place last night to celebrate. And we had a great time. Mia even more so. She got to play with the dog, Biscuit, and her cousin. And put candles on the birthday cake. The crucial mistake my in-laws made was giving her a virtually limitless supply of candles. By the time she was done, there were 73 candles on the cake. Seriously. I'm not making that up. Needless to say, my father-in-law isn't 73.

So, what did you do with your weekends? And what do you have planned for the fall?

Posted by Chris at 6:35 AM | Comments (22)

Haiku For Monday #234

Traffic sucks. I need
a jetpack. Though I'm afraid
it would char my ass.

Posted by Chris at 6:34 AM | Comments (7)

September 12, 2008

The Weeklies #53

The Weekly Preschool Update. It's better. After she gets over being away from her mom, Mia's supposedly enjoying herself. And she's certainly coming home happy. So, that's better.

The Weekly Weather Related Shout-Out To Folks In My Old Hood. For all of you reading from the Texas Gulf Coast including my old home town of Houston, stay safe.

The Weekly Read. A while back, I wrote about Marshall Karp's The Rabbit Factory. I said good things and ended up getting an email from Karp himself. We traded email a few times and he sent me his second book, Bloodthirsty. It too was good. We've continued to talk and trade email. In April, he'll be releasing his third novel, Flipping Out. Last week, Marshall sent me an advance copy. And I devoured it. The verdict? It's great. And I'm not just saying that because he's probably out there reading now and he's a really nice guy. What separates Karp's novels - mysteries, starring the LAPD detective team of Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs - from all the others out there is the fantastic mix of mystery, humor and heart. Flipping Out was no exception. If you're a fan of compelling mysteries with a great sense of humor, you'd be well-served to check out The Rabbit Factory and Bloodthirsty in anticipation of Flipping Out's release. If you've already read Karp's first two novels, well, I don't know what to tell you except the third is well worth the wait.

The Weekly Music. I've mentioned The Hold Steady about a billion times (okay, three) before. But their song Lord I'm Discouraged from their latest Stay Positive has to be one of the greatest rock ballads in modern history the likes of which we haven't seen since Guns N Roses last put out something palatable. It's a little moody, a little laid back, with a killer chorus and a guitar solo that gives Slash a run for his money. Plus, The Hold Steady is just an awesome band.

The Weekly Photo.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. I think 911 was enough negativity for the week.

The Weekly Not-So-Hypothetical. Has anyone seen the new Microsoft commercial starring none other than Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates? If so, does anyone understand it?

Posted by Chris at 6:49 AM | Comments (40)

September 11, 2008

911, Year 7


Trinity church on Wall Street in NYC

The world changed seven years ago. I don't think that's an overstatement. The world changed.

When they're old enough I'll tell my kids my story of 911. I'll tell them about the blue sky. I'm sure I'm romanticizing it but I don't think I've seen a sky that blue since that day. I'll tell them about the drive home, the mad dash away from Washington DC, a city scarred by the attacks as well. I'll tell them about the plume of smoke rising from the Pentagon in my rearview mirror. I'll tell them about arriving home, finding Beth glued to CNN, and realizing that, despite all the radio coverage I'd heard on the way home, I never imagined there would be actual video of the towers being hit and coming down. I'll tell them about the brave people on United flight 93 who sacrificed themselves to save others and found their final resting place in a Pennsylvania field. I'll tell them about the intense quiet as the planes across the country were grounded. I'll tell them about the heroism of police, firefighters and every day people that made me truly believe in the goodness of mankind. I'll tell them about the flags that flew everywhere, the pride that swelled, and the kindness that overflowed.

I will tell my children my story of 911 knowing that each one of us have our own stories. That each one of us was somehow impacted. That each of our worlds was either dramatically or subtly changed. And I will tell my children my story of 911 so that it will never be forgotten. Because 911 - the horror, the humanity, the victims, the images, the kindness, the pride - is something that needs to be remembered.

Where were you on 911? What is your story?

Posted by Chris at 6:37 AM | Comments (64)

September 10, 2008

Born To...Run?

I have a fairly strange and convoluted belief system. It's based primarily on logic - what I can process with my senses, directly observe - but its uncharacteristically laced with the intangibles, things associated with words like hope, faith and karma. I don't believe in god but, despite a continuous stream of evidence to the contrary in a sometimes-cruel world, I think if you do good you'll get good in return. Like if you smother kittens, you'll come back to the earth as a troll or if you're a racist asshat your soul will be doomed to return to the earth as one of Britney Spears' thongs.

One concept I'm not sure I buy is destiny. I don't think that on some spiritual plane my fate as an IT consultant was defined. The gods (or whatever) didn't decide I was meant to drive a Volkswagen, play a Fender Strat, listen to Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam, or fail algebra once in high school. If there is a higher power, I'd like to think it has better things to do than worry about me and my math skills (or lack thereof). But the one fate-related thought I can't shake is that maybe we were all meant - as determined by our natural and learned skills and talents - to do something specific with our lives.

I was reading Cinderella to my daughter the other night for about the 800th time. I was reading enthusiastically, making up voices for Cinderella, her little mouse friends and the evil stepmother, and all of the sudden I thought, wow, maybe, despite my hatred of being the center of attention, my loathing of memorization and my fear of rejection, I should have been an actor or something. This gave birth to a larger thought. If fate or destiny existed then maybe we were all meant to be something specific, to do something particular with our lives. This flurry of existential thought was broken when Mia stared at me and said daddy, keep reading!. Apparently thinking existentially doesn't allow me to multitask.

We've talked here about dream jobs but this is different. This is more of a what were you put here to do thing. So I ask you to assume with me that fate exists and there's something you were put on this earth - by god, alien rulers, Tom Cruise, your parents, whatever - to do. What's that destiny? And if it's not what you're currently doing, would you want it revealed to you or would it drive you insane to know you're not doing it?

P.S., what I do know is that I was made to wear these shirts. Check out my awesome Threadless purchases.


Posted by Chris at 6:21 AM | Comments (42)

September 9, 2008

Palin Comparison

This is not a political post. Cross my heart and hope to see Amy Winehouse naked.

Much has been made of McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Many arguments for and against are legitimate, many are not. But one topic about which the jury is still out is that of Palin's motherhood. Some say it's relevant. Others cry foul, complaining of sexism. After all, we never show much concern about a family if a man running for office has children. We don't worry about the detrimental effects running for the highest office might have on a man's kids. And in my opinion, that, in and of itself, is sexist in the opposite direction.

In Palin's case, I think it's a consideration, though one she should be making, not us. After all, she's got a pregnant 17 year old daughter and if anyone should be helping her daughter though this, its her mom. In addition her youngest is an infant and also has special needs. Some nights - most nights - Owen wakes up and wants absolutely nothing to do with me in favor of his mom. I can't begin to imagine the pressure on Palin as a mom much less a vice president. But should she have accepted the call to serve? That's her call, not mine.

I feel, however, that I can at least form an opinion because I'm the farthest thing from sexist on this topic as it's possible to be. Because I'm wrestling with something similar to this myself.

I work at a company in which performance and values are very seriously evaluated. I don't want to sound arrogant, but I'm good at what I do. As such, I've been promoted quickly and get near-daily opportunities to expand my career. I take the ones I'm comfortable taking and leave some on the table for others. But I've taken enough and been successful enough with them that people are talking about the next big promotion. This one's a biggie. There's a lot of work I have to do to get myself prepared not to mention the work once I get it. Yet my biggest concerns aren't status, a title or money. Instead their names are Beth, Mia and Owen.

Mia's gotten sensitive about me leaving for work in the morning without being given the opportunity to give me a hug and a kiss and wave goodbye as I roll down the street. So I've started getting her up in the mornings. Yesterday morning she started tearing up when I told her I was leaving. No doubt, this has something to do with the whole preschool debacle but it ripped my heart out when she said but I don't want you to go to work because I want you to stay here and play with me. I told her I'd like nothing better.

I enjoy work. I like what I do and appreciate the responsibilities I've been given. It's an important outlet for me and I think I'm pretty good at it. But when push comes to shove - or, honestly, without any pushing or shoving at all - I'm going to choose my family any day.

I'm just one guy with one opinion. How about you? Is Palin's choice selfish or is it worth the trade off for all the damage to the proverbial glass ceiling she's doing? And knowing what you know about me, what should I do in my situation?

Posted by Chris at 8:12 AM | Comments (46)

September 8, 2008

Rock You Like A Hurricane

I'm bushed. No, this isn't another political post. I'm worn out. I was quite the weekend. And if you were anywhere on the East coast of these United States, you probably got a heapin' helpin'
of hurricane.

Saturday's weather was like this:


Needless to say, we did quite a few indoor things after we tried and failed to dodge raindrops going to and from the grocery store in the morning. We did puzzles, built things out of blocks and played countless games of "Arial." I know - you're scratching your heads. "Arial" is a game in which I pretend to be Eric The Prince and I drown after my ship explodes. Then Mia, a mermaid, rescues me and helps me to the beach at which time she sings thus reviving me. It's a fun game...the first 300 times. It's only moderately amusing after that. Through all of this, the rain pelted the ground and turned Washington DC into something out of Kevin Costner's Waterworld but with much less peeing in jars and far better acting.

And Sunday's weather was like this:


Summer let out one final gasp which allowed us to do all kinds of summery things on Sunday. We woke early, got some breakfast, and visited my parents' flooded basement to assess the damage (they weren't as accomplished at the staying dry thing as we were). Then we all headed to the playground where, despite being told we were on Mars, we continued to play "Arial". After that we ate lunch, I mowed the yard while the kids napped and then we all headed to the pool one last time this summer. (And by the way, on a Sunday evening when I've had a lot of kid-time, I don't necessarily feel like parenting someone else's kids. Which is what I felt like I was doing since asshat dad was sitting the shade 30 feet away paying no attention to anything other than his Blackberry. Cowboy up and be a parent.)

Through all of this, Owen was both cutting four new teeth and trying to master crawling and we were trying to do our best to correct the fairly negative first impression of preschool Mia caught on Thursday. It didn't go particularly well. There was a great deal of crying. We're curious (and terrified) how it will go once she goes back tomorrow.

So, please keep your fingers crossed for Mia and if you have any brilliant suggestions, don't forget to let me know. And also let me know what you did with your weekends.

Posted by Chris at 6:40 AM | Comments (36)

Haiku For Monday #233

This is going to be
one busy week. I can't say
that I'm overjoyed.

Posted by Chris at 6:39 AM | Comments (3)

September 5, 2008

The Weeklies #52

The Weekly Major Milestone. This is the fifty-second installment of The Weeklies which means I've been doing this for a year. That's bizarre. It seems like I just started doing this!

The Weekly Time Waster. Make sushi!

The Weekly Read. I'll confess, I'm up for a bad horror novel every now and then. Bentley Little is one of my favorites. He writes two kids of books. The first is just straight horror and, frankly, coming from him they don't do much for me. The second is a little stranger. He takes an institution and makes it creepily evil. Like, in The Association, a homeowner's association became militant and just plain evil in some really strange ways. I just finished The Academy, in which a charter school becomes the evil plaything of an evil former educator. Yeah. Sounds silly. And it is, honestly. But the books Little writes in which he takes the benign and turns it evil are strangely compelling to me. The Academy was no different.

The Weekly Music. Well, I didn't listen to much but Owen did learn how to play the guitar. Granted, his methods are a bit unconventional but it sure does sound, uh, interesting.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Can we just talk for a minute about Sarah Palin's pregnant kid? I didn't mention it yesterday because frankly its a non-issue politically as far as I'm concerned. What gets me is the fact that the same commentators - Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, etc - who blasted Lynne Spears for being a terrible parent after Jamie Lynn got knocked up are out there telling the world that it's no big deal in Palin's case. Stupid double standards.

The Weekly Not So Hypothetical. As I mentioned, I've been doing The Weeklies for a year. Should I keep it up? How can I make it better? Or is it already brilliantly perfect?

Posted by Chris at 6:44 AM | Comments (41)

September 4, 2008

Won't Get Fooled Again

You know where I stand politically so it should come as no surprise that I'm critical of McCain and that I'm equally critical of his running mate. Prepare not to be surprised. You see, I've been watching the Republican National Convention and I'm appalled. I'm tired of hearing the word maverick bandied about applied to a guy who has lived inside the Washington Beltway since 1951 and has sided with the current administration somewhere around 95% of the time. I'm tired of the speeches condemning the media for their bias. I'm tired of assertions that basic human rights are a symptom of a liberal agenda. I'm tired of McCain's wartime heroism being used as some sort of validation that he should be elected president. I'm tired of women's bodies and rights to choose being used as a political hot button. And I'm tired of the word liberal being thrown around as if it's a four letter word. I'm tired of the intolerance being displayed and the multitude of falsities the Republican speakers are throwing out at the public. Last night, Mike Huckabee actually said that he was concerned about Obama bringing back "European ideas" after he spoke in Germany. What is this, 1950's Kansas?

Central to the discussion of the Republican ticket this week has been the choice of Sarah Palin, John McCain's first major decision as a leader. I've been doing a little research this week to try and evaluate the quality of that decision. Let me share a few facts that I've picked up:

  • Before becoming Alaska's Governor - a title she's held for only a year and a half - the extent of Palin's political experience was as the mayor of Wasillia, a town of approximately 6,700 people.
  • In her early days as mayor she sought to dismiss many of her supports who began to publicly object to her policies. She issued gag orders barring any of her direct reports from speaking to the press. Then she attempted to ban books from the public library.
  • Contrary to reports and popular opinion, Palin does not command the Alaska National Guard. That duty instead falls to Major General Craig Campbell who recently revealed that Palin plays no part in national defense.
  • In stark contrast to McCain's stance against big money, Palin employed a lobbying firm and managed to secure $27 million in earmarks for a town of only 6,700 residents.
  • Despite the fact that Alaska National Guard troops are on the ground in Iraq several of whom have been casualties as well as the fact that her own son is set to enter the Army in a matter of weeks, Palin doesn't seem to care much about the war. In 2007 she stated, "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq." While in Iraq to visit the troops, she voiced virtually no opinion of the war itself. "I'm not here to judge the idea of withdrawing, or the timeline. I'm not going to judge even the surge."
  • Palin opposes stronger taxes levied against the country's richest oil companies. She's even backed plans to drill for oil in Alaska as well as offshore drilling throughout the coastal states.
  • Palin sued the Bush administration in an effort to have polar bears removed from the list of threatened species. Why? To pave the way for increased oil drilling in her state.
  • Palin is pro-life even in cases of rape or incest.
  • She refuses to see the viability of alternative energy solutions. She recently stated that "alternative energy solutions are far from imminent and would require more than 10 years to develop." Nor does she believe in global warming.
  • According to Palin, creationism should be taught in schools. Sure, teaching creationism has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court but what does that matter?
  • Between 2003 and 2005, Palin was one of three directors of "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service," a group designed to serve as a "boot camp" for Republican women in Alaska. Unfortunately, in 2005, Stevens was indicted by a grand jury, specifically for violations against the Ethics in Government Act.
  • Palin has direct ties to the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP). She attended the party conferences in 1994 and 2000 and addressed the convention via video in 2008. Her husband has been a registered member for 10 years. Joe Vogler, the party's founder, is quoted as stating, "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government and I won't be buried under their damn flag."

I know Palin has some great qualities. She's a strong woman who has accomplished a great deal at a relatively young age. She's a mother of five, a former mayor and a governor and now a vice presidential candidate. These are marvelous accomplishments. But she's not qualified to be the president of the United States. If elected, John McCain will be the oldest first term president in our nation's history and has undergone multiple treatments for cancer. And Palin is who he wants the proverbial heartbeat away from the Oval Office?

Obviously, I'm a little worked up. Because I want to send a message this time around with my vote. A message that speaks to the basic human rights I expect everyone to receive if they're within our borders. A message that demands unjust wars be responsibly ended. A message which states that if two men or women love each other they should be afforded the same rights as traditional couples. A message that signals the end to political dominance by old white guys. A message that says that liberal isn't a bad word - it's a good one. A message that energy self-sufficiency is something to embrace as is our environment. A message that stresses a woman's right to choose. A message which clearly states that ethics matter and the media doesn't decide elections. And I fear for this country if that message isn't echoed loud and clear.

But maybe that's just me being idealistic again.

I ask you, was McCain's choice a brilliantly calculated Hail Mary or was it just insane? How much of a factor will Palin be in the election? And how much does she deserve to be? What are your thoughts?

Posted by Chris at 7:37 AM | Comments (75)

September 3, 2008

Firsts

I remember the first days of school well. I hated them. Maybe hate's a strong word but I wasn't very fond of them. I'm more of a routine sort of guy. While some thrive on the newness of a particular situation - like the first day of school - I like a situation to be lived in, broken in. So I was generally happy when the second week of school arrived. Not the first.

When I was in elementary school, my parents, recognizing my discomfort with the newness of each year, made a deal that if I made it through, they'd take me to the toystore to find something cool. Of course, I made it through which cinched a toy store visit where I invariably bought something like a phone.

(An aside: I was really obsessively into phones as a kid. I'm not sure why. Toy phones, real phones - I had to own them. When I went shopping, I always wanted to stop into the electronics stores to look at phones. When I was twelve I even rewired all the phones in our house from the lines that went straight into the walls to the actual jacks thus increasing the number and variety of phones which could be used in my childhood home. My parents were perplexed. I thought nothing of it. Of course, now, I hate talking on the phone so I figured I went overboard at an early age and the pendulum's just swung the opposite way.)

I mention this now because it seems like just yesterday I was trying to survive those first, early days of school in the hope of hitting a routine and, quite possibly, owning another phone. I mean, yesterday. But it's not. In fact this very day is Mia's first day of school.

How did this happen, people? This is not a rhetorical question. I want actual answers. My baby...in preschool...without us, her parents. I mean, I know she's got to get out of the house and we can't watch over her forever but there's a time for that and that time is her 30th birthday.

I was sitting at the preschool orientation last night and it was then that it hit me - my baby is not a baby anymore. To give myself some credit, I really haven't thought of her as an actual baby in quite some time. Especially since she started calling me "old man." But still, my precious little girl is entering a slice of the world that I can't inhabit, doing things I won't be doing with her and making friends I don't know. I'm not at all a control freak (okay, stop laughing - that's a lie) but I do feel like I'm giving her up a little bit. And while I'm happy that she's getting these opportunities, while I know it's the right thing for her, I can't help but selfishly miss the time up until now when it was just the three-then-four of us, before we unleashed the phenomenon that is Mia upon an unsuspecting world.

Hold me.

Posted by Chris at 6:36 AM | Comments (23)

September 2, 2008

Summer's End (Or, Thank You Billy Joe Armstrong)

I'm slightly bitter about the fact that, calendar aside, summer is pretty much over. Okay, I'm more than bitter. With schools back in session, traffic will once again rise to the penultimate position - second only to McCain taking the White House in January - on the list of things with the greatest potential to threaten my sanity. The days will get short, the leaves will change color and fall, and the neighborhood pool will lie abandoned for another eight months. The band at the school behind us will pick up their instruments and begin marching. The football games will begin.

I'll miss all the obvious things about the summer. I'll miss the smell of sunscreen and chlorine coming from my children. I'll miss the sound of kids' screams and splashes at the pool down the street. I'll miss the echoes of the ice cream man's truck though, since it inexplicably plays a vast selection of Christmas songs it would be appropriate to see it rolling down snow covered December streets selling baby Jesus ice cream sandwiches and Hanuka pops. I'll miss my dusk excursions with Mia to check on our tomatoes and watermelons. I'll even miss the yard work, the smell of fresh-cut grass and the grass clippings that invariably end up between your toes.

Owen's having a particularly rough time right now, what with six teeth coming in, a case of reflux and an insanely strong compulsion to crawl. He hadn't managed to get much sleep at all yesterday so Mia and Beth headed to the pool without us. He's most entertained when we're sitting on our front porch. So there we sat, waiting for Beth and Mia to return. At the high school behind us, Green Day's Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) came blaring from the PA system and blanketed the neighborhood. I sat there, my gorgeous son bouncing on one knee smiling up at me while my beautiful wife and daughter walked back from the pool, soaked and tired. And I thought, yeah, Billy Joe, you sure got that time of my life thing right.

What will you miss about this summer? And what won't you remember so fondly?

Posted by Chris at 6:31 AM | Comments (31)

September 1, 2008

Laborless Labor Day

Today is Labor Day here in the States. Ironically, this means that most of us have the day off. No labor. Strange the way that worked out. So, in the spirit of that whole not working thing, I, too, and talking the day off. I'll be back tomorrow to recap the weekend and bitch about being back in the office and all the traffic I had to put up with getting there (due to schools being back in session). Wow. It's like I can see the future. Until then, you're on your own. But if you need something to keep you busy, I'll give you some topics:


  • The Flintstones and The Honeymooners - the exact same show except one was animated and took place in the Stone Age while the other went down in mid-20th century New York.
  • Dick Sergant or Dick York? Which was the better Bewitched Dick?
  • It's true that wine is fine and liquor is quicker but what about beer?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Cactus out.

Posted by Chris at 7:56 AM | Comments (16)

Haiku For Monday #232

Labor day. That means
no work! Rejoice for I can
slack. With two kids? No.

Posted by Chris at 7:55 AM | Comments (1)


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