Dance Recital Rehearsal

It’s that week again. The wonderful week in May when we have dance recitals, dance recital practice and gymnastics class. Except this year we’ve added in a birthday party too and a cook-out. So here’s the deal, Tuesday we have dance recital practice for all three girls. Riley at 4:45, Kinsey at 5:15 and Bailey at 6:15. Plus Riley has gymnastics at 5:30. I planned to take all three to rehearsal then Mom arrives just in time to run Rye over to the gymnastics.

Well that plan was about as successful as Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign. Mom tells me a few hours before rehearsal that she magically has a 5:30 meeting and can’t be at practice. I quickly evaluate my options.

1) Get ticked off and take all three girls to rehearsal. 2) Get ticked and take all three girls to rehearsal and skip gymnastics. 3) Find a DeLorean equipped with the flux capacitor and jump between locations thereby skipping over a few minutes and instantly arriving at gymnastics on time.

I went with #2.

Anyway, I slightly underestimated the time it would take me to pick up all three, stop at home to grab their dance shoes, and get to the rehearsal place in time to have Rye and Kinsey change into their costumes.

It was going to be pretty tight but it looked like we’d arrive and the girls would have about 3-4 minutes to change. Rye’s a trooper and she’d be able to do that no problem.

Except for the road construction.

Yeah, the entire road in front of the high school is gone. Not torn up, not blocked off for resurfacing, not being widened – it was gone. It was like somebody took a giant ice scraper and just removed the road.

Well the detour added about 10 minutes which made us late.

“Crap, we’re going to be late.”

“Oh man, I hate being late. Are we going to get in trouble?”

“No, I’m sure some other people will be late because of the construction.”

“Why aren’t you driving faster?”

“Why didn’t you pick us up earlier?”

“Why didn’t you go a different way and go around the construction?”

“Why is there construction?”

“Are we going to be late?”

So after I endure that blistering indictment of my clock management and summer road construction knowledge, we park and run into the building. But only after Kinsey and Bailey had the opportunity to complain about the running and how long it was from the car to the door. Plus a few more questions related to our tardiness.

We rush into the building, find the bathroom and take a quick peek into the auditorium to see whose class is practicing first.

Riley’s. Cool, Rye will whine less about being the last one there.

But Kinsey’s class is also on the stage dressed and ready to go. Crap. Can’t let Kinsey see that.

“Dad my class is up there too!. Why did you make me late! Now I’m the last one!”

“Tough break there chief. Rye get in the bathroom, get changed and help Kinsey get her costume on.”

I drag Bailey, who is complaining about why she can’t get her costume on right away, into the auditorium and hook up with a couple Mom’s from Rye’s class.

“Hit that road construction?”

“Road construction? Really? Didn’t notice that.”

Rye’s teacher is giving me the eye and telling she really needs to get on stage so they can get started.

“Yeah, sorry, I’m a dude. Can’t go in the bathroom and help her get dressed. The authorities tend to frown on grown men hanging in the girl’s restroom while a bunch of girls 8 and under are changing clothes.”

Thankfully another Mom offers to check on them.

30 seconds later, Rye runs up onto the stage but there’s no Kinsey. Great.

My internal Kinsey Meltdown Clock starts…10…9…8…

“She’s fine, I helped her get her stuff on. She’ll be out in a second.”

Good thing for the Recital Mom’s.

So Rye does her thing in these outfits where she looks like a German-Austrian-Swiss extra from The Sound of Music.

Then Kinsey gets up there and does pretty well. She’s concentrating really hard.

I glance over to see Bailey folding herself into one of the seats. She looked like Robert Shaw in Jaws as he’s sliding into the shark’s mouth.

“This is not a boating accident.”

Quizzical looks from the Moms.

If it was all Dads here, somebody would have thrown out a “Jaws, 1975” and started singing the “I’m drunk and I want to go home” song.

Rye has a quick costume change into her western cowgirl outfit. Hat, vest with a sheriff’s badge. Boot Scoot Boogie.

Rye and Kinsey finish up, I take Bailey into a spot where we change her into her dance costume. Which makes her really happy. And I’ve only been here for 75 minutes at this point which is nothing. I’m really happy too. I’m the opposite of that tired, annoyed, throwing in the towel kind of attitude you get when you’re trying to manage three little girls while the Moms smirk and laugh at you. Really, I’m fine.

“Dad, I need to poop.”

“Seriously? Can you hold it? You have to go up in about 30 seconds.”


Wow, didn’t expect that.

Must’ve been a false positive in Bailey’s poop radar because she was fine and didn’t visit the bombay doors until the next morning.

Bailey does her thing which really is just a bunch of skipping and running and hopping with some high kicks and we’re done. We head out to the car.

Windows still down. Backseat driver’s side door wide open.

Yeah so evidently we were in such a hurry when we arrived that nobody shut the doors and rolled up the windows. I give the car a quick check. My Kid Rock CD and my Hair Band compilation CD which features such classics as Tesla’s “Getting Better” and Thunder’s “Dirty Love” are still there. So is everything else. Which mostly consists of junk, ATM receipts and Sun Chip remnants.

Guess nobody thinks my stuff is cool except me.

Published in: on May 31, 2008 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  


We were teaching Rye’s Sunday school class a couple weeks ago. Eight second graders. At the end of each class there is a lesson that we watch on DVD. It is related (hopefully) to what we were talking about during the whole hour. The DVD lessons consist of some teenagers dealing with whatever topic we’ve talked about. They kinda have a 70’s After School Special feel to them. But way shorter and much more cheery. So maybe they are nothing like those After School Specials…

Anyway, the lesson was about Pentecost. Go ahead an google Pentecost so you know what I’m talking about.

One of the teenagers spoke in Spanish while the rest of the kids tried to understand what she was saying. At end of each short skit they sing a song called The Big Sound. Today’s Big Sound had the teenagers coming out in vintage old-school 80’s clothes singing a song. We thought it was kinda funny. I’m not sure how it fit into Pentecost or the lesson but it was still kinda cool.

The second graders had a different take.

“Oh, this is the one that’s weird.”

“They come out in these weird old-fashioned clothes.”

“Yeah, it’s kinda creepy.”

Seriously, the 80’s are old-fashioned now? And creepy?

Published in: on May 23, 2008 at 8:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bears and Grills

Mom is out of town tonight. So it’s just me and the girls. Here’s the conversation we had upon returning home from Riley’s gymnastics class.

“Dad, I want to live in the forest like a bear.”

“Really Bails?”

“Yeah, I like the forest. But I don’t want to be in a bear cave cause then I’ll have to eat bear food. Like beetles.”

“Yeah, beetles aren’t really that tasty.”

Then Kinsey chimes in with a slight whimper. She’s still a little upset at Bailey and Riley for the ride home. I’m not exactly sure what happened but it had something to do with Kinsey’s sloth-like pace at buckling her seatbelt.

“Dad, why are they making fun of me?”

“What are you talking about Kinsey?”

“I’m just a little kid. I’m still learning. It’s not nice to laugh at people when they are just learning.”

“Uh, right. What were you learning?”

“It just takes me a little while to get the seatbelt buckled.”

“Oh, Kinsey, c’mon, that’s not a big deal. You got it buckled, end of story. Don’t worry about it. Now get upstairs with Bailey and get in the bathtub.”

Bailey is doing naked heats of the hallway sprint. Rye is up there too but she has American Idol already on the TV and is oblivious to the Naked Flash.

“Hey Dad come up here fast!”

“Why? I’m cleaning up.”

“Well there was a commercial about the grills at Sears. They are on sale.”

So Rye is getting as good and about as subtle as her Mom about dropping hints.

Published in: on May 23, 2008 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

We’ll Call the Police

Mother’s Day weekend turned out to be a pretty big deal at our house this year. Grandma and Grandad are in town all weekend on their way out to Colorado. Grandma and Grandad brought along a good friend of theirs who also happens to be my good buddy’s Mom. My buddy’s Mom is staying with him all week. We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, we all went out to dinner Friday night.

As an aside it went really smoothly. I know that’s disappointing for some of you hoping for some type galactic event that thoroughly unraveled dinner.

Anyway my buddy is pretty far to the right politically. Not so much on social stuff but on constitutional stuff – property rights, guns, personal liberty, etc. He likes to stick it to the man whenever he can. One example of the man sticking his face into my buddy’s personal liberty is the mandatory seatbelt law.

According to him it’s a victimless offense. If he gets into an accident, the only person who gets hurt by his decision not to wear the seatbelt is him.

But he’s never really put that theory to the little girl test.

So he’s in the car with the five of us. When it comes time to buckle up its like have three versions of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the back seat yelling at you about buckling up and how the free world will conquer communism with the aid of God and a few Marines.

They’ve been strapped into carseats or booster seats their whole lives. We don’t go anywhere without them strapped in. They start hyperventilating if the car moves without them strapped in. Kinda like when you catch a liberal being intolerant and call them on it. Same kind of high pitched astonishment in their voices.

Anyway, my pal doesn’t wear his seatbelt. Intentionally. Because he’s sticking it to the man. Don’t Tread on Me. He may be a direct descendant of the Sons of Liberty. He channels Patrick Henry every time in gets in the car. I can’t prove it but I think he reenacts the Boston Tea Party every December 16th.

So he’s sitting in his seat as we get moving. Not strapped in.

“Hey are you wearing your seatbelt?”

“Ah, no girls, I’m not.”

“That’s dangerous!”

“You’re supposed to!”

“We’ll call the police!”

Maybe the British should have deployed armies of little girls 8 and under to quell the unrest on the streets Boston…

Published in: on May 14, 2008 at 2:23 am  Leave a Comment  


So Riley, Kinsey and I are driving to our usual Friday night restaurant last night to meet Mom and Bailey for dinner. We drive by a restaurant we used to visit quite a bit before it changed owners and went from a place that was friendly to families to more of a grown-up atmosphere. It’s really too bad because they have a great patio that was easy for the kids in the summer and it was close enough to our house that we could walk to it.

We drive by the old place and Rye wants to know why we don’t go to patio anymore. I tell her its not really a place for kids anymore and that we’ll have to find a new restaurant with a patio that we can visit.

We start ticking off the places that we like. None really have cool patios.

“Dad, why don’t these restaurants have good patios?”

“Don’t know Rye.”

“What’s the big deal? All they have to do is buy some inexpensive furniture that is easy to clean off. Buy it, put it outside and then leave it.”

“Yeah, good call Rye, I don’t know why there aren’t more patios.”

“Buy it, put it, leave it. Buy, put. Leave. BPL. It’s easy. Geez.”

While I’m laughing, “Ladies Night” comes on the radio. Interestingly, both girls seem to know some of the words. That’s weird. This song came out in 1979. I was nine years old when it hit #1 in November of ’79. The “We are Family” Pirates had just won the World Series with those sweet striped caps and all gold uniforms. This was a long time ago. Yet the girls are singing along.

“Oh yes, it’s ladies night, and the feeling’s right, oh yes it’s ladies night, oh what a night…”

“Hey Dad what if all girls came over to the house and all the boys were watching football at a friends house and this song came on and they had a dance party and then went shopping for shoes?”

“That would be something Rye.”

“Yeah, it would be ladies night.”

Published in: on May 3, 2008 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Maybe I’ll Just Have a Piece of Gum

One of the things that I find really, really cool about being a Dad is watching how your kid’s mind works. Sometimes it is like looking in a mirror other times its not so discouraging. Either way, I had one of those instances last Tuesday.

Tuesday is gymnastics day for Rye. Which means that one of us has to race home from work, pick up Rye and Kinsey, get Rye changed into her gymnastics out and then race out to the gym by 5:30. The hardest part is leaving work in time to keep from being late. Rye has the whole quick-change scenario down. She’s faster than Superman in a phone booth while still maintaining the colorful stretchy outfit.

Anyway, Kinsey and I get Rye dropped off and are heading back home. I’m not really paying attention to what Kinsey is doing or saying in the backseat because I’ve got the windows down and I’m belting out some Billy Joel since we’re headed to a Billy Joel concert in about an hour.

“Remember those days hanging out at the village green…engineer boots, leather jackets and tight blue jeans…”

Suddenly I catch the familiar and dreaded sounds of the Kinsey Whimper. A tear or two slowly rolls down her cheek.

“Kinsey what’s wrong?”

“I really miss Grandma. I’m so sad that she’s not here. I just wish she was here.”

“Well she’s coming to visit in a couple weeks and she’s going to stay with us for a few days. Grandad is coming too.”

“But I want her here now. I really, really miss her. It just makes me so sad.”

“When she gets here you could ask her to move to Iowa then you’d see her all the time.”

I actually started laughing when I said this and I had to sort of muffle it to keep Kinsey from hearing me. You’re laughing too because you know there ain’t no way Grandma is moving to Iowa. Once you’ve gone swimming in your pool on Christmas day and had breakfast poolside at your own house, it just ain’t in the cards to come back to the Midwest and trade sweeping off your driveway for chipping an inch and a-half of ice harder then diamonds off your driveway.

Kinsey is still whimpering and the tears are getting bigger.

“Kinsey, Grandma will be here soon and you’ll be able to see her and everything.”

“Why can’t she be here now? Jet planes are fast. She could ride on a plane and be here.”

“Yeah that’s true but it would take a few hours plus Grandma really doesn’t like planes too much.”

“Well, Daddy, I’m just really, really sad.”

“Do you want to call her when we get home?”

“Well, um, okay, but maybe if I had a piece of gum I would feel better.”

Seriously do you see what just happened there? I have no doubt that Kinsey actually misses Grandma. She’s really a tenderhearted kid. But she was just setting me up for the gum ask. Tears, emotion, even threw in the speed of modern transportation. I pity the poor the kid who decides to take Kinsey to prom in ten years.

We get home and I give her a piece of gum. Couple minutes later Bailey walks in with Mom. “Hey Dad! Guess what I did at scho…hey does Kinsey have gum? Can I have some?”

Grandma will have to let us know where she gets the set-up skills.

Published in: on May 2, 2008 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bustin’ Makes Me Feel Good

Poptarts are supposed to be a quick, easy, efficient breakfast. They aren’t supposed to require a whole lot work on my park. Kinda like a Volkswagen. You crack open the tinfoil and its all ready to go.

It’s not like toasting a waffle or getting cereal ready where you have to deal with butter and milk and spoons, etc.

Well, with the girls obvious affection for the wonderful taste of what are essentially cheap flattened danishes, you’d think they’d eat all of them.

They don’t.

Watching the girls eat poptarts is like watching a beaver chew on a tree. There are poptart remnants on the floor, the table, stuck in the corners of their mouths. I could assemble a complete poptart from the vestiges left on the floor. And they don’t just eat the poptarts. They use them as some sort of sculpting substance. Riley can create perfect right angles with her teeth. Kinsey has the uncanny ability to separate the poptart into two perfect halves so she can lick the brown sugar cinnamon filling. Then she’s like John Belushi at the cafeteria line in Animal House. Pieces of poptart cadavers all over the table. Bailey tends to leave just the skeletal remains. It’s as if she doesn’t want any of her bites to overlap.

So that means I’m sweeping the floor after every poptart encounter. I do it this morning and Rye says, “Wow Dad, look at all those poptart pieces down there. We sure are messy little eaters.”

Well, peachy. Knowing is half the battle there chief.

We finish up and get in the car. Riley grabs this 1980-1984 hits CD on the passenger seat and asks, “Hey Dad this has Ghostbusters, play that.”

“Seriously? You want to listen to Ghostbusters?

“Yeah, we love that song. Who sings it?”

“Ray Parker, Jr.”

“Is he cool?”

“No. No he’s not. Back in the summer of ’84, he was the man. But back then break dancing was the coolest thing on the planet. If you don’t count Michael Jackson, the A-Team and the Scarecrow and Mrs. King.”


“Listen this song was cool and so was the movie but listening to it isn’t nostalgia-cool like watching Footloose or playing Chopper Command on your Atari 2600.”

“Dad, what the heck are talking about?”

“1984 kiddo! Bustin’ might make you feel good but 1984 wasn’t the coolest year – even though Miami Vice did start then. But that wasn’t until the fall way after Ray Parker, Jr. became uncool!

“What’s Miami Vice?”

“Miami Vice? How can you like Ghostbusters and not know the heroic albeit tortured exploits of Sonny Crockett?”

“Can we just listen to the song?”

“Um…yeah, sure.”

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts…

Published in: on May 2, 2008 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment