Packing Material

My younger sister shipped Bailey’s birthday present to her earlier this week. Arrived Wednesday I think. It was a Barbie, with an extra set of outfits. Which elicted the normal distribution of girl screams in varying tones. Lots of soprano, some alto, and somebody hit the high C.

It was also packaged with a generous amount of bubble wrap.



“Bubble party!”

Yeah, that stuff is just as fun as it was 30 years ago. Kinsey actually yelled “bubble party” and then they started unwrapping the stuff all over the kitchen floor. You ever walk around your kitchen with your feet cushioned by hundreds of tiny plastic bubbles?

I did. And I liked it. Depending on the angle your foot strikes the floor you can change the rate of pop and increase or decrease the volume of the popping sound. But it does get a tad bit annoying after 10 minutes so I had to lay the smack down.

Of course now, instead of bubble wrap everywhere, we have Barbie and her sorority sisters and all their clothes all over the family room.

Published in: on September 25, 2008 at 3:36 pm  Leave a Comment  


We went to Pittsburgh over the weekend. I lived there until just after Thanksgiving in 2nd grade back in ’77. We built a trip around the Iowa-Pitt game on Saturday. My folks, Mom’s folks and Mom’s sisters and their husbands.

Pitt won by the way 21-20. Woo Hoo! Didn’t want to have to sit with a bunch of hawk fans for two Saturdays in a row and watch them beat my alma mater one game and my childhood favorite team the next.

Unfortunately we left on Bailey’s birthday. Which means our youngest is now 5. That seems like it should be a milestone or something. And like most milestones in my life, it was somehow connected to college football.

Anyway, since we were leaving, we decided to open some birthday presents for her the night before we left. Mom got her the old game “Perfection.” You remember this game. You have to put all the differently shaped pieces in before the board pops up. You get something like 60 seconds. Girls thought it was hilarious and sorta scary. Kinsey tried it, got her pants scared off, then was a little gun shy. So Riley and Kinsey teamed up to beat the clock. After they tried a few times, I decided to give it a shot. Fell one short both times I tried. To which Riley observed, “Well Daddy’s old. His arms don’t work as fast as ours.”

Great. Now not only am I old, but I also have slow arms.

We get up the morning of our flight and we have to get the girls out the door and off to school before we head to the airport. Turns out Kinsey needs a bug jar. They are doing an insect unit at school and she is supposed to bring a bug jar. She decided to remind us as we’re backing out of the driveway. And she did it in that hysterical high pitched kid voice they get when they just realized something that they desperately need for school. So I run back in and frantically wash out a jar of banana peppers and use a knife to scrap off the label.

We get back on Sunday and I see the jar sitting on the counter.

“Kinz, why is your bug jar here?”

“Can’t have glass. It’s breaks. Oh well.”


Anyway, the trip was great. Got some new hats and even had a chance to walk up to the Duquesne University bookstore and get a Duquesne football shirt. Bet you don’t have one of those.

Mom and I visited Pittsburgh in 1995 and went to a Steelers game in old Three Rivers Stadium. But I had never been to Heinz Field or PNC Park and I got to go to both. It was awesome. Not as awesome as Mom’s sister dancing on the jumbtron at PNC in the bottom of eighth inning of the Pirates-Astros game, but still pretty awesome. For someone who grew up pretending to be Lynn Swann and had his heart broken when Sid Bream slid into home back in October of ’92 (I still think he was out by the way-watch the replay), it was pretty damn close to a perfect weekend. Add into it that I went with my Mom and Dad. The same people who back in the fall of ’77 took me to my first college football game. Little did my folks know when they took me to that Pitt-Navy game to see Matt Cavanaugh, Gordon “Too Much” Jones, Elliot Walker, Randy Holloway, Bob Jury and the Delaney brothers, just to name a few, that they were starting what is now a torrid love affair with college football.

Heinz Field is a cathedral for Steelers fans. Got my picture taken next to Lynn Swann’s actual locker from Three Rivers Stadium which is displayed there. Also got a cool picture taken in front of an actual life size photo of the Immaculate Reception on the wall there too. It looks like Jack Tatum actually had to go through me to hit Frenchy Fuqua.

Went to dinner at a place called “The Church Brew Works.” It’s an old Catholic church turned into a brew pub. The brew kettles are right where the alter used to sit. Yeah, it does make you a little uneasy. But then you have a few Octoberfest brews and it looks totally natural. The place still had the old pews used as booth benches, the stain glass windows were still there. It even still smelled like an old church.

Yeah, it was cool.

We get home Sunday and the girls give us big hugs and Kinsey asks, “Hey Dad, did you like Picksburgh?”

Published in: on September 23, 2008 at 9:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Fan

I felt like Todd Palin yesterday.

Sort of anyway. I didn’t go commercial sea fishing in the Bering Strait or drill for oil on the North Slope of Alaska. But I did install a ceiling fan. With a light fixture attached. And I didn’t electrocute myself. And it works.

Plus about a week ago, I installed an overhead light fixture too. Of course then I had to fold the laundry and put away tiny little pairs of girls underwear.

Regardless, if you take away the fact that I started the ceiling fan project on Sunday and didn’t finish it until Tuesday afternoon, you’d be impressed. You’d also be more impressed if I wasn’t using a little tykes flashlight in the shape of pig that made an “oinking” sound when you pressed the trigger to open the pig’s mouth to allow the light to shine out.

Yeah, well, when you don’t start the project until after the 3:00 slate of NFL games is over and you turn off the circuit breaker to avoid death, you run out of daylight pretty damn quick. So I needed a flashlight. I was already up on the ladder and didn’t want to run all the way downstairs to get the regular flashlight so I grabbed the one the girls play with. They weren’t really happy about it either because the breaker that cuts the electricity to Riley’s room (where the new ceiling fan is now located) also cuts the power to the bathroom where all three girls were taking a shower. So Mom had MacGyvered up a system where the flashlight was in position to shine into the shower so they had some illumination. I ruined that.

I’m pretty impressed with myself. Now I just have to install the other two ceiling fans we bought. One for our room and one for the family room. Family room has an angled ceiling and is way, way higher than your normal ceiling.

The girls and Mom were all impressed with me too when they got home Tuesday. Although I was a little bit offended when the first words out of Rye’s mouth were, “Cool Dad, does it work?”

Then Mom comes in and yanks on the chain that turns on and off the light. I subtly suggested that she not tug on anything on the fan while our children were beneath it. Not that I don’t stand behind my work but, you know, I’m just saying.

Anyway, Tuesday morning was also school board election day here. I made an off-handed remark about the election to no one in particular during breakfast and I must have said it pretty quickly because Kinsey asks, “What’s a school world erection?”

It cracked up Mom and I pretty good but I also quickly corrected her. Don’t want her going into her class and asking her teacher about it.

One more funny thing the girls made me aware of. The daycare that they attend carts them to and from school everyday. The kids pile into little buses and get driven to school. They also have a couple big 12 passenger vans. The girls like to ride in the vans and were telling me about it a couple days ago. You see it rained earlier this week and evidently when it rains one of their buses won’t start and they get to ride in the vans instead.

I innocently asked Rye which bus it was that didn’t react all that well with rain.

“The ghetto bus.”


“The ghetto bus. It’s the big white one. Our teachers hate it. It’s too big for the parking lot at school and we can’t use it when it rains.”

I’m laughing during the whole explanation.

“Why are you laughing? What’s so funny? What’s a ghetto anyway?”

The first thought that ran through my mind was to give the girls a quick lesson on the failure of public housing projects. It’s good example of an well intentioned idea completely screwed up by the government agency assigned to manage it. Like most of the Great Society programs implemented by Lyndon Johnson. Instead, I went with a more simple approach. “Well, it’s a place where people who don’t have enough of, well, who don’t have enough of just about everything, get stuck living. It’s not very nice and you never want to be there.”

“Okay, but why do they have buses?”

Didn’t have an answer for that one.

Published in: on September 10, 2008 at 10:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why isn’t this working?

You know that feeling you get when you remember something that should have done but didn’t and the person who you wanted to do it for is about to find what it is you forgot to do?

That happened this morning.

On Sunday, Kinsey lost her first tooth. While we were sitting in the grandstand during the church service at Old Threshers in Mt. Pleasant.

She was very excited. The most excited I’ve ever seen her during church. Of course at church during Old Threshers you get to do things like drink your morning Diet Pepsi and wear your brand new Nike Iowa State t-shirt with the cool new logo. So I was pretty happy too.

Anyway, its amazing how small baby teeth really are. They don’t look that small when they are still in someone’s mouth. But when you’re holding it right there in your palm its pretty damn small. Stunningly small. Not as small as Sally Quinn’s perspective in the Washington Post on working moms like Sarah Palin, but more like Spud Webb in the ’86 slam dunk contest. Small but powerful enough to cause problems.

So we get home Monday and Kinsey puts the tooth under pillow. But first she wraps it up in a small tissue because she likes to put her hands under the pillow at night and she doesn’t want to lose the tooth. After all, if it is lost she isn’t getting any loot from the tooth fairy.

Riley has already figured out the tooth fairy scam but she’s playing along for Kinsey’s sake.

But we forgot. Tooth fairy dropped the ball.

Kinsey shrugs it off and puts it under her pillow again last night. I walk into her room this morning flip the light on and tell her and the other girls its time to get up to go to school. And that’s when it hit me.

HOLY CRAP! We forgot. Again.

I quickly, and when I say quickly I mean not quickly, sauntered into my room and grabbed a couple quarters and moseyed my way back into the girl’s room in desperate hopes to get the quarters under the pillow. I’m thinking to myself, man, I can’t believe I’m going to get away with this. We totally blew it. Again. But they aren’t really up yet and I can sneak it right under there.

I turn the corner and Kinsey is unwrapping the neatly wrapped tooth tissue.

Damn. This must be how Tom Brady felt last February after he hit Randy Moss with that late touchdown only to watch David Tyree come up with the “helmet catch.”

“Hey…its still here. Why isn’t this working?”

“Oh geez, I don’t know Kinz.”

Then like Stonewall Jackson emerging from the trees in the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863 to route the federal troops, Rye chimes in with a perfectly executed assist.

“Hey Kinsey, I bet that since school just started the tooth fairy is really busy cause all these kids are going back to school and losing teeth. So maybe she’s just a little behind.”


“Yeah, Kinsey I bet that’s what happened.”

I didn’t really follow the logic but Kinsey seemed to buy it. So naturally I felt the need to seal the deal. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t pull a Mitch Williams and blow it by laying out a nice fastball for Joe Carter.

“You know Kinsey I wonder if the tooth fairy really did come but she just didn’t see your tooth because its all wrapped up in that tissue? Maybe she just didn’t see it?”

“Yeah…she was so busy that she was really hurrying and just didn’t see it because she was going so fast to get to all the kids.”

“Right. I think you nailed it Kinsey.”

“I think the tooth fairy needs to give Santa a call and use his reindeer because Santa is just way better at this than she is.”

Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

That’s harder with boys

So I just got back from the gym last night, took a shower, flipped on Fox News to watch the President’s address during the RNC. Rye walks into the room and hops on the bed with me.

“Watcha watching Dad?”

“The President. Shhh.”

“Aw man, Mommy is watching this downstairs.”

We sit there for about 20 seconds before Riley becomes uninterested and flips this question my direction.

“When did you and Mommy get married?”


“How old were you?”


“So I have to wait until I’m 27 to get married?”

“Well, no, Grandma got married when she was 22.”

“So I have to be 22 to get married.”

“Um, no, how old you are doesn’t really matter. Wait, that’s not true. It does matter but what is really important is that you find the right person.”

“The right person?”

“Yeah, the right person. Somebody who you love very much and somebody who loves you very much.”


“And somebody that you want to spend the rest of your life with.”

“Oh man. That would be easy with girls. I would just pick Madison and all my friends. But that’s a lot harder with boys.”

Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 8:13 pm  Leave a Comment