Day Off #1

Today was my first day off since January. Which means tomorrow will be my second day off since January. And it was nice to be at home especially since last Friday started at work about 8 a.m. And ended with me hitting the pillow at exactly 4:59 a.m. Saturday morning. Exactly five hours after that I was back at work. Except this time I lucky enough to avoid a 4:59 a.m. bedtime. And by lucky, I mean the same way Herbert Hoover was lucky enough to be president in 1929.

My Saturday at work ended with me hitting the sack at 5:38 a.m. Sunday. In college this was cool. Sometimes. I’m almost 39 and beating the newspaper guy to my house by about five minutes isn’t funny anymore.

Regardless, Mom had this whole list of stuff for me to do today. No where on the list did going to the mall for a new hat appear. So I amended it. I picked up Riley and Kinsey from school and they tried to amend my amendment with new language concerning ice cream. Much to their surprise, although not entirely unexpected, their amendment failed. But so did our trip for a new hat. twins-1975I was looking for this one but came up empty. Twins fan? No. But I love throwback stuff.

Anyway, Kinz has a project due sometime in the recent past. Its an “All About Me” poster. Which was made clear to everybody in the house through Bailey’s serenade of “It’s All About Kinsey!” It consisted of these four words sung repetitively until you started bleeding from your ears.

Aside from that it was fun. I was recruited to help with coloring after Kinsey and I filled out all the questions.

“What is your favorite book?” The Giant Carrot.

Seriously. Somebody wrote a book about a giant carrot. And then cleverly titled it, “The Giant Carrot.”

“What is the awesome activity you like to do the best?” Ice Skating.

This confused me because the only time I remember Kinz going ice skating she fell, banged her knee on the ice, and cried. But it evidently was fun.

What is your favorite food?” French Fries.

I’m not arguing with this choice. Potatoes in any form are delicious.

“Who inspires you?”

Kinsey’s answer? “Um…you and Mommy, you’re my heroes.”

Control room this is Dad…que the Hallelujah chorus.

So once we answered all the questions, Bails and I helped out with coloring. After this past weekend, I found coloring wonderfully fulfilling. Although my juxtaposition of gray and yellow did not meet with Kinsey’s approval. I also wasn’t using enough pink. Another thing to remember is to avoid using black. Its not a real color to little girls. Its like asking a room full of liberals about the 2nd amendment. Its not a real amendment to them.

So tomorrow I’ve got a nice little Tuesday planned. Head over to Home Depot, maybe hit Bed, Bath and Beyond if I have time…no, seriously, I’m joking. I already went to Lowe’s this morning.

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 9:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Disappointment

Two disappointing things happened this morning before I had even arrived at work.

First, I had this weird dream. A good friend of mine, me and a kid I was friends with back in grade school were in what appeared to be a pretty good chase scene. Cars, running, gun fire, lots of trash talking. It was like The Fast and Furious merged with the Bourne Trilogy. Except we were running from the head of NFL security.

Why?

Well, evidently we’d stolen the Detroit Lions new logo. And the head of NFL security was UFC fighter Chuck Liddell. I have no idea why we’d risk getting pummeled by a UFC fighting champion over the new Lions logo.lions

It is the Lions after all. It’s not the like Cowboys were dumping the star. Or the Raiders were ditching the eye patch. I mean the new logo is essentially the old logo except with teeth and some cartoon muscles. On the hand however, they’ve had the same logo since they had helmets on which to put logos. One 0-16 year doesn’t mean you toss tradition. It’s not like they were wearing the creamsicle uniforms of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those guys went 0-26 before they won their first game and had exactly one playoff win those uni’s. The Lions had Billy Sims and Barry Sanders wearing the old logo.lions-old

Regardless, none of that explains why I’d steal the new logo. It can’t be worth more that $3.50 to anyone outside of the greater Detroit metro area.

Anyway, just after our vintage 80’s white Lincoln Town Car had its roof torn off and crashed into some concrete barriers at the end of alley, we sprinted up a few flights of stairs onto the roof of a building. It all kind of reminded me of Call of Duty 4 a little bit. Unfortunately, just as we were getting ready to jump to the next building I woke up.

So I was a little disappointed about that.

Then as I was dropping off the girls this morning Riley asked me if I could take her on the field trip we’ve been talking about. You see a few weeks ago she came home with a note asking parents to volunteer to take a few members of Riley’s 3rd grade classmates on field trips to places in our area. I thought this sounded cool. I could take a few of them on a trip to the State Capitol Building. Except it is unclear whether or not I’ll have to be working on the day of the field trips. And today is the day parents had to commit to the field trips. So I had to tell Riley that I couldn’t do it.

So she was disappointed about that.

And nothing makes you feel crappier than disappointing your kids. And nothing makes you angrier about feeling crappy about disappointing your kids than having your schedule dependent on people who have little regard for other people’s time.

Like mine. Not to mention I almost got beat up over the Lions new logo…

Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 6:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Baseball, Sort of…

I’m not a big baseball fan anymore. At one point, between the ages of 13 and 23, I cared. A lot. But then they changed the rules and small market teams like the Pirates (the ones in Pittsburgh not Somalia) couldn’t keep up.

But this evening after we got home from dinner, the girls busted out the nerf bat and ball. We headed to backyard. I’ve never seen a “simulated game” in spring training but it can’t be far from what we were doing.

I did most of the pitching. The girls did most of the swinging. We used an exposed root from a maple tree for home plate. Or fourth base if you’re Riley. A red Keds was first, a purple croc was second and a pink croc was third. Sometimes third was a rock. And a few times it was a small pile of wood chips. But third base stayed in more or less the same geographic grid for the duration of our game.

The girls have some funky batting stances. They started off kind of like Jeff Bagwell. 2067920AB_D010614034 So we tightened that up. But they went a bit too far and ended up like Mickey Rivers. mickey-riversAnyway after we straightened that out, the girls got the hang of swinging the bat. But they struggled a bit with, um, the rules.

Riley had the basics down. You hit the ball and run to first. If you can get to second without getting tagged, go for it. She did pretty good. She knew three strikes and you’re out but the whole you’re out if you hit a fly ball and it’s caught kind of surprised her. Explained tagging up and she thought that was pretty damn tricky.

Kinsey, on the other hand, has no time for rules. She is, to put it mildly, is an aggressive baserunner. She’d foul it off into the flower bed and try to stretch it into a triple. She likes to slide too. But it’s not so much a real slide as it is a barrel roll with some giggles.

Bailey got ticked off she couldn’t hit the ball after a few swings and decided she’d rather throw a few shoulders into the other two as they rounded first. It was like Jack Tatum or Ronnie Lott was out there.jack-tatum

They even pulled off a double steal on me. But that wasn’t as impressive as Riley trying to steal third. She evidently is a disciple of the Ace Ventura school of base stealing.

At least she was trying to be sneaky about it. Kinsey’s timing is perfect but she kind of tips you off that she’s going with the roaring laughter as she breaks for third. Not to mention she’d yell, “Daddy, I’m stealing the next base!”

Bailey decided she wanted to pitch a couple to me. I made the mistake of doing a couple impressions of Willie Stargell.

Riley thought that was pretty cool so the rest of the time she was up there like The Human Rain Delay. She smashed one into the neighbor’s yard so I had to jump the fence and dodge the dog poop mines while she taunted me as she ran the bases.

It was like Ricky Henderson. If Rickey was blond. With a pony tail. And wearing plaid shorts. And barefoot. But at least she now holds the Chronicles of Dad home run distance record…

Published in: on April 17, 2009 at 11:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Don’t Tread on Me

Today is tax day. Since I’m finished reading Calvin Coolidge’s 1925 Inaugural Address, it’s a good time for me to teach the girls a few things. So I’ll do what any red blooded American Dad who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons would do. I’ll rely on Schoolhouse Rock.

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 7:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ham and Pyramids

So we went down to Mom’s folk’s house for Easter. It was a good time. 41 people’s worth of fun. Some of you will read that and think, “oh, that’s sounds awesome, it must have been really fun.”

The rest of you will read that with absolute dread, start sweating and recoil into convulsions unable to speak.

Yeah, Easter at the in-laws isn’t for everybody.

Especially if you just carried in three two liters of pop for all the guests and your wife uses the baster to spray your pants with the liquid that accumulates around the cooked ham. It has a little more consistency to it than simply juice. And it’s a little hot too. Thanks honey.

Despite the consequences of ham spatter, the kids love Easter. If you recall from last year, Grandma has introduced some good old fashioned American competition into Christ’s resurrection. And I’m not just talking about eating ham. We have an Easter egg roll complete with race lanes and, an Easter egg hunt and a human pyramid. Although calling it a “hunt” does a disservice to hunting. Its more like a sprint to find unconcealed eggs littered throughout Grandpa’s and Grandma’s yard. Finding the eggs is easier than finding pork in the congressional stimulus bill. And, truth be told, I don’t really understand the whole human pyramid thing. It was a tradition that began before I was in the family and one in which I’ve never once participated. Somebody still needs to explain to me what human triangular structures resembling Egyptian stone tombs have to do with Easter.easter-003

Regardless of your feelings for ancient mortuary culture, Easter is a good day if you are a little girl. You get to wear your new fancy schmancy Easter dress which probably includes new shoes. Plus if your are under age 10, you get pretty excited about things without sleeves. And, if your fast, you get more candy than you do on Halloween. Granted it’s all shaped like an egg and looks like the designers from Miami Vice were in charge of the colors but its still candy.

And then there’s the ham too.

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 7:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Last Night’s Medium

First thing – the 2009 NFL schedule was released today. I will now spend hours pouring over the schedule for absolutely no productive reason whatsoever. But it’s going to be awesome. Why? Because it’s football. In case you have your calendar handy, the NFL Draft is April 25-26. I dread the day after the draft. For it is on that day that The Great Wait begins. Beginning April 27th and running until late July (Steelers camp opens July 27th) the only thing on is baseball. And the Pirates haven’t been good since ’92. Damn you Sid Bream!

Second thing – did anybody watch Medium last night? I love this show. Reason? Because Joe and Allison have…wait for it…three girls. And…here it comes….they both work and spend an inordinate amount of time coordinating schedules, stumbling through parenting decisions and talking to dead people.

They are just like us. Except Mom doesn’t work for the local D.A. and solve crimes by talking to the recently dead. And she can’t see the future. I’m also not a rocket scientist. We don’t drive a Volvo either.

But besides that, we’re just like them.

Anyway, last night provided me with a glimpse into the future. Joe and Allison’s eldest daughter, 16 year old Ariel, was told she couldn’t go on a skiing trip up to her friend’s Dad’s cabin. Also on the trip would be her friend’s 18 year-old brother and his friends. Easy decision for any non-stupid parent. 16 year-old girls and 18 year-old boys…hmm….let me think…yeah, here’s the thing…no freaking way that is happening.

Compounding the problem for Joe and Allison is that Ariel is the sensible responsible oldest child. She makes good decisions. Except last night when she decided she was going anyway. Yes, I for one can’t wait for the “why can’t you let me live my life conversations.”

In what must be a shock to 16 year-olds everywhere, Joe and Allison figure out what’s up easily. Joe drives up to the cabin and picks her up. You already know what’s happening here because even if you don’t have a 16 year-old at home, you used to be 16. Ariel is humiliated and Joe is really, really mad. They are driving home and in a conversation I fully expect to have with all three of our girls more than once, I see the future.

Joe: “What could you have possibly been thinking?”

Ariel: “Why don’t you trust me? If you trusted me, you would have let me stay.”

Joe: “Ariel, I don’t trust them.”

I am not looking forward to any of this.

But I am planning for it on daily basis. For about $250 you can get a GPS tracker about the size of a cellphone that is easily concealable in a car. I’m still working on acquiring my own spy satellite.

Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rudy and The Baseball Furies

It’s not quite nostalgia but something similar. You hear a song and just for an instant, a fleeting second, you can actually feel what it was like back when the song was popular. I hear \"Jump\" and I swear it’s 1983 and I’m playing 8th grade basketball. I can smell the gym. I hear \"Coming of Age\" and you can’t tell me it isn’t 1990. I can taste the Milwaukee’s Best Light.

We were at dinner tonight and “In the City” by The Eagles came on. This might be The Eagles best song. You can make a case for “Take it Easy” in the pre-Joe Walsh era and “Already Gone” after he joined the band. Plus “In the City” was originally written for The Warriors and that was one freaky movie for a 6th grader to watch by himself in the basement.

It had this weird radio DJ who gave a running play-by-play of the Warriors trek across New York back their territory at Coney Island. thewarriorsIf you’re wearing a leather vest without a shirt and it has “Warriors” across the back, nighttime in New York is not where you want to be. The movie has that great late 70’s/early 80’s ominous music track like Escape From New York. Which, by the way, is easily in my list of movies I’ll watch every time its on TV. Anyway, The Warriors freaked me out. I could have only been about 11 when I first saw it and, well, The Baseball Furies were scary. Not Jason scary but more creepy scary. Like the murals on the sides of all those vans in the 70’s. furies

Anyway, I heard “In the City” tonight and it got me thinking. Are the girls going to hear some Kelly Clarkson song 25 years from now and think, “Wow, this reminds me of when Mom and Dad would drag us out to dinner on Friday nights.” Think about that. I hear The Eagles and can remember the late 70’s and to a certain degree the early 80’s since nearly all of them had solo hits too. Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” is the best Eagles solo hit by the way. Regardless, how bad does it suck for the girls that their nostalgic music trigger is destined to be Kelly Clarkson?

Evidently not as bad as my baseball skills. I’m sitting the other night on the couch completely exhausted. I’m so spent that I hit the couch and stayed in the exact same position for nearly two hours until I called upon the god of creaky knees and finally summoned the strength to walk up to bed. Anyway, Kinsey and Bailey haven’t seen much of me lately so they have sort of cuddled beside me.

I’m watching Rudy. Mom looks up and over at me, “You just love this don’t you?” rudy

Its not that I’m a Notre Dame fan, in fact I believe the first words my Dad taught me were “Notre Dame sucks,” its that I just love this stuff. Hoosiers is my favorite move of all-time. I watch Invincible every time I come across it. I came pretty close to tearing up when Coach Devine finally has the heart to send Rudy into the game against Georgia Tech. But since the girls are watching it too, Bailey and I are having a conversation. She gets this from her Grammy.

“Dad what’s that guy doing?”

“Well, his coach just sent him into the game and he’s not sure what he’s supposed to do.”

“Why did he get that guy?”

“That was his job. He’s a defensive end and sacking the quarterback is one of his main jobs.”

“Is he good?”

“No. No he’s not. He’s too small and he’s too slow. But he worked really, really hard and he never gave up. And because of that, he finally got to play. Not too many people get to play for Notre Dame.”

“Oh…he’s just like you Daddy.

“Really?”

“Yeah, you’re not very good at baseball but you still work really hard.”

So I guess her heart was in the right place…

Published in: on April 10, 2009 at 10:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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Omega sector…Lame

Bailey has boobies on the brain because we saw Monsters vs. Aliens last night. It’s a good flick. It’s tough to live up to The Incredibles or the first Shrek, but it’s good. We almost didn’t go because Kinsey and Riley were not at the top of their game and I was seconds from yanking them out of the car and just staying home. Instead Mom stepped in with the, “well you guys just lost your treats at the movie,” punishment. Bailey was actually being good and we didn’t want to punish her.

Anyway, the movie is pretty funny. Rainn Wilson plays Galaxharr, the villain, and delivers a hilarious line about his precious quantonium which has turned bride-to-be Susan, Reese Witherspoon, into Ginormica. As Galaxharr is searching for the quantonium, he discovers it has landed on earth in Modesto, CA. The super computer, much like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, tells him it is located in Omega sector.

“Omega sector…LAME!”

Wilson is awesome as is Seth Rogan as Bob – a gelatinous blob who makes a crack about boobies. bobBails found the remark highly amusing in a side-splitting five year-old way. Which I found more funny than the line from the movie.

Anyhoo, the movie also has Will Arnett as The Missing Link. He’s done a ton of voices but you probably remember him as Stranz Van Waldenberg in Blades of Glory. If you can make a six foot talking cockroach look like Hugh Laurie, they did it.

Best scene is when the President attempts to make contact with the aliens in a combination homage to Independence Day, Close Encounters and Beverly Hills Cop.

The inclusion of Harold Faltermeyer’s Axel F in the movie was hysterical to anyone who actually saw Beverly Hills Cop or it’s sequel. You can’t count BHC III. That movie was so horribly disrespectful to the comedic brilliance of the 80’s Eddie Murphy that even including it in the same conversation with the first two soils my memory of Axel, Rosewood and Taggart.

So I’m humming Axel F as we get home last night. A little ironic because VH1 Classic is running the Top One Hit Wonders of the 80\'s and Faltermeyer is on there at #70. Which angers me a little bit because good ol’ Harold had a couple of minor breakthroughs with the Top Gun Anthem and the theme to Fletch. Possibly the funniest movie of the 80’s. Certainly in the top 10. Anyway, it got me thinking about VH1 Classic’s list. How could these guys make so many obvious and easily refutable mistakes? If you work at VH1 Classic, shouldn’t 80’s one hit wonder knowledge be part of your DNA? Like throwing the football was to Bill Walsh or flanking marches to Stonewall Jackson or teleprompters to President Obama?

Guess not. Because if it were, The Outfield with Your Love, Chris DeBurgh with The Lady in Red, Dead or Alive with You Spin Me Round and Twisted Sister with We’re Not Gonna Take It, wouldn’t be on the list. But OXO with Whirlygirl, Sly Fox with Let’s Go All the Way, and Martin Briley with Salt in My Tears would have found their way on there. And I didn’t even mention You Don’t Want Me Anymore by Steel Breeze or No Time to Lose by the Tarney Spencer Band.

Not sure I agree with the rankings either. I understand that Dexy’s Midnight Runners have achieved this weird royalty as the Sultan of 80’s One Hit Wonders and Come on Eileen is a great song but In a Big Country by Big Country (#14) and Tainted Love (#5) by Softcell are better songs. And the guy from Big Country looks amazingly like the guy from A-ha. As an aside, is Chumbawumba with Tubthumpin’ the 90’s equivalent of Dexy’s?

If you hit the top 40 with another song you have to be evicted from residency on the one hit wonder list. You’re gone. This isn’t a debatable point. Look at The Outfield’s hits. In 1989 they hit the Top 40 with This is my Paradise. Look at Chris DeBurgh. Not only was 1983’s Don’t Pay the Ferryman a great song, it had a creepy video. How about Dead or Alive with Brand New Lover? Or Twisted Sister with I Wanna Rock?

If you’re going to include all those guys on the list then why aren’t The Tubes, Simple Minds or Howard Jones on there too?

See, now you have the same doubts as me about VH1’s competence and dedication to research regarding classic hits from the 80’s. It’s disconcerting. Not as much as the lack of a labor agreement between the NFL owners and player’s union in 2010 or the fact I’m old enough now to work with people who weren’t born yet when The Vapors were turning Japanese, but disconcerting nonetheless.

I think you hear me knocking VH1…and I think I’m coming in…

Published in: on April 4, 2009 at 9:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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Giraffes, balloons and Melissa Gilbert

Here’s the conversation we just had on the way to gymnastics and on the way home.

The three girls and I get in the car and head to gymnastics. Mom is getting her hair cut, done, fixed, worked on, whatever. I don’t know the correct term women use to describe what happens to their hair while they are at the salon. Calling it a haircut is like calling Francisco Cabrera’s pinch hit in the bottom of 9th in Game 7 of the ’92 NLCS a minor setback for the Pirates.

Anyway, we’re on our way and Bails lays this down:

Wicky wicky woo, wicky wicky woo…
I’m a beaver, I’m a rat, I’m wearing a baseball cap…

Anybody want to venture a guess how the hell she came up that?

After we drop Riley off, we’re talking on the way home. Kinsey is telling me about what she is learning about at school.

“Hey Dad did you know that other animals like to hang around giraffes?

“They do?”

“Yeah, because they’re tall and they can see if lions are coming to eat them.”

“So the giraffes are like the sentries of the animal world. Cool. You know back in the Civil War the soldiers would go up in hot air balloons to see over the trees and hills in order to see what the soldiers on the other side were doing.”

“Were there giraffes?”

“No.”

“Then why are you talking about balloons?”

“I don’t know…what else are you learning about?”

“Little House on the Prairie and gorillas.”

“Together? What the heck kind of school am I paying for with my tax dollars?”

“Dad, did you know that Little House on the Prairie was real?”

“Yes, in fact I watched it on TV sometimes when your aunt would force me.”

“Yeah, they traveled like 100 miles and lived in a dirt house. In the old days. Hey did you know that first guy to ever talk to gorillas acted like a gorilla?”

“Really?”

“Yeah, he ate grass and pretended he wasn’t scared of them.”

“Yuck.”

“Grass is really pretty good. But you have to put water on it.”

Bails jumps in with, “Yeah my friend Avery at school eats grass. He says its good.”

Back to Kinsey, “Gorillas are very strong and their arms can stretch really tall. Taller than this car.”

“Cool.”

Then Bails chimes in again…”Yeah gorillas are like giant monkeys with big boobies.”

I will give you $100 if you had the same conversation.

Published in: on April 4, 2009 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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