Thursday, July 31, 2008

Smarter Than Your Average...

A tech who works with my wife recently married a Deputy Sheriff. Two nights ago he was late picking up his new tech bride. Seems he got a call to investigate the theft of irrigation pipe from a nearby farm. When he arrived the potential perps were loading pipe into the back of a pickup. He asked them what they were doing. They said the were loading pipe. He corrected them, "You mean stealing?" "No," they responded, "The sign over there says, 'Free Pipe.'" Sure enough there was a sign by the side of the road announcing exactly that. Sheriff's Deputy checked with farmer and was assured that the pipe was not "free", that if he didn't want it he would sell it.

Impasse.

Until another farmer drives by and checks on the commotion. Sheriff's Deputy queries 2nd farmer about the situation. 2nd farmer says that yeah, when he saw the sign driving by earlier he thought it was odd that anyone would give away something that valuable. "Anything else odd?" asked the Deputy. "Well, yeah," drawls the second farmer, "It's kind of odd that those guys loading the pipe are the same ones I saw putting up the sign."

Deputy turns to the pipe loaders, "You have the right to remain silent."
Loaders exclaim as one, "Oh man!"

That's the crime report.

Except for the mattress store that was robbed at knifepoint of all its cash yesterday. How much cash business does a mattress store do on a Wednesday afternoon, anyway?

The criminal mind - it's a little slow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Wishing Well Of Three Year Old Saints

Being a parent comes with a couple of tricky issues. Not the least of which are questions from your spawn for which there is no answer, or at least no answer for which you have prepared. Tonight the first big one was sprung on me. I had no answer - turns out I didn't really need one.

As he and I went through the bedtime ritual, the Boy sat on my lap. He snuggled in close to me and after a moment he asked, "Daddy, how do wishes come true?"
I was stumped. "Well it just happens I suppose," was the best I could muster.
"Do all wishes come true?" he queried.
"No, only some wishes."
"You know what I wish?"
I braced myself.
"I wish you could go to the store and I could go with you."
"That's all?" I asked.
"No," he said, "I also wish I could give mommy a flower."
"Well, little man," I said, surprised by the crack in my voice, "those are good wishes. I think there's a good chance they'll come out alright."
"That would make me happy," he said and kissed me goodnight.

Happiness lessons from a three year old.

Cereal Port

It only took three pregnancies, but now I see the pattern.

My lovely wife almost never eats cereal - hardly eats breakfast. It's just not in her nature to eat the most important meal o' the day. During the gestational period, however, she scarfs the grains. Two or three bowls a day is not uncommon for her. Sadly, it isn't your typical whole grain goodness she craves. No, our kitchen counter proudly holds all manner of children's confections, from Cocoa Krispies to Lucky Charms. They shuffle their way through our kitchen with the regularity of sailors through a brothel. Every two days there's a new flavor sitting there next to my granola.

And it won't be too long now: the inevitable will soon appear - by the case. With the fall and Halloween just around the corner she can finally get her hands on oodles of her basic pregnancy foodstuff: Count Chocula. Yeah, the Booberry and the Frankenberry are for the rest of you, but the Count production allotment is slated for my door.

I guess it could be pickles...
But then that's what she eats when she's not pregnant.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Today's Lesson

Just a quick heads-up...
If your toddler child ever heaves in your automobile and you turn to the professionals for clean-up, be certain to say it was just spilled food and not the previously digested variety. Otherwise, it's treated as a biohazard and your average detailer can't get near it.

Remember: Just a spilled shake, that's all.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Lost Sunday

Ever start a day with the idea that it's going to be a great one and then discover that the shit tank overturned and you are living under it?

The Plan
We would awaken late, enjoy our children and then pile into the new car for a drive to, and picnic in, the mountains. We would return home to a lovely dinner of rotesserie chicken and the fixings. Ahhh, Sundays....

The Reality
The Girl slept fitfully - some kind of digestive issue - and awoke several times in the middle of the night crying. Dutiful father that I am, I went to comfort her on each occasion. Sadly following the 2:30 am burst I was unable to get back to sleep. I wandered the house for the next three hours. So the day would be a sleepy one - no harm.

We piled into the car and off we went in search of cooler temps, giant trees, and alpine refuge. All went well, other than the Girl's continuing discomfort with whatever had her gut-struck. Our picnic was pleasant and the family lived up to its responsibilities for festive endearment.

We decided to take the long way back through King's Canyon and as the children nodded off in their seats, my beloved and I enjoyed the scenery and the beautiful day. The golden straw-colored hills dotted with grand, gracious oaks floated by. The sunroof was open and the MDX took the tight curves on that empty country road like a sports car half its size. Sunlight flickered off my wife's hair as Coltrane's horn shimmered through the car's surround-sound speakers and soundtracked our perfect life. It was a friggin car ad.

Then, 2/3rds of the way home, the Boy awakened from his slumber, murmuring. His mother looked back at him to welcome him from dreamland, but as she did so he returned the welcome with his lunch - all of it. It poured out of him, all over him, all over his car seat, and of course, all over the new, very expensive, automobile. "He's throwing up," shouted his mother. His father responded by hitting the brakes and pulling to the shoulder of that country road with stunning abruptness.

It was a mess. How that much food could have been in him is beyond me, but it was unbelievable. The winding mountain road had taken its toll and we had no options other than to strip him and try to wipe down everything with a short supply of diaper wipes. It was pointless. At least we had a change of clothes for him.

We raced the thankfully straighter remainder to home. Once there we pulled the kids from the car, discovering then that the girl's digestive issues had leaked onto her carseat. Mom took the offspring into the house for a more thorough cleaning while I got to work pulling the car seat and cleaning the vomitous auto. The cover was stripped from his seat only to discover that it is strictly hand-wash. What!? A kid's car seat cover that is hand wash only? I handed it over to mom and went to work hosing down the seat frame, belts, buckles, et al. Uh, ick.

Whilst I removed the Boy's lunch bits in my driveway I heard a crash in the garage. When I went to check I discovered that an entire, brand new case of my beloved Mexican Coke had somehow tipped over and fallen from its perch, shattering 6 of the 24 bottles and pouring their precious and sticky fluid as well as their glass shards across my garage floor.

I was now forced to hose down the garage to remove the syrupy danger before it dried and started attracting evil elements. That meant I had to get everything that could not get wet up off the floor. Then I swept up the big glass and started hosing. Once that was completed I needed to sweep the water from the garage. The whole process took an hour and a half.

The lovely rotesserie chicken would have to wait and the wife ordered pizza. As I finished the garage the driver arrived with our dinner - a large sausage was ordered; a large pepperoni delivered. Perfect end to a perfect day.

I will get the car cleaned tomorrow and never drive my children on mountain roads again.

My wife suggested I take a shower tonight. I told her that I was just too tired and would wait till tomorrow. She insisted. "Why?" I asked. "Because you have vomit in your hair," she answered.

Life is never like a car ad.

How was your weekend?

Addendum: as the Boy prepared for bed he offered me this unsolicited axiom: "Daddy, it's never a good idea to get sick in the car."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Is Wrong With These Guys?

Just to keep it fair...

After slapping around the right for their excursions it's time for the left to take their licks.

The National Enquirer (yeah, I know, but they seem to have this one going on and they did break the Rush Limbaugh Oxycontin story) is reporting that they busted John Edwards meeting with his mistress in a room at the Beverly Hilton while their infant lovechild (don't you love that term) was being attended to in an adjoining room by a friend. When Edwards was confronted leaving the hotel he panicked and hid in the bathroom until hotel security escorted him out.

Stepping out on his wife while she is treated for cancer should actually get him the VP spot on McCain's ticket, since Big Mac ditched his bride after her car accident to marry the rich blond.

At least it wasn't an underage congressional page he met in the men's room at a homecoming dance while wearing a diaper.

Suffice it to say, if this story holds up, Edwards's political career is over.

addendum: The National Enquirer and the Huffington Post chased this story last fall, but it faded away when Andrew Young, an Edwards aide and close friend, claimed the then unborn child was his. Young remains married to his wife.

Weepers

Banks has us all confessing our musically-induced weeping sins. I thought I'd post my offender. Gets me every time.

Recently

For Grandparents, et al...

Boy, July 4th

Mom & Girl, 4th

Girl, lounging

Girl & Dad, (volume control, sadly, does not work )

Girl plotting

Boy & cupcake

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cake Wrecks

If your birthday or special occasion is somehow not up to par, just remember, it could always be worse.

Cake Wrecks

Beh Buh

The Girl is communicating with us now. Her vocabulary is limited, however. There's "mama", which counterintuitively does not refer to her mother, but instead acts as the possesive, "mine". This does not please mom.

There is the ubiquitous (at least for toddlers) "gen" meaning "again", utilized when she desires you to repeat whatever it is you have just done... over and over.

And there is now the absolutely obsessive fascination with "beh buh" (belly button) - hers, yours, anyone's. To be quietly reading and have your 1 year old daughter suddenly lift your shirt and violently stab her little dagger finger into your navel while delightedly yelling "BEH BUH" is not something one deems enjoyable.

Round And Round

What a racket. My orthopedic surgeon sees me today with the results of my wrist MRI. It's as he suspected: I have a tear in my TFCC requiring surgery. "Great," says I, "When should we schedule this?" "Gonna have to send you to a Hand Surgeon. I don't do that surgery. We'll call you when we get it set up."

So now I wait for an appointment with the specialist specialist so that he/she can tell me I need surgery and then schedule that. It all seems remarkably inefficient - or just too damned specialized.

All this as a result of putting in a cabinet for the laundry room. No good deed...

Oh, and the knee? We're gonna wait and see on that till after the wrist.

I hate getting old.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Vroom

Over the weekend we increased our carbon footprint a little and our debt load somewhat more. Ahh well, at least there will be room for threepeat.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Girl Blossoms

Egads! The eighties have seeped into our very DNA. The Girl has started expressing her intense interest in the various objects and events she encounters throughout the day with a one word phrase intoned in such a way that it actually channels Joey Lawrence:

"Whoa."

I don't think we deserved this.

Monday, July 14, 2008

By A Nose

It looks like the Volvo is going to get the nod. I loved the Acura, but money talks.

I came across three 2008 Xc90s, all with less than 8000 miles on them that were used as service loaners by a dealer. All fully loaded (everything but navigation), with 3.5 years remaining on their warranties and complimentary factory scheduled service for 2.5 years. They've been on the dealer's lot for at least a month and I've been watching the asking price drop like a stone. New they list at $45,000, but we offered a lot less than that and I'm pretty sure they'll go with it. With 2009 models arriving soon, dealers are anxious to unload.

So, if anybody is looking for a 2005 Murano with only 15600 miles and nary a scratch or stain, lemme know.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

And Once Again

Once was funny, but I'm losing my sense of humor about it. While checking out in the grocery store, I had the Boy seated in the cart as the bagger filled the big compartment. She took a small sack with a couple of magazines and handed them to my son saying, "Want to hold these for grampa?"
"Daddy," I said.
"Oh. Sorry," she said, sheepishly.

What the hell is going on here, anyway?

Friday, July 11, 2008

And They're Off...

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are now tapping the the Fed for cash reserves to keep themselves solvent. IndyMac got taken over by the FDIC tonight, the second largest bank failure in American history, which will smack us - you and I - for something between 4 billion and 8 billion depending on how much we get at the fire sale.

But don't you worry about these developments; one of John McCain's top economic policy advisors, Phil Gramm, says it's all in our heads.

A Doodle?

I couldn't get it to embed, but it's dead on.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

NNNNNNNNN

God I hate the word. It just makes my mouth get all nasty and pisses me off when I hear it, but there it is, every day. It's ugly, ugly, ugly.

When I was about three or four I was with my mother in a Walgreens. I was rambling on and on as kids do (and I still do). My mother was tolerating me. I remember saying, "Mommy, listen to this: Eeny Meeny Miney Moe, catch and nig..." SMACK - and I was sailing backwards down the aisle. I mean I flew. I don't remember crying; just being absolutely stunned. I had no idea what I had done. My mother looked at me and said very quietly and calmly, "I never want to hear that word come out of your mouth again." She turned and continued up the aisle. Of course I had no clue which word she was talking about - no idea what it even meant - and that was kind of confusing at the time, but eventually I got it.

It was one of the few things my mother never compromised on. She famously told my grandfather - her own father - that if she ever heard him use the word in front of my brother and me, he would never see us again. He knew she meant it because he never let it slip from his lips till much later in my life. To this day I've never heard any racial epithet come out of my mother's mouth. I can't even imagine it. She remains enviably colorblind.

It's the slap, however, in the aisle of Walgreens that got me going - that introduced me to the power and sting of certain words - and I'm sure that incident instilled in me my intense revulsion for the word.

That said, I was led to a new blog today with the title, Blognigger. Even if he is African-American, it's a sour name. Nonetheless, he's a great and funny writer. So dig in. I like his blog more than I like mine.

Try this post for a start.

Then try this post. After that, peruse at your leisure.

And if you can't get past the blog title then you can go to
http://www.theblogthatmustnotbenamed.com/. It's the same blog, but for people that just can't stand that word.

Ice Cream

Those of you in the know...
The Boy achieved ice cream tonight!
Now the job is to keep it up.

Sowin', Reapin'

Larry Craig and David Vitter make room, here comes another. They just keep coming and coming. Troy King, the Republican Attorney General of Alabama, notorious anti-gay demagogue, ankle-bracelet wearing, anti-sextoy ranter, is rumored to be resigning from his post after being caught in a compromising position with another man... caught by his wife who has kicked him to the curb.

Wait... it gets better... the man with whom he allegedly frolicked was the homecoming king from Troy University - yeah, Troy King busted in bed with Troy's King.

As comical as this has all become, it must be getting awfully crowded in the hypocrites lounge.

quick addendum: I had no sooner posted this than I got a hit on the blog from: senate.gov, ISP: U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms, Search Words: troy king and homecoming king

The Polar Bear Club

The Girl loves the cold. A couple of weeks ago, during her bath, she had an issue with splashing. Once or twice is one thing, but I was getting soaked. So, I warned her, "Stop splashing dear, or you'll get a chilly reaction." I held a cup of cold water in my hand. She defied the ultimatum and suffered the consequences as I poured a little cold water over her head. She convulsed, shook like the condemned in the chair, and then looked up laughing. I was perplexed. "Do you want some more?" I asked, tentatively. She nodded manically. I poured a little more and she once again did the gator before laughing even harder and demanding even more. She ate it up.

It's a ritual now, after the washing and before the bath toys, she points at the cup, "Ahhh, ahhh." She likes the whole thing dumped on her head. She thinks it's great and is always sad when I call it quits. I think she'd happily go on till hypothermia set in.

But hey, she's stopped splashing me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On The Local News Front

Ahhh, summer in the valley. Last night when my wife got home at 11:00 pm it was 90 degrees outside. This morning when I arose at 5:30 am it was 80. It's just friggin hot. And it's supposed to be hotter today; worse still tomorrow. I can deal with heat, but a week hovering around 110 in the afternoon is just not something I will ever get used to.

The Girl's outta our bed. The youngest member of our clan finally got sleep nazied last week. Knowing her temperment we fully expected a month of earshattering wailing. We were wrong. She cried the first night for about half an hour and then called it a night. She hasn't complained since. She gets the saddest look in the world when placed in her crib and sometimes just trembles, but she's slumbering in less than ten minutes. Although there have been one or two middle of the night explosions ("where the hell am I!?), she has surprised us with her ability to adapt. I'm kind of proud of her, and my bruised kidneys are ever so grateful.

We have an appointment for a meet and greet with a certified midwife today. The first two spawn were delivered by an OB that we both really like, but her likablity has been her downfall as she has become immensely popular. It seems that the baby appointments too often don't involve her but rather a nurse practitioner or a fellow OB from her practice. That isn't what we want, so we're going to chat with somebody else about overseeing the whole operation. It would have the added bonus of letting me work the term "midwifery" into my conversations more frequently. Sweet.

The impending addition is creating the (by now) classic marital conflict regarding its ultimate moniker. We have only just begun our dueling, each of us tossing out potential names that are in turn squashed by the other. My beloved is, at least for now, holding a firmer line than she did previously and seems less likely to cave or compromise. This promises to be a battle for the ages.

And lastly... the Boy just approached his mother with a smear of his morning yogurt clinging to his thumb. He thrust that yogurted thumb at her face and asked her, "Want to smell this?" Uh, no... thank you.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Drive

Wow! Three days without a post. That's the longest I've gone while still parking a healthy ass at home. Sorry (if you've missed me... or if you were hoping I'd packed it in).

Spent the weekend doing the new car thing. Test drove the XC90 and the MDX. For kicks I looked at the BMW X5, but that's off the menu.

I much prefer the Volvo's interior. Simple, nordic design is quite appealing. Sadly, fit and finish showed flaws. Components didn't match up and there were noticable gaps between pieces. The seats, though quite comfortable, were also rather slippery. I felt as if I wasn't staying put. The whole vehicle felt top-heavy and a bit wobbly, which made me glad for the safety features - just in case.

The best part of the test drive was torturing the salesman when I discovered halfway through that the gas tank was empty. The guy started sweating and I just kept telling him how hot he was going to be pushing me back to the dealership. "Don't worry, sir. I'll have somebody here real quick if we don't get back. I don't know how this could have happened."

One Volvo note: I know it's still rampant with Euros, but in a Volvo? I'm talking about the lighter and ashtray for the rear passengers. Weird.

The Acura was the better choice, though the whole Star Trek cockpit was overwhelmingly ugly. The car comes loaded with a mess of standard features, but it's as if they all have to be conspicuous for the driver. Aesthetically it reeked of "this makes me cool." That said, some of it was cool.

The car is throaty and for its size pretty snappy. It felt very close to the Murano in its acceleration and responsiveness. It never seemed to quibble about the things I asked of it. I thought it would be a little bulky but it handled very well.

The voice activation was unnecessary but fun. "Temperature, 65 degrees," you say and the lovely Star Trek voice responds, "Temperature set at 65 degrees," as the air conditioning switches on. "Find nearest German restaurant," and up comes a list of them on the screen. "Call number one," and it dials the Bratskeller. Throw the car in reverse, the backup camera pops up on the screen and the side mirrors tip down for a better view of the ground. All in all, I was surprisingly pleased by it.

I have debated all weekend long about making the plunge for the Acura, or anything else for that matter. With some puzzling together of our various child seats I actually was able to squeeze three abreast in the Murano's back seat, but it was knuckle-scrapingly tight. The infant seat has to go in without its base, which means it is locked in with the seatbelt and not the LATCH clips. They are awfully close together and I foresee sibling bloodshed as a result. At least we know we could get by with my car, but how safe is it for my kids.

The blank loan check is on its way, but I'm just not sure we're going to use it.

addendum: The Volvo and the Acura seem to be the chosen means of transport for clinical pharmacists as my wife asked around at the hospital today and two of her fellow med-mixers responded enthusiastically regarding their rides. One drove (and loved) the Acura till her lease ended, didn't like the new model's styling, went with the Caddy instead (eww) and hates it. The other drives the XC90 and loves it. Interestingly, she can get two car seats on the second row and still has room to use the center integrated booster seat for her oldest. That really slides the Volvo up a notch.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

RIP Clown

Car Allowance

Funny I should post about the empty glovebox yesterday. It seems it will be emptier as my beloved car will soon be looking for a new caretaker. We have to trade it in. With the impending addition of spawn neither one of our autos will hold three car seats - ain't no way. The Boy is going to be in his for at least another two and half years (6 years, 60 pounds) so there aren't any workarounds other than family outings in two autos which is... well... dumb. Sadly whatever we choose is going to be a gas hog. They don't make fuel sippers with three rows of seats. At least, having to buy one now has the advantage of low demand and, as a result, deals abound.

I don't do mini-vans. I can't. I won't. It isn't just what they are. It's that I will be driving this new vehicle for some time and I like to drive. I'm not expecting a 911 or an R8, but to slog some mushy handling bus for the next eight years or so is not acceptable. So the field is narrowed.

Looking for opinions (reliability, performance, issues) on two models from those with some experience.

#1 Volvo XC90
#2 Acura MDX

Help out if you can.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dashboard Confessional

I recently opened the glovebox of my car to put in the new insurance card and was shocked. It was empty, almost. Aside from the car manual, registration, a pen and (contrary to the Death Cab For Cutie lyric) a pair of gloves, it was clean as a whistle. It didn't used to be that way. When I lived for the road it held all manner of flotsam and memorabilia, from old photos to old breath mints (uh, eww). Like Fibber McGee's closet it let loose onto the passenger seat like a spring loaded joke box. Since settling in my ways it carries almost nothing. Strange.

What's in your glovebox right now?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

War Of The World

You don't have to be a fan of history to like Niall Ferguson's The War Of The World which premiered last night on PBS. It's a stunning feast for the eyes, dynamic and fast-paced. It's themes, though controversial in some quarters, are hardly earth-shattering, but that doesn't matter. It is breathless television.

Ferguson's book of the same name, was fascinating reading and even though it was substantial I flew through it. In it he argues that the unprecedented violence of the twentieth century was not based on nations or good versus evil or even, economics, but was instead in almost all cases about race, ethnicity and empire. He postulates that what we view as two seperate World Wars and and the Cold War were actually one long war that resulted in a collapse of Western hegemony and a corresponding rise Eastern power. It's an interesting theory and one I happen to support. Nonetheless, even if flawed, it's pretty heady stuff; not the kind of thing that you, expect to make for riveting television.

Best intentions aside, PBS can come across as a bit stodgy at times; not so War Of The World. It's pacing and imaginative visuals hold your attention. Images lay over images or are projected on to one another to allow one idea to flow to the next. They are arresting and frequently serve as counterpoint to the narrative. And oh, that narrative... Who would have imagined that Ferguson would be so dynamic, witty, and natural in front of the camera. If the images keep you watching it is Ferguson and his Scottish brogue that gives the whole its weight.

Parts II & III air over the next two weeks and I can't really wait. This is history with intelligence and aesthetics at the forefront and I haven't been this locked down to the box in a long, long time.