Let it Go! The Glory Days Are Over! And They Weren’t That Glorious To Begin With.

I’m sore. Really sore.

I reek of ben gay. I snort Tylenol. Whole. I beg the wife for a massage but my pleading falls on deaf, uncaring ears.

I hobble around like a one legged pirate with termites. I take each step gingerly like I just had a prostate exam given to me by a large fingered man in Tijuana (circa 1998). I was shuffling along and some old dude with a walker told me to get the hell out of his way. Happy to report I was able to push him over, but he caught up to me (you know, on account that I’m so sore) and beat me with the aforementioned walker. Thank you to the dude with the I phone for not helping me. I hope you got some good footage.

All jokes aside, I hurt. My thighs, my calves, and inexplicably, my guts. I can’t laugh. Can’t sneeze.  I blink with effort. “What happened?”, you ask with real concern. “A car wreck? Did you finally wreck your Lamborghini?” No. I’ll tell you what happened.

A friggin softball tournament happened.

Yeah. Sad, I know. In my defense, it was an all day, 6 game affair. And we won the championship. Look for my picture on a Wheaties box soon. I’m going to Disneyland!

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But really. Why do I do this to myself?? Every time a tournament comes up, I participate. Basketball? (well, half-court 3 on 3) sure, I’ll play. Football? (well, flag) I’m in. And every time I feel like crap for days afterward! Am I getting too old for this stuff? Is it time to retire? After 25 years of sports dominance, is it time to hang it up and hobble off into the sunset?

It all started when I was a kid. My parents signed me up for Little League baseball, AYSO, and Boys Club basketball. Not sure WHY they did, probably just trying to come between me and my Nintendo. Don’t worry, Mario, let me go hit a few home runs for my parents, I’ll be right back.

Just kidding about the homeruns. I was never a stand out player. Solidly average. But truth be told, I’m glad my parents signed me up. It was fun when I was a kid. It got to the point that whatever sport was on tv, I’d have to go out and play it. Basketball season meant me in the backyard with my mini-hoop playing Magic and the Lakers vs Bird and the Celtics. Or Nerf action in my room. Football season meant street 2 hand touch with the neighborhood kids. Baseball meant pitch and catch with dad or friends.

During my teen years, my interest in organized team sports died a little bit. For whatever reason I became anti-social, awkward, and “shy” so the fun of team sports went away. Senior year I didn’t play any sports at all.

Adulthood brought back the interest. As I mentioned, flag football, basketball, and softball are all in my rotation. Why do I still play and risk permanently crippling myself? I believe its the old saying: “you can’t break a chicken without making an omelette”.  No. Wait.   ” You don’t stop playing because you’re getting old. You’re getting old because you stopped playing”. Plus, I think I play for my kids.

Now that I have kids of my own, I’d like them to play sports as well. Am I going to make them play if they don’t want to? Naw. My daughter has tried tee ball and basketball and seemed to like it. My son has played tee ball, but didn’t want to play this year. And that’s fine. It’s mostly my fault anyway. Instead of practicing with them , we’re running back and forth in the front yard pretending we’re being chased by dinosaurs: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QLl3GS-bSo8. Ain’t no scholarships in that!

If they DO decide to pursue sports, I have to stay fresh. I want to be able to keep up with them. I want to be able to hang with them. To be able to dominate them like I dominate them at Candyland. Plus I’d like to teach them about sportsmanship and teamwork and losing with dignity.

Speaking of losing with dignity, I’d also like to tell them slightly exaggerated stories of the not so glorious years.

So you have a soccer tournament coming up and you need another guy? I’m your man. Just let me get my cleats and shin guards.

And ben gay…..and advil…..and neosporin….and band-aids…..and crutches…..and gauze…..and ice pack…….

Posted in dad, entertainment, family, humor, parenting, sports, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Zombies at Bedtime

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My kids have a bedtime routine: have vitamins, brush teeth, go pee, say goodnight. If they accomplish that in a timely manner, with little or no stalling, I’ll usually tell them a bedtime story. I let them pick the characters and tell a story around them. My son will want a superhero or Star Wars character and my daughter usually picks some sort of princess. I throw in a little boy and girl (for them to relate to, but I never use names) some kind of animal in distress, and a bad guy. In the end they all team up and save the day.

Truth be told, I was getting a little burnt out. And quite frankly, I was running out of ideas. Theres only so many times Yoda and Cinderella can save the poor little baby raccoon that 2 kids found in the dark forest and get it back to its grateful mother before the evil droids capture it. For whatever reason.

So one night I announced that I was going to be telling a different kind of story tonight.

-I want Anakin and Green Lantern!

-Rapunzel!

Nope and nope.

-Then who’s going to be in it, dad?

Zombies.

Aevin starts whining: -noooo dad, I don’t like zombies!

Presley: -Dad. If you tell a zombie story, then we’re sleeping with you and mommy tonight.

Relax, it’ll be a nice story.

Aevin (whining)- I’m scared.

Presley -you said no zombies after dark!

Aevin, man up. And yes, Pres, I said no zombies after dark, but this will be a fun story. If you don’t like it, then you can sleep with Mom (they couldn’t care less if I’m there. In fact, they prefer it to be just Mom. More room, less stinky).

Aevin (whining and sniffling) -ok.

Presley -Fine. But it better not be scary.

So I ended up telling them a story about a zombie kid named Lil’ Richard who was just trying to get by in the land of the living.

Lo and behold, the kids liked it, but still ended up sleeping with Mommy because they’re spoiled like that.

Anyway, Lil’ Richard stories were then officially added to the rotation with the super heroes and the princesses. What follows is a Lil’ Richard story I told the other night, with the kids reactions thrown in. Not word for word, but pretty darn close. If you like it and have kids, try it out on them, see what they say, and get back to me. That way I can see if my kids have a normal sense of humor or if they have issues I’ll be dealing with when they’re in their teens. Also, buy them a Lil’ Richard action figure, coming soon to Target! And be on the look out for Lil’ Richard Angry Birds! And the show on the Disney Channel!

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Once upon a time all stories must start with “once upon a time”. It’s a law.there was a school. And it was just like any other school…

Presley: -Is it MY school?

No, it’s not your school. It’s just a school.

Presley: -Is it Jaylin’s school?

Aevin: -Pres! He said it’s just a school!

OMG, guys.

Anyway. On the playground there were 4 boys playing keep away from another boy. The boy in the middle was really slow and kind of shuffled his feet and he couldn’t quite catch what the other boys were throwing.

Aevin: -Was it a ball?

No, it was not a ball. It was an arm! They were playing keep away with the poor kids arm!

Presley: -Was it bloody? I bet there was a lot of blood.

No, it wasn’t bloody. But the poor one armed kid in the middle was getting upset. He kept shuffling back and forth saying “rrraaarrggh” and flailing around with his other arm, but he was just too slow. The kids were taunting him and saying things like “Ha ha Richard, we got your arm!” and “Ha ha, look at the zombie, he’s so slow!” and “Ha ha, clap if you want your arm back, Richard, clap!”

Presley: -I don’t like this story. Why are those kids being mean?

Aevin: -I don’t like bullies.

Presley -You don’t even know what a bully IS, Aevin.

Aevin -You’re a bully.

Hey. Come on. It’s just a story, guys. Anyway, all of a sudden a little girl came running up and caught the arm and said “Knock it off you guys! Why do you have to be so mean??” And so they started making fun of her by saying “Ooooh look at

What should her name be?

Presley: -Melody!

“Ooooh look at Melody, protecting her boooyfriend! Richard and Melody sitting in a tree! Smooching smooching O-M-G!” But Melody didn’t care: “Leave him alone, TOMMY, or I’m going to tell on you!” At that time the bell rang, so Tommy said “FINE, keep his arm, maybe you can scratch his back with it!” And the other kids all laughed and ran back to class. Melody turned to Richard and said “Here, let me help you with this. Don’t let those kids get you down, they’re just being mean because they think it makes them look cool.” And she tried to put Richards arm back on him, but it was backwards!

Aevin: -Heh heh backwards.

Melody said “Ooops, lets turn it around. There ya go!” and Lil’ Richard said, “Raaaargh”. Melody said “I don’t know what you just said, but I think you said ‘thank you’. Soooo you’re welcome! See ya later!” And she ran to class. Lil’ Richard slowly shuffled to his.

Later at lunch Melody was sitting with her younger brother…

What should his name be, guys?

Aevin: -Poop head!

Alright, guys, goodnight.

Aevin: -Noooo! Daaad!

Well, come on, this is serious stuff! What’s his name going to be?

Presley: -Derik!

Ok, so Melody was sitting with her younger brother Derik and her friend…Betty. Melody said, “Aww look at Lil’ Richard. He’s all by himself. I’m going to invite him to sit with us.” But Betty said, “Nooo! The other kids will make fun of us! Besides, he smells like rotten eggs!” Derik said, “heh heh, rotten eggs.”

Aevin: -heh heh, rotten eggs.

But Melody didn’t care. She said, “Well if he can’t sit with us, I’m sitting with him. You coming, Derik?” And Derik said, “Sure, sis.” And they got up to go sit with Lil’ Richard. And Betty said, “Hey! Wait for me!” and went too.
Melody said, “Hi Richard. Mind if we join you?” And poor Lil’ Richard looked scared. But he nodded his head yes. They all sat down and started taking their lunch bags out of their backpacks. At that moment, the bullies came over.

Aevin/Presley -Booooo!

“Hey, Richard, whatcha eatin’?” said Tommy. “I bet it’s a foot!” said one bully. “I bet it’s a butt crack!” said another

Aevin/Presley -ha ha buttcrack!

The fourth bully said “I bet it’s a slice of pizza!” And they all looked at him, and then he said “A slice of pizza with boogers on it!” and then started chanting “booger pizza! booger pizza!” and since kids are suckers for chants, no matter how dumb the chant is, they all joined in. “Quiet!” said Tommy, “lets see what it is!” And he pulled from Lil’ Richards bag a……sandwich. “A sandwich??” “I bet it’s an eyeball sandwich!” “An ear sandwich!” “A peanut butter sandwich!” They all looked at the last kid again, so he said, “A peanut butter and booger sandwich!” And started chanting again. So Tommy said, “I’ll find out riiiight now!” and pulled the bread open and saw that it was just a bologna sandwich. Melody said, ” Ok, guys, you see it’s just a normal sandwich. Now leave us alone!” And Tommy said, “Whatever. I bet it’s a brain bologna sandwich!” And then he crumpled up the sandwich into a ball and handed it to Lil’ Richard. Then the bullies all left. Lil’ Richard looked sadly at his sandwich ball

Presley: -Awww poor Richard! What’s he going to have for lunch??

Aevin: -Heh heh, sandwich ball

So Melody said, “Here, Richard, you can have my apple” and she handed him her apple. Richard looked at it confused. He’d never had one before. So he opened his mouth and took a biiiig bite….and all his teeth came out! They were all stuck in the apple!

Aevin: -ha ha ha stuck in the apple!

Presley: -ha ha ha gross!

Melody said, “Uhh” and Derik tried not to laugh. Betty said, “I think I’m going to be sick” and ran off. Lil’ Richard just smiled a toothless smile at them, and Melody said, “Come on, Richard, lets go to the nurse’s office.” To Be Continued….

Presley: -So what happened? Did he get his teeth back in?

Sorry, sis. It’s to be continued.

Presley: -Aww Dad! I wanna know! I bet he leaves them for the tooth fairy!

We’ll just have to wait and see!

Aevin: -Can you really eat a buttcrack?

Posted in dad, entertainment, family, humor, parenting, pop culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

An Irrational Fear of Tadpoles Part II, the Sequel

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In case you were wondering (and I’m sure you were) our tadpoles are doing well, thank you. In fact, a little TOO well. We have about 10 or 11 little frogs hopping around in the aquarium now, and I think it’s about time to release them into the wild.  I try to feed them ants, but whenever I get close to dump the ants in there,  the frogs freak out and so I have ants running around everywhere. Plus frogs stink. But still, letting the frogs go will be a proud moment for me. Which reminds me.

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but my last tadpole related post had some exaggerations in it. Yes, some tadpoles died while in my custody when i was a kid. No, I was not traumatized by it. Yes, it had been 25 years since I caught more, no I did not have a nervous breakdown in the car.  Yes, we currently have an aquarium with frogs and tadpoles in there.  No, I do not talk to them. There. Just didn’t want you to think I had some kind of weird, unhealthy tadpole obsession.

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Now that the air is clear, I can continue.

I had made the comment one day to my wife that the tadpoles kind of reminded me of the kids. She said, “Maybe you should blog about it”.  And although I detected a hint of sarcasm in her statement, I thought about it. But I dismissed the idea as being too easy and too cliche.

Well, shoot, I LOVE “easy”! And cliches? I’m obsessed with them!  So I’m going to do it! Compare my kids to tadpoles!  Groundbreaking, I know.

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First, some Biology 101. Forgive me if the words get too scientific here.

A tadpole is a goochy goochy goo baby frog. They breathe with gills, live in water, and eat…uh…stuff.  We were feeding them little nuggets that kind of smell like catfish bait. If you’ve never smelled catfish bait, it smells like YOU did after the last time you went binge drinking and soiled yourself in several different ways. Don’t act like that never happened to you. Just be thankful there were no camera phones back then.

Anyway, the point is, tadpoles will eat anything. They’re basically bottom feeders.

After….oh….a while, they start developing legs. Or, as we call them in the scientific community, “lil’ froggy feet”. First the rear ones grow, then the front. Then their whole body changes until they look like some kind of tadpole/frog hybrid mutant freakazoid. After a while they develop lungs and can now spend time on dry land, although they still prefer the comfort and familiarity of the water.

Some more time goes by and eventually their lungs are fully developed, their gills fall off or disappear into thin air or whatever, they lose their tales, and now that tadpole is officially a frog. It is then immediately skewered and eaten by a bird or run over by a car or caught by some grubby little kid and kept in a jar where it slowly dies, or worse, caught by the guys on Duck Dynasty. Ciiiircle of liiife.

Ok, now we got the science out of the way. How does this pertain to my children? Lets address my 4 year old son first.

Aevin is a tadpole, pure and simple. A bottom feeder who’s main diet consists of chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. This is a kid who, when asked to change himself into pajamas, throws himself on the floor like he just got tasered. When told to clean his room, acts like its an impossible task that would take years to accomplish (until one day mommy threw half of his worldly possessions into a trash bag and threatened to toss it in the dumpster. THAT straightened him up). So yes, Aevin is a legless tadpole. Now, my 6 year old daughter is a little more developed.

A while back, Presley learned to ride her bike. That, to me, is like growing a tiny frog leg. Lately, she’s been standing up on her bike while riding it, and riding with one hand. That leg is growing. Her 2 front teeth fell out within 24 hours of each other. Thats another frog leg. She now prefers showers instead of baths. Thats a longer frog leg. Plus she’s almost done with the 1st grade. Longer still.

So, see, my daughter is a tadpole with 2 rear legs dangling off the back. Still a tadpole, not nearly a frog yet, but changing before my eyes.

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Where do my wife and I fit into all this? Well, although we’re the frogs in this metaphor, frogs are not known for their parenting skills. The female basically lays down some eggs, and the male comes by and squirts some frog juice (sorry, scientific term again) on them, and boom. Fertilized. The frogs then go their separate ways, meeting again a year ot two down the road on “Froggy Maury Povich”. You ARE NOT the father! HECK yeah! Told you they don’t look like me, B*****!

So rather than look at us as deadbeat parent frogs, I’d like to look at us as the water in which the tadpoles develop.

It’s up to us to provide the basics such as food and shelter. But we also have to supply the nutrients for them to grow and develop as frogs as well (ok, I’m going to ditch the frog analogy for a bit here).

We have to give them the right atmosphere for learning. Learning about responsibility. Learning how to be decent to each other. Learning how to give instead of always taking. Learning how to share, and to help others.  Respect. Learning that theres others who have it a lot worse than you do. How to be a good friend.  Faith. How to be a good listener. Compassion.  To be a leader rather than a follower. Honesty. Integrity.  Patience.  Keeping your word. Confidence. Oh, and the ABCs and 123s and all that gobbly goop.

And thats where my fear comes in. It’s not necessarily a fear of tadpoles. It’s a fear of letting my tadpoles down. A fear of not being up to the task of guiding them the right way. It’s a fear of not being able to teach them everything they need to know  before they turn into a mutant hybrid freakazoid (AKA a teenager. Hey, we were all there), and then later, a full fledged adult.  I mean, some of those things I listed, I’m lousy at. How can I make sure that my kids don’t share the same faults I have?

I guess I can’t, really. I just have to try my hardest and hope for the best. Luckily I have a wonderful wife to help. And we’re surrounded by some pretty decent family to help too. I think the atmosphere is ideal. Rich with nutrients, if you will. My kids should turn out ok.  When it comes time to release them into the wild (which hopefully will be a looong time from now) I think they’ll be alright.

I just hope they watch out for this guy:

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Literally.

Posted in entertainment, family, humor, parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

An Irrational Fear of Tadpoles

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As a wee lad, I was all about catching creatures. Give me an empty peanut butter jar, and by golly I’ll put spiders in there. Bees. Wasps. Lizards. Caterpillars. Ladybugs. If it could fit, it would be caught. And I took pretty good care of my “pets”, or I would let them go after watching them for a while. Pretty good system I had going on. Until the day I went tadpole hunting. Or, as we like to say in the ‘hood: tadpolin’. Or t-polin’ if you’re nasty.

Behind my house was a ditch that used to collect water, and the neighborhood kids would go down there and catch tadpoles. So, being an impulsive follower, I grabbed my trusty Jif jar and headed down there. I caught a handful of tadpoles that day, say 5 or 6.  Poked a couple holes in the lid and thought I was good to go. Left them on the table in the backyard, then probably went inside to watch He-Man or Ducktales or something.

Next day, came out to check on the tadpoles. And there they were.

Dead.

Cause of death? Beats me. I’m guessing suffocation or perhaps they boiled in the sun. Regardless, I came outside expecting to see some swimming, happy creatures, and instead saw dead bodies floating around. Traumatized!  Those poor tadpoles never had a chance! Because of ME! Because of me, they’ll never be frogs! Because of me, they’ll never reach froghood! They’ll never grow little froggy legs and hop happily from lily pad to lily pad! OH GOD, why? WHY!?! 

For years after, I would be plagued with a recurring nightmare where Kermit the Frog would stare at me with those beedy eyes of his and chase me with a jar and no matter how fast I ran he would always catch me and put the lid on the jar and continue to stare at me while repeating, “It’s not easy being green, is it?” over and over while i noiselessly pounded on the side of the jar until i woke up screaming into my pillow.

And ever since then, I never caught another tadpole. Just stuck with ant farms.

Fast forward oh, 25 years. My 6 year old daughter and I are riding our bikes at Riverwalk Park. In the middle of this park there’s this lazy stream that connects a couple of small lakes. And on this particular day there was a little boy and his mom wading around in the stream, bending over and catching something with a jar. Uh oh. I’m feeling lightheaded. Flashbacks! Shake it off, Kevin!

Presley: “Look, Dad! I wonder what they’re catching!”

Me: “I don’t know sis, lets keep going.”

So we ride around some more, and we make our way back to that same spot. Mom and son still in the stream, still catching things.

Presley: “Can I ask them what they’re catching?”

Me: “……..fine. Yeah, sis, you can ask them.”

I close my eyes and can see it like it was yesterday. The Jif label. And behind the label…..tiny, green, floating corpses. Never….they never had…they never had a chance! I bite my fist.

Presley: “He said they’re catching tadpoles! Can we catch some, dad?! Daddy….what’s wrong with your eyes?”

Me: “Nothing, Pres, just had some dirt in my eye. No, sis, we don’t have anything to catch them with. Maybe next time!”

Presley, disappointed: “Ok.”

A few days go by, and I do some soul searching. Come on, dude. You gotta shake it off. Man up. Time to put on your big boy pants. It’ll be a good learning experience for the kids. Do it for the kids! And besides, you have the “internet” on your side now! Look up how to take care of them, and that way you’re not a MURDERER again!

You know what, self? You’re right! By golly, I’m back, baby, I’m back! Time to get my t-pole on!

So I make myself five or six peanut butter sandwiches, but I start getting sick. I throw the sandwiches away, and ask the wife if we have any empty jars and explain my intentions. And, viola, she comes up with an empty licorice jar. Perfect! I grab the fish net from the aquarium and I am officially open for business! Lets DO this!

We get to Riverwalk Park, and my resolve starts to crumble. I’m getting shaky. I break out in a cold sweat. The family is out of the car waiting on me. “You coming, Dad?” “Yeah, kids, just uh, making sure the radio is off and uh, I’ll be right out! You know where to go, Presley!” I look at myself in the rearview mirror, and it’s tough love time. “You worthless piece of crap. You suck. Get off your butt, and go catch some friggin tadpoles! You’ve waited 25 years for this moment! Stop being a wuss!”

I get out of the car, head to the stream, and it’s friggin open season on  those poor tadpoles. All kinds of kids in there catching them. I’d like to know what the mortality rate was on all the tadpoles that were caught. No, I probably don’t.  I wanted to interrogate all those kids. I wanted to grab them and shake them. Ask them what their plan was when they got home with those tadpoles. Were they going to care for them? Or just leave them to die a slow, terrible, agonizing death in some crappy, airless jar? But, alas,  it was not my place to do so. So Presley, Aevin, and myself find us a spot and boy, those tadpoles were everywhere. I’m floundering after them with my stupid net, and I look around and the other kids are just scooping them up with their bare, grubby hands (which probably isn’t good for the ‘poles, but again, not my place). So I ditch the net (I don’t know why you brought that thing, Presley! Rookie.) and Presley and I, and a few of Presley’s friends, start catching tadpoles like the professionals that we are. Aevin was in charge of holding the jar. Did a fine job. In the end we caught about 15 tadpoles.

The drive home was nerve wracking. With every bump I’d look back at the kids: “How are they? Are they ok?” “YES, daddy!” Then I would swerve because I was looking backward, then I’d have to ask “How about now? Still alive?” “YES, DAD!” I swear, it felt like I was bringing a newborn home from the hospital for the first time. People would cut me off, and I’d hang out the window: “HEY! WATCH IT! I GOT TADPOLES HERE!”

We get home and set the OPEN jar down in a nice SHADY spot. I toss some fish flakes in there and hope for the best. Luckily, I’m married.

The next day my lovely wife takes it upon herself to go buy an aquarium with some rocks and also some, get this, “tadpole food”. Well, shoot. Better Half alert! We set up the aquarium and give the rocks a nice slope, that way when they turn into FROGS they have somewhere to go (because these tadpoles are turning into frogs if it kills me. I will NOT ruin the kids the way I was ruined. By golly.). Fill half of it with water, set the aquarium up in the garage/room and we’re good to go!

The next day I go to check on them. And there they are.

Alive! ALIVE I TELL YOU!

Swimming around! Happy! I feed them their little nuggets, and they go to town. Just to make sure everythings good, I pour in a fresh bottle of mountain spring water. Hmmm, yeaaaah little tadpoles, that’s some niiiice fresh water, ain’t it! Don’t you worry, guys, I will NOT let you down. I change the water every couple days. Feed ’em twice a day.

That was a few weeks ago.

Today, I’m happy to report that we have a four full fledged frogs in that aquarium.  A couple more that still have tails and look really creepy. All the rest at least have legs sprouting out. Really, they seem to change right before our eyes. The kids have really enjoyed watching them, too. Presley gets excited whenever a new one is hopping around on the rocks. Turns out that in her class they were learning about the life cycle of frogs, so hey, perfect timing. Aevin, well, he gets excited too, but I don’t think he really gets it yet. He just likes looking at creatures.

As for me? Well, I’d like to think those tadpoles I let down back in 1988 are pleased with me. They’ve forgiven me. Closure at last. Sweet redemption!

Somewhere, Kermit is nodding in approval.

Posted in entertainment, family, humor, parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Always the Bad Guy

20130514_192907-picsayAh, I’m home from a long day of working out in the heat. Put on some nice, cool gym shorts and a wife beater, plop down in bed under the fan. About a minute and a half goes by when:

THUNK THUNK THUNK THUNK. I’d recognize those plodding footsteps anywhere. Here comes my 4 year old son, Aevin.

-Hey, Dad

Sup, bud?

-Lets play Star Wars.

Ok, go get some guys and bring them in here.

-No, like fight with lightsabers in the living room.

In a minute bud, let me relax a little.

-K.

3 minutes later: THUNK THUNK THUNK THUNK

Alright, alright, I’m up. Get the lightsabers. He runs and gets them from his room and comes back , informing me that he’s a Jedi and I’m a Sith. Hey, why am I always the bad guy? I want to be a Jedi sometimes!

-Dad, just be a Sith.

Fine. Lets go, I’m gonna crush you, boy.

-No you’re not! He yells as he runs to the living room.

We circle each other. We eye each other up and down.

-Dad, get on your knees!

Nope, Dads a big Sith today. Then he says -Force push! So I pretend to fall back and he attacks! Blocked! Blocked! Oh, he got me on the leg! Guess I’m going to be a short Sith after all. He moves in for the kill….blocked and there goes his saber! Now, young fool, you will feel the full power of the darkside! And I start tickling him and he’s laughing and writhing around and reaches out his hand to force grab his lightsaber, so I have to comply with this and get up and get his saber and act like it flew to his hand when I wasn’t looking. And then he stabs me. Good guy wins again.

-K Dad, I’ll be right back!

ThunkThunkThunkThunkThunk

Waiting. Waiting.

-Dad! I need help!

I go to his room and find him struggling to put on a cape. -Can you put this on me, Dad? he asks. Sure, son. There, how’s that? -K, now go back to the living room! Oookay.

THUNK THUNK THUNK THUNK

Now here he is with his cape, mask and a batarang.

-Lets pretend I’m Batman and you’re Bane.

Figures.

Bane attacks, but Batman is too quick. He jumps on Banes back! -Dad, pretend I cut your hoses with my batarang! Fine. Arrrgh, Bane is now weak and gets pummeled by Batman! -Now pretend I took you to jail. Ok. Good guy wins. Again.

-Hold on, Dad, timeout!

ThunkThunkThunkThunkThunk

Now its Captain America with a shield and mask.

-k, Dad, I’m Captain, and you’re Hulk.

But they’re on the same team!

-Just pretend Hulk is mad and is smashing everything!

Fine. Hulk smash puny boy! Shield blocks Hulks punches! Hulk picks up lil’ Captain and slams him on the couch! Captain is unfazed, slings shield at Hulk’s gut! Hulk is really mad now! Captain ducks the Hulks punches and runs for his shield! Shield up just as Hulk starts throwing couch pillows (AKA rocks) at Captain! All blocked! But then Hulk picks up a couch cushion and chucks it! Blocked, but the shield smashes into Captains lip! Man down! Captain America is crying! Hulk softens up a bit: Let me see, bud. Good block, but the cushion was a little too big, huh?

From the kitchen:

-I knew someone was going to get hurt!

Oh, be quiet, woman (under breath)

-What was that??

Nothin, Honey!

-Mom! Dad said be….

Hey! Captain America! What are you tattling for?! Glad to see you’re feeling better! Hulk tickle puny boy!

Now he’s laughing and writhing again -force grab! (for his shield). Nope, Captain America doesn’t have force powers! You’re toast! So he gets desperate:

-Sis! Help! Sis! Presley!

She’s not going to help you, boy. Good Luck Charlie is on!

thunkthunkthunkthunk

Bam! 50 pounds on my back! Sister to the rescue!

Dramatic: -leave my brother alone, you Toilet Head!

Oooooh, sis. You shoulda sat this one out! Body slam on the couch!

-Owwww, daddy!

Well, sis, jeez, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the……BAM a sucker kick to the gut! Hulk is raging now! Hulk tickle puny girl!

-AHHHH Aevin! HELP! AEVIN!

He left you, little girl, you’re alllll alone…

THUNKTHUNKTHUNKTHUNKTHUNK

-Thats enough, Hulk!

I turn around and now he’s got his Thor hammer. Hulk smash puny M.C. Hammer! Raaaaargh Hulk attacks in slow motion, and Thor swings his hammer in slow motion (some action sequences just call for slow motion)……bbbbBBBAAAAMM right in the chin! Hulk is stunned!

-We are not your enemies, Banner! (love this kid)

Hulk SMASH! But Thor throws his hammer at Hulk! Hulk tries to pick it up, but only Thor can hold mighty Mjolnir! Thor cracks Hulk in the eye with his tiny fist that fits perfectly in Hulks eye socket! Hulk is stunned!

-Sis! Pretend you’re Betty!

-Be nice, Hulk! Breathe, Hulk, good Hulk.

Beh….tee?

-Yes, I’m Betty, Hulk, sshhh go to sleep. Niiice Hulk, goood Hulk….

And Hulk falls back and turns into puny Bruce Banner. Betty saves the day for the good guys. Thor stomps on Hulk for good measure. Ohhh THATS gonna cost you, Tinkerbell!

-Wait, Dad! Be right back! Come on, sis!

THUNKTHUNKTHUNKTHUNKTHUNKTHUNK

Now I’m facing down some kind of blind ninja because the mask is half covering his eyes. Pres is too cool for a mask.

-K, dad, I’m Michaelangelo and sis is Leonardo. And you’re Shredder!

Ok, this should be easy.

-No, wait. Dad, you’re a foot soldier!

Too late. I’m Shredder.

-Nooo, Daaaad!

You fight well, in the old style. But now you face….THE SHREDDER!

-Whatever, Dad. Chaaaarge!

Whoops, there goes Mikey into the couch. Leonardo is about to get tossed when….

-Wait, Dad, I’m on your team now!

And Leonardo kicks Michaelangelo!

-Owwww Sis!

It’s a Ninja Turtle fight! Shredder laughs his evil laugh BWAHAHAHA fools! But then they unite again, and Shredder is in the fetal position, being pummeled with a plastic Katana and a plastic nun-chuck. Which actually kind of hurts. Shredder is down! The Turtles stand on his prone carcass! -We were AWESOME!

Ok, now what, guys?

-lets rest, dad, I’m sweaty. -yeah, break time.

Hey, you guys remember that movie we watched at Grandma Bonnies with the boy and the girl and they’re running from the dinosaurs in the kitchen?

-yeah -yeah, Dinosaur Park.

Lets play that.

-nooo dad, I don’t want to play dinosaurs! -I’m hot!

Too bad. I’m counting to 5, then I’m eating kids. 1…

-Nooo daaad (whining) I don’t want to play that! -Seriously dad, its WAY too hot!

2…

-nooooo daddy! -Time out! Rest time!

3…..I’m having kids tonight!

-DAAAAAD (but they start getting up)

4………

-move, Aevin! -aaahhh wait for me, sis!

5! RAAAAAAAAARGH

-aaaaahhhh go to the room, sis! Get some blasters!

THUNKthunkTHUNKthunkTHUNKthunkTHUNKthunkTHUNKthunk

The other day my son was running around the house with a “blaster” and my wife asked him, “Whatcha doing, Aevin? Catching bad guys?” My son replied with a look and “Mom, bad guys aren’t real.” Innocence. It’s our instinct as parents to shield our kids from the bad things in the world. We’ve already warned them about “stranger danger” and bullies, but at what age do we talk to them about the REALLY bad stuff? That there really ARE bad guys out there. That there really ARE people out there out to harm others, and there’s no Superman to pummel them and whisk them away to jail. When we tell them there’s no such thing as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? Or do they just learn on their own? I just hope they stay innocent for as long as possible. I kind of like being the Hulk….

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Anatomy of My Karaoke Fail

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I am a PHENOMENAL singer. Seriously. When I’m driving in my car, alone, I’m putting on a show, man. Vocals. Air guitar. Raising the roof. Hip shaking. Elbows out. Body just straight up UNDULATING (hold on, let me see if that’s the right word…..oooh yeah, it is). Unless I’m at a stop light. Or stop sign. Or if someone is driving next to me on the freeway. Then my hands are back on the wheel. It’s really hard to get my show on out there on the road, but by golly, I manage.

For some reason, whenever I have passengers with me, the quality of my show goes down. I mean, I try. I really do. But after the song is over and I come out of my trance, I look around the vehicle for some positive feedback and I get nothing. Look to the wife, ignored. Look back at my daughter, eye roll. Look back at my son (surely HE’D have my back) and he’s lookin like he’s embarrassed for me. I mean come on people, that was a good song! Were you not feeling it?? “Seriously, dad, just put it on #3” (referring to the One Direction cd that is always in the cd player). Tough crowd. I know what needs to be done. I need to take this show where it can be appreciated. I need to take it out into the karaoke scene!

I’d always wanted to sing karaoke in public. I’d seen people do it, and I’d think to myself “Come on, man, you can do better than that! Get up there! Put on a show! Wow them! Show them how its done!”. But I never had the pelotas (testicular fortitude) for it. Until, finally, a Vegas trip.

A week prior to this Vegas trip I had told my buddy, Rick “Alright, dude. This is going to be The Trip. The Trip where I lose my karaoke virginity.” And Rick, a karaoke veteran, was excited to hear that: “ok”. So I suggest to him that we do a duet first to help loosen me up. I pick Hall and Oates “You Make My Dreams Come True” (mostly because we have a very Hall and Oates look about us. Which is unfortunate). I tell him to bone up on it, study it, ’cause darnit we’re gonna rock it! He’s hyped up about it: “ok”.

So I listen to it several times a day for a week straight. On the drive to Vegas, we’re getting some last minute studying in. We’re blaring Hall and Oates. Vegas, baby! OOOWWWW!

We get there, and most dudes are hitting the clubs, getting their drink on, chasing women. Not us. We head to a divey karaoke bar at the Imperial Palace. And unleash:

Good gravy, davey. What is that hooting? And why is that guitar so limp?? Does Rick even know the words? Or English? How long did you watch it for? REALLY?? I’m sorry about that. If I could give you those 23 seconds back, I would.

Anyway, I shake it off. Maybe I need to fly solo. Hall was bringing me down. Or maybe Oates. Doesn’t matter. Now is the time I’ve been waiting my whole life for. My life had literally been leading to this moment:

Ugh. Egad. Choke. Again, apologies. Personally, I can watch about 4 seconds of it. But those first 4 seconds are great, right? First off, I’m looking sharp. Dressed to a T. And the song strikes up and you’re probably like, “Hey, I like this song”. And I even start out with some swagger! I look like I might actually put on a show! The Humpty voice is even working a little bit! And then I lose it. Don’t know what happened. Too many eyeballs pointed in my direction, I guess. Dang. Such potential.

Anyway, I haven’t attempted Public Karaoke since. Sure, I’ve done it at little shindigs here and there. In the safety of someones living room. I think the last song I rocked was “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. I mean, I really owned it, if I recall correctly. The video proof of that is on several cell phones, but alas, not mine. So you’ll have to take my word for it. Darn. You REHEHEALLY wanted to see that, didn’t you? Oh well.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go bone up on some One Direction songs.

Posted in entertainment, humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Playing Second Fiddle to Mom

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It’s that time of the year again. That time when we put every Mom up on a pedestal and pay homage to them and everything they do for us. Where we go out and literally spend 1 MILLION dollars (actual statistic) on things like cards, chocolates, flowers, and edible underwear. The edible underwear being for the mother of your children, not YOUR actual mother. Well, dangit, this year I’m making a stand. I’m going to come out and say it:

Moms are overrated.

Woah, now! Ha ha! Just kidding! Jeez. I can just see all the moms out there shaking with rage, looking around for something to smash. And all the dads slowly backing up and looking around like “Hey, now, I don’t know this guy”. But relax, I’m just yanking your chain. That statement was designed to make the rest of this blog look better. I mean, really, I could say “Aww, poor Hitler. That guy was just misunderstood” or “Jeffrey Dahmer was a brilliant chef” and it wouldn’t be as bad as “Moms are overrated”, right? So it’s all downhill from here! Or uphill. Whichever means “it can only get better”. That’s a tactic I use a lot in everyday life, and I suggest you try it out as well. Observe:

Me: “Honey, Billy is getting married. Can I go to the bachelor party?”

Wife: “Where is it, who’s going, and what are you going to be doing?”

Me: “Well, it’s in some abandoned building downtown, a bunch of young, single dudes you don’t know will be there, and we’ll be doing body shots of tequila off of some hot strippers.”

Wife: “Over my dead body.”

Me: “Ha ha. Just kidding. It’s at Rick’s house, the usual dorky friends will be there, and we’ll be sipping wine coolers while watching sub par, out of shape strippers play Monopoly (Star Wars edition).”

Wife: “Have fun.”

See? There’s still going to be booze and strippers involved, but since I opened up with a terrible scenario, the real scenario didn’t seem so bad. Works every time. And I don’t feel bad because she does the same thing to me:

Wife: “Babe, you like my new jeans? I got them for $300 from Alloy.”

Me: “SAY WHAT??”

Wife: “Just kidding, they were only $50.”

Me: “SAY WHAT?”

Anyway. What am I doing here? More importantly, what are YOU still doing here? Oh yeah, moms. Mothers day is around the corner, right? So I wanted to chat a little bit about what makes the mother of my children so great, and why I can honestly say I’m in awe of her.

1) My wife has completely and utterly given up her privacy.
See, when I go to the bathroom, whether it’s to do business (AKA #2) or take a shower, I can lock the door for a good 15, 20 minutes and be completely fine. Sure, maybe I’ll see little fingers poking under the door (“Daddy can you see me?” “Yes, go away”) or sometimes the kids will slide papers under the door (“Daddy, I colored this for you!” “Thats nice, busy!”) but for the most part I’m hunkered down in there with the fan on and the door locked and I’m in a happy place.
The wife, on the other hand, has given up on locking the door because the kids will just pound on it like tiny, rabid, disease bearing zombies. “Mooom! Moooom! I need this! I need that! I hurt this! I hurt that!” So now I’ll walk by the bathroom, door wide open, and there’s my wife sitting on the pot with our 2 kids offering to wipe or something. I have no idea why they’re in there. But they are.

2) My wife treats every ailment that befalls the kids as if its life threatening.
See, I graduated from the school of “Rub Some Dirt On It” and took some classes at the University of “Walk It Off”. The kids come to me with some minor scratches or some weird itchy throat that usually strikes at bed time (AKA stall time) and I admit I’m a little quick on the “deal with it” trigger. The wife, on the other hand, is the opposite. She’s quick with a band-aid, right there with the cough syrup. Or neosporin. Or tweezers. Or gauze. Or butt creme. Or whatever else the situation calls for. There’s been times when she takes the kids to the doctor when I would not have even considered it. But I will hand it to her, her motherly instinct is usually right. Sure, the receptionists all know her and our kids by sight (“Oh, hi Mrs. Vandiver. Who is it today, Presley or Aevin?” “Aevin today”. “Yeeeah ladies, pay up!”), but hey, not her fault our kids got her immune system!

3) Even with kids up her behind, she still maintains a well-run home.
I work. The wife stays at home with the kids (well, my daughter is in 1st grade). And under no circumstances would I EVER switch roles. She also baby sits her nephew, who turns 1 this month. Yet I always come home to a clean house, happy kids, a kept it together wife, and an idea as to what dinner might be. What more can a man ask for? I never come home to a mess, never come home to a madhouse. I have NO idea how she does it. Personally, on my days off I’m usually frazzled. I’m freaked out like “Oooh kay, guys. Lunch break, what do you want to eat?” “Dad, its 9:00. We haven’t even had breakfast yet”. “Good Lord.”

4) She’s a prisoner in her own home.
Well, not literally. I mean, the sheriffs took the ankle monitor off of her last week, so she’s free to come and go as she pleases now. But the thing is, the kids freak out. She has to give them at least 24 hour notice if she plans on leaving them, and then remind them several times during the day. And then its a hug/kiss fest trying to get out the door. And when she comes back ,you’d think she’d just destroyed the first Death Star or something, with cheering, confetti falling from the sky, music, and a medal. “Moooommmmmy!!” In the meantime I’m lucky to get a head nod “sup dad”.

In all honesty thought, she deserves all the attention. And credit. Without my wife, I have no idea what we’d do. Without her, we’re Hootie and the Blowfish without Hootie. I mean, really. Hootie went and became “Darius Rucker” and is ruling the country charts (or so I’m told) and what are the Blowfish doing? Probably wandering around aimlessly, growing beards, drinking milk out of the container, and swearing at strangers, Ron Burgundy style. And that’s exactly what I’d be doing. My kids would probably be living with my parents (who, by the way, did an awesome job raising me and my sister. Thanks, Mom! Love you! Oh, hey Dad. Pat on the back for you too. Just the way it is, pops, what can we do?). And the really amazing thing is, is that my wife battles her own illnesses and ailments. She has her own problems and worries. Yet she always puts her family first. She puts US first.

So that’s why I think Moms are actually UNDERrated. I mean, yeah, without them we would not have been born. Duh. But if your family is like mine, the Mom is the center of it. The calm eye in the tornado of life. The rock on the sandy shore that holds back the crashing waves of life. The hot glue that keeps the googly eyes on the paper bag puppet of life. The little plastic thingy that you put on a bread bag so that the bread doesn’t get stale…in the….uh…air…of life. I’m on a roll here!

Don’t get me wrong. I do my part. I DO help. Tadpoles need catching? I’m your dude. Kids wanna wrestle or play? I’m on it. Kids need disciplining? I got your back. Bills need paying? Handled. We’re a team here. A band, if you will. But I recognize I’m but a lowly fiddler in this band. Mommy is on vocals and lead guitar. And she rocks!

So, honey, this Mother’s Day, you go out. You do you. Take 30, heck, maybe even 45 minutes. I got this. Get your nails done. Have lunch with a friend. Go shopping. Heck, buy yourself a pair of 50 dollar jeans. Lord knows, you’ve earned it. Just do me a favor.

Leave your phone on.

Posted in family, humor, mom, Mother's Day, parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments