Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Artificial Compromise

This has been rewritten and edited for your viewing pleasure. It can be found in the soon to be released book Life Between Naps. Link and info coming November 2015.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why I Can't Fly

I think Lucy has super-powers. I know-I know, it’s crazy, but she does things… super-crazy, supernatural, super-powery things, that are quite frankly - - unexplainable. Had I been able to recognize her potential as a superhero sooner, we could very well be living in some super swanky underground bunker/fortress/hideout/cave, with aliens, Bigfoot, a slide and Tang… lots and lots of Tang.

As I sit here writing this, Lucy is probably the world’s greatest unmasked superhero and she’s only three. The signs were always there, but at the time, I just didn’t know they were “powers.” There was that time, when she fell out of her crib (head first) and landed on her feet. “Cat like” reflexes? BAM! Superpower. On another occasion she spotted a twenty-dollar bill in the park, from the stroller, a hundred yards away...“Hawk like” vision? POW! Superpower. Last Spring she memorized Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” (words and moves) after watching the video once! Ummm… you ever heard of something called “Photographic Memory?” Well, if you haven’t shame on you ‘cause KABLAMMO! That’s a superpower my friends! A superpower.

Now I’ll admit individually these were all just intriguing instances of circumstance. Maybe it was luck that she landed on her feet and found that money. And yes, I fully realize that the lyrical content of “Single Ladies” is a tad elementary and the dance moves were originally choreographed for a post menopausal workout video from the early 80’s, so of course I was skeptical. Soon months had passed without incident and to be honest, I had completely forgotten all about Lucy’s untapped potential, until last week. That’s when I accidentally ran her over with the stroller.

“What did you run me over for?” She said.
“I didn’t.” Yes I did. “You stopped in the middle of the sidewalk.” I wasn’t paying attention.“Look you scared your sister, she’s crying.” She was laughing.“It’s not funny, I didn’t like that.”
“I’m sorry. Are you okay?” She nods in a forgiving way, brushes the dirt from her pants and merrily continues down the side walk toward the park. I quickly check Ruby for any post traumatic symptoms that may be lingering as a result of this awkward collision. She easily follows my finger from left to right, up and down. I conclude that she has suffered no permanent damage, which is something that I cannot say about the front of the stroller. One of the wheels had been buckled under; the plastic foot tray was cracked and a metal brace was bent. BENT! It looked like it was just thrown off the top of Mt. Everest and then stepped on by Optimus Prime. This was not a cheap stroller, it was German. I believe for an extra $30 we could’ve had it equipped with airbags and On Star…

Operator: “Hello Mr. Jim, this is On Star. Our technology shows that your stroller air bags have been deployed and according to our impact sensors it appears that you’ve hit a tank. We have notified all emergency response teams and they are on their way. I will stay on the line until they reach you.”
Me: “No tank… (Static)… It was (heavy breathing)… A three year old. I was hit by a … (inaudible mumbling something-something Steve Guttenberg)…..three year old.”
O: “I’m sorry; did you say you were hit by Steve Guttenberg?”
Me: “……… (Gasp)……She just walked away…walked away.”

I look back over my shoulder. There she stood innocently assessing the damage she had unwillingly caused to this fine piece of machinery. Now it is possible that most, if not all of the damage to the stroller was done last Saturday when I backed over it with the car, but it still ran her over, and she was still unhurt. I think she may very well be indestructible… She was awesome! It was the final piece of the puzzle. My theory had finally been confirmed. I‘ve produced a superhero.

With our newly mangled stroller we turn around and head for home. It was a quiet walk by most standards; I think we were all trying to figure out the easiest way to discuss what has just happened. It was Ruby who made the first attempt at communication when she started to sing, what I’m almost positive to be a Korean version of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” maybe she did have a concussion?

“Daddy, wanna see me jump?” I watch as she uses every muscle in her body to amass a two inch vertical leap. I can do better than that, way better. Maybe I’m a superhero? “I can jump high, ‘cause I’m a superhero.” Whoa, whoa, whoa… Did she say what I think she said? She knows? No, that can’t be. That shouldn’t be. Not now, she shouldn’t know now! She’s not supposed to find out until high school…during gym class. You know, like when she impales a volleyball into the floor at the feet of the super popular, but uptight and pretentious Prom Queen Courtney Lynn Sinclaire. This happens moments after she finds out it was Courtney who spread a nasty rumor about Lucy and everybody’s All-American Quarterback Jefferson “To the Max” Wellington. That’s when she’s supposed to realize she’s different, not now. She’s too young. She’ll crumble under the pressure. She’ll crumble, find a way to resent me and become evil. Plus she doesn’t have an awesome name yet. Or does she?

“Oh, so you’re a superhero? Well if you’re a superhero, what’s your superhero name?” Please don’t have one, please don’t have one, please don’t….
“I’m Superhero Mommy-Girl Lucy Goose.” Oh come on! That’s horrible! It says nothing about her attributes. How can that awful name even be turned into a logo? She’ll never be taken seriously. I’ve gotta change this, quickly. I take a deep breath and begin the reprogramming process.

“So, if you’re a superhero, what are your superpowers?”
“Well, I can jump really high, and I can run really-really fast. But most of all I can help un-stick people when they get glued to their cars.” Good lord, if unsticking people from their cars is how she plans on utilizing her superpowers, then she’s in worse shape than I thought. Let’s face it, she still young, she has a lot of wiggle room here. Other than the name she’s got all the tools to be the perfect superhero: Strength, size, brain power, vision, she’s extremely polite and more than courteous.

“Dad if you were a superhero, what would be your superpower?”
I thought hard about this question. I thought about invisibility, X-ray vision and the ability to read minds, but at the end of the day, it was the grand-daddy of them all that I craved… I wanted to fly.

“I guess if I had to pick one, I think I’d wanna fly.” If I would’ve chosen to read minds, I probably would have seen this coming.
“Daddy, that’s a little bit crazy. Don’t you think you’re a little too fat to fly?” As if that wasn’t insulting enough, she followed it with, “Maybe you could just, you know, push things.” Seriously? That’s not even a power. And now because of that unprofessional remark, I have to answer the same question every morning.

“Daddy why are you exercising on the bike today?”
“I’m doing it for the same reason I do it every day… I wanna be light enough to fly.”
“Well you’re gonna have to ride for a lot longer, ya know?”
I am officially her nemesis.

As Always you can find me at my second home
Chicago Parent

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Curb Your Yeti

This has been rewritten and edited for your viewing pleasure. It can be found in the soon to be released book Life Between Naps. Link and info coming November 2015.

Monday, November 16, 2009

In Case You're Wondering

Hey everyone-

I know it's been a while sense I posted, but I just want you to know in case you heard somewhere else... Kevin Spacey and I were not eaten by an anaconda in the Congo. I've been working on some potentially big stuff and haven't had a free second to tell you all what's been up with Lu, Ru and I. But stuff has been happening, and I'll fill you all in soon.

So other than that, how have you all been? Awesome. Well you'll hear from me soon. Take care.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Raisin Ruby

This has been rewritten and edited for your viewing pleasure. It can be found in the soon to be released book Life Between Naps. Link and info coming November 2015.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Bee Punch

Location: The wilderness, somewhere in southwestern Michigan.

After what seemed like forever, Cathy finally came charging out of the cabin to find that it was I, her very masculine gladiator-esque husband who was the vocal source of a sound she would later describe as a weird mixture of baby cries, cat in heat and the screams of teenage girls at a New Kids On The Block concert (1988 New Kids, not that crappy new reunion stuff). Now I have no reason to dispute what she heard, although she may be over exaggerating a bit, but in my defense it was humid….very, very humid. You see the “scream” if you will, was the direct result of a conversation between me and my 3 year-old daughter Lucy; a conversation that I was apparently not paying attention to.

20 minutes earlier….

Cathy was inside putting Ruby to bed, while Lucy and I assessed the campfire situation. After a few minutes of scrambling for twigs and mulch, I strike a match under some wadded up newspaper and,“Viola and that’s how you make a campfire.” It was beautiful. We watch silently in awe as the yellow and orange flames ominously stretched higher and higher into the sky. I take a deep breath, “You smell that Lu? That’s the smell of Nature, the smell of good pure Earth. This is what camping is all about.” It wasn’t “camping” camping, but it was close. In fact, it was actually closer to a resort. In other words there were no communal showers and we had cable (however the T.V. was lacking a remote, so that was primitive.)

“Smells like burning… smells dangerous.” She wasn’t completely wrong; we were charring a mammoth hole in the ground. At this point, the objective of roasting marshmallows seemed utterly absurd. The fire was tremendous and generating enough heat to melt all plastic within 15 feet… I cautiously remove Lucy’s barrettes. We sit for a few more minutes in silence and fear. I’ve begun to sweat uncontrollably, the stitching on my shirt has started to smoke and the legs on my lawn chair were beginning to bow. Suddenly, in what I can only explain as an awkward shift in thought, Lucy begins an odd conversation…

“Da, are bees dangerous?”
I nonchalantly shrug my shoulders,“Nah, not really. If you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone.” Secretly I’m terrified of them, and I never leave them alone. I scream, swat, hit, chastise and try to humiliate any striped creature that I feel threatened by. That’s right I’ll punch a zebra, I just don’t trust stripes, they’re deceiving.
“Will they sting you, if they are mad?”
“I suppose if you make them mad, then yeah, they will sting you.” Honestly, I can’t tell you the last time I was stung by a bee. If I were to guess I’d say it’s been over 20 years. My skin is beginning to crawl just talking about them, I feel compelled to crack my knuckles. Sweat is viciously pouring down my neck, it’s relentless. I’m starting to feel uneasy.
“If a bee stings you, does it hurt?” Now this is the third straight question about bees. I’m glad that she’s curious about things, but I have to wonder why the sudden interest in this particular creature. I wonder, but I don’t ask.
“Yeah, it will probably hurt a little.” I say “a little” for two reasons. First, I can’t imagine that a sting from these little striped buzzing demons could realistically inflict any sustainable pain. Second, on the off chance that she is ever stung, she won’t over react. I use the back of my hand to wipe away some of the sweat that is crawling down my neck. Upon doing this, I notice Lucy make a weird face. This slight gesture causes instant panic.

“What’s wrong?” I snap. As I wait for a response, it all begins to fall into place. The questions, the curiosity, the looks they weren’t random, they were calculated. I begin to fear that there is a bee in our presence. I slowly take a deep breath. I have an eerie feeling that the next few words out of her mouth are going to be a combination of “bee,” “on” and “you,” now the question becomes, “where?” I look at Lu, she’s biting her bottom lip… this is not going to end well. The seconds have slowed down considerably, and when I blink I can hear my eyelids touch. The fire continues to crackle and snap. Then suddenly I realize that the sweat which logically should be moving down my neck has begun to move up. I look down at Lu, and as soon as she sees my face tighten up, she decides that this would be the perfect time to let me in on a little secret…..

“Da, you have a HUGE bee on your neck.” My first thought was to jump into the fire, it was also my second and third. Ohhh… I can feel it dancing all over my neck. I have absolutely no idea what to do and running seems pointless, so in my head I begin to formulate a plan. Apparently when I do this I make a face, a face that Lu has become all too familiar with. Behind these eyes was a stupid plan and she knew it. Slowly she begins to back away until she’s safely hiding behind a tree.

My plan is based largely on the theory that bees can apparently smell fear, and although mine might smell slightly burnt, I won’t allow him a chance to react to my panic. I raise my hand (I look over at the tree and Lu gives me a thumbs up). Once I commit, there is no wasted effort. With the velocity of a hummingbird’s wing I unleash a punch to the side of my neck that would make Mike Tyson cringe.

Now you may be wondering, why I chose punch over slap? Again, I did this for two reasons. The first was annihilation; the second was defense. My theory was that a knuckle sting would be noticeably less painful… This brings us to the scream. In less than 20 seconds Cathy will come charging out the door to the sound of fear, anguish, sobbing and a touch of nausea. You see, somehow as I pummeled the bee into my throat he managed to retaliate. Instead of stinging me on bone as I had anticipated, he miraculously managed to place his saber right into that fine little stretch of skin between my fore and middle fingers, this proved to be very painful. Then as my neck rebounded to its natural upright position, he regrouped (musta been one of dem multiple stingin’ bees) and stung my neck, this also proved to be very painful.

For the life of her, Cathy could not wrap her head around the events that transpired around the campfire that very humid evening. She had a lot of questions, which quite frankly I could not give a logical explanation for. In retrospect my plan was flawed, mostly because the neck punch harbored some residual effects. But ultimately I think I taught Lucy a very important lesson on tolerance. A few weeks later while sitting in the backyard Lucy notices a bee, “Da, remember that time you punched that bee? Well that was not nice. Punching is not nice. So don’t punch anymore bees, because when you do you scream and cry and that doesn’t sound nice and can I have a cookie.” It’s not exactly Plato, but there is a certain amount of truth to it.

Here is the my new address at Chicago Parent. At some point LBN might find this to be its permanet home, but I'll let you know when that happens. Either way you will continue to be bombarded by my frequent updates on FB or Email. Check it out, give it a look, leave a comment, browse the site, whatever.... thanks for the support.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Five (little) Finger Discount

“Why did you buy this?” Cath asked. This was not an unfamiliar question. In fact, I can’t recall a single time in our relationship where I’ve come back from a store and not heard those words. Perhaps I’m subconsciously purchasing the absurd to keep her on her toes, you know, keep things exciting… mysterious even. I can’t help it, I love novelty items. I guess I’m sort of an impulse buyer, if it’s on sale, brightly colored or pours from a twist top (solid or liquid), it goes in the cart. Sure, perhaps I could’ve used better judgment the day I purchased 2 flats of canned green beans, but from a fiscal point of view it was a steal. On the other hand, storing and consuming 48 cans proved to be a logistical nightmare. At one point in an effort to rid our house of these cans and give the world back a good chunk of its aluminum supply, I found myself mixing a batch of green bean pancakes for breakfast. Thank god Cathy was there to stop me, or it could’ve got out of hand. I had officially run out of ways to implement them into our meals and I broke down. It was really a tender moment in our relationship. I remember quite vividly her gentle hands on my face and her cotton soft voice consoling me as I crashed to the floor crying and cursing the day Costco put those little green bastards on sale. A week later I bought 6 loaves of bread for the price of 3. We barely finished one before the others turned into the back end of a science experiment. As a result I’m no longer allowed into a shopping warehouse by myself. But this time it was different.

Lu and I had just walked to the Apothecary shop down the street to get her some bubble bath and moisturizer. There shouldn’t have been anything to question, but sure enough, I turned around and Cathy is holding a bar of soap. This wasn’t your run of the mill bar of Irish Spring. Nope, this was one of those hand crafted, fancy paper wrapped, straw tied, hand written $12 price tag, made in Jane’s kitchen gourmet bars of soap! It didn’t make sense, it was NOT on sale, it wasn’t brightly colored and it was definitely not pourable…. I would never have bought this! In fact, I’m appalled that she would even question me. Sometimes it’s like she doesn’t even know who I am.
“I didn’t buy that.” I scoffed.
“Well it’s in the stroller.” I shrug my shoulders, Cath shrugs her shoulders and then we both glance over at Lu who was noshing on some string cheese. Without missing a beat, she pulls off a long string, puts it in her mouth and says without looking at either of us, “Oh that’s mine. I put it in the stroller. It’s beautiful, it smell nice, like oranges.” I wasn’t sure what disturbed me more. The fact that she thought this $12 bar of Rosemary scented soap smelled like oranges, or that my 3 year old was clearly on her way to a life of crime.
“Lu? Did you accidentally put this in the stroller and forget to tell daddy?” I was giving her an out. If she’s smart she’ll bat her eyes shyly at me, say yes and plead cuteness, if not…..
“Nah, I just took it.” I Gasp, Cath gasps, Lu chews her cheese.
“On accident? You took it on accident right? If you took it on accident, it’s okay you didn’t know better, we can fix this, but it was an accident wasn’t it?”
“Nooooo, I took it on purpose. It wasn’t an accident, I just wanted it. So I took it. I took it so I could clean my body with beautiful orange soap.” Great. In five short minutes our precious little three year old daughter has admitted that she’s knowingly shoplifted a bar of soap, and apparently, all of the orange juice she’s been drinking smells like turkey stuffing.
“Lu? What you did was steal, and that's not a very nice thing to do. In fact, it’s a very bad thing to do. I think we need go back to the store so you can apologize and give them back their soap.”
“Ohhhh… Okay.”

After lunch we head back to the scene of the crime. We open the door and immediately Lu grabs the soap from the bottom of the stroller, walks over to a shelf and puts it in the very spot she took it from. Before I knew what had happened she was back in the stroller and ready to go. I look around and notice not a single person saw her. Huh? That wasn’t how this was supposed to go down. I’m confused….
“Okay I put it back, now let’s go. Let’s go, let’s go!” She was shouting out orders like I was Bonnie and she was Clyde.
“Ummmm. Ummmm…” What the????? This was supposed to teach her a lesson! She was supposed to apologize, hand the bar of soap over and be so embarrassed by her actions; she’ll never shop lift again. In a hazy panic I turn the stroller around and start to leave. I tell myself that it’s the right thing to do. After all in order for the whole moral lesson thing to play out she would have to re-shoplift the soap, give it to the manager, explain that this particular bar of soap was in here before, then it was in my house, but I didn’t pay for it so I brought it back, returned it to the shelf… I’m sorry. It was all too complicated we had to roll. We’ll have a talk on the way home. Then suddenly from behind a case of shaving cream a lady materializes before us.

“Hello, can I help you find anything?”
“Nope, just looking.” Why was I sweating? I could feel my pulse in my throat. I was telling myself to be cool and then Lucy says, “No thank you, we were stealing soap and we’re done, now we are going home.” Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Did she just say “we?” I mask my nervousness with girlish laughter and furious bout of gum smacking. Has she lost her mind? For god’s sake, I was supposed to be the voice of reason, and now I’m an accomplice! After a few moments of panic I finally crack and rat out Lucy. Shaving cream lady seems more confused than anything. I explain our situation, we all have an uneasy laugh and Lucy apologizes to the store manager. We spend a few more minutes in the store smelling things, orange things, before heading home. Along the way we stop to pick up a few leaves, scare a few squirrels and talk about the difference between wrong and right. After all was said and done, I stopped the stroller and ask Lucy to tell me why what she did was wrong…
“It was wrong because I stole it on purpose.”
“Very good. “ I reply. This was a good learning moment, and I felt pleased by the outcome. I had thought… Yes, I had thought she had a clear understanding of the situation and this was something we would never have to deal with again and then she turned around. She smiled, batted her eyes shyly at me and said, “Don’t worry daddy I know stealing on purpose is wrong. That’s why the next time I steal something, I’ll remember to make sure I do it on accident.” Well I most certainly did not see that coming.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yet Another Update.

Sooooooo..... Here's the latest news from LBN. Some of you might have heard that LBN has been asked to join a new website. It's a parenting magazine here in Chicago callled Chicago Parent, so starting October 12th I will be posting (the same stuff) on both sites for about 6 weeks, then I hope to move full-time over to CP. Eventually I'll link the new address to my original blogspot page so that everyone can click over, and no one will miss a beat when the time comes. This is a huge opportunity for LBN to get more exposure and gather more fans, in my quest to gain national fame and aquire health insurance. On the other end of the spectrum, the $20a week allowance from Cath is really like $12 when you add the taxes in Chicago. My frequent requests for a pay raise has continued to go unanswered, I'm just sayin.

Other quick things and thoughts....

- My ass which was injured via irony and gravity (explained in last weeks post) is still broke.
- Ruby is just about ready to walk.
- LBN has a Fan Page on FaceBook, you should join.
- I watched Destination Truth last night and it further confirmed my belief in aliens and sea monsters.
- 3 times this week I've found Ruby sitting on top of things (the coffee table, the kitchen table and the bed) without any explaination of how she could have possibly achieved these heights. My theroy is there's a crazy Carol Ann poltergiest thing happening. I told Cath that the moment she starts sliding across the floor unwillingly, I'm calling Craig T. Nelson. Her response was that "Ahhhhh, Poltergiest was just a movie and I doubt you'd find him. Second, he's an actor, not a Priest." I told her, that if she didn't think that Craig T. "The Coach" Nelson could rid a house of ghost, she was delusional.
-Finally, I've reconsidered who should play me in the Lifetime Original movie "Life Between Naps." Steve Guttenberg is out, Scott Baio is in.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Broke Ass

It all happened so quickly! I wasn’t trying to prove a point; I wasn’t even trying to show off. In fact, I couldn’t give you one good reason why I was standing on the chair, especially since I’d been screaming at Lucy for the past few weeks to stop standing on the furniture.

I could hear myself explaining to her all of the horrible things that can go wrong when you abuse the sofa: “You’re gonna break your neck!” “You’re gonna break the couch!” “Those wings you are wearing were not made by angels; they were made by a 6 year old girl from Bangladesh who supports her family on thirteen cents an hour. Who after a 12 hour work day in the scorching heat and dreadful humidity fills her quota of 300 hand sewn wings, which she places in a box on a boat set for America. That boat docks somewhere in California where a man who is probably making less than minimum wage and doing the work of three men (including Jeff, his best friend who was laid off last weekend) carries that box of wings to a truck headed for our local megastore in Chicago. Once it arrives here it is unpacked and strategically placed onto an end case with a bunch of crappy cartoon pixies and pink strobe lights that are meant to entice and unleash a visual onslaught of giddiness and euphoria upon little doe-eyed girls such as yourself. Consequently, it’s those little “doe” eyes that your father cannot resist and seconds after you unleash a desperate stare of need for these wings, I am compelled beyond my better judgment to add a pair of these now outrageously priced sweatshop wings into our ridiculously random cart of diapers, paper towels, frozen pizza, car battery, toilet seat cover, “fresh cut” steaks, skill saw and The Very Best of Color Me Bad CD/DVD collectors edition. If you think for one instant that those wings will allow you to gently flutter to the floor from the top of that chair, you are sorely mistaken. Those wings do not work. They were made entirely of false dreams, imagination, hope and pink nylon. So sit down before you fall and break your head!” I thought I made my point clear, so could someone please tell me how it came to be that I found myself standing on the very same piece of furniture I was telling Lucy to get down from?

At the time Lu, Ru and I were all on the sun porch. Lucy was drawing, Rubers was playing on her piano and I was on the phone trying to switch my phone service (I think we’re getting railroaded by AT&T and was listening to what Vonage had to offer). It was during this phone conversation when I decided to stand on the chair.

“Da, what are you doing? You’re not supposed to stand on the furniture remember?” Blahhhhhh…. of course I remember, but I’m an adult, I think I can handle this. My spot on speech of probable scenarios was mostly a scare tactic; I thought she would understand this. Adults and children have different rules. Some things, like adults standing on furniture for absolutely no reason does not apply.

“So how much is it a month?” I asked the Denise, the Vonage lady.
“It’s twenty-four ninety-nine a month.” This is when it happened. It wasn’t the price that shocked me so much I lost my balance, or the potential savings. Suddenly, I couldn’t hear her and I found myself screamin, “What? I can’t hear you! Huh?” The chair started to move forward and the outcome was now inevitable. I saw my life flash before my eyes, but for some reason my life was a collage of America’s Funniest Home Video clips. It was all those awkward and embarrassing videos where a dad tries to dance to punk music and ends up crashing through a screen door. Or the video of a dad modeling the hip clothes that his kids picked out from him when he suddenly falls into an abandoned well. The video of a dad trying to show off at the pool and when he jumps off the diving board to do a Triple-Lindy he’s hit in the head by an errant goat. The video of a dad trying to “school” his son in basketball, but when he goes up for a dunk, he’s hit by a train carrying a bunch of birthday cakes with trick candles, a spider, a slobbering dog, laughing babies, a guy in a refrigerator box and a toddler that will smash him in the groin repeatedly with a whiffle ball bat. There is absolutely no doubt that if this fall was captured on film the host from Dancing With The Stars would say, “And the winner of $10,000 is…. Uncool dad standing on the chair for unknown reasons while trying to switch his phone service falls and breaks his ass.”

As I began to tumble off the chair, I remember thinking that, “This is the first time my feet were able to touch my ears,” then my backside crashes into the top of the chair, and it sounded like someone just let the air out of a balloon. Unbelievably, after what seemed like a minute of a zero gravity free fall, I land on my feet (much to the surprise of everyone in the room). I politely hang up with Denise (I never let go of the phone!) after telling her that I will consider their service. I then walk pass the girls into the bathroom, shut the door, push my face into a towel and scream, “Mother!!!*%$#@@@?....” After I wipe a few hard fought tears from my eyes, I regain my composure and hobble back to the girls. Of course Lucy says something about the incident that puts me in my place, “Blah blah you shouldn’t blah blah blah,” that’s expected now, whatever I get it. The bottom line is this; I was trying to be a good parent, giving sensible advice and thinking that I was immune to the laws of gravity and irony. I did the very thing that I warned Lucy against and as a result for the past few days I’ve been sitting on alternating bags of frozen edamame and peas. I know there is an obvious lesson to be learned here, but I don’t care. My butt is colored in nine different shades of black, brown, blue and yellow and every time I cough or sneeze I can taste a weird mixture of feet and spine and that’s pretty much all that needs to be said, and that's how I choose to end this.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Human Instinct

I question Lucy’s decision making process all the time. Whether it is the decision to nab a disgusting pigeon, wash her hands with yogurt or simply invent a meal by placing untraditional food items into an ordinary glass of milk (the salmon and green bean smoothie she made…. and drank, was particularly gross). Every day, she’ll do or say something that leaves me shaking my head, but that’s all part of being a kid right, it’s human. It’s our ability to think and make decisions based on reason rather than instinct that separates and allows us to dominate 99.79% of the animal kingdom. The exception of course being sharks whose decision to eat your face is always a good reason not to go in the ocean, and the Chupacabra a blood sucking bald devil/monkey/lizard/bat/kangaroo/rat that makes me cry and will keep me from ever visiting Puerto Rico. Anyway the point is this: Although we are able to make decisions, they are not always good ones. As a father I would like to think that while Lucy and Ruby are walking their way through this world, I’m able to help them facilitate their actions and to make good thoughtful choices. I just assume that they’ll take my advice until they are old enough to make sensible decisions on their own. I also assume, that they’ll assume, that my decisions are best for them. However, I never assumed that they would question me, that is until…

Lucy and her friend Anya were enjoying a hot summer day playing in the backyard where the dads were left in charge until the women returned. It was great, we had chips, drinks and a nice spot in the shade. After sweating for an hour, Lu suggested that the sprinkler be set up. With the nod of a head and some strategic placement the girls were soon frolicking through some of Chicago’s finest hose water. Suddenly Lucy stops….

“Da, I have to go potty.” I put down my beverage and begin to stand up. I was stopped when Anya's dad Neil suggested that she go right in the yard. Ummm duh? Of course, I mean it made sense to me. The girls were soaking wet and the nearest bathroom was 2 floors up. Plus it was his lawn, if he said Lu could pop-a-squat and pee on his nice green grass, we’ll by god that’s what she should do.
“No I don’t want to go on the grass; I wanna go on the potty.”
“It’s okay Lu, I don't mind, just go next to the bush there.” Neil said refereeing to the 6 foot hedge next to my chair.
“No, I wanna go to the bathroom.” Ahhh good lord! I’m confused by her unwillingness to be one with nature, to briefly live in the moment like a wild animal. I mean come on, if I’m ever at a place where the bathroom policy is turn around and pee, I’m taking full advantage of it, in fact, I probably drink more!
“Just go, no one is gonna see you. The quicker you do it, the quicker you and Anya can get back to playing in the sprinkler. If her Neil say’s it’s okay, then it’s okay.” She clearly seems unconvinced that this is the appropriate decision, but after a second she looks at me, then looks at Neil dad and says, “Okay, I’ll just go right over here.” That’s my girl; She’s still unsure, but willing to listen to her dad. She moves over to the bush…
“Are you sure that this is okay?” She’s says again. Man is she stubborn,I mean come on, what’s the big deal? Just go! This is the clearly the best option right now...not always, but right now! We both nod our heads to answer her question. She shrugs her shoulders, bends down and does the deed.

A few seconds later after she walked away we found out why she was so concerned, so hesitant and so conflicted. She was thinking like a human, she was reasoning. She knew we were wrong, we never asked; we both just assumed that when she said she had to go “bathroom,” she meant she had to pee.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Rush

Her favorite color was “milk.” Her feet felt like “fat airplanes.” Her eyes were” itching from the inside” and she was convinced there was a “woodpecker” in her bedroom. I’m never giving Lucy cotton candy again.

I guess I should start by saying that Lucy doesn’t get sugary sweets very often. We decided to relegate the cane specifically to special occasions and bribes. That’s not to say that Tuesday morning can’t be a “special occasion,” it’s just that she’s so mild and sweet we’re scared that too much sugar will turn her into some sort of chocolate drooling hob-goblin. In fact, chocolate is so precious I once watched her take 4 bites from a single M&M, it took her a half hour to eat 10! But cotton candy… cotton candy was a magical fluffy wad of confectionary delight. Cotton candy was the scent of her bubble baths, the image on her pajamas and the flavor of those little pink jelly beans at grandpa Toms. Simply put, it was her white whale/Loch Ness monster/Holy Grail all wrapped into one beautiful and elusive treat. Sooooo… why am I tellin’ you all this? Well, because on Friday August 28th Lucy got her whale, and in the process confirmed all of our sugary personality and mind altering suspicions.

It was Lucy’s first Cubs game. I was excited, she was excited, it was perfect day. She got to spend the afternoon taking in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field with her dad and two of his buddies, and I got to help her experience a live sporting event. How was this not cool? She rode on my shoulders from the train to the park; we must have looked like we were plucked from one of those sappy life insurance commercials. You could see the excitement in her eyes the moment we sat down; the smells, the sounds, the people, the…

“Daddy- Daddy! Do you see that? Do you see that man with the cotton candy? Do you see it? It’s pink and blue. Daddy can I have some cotton candy? Daddy please! Please daddy, please! Please! Pleeeeeease!!!!!”
“You can have some, after you have a decent lunch.” I flag down the hot dog guy, and order two. Lucy has been sitting backwards in the chair watching the man with the big pink stick stroll up and down the aisles. She could’ve cared less about the game; she never took her eyes off the guy with the cotton candy.

It was the third inning when I grabbed the attention of the guy who demanded I pay him $6.00 for the goods.
“No no, I only want one bag.” I explained.
“Oh, in that case it’s still six dollars.”
“For cotton candy!” I was appalled! I couldn’t in good conscious pay $6.00 for a bag of cotton candy; it’s unreasonable, criminal really… “Does your cotton candy come with a one year cell phone contract? What’s so special about your cotton candy? Do you have Dalia Lama blessed corn fed Tibetan yaks pounding the sugar cane into finite crystals of deliciousness in a secret lilac scented room under home plate? Why in the world would I want to pay six of my wife’s hard earned dollars for a bag of cotton candy that probably cost less than three cents to make? Why? Why would I do that? Why?”
He slowly bent down and met me at eye level, “You’ll buy my cotton candy, because that cute little girl sitting next to you wants you to.”

I tried to regulate the amount of cotton candy that went in at one time, but she started to get a bit crazy and almost bit me. Then I thought it would be a good idea to balance out the cotton candy with Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Twizzlers and fries. I don’t know if I was doing this so she could get the whole experience of the ball game, or to simply keep her occupied until the final out, it was probably a bit of both…probably.

3 Hours later

I started to notice Lucy was a bit off while we were waiting for the train. It was cloudy, but she insisted that the sun was hurting her eyes. Then on the train, she was complaining that her mouth was sweating. I attributed all these foreign sensations to the euphoria of witnessing a 9th inning comeback off of an Alphonso Soriano home run. She stared at me blankly as if I were speaking some made up language, and then she responded with what I’m sure was a made up language. A few more Touretts type outburst and we were off the train and walking (unusually fast) home. Cathy and Rubers met us half way immediately Cath got the run down.
“How was the game? Did you have fun? Did the Cubs win?” I’m sure Cathy was expecting to get a detailed report from the usually precise Lucy, but all she got was, “I had a lot of junk. I had a hot dog, cotton candy, peanuts, cotton candy, licorice and cotton candy” Then she started to march and chant, “COTTON CANDY, COTTON CANDY, I LOVE COTTON CANDY. LOVE LOVE LOVE, COTTON COTTON CANDY” This was unexpected.
“Why does she keep saying cotton candy? How much did she have?” I wondered what would be the appropriate response, but it was clear from the look of her matted hair and sticky fingers, I couldn’t say “a tiny bit.”
“All of it.” Cathy looked at me like I was crazy, then we noticed that Lu was talking to a tree.

From that point on she started to get progressively worse. She had mentioned no less than three times during the time span of about 5 minutes that she wanted a “milk” colored dress. When we asked her if white was okay, she replied, “No I didn’t say white, remember, I said milk. Milk is not white, milk is my favorite color.” Cathy noticed that Lu was continuously sweating and no matter what was said, the conversation always led back to a cotton candy chant. For dinner we decided that a healthy dose of pasta was the best remedy to absorb the sugar in her system. After a bowl, she decided that her feet felt like “fat airplanes.” After her bath, she said her eyes were “itching from the inside.” But perhaps the weirdest thing happened when she was getting her PJ’s on. I was sitting in the living room, when Lucy appeared into the hallway and waved me into her room. For a minute I just sat there staring at her, it was kinda slow motion creepy. Then she did it again, but this time as her curled up tiny little finger beckoned me to her room, she whispered, “Daddy I think there’s a woodpecker in my room.” Now in my head I know there is no woodpecker in her room, but… It was such an odd thing to say. Had she said there was an elephant or bus in her room, I wouldn’t have moved a bit, but a woodpecker? There’s a slight possibility, I mean it’s probable, right?
“What do you mean there’s a woodpecker in your room?” I needed to clarify this, because she’s 3. She could very well be confusing a crayon for a woodpecker.
“There is a woodpecker in my room and he has pecked holes into my walls, you have to see this.” Well she seemed to know that a woodpecker pecks holes, so from that standpoint it appears she understands. I guess I have to get up and check.

I enter her room and find Lucy standing in the middle of her rug with her hands on her hips staring at one of the walls.
“Shhhhhh…. He’s hiding.” Seriously, this had all the makings of a horror movie: Crazy whispering girl, inquisitive dreamboat and the phrase “He’s hiding.” I’m sure I only have seconds before an 8ft skinless death bird pops up from behind the toy chest, pecks a hole into my skull and feasts on my eyeballs.
“Look at all the holes in my wall.” She points to a tiny hole above her bed.
“I don’t see it.” I whisper back as I look over my shoulder.
“Look there is another one over there, and there, don’t you see them?” I did see them, and there were more than a few, but they were old nail holes.
“How do you know they were made by a woodpecker?” I asked.
“Well I don’t, but you have to believe.”
“?????????????.......” Seriously, has she been watching reruns of the X-Files? I watched her for a couple more seconds as she talked quietly to herself about the origins of the wall holes, I noticed that she started to sway. Her speech got progressively slower and her eyes appeared to get heavier.
“Daddy I want to sleep now.” In three years of life, not once has she ever requested to go to bed. Her body was crashing; the sugar effect was wearing off. I tucked her into bed and started to walk out of the room, when she sat up and screamed something that sounded like, “Koo-Koo cheese macaroni stick.” It was so unexpectedly loud, I peed a little. Then just as unexpected, she flopped backwards and her head crashed onto her pillow. Neither Cathy or I were back in her room for the rest of the night, though occasionally she would scream without warning, they were short little outburst of withdrawal and usually short lived.

The next morning Lucy was fine. We ate a huge oatmeal breakfast, then went to the park and played hard enough to wear off any residual effects of yesterday’s binder. I sat down on a bench next to the slide and smiled as I contemplated our first official “Daddy/Daughter Day,” I personally deemed it a great success. After all, we scored free tickets, had great seats and saw the Cubs win on a walk off homer; I couldn’t have scripted it better if I tried. I looked over to Lu who was running about the lot, she was wearing her new pink Cubs cap which she picked out at the game yesterday, she was so cute.
“Lucy, wasn’t the Cubs game that we went to yesterday awesome?”
“Remember all the cotton candy I ate? Remember it was pink and blue? Remember? Remember? Remember the guy with the cotton candy? Do you remember that dad?”
“Yeah I remember it was pink and blue.”
“Right. It was pink and blue and it was the best cotton candy EVER.” It wasn’t the response I was looking for. She made no mention of the game, the players or the homerun, in fact I’m pretty sure that the cotton candy in question caused some sort of temporary memory loss and/or paralysis. Nope, she may not remember that I was the one who took her to her first Cubs game, but she’ll definitely remember that it was I who gave her the best bag of cotton candy EVER. I think that’s something I can live with.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Another UPDATE!

Soooooo..... LBN will be taking a break until the next story is done. Pretty vague right? I know, I know... what will you spend your hours of down time at work reading? Well, you could reintroduce yourself to the blog that will soon be a major motion picture! That is of course whenever Hollywood calls (as a side note, you can't just call "Hollywood" and say "Hey I have a blog, I want you to turn it into a movie). But I was persistant and I had a few perameters that probably hurt my chances. First I thought my "project" would benefit greatly if they could get either David Schwimmer or Clint Eastwood to direct it. I have also put together a list of actors who I thought would be perfect for these roles:

Jim - Steve Guttenburg
Lucy - Seth Green or the girl from Little Miss Sunshine
Ruby - The guy who played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings (Yes, Ruby will be CGI!)
Cath - Mila Jovovich
Jewel Employee - Seth Green or Tobey Maguire or Larry the Cable Guy
Homeless Santa - Ron Pearlman, period!
The No Panty Nanny - Melissa Rivers
The Fly - Cuba Gooding Jr. or Henry Winkler
The Little Blue Men - Bell Biv Devoe
Jim as Joey Fatone - Keeanu Reeves
Pigeon - Elmo voiced by Kathy Griffen
and finally all poop will be played by slightly melted Kit-Kat bars.

As awesome as all this sounds, Hollywood is kinda draggin' their feet, so who knows. The good thing is, if that don't work out, you can all read about my adventures in the soon to be published book "Life Between Naps." That's right, you heard it here first, my blog will be published as soon as I can acquire an agent who can get me a deal....... Blah.

So anyway, I'm around and working hard on a new season of stories with all new experiences and characters. Soon to be memorable characters like: lady at the store, waitress, Doctor, Jehovah witnesses, fat man, woodpecker and the voice of God. Thanks again for all the support. So catch up on all the stories you've missed and I start the new season shortly (probably Monday).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Chore Board

“Jim, get up!!! I have to get ready, and I can’t do that if Ruby continues to stick her arms in the toilet.” Errrrrr… Me no wanna to get up, so sleepy. I bury my head under the pillow and yell to the bathroom, “I want the day off.” After I say this, it hits me…. Is Cath my boss? No way sucka! Ain’t no one is the boss of me, I run this show. If she wants me up so bad, she better ask nicely, she better recognize her place, and she better not-
“Get Up NOW!”
“Okay-Okay, sheesh.” Dammit… she owns me. I mope over to the bathroom grab Ruby and her toilet soaked PJ’s then head for the coffee pot. I get there and… What the? Nothing!? No delicious Kona aroma cutting through last night’s fish dinner, no piping hot wakie-wakie drink, nothing, zip. I have more liquid welling up in my eyes than there is in the pot. I’m devastated.
“You didn’t start the coffee!” I raise my voice just to make sure my Y-chromosome is still working, then I fart. Yup, everything appears to be in order. I decide to test my man powers by staring at the vacant pot and willing it to brew. Meanwhile, Ruby has taken offense to my less than pleasing or shall I say “harsh” morning release and decides to rake her little razor sharp ninja fingernails across my neck, successfully lacerating my adams apple. I begin to feel dizzy.
“I didn’t start it ‘cause we don’t have any filters!” I gasp for breath, this horrible predicament, along with an frantic drop in blood pressure, brings me to my knees. After the white spots disappear, I retain my balance and decide that as the alpha male, it is my duty to invent or at the very least produce a coffee filter.

I put Rubers into her chair and suffocate her tray with Cheerios, then I get to work. Okay, this first thing I need is material. I unravel 3 sheets of Brawny paper towels, cut them down to size, push them into place, grind up the coffee, fill the pot with water, put the hammer away, close the tool box and press brew. Dun-dun-dunnnn, I am awesome!

Ruby and I strut into the living room where Cathy and Lu are watching cartoons. I put Ru on the floor and place my hands on my hips much in the same way superheroes do and announce to the females, “Coffee will be done in a minute.” Then I crack my knuckles… All of them.
“I thought we didn’t have any filters?” Why does she underestimate the power of a man?
“I made one.” She seems unimpressed… I crack my neck.
“I don’t have time Rambo, I gotta go. Remember, you need to call and make a doctor’s appointment for Ruby and clean the bathroom.”
“Yeah-yeah-yeah, I know-I know.” Man, she acts like I don’t know what’s going on around here. It’s Monday, and Monday is bathroom cleaning day, it says so right on the brand new Chore Board she made for me. She doles out the kisses, closes the door and finally vanishes around the corner, not to be seen for another 11 hours.

When I finally get to the kitchen where I expect to pour myself a piping hot cup of coffee, I’m startled to find what looks like a blob of brownish dough oozing from the top of the coffee pot. It was early, but I’m almost certain I put coffee and not cinnamon rolls into the world’s most awesome coffee filter. I then realized it had been about 20 minutes since the brew process was started and there was only about an inch or so of a not quite brown and not quite clear liquid in the pot. I grab a fork for defense and move closer to the doughy mass. After a quick poke to the beast I realize that I wasn’t dealing with a monster, in fact, I was dealing with a way too absorbent super Brawny coffee filter. My ingenious replacement was apparently so awesome it took on a whole 10 cups by itself, and consequentially grew to 50 times its original size! I guess I over compensated for potential tearing and might have added too many layers, but man was it glorious. At this point I had two choices. I could either get the girls dressed and head out for coffee, or I could squeeze the liquid from the freak filter right into my mug.

As I stand there wringing every last drop of “coffee” into my mug, Lucy appears from around the corner to inform me she has peed “a little” on the floor of the bathroom. She then tells me not to worry, because she will wipe it up all by herself. I take a swig of what amounts to be the dullest coffee in the world and head to the bathroom, where I realize that Lucy clearly doesn’t understand the meaning of “a little.”
“What happened?”
“Well, I didn’t do all the pee-pees in the toilet.” I didn’t bother to ask if this “little” puddle was the outcome of getting there too late, or getting off too early, I’m not sure it matters. I put my vaguely flavored coffee water down and assess the situation. I come to the conclusion that this is a positive accident. I’ll clearly have to mop the floor; which was on my list, so essentially I’ll have half of my chores done by 8 am. Lucy drops her sheet of toilet paper down to the ground, it does nothing. I return to the kitchen, grab my “coffee filter” and toss it onto the bathroom floor. Everything is instantly absorbed. Lucy and I both scream when it appears as though this liquid guzzling wad of paper actually makes a move toward the tub. After another quick safety poke, I scoop the 10lb beast onto a shovel and slide him into the trash. A quick scour of the floor, a nice bleachy finish and BAM! One chore down, one to go.

Now I turn all my energy to chore 2: Get Ruby a doctor appointment, aka the 1 year checkup. The quicker this gets completed, the more time I’ll have to take a nap and catch up on all my back episodes of Oprah. Ruby and Lucy are both content in Lucy’s room… I think. So I grab the phone in an attempt to bring the hammer down on my Chore Board.

Disclaimer: All names have been changed to insure our kids will continue to receive health care without retribution.

“Thank you for calling Sunnyside Pediatrics, if you know your parties extension press one now. For all other inquires please hold.” I don’t know my parties extension, so I hold. There is music on the line, but it’s choppy and muffled immediately it begins to irritate me. After 5 minutes of waiting, I can’t take it anymore, I press 1. “You have entered an invalid number, for the company directory press two. For all other inquiries please hold.” I’m sorta confused, how could 1 be invalid if it was the only choice? That stupid music begins to play again. I wait for a minute and decide to press 2. “Thank you for calling Sunnyside Pediatrics, to further assist you please listen to the menu before making your choice. For office hours and address press one. For company directory press two. For billing press three. To make an appointment press four. To speak to an operator press pound. If this is an emergency please hang up and call nine-one-one. Thank you and have a nice day.” The phone makes that clicky hang-up sound and then I hear the dial tone. I press 4, nothing happens. I press 1, 2, 3 and # nothing happens. I hang up the phone take a deep breath and peek into Lucy’s room; she has a sticker caught in her hair… I close the door. I shake it all off and head back to the living room to try again.

“Thank you for calling Sunnyside Pediatrics, if you know your parties extension press one now. For all other inquires please hold.” Cue stupid music. I press 1 immediately. “Please enter your party’s extension followed by pound.” Hmmm…. I have no idea. I decide on 11#. “You have entered an invalid number please re-enter the number followed by pound. For all other inquiries please hold.” At this point, I’m still relatively calm, but now I have to bring in some logic, and logic makes me angry. I figure since 11 was invalid they were either on a single number system, or a double number system higher than 20, but I’m scared it will hang up if I get another extension wrong. I’m also not convinced anyone will answer if I hold. I wait a couple of seconds; I panic and push 27#. “You have entered an invalid number please re-enter the number followed by pound. For all other inquiries please hold.” Mother! I clench my buttocks to refrain from slamming the phone to the floor, I hold, and I hold…. and I hold. Finally, I decide just hang up and start over. But, right before I hang up, in that split second when your thumb is pushing down on the end call button, I hear, “Hello?” I couldn’t stop the force of my thumb and I quickly hear the “click,” then a dial tone. That did it, this sends me into a fury. I run into the kitchen, I have a headache; I grab some coffee beans and begin chewing them. This wonderful idea sends me into a euphoric Hulk-like fury. I slam a glass of milk (which I hate) for no reason whatsoever, take a deep breath, peek into Lucy’s room where she is sitting bare ass except for her Tutu covered with stickers. Ruby is sitting on Lu’s bed clapping and sucking on a sock. Lucy asks me why I’m sweaty; I ask her how Ruby got on the bed? She shrugs her shoulders. I tell her I’ll be right back; I shut the door, stomp down the hall reminding myself to breath. I pick up the phone, and the process begins for the third time!

“Thank you for calling Sunnyside Pediatrics, if you know your parties extension press one now. For all other inquires please hold.” Immediately the music starts and it send me to a place I’ve never been. I start drooling and frothing at the mouth. My heart is beating so hard I begin to hyperventilate. I wanna slam the phone through the wall; instead I just squeeze it really really hard. I’m scared to do anything but wait. I begin to pace like a crazed dog. I take my frustration out by pummeling our defenseless couch. Seconds turn to minutes. I’m about to hang up and call 911, and tell them that “it is about to go down at Sunnyside Pediatrics,” but in order to get an address I have to push a completely nonsensical and confusing strain of numbers, which I can’t do right now! Ahhhhh….. I start to rehash the calls wondering if there was something I missed, some secret code that links you right to a human. I go over the sequences aloud when I realize that I’m beginning to sound like Rain Man, I crack. I can’t make heads or tails of anything. It’s been 8 minutes and I’m 20 seconds from ending up a crazy self-conversating homeless guy. Then just as the tears begin to fall I hear a click, a ring and finally a voice.
“Hello Thank you for calling Sunny Side Pediatrics, my name is Julie how can I assist you.” I’m almost to choked up to talk. I clear my throat.
“I need to make a one year appointment for my daughter Ruby with Dr. Elms.” Sniff-sniff.
“She gives me the date and time. I don’t even bother to check the calendar.”
“Is there anything else I can do for you today?” Here’s my chance…
“As a matter of fact, you can. I would like to make a complaint to whoever set up your infuriating phone system. I was on the phone-”
“Okay sir; please hold while I connect you to the appropriate extension.”
“No wait. No don’t! Please God no! Please! You won’t like me when I’m angry! Errr…Nooooo……. Errrrr….” The music starts, that’s the last thing I remember.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Deuce Lip Kiss

It was an unsolicited response to a question that was never asked. I was simply sitting in my chair, drinking coffee and praying that an asteroid would obliterate the satellite that was currently beaming the kid show Hi-5 into our TV, when Lucy announced a very odd statement… “Actually dad, I just have poop on my thumb.”

My eyebrow goes up and my coffee goes down, I grab the remote and mute the TV. I’m almost positive Lucy just yelled out that she had poop on her thumb. It was still pretty early in the morning and the two things I hate to hear before I finish breakfast are… “Daddy, Ruby is drinking out of the toilet again,” and the ever so pleasant, “Daddy! I have poop on (insert body part, appliance or Ruby here).” I don’t immediately move, I never do. What I once considered an emergency, has now become so frequent, it’ll take no less than a gunshot, to get me moving. I stare down the hall and wait for some sort of confirmation. After a few seconds, Lucy emerged from the bathroom butt naked with her thumb in the air, a gesture that unfortunately validates her ridiculous statement. Seriously? This is how we’re gonna start the day?

“Actually dad, I just have some poop on my thumb.” She repeated the absurd sounding words again, but then she followed it up with, “But don’t worry, I wiped it off.” I believe this was her attempt at defusing the situation. I think, she thinks, that she was taking responsibility for her actions, but let’s be honest here, she’s three! Unless she secretly had Mr. Belvedere in there wiping the “poop” off of her thumb, I was now a little bit more than worried.

“What do you mean ‘you wiped’ it off?”
“Well, that means that I took it off my thumb.” I wonder as she explains the word “wiped” to me, what it was that I must have done to make her think I’m an idiot? Of course she might just be patronizing me, in any case she’s stalling…. I still haven’t moved.
“I understand you took it off of your thumb. I want to know how?” This question was gonna be the meat and potatoes of the conversation. I was either gonna commend her on being such a responsible and intelligent little girl, or I was gonna have to get out of my chair. “I wiped it on the bath towel.” And I was up.

As I walked down the hallway I shook my head knowing full well that we have two different colored towels in our house. We have white, and we have off-white. I enter the bathroom. Lucy is standing on the yellow bath mat, her hands are clasped together in front of her…she seems pleased. After a quick survey of the situation, I came to the conclusion that either I must have just missed a C.S.I Team, or The Seven Dwarfs stopped here after mining excursion. There hanging behind the door was an off-white towel with 15-20 little brown fingerprints smudged all over it.

“I thought you said you had poop on your thumb?” I’m still not sure exactly how the poop came to rest upon little Lucy’s thumb. But based solely on the amount of fecal matter imbedded into the towel, I could only assume that she was unfortunately standing behind a buffalo when it sharted and sneezed at the same time.
“Lu, how in the world did you get poop on your thumb?”
“I was trying to be a big girl and wipe all by myself.” Trying was the key word here, as it appeared she gave it several attempts.
“Okay fine, but why did you wipe it on the towel?”
“Because I didn’t want the poopie on my thumb.” There wasn’t much I could fault her for there. I cleaned her up, got her dressed and then did a load of off-whites.

9 ½ hours later….

“Lu, finish your porkchop.”
“Lu! Don’t give that to Ruby, she doesn’t have teeth!”
I pick up the phone…“Yeah?”
“Errrr, how many times do I have to tell you, I hate when you answer the phone like that!”
“What? You’re calling to ask me something aren’t you? I’m just skipping over all of the unnecessary pleasantries and allowing you to get right to the heart of the call. If you think about it, I’m actually doing you a favor.” Although my argument makes perfect sense, she is not amused.
“It’s just rude, maybe I just want to talk, or hear about your day a little. Is that too much to ask?”
“Fine, I’ll try to say ‘hello’ and be more pleasant. Anyway… why did you call? What do you need?”
“Do you guys want to meet me at the train?” I take into consideration everything that has to be done before we leave the house in order for an event like this to happen. Both girls are fed and Ruby has been bathed, this shouldn’t be a problem.
“Okay, call us when you get to Addison, then we’ll start walking.”

20 minutes later…

“Daddy I gotta go poopie.”
“I’m changing Ruby, I’ll be there when I’m done.”
I pick up the phone, “Yeah?”
“You did it again!” I seriously can’t help it. “I just left Addison.”
“Okay” I hang up the phone, grab Ru and head to the bathroom. I walk in and Lucy is standing in front of the toilet.
“Did you go potty?”
“Did you wipe?”
“No.” Considering the days previous event, I could totally understand why she wouldn’t want to wipe. What I couldn’t understand was why she wouldn’t wait for help. She had her pants pulled up! I check to make sure… yup, there was definitely some deuce in her pants. We hurry up and do a quick change of clothes, before scurrying out the door.

We were one block into our walk when Lucy stopped me and said, “Daddy, I promise I will never have poopie on my lip again.” Clearly there is some confusion of body parts, there is no way she has poop on her lip. I bend down, and upon further examination, I spot a smear of poop right between her nose and her upper lip. I don’t ask how it got there, quite frankly, I don’t want to know. I grab a napkin that was on the bottom of the stroller and wipe the residue off of her lip. We weren’t about to turn around now, I have too much invested into this walk.

A block later we meet up with Cathy. Lucy runs at her full speed, jumps into her arms and kisses her all over the face. “Hello.” I say to Cathy, how was your day.” She seemed pleased by my greeting and began to tell us about her day. Cathy smiles as Lucy continued to snuggle and grace her with a bunch of excited wet kisses. We were the perfect family. Finally, Cathy asked Lucy how her day was. Lucy responded with the typical fare…park, playing, lunch, dinner, naps and cartoons. Then she said, “Mommy I promise I will never have poop on my lip again.” Cathy looks startled by this odd promise.
“When did she have poopie on her lip?” She asked.
“Ohhh, a few minutes ago. Don’t ask me how or why, I don’t know. We’ve had quite a day but she told me she will never have it on her lip again. I sorta wiped it off and that was that.”
“I kissed her on the lips!” She seemed pretty upset by this. “Why didn’t you tell me, she had poop on her lip before I let her kiss me?”
“Well I was gonna, but I didn’t want to be rude. I wanted to find out about all the pleasantries of your day.”
I spent that night on the couch. Cathy is currently seeking revenge.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Worst Game Ever!

Seriously!? Ruby only has one diaper left? ARGHHHH! I hate going solo to the store with the girls; bad things always happen… very bad things. For a minute I try to mathematically figure out if this diaper will last the whole day. If it did, then I can go to Target when Cathy gets home. So let’s see, it’s 9:30 right now, and Cathy will get home around 6:30. SOOoooo, that’s 9 hours divided by an average of 5 diaper changes, times the amount of diapers in stock (1 on and 1 off) and that equals…. negligence. Oh wait, what if I carry the remainder of X and….. Damn, it still equals negligence. I quickly search over the house for spare diapers. For some reason I assume that Cathy has been stocking up on provisions for a possible nuclear war, and in a last ditch effort I check under the sink. Alas, there were none to be found. Crap! We’re going to Target.

After the realization sets in, I now have to actually prepare for the trip. Anytime I leave the house with the girls, there are 3 basic steps I have to follow. I have to get girls dressed, load the diaper bag and finally, get wallet, keys and coupons. All this now has to be done before Ruby goes through 2 diapers. From start to finish I’d say we have 2 hours…Shall we?

Step 1

“Lu get your shoes on. I don’t care which ones, we gotta get moving.” I learned that when you give her a choice, she’s more likely to do what she’s told.
“Frog boots okay DaDa?”
“Yup. Frog boot are good.” Perfect, one down one to go.
Ruby was a breeze, she’s at my mercy. Blue onesie, orange pants, green socks… I take a step back and look at my creation… good god, she looks like the Joker! ….. Ah well.
“How do I look Daddy?” Lucy enters the room. She’s wearing a tiara, a T-shirt so small I could see her heart beating, jean shorts which I’m sure were actually full length at one time, a brown corduroy skirt with knitted flowers around the waist, pink sunglasses and of course her green frog boots. For a split second I wondered if Tim Burton had dressed her, “You look like a princess, honey (a crazy princess!), let’s go.”

Step 2

Extra onesie
Squeaky toys
Jar of baby food in case of nuclear war
Little rubber tipped spoon and….
The last diaper in the house

Step 3

Coupons: Need it, need it, don’t need it, kinda wanna try it, we can always use toilet paper, no, no, no… good. Next I shove all these coupons in my pocket where they will stay for the duration of the trip. When I get back home, I’ll empty out my pockets and there they’ll be… the coupons. I don’t even know why I cut them out; I forget to use them every time. Next, I grab my wallet and my keys. My wallet and…. my keys. My wallet and my… where the hell are my keys? They’re almost always in the same place. I check the bowl by the coffee pot, the bowl by the phone, the bowl on the dresser. I check the kitchen table, yesterday’s pants pockets, today’s pants pockets and finally the key holes in both the front and back doors, nothing. I stop, scratch my head and then resign myself to make the forehead skin scrunching face of confusion. Where are they?

“Lu, have you seen my keys?”
“Umm yes.” Cool, for a minute I thought I lost them. Keys are the fourth scariest thing to lose, right behind your wallet, your car and your kids (We’ll get to this on a later date).
“Great, can you get them for me?”
“Actually.” Uh-oh. For the past two weeks the word “actually” has found its way into Lucy’s vocabulary, and it is usually a precursor to an ominous change in the conversation.
“Actually what?”
“Actually, I took them.” Immediately I knew where this was leading. Along with her knew found love of the word “actually,” she had also learned and became quite proficient at hiding things for the sport. She did this once with her beloved “Yucky Duck.” This little game took a week to play mainly because immediately after she hid it, she immediately forgot where she hid it. I stare straight into her beady little eyes. She matches my stare, then cocks an eyebrow and grins. No wait, it was more like an evil smile… yeah, an evil slimy little smile. I knew that if I spooked her in any way, I’d shock the location of those keys right out of her head. Time was not on my side. Ruby was in the corner chewing on a potato. Not a piece of potato, a whole potato. She physically opened the cabinet, grabbed a spud and was now gumming it like a savage animal. The air is still void of poo, but it won’t be long before the storm arrives… no it won’t be long at all.

“Lu, we need the keys to go to the store. I'm not mad. This was a fun game, and you’re the best hider in the world. Do you remember where you put my keys?” She’s silent. I offer her a cookie as a token of good faith. She never gets sweets at home, it’s eaten before it leaves my hand.
“Thanks Da.” I repeat the question again; she wipes the crumbs off her face and looks up at me with these big ole doe eyes. Oh no, no no no… don’t say it. Don’t!
“I think I can’t remember.” Son-of-a….. I knew it! It was the cookie. The sweet sugar of the cookie caused an influx in memory eating cells. The only thing she can think of is that stupid cookie.
“That was a good cookie.” Ahhhhh. Were never gonna find the keys. The “plan B” I had, was to trot down to Walgreens and spend 4x the fair market value for Pampers, but it is absolutely pouring out. Ruby has gnawed the potato into a wet sticky paste, as a matter of fact, I’m sure she has physically glued herself to the dining room floor. If I don’t move her before the potato paste dries, I’m gonna need a chisel. I start the questioning, “Where was the last place you had them?” She looks puzzled by this question. She also looks puzzled after several other questions, like: "Why did you take them?" "Are they in your room?" "Did Daddy Do Something Wrong?" And many many more…

I search the entire house. Lucy follows close behind just in case she gets a feeling. Ruby has now become a human fly trap, there are at least 12 things plastered to her, including a spoon to the back of her neck. Every time Lucy thinks she remembers where she hid them, we end up finding something we thought was lost forever. Treasures which include my phone charger, I-pod earphones and a Dido CD. After about 30 minutes, I give up. I grab Ruby who has been unwillingly motionless for the last 15 minutes, and change the diaper I’m sure she filled when she realized she couldn’t detach her ear from her shoulder. Crap! Now we're gonna have to go to Walgreens. I was not at all thrilled about this. It was still pouring, and now I’ll be in towing 2 kids through Chicago's first monsoon. I put in the Dido CD to take the edge off.

Ruby looked like a little frankfurter stuffed in her stroller which was covered by a clear vinyl tarp. Lucy was wearing all the same accoutrements, only they were now covered by a ladybug rain coat. Of course Cathy had taken my umbrella and I don’t have anything close to being appropriate for a category 3 storm. I'm wearing flip-flops that flipped and flopped mud streaks straight up my back, shorts that continue to get tighter as they get wetter and an ill fitting tan colored shirt, which when wet shows off my man nipples perfectly. We look like we just moved here from Mars!

We finally get to Walgreens, locate the gold plated diapers (they were $10 more than Target, and half the size) stuff them inside of Ruby’s vinyl sanctuary, which was completely fogged over and is dangerously close to becoming a rain forest on wheels. I unzip the air vent and a whoosh of steam fills the air and wilts everything on the magazine rack. We pay and head home. Unbelievably, it’s raining harder. My phone rings, I look down, it’s Cath. I pull the stroller over under a store front canopy.

“I hate when you answer the phone like that.” This little exchange happens every time she calls. “I just wanted to tell you that when I got to work I noticed that I had your keys in my purse.” I looked at Lucy who was stomping in a puddle.
“Lucy said she hid them. I spent half of the morning searching the house, all I found was a charger, some earphones and a Dido CD.”
“You found Dido?”
“I know right!” I finish the conversation and hang up the phone, at this point I’m sure I’m about to be struck by lightning. I pull Lu next to me.
“Lu, do you think you hid daddy’s keys in mommy’s purse?
“Oh yeah! You did it daddy, you found the keys, good job, give me five.” I gave her five, and watched as she jumps around singing “You did it, you did it, you’re the winner!” I wasn’t sure how to react, she was happy and hell,I was a “winner.”
“Lu, why did you put the keys in mommy’s purse?
“I think so you wouldn’t find them.”
“Well I didn’t find them, mommy did. She found them when she got to work.”
“Mommy found them?
“Yeah, I couldn't really find them, since they were at mommy’s work and not actually in the house.”
“Well you said you found them, did you fib?” Hmm…. where is this going?
“Technically, your mom found them, so I guess I fibbed.” I have no idea why I’m having this conversation.
“Well daddy… I think if mommy found them, then she is the winner.” Now I’m sure I know where this is going. “I guess you’re the loser, right?” I take a quick look around. I’m soaked to the bone, my nipples are chafed and my 3 year old has just got me to admit to a fib. I couldn’t find any fault in her assessment. After a second I give her what she needs…
“Yup, that appears to be the case.”

Thursday, August 13, 2009

From Lucy's Lips II

“DAD! DADDY! Come here, I need you to look at this.” Lucy was on the back porch, she had been there for about 20 minutes. She has demonstrated on many occasions that she can sit back there and occupy herself for hours, so when she woke up from her nap that afternoon and decided she needed to draw and color; I left her to do just that. I was in no hurry really. She yells for me all the time, I didn’t sense any abnormal inflections or patterns of speech that would cause me to jump up from my comfy chair and race to the back porch. It will take a lot more than that to get me moving.

Again she yells, “Daddy! Daddy! Come here. I really need you to look at this.” I am going to get up eventually to see what she drew; I’ll just do it at my leisure. And then she yelled again. This time she added a few words. One in particular, confused me.

“Daddy! Come here I really really need you to look at this. I drew a HUGE erection.” There was a brief pause in which I peeked my head around the corner and squinted my eyes the way people do when they are unclear of something. My initial thought was… Did she just say she had drawn an “erection?” I must have gone over the order of that particular strain of words 100 times, in less than a second. She was standing in front of her easel with her hands on her hips and a smile on her face. I waited for her to clarify herself… “Daddy look! My erection is so beautiful.” Okay, that did the trick. I was out of my comfy seat and in a very concerned and confused state; I rushed to the back porch.

My heart is pounding as I turn to look at this “beautiful erection” she has so proudly displayed on her easel. I open my eyes. I’m staring at this blue thing, with a bunch of red and orange lines coming out of the top.

“Isn’t my volcano great? Look at the pretty erection it has.”
I breathe a sigh of relief and relax… “It’s an eruption Lu. The volcano is having an eruption.”
“Oh, okay… eruption. Isn’t it beautiful?”
After I wiped the sweat off my forehead, I looked down and said,“Well, it is now.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Hey Everyone!
This is just a quick update about what’s going on here at LBN. Wednesday morning I was asked to come down to Vocalo 89.5FM and talk on air about….well about the blog, me, my life all that stuff I tell you about every week. It was awesome. Everyone was really cool and excited to have me there. As of right now they haven’t archived the interview so unfortunately if you missed it you’ll have to wait until I’ll be able to link it to LBN.

Overall, I think the interview went really well, in fact Lucy said I sounded like a robot, so that’s cool. There is a good chance that I will be working with Vocalo again in the near future, I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated. So, now that that’s all said, I really want to thank all of my friends, family, followers and readers for getting me this far. My stories would not be getting the exposure they’re getting if it weren’t for all of you. As I’ve said a million times before, if you know someone who you think might like my stories, please let them know about Life Between Naps. You can do this in any number of ways, such as… email, phone, reposting on FB, twitter, telegraph, Morse, smoke signal, indecipherable whale talking, Pig Latin, secret password w/ accompanying secret handshake, blinking lights, horn blowing, sky writing, courier pigeon (oooo..shutter), brail paper airplanes I can go on and on, but you got it.

Anyway thanks again, I think with all of your help something positive (perhaps a job writing) will materialize and that’s all I want.


p.s. I also want a bigger car, a house, a LBN board game and action figures(w/Kung-Fu grip), to be the King of Norway, a toboggan, an endless supply of Dr. Pepper, definitive answers at the end of Lost and last but not least a W for the Detroit Lions.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dirty Bird

That particular Tuesday morning started like any other. We got up, went to the farmers market and purchased a sweet treat at our favorite Lincoln Square bakery, Café Selmarie. The similarities ended when a nice elderly woman asked which one of the kids playing in the Square was mine. I looked up gazed over the grounds and then pointed to the girl in the pink skirt running at me with a pigeon in her hand.

I stared in awe. Quite frankly, even when I’m completely convinced I’ll never be shocked by Lucy’s antics; there she is holding a flailing, terrified pigeon by its wing. I watch this situation unfold like some morbid slow-motion war scene. Women were grabbing their children and diving into bushes. Nannies were left screaming alone in horror as their over painted faces left black tears falling from their eyes. Coffee cups and quiches were overturned as restaurant patrons ducked under their tables. I half expected Lucy to pull out a flamethrower and char every last one of us. I look back to the kind old lady; there was nothing left but a plume of smoke and a trailing scent of junipers as she darted to safety.

This was all my fault... I forget that 99% of the time my sarcastically clever and whimsically eye rolling remarks are lost on my impressionable little girls. However, there is that 1% that she does get, it's moments like this, that I'm really scared of. This is a tale of that 1%. A few weeks ago, on a day very much like the one mentioned above, Lucy picked up a feather...

“Daddy look! A feather!” Before I continue, I must first emphasize how much I hate pigeons. They are in fact the vile, evil, cooing disciples of Satan. They are the homeless Hobo’s of flight, the winged white trash, the blue feathered menace to society. I can go on and on about my distain for that foul flying rat with wings, and how they’ve tortured me, but we don’t have the time. Before I continue some more, I also want to say something to Billy Wayne James and his litter of denim-wearing, mullet- sporting, tobacco-spitting, shotgun-toting, banjo-plucking offspring before they pull up to my house demanding an apology to the “white trash” people I may have offended. This is not a personal insult, I’m not saying that I detest you, or am I insinuating that the so-called “white trash” folk are directly connected to Satan in any way, as a matter of fact, I’d go as far as saying I’m 1/8 white trash and I have no problem with you whatsoever... but that all changes the day one of you decides it would be funny to defecate on my head. I hate pigeons!

“Lucy, put that feather down!” Just looking at it made my skin crawl.
“Why?” She screamed, “It’s beautiful.”
“It’s not beautiful it’s disgusting and full of germs. If you don’t drop it we’re gonna have to go home and shave your head.” She drops it immediately.
“Where was that feather from?”
“It’s a pigeon feather. We don’t pick up pigeon feathers. They are very dirty and very disgusting. We just don’t... Ugh, we just don’t go picking up feathers.” I stopped the stroller and began to forage through the diaper bag for some of that hand sanitizer paranoid people such as myself always have on them.
“I can’t pick up any feathers?” Awe, she seemed genuinely sad at this thought.
“Ummm... fine you can pick up eagle feathers.” Ohhh yeah, that’s right an eagle: A majestic creature born to bear the weight of a nation on its wings. A flying symbol of freedom, a guardian of independence, a bird of strength beckoned to soar over the land, circle the heavens, and protect us from terrorists. Man, what I wouldn’t give to make a coat lined with the feathers of freedom. Oh I can just imagine the adventures Lucy and I would have hunting this peacefully iconic creature. We would steal a harpoon made from the hands of a great Cherokee Chief, and spear the bird mid-flight. Then we’d take him home and stuff him with two dollar bills, run some wire through a hole I drilled in its head, screw a light bulb into its skull and top it with an amazing hand painted red, white and blue lamp shade that we bought on sale at Walmart. Now that’s a bird, that’s America! A pigeon ain’t got nuttin on that!

“Where are the eagles?” Lucy said this to me in a tone that implied that I don’t know what in the hell I’m talkin’ about.
“Colorado.” I said this even before she can finish her question. The quicker you answer, the smarter you sound, especially to a 3 year old.
“Are we going to Colorado?”
“Hmmmm... Well then, what if we clean the pigeons, then they won’t be so dirty, then I can have a feather. Okay?” I like that she’s trying, she’s so naïve. She thinks that all you have to do is clean something as foul as a pigeon and viola, it’s suddenly acceptable. Well, that might have worked for Patrick Dempsey in the 1987 hit comedy Can’t Buy Me Love, but I have yet to find a pigeon that has anything on McDreamy. I’ll humor her anyway.
“Well Lucy, where are we gonna wash them?”
“In the tub. I’ll hold them by their wings, and you could wash them with soap.”
“Them? How many is ‘them?’” I looked down at her. She makes me smile. We are having this conversation, as absurd as it might be. She’s answering my questions, she’s thinking about her words, her next step. She really wants to clean the pigeons… it’s fascinating.
“I guess we can start with six.”
“Fine, how are you gonna catch them?” This stumps her; we walk the last block in silence.

I unloaded the fruit from the market onto the porch, as I go to unbuckle Ruby from the stroller Lucy yelled out, “With a net! I can catch them with a net! Daddy I can catch the pigeons with a net.” She’s so excited about this answer and in an odd way I’m proud of her determination. But alas, I’m the voice of reason and it is my duty to distribute the reality checks…. “You don’t have a net.”
“Oh.” She replied with her head drooped down. She was devastated; I thought this was the end. It took her a whole block to think of a net, and I took 2 seconds to crush her dreams of a pigeon spa. I almost felt bad for her.
“Will you buy me a net?” She knew what my answer was gonna be, how could she not? She’s out of ideas and this pigeon nonsense was finally coming to an end. I went for the kill.

“No.” It was done, I had broken her, and she was down for the count. The dirty birds would remain dirty. I would now focus my energy on a family trip to Colorado. Then just before the count reached 10 she was back on her feet and she was throwing her final punch. She said it like she knew I wouldn’t take her serious. Her exact words were, “If you won’t buy me a net, I’ll have to catch one with my own hands.” I scoffed at the audacity, so much so, I said, “Fine. I dare you to catch one with your bare hands. You won’t come close, they’re too elusive (I don’t define this for her, and she doesn’t care). You can try, but it won’t happen. It won’t happen….
Of course, we now know that it does happen. I don’t know how she did it, she said, she just went over and picked him up… I doubt it. I’m sure it involved some sort of ritualistic dance, a voodoo curse and witches potion. Or perhaps, this was a calculated mission strung together over the course of 3 weeks. She plotted, spotted and looked for the weakest one. She got closer and closer each week until finally she struck. Like a lion preying on the injured wildebeest, Lucy captured her victim… effectively calling me out.

“Daddy, look what I got? You said I…” She didn’t even finish her thought when this pigeon, her beautifully feathered hostage unloaded what appeared to be a weeks’ worth of black and white all over her pretty red Crocs. Her jaw dropped and she stood there silently screaming for the next couple seconds. Lucy released the bird and it hobbled toward a bench. The crowd that had dispersed so quickly was now slowly returning to the Square. I grabbed the sanitizer and wiped her foot. The sounds of laughter and the clinking of silverware began to fill the air and for most of the people, the day resumed.

We walked home in silence. A silence that suggested that pigeons and their feathers would no longer be a topic of discussion, a silence that confirmed the filth and debauchery of the beast, a silence that upheld the notion that I was absolutely right. For now, at least in Lucy’s case, reality is no longer the prospect of bathing a pigeon; reality is in fact the bath she had to take after that very same pigeon crapped on her foot. I think that says a lot.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

From Lucy's Lips

So I decided my blog needed some consistency. Something easy I could write about, you know nothing huge, just something I didn't have to think about. The list of ideas for this weekly post soon became overwhelming. How was I gonna narrow down a list that included such topics as: Food, The Auto Industry, Movies that would have been much better if Steve Guttenburg were cast as the lead (Demolition Man, The Fast and The Furious and Pearl Harbor to name a few), How to lose weight blogging and The Benefits of Bubble Baths "A Man's Escape." Yup, these were all worthy ideas, but it wasn't until 6:30 this morning that I finally came to a decision.

Cathy was getting ready for work, I was still lounging in the bed holding onto my last precious moment of sleep when Lucy crawled up next to me. She patted me on the head, said good morning and followed it up with this brutally honest exchange:

"Umm daddy, I have to get off the bed... fast."
"My belly is hurting, really bad."
"From what?"
"Ummm daddy, I think your breath is making my belly feel bad. It kinda smells like tooters."
"I doubt it smells like tooters." Although, I didn't doubt it had a tang to it.
"Daddy I don't want any hugs, I wanna get down. Your breath is hurting my feelings and my belly. How about you just stay in bed by yourself?" So there I laid alone in bed for the next 5 minutes breathing into my hand and smelling the return. I still didn't think it smelled like "tooters," but I did get a little bit dizzy.

There it was, my new weekly column, staring right into my tooter-smelling breath. It was honest, frequent and it simple. More importantly it was unpredictable, 'cause one can never tell what words will be said when they fly From Lucy's Lips.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Cool & Joey Fatone

This has been rewritten and edited for your viewing pleasure. It can be found in the soon to be released book Life Between Naps. Link and info coming November 2015.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I didn’t have the funny done this week, sorry. So I decided to just write. I don’t think this particular story will go into the memoirs that someone will eventually pay me to write, but it is an interesting story none the less. Lucy, Ruby and I have big plans for the next post. Anyway, the following story takes place over the course of about 2 months. The most recent these incidents occurred about a week ago. I think it’s interesting. I think it’s weird, and I don’t have an answer. As always feel free to leave comments or emails, I’m interested to see if any of you have had something unexplainable happen. Without further adieu, I give you the first of a non sequential, positively true and currently unexplainable mystery in the trilogy Parentnormal.

Little Blue Men

6 a.m. never feels right, it’s always disappointing. I can’t think of one single moment in my life where waking up that early was a positive or for that matter productive. In fact, unless you told me that was the optimal time to go for a swim in the magical-milk chocolate-money-river, there is absolutely nothing at all good about 6 a.m. Lately, this… this God awful morning hour has became the new 8, which used to be the old 6, and well let’s just say my days are beginning earlier and earlier. Then without warning, something happened, and our household took another hit to our erratic sleep patterns.

I open my eyes, its dark. I remember it being hot that night. I rub my hands across my chest, I was covered in sweat. I wait a few seconds for the silence to sustain the room, and then once again I let my eyelids meet halfway. I doze back to sleep… “Daddy? Daddy? I need you.” Suddenly I opened my eyes again, but this time I sat up. Was that Lu? I look over at Cath, she’s still asleep. The laser green numbers on the digital alarm clock are blinking 2:00… 2:00… 2:00. Why am I up? “Daddy? Daddy? I need you.” She sounded so far away. Her voice was so little, it was almost a whisper, but she was definitely calling for me.

To this day, Lucy does not get out of her bed unless we get her. She’ll scream she has to go potty and when we open the door, there she is, waiting in her bed. Even at nap time, she doesn’t leave; not to play, dance or do those general mischievous things kids like to do when no one is watching them. She just sits in her little sleep station, waiting for us to open the door. I say this because when I opened the door sometime after 2 a.m. that night, Lucy was not in her bed.

I opened the door, her red nightlight which usually brightens the room, was a bit duller. I noticed it was off of the charger. Battery must be going dead. I look over to the bed, it was empty. Her blanket was half on the floor. I’m confused. Where is she? Didn’t she call me? Am I asleep? Then I look towards the closet, there she is. She was standing next to herself. At least that’s what it looked like. The door has a mirror on it, her reflection; she’s standing next to her reflection.

“Lu?” I don’t know why I was whispering. Maybe I didn’t want to startle her. She was looking at me. She was definitely awake, but she didn’t answer. Then she looked at me, “Daddy? I’m scared.” I kneel down on the rug and motion her closer to me. “Hey sweetie, what’s going on? How come you’re not in your bed?” It was quite. I heard Cathy roll over from across the hall. Lucy was dripping with sweat. Her hair was matted to her shiny forehead; I pushed it away and tucked it behind her ear.
“Lu, did you have a bad dream?”
“Daddy I want to sleep in bed with you and mommy.”
“I think you just had a bad dream. Why don’t you get back in your bed? I’ll get you some cold water.” Lucy sat at the end of her bed and waited for me to return with her drink. I hand her the glass, within seconds it is empty. I set her nightlight back onto the charger and the red, reddens. I lean down and kiss her on the head. She asks me to cover her up, I do. Then I tell her that she just needs to close her eyes and go back to sleep. I tell her that her bad dream was over. I tell her to stay in her bed.

“Daddy, I don’t want the little blue guys to come back through the window.” I tilt my ear to her, and then lower my face close to hers.
“What little blue men?”
“The little blue men that come through my window.” She says this like, I know what she’s talking about. Like I’ve seen them before.
“There are no little blue men coming through your window. You were having a dream; it just was a very real dream. No one has ever come through your window.” I can tell she’s not buying it. She doesn’t look the least bit convinced of my theory.
“But they come through my window every time I go night-night. They come and they hide.” I tilt my head again. Now, I’m not so convinced of my theory. I scramble to think of something soothing to say. The back of my knees are dripping with sweat. Cathy asked me a few weeks ago to put the window units in. I didn’t, but I should have. I’ll do it tomorrow, I tell myself. But I won’t. I won’t put them in at all.
“What do you mean they come in every time?”
“They always come back when I sleep.” It’s too late for this conversation, it’s too hot. She’s imagining them. There are no little blue men, because they don’t exist. She’s overly tired, I can tell. I stand up and her eyes close down. Little blue men, huh? I begin to walk back out of her room. Then I turn toward the window and stare. The curtain looks weird, it’s disheveled. I look down at Lu; I have to check the window… for her sake. I examine the window closely. It’s shut, it’s locked and there are no signs of little blue men.

I walk across the hall and ooze back into bed. I think about an air conditioner, it would feel nice. This makes me laugh. Cathy rolls back over, I must have awoken her.

“Where were you?” She asks.
“I was checking on Lu, I think she was having a nightmare.”
“What time is it?”
“Sometime after two a.m. The power went out. The clock isn’t working.”
“Was there a storm?” This caught me off guard. Was there a storm? That would make sense. A storm clipped the power. I didn’t smell the rain, and our window was open. Surely I would have smelled the rain. I get up and walk to the kitchen. I pull a box of orange juice from the fridge. I unscrew the top, then I look out into the back yard… It’s dry. I wipe a few drips of juice from my chin onto the back of my hand. I take another drink and put the box back into the fridge. For a second, I’m cool. The fridge is humming. It sounds angry. I close the door, and grab my phone, its 3:23. I head back to bed. On the way, I peek my head into Lucy’s room. To my surprise she was looking right at me. I open the door a little wider and motion her with my head to follow. I put her next to Cathy. I set the clock. She’s asleep instantly.

By the next morning, the house had cooled down considerably. Lucy, Ruby and Cathy were in the kitchen getting breakfast. I was staring at 6 a.m. Damn it’s early. I shake off the fog, and follow the scent of coffee. Two cream, 2 sugar. Cathy kisses me on the forehead and asked how Lucy got in the bed with us. She doesn’t remember?

“Remember? She had a bad dream.” She nods her head back and forth. I sip my coffee, it’s hot. Later, while Lu and I were on the couch and Ruby scrounged the floor for Cheerios, I waited for my coffee to give me life. I hate the cartoon were watching, I’m sure we’ve seen this a million times.
“Lu, are you watching this? Can I watch the news?”
“Sure you can. You’re the best dad who makes the best oatmeal.”
“Thanks.” Soon she’ll know the difference between instant and homemade, but for know I take the accolades.
“Daddy. Remember when you came into my room last night?” I turned towards her; she stretched her arm out and patted me on the head. She does this a lot.
“That was nice, when you let me sleep in your bed. I just don’t like it when the little blue men come into my room.” I understood. She felt safe with me, I like that. She knows I’ll protect her. I’m her dad, that’s the innate part of my job. So she had a bad dream, she’s a kid, who in panic, couldn’t separate fantasy from reality.
“Don’t worry about that stuff, it’ll be fine, daddy scared the little blue men away.” She smiled. I smiled, and after that everything was fine. We slept sound, for weeks. Lucy continued to stay in her bed and I never gave that particular incident another thought. Then last week, I woke up. The numbers on the clock read 2:30, although it felt later. I was thirsty so I made my way to the kitchen, and unscrewed the top of the orange juice. I wiped my chin with the back of my hand, then start to walk back to bed. As I neared Lucy’s door I heard a sound. I opened the door and peek my head in. Sure enough, she was sitting on the edge of her bed, almost as if she knew I was coming.
“Daddy.” She whispered. “The blue men are here.”

There have been a total of four separate “Blue Man” incidents since that night when the power went out. I’ve never seen or heard from any of these blue men. But, I’ve been told by Lu, that they float through the window, even when it’s closed. In ten years at this house I’ve never felt or seen anything that would allow me to believe that it is haunted in any way. This is more likely a scenario pulled from the head of an overly imaginative three year old, but then again, what if it isn’t? (cue awesome freaky music here)…….