Thursday, August 5, 2010

An Agument for Nice Things

“Why do you have to argue with me?” Yes!!!!! The fact she’s suggesting we’re currently engaged in a verbal joust of right and wrong should be all the information she needs to swallow her pride and walk away, but it’s too late…

My eyes widen. Like a lion whose spotted a three-legged gazelle, my mouth begins to sweat. My heartbeat… Boom-boom, boom-boom, boom-boom begins to speed up. A euphoric release of adrenaline has started to speed up my breathing and numb my extremities. Sweet Jesus, it’s exhilarating!

It was a grievous error on her part and she knows it. I tilt my head back ever so slightly; just enough to open up my nasal cavity and allow the salty smell of fear to penetrate my innards. She’s anxious. Her eyes have begun to wildly shift back and forth. She’s plotting moves, gathering information, calculating, waiting and wondering when it will begin. Just above her brow, dewy beads of perspiration begin to form and her knuckles whiten as she slowly squeezes the life from the shopping cart. The tension is palpable. She waits…

You see, I don’t lose arguments, not to her. That’s not to say that I’m right all the time, ‘cause I’m not. In fact, I’m mostly wrong… about everything (nocturnal land-walking cannibal mermaids). But - - over the course of 10 years, I have generated an unprecedented number of quality wins, against a worthy adversary who at times, seems more concerned with humiliating her husband than she is with the facts. Bottom line: I refuse to set foot in ANY argument, unless I’m absolutely, positively, one-hundred percent sure I can win. She knows this, yet she continues to test my knowledge, common sense and reason. Though notoriously wrong, she’ll never concede. Instead, she’ll erroneously poke and prod until the argument in question, is ultimately settled by an unbiased third party, or Google. Nothing, and I mean nothing would please her more than a win; a solid no-doubt-about-it bona-fied victory. She’s out to destroy my reign of righteousness, end my streak of arrogance and adorn her head with the Crown of Never Wrong.

I take a deep breath in, lick my chops and pause. Something doesn’t feel right. This is different. As much as I want this victory, I’m not sure this is a winnable argument. Hell, I’m not sure it’s an argument at all. We’re defiantly in disagreement and it’s obvious that I’m right, but there’s no google-bility. Am I being set up? Could it be that somewhere behind one of these aisles, there are a whole slew of three-legged gazelles waiting to stomp a mud hole in me.

Every silent moment that passes begins to intensify. The longer I wait to pounce, the easier it will be for her to assume she’s right. If I don’t do something fast, she gonna do the unimaginable she’ll win a SILENT ARGUMENT! That’s like winning 500 regular arguments in one and it’s never been done, not in this relationship. As a matter of fact, I think the last time it happened was in 2003. Some guy in Ohio was carrying on about this, that and the other. Anyway, story goes they were in Walmart when she did it. Without saying a word, she spun her head a full one-hundred eighty degrees, looked that dummy right in the eye with the intensity of a thousand suns - - and ended it. Five minutes later his brain fell out of his ass. His brain. Fell out. Of his ASS! It was the ultimate game over. Last I heard he was hooked up to a machine that feed him kibble three times a day. True story.

I know, once the credit card is swiped, my streak and dominance will end. I’ll quietly slink back into a population of defeated souls. There’s gotta be a way out, a loop-hole. Something I can do to that will keep my high horse from falling off its pedestal. I need momentum, the upper hand. I’m a winner. I can do this. I can do this. I can… I’m…I’m…..

“I’m not arguing… I’m discussing.” Oh, SNAP! Boom-shaka-laka! You’ve been served, (insert stereotypical uncoordinated white man’s wedding dance here). Oh, weep the salty tears of defeat into the palms of your superior. I am flawless. You are perplexed. I have foiled your coup with some powerful grammar high-jinks. Rule number 1: Don’t mess with a wordsmith young lady or your tail will become a fail and your argument will turn into a discussion. Thus my streak shall live on. I own you!

“Well, keep your ‘discuss’ to yourself, ‘cause unless you can come up with a good reason for putting it back on the shelf, it’s coming home with us. End of story.”

End of story? End of story! What in the name of Tony Danza is going on? I gotta tell ya, I’m kinda floored. I thought I was in the driver’s seat. Not only are my instincts telling me that I’m wrong, I’ve got a sinking suspicion that I’m in for the fight of my life. This is no ordinary argument. This is “The Argument,” the one that’s been brewing for years. At this point the only way to keep the steak alive and save our meager souls is to run, cry, or drop dead of a massive stroke. I look down at my feet which are sporting a pair of 7-Eleven flip-flops and realize that a short gallop would probably accomplish all three. I’m not going down like this. I’m a fighter, (in the distance thunder or a well timed pot drop shakes the floor). Oh, it’s definitely on- - right here, right now between the sheets and shower curtain. I crack my neck, grab the front of the cart and tighten my butt cheeks.

“There is NO WAY we’re buying an olive tray.” I’m fuming, and the more I look at it, the more hysterical I become. In the past my M.O. was to stay clear of anything that upset the delicate balance of power and happiness in our household. As a result I’ve reluctantly conceded to her a number of household items that I thought were perhaps a waste of money (cherry pitter), unnecessary (napkin rings), or indulgent (2-ply toilet paper). But this- - this foot long piece of porcelain impracticality takes the cake.

“I think it’s nice.”
“No, it’s insane. What- - pray-tell… what do we need this for?”
“For when we have a party.”
“No way. Uh-uh. Not once in 11 years has there ever, been any mention, before, during or after any party, a need to display our olives in anything other than the jar they came in. Not once!”
“Well sometimes it would be nice to have nice things when our friends come over.”
“Our friends? Who are we The Rockefellers? We have friends that drink wine out of empty beer bottles. There’s a pretty good chance that they’re not wondering why we don’t have a thirty-dollar olive canoe next to the crock pot of Sloppy Joes.”
“Well you never know.”
“Yes, I do know, that’s the whole point. In fact, I’m certain that once in your possession, it will never ever get the chance to cradle those little green oblongs. Instead it will sit silently forgotten until the end of every party when you’ll say something like, ‘Dammit, we forgot to put out the olive tray.’ This will happen, I promise you. It will destroy our marriage.”
“I think your overreacting; it’s just an olive dish.” I wish it was that easy. It’s obvious she’s blinded by the allure of Crate and Barrel and not looking at the big picture. This stupid dish is our existence.

All those arguments, those wins have led to this moment. The basic fabric of society is teetering on the brink of destruction, and it’s up to me. For years, I’ve been secretly doing my part to make sure that we have the perfect balance of functional and unnecessary indulgent kitchenware in the house at one time. This simple, sleek and oddly hypnotic olive tray will open the gates to Hell. It’ll only be a matter of days before I’m drowning in a sea of gravy boats, relish dishes, cheese knives, meat tenderizers, food injectors and chop stick holders. Our house simply cannot support this change. The explosion of luxury items will be impossible to sustain, causing ill tempers, short fuses and separate sleeping quarters. It’ll be cataclysmic. It has to end, it must be destroyed. The weight of our sacred vows is beginning to bury me. It ends now, and she’ll thank me later…

“Okay, I’ll make you a deal. You let me buy the olive tray and I’ll let you get that ice cream maker you keep whining about.”

Dammit! Ice cream fixes everything.

The streak: 265-0-1.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

An LBN Anniversary

A year ago today I sat down and wrote about an experience I had at a grocery store and released it on a blog I called Life Between Naps. Since then I have written and placed many more of my experiences as a full-time, unemployed, stay-at-home dad here, there and everywhere else I could. To my surprise LBN got pretty popular, acquired many fans, was on the radio and slowly a following was born. Thanks to all my friends, family and loyal followers LBN has become the 97,546 most popular blog about parenting on the web. With a few more hits I'll pass the blog about The farting Cats of Myanmar... My dreams are finally coming true.

I still have high hopes that one day a celebrity other than Oprah, Ellen, Rachel Ray and to my utter amazement Tyra (all of whom have failed to respond to my stalking tactics with anything more than threatening letters, stupid lawyer talk and a one time shot of pepper spray) will endorse my writing invite me on their show and surprise me with a car, a house, a job or pay off my student loans. Alas,I might have to actually do this fame thing on my own. So as I get ready to unleash a second year of LBN on the world. I'll give you the original, unedited, updated and newly proofread version of the story that started it all. It's bigger, better and basically a stall tactic until I get my newest story finished. Thank you all for being fans.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Death and the City

I look at the T.V. I look at my wife. I look at the T.V; I look at my wife, uh-oh… Don’t do it, don’t do it, for the love of God please don’t -- and there it was. It started as a slight upward curl of the lips, followed by the opening of the mouth, a flash of teeth and finally a faint breathy chuckle. Even before she uttered a word my stomach was rebelling and my mouth was beginning to fill up with a mixture of acid, detest and Mongolian Chicken. I knew what was coming and I was horrified.

“Oh we’re going to see that.” She says looking over her shoulder just in time to see me cup a hand over my mouth and swallow my dinner… again!

I don’t even attempt to respond. I just continue to breath and pray that at some point during the next two weeks, the almighty hand of a sympathetic god will either temporarily blind me, or set fire to every movie theater within a 50 mile radius.

I’ll beg, I’ll lie and I will most definitely try to conjure up some self-inflicted injuries - - but it won’t work. According to “The Movie Rules,” I’m contractually obligated to accompany her to a movie of her choice, and there's nothing I can do about it.

So, barring a miracle, at approximately 9 pm on Friday, May 27th, I'll begin to slowly die. The process will begin as I begrudgingly walk into a Cineplex overflowing with teams of middle aged women all gussied to mimic their favorite character. They’ll be freakishly salivating in anticipation. The lights will dim. The cackling will dissipate to a low murmur and the estrogen cloud that has been slowly chocking the life out of me will begin to erupt. Finally, the moment will come. The intentions of the screen will reveal itself… A shot of Manhattan, the ping-pongy theme song and the words which snap my head back in disgust, painfully materializes right before my un-bleeding eyes (Gulp) - - Sex. And. The. City… 2! I cup a hand over my mouth and for the second time in 3 weeks I'll re-eat my dinner.

I had to know this day was coming. In fact, this day, this miserable miserable day has been 10 years in the making. Explain…. On our first date, Cathy and I spent 2 nauseating hours enduring the gigantic piece of crap entitled Meet Joe Black (her choice). This was followed by an attempt to show my artsy side when we sat down to watch the visual equivalent of a rock-salt enema, What Dreams May Come, starring my nemesis, Mork. On our third date we came up with a set of movie rules. It was a final attempt at reclaiming the dwindling respect we both had for each other’s taste in cinema. We still sorta liked each other, but another bad movie could’ve ended us, thus…

The Movie Rules

1. Person A picks the movie. If person B agrees, they go see the movie and the power to choose the next movie alternates. If Person B disagrees with the movie choice, move to step 2.

2. It is very likely (at least in my case) Person B veto’s the movie. If that is the case, Person A will create a list of 3 choices, from which Person B has the power to choose. The list will include the original pick at the 1 position followed by two other choices.

3. Choice number 3 has to be either a documentary or animation.

4. If your partner chooses pick 2 or 3, you continue to make the movie list until movie 1 is chosen (Placement and choice are crucial in making the list, I don’t think Cathy picked a single movie from 2002-05).

5. In the unlikely event that the your number 1 movie turns out to be either visual diarrhea, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, stars Brendan Fraser and is labeled as “Fun for the whole family,” stars Martin Lawrence and is labeled as “Laugh out loud funny,” or anything that involves interactions i.e. dancing, talking, or war between real actors and woodland creatures with CGI facial expressions, you are penalized a turn. And you have to see whatever your partner chooses. Period.

Now, back to the reason why I’ll be uncomfortably trapped in a theater watching the one movie that may very well cause me to plunge the nearest pair of Jimmy Choo’s into my eye sockets? A couple of months ago, I violated rule number 5. I accidentally or erroneously assumed that Kevin James could carry a movie based entirely on the fact that he’s fat and funny-ish, so I rented Paul Blart: Mall Cop. The joy and anger that Cathy possessed after the credits began to roll was overwhelming. It was as if she won the lottery, but had to split it with the population of Texas.

Anyway, she’d been holding on to this chip for quite some time; patiently waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect movie, the perfect revenge for accidentally stealing two measly hours away from her. Well, after watching me verp at the mere thought of enduring this awful, awful, awful, awful, awful movie... she makes her move and seals my fate. Alas, rules are rules, and fair rules they are, so I’ll go. I will hold her hand and I will go. Damn you Paul Blart, damn you to Hell.

Although I'm reluctant and disturbed about this whole fiasco, I'm not without knowledge of the subject. It's not much - - mostly just ghostly images and random clips, but it's knowledge none-the-less. This is what I know about SATC.

Okay, it’s about the Redhead, Horseface, Mannequin and Kristin Davis. They live in New York, buy shoes, have sex, cry, drink delicious Cosmos and occasionally fall backwards onto fluffy beds while kicking their feet in the air, (This is what Hollywood thinks women do when they’re asked out on a date/receive a gift /or just finished reading a hokey love letter by “the” boy. Notwithstanding, this scene is always crucial to the plot and can be played out in a myriad of ways depending on how the director wants to portray the amount of admiration the girl has for the boy. For example, if the girl ends up aggressively hugging a pillow, rolls over onto her belly, then screams into said pillow while pounding her fists into the fluffy bed, well, she really “likes” the boy. If she’s decked out in boxers and an over-sized T-shirt, you can almost guarantee that she’ll begin to jump on the bed while the smash hit “Walking on Sunshine” is played. This means she’s “in love.” If at any point during these proceedings you can hear the boy’s voice repeating the word “Hello?” from the phone jumpy thought she hung up, you can rest assure that these two things will happen: She realizes her “embarrassing” mistake and in a panic picks up the receiver and utters this line, “Uh yeah, okay.. sorry, (giggle) see you at eight.” This will manifest into itself into an awkward first date at the end of which he’ll end up screwing her best friend. You can Book it!).

Now, here’s what I know about SATC2 (based entirely on the preview). At one point Mannequin says, “Fabulous.” Somehow big hats and sunglasses are pivotal. That cave man with big eyebrows and Square Pegs will wear matching Tuxedos. More than once they will all walk side-by-side in slow motion (with no guns!), The Redhead cries, because of something stupid (like her pantsuit). Horseface Broderick will beyond all logic, find herself in a forbidden love triangle. Kristen Davis will look overwhelmed at all times. Oh yeah, they’ll also be in the desert wearing MC Hammer pants, turbans and riding camels. I wish I was making this up; this movie is going to kill me.

I love you all,


Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Shape of Dough

Well it’s officially that time of the year when the flowers bloom, the grass greens, the birds sing and I put together a feeble attempt to get into “banana hammock” shape. That’s right folks; summer is just around the corner, which means beaches, gardening and oddly choreographed shirtless flexing when I take out the trash or retrieve the mail. Its hard body time! No more hot dog breakfasts and a little less powder sugar lunches. This time I’m gonna make a change, a change that will stick, stick like a honey bun - -Crap, I want a honey bun. This is gonna be harder than I thought.

Let’s start with the facts: I’m not obese! I never get overheated enough to wear shorts the moment it gets over 40 degrees. I don’t sweat when I talk, or look at cake (okay, the cake part is a lie; I actually perspire whenever I’m in the presence of pastries and I’ve been known to black out at the mere mention of the word glaze), but I’m not in any sort of medical danger. I’ve also hesitated to use the moniker “over-weight,” that’s too subjective, instead I’ve took a real liking to “doughy.” That’s right I consider myself a bit doughy, mostly because all great things start with dough components and it gives me a delicious factor that is hard to resist.

Last year I lost 20lbs with a piece of “functional art” that we have in our living room, (The art in question is actually a very expensive stationary bike my wife purchased 4 summers ago). Even though we were both gung-ho about the possibilities it possessed, I knew it would only see a week’s worth of rigorous activity before it became an increasingly irritable obstruction to my T.V. viewing - - much like Robin Williams. Seriously, how this obnoxiously incoherent babbler continues to make his way around Hollywood is baffling. I once watched him answer the very valid question, “So why did you decide to make Old Dogs?” with “Ahh, Boo-ba Wha-wha. Hum-A-Duh, Hum-A-Duh, Hum-A-Duh Week-week,” and of course this was said with a Cockney accent while dry-humping John Travolta’s arm. I digress…

Anyway, I dusted off this sad piece of machinery and I rode. We were making real progress and for 2 months I was finally starting to see a return on our investment until…. I once again realized the sheer bliss of 2 hour naps and beer. Suddenly… Bam! My ridin’ days were over. It wasn’t long before 172lbs became 173...174… 177...182...186...190...until I peaked last month at 193 pounds! The God’s had spoken and it was time to put “Operation See My Feet” into action, all I needed was a sure-fire way to shed the foam around the bones. Now, I don’t know if it was the six-pack, bag of jellybeans, or my willingness to surf 541 channels until I pass out, but somewhere around 3am on a channel usually reserved for shuttle landings and celebrity endorsed acne medications, it appeared… P90X!

Labeled as a 90 day fitness routine that was guaranteed to transform your body into that of a Greek God/Goddess, there was no way I could fail. They were doing jumping-jacks. I can do jumping-jacks. Therefore, after 90 days, I should look like Hugh Jackman, or at the very least Gwen Stefani. And as if this wasn’t the greatest news ever, I found out a friend actually has the program! I was destined to do this. So I made the call.

Me: Can I borrow P90X?
Her: (Laughing)
Me: Is it hard?
Her: Yes.
Me: Really?
Her: Uh yeah.
Me: “Hard” for you because you’re a girl and you can’t do jumping-jacks? *She’s a Crime Fighting Machine on the Southside of Chicago
Her: (Click)

Day 1 (Core body something-or-other workout DVD)

I’m 3 minutes into the warm-up and I’m very concerned about the amount of fluid that is literally running out of my body. After a 10 minute pause, a cookie and a mouthful of Altoids to restart my heart, I finish the warm-up and head into the 40 minute “workout.” 15 minutes later….I puked and took a nap on the floor. Day 1= Failure. This would be a trend.

Here is a list of “highlights” after a month of Operation Minimize Me….

• I now frequently use the phrase “Are you (insert expletive here) kidding me?”
• I blew my O-ring!
• Working out to a mix tape featuring more than one Olivia Newton John songs dramatically decreases testosterone levels.
• Yoga is for the boneless.
• I can’t imagine a time or a place when I’ll be thinking, “Man, ‘Downward Facing Dog’ was really helpful.
• I cry when I stretch.
• Last week I bent over and it sounded like I dropped a sock full of nickels
• When I walk it now sounds like someone is punching a baloney sandwich, a wet baloney sandwich.
• The DVD entitled “Ab-RipperX” could also be called “How to crap your pants in 3 sit-up or less”
• In a real life situation I hope I never have to kick backwards.
• Pull-ups + Gravity + Age = Reality Check

And finally… after 4 weeks and 3 days of trimming the fat, I found myself nearing a state of hyperventilation, waiting to be called into the doctor’s office. The reason for this “emergency” visit was the very glamorous and super enjoyable “I’ve just got kicked in the balls” feeling that has resided in my underwear for the past 3 days. It was an unholy mixture of pain and nostalgia (Oh the playground days of unprotected kick-ball). After the doctor eliminated cancer, hernia and some other culprit I found on WebMD, she assured me that it was probably a muscle strain of sorts and that I needed to, "Relax, cool the workouts and fill up on Motrin." Elated to find out that my ball wasn’t trying to divorce my body, I stepped out of the office and into bakery where I proceeded to polish off half a dozen freshly baked cookies and a chocolate croissant. It’s gonna be a scary summer.

To be continued…

Thursday, March 25, 2010

From Lucy's Lips III

I place a delicious looking plate of spinach and cheese quesadillas in front of Lucy. She takes a few bites before looking up at me…

“Daddy, these tastes awful.”
“Hey, that’s not a nice thing to say. Awful is a pretty mean word and I worked really hard on those.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. These tastes disgusting.”

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You Better Recognize

I refuse… flat out refuse to blame Cathy, my loving wife, for her crude assumption, lack of couth, class and respect toward a dedicated husband who after close to one year has painstakingly acquired all the finite skills necessary to be called a
stay at home dad Domestic Engineer. Instead, I think I’ll blame America. Oh wait, scratch that! Society, I want to blame society. No wait, maybe it’s culture related? Which means it’s probably more an extension of specific family traditions observed on some sort of regular basis and passed down from generation to generation. Blah, that doesn’t seem right either. Well, I’m set on blaming somebody soooo…eeny-meeny-miney I blame Apolo Anton Ohno.

You read it right! I’m blaming Apolo. I blame him for his god-awful charisma, boyish good looks and alien mouth complete with 50 blindingly white, perfectly symmetrical and unusually hypnotic teeth. Damn you Ohno, damn you for making us care about speed skating! Look, it makes perfect sense. For 2 weeks he was everywhere, wooing us with his charm. Once the Olympics were over it was a no-brainer that an evil backlash would occur. Those who were drawn deep into those pearly whites must’ve had an unexpected withdrawal. Yup, that’s it, Cathy had some sort of post-traumatic Ohno withdrawal, and she took it out on me.

What can I say? I’m a fragile man, with real honest and complex feelings motives. I spend my days laundering, scrubbing, shopping, mopping, cooking and pushing around Swiffers (Which are rumored to be made from some sort of wizard/alien technology, mass produced by a secret government agency consisting of Vampires and the cast of Saved By The Bell… minus Mario Lopez). I do this so our house maintains a healthy balance of “lived-in” and “Army barracks.” I do this for us, I sweat for us! I sacrifice my dry cracked hands, so that the weekends can be spent as a family with my buddies at a bar. I’ll be honest, and feel free to ask around, but some might say that a man of this caliber doesn’t exist. I guess I’m sorta like the Holy Grail, or Big Foot. I’m the mother-load of man, who quite frankly, doesn’t think that he’s getting the respect he deserves.

Seriously, I work hard! Would flowers a 6-pack be that bad of a gesture? How about a quiet wild night out? Dinner at La Creperie The Chili Hut, followed by a romantic comedy movie with Matt Damon and guns? All I’m saying is that after a full day of house work and kids, an acknowledgment of awesomeness is essential. In fact, any combination of nice, gratitude, appreciation, devilish innuendos or beer works. That’s right, all of these things say I love you (some more than others), but all work. Which brings us to last Tuesday and Cathy's Ohno-less Rage.

She didn’t have to say it. I mean, she was probably right to say it; it’s just that she should’ve said something else first, anything, an icebreaker. Something like, “My, the floors look nice,” or “My, your biceps look huge today.” Honestly, I could think of a hundred pleasant ways to say hello. Now don’t take this out of context, I don’t need to be praised every day, but Tuesday was different. Tuesday I was on top of my game. Chores were done, laundry folded, the house was clean and I was feeling pretty good. That is until Cathy walked through door and said, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what is that god awful smell?” Startled, I turn around to find her pointing an indignant finger at me choking out the sentence, “Did you just take a bath in a tub of homeless feet and skunk meat?” I didn’t know what to say, I was at a loss of words really. What was her problem, why was she mad and more importantly, what in the world was she smelling? Looking over at my wife, who had suddenly keeled over and was now beginning to dry-heave and drool all over the dining room floor, it hit me. I wasn’t happy about it, but I understood- - I understood.

Imagine you’re home alone, pushing through a box of wine and watching reruns of The Ghost Whisperer on TBS. You’ve just changed out of your professional clothes and into that disgustingly-comfy, stained and tattered I’m not leaving the house outfit that screams either “I’m homeless,” “I’m crazy,” or “I’m homeless, because my imaginary dog Keith convinced me to sell my sneezes in front of the post office.” Everything’s perfect, ‘cause your happy, and you’re happy ‘cause you’re relaxed and because you’re relaxed, you fart.

Don’t be ashamed, or act like you’ve never put a stinky in the couch, because you have. And yes, it’s understood that the first one will always be a dynamic toe-curler with the slight undertones of boiled frog and molasses. But after that, you’re pretty much immune and unfazed by any other smell or flatulent that may occur during that particular session. On the other hand, this little theory does not apply to the occasional passerby, unexpected guest or loved one who happens to walk into your O-zone depleting, nose hair singeing, ghost-of-dinners-past cloud of death. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Every bit of pungent vapor you produce actually gets stronger and more obtrusive to every other human on this planet. And rests assure this holds true for ALL smells. For this reason alone, walking into a situation like this can be a real character builder. Honestly, this can be an emotionally haunting experience between friends, or a hysterical chance encounter by strangers. The key is figuring out how to maintain a certain amount of empathy in this potentially delicate situation. It would be rude to so quickly accuse someone of violating the strict EPA regulations in regards to personal /community pollution without all the facts. The assailant could very well have a serious medical condition.

Now, back to Tuesday…
I watched in horror as Cathy alternated between an uncontrollable spastic-gyration, the fetal position and demonic accusations that included, but were not limited to, “Are you burning a wet dog?” and “Did you mop the floors with hot milk and tuna?” I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her, none-the-less I was insulted. Who does she think she is, kickin' down the door and condemning me of foul play? How rude. All I’ve done today is everything! She had no right to assume that I was responsible in any way, shape or form for the horrendous odor wafting through this house. Sure, I was wearing my soft polyester track suit, and yes I was halfway through my cardboard encased wine, and yes the girls and I were confined alone in a house after an odd broccoli and bean lunch, so what! I was sorry, truly sorry that she had to experience that, but I mopped the floors and folded laundry! I deserve some recognition. I deserve to be validated, but more importantly I deserve to relax.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Week Of

LBN's new semi-regular feature about the things, thoughts and conundrums overheard during the course of a week. Otherwise a bunch of small instances that are good enough to mention, but didn't necessarily deserve a whole story.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Due to weather, distance and prior commitments the LBN team settled on this particular weekend to celebrate Christmas with my family in Michigan.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

After opening a slew of dust covered presents, Cathy decides to give Lucy a heart shaped bag, full of heart shaped candies and heart colored flowers.

"What's this?" Lu asked, looking over the red and pink package.
"Happy Valentine's Day!" Cathy shouts. Lucy seems - - surprised. She looks at us, the heart bag, a pile of discarded wrapping paper and finally her newly stacked gifts. Maybe it was all too much for her to take in, but as she methodically unwrapped the foil from a Hershey Kiss, I notice a glint in her eye and it's unmistakable. It's a look that comes only once a year, a look of bliss and whimsical wonderment. It is joy, happiness and love. My friends, it is none other than the Christmas Spir….

"Valentine's Day is awesome!" Lucy screams. As I grit my teeth in horror, I now realize our grievous mistake. Celebrating Christmas on Valentine's Day proved to be a little too confusing for a three year old. It was all too clear that someone is gonna be very upset next year when the only present she gets on Valentine's Day is a cartoon themed box of mystery filled chocolates, courtesy of Russell Stovers.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Somewhere on I-94 between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo I briefly roll down the window next to Ruby for the sole purpose of eliminating a "smell." When Cathy looks over her shoulder to the back seat a few minutes later she notices something's missing.

"Ruby, where is your hat?" Lucy looks up from the book she'd been reading, "Oh yeah, it flew out the window."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Daddy, do you want to hear some Knock-knock jokes? I made them up myself, you can tell your friends if you want, but they are really-really funny." I cannot tell you how many doubts I have about her ability to put together any sort of coherent joke, riddle or what-have-you. But since it is in my good nature to share my living hours with the whole world, no need to thank me and you're welcome.

Lu: Knock-Knock.
Me: Who's there?
L: Sun
M: Sun who?
L: Sun can you give me a shine and a hot on it? (She laughs hysterically as she finishes the "punch-line." I tell her it's funny, she has more).

L: Knock-Knock.
M: Who's there?
M: TV who?
L: TV can you watch and give me a hot on it? (Again, she laughs hysterically. I laugh because it's like the first one except different).

L: Knock-Knock.
M: Who's there?
L: Couch
M: Couch who?
L: Couch can you give me a hot ride on it? (She pauses. I don't laugh, it's getting a bit redundant and I don't really get where all the "Hot" stuff is coming from). Let me try another one.

L: Knock-Knock.
M: Who's there?
L: Table (It's clear that's she's just looking around the room and putting good furniture in her bad jokes).
M: Table who?
L: Table can you give me a hot ride and smash your face on it? Is that funny huh?! (I laugh nervously).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

After struggling aloud for dinner ideas, Lucy speaks up.
"Daddy, are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"I don't know. What are you thinking?"
"Donut Holes for dinner."
"Nope, can't say I was."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

After an extensive search of the bathroom for an adult type shampoo, I realize the only option is Lucy's Hello Kitty shampoo. Two hours later I realize that the irritating odor of "old-woman" perfume, blueberries and Ben-Gay is in fact my burning head.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cathy rolls over at 6 am and asks why it smells like a 90 year old woman gumming ribbon candy in a beige sansabelt pantsuit has been in our room? I don't respond.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

After washing my hair for the fourth time in 2 days, I decide that the only way to rid myself of the fragrance that I can only describe as a mix of Mickey Rooney's armpit and nursing home sheets is to shave my head. For the next 4 hours, Ruby cried every time I walked into the room.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Daddy, do you have a job?"
"Yeah, I think you could call spending all day watching you and Ruby a job." After a few seconds of what I assumed to be the silent process of weighing both the magnitude and responsibility that comes with being a parent she responds….
"I'm sorry; maybe one day you can learn how to drive a blimp.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


“Daddy, I want a different glass of milk, this one taste funny, I think it’s fresh.” I roll my eyes; knowing all too well that further questioning would be futile, for once Lucy deemed something “fresh,” it was otherwise undrinkable. With her arms folded squarely across her chest and her nose pointed up at the poorly hung chandelier illuminating our dining room table, she pleads for a new glass, an “ice-cold” glass.

I’m not exactly sure how or why this started, but for some reason Lucy has classified all beverages into two categories. They are either considered “fresh,” which could mean any one of the following: Warm, smells funny, tastes funny, looks funny, thick or orange. Everything else is considered “ice-cold.” To make matters even more confusing ice cubes do not turn “fresh” drinks into “ice-cold” drinks, but sometimes switching cups can. It is also interesting to point out that if you were to… let’s say take a drink out of Lucy’s cup that was filled with “ice-cold” chocolate milk, it would instantly become “fresh,” unless you give her a straw. A straw has the uncanny ability to turn “fresh” into “ice-cold,” but this trick only works on milk, shakes and smoothies… that is, until today.

“Its not helping dad, it’s still fresh.”
“But I gave you a straw.”
“I know, but it’s not working. The milk taste strange… or wetter. I don’t like it.” The truth is, I know exactly what she’s talking about and I couldn’t have put it better myself, the “wetter” part anyway. Let me explain….

We spend, on average $87.69 a month on milk. Milk? Yes, milk. That is more than our electricity, cable, water and phone services. That’s right my friends, our average monthly “milk bill” is second only to rent. Seems crazy right? Why so much? Are we drinking the milk of new born unicorns? Have we stumbled upon a magical creature whose lactatious secretions can cure 12 kinds of cancer, make your breath smell like purple sunbeams, turn flatulence into Burt Bacharach melodies and last but not least, allows us to speak telepathically to the late great Bea Arthur during the first full moon of each month? Thank you, thank you for being a friend. The answer is yes…kinda.

You see in this household we drink… cow milk. I know, big deal, so what, we all drink “cow” milk. Oh, no-no-no, wait-wait-wait, this milk doesn’t come from one of those stupid lazy cows you see in pictures or movies who just stand by a fence deciding which stomach their gonna ploop their current mouthful of grassy wet cud into. No sir, we get our milk from “organic” farmed cows… they come from heaven. And at $5.99 a gallon that’s what I have to convince myself every time I buy some.

I’ll admit I do spend a suspicious amount of time at the grocery store checking out the $2.99 stuff I drank when I was a kid, I’m not gonna lie, we had some good times. But I’m always snapped back to reality the moment someone grabs a jug and puts it into their cart, I wanna yell, “Hey, you with the mortal’s milk. Do you even know who milked the lazy cow responsible for producing that creamy white mess you allow your children to pour over their Fruit Loops? Do yuh? No?! Well, it was a person, or a machine or something. You don’t know, you don’t know nothin’.” This outburst would no doubt alert the manager to the crazy man berating innocent bystanders in the dairy aisle, and within seconds I’ll be schlepped out the doors by my collar screaming “Free Attica!” Then I’d laugh all the way home knowing that the organic milk my daughters will be enjoying for dinner was righteously squeezed by the tiny yet aggressive hands of Zeus himself. Now that’s quality you can’t put a price on. Cool, yummy, rich, delicious organic milk, “The bovine nectar of Gods.”

So for three and a half years, I was fine letting my daughters drink this outrageously expensive elixir that my wife has claimed, “Prevents the early onslaught of an un-natural puberty (I’m paraphrasing).” Apparently, a few years ago she heard that somewhere in Europe, a 5-year-old girl started to “mature” at a rate that is usually reserved for the teen years. Anyway, after hundreds of tests (at least that is what I’m assuming), Someone decided this problem was caused by the extra hormones that are placed into non-organic milk and not the nuclear power plant she lived next door to (Okay, I made that last part about the nuclear power plant up. But really, Milk? I can’t imagine all the possibilities that were eliminated before someone said, “Well it’s not the ozone or high electromagnetic fields, let’s try milk. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll try Skittles.” I’m just sayin’… it seems like a stretch). Thus, our organic milk experiment began, although not without trepidation. Sooner or later I think we both knew (I’m frugal), the numbers were gonna get to me…

$5.99 per gl. x 3 per wk = $17.97 x 4(weeks a month) = $71.88 x 12(months a year) = $862.56 annually, for milk! (Tax not included)… which brings us to today and Lucy’s glass of “fresh--wetter” milk.

I’ve been watering it down, hard, and I make no apologies. Folks, we are living in turbulent times, you don’t need me to tell you that. The economy is in the tank and I’m unemployed. I’m doing something good, something commendable; I’m stretching the almighty dollar. So what? So, maybe Lucy has to drink a few glasses of “Organic Lite” for a couple of years. Just imagine all the money we’ll be saving. If I can eliminate just one gallon a week that’s an annual savings of $287.52! With that amount of money, I could buy this household something it really needs, Scotch. A nice hand crafted, single malt bottle of “ice-cold” Scotch.

*I did absolutely no research whatsoever on the benefits or hazards of drinking “organic” milk. I have however done some personal research on the benefits of a good Scotch and I think it could be worth the investment. I’m also gonna catch hell from my wife.

As always, you can also find me at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

UPDATE: 2010

Hey Everyone-

We're sick! We're not dead (stupid wikipedia). Between dodging speeding phlegm-bits and uncrusting snot covered nostrils, I've been working hard to get LBN crusin' into the new year, unfortunately a run of sleepless nights and the emergence of a new tooth have definitely slowed the creative process a tad. However, I'm hopeful that LBN will have a new post before Monday, if not sooner.

Anyway, I really wanted to thank all of you for continuing to follow and spread the LBN word for the last 6 months. The more fans/readers LBN has, the better our odds are at getting noticed by someone who wants to turn this into a book, column, reality TV show, made for TV movie, comic, calendar, animated Pixar film, video game or snack cake. So please continue to do whatever it is you're doing that has us closing in on 10,000 hits, 400 fans and a ton of positive feedback. I'm optimistic that one of the many literary agents who have been bombarded by my poorly written submission letters will eventually write back and say that my dream of turning this into any sort of income, book or other are completely absurd and it will never-ever happen. At least that way, I'll know that they read it. Thanks and see you soon.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

One Too Many

It’s hard for me to pin-point exactly where it all went wrong. But if I were to take an educated guess, my money would be on the moment Cathy said her company Christmas party was an “open bar.” Fourteen hours later I find myself cradling the toilet and looking up at a very curious three-year-old.

“Daddy, you don’t look so good.” Her shrill voice pierces my brain and sends my eyeballs into my socks. I do all I can to create some semblance of a smile, but I’m afraid that if I open my mouth to far, a bourbon laced demon will fly out and cover the floor. A second later Lu is joined by her little sister, whose loaded diaper nearly renders me unconscious, but I held it together. Even though the pungent odor was enough to burn the wings off baby angels and melt the tires of a speeding eighteen-wheeler, I refuse to throw-up. A sequence of deep controlled breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth) and the calming thoughts of soft purple pandas feeding rainbows to Chuck Norris easily settles my stomach.

As I lay there drifting in and out of worlds James Cameron would be proud of, I find a bit of solace knowing its Saturday, or maybe it’s Friday? To be quite honest I’m not sure what day it is, but whatever the case, Cathy is home and she gently swoops in and shoos the girls away…

“Come on girls, let’s leave daddy alone, he’s not feeling well.”
“Why?” Lu curiously exclaims. As a parent I’m hoping the visual of my shaky, sweaty and unusually flammable skin turns this into a public service announcement of sorts. That’s right Lu, take it all in. Let the image of the pathetic man at the base of the toilet be a symbol of bad judgment for years to come.
“Well…,” an explanation was forthcoming and deservedly so, but how do you tell an impressionable little girl that your father drank like an immature sailor and acted like a woman who has just had her first dribble of alcohol since she stopped regularly breast feeding her newborn child?
“Daddy had one too many last night, and that’s why he doesn’t feel good.” Perfect. It says it all, without really saying anything.

Just as the girls begin to remove themselves from my presence, Cathy bends down and places a glass of water next to my head and whispers, “You just can’t hold your liquor like you used to. This is what happens when you get old.” Later that day when the carnage was over, Cathy informed me that not only had I drank my weight in wine, I somehow managed to smuggle a full glass of beer out of the bar, in the front pocket of my coat (Awesome). A feat she was both embarrassed and amazed at, when I suddenly revealed it and began to drink my frothy wonder in a cab, three miles from our house (Double Awesome). A full glass! In my coat pocket! She would then go on to give me a lecture that began and ended with, “I am much too old to be supplementing our ‘barware’ with stolen glasses from a place that claims to have the city’s oldest pickled egg” (Yeah, not so classy).

As the day continued to pass S-L-O-W-L-Y… by, I noticed two things. First, as bad as this hangover is, I can’t even imagine what it would have been like before the invention of porcelain toilets. Everything from their cool-to-the-touch neutral colored exteriors, to way it perfectly anchors a slumbering body over its oversized waste hole, they’re basically begging to be caressed by the inebriated. They’re really a feat of modern ingenuity. The second thing I noticed was a strange array of methodically placed items that began showing up between my “naps.”

At first I thought nothing of the tiny Lego castle that appeared on the top of the toilet, but soon other odd tidbits began to appear: a small blanket, a stuffed frog, a bowl of Cheerios and a tiara. Although I have yet to see an actual being anywhere near my throne, I had the feeling I was being watched. Perhaps it was my guardian angel, a tiny cherub of hope or the ghost of hangovers past, and then it happened, I died. Well at least I thought I did. I felt a glow and a warmth come over me. Honestly, I didn’t think I drank that much, but whatever. I could see the light! It was bright, unusually bright. In fact, it was way-way brighter than I ever thought it’d be. However, rather than running toward, or giving in to this “light” that so many people have found comfort in, I find myself cringing and my ultrasensitive eyelids burning. Maybe this was the wrong light, wait, where exactly am I going?

I slowly open my eyes to discover I haven’t exactly left this world, not even close. My assumption that I was riding my very own light-highway to Cloud City was nothing more than Lucy shining an impossibly bright Maglite directly into my peeps, and it was making me sick.

“Daddy,” she said with a whisper, “How are you feeling?”
“Where’s your Ma and Ruby?” I said holding up a hand to block the light.
“Changing the laundry, Rubers is sleeping. I’ll take care of you.” She was sweet, but behind those usually sympathetic eyes of hers, a storm was brewing. It was as if someone had given her (maybe as a joke, revenge or moral lesson, CATHY!) a very specific list of things to say that would ensure that this very hangover would end in a spectacularly gross and somewhat cataclysmic finale. She wasted no time and got right down to business.

“Daddy would you like to eat some scrambled eggs?” The thought of eggs made my stomach jump.
“No thank you….”
“How about some chili, that will make your belly feel better?” My stomach flops again. Why is she asking if I want to eat, I can barely pick my head up. And furthermore, when has chili ever been a cure for anything?
“You know sometimes when I have a belly ache I like a glass of creamy milk.” Ding-Ding-Ding, we have a winner! The thought of “creamy milk” was all it took, ‘cause I absolutely lost it. It was as if my stomach had a date with the floor, because it felt like it was trying to physically leave my body. I couldn’t control it. There were no brief pauses in which to catch my breath, just a disgusting non-stop flood of holiday cheer. I began to hear a babies crying, airplanes crashing and monks praying. Convoluted images like Pat Benatar’s “We Belong” video, Olli North and Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkoph baking tarts, and a Rubik’s Cube solving itself all manically flashed before my eyes. Then nothing… silence.

The moral of the story is this: There may be times when your better judgment or common sense slips. There may even be a time when you feel the need to slip a full glass of beer into your coat pocket. But I have learned that it is almost impossible to slip anything pass a three-year-old.

One week later….
“Lucy, you need to finish your peas.” Lucy pushes the bowl aside, puts her hands on her stomach and says, “No thank you. My belly is full, and if I eat any more then that will be “one bite too many,” and I remember what happens after that, and I don’t wanna sleep in the bathroom.”