Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thoughts from the Walks

I pass by a little shopping area that has a Little Caesar's Pizza on my walks with the boys, and I just have to say, I do not understand this marketing idea with the young kids who dance outside holding the sign that lets you know, "Hey! If you'd only turn your head slightly more to the right you'd see the actual business, there it is! YAY!" I wish I cared enough to find out if that has really done anything to boost sales. Seriously, I just can't imagine the set up where you see the dancing kid and realize that you must have pizza right away! As you swerve into the parking lot, endangering the lives of everyone around you, dancing sign boy...dances on.

I know the exact location where I first saw this type of advertising. It was back in Florida, outside the Outback that I had been working at, and there was a guy holding a sign for a smoothie place who was dressed as a banana. Now, he had a personal CD player with headphones and was rocking out hardcore to the music, but with the banana costume all you could see was strange dancing banana guy with the smoothie place sign. I thought he was hilarious to watch, but Melissa and I never went to the smoothie place. Not even once. As amusing as I found him, he didn't ever make me want a smoothie.

It dawns on me that outside of pizza places, and the occasional smoothie place, the only other business who seems to be using this method of advertising around here is the cash for gold places. The one I like best here is Cash 4 Gold, while I have never used any of these businesses as I lack both gold and cash, I'm basing my opinion on the one I pass by the most. That's why it wins out over Cash for Gold or $ for Gold or even $$$4GOLD. Which brings me to my favorite ever sign holder, and I think it will help if you listen to the South Park, Cash for Gold song while you read the rest of this:

One of my biggest issues regarding these masters of sign stabilization is the overall pointlessness to their job. I would never openly promote taking jobs away from the hard working, skinny jean wearing youth of America, but it seems to me that if your job could be done by the ground, you are not really needed. To take this concept to the next level, a grown woman...someone who filled out her own tax form which later read: occupation - outdoor advertising specialist....brought a little bit of genius to work with her one day. As I drove by Cash 4 Gold, there she was, sitting on a lawn chair and using a umbrella base from an outdoor patio set as a hands free device for the sign. Amazing. Two very interesting things happened after that. First, the lady was fired (I think so anyway. I have not seen her since). Which is crap, because you really shouldn't get pissed at someone for outsmarting a broken job idea. Everyone says to work smarter, not harder...seems like she hit the brain jackpot on that one. Second, THEY HIRED SOMEONE ELSE!!!! <---!!! Am I wrong to think that you have to be a special kind of idiot to have an employee give you a live demonstration of why a job is pointless, and then hire another person to do it?

So, seeing the Little Caesar's dancing kid got me thinking. So many places are not taking advantage of this type of advertising. It might be because they think it's stupid and pointless, but maybe it's because they don't think there would be someone willing to perform that type of job for their type of business. Which is why, when the boys are both in school, I'd like to offer my services to local day care places. My personal idea would be to dress up as a giant container of baby wipes, and I don't want to get too far ahead of myself as this would be years away, but I've got a hip hop song idea called "Do the Wipe" and a dance move called "The Wipe." I'm pretty sure people driving by a day care that had a dancing container of wipes, would want to send their children there. Thoughts?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pop goes my heart!

Just a little giggle for you folks today. I know those of you at work don't want to spend all day reading this stuff when you have pressing businessy stuff to do. Today as I was cleaning up after lunch, I started to smell something. Something citrus. I know there's a lot of rumor about smelling burnt toast, or burnt hair before you have a stroke or seizure, but I wasn't sure what citrus meant.

Then William walked into the kitchen, the smell got much stronger.

I noticed he was clutching something in his hand, and while he protested, I got the contents. Gum. Lots of gum. Somehow he managed to get to one of my unopened packs located in the pantry. No idea. He didn't seem to have wanted to chew or eat any, he just unwrapped all of them and was carrying them around. Now I did do a head count of the gum, and I think they're all accounted for, but I guess time will tell.

No doubt, if we hear a muffled "pop" later's gonna be Dad's turn to change the diaper.

Always plotting.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We get it, Ev, shut up.

Why Porsche should sponsor my blog.

Is it still a big deal to get Hard Rock Café t-shirts? I think I first caught wind of that in elementary school. I don't think I ever liked the food too much. It was okay, but when you're talking about a restaurant that holds so much rock and roll history, I don't think you have to worry about trying to draw people in with your mozzarella sticks. Either way, I managed to get a couple from family vacations or my Dad going on a business trip. I felt like quite the big shot walking around with my Hard Rock shirts.

When I was 8 or 9, we took a trip up to the Poconos in Pennsylvania. As a surprise to all of us, or maybe just me, my Mom got us tickets to one of those all inclusive tours to New York! You know, the place where evidently sub-par salsa is made. Thank god for Pace Picanté. We did a lot of the tourist stuff, but this was a charter bus tour, so there were time limits to everything. Around lunch time it was announced that there would be a big block of time to sort of wander and get food. A great idea for a bunch of out of towners, I hope there was some form of "I'M LOST!" system in place. I guess it's nothing more risky then all my trips involving band.

We puttered around for a little bit, and decided that we had enough time to go check out the World Trade Center buildings before going to lunch. Being in Manhattan wasn't completely unlike being in Orlando, but there's still something really exciting about being there. You feel like you're in the middle of everything happening anywhere in the world. And the history! All these iconic symbols of America. Which brings me to the food. Places like New York, L.A., Chicago, and more recently I guess you could add Orlando to that...sort of...always seem to have so much going on in the world of food. To be right there was certain an amazing chance to sample things we'd probably never have again.

So Hard Rock was a pretty solid choice.

As we made our way through all the guest areas of the Trade Centers, we talked more about lunch and as it most important to an 8 or 9 year old, the topic turned to souvenirs. In a city filled with fake watches and street hot dogs that would both make for great take-home items, we all seemed to also want the famous Hard Rock - New York shirt.

Then something magical happened.

There was this area in one of the buildings which was essentially a gift shop and food count. They had all the typical New York souvenirs. 2 inch figurines of the Statue of Liberty, 6 inch figurines of the Statue of Liberty, ahh...couple of the 12 inch figurines of the Statue of Liberty, and I'm pretty sure they had one of the 4 foot high figurines of the Statue of Liberty. My attention was elsewhere though.

Possibly the best product made in the late 80's, early 90's (maybe ever) was the door sized poster. At some point, there was someone smart enough to say, "Why the heck are we looking at doors when we could be looking at every member of New Kids on the Block?" I'm guessing the same person, years later, came up with that window cling stuff that made it look like there was always clouds outside or like you had purchased a stain glass window from a very low end company. But there, in the World Trade Center building, I saw the coolest door sized poster I had ever seen. Top to bottom, a vision of engineering and beauty - Every Porsche made during that model year! Want. A dilemma arose, I was told I needed to pick - The shirt or the poster.

I have never owned a Hard Rock Café - New York shirt.

You hear me Porsche? A little kid picked a poster over a popular trending, American, shirt. You call me. You call me real soon.

Cause here's the problem. Lots of Mom blog sites do some pretty amazingly cool things. They get contacted by all these great companies about product reviews and giveaways. It's a pretty good move, lots of win-win for everyone...except us Dadmans. While my hair is always silky soft and full of bounce, the companies just don't market to guys. It's not where the money comes from. I'm also a man that works with tools and lawn mowers and drool, and all the skin care product companies seem to feel that is not in their demographic. While I understand it, this leaves me with the question of who...who is gonna step up for us Dads? I just have so much jealousy admiration for these great Mom bloggers, and feel this is a gap that someone could close up.

I guess I'm just trying to say that I am willing to product test a Porsche. Even if it's only for like 5-10 years. They appeal to men, and with the Cayenne, they offer a family product perfect for a stay at home Dad. Like me.

Just exactly like me.

The person who I am.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Small Memorial Day Post

Being in a bagpipe band has rather unexpected perks from time to time.

Last year, I was honored to play at a small function held to celebrate the small group of remaining Veterans here in Idaho, who served in WWII. At a point during our performance, we set down our things and walked slowly across the row of honored guests to say a simple thank you. It's just impossible to imagine the things our Veterans have seen, and all they left behind in battle. As a few of us were packing our instruments into our cars one of the gentlemen came outside assisted by his son and engaged us in a small conversation. Some of the band members were very knowledgeable about the war, and had great questions for the man. He answered as best as his memory would let him. It was nice to just soak in. I stood and listened, and as I watched this man talk a little about his life and friends I think it made him happy. Not in the sense of the subject matter, but that people were interested in him and really listening. I'll bet that doesn't happen often enough.

I saw a similar story recently. A young man talking with a much older war vet who said it doesn't bother him to talk about the friends, the brothers, that he lost, it bothers him that no one really asks about it anymore.

Take some time to remember why we have this freedom we share, and if you find yourself with the chance, talk to those (if only to say thank you) who helped to give you that freedom.

Thanks to those who fight and those who lost their lives to give us what we take for granted so very often.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

There's gonna be so much room!

When I was writing up my post about moving to Florida I spent a pretty decent amount of time talking to my Dad about the house we first moved into. I loved that house, and when we moved to Idaho I would compare every house we looked at to my childhood home.

There was something about the layout that I really liked, and it just seems hard to find in most modern homes. Separation. I have lots of memories of people coming over, and that house allowed the adults to be within ear shot of all the kids, and yet completely separate from them. I have to imagine that they enjoyed that aspect as much as we did. Everyone was "together" but without having your conversation constantly interrupted by the two ladies in the corner that no one really invited but are having the loudest conversation about soup ever imagined.

After my parents got divorced, the decision was made to sell the house. I get that, fresh start and such. It's certainly the "house where I grew up" but while that's nice and all, what I'm talking about here is the design of it all. It really made sense, and that seems hard to come by lately.

Turns out this is no mere coincidence. My Mom and Dad were able to actually give very specific input during the design of the house, another long lost idea. It got me thinking about the house we bought here in Idaho. We had decided to move out of our townhouse in Florida for the explicit reason of having kids. Changing states did not change the "why" at all, just the where. So when our realtor asked what kind of things we were looking for, we included everything on our list of wants for ourselves and what we thought we needed for our children. We knew that finding a place that had everything we wanted was probably not going to happen with our budget. Still, when we finally settled on this place, we really thought we had most of it covered. It had a decent sized back yard, for the future games of catch, soccer, backyard camping, and last man standing dance offs. It had my favorite concept of "separate" room areas. Not exactly to the extent that I was hoping, but close! It had an area that could be our office, since we knew that we'd always want our central geek area. Big must for me, it had a great sized kitchen, and that still holds true. When the person who does the majority of the cooking says it's a good size, go with it. To top it all off, we had increased the square footage from the townhouse by more than half. Certainly enough.

If you've ever wondered how much wrong you can fit into a house, it's actually quite a bit. It's amazing how quickly you realize that everything you asked for becomes an issue, and suddenly there's a hundred things you desperately need. Thank god the hospital bills from the birth are so cheap; you can use all the money you're saving to get into that bigger, better house.

So allow me to give a mental tour of my house! Welcome! Again, we knew we wanted kids soon and tried really hard to factor that into our purchase. Let's see where we went wrong.

When you enter the front door you find yourself in a nice sized room with fake wood floors. As a sales point this is said to be the dining room. We, however, are not nearly fancy enough to pull off a formal dining room in addition to the kitchen table. So this is where we set up shop for geek central. Three computers and a laptop split over two gigante (What's up 10th grade Spanish?! BOOM!) corner desks. I sometimes wonder if it's a bit too awesome tacky to walk into this crazy mound of technology when you first walk in, but the truth is there's a futon set up which has actually made it a nice sitting area. Lots of post dinner conversations with friends have ended up around the computers instead of the comfy couch. I wonder if people just follow me in there. Maybe next time I'll go upstairs and get in bed to see if people are too polite to point out that there's probably a better location for idle chit chat. The real issue I have found in our office set up, is buttons. Kids really love the heck out of buttons, don't they? I've always been amazed at what keeps a child's attention. You fill your house with toys for them, and they gravitate toward a set of earphones you haven't used since Bobby Brown was popular. To each his own. So of course, the part of the office the kids like best is the computers. They always find some time throughout the day to come in and turn on/off the computers. Now as short as I can keep it, turning off your computer by holding the power button is a bad idea. I confirmed this with a text message to a very smart guy who works less than 100 feet from a toner vacuum. He responded almost instantly with "it can be" and it is, I even googlewebs it. Carter, who loves to watch Daddy type, is the major culprit here. He likes to use a different keyboard and imitate my typing technique (evidently I just hit my hand on the keyboard for extended periods of time...thank god for spell check). That's all well and good till he sees the power button. Like the lion stalks the zebra, he waits for me to let my guard down, and then he STRIKES! A furious display of claws and fury and goldfish crumb-coated fingers, and I walk in to my computer having been turned off (thank god for auto-save). As a man who has had horrible luck with computers all my life, you can see where this might concern me a bit. Next house? A space for geek central...that has a door. Oh! And like retinal/voice/fingerprint scans to get in! (and a mini fridge)

At the end of the office you have two options, go into the kitchen or head upstairs. Let's finish the downstairs part of the tour.

There's the kitchen, which is fantastic, and has just enough separation from the family room to be legally called two different rooms (I don't like the modern day set up of kitchen/eating area/great room in one long mega-hallway). The family room is where issue two pops up for me. It's actually a really great space, whenever the boys are asleep. The problem we neglected, callously, was how much space would really be there when all our couch cushions were on the floor and every toy the boys own had been placed where ever there might be open space like a really bad jigsaw puzzle. We also have what was at one point, a great 65 inch rear projection TV. Remember those from before flatscreens were affordable? I have plans when it finally dies to gut it, and make it my secret fort. It's gonna be girls allowed. The problem with the TV? You guessed it! Buttons! All the power, picture, format, device selection buttons are right in arms reach for both of the boys. It's always nice to listen to William scream after Carter has turned off the TV right when we're about to find out what the mystery mouskatool is going to be. Seriously, what if Mickey and the gang can't use it to find the path with the stars?!!! Come on, Carter! Next house? A better "play space" or if money allows, an actual play room!

Then there's the laundry room/half bathroom/Dad Hallway(that is "my" room where I keep my music stuff and also my high school self portrait from art class)/Door to the garage/Dog room. I have neither anything serious or funny to say about these places. They all serve their purpose and the kids never go to any of them with the exception of just passing through to the garage. I understand that people often look for me to point out the funny in the again...if it helps...most of our guests poop in the half bathroom. There ya go. Once you get the giggles out, meet me upstairs. Next house? People will poop in one bathroom or another there too.

The upstairs has the last major indoor problem. At the top of the stairs you have four options: master bedroom, kid room 1, kid room 2, kid bathroom. If I were Michael Jordan, I would likely be able to stand in the middle and touch all 4 doors (also if I were Michael Jordan I would have bought a different house). That's the problem. The rooms are so close! This isn't about the chance at the end of the night to finally have some "alone time" *wink* (Hi Mom!). Nope, I think the idea of splitting up the bedroom areas goes much deeper than that.

When I was little, I had bad dreams pretty often. It seems like it was a lot anyway, and I know more than once my Dad was pretty upset about it. Here's the thing though. When you're a kid who wakes up from a bad dream, everything is terrifying. This means you have to weigh your options of staying in bed or traversing the house. See where I'm going here? When it takes all of two seconds to get to your parent's bedroom, that option becomes a lot more doable. So as much as it might have bothered my parents to have this frightened, albeit adorable, little boy show up in their room in the middle of the night, that means there were countless more times that getting across the nightmare maze to their room kept me in my room. This kind of sounds mean, but seriously, I want the boys to have to make that decision of "is it worth it to get over there" when they want to come wake us up. When they do come in late at night, I'm gonna try to remember that sometimes I need a little snuggle to get to sleep. Then, I'll man up, and tell Melissa to make sure she brings her phone with her so she's got an alarm clock in there. Next house? More than 4 steps from our door to theirs.

Now, please excuse me while I go practice my, "It was a joke baby, you know I'll go with them. I'll probably be up anyway." speech.

Friday, May 25, 2012

We're leaving your party. Sorry.

I never went to many parties when I was younger. Ever. In fact, I didn't even go to my senior prom in high school. I really should have gone to prom. I get lots of strange looks when I tell people I didn't go. Truth be told, I had a totally awesome girl ask me to go, and I'm pretty much an idiot for not going, but my girlfriend had broken up with me not long before, and I was being Capn' Sadsack. I didn't do break ups very well. I was also pretty bad at science for those of you keeping score.

Parties didn't offer me very much socially. I don't want to come across as the lonely guy who sat in the corner of the cafeteria every year crying into my swiss cake roll. I had friends. I was well liked in a variety of crowds thanks to my humor. I really did have a social life. Parties just didn't contribute to that. The thing is, I wasn't a drinker because the majority of alcohol tastes bad to me. I really like to cook with wine, and even beer sometimes. In recent years I've become a fan of scotch, but I rarely drink it. Back in my high school and early college days my brother tried very hard to get me into beer. Maybe it was a brotherly bonding attempt? Every time, he'd say, "This is the one you're gonna like. Trust me, you just need to keep drinking it and eventually you'll like it." That's some pretty dumb reasoning. "Here, eat this. It tastes like the smell of the diaper genie bag when it rips open on accident, but in time you'll find it better then all the peanut butter cups in the world*." Then there's the smoking. Never something I even tried, and hanging out in a cloud of it for any length of time was not of interest. Of course, there was the actual social aspects of it all. As I am about as shy as you can get around new people, walking into a room of 30 and knowing 3 people left me with the problem of trying to constantly explain why I needed to leave within 5 minutes. I mean this was before I had a cell phone, so faking an emergency phone call became rather elaborate. Props to me.

When we moved to Idaho we were joining a long established tradition of "get togethers" which is old people talk for party. Not that any of us are, or more specifically, were old, but the party dynamic switched quite a bit. The alcohol was still there, but the level of "drunk" people had been getting to in a period of 30 minutes was starting to be something that took several hours. The smokers moved away from the crowd to light up, and instead of a house full of strangers, it became a room full of friends. Maybe that was my problem. I was ahead of the age to party-style ratio. So for a couple years Melissa and I were free to go hang out with our friends. We'd stay out late, and watch people go from drunk to sober and back like the gentle waves on a shoreline.

We knew that our attendance and general attitude towards these gatherings was going to change when we had kids, but I get the feeling our friends sometimes are puzzled by our new and less flexible system of party attendance, which brings me to this:

An open apology to anyone who has thrown a party in which one or more of those in attendance had children of a young age.

Dear Sir/Madam,

It is with great regret that we inform you that we are leaving your party. Please rest assured that at no point did someone offend us or make us uncomfortable. We are not leaving due to a lack of bottled water or an abundance of bad food. We are, frankly, leaving because we are tired of trying to have fun and keep an eye on our children. You may have noticed that when we arrived this morning/afternoon/evening, that we brought with us what seemed like the contents of most of our house. You are not far off as most of our current possessions actually belong to our children. Those bags contain every toy and movie Disney has ever made. They also contain every diaper product needed to change up to 50 diapers, as the actual needed amount is impossible to predict. While we appreciate that you have offered the use of your office, bedrooms, extra bathroom, game room, and tree house to temporarily store all of these belongings, our children have systematically thrown most of the items into the front yard which seems to be causing a disruption to those who are trying to play "beer pong." Despite the presence of every toy they actually own, our children have decided that it wasn't quite enough and have thusly proceeded to investigate your collection of rare books with their hands and mostly their mouths. Again, please know that we appreciate your invitation to this occasion. We hope by this note that it's clear that our early departure has nothing to do with the level of enjoyment we perceive most people are having here. We're sure that this is a lovely gathering of friendly people. It's just that as we've been slowly wandering from room to room saying, "NO! Put that down!" we were left unaware that it has been almost 35 minutes. Due to the very lengthy 5 minute drive back to our home, we must depart post haste to ensure our children have sufficient time to wind down before their 7:30pm bedtime. We find that if the children are kept up much past their bedtime when they've been hyper for any period of time over 2 minutes, they often wake up several times throughout the night screaming for things like water or nothing. So we humbly thank you again. We hope you will consider us when your next event occurs, and we'd like to apologize once again about the front flower bed. While potty training has been a difficult process, he should not have dug that pee troth. We were at a baseball game last month and he's been fascinated by group urination ever since. We hope this explains that he really wasn't trying to pee all over your pants and shoes and dog, he was trying to get others to join him like he experienced at said baseball game.


Your Friends with Young Kids

*I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in a rather obsessive way....add that to list of people who should sponsor the blog.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sometimes there is no answer.

I've been told before that I am not a "typical male" but I'm starting to think that's just something women say to a guy when they want you to buy them things. Pretty sneaky, women.

In any case, one thing that certainly aligns me with the male stereotype is that I am a problem solver. Much like Vanilla Ice.

Sometimes I take this a little far and try to solve other people's problems. I don't mean literally, I just mean I think things through and try to figure out why person X isn't doing thing Y to better their situation. This has caused me a great deal of trouble over the years, internally. Unless asked for my advice, I'm just not the type of person who can tell someone, even a friend, "Hey you know what might help your financial situation? Maybe don't subscribe to 500 magazines? Your house looks like the recycle bin of a doctor's office." Still, I think about these things. It's in my nature to do so.

It's taken me a while, but I've learned to understand that often times when someone is telling me about their latest issues, it's simply for venting purposes. It's a bit selfish. I'll be sitting there trying to get a word in edge wise and they keep going on about the latest price of designer socks. The best plan may be to nod and agree and go home without further thought on the matter. I have to stop myself from trying to figure these people out. Going around in circles on the matter does me no good at all. Sometimes the best answer is no answer at all.

This philosophy came in handy today after lunch. The boys get TV time between lunch and nap. So, like any normal day I get William down from the table and send him off to the family room with his "spill-proof" cup to watch Mickey. Now I don't know what the thought process was leading up to this. All I know was I wasn't more then 5 seconds behind him in entering the family room...where he was licking the couch. I asked what he was doing, and was answered with a great big smile...and another lick.

Not gonna try to figure that out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The enemy of my enemy is I hate the ocean.

If the only thing we have to fear is, fear itself, it stands to reason that the majority of the things the average person is afraid irrational.

I recently watched a show that went into the statistical analysis of how likely you are to die in a plane crash as opposed to a car crash. Despite overwhelming evidence that plane travel is immensely more safe, people who are quite happy to hop in their car every day are afraid of flying. I am one of those people.

There are people who lose it at the sight of a snake or a spider, any bug at all, a mouse or rat. Statistics say the family dog is more likely to kill you than a snake.

The dark is a very big fear for lots of people. As we all know, everything scary happens in the dark.

If something exists, someone else is probably afraid of it. I was gonna say there's someone out there probably afraid of me, but it dawns on me that they probably aren't afraid of me so much as being afraid of the fact that I'm left handed....SIDE NOTE TIME!

For centuries religious and cultural practices have deemed left hand users inferior. The word itself is derived from the word lyft, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "weak." During the times of corporal punishment in schools, teachers would often beat students caught using their left hand. In many third world countries where toilet paper is an issue, the left hand is considered the "unclean hand" since it's the taught method to use your left hand to clean...yourself....after a nice trip to brown town. It's said that those who fall out of favor with god stand to his left, which led to a variety of religious based nicknames for various groups...all which included the word "left." Even today, the concept of forced conversion to becoming right hand dominate, is very common. Which has proven widely unsuccessful and often leads to several developmental issues. People are really stupid.

...anyhow...people are probably also afraid of my red hair, which of course means I have no soul.

Outside of flying, I do have one other fear. The ocean. The ocean and I have had a long term hate-hate relationship. Growing up in Florida, a short drive from several beaches, I certainly had a fair number of visits to the ocean. So over the years, as you might expect, I had some bad moments. When I was very young, I got knocked over by a big (big for a tiny little fella) wave. I didn't like that very much. On a visit with my Church's Youth Group, a bunch of us went out pretty far and had the pleasure of meeting a shark. I've never swam so fast to shore. I feel Olympic swimmers should compete in a pool that has sharks, to get the best possible times. One time I had my hand cut open the water. I don't even have a clue what it was, and I got probably a 4 inch long slice across my right palm. How's that for unclean, right handers?

My biggest fear concerning the ocean would certainly be sharks. Maybe it traces back to the time I first saw the Sarlacc in Star Wars, but the idea of being eaten alive just never sat well with me, and experts have found that sharks investigate new things with a bite. Just because the shark may eat me on accident, doesn't mean I have to be okay with it. It's difficult, because like anything, I don't want my hang ups to transfer to William and Carter for no other reason but, "Daddy doesn't like that." I don't want to be the reason they don't eat veggie burgers, I want them to find out how gross they are all on their own. It's not very fair to cast judgement on sharks when they really haven't ever done anything to me at all.

Then I saw this:

To be honest, I stopped watching at about the 47 second mark. Right when the guy said "Sharks don't like people. Sharks don't like to eat people."

Now I know what he said is true, because he was on a news report, standing by the water. This makes him credible as an expert. Also he forgot to button his left shirt pocket. So obviously he's got a knack for details.

Well, I am shocked. They don't like us?! I can be down right delightful. That's really not cool. We send all these nice people out into their home to place tracking tags on them...We give them things to play with and eat like license plates and hubcaps...We even immortalize them by making movie after movie where they (well CGI versions I guess) are always in a major role. I don't understand what else people have to do to get on their good side. I'm just gonna say it, sharks are ass holes.

On the other hand, they have to be good parents. I mean, they don't like to eat people, and yet they do. William never eats his green beans for me. I wonder what kind of reward or punishment system they are using.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just a quick note.

I just wanted to make everyone aware of a couple things involving my little nook here.

First off, I really appreciate any form of little note of "good job, keep going" regarding this site. I know for certain that some of you have specifically tried to pass the word around and generate a bit of additional interest for me. I truly thank you for that. I've probably made it obvious by now that while "This is for me! This is for fun!" I have a bigger goal of making this a little more widespread and becoming a larger part of my life. I enjoy it, and it gives me something better to do at 3am then watch TV.

So keeping that in mind I want to give you folks a little insight for some upcoming plans. There's nothing major in the works, but stuff I hope people want to know and be excited about with me.

Soon, and hopefully on a bit of a regular basis, I am planning on inviting a guest blogger to stop by and give me a chance to promote the other side of the coin, the stay at home Mom. Yes, a Mom will post something on The Dad Life. Women just weasel their way into everything. Seriously, she's an amazing and funny Mom, and I'm very excited that she agreed to stop by and post.

Also, please note that there is now email sign up available! For those who are friends with me on Facebook, I'm hopeful that this addition will allow me to stop making those annoying "GO READ MY BLOG RIGHT SOONISH PLEASE!" updates. So if you'd like email notifications about new posts, please put your email in! Hopefully it works!

Last, and certainly the most distant. In conjunction with my hope that you, the readers, will please continue to help me promote things, I am tweaking settings that are supposed to generate additional traffic. Should that happen, you are certain to find one day that the site is revamped with a more custom look, and perhaps even sponsors - I'm talking to you Porsche.

In short, thank you. Keep reading. Keep spreading the word. Buy me a Porsche.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I wanna rock!

I'm guessing the two most common questions asked to a stay at home parent are:

What's you favorite part about being at home with them?

What's your least favorite part about being at home with them?


I hate when people ask me these questions, because honestly the answers aren't that difficult to figure out. I find that the majority of people who ask me are actually working parents looking to justify that they're every bit as good as I am despite going to work every day.

Let me see if I can't clear this up. I don't think myself a "better" parent then working Moms and Dads. I don't even consider myself remotely the best stay at home Dad. Can't we all just admit that there's times with our kids that are amazing, maybe even perfect, and other times that you just count down the minutes till bedtime? We're all on the same team here people. I didn't decide to stay at home to prove I was better than someone. I hope working parents didn't decide to keep working to prove they could "do it all."

The best things? Exactly what you think they would be. I get to watch them grow up. I get to be there to watch them actually learn things like walking, talking, and using a spoon. I get the great big smiles first thing in the morning, because they're so very ready to start the day, and when they were very young, I got all the cuddle time any parent could ask for. Kids are often unexpectedly entertaining, and I get more of those moments than Melissa. I don't know what else I can say here. The best part of being a stay at home Dad, for me, is just being with them.

The worst things? Also exactly what you think. Being constantly with them...all the time. Like any room mate who ever drank your last soda, like any person who sat next to you on a long flight and decided to have a long chat with you about a movie you've never seen, like anyone ever...ever...we get on each other's nerves. I need breaks from them, they need breaks from me, and sometimes that need comes around quick. I get to be there to watch them learn things like, how to take the couch cushions off, how to dump out the toy boxes, and how to draw with poop. It means I'm there for almost all the melt downs, messes, broken objects, and smells.

In my opinion, being a parent (not just a stay at home parent) is one of the most annoying, awesome, enjoyable, horrible, amazing, frustrating things a person can be involved in. The fact that people continue to have kids is almost funny in itself, but we do. Then we complain and brag or perhaps blog (pause for shameless self plug with reminder to share this with friends, co-workers, people you sit next to on airplanes) about it all.

Take today for example. As I've mentioned before, getting out of the house as often as possible has become paramount to the sanity of everyone in the house. Today that outing was a trip to the grocery store.

"Ev? How the heck do you manage to go grocery shopping with both kids, keep them content the whole time, and still have time to be so kick ass and also write funny stories on your blog that I share with all my friends, neighbors, and librarians?"

Another time.

One of my little fake fitness quirks is that whenever I go somewhere, I park pretty damn far away from the entrance. Aside from forcing me to walk just a bit farther, I like to be in an area where most people are not. I, being a creature of habit, almost always end up in the exact same place. It's right by a cart return, but more important to this story, it's right by a little area that has a ton of rocks. William, who seems to understand that Daddy always parks in this place, always jumps out of the ManVan and goes right to the rocks, selecting one that must join us on our shopping adventure. The whole trip becomes about making sure the rock is not dropped or lost. It's a member of the family now. When we get back out to the ManVan I always try some elaborate magical misdirection to get rid of the rock without it becoming a big deal. 9 out of 9 times I fail.

Today I tried some Finding Nemo logic:

"William, this is where the rock lives. We can't just take the rock away from it's family, they'll be so sad. Chances are one of them will get sent on a ridiculous quest to find the rock. It will encounter lots of adverse situations along the way, but will overcome and ultimately be reunited. Also it's Mom died in the first 5 minutes."

2 hours later and he's still pretty broken up about leaving behind Nemorock...Rocko? Nemok? Do I get a new rock and try and pass it off as the old one?

1 hour till nap time.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The grass is always grass on the other side.

My family moved to Florida from Pennsylvania when I was two. As I understand it the move was a job based decision. My Dad worked for Westinghouse almost up to the company's dissolve in 1999, and starting in 1981, more then 800 employees which included my Dad, moved when the company expanded to Florida. In researching this event, I was pretty amazed by the process. At the time the decision was made, Orlando was not the epicenter of culture and entertainment that I left almost 8 years ago. Of the employees who were asked to consider the move, roughly 20% of the people said no. The issues were valid, and some even apply today. There was a general feeling that Florida was a bug-infested swamp that was too hot and was filled with bad schools, not nearly as many things to do as the Pittsburgh area, and no sports. Aww. In one article I read, a woman recalled crying every day for 6 months after the move. Funny how things change. A woman cried for 6 months because she lived in a place that, she had no idea, was hitting the largest population and business boom of the time. Soon after, Orlando was in a frenzy of construction and a family hot spot. Why was she crying? She was hot and bored for a little while.

In middle school I developed quite a crush on a very pretty, very popular girl. As a self proclaimed overweight band-nerd, I was as far from anyone's romantic radar. I thought so anyway, I would later find out that I was the secret crush of many different ladies over the years. Which, getting off topic as normal, needs to stop ladies. Most men can't process subtle hints, so just buy a t-shirt that says, "I want to date with you." So much easier. Anyhow, in high school I would come to find that the pretty, popular girl was also a bit of a band nerd. We became friends and eventually that turned into a small series of smaller kisses, but she was a pretty girl which meant I was going to follow her around like the faithful lost puppy dog. I got game people.

She, being a year ahead of me, moved away for college. It's a pretty heartbreaking story, and if you feel the need to sob a little or give me a hug, I understand this need. She came back the following year and we hung out a little bit. She said something that, at the time, really bothered me. I don't know the quote verbatim, but the point was that she felt so sorry for some of the people from Florida who she knew would never leave. She knew they'd be stuck there forever. I was really taken back by that, mostly because I had never considered leaving Florida. Back then when I'd think about the future, it always included Florida. I was offended in a way. How dare she talk like that about my home!

Fast forward to 2005. About 7 years later, and I still have no thoughts of ever leaving Florida. Melissa and I had been married for about a year, and the conversation about having kids had become a lot more serious. We had been living in a 2 bedroom townhouse for a while, and decided that we needed to upgrade so we could get our family started with all the space we needed*. We jumped very quickly on a great opportunity for a house in an area we really liked...which fell through...after our house was sold. We basically cornered ourselves in the idea that we had a little over a week to figure out what to do. The alternative was hotels, cramming ourselves into family homes, or just riding the rails like a pair of awesome hobos. Melissa wouldn't agree to the hobo idea. We looked at several homes, but nothing fit our needs/budget. So the topic quickly hit on out of state options. We landed on Idaho, and it was the most difficult decision we have ever made as a couple. It was a decision we made in less then a week. We didn't get a lot of sleep around that time. Now, I'll spare the boring details of the bad moving company or the trip up where I won a rodeo contest**, because the point is that I was wrong to get upset about the "stuck in Florida" comment. Hell, she was right, but not so good at the wording of it. We moved here to get away from the constant pace of life that Orlando throws at it's citizens, like suck at a Justin Bieber concert. While life here has a tendency to move a little too slow at times, it really has opened my eyes to how amazing life can be if you get out and live it.

Some people can't wait to leave the town they grew up in, and other's are loyal to a fault. It's not to say, leave your good job and established life to live in a town where Burger King can't even survive. However, you can't make judgement on how much you love the place you live till you actually live somewhere else. I know for sure that I never want to move back to Orlando, though I miss the people tremendously sometimes. Still, just as much I've decided that I'm not married to Idaho either. It's impossible to say, and I may die here. I just know that if the right circumstances were there that I could leave.

We really enjoy the life we've set up here, and I'm sure there are a lot of people around who wouldn't understand going from a place like Orlando to this tiny place in Idaho. I just find it really interesting that so many people I've known over the years have this sort of love/hate relationship with where they live or where they grew up. So many people want to be somewhere else, and for so many reasons. When people talk to me about how much they hate it here and wish they lived in some mega-city, I just laugh in the knowledge that after a while of living in a mega-city they'd be doing just as much complaining about living there. So the wheel turns....

I am beyond curious about what William and Carter will think about growing up around here when they look back on their lives. I get the feeling I can help with the memories by putting a stop to my constant Mickey Mouse Clubhouse quotes and rants.


*This is funny cause when you have kids it doesn't matter how big your house is, you'll never have enough space.

**Untrue, but we did win the lottery the first week we lived here. Pretty much the same level of cool, slightly less hat.

All right.

A while ago I was sitting at my desk doing the very important computer related work of the stay at home parent*. It's really not uncommon for William or Carter to come up and say a few things to me, or simply drag me away from the computer to see the newest organization strategy for the couch cushions or even play Sock Ninja! Over the past 3 years of being in constant contact with various degrees of chatter or screaming, I've learned to protect what's left of my sanity by simply turning off my brain from time to time. By the way, for those of you who might have a spouse who is a stay at home parent be aware that from what little information I have, this is quite a common thing. What's more, due to the large amount of practice we, as the stay at parent, is sometimes...misdirected...right at your face. So please be patient. It's not that we are trying to specifically ignore you, we are actually trying to ignore any and all noises. We can snap in and out of it with very little effort, and we thank you for waiting.

So while in the midst of using my superpower, Carter's voice was getting loud in the background. Loud and a little persistent. If I might mind-illustrate (millustrate? these word combos doin anything for you folks?) what it's like exiting the brain-off phase into the brain-on phase. Hopefully for you spouses, this will make it a little more clear why you sometimes get several, "What?"s in a row.





"What do you need Carter?" *finally snapping out of it and turning around*


It was at this point that Carter and I had our first ever, Father-Son, All Right Off! For no less than 5 minutes Carter would put his hands in the air and scream, "ALL RIGHT!" at which point he would throw his arms down by his side. I would do the same, and the back and forth continued. At the end of the 5 minutes and with no warning at all, Carter exited the room to go check on what William was doing.

That means I win right? Judges? I only ask so I can rub it in his face when he's older.

*Checking Facebook

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thoughts from the Walks

Because I have such a large fan base, I really have been working hard to keep posting without letting any form of burnout set in. Since the first installment of Thoughts from the Walks I have pushed myself a little too hard when I've been out on my walks to come up with some little odd factoid or entertaining observation of life that clearly has become my trademark. I believe inspiration can't be found by those working to find it. Which is why today I really let my mind wander, and I was pretty impressed with myself.

First, I saw a guy driving a very old pickup truck. Around town (Meridian/Boise, Idaho) you get this mix of people who could live in any city, anywhere in the country and the good ole' folks who have spent most of their lives on a farm or simply out in the mountains somewhere. Country folk. This guy looked like he could be on the poster of a John Deere ad, with one exception. He had one of those really long cigarette holders like Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmatians. Maybe I missed something when it comes to the use of those. I just get this picture in my head of those being exclusive to fancy women from the 50's and 60's. Since I am fairly certain it was just some guy in a dusty flannel shirt and not Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's, I was confused. Particularly since he wasn't even wearing black silk gloves which, I was under the impression, were issued with those cigarette holders. Anyway, I thought about writing something about how I think most little boys at some point put on Mom's makeup or play with the found pair of pantyhose, blah blah blah I had one My Little Pony that my G.I. Joe figures would ride into glorious battle with Cobra.

Then, I saw a store which has recently been closed down. It was owned by what I can only describe as a couple of "biker chicks" who were trying to sell clothing and jewelry so younger ladies could wear it and feel tough. It's exactly what you'd think. Lots of black, with sparkle skulls and flashes of pink on everything, ya know, since it's for girls. So I thought about writing something about the newly formed void for pink and black clothing/jewelry with skulls on it, and how tragic it would be for my boys someday to not have this store as a source of gifts for their tough girlfriends. I decided it would be too much of a.....wait for it.......


What did I land on? Something actually serious, and something quite personal to me.

When I was probably 10 or so, my brother pointed to a very obese guy (back before the "Hey America! You're Fat!" news reports were on every night) and said, "That's gonna be you someday." So began my obsession with my weight.

During my youth I was involved in a variety of activities that kept me, I think, fit. From soccer to band activities, to even a small running phase, I did lots of different things. Still, when you get down to it, for me everything started in school. I always liked P.E., in fact, up until high school my favorite teacher was a P.E. teacher. They are in the very cool position of helping to get our youth more active, and if done right they can really make the time outside fun and not just a sad lesson in who gets picked last. For the first two and a half years of being a stay at home Dad, I didn't have a working vehicle. That simply meant the boys and I were limited in our outdoor activities by what we could walk to. Now that the ManVan is in our lives, we get out more. Period. It puts all of us in a better mood. Even if it's just a trip to the store. Getting outside; being active can and does change your day.

The thing is, this is about one of my big fears in parenting. I want my kids to have great memories throughout their childhoods, and not be haunted by something said by some jack-hole. P.E. can be a great way to incorporate fitness into young kids as well as develop social/teamwork/friendship skills. It should be a great deal more then unlocking the equipment locker and telling the class to be careful and wake you up in an hour. Which is why, I was rather upset when I walked by a certain school on my walk today. There was a class of kids out for P.E. playing baseball. Split up into two games actually, I guess there was that many kids. On the track, right smack in the middle of the two games was the a chair....with a nice cool drink. Now, it's not about the beverage per se, but seriously..come on. When I took guitar lessons, the guy didn't lay down on his couch and just nod along during the 30 minutes. My 4th grade teacher never sat down during class...and she was pregnant. I honestly support teachers. I almost became one! There's a great deal of crap that gets thrown at the teacher's feet that should be just as much the parent's responsibility. However, when the bell rings, you have to engage your class and keep them motivated. So next time you find yourself at the gym, find a buddy who's willing to sit close by and just have a sandwich or read a magazine...I'm sure you'll be real motivated to keep going.

For the record: This was not some passing glance. They were on an open football field that I had full view of long before and long after. Easily 10 minutes of walking. The guy didn't move a muscle and couldn't have been more bored.

Side note: I get that this is a little outside the spectrum of "My son kicks me in the nuts." Sometimes I have serious things to say, and sometimes not. While this was on the heavier (not a pun) side, I hope that my take on more serious topics are just as readable as the lighthearted stuff. But if it helps:


Thursday, May 17, 2012


I was one of those kids who always wanted to be a ninja. I was not allowed to enroll in any form of karate when I was a kid, but really it wouldn't have mattered. I've seen karate classes, recently even, and at no point do they do the things that I associate with being a ninja. So quite frankly, if they were not willing to teach me the sacred arts of the ninja, then it seems pointless to be upset about it.

I never really lost hope though. There were many...many...Halloweens where I went as a ninja. My trusty plastic sword and throwing stars were always at the ready. I'd like to believe there was also several times where I managed to get candy without being seen, and NO, that's not your chance to throw in a short joke. My brother and I once made nunchucks was scrap wood and some chain. Now that I think about it, I really don't know where the chain came from. God, I hope that didn't ruin something important. Oh well. Once for some sort of holiday, Melissa finally got me some ninja swords, but with the boys around I find that I rarely have time to practice my technique. That's why I decided to expand my arsenal.


There's a big difference (to me) between feet that stink and feet that are simply unclean. I've known people who at the end of a moderate day of activity can take off their shoes and you get that immediate smell of burning milk being poured over a big bag of Taco Bell. I've also known people who could run a marathon and take their shoes off, and while you understand that their feet are sweaty, perhaps swollen, well...gross...they don't smell that bad. I think I have the latter. I'm also not running marathons daily (I would be somewhat curious as to average miles covered per day just keeping up with the boys) so I don't find my feet all that gross at the end of the day.

Despite this fact, Melissa still gets upset when I take off my socks at the end of the day and use them as nunchucks to attack her and the boys. To be clear, it isn't the boys that get upset by this activity, it's just her. A very meager 25% of the human members of the household. During the day the boys and I will often do this. The boys both enjoy the thrill of being chased by Daddy and I get to hone my ninja skills in much the same way that Bob Ross perfected his skillful technique of painting jovial shrubs and whatnot. So pardon me for wanting to spend a little time as a family!

The Sock Ninja. There are literally ones of us, and while there is no way to tell when the next strike will assured that when it does...Melissa will have a look on her face that says, "Oh, you think your little post about having no room on the bed was funny? Hit me with that dirty sock and let's see where you end up sleeping."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Some days, you gotta dance.

Some of my favorite blogs are written in a way that allows a ton of information to come across with very little effort into the words. It might be more work than I understand, but either way, I tend to be a bit wordy. However! This is a short one, I hope you folks enjoy the break from my normal novel style of posting.

Sugar - Flo Rida
Nuthin but Love - Heavy D and the Boyz
Heroes of Our Time - Dragonforce
I Would Do Anything for You - Foster the People
Life's a Happy Song - Muppet Soundtrack

To the best of my knowledge, this is the list of songs that William has loved at some point in time. It's an odd mix, yes, but I like music and tend to be all over the place with things I listen to. Every so often William just latches on to something.

After lunch today I decided to get a little head start on some cleaning, so while William and Carter were watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I got youtube up and going. My system for selecting songs on youtube is a very poor one. I start with something that I specifically type in and then I almost always click on the links to the right and just see where things take me.

Today it took me to "Love on Top" by Beyoncè. By the end of the song, William was on the stairs watching the video and was attempting to (I think) dance along. When it ended, I was greeted with the familiar "Play song!" from William which means...I want that again or I will scream all the screams.

So now that's on the list.....

(I'm secretly okay with that)

Monday, May 14, 2012

I can sleep anywhere, but I usually don't.

Buckle up folks, I'm starting off with another stupid band story!

When I was 17, I joined an all ages marching band (DCA group for you band nerds) that ran out of Florida. It was semi-professional and tons of fun, but this is all irrelevant to the point of the story which is that during the summer we took a trip to Allentown, Pennsylvania for the finals of that year's competition. It was there that I shared a hotel room with two great friends. Yep, they really were two amazing guys, which is why it was such a great moment to open the door of the hotel room and see the single, queen sized bed. Now I don't really recall how it was determined who would sleep where, but I very much remember that due to the extremely high occupancy that the hotel had run out of extra pillows and blankets.

And that's the story of how for 3 nights during the summer when I was 17, I slept on the floor of a hotel with the comforter off the bed, and a phone book for a pillow. I don't always sleep, but when I do, I sleep hardcore.

Over the years, my sleeping quarters have become much less painful, but none the less a place where I feel like I'm the odd man out.

I guess it really started my freshman year of college. I moved into an apartment with my good friend from high school. Much like any college apartment, we had some furniture, but most of it was scrounged up second hand from other people or simply the stuff we'd had forever. For me, that meant my bedroom stuff. My old twin bed, which was actually part of a bunk bed set that my brother and I shared on and off as kids, and is now William's bed. One night stand, which I think was my Grandma's, and the newest thing I owned was my computer desk. We were very excited to be out on our own, and all was well till I got a phone call from my Dad that would change my life forever.

"Your brother is getting a new bed, do you want his?"

My brother had a full size bed. You could tell he was more adult than me because he had two night stands instead of one. This was a pretty cool moment for a college freshman out in the world. I got that bed moved in, and that's where it all started to go down hill. You see, every night I spent in that bed for the next 2 years was magical. As I've hinted at (and more to the point, since as far as I can figure, 99% of my current readers know me - tell your friends to stop on by!) I'm a short man, and for me, being in a full sized bed alone felt like I had my own little island. So much space! I could have every book from every class I was taking on the bed and opened with all my notebooks and still have plenty of room to sleep! Amazing! No one told me when I was growing up, to enjoy the feeling of stretching out in bed.

A year after the bed became mine, I bought a pug. A tiny little puppy pug, and she and I shared my little island for a year. I had lots of fun with her. She used to love to snuggle up under my chin, so sometimes I'd be a bit mean and turn around so she'd walk all the way around me to get back into her which point I'd turn around again.

About a year later is when Melissa entered the picture. Now for quite some time, my pug did not approve of the new lady hanging around. To be certain we were aware of this at night, she would sleep between us horizontally. So the bed looked like an "H". It was slightly less comfortable than I was used to, but there was a woman in the bed so I opted to not complain.

Shortly after, pug 2 entered the picture, which also added the 4th body in the bed at night. My first pug was totally okay with Melissa by this point, having decided that Melissa was not going anywhere and that Melissa would give her treats sometimes, but for whatever reason the sleeping arrangements were getting worse. By 2005, about 6 years after getting my amazing island paradise, I was sleeping (truthfully) with about 2 inches of my ass off the bed. Enough to know that it's off the bed, but not enough to feel like you're about to fall. Folks, if you're gonna sleep with your ass hanging off the bed, 2 inches is pretty damn perfect.

When we moved to Idaho, my Dad made us a deal. Give him the full size bed, and he'd buy us whatever new one (reasonable priced) we wanted. Perfect. King size it is! AND! For about 3 years I enjoyed the kind of sleep that you can only get from a bed that has enough space to accommodate your entire body. Then Melissa got pregnant...and a new pal joined us in bed.

Pregnancy does a lot to a woman's body. I empathize, I really do. So when Melissa said she needed a body pillow, we got one, and I know it helped her quite a great deal. Especially in the later months. I, however, couldn't help but notice that my awesome happy funtime king bed was suddenly sectioned off in a way that every part of my body was at the very edge of the bed. It wasn't so bad, until I'd wake up and my face was just right at the edge of nothing as if all the oxygen on top of the bed was used up so I was struggling to get air from the side.

Then after the second pregnancy, when the body pillow was no more, the night time crying adventures began. Sometimes William, sometimes Carter. We'd get them in bed with us, they'd calm down and often fall asleep, which is when I realized, "Hey! Cool! I have no room at all! The fact that I'm still on the bed at all is simply the bi-product of clinging on to the shirt of my child and hoping that I don't take us both down...lest we start this all over again!" So now, I hate the bed a little bit. I never know when I'm going to be able to use it as a bed. I no longer think of it as the place for sleep. That honor has moved to a different piece of furniture.

I guess the point of all this, and what my advice would be to anyone in the same position as me...

You can get some amazing beds if you're willing to spend over $1000 on it. Lots of support, I hear that memory foam stuff can be amazing...but for me? I'm investing in the couch.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day! Jerks...

"Tender hands, and a smile, does not a mother make. The years she spent teaching you common sense is what it takes..." ~Julia Nunes

First, a very sincere Happy Mother's Day to any Mom that may stumble across this tiny blip of internet. Even beyond that I'd like to send out a Happy Mother's Day to all the mother figures. While I love my Mom very much, over the years I was lucky enough to have some amazing women in my life who I would certainly place in that category. From a slew of friend's mothers to my youth group leader to an awesome lady who at the time was an entire country away, I absolutely appreciate Moms and Momlike beings. Of course, a very special Happy Mother's Day to Melissa. You are so very amazing, and the boys and I love you so very much.

So all that's done.

Mother's Day kinda pisses me off. Truth is, that's only been for about 3 years, and you can probably see where I'm going with this.

Ah, Mother's Day. There's people who probably think of it in the way lots of people think about Valentine's Day. "It's a sham! It was invented by a bunch of cooperate stooges who want to sell cards and candy and flowers and jewelry and for some reason stuffed bears inside of balloons!*" While, I guess I won't deny the idea that people feel forced to buy various things for wife/mom/girlfriend for "holidays" like this, it is what it is...and that's not what bothers me.

In the time I've been alive, the number of stay at home Dad's have roughly tripled. It's actually even more dramatic in some other countries. Pretty crazy. In a study done last year they said that in the 70's around 1 in every 100 homes where a parent was at home full time, had the father at home. Now it's about 1 in every 8 homes! They say things in articles like, "Don't feel alone, Dads!" I can't say I really ever felt like I was the only male doing this, but 1 in 8 is pretty crazy. So my problem with Mother's Day is that it feels centered on ideas that are outdated. Let's bring Mom breakfast in bed so she doesn't have to cook today. Let's let Mommy do nothing today okay, she needs a break from you brats angels.

Look, I'll be doing my part to give Melissa a nice, relaxing day, but when I see ads all over the place about how I should be draping her in the softest silk from eastern countries...rubbing her feet with exotic oils made from rare flowers found only in a 2 acre portion of the rainforest...massaging her back with a special type of plant that's found in the deepest parts of the ocean and is said to feel like feathers from the wings of angels brushing softly against your skin...blah blah blah jewels from Jewel...anyway...when I see all that I've been a bit upset when the next month I hear the 10 year old Outback Steakhouse commercial saying, "G'Day mate! Boomerang! Get yer Dad a "steak" from Outback! Shrimp on the barbie! Paul Hogan! Crikey!"

This can't be news to people. When you compare Mother's Day to Father's Day, the celebration for us Dads is pretty much a cheap joke. To the point where it's marketed in a way of, don't you DARE forget Mother's Day, but for Father's Day...maybe just leave a card on the table. Not unlike the folks who leave a couple quarters in the hat of the homeless guy, but avoid eye contact the entire time. While I understand that the earning potential is much higher on Mother's Day, it's important to remember there are more and more Dads out there who are doing the things we associate with women, and they need a bit of pampering (perhaps a little different from what the women are looking for) too.

Seriously though, Happy Mother's Day!

*What the hell is up with these things? Here's your gift! Now pop the balloon, scaring you, me, the kids, and the dogs so that you can have the world's smallest stuffed animal or fake flower! I must love you a real lot!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I just want to like the stuff I like!

Melissa and I read several books leading up to the birth of our first son. We sort of, glanced, at them again prior to the birth of our second. I would encourage any to-be parent to read up on the process, but there's just things that no book or even person is going to tell you. Now, while I highly suspect that anyone reading this knows me personally, I secretly want to believe that on some occasion you've told a friend that you know a guy who started a blog, and it's funny (or kinda sad)...check it out! So for those theoretical friends of friends who didn't get this bit of highly personal information...I used to be a baker.

The reason I mention this, is for a bit of perspective.

I may have accidentally been in the perfect profession as a lead in to being a stay at home Dad. The hours were generally long, and always started early in the morning. I was often ignored or given little respect. I was constantly expected to clean up another person's mess. I would get stuff on my hands that I couldn't wait to clean off. I was always indoors, with lots of noise, and almost always on the move. Lunch was always a test of speed, and most of the time...I kinda needed a hug.

The more thought I put into it, I realize that there seems to be only one thing my former job did not prepare me for when I made the jump to Admiral Von Homedad: TV.

BE WARNED! I will at some point do a posting of my over analysis of the shows on the Disney Channel. You people need to understand that in the almost 3 years now that I've been at home with the kids, I've spent a highly disproportionate amount of time with the characters on these shows versus people in real life. I suspect that all stay at home parents get that problem.

But no, when I say "TV" I'm not talking about the kid shows that try to throw in the clever "adult joke" from time to time. "huh huh, get it? Jimmy Moo? It's like Jimmy Choo? Remember Sex in the City? That Clairabelle Cow is such a Samantha!" Furthermore, I'd like to ensure everyone that we don't just watch TV here all day, neither my kids (who have much more pressing matters in the form of play destruction...hmm...playstrution? plastroy?) nor myself (aftermath containment unit) have time for that. I do though, get TV going as background noise for cleaning/mental unwind time.

 Specifically I'm talking about the commercials. I'm sure there have always been bad commercials, and probably the idea of a line of commercials for a particular product. However, I've noticed that being in drastically more contact with certain ones have caused me to not only loathe those commercials, but to swear off those products altogether.

My biggest issue is with the current onslaught of Kit Kat commercials where everyone is just sound eating the already annoying theme song. Know those? I have a huge problem with overly loud eating. I used to go upstairs when my wife would eat chips or,oddly enough, cereal. I love my wife more then I could ever put into words, and I respect her right the eat however the hell she wants. So I didn't do it in a mean way, I'd just disappear and come back when the carnage was over. My wife, who loves me an amazing amount for reasons I cannot seem to grasp, has made huge steps to bring down the volume. It's when you're able to make these types of compromises that you've got a strong marriage. Anyway, while it is mostly for that reason that the Kit Kat commercials make me want to live inside Kenny G's saxophone for a year. The other thing that gets me is the locations. Offices, libraries, whatever the hell else; in every situation I would have been screaming at people to stop eating rocks and old chunks of metal. No one should ever make that much noise while eating, and NO ONE should be that self involved so as to completely zone out to the fact that, "Oh hey, look at all these people around me trying to work, read, or pay their respects at a funeral. Oh well, it's time for me to have my barrel of bolts and roofing tiles!"

There's like 4 of these commercials, and while I know that people are still buying Kit Kats, I have to believe it's because people like Kit Kats and not because of the sound of a cement mixer going through a wood chipper. Much the way I don't think women switch tampon brands because of a lady jogging.

The books just never said I'd slowly go crazy from commercial exposure.

Also I think they should bring back 3D Doritos.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Aww, look at the baby!

Age 32 - Realized I am no longer "cute" or "adorable"

Today we went to visit Mommy at work! It's always good for the boys because there's several people who genuinely like that two adorable, awesome kiddos have stopped in to break up the same old daily routine. Others politely ignore the small chaos tornado that rolls by, which is totally fine. I would likely do the same. Of course there's a few people who give the subtle facial suggestion of, "GET THE HELL OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUT!!! NOOOOOOOOOWW!" which is difficult to pull off in a subtle way, but I understand that as well. We try to keep it brief.

Something happens every time we visit that makes me laugh. Sometimes it happens a couple times, but always at least once. There's always that moment during the conversation where someone glances over and notices that the escaped midget sloth has been standing there the whole time. It usually winds up like this:

"Oh Melissa! The boys are so big, and soooo cute. You guys make such cute babies! And William is 3! I can't believe it, and now look at you! You're so thin and beautiful, I can't even believe it."

*Carter bashful face*

*William panic face, wants to go watch cartoons at Mom's computer*

"Oh, hey Ev. How are you?"

"Pretty good, I -"



Now, don't get me wrong, there are people in the office who like me. If that's even the right word. Heck, one of Melissa's co-workers was one of the first followers of this, my version 5.0a (let's hear it for several consecutive days of posting people, I'm on a roll) blog. Still, it's gotta be hard to figure out what to say to the overly shy, quiet, Michael Cera stereotype guy, who shows up like 4-5 times a year. I do appreciate the effort. It just dawns on me that I'll never get back to that place where people made a big fuss about me. I'm just not that cute or adorable anymore.

I may need to start having my birthday parties at McDonald's again.

Damnit. I hate McDonald's.


Boobies have multiple functions, are used in a variety of work industries, and come in many shapes, colors and sizes!


William (oldest son) was sitting with Melissa (stunning wife) the other day at her computer desk. Over the years the organization of our desks has gotten a little lazy. To complicate this problem, William is in love with the concept of just getting into anything for no other reason then to simply pick up every object and put it somewhere completely different. It's real fun.

A while ago we really worked hard on getting the more "important" things or "dangerous" things out of his reach. So lots of things now sit on some shelves above the desks. Mostly this works great.

Now to inform this story I need to add that William is not much of a talker. Our Doc was, at one point in time, a bit worried about how his speech was developing, but those worries have faded. The truth is, he knows quite a few words and phrases, often doing things like singing a large chuck of a song. It's really quite cool to watch and listen to, but more often then not, he's quiet. He's also tremendously shy, and seems to take a fair amount of time to really be okay with someone "new" in the house or just around him in general. We're working on it. Anyway, most of the day he really only says a few things:

"I cannnn'ttt reeeeeeeach!" -  When he wants anything that we've specifically put out of reach.

"There it is!" - This generally follows the above. When you ask what he wants, he points and says this.

"Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeassssssssssse!" - Really this is used post lunch time when he then wants my food.

"It's okay, _______ ." - Fill in the blank with almost anything. Sometimes he really means well, like if Carter (younger son) trips and cries. Other times it's nonsense, like, "It's okay, drink." But it really is okay, drink.

"Watch ________ !" - Another multiple choice. This is when he's ready for TV before nap time. Manny, Cars, Mickey, Wall - E, Nemo, whatever he's in the mood for.

So back to the story. As William was sitting with Melissa, the normal conversation started.

"I caaaaaaaaaan'ttt reeeeeeeeeach."

"What do you want, buddy?"

"There it is!" *point*

"What this?" *holding a container of paperclips*

William snatched it up and as you'd expect, poured the paperclips all over the desk. As he went into his happy place of mess making, Melissa and I resumed our various computer activities. I'm less then 30 seconds into my research of how Handy Manny possibly had an episode with his "brother" when in an early episode he specifically tells his sister Lola that he's her ONLY BROTHER! I'M ON TO YOU MANUEL GARCIA!...Like I said, 30 seconds in and Melissa says, in an almost frantic way...

"Did you hear that?"

"Hear what?"

"William? What are these?"

As is his tendency, silence...until...


"Boobies! It's okay, boobies. It's okay. It's okay, boobies."

That went on for like 5 minutes! No idea where he caught on to the word, nor any idea why he would equate it with paperclips, but it's awesome!

And you know what? It *is* okay, boobies. It really is.

(By the way, now look at the start of this post again....get it?!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thoughts From the Walks

On days when the weather is nice enough and there are no errands to run, I like to take the boys on a nice long walk. They enjoy getting out into the sun and looking at all the buildings and cars and things. I enjoy their silence and generally pretend that I'm exercising. The other nice benefit for me is the amount of time to get lost in thought. We're out for about an hour and for a guy who's main form of conversation is along the lines of, "No." "Mickey Mouse?" "Share please, let's use our manners."..all manner of thoughts occur when I finally have a chance to think them. So, what very well may be the first "installment" of: Thoughts From the Walks!

Coin Laundry.

I know for a fact that the first time I ever saw an actual business with the actual name "Coin Laundry" was my freshman year of high school. My friend's Mom was driving me home, and there it was. I'm not sure what ideas you have to turn down in order to get to the point where you throw up your hands and say, "Just call it Coin Laundry." I both like and hate this as a name.

During my walk I was reminded of that first building, and I should mention that I've seen lots of generic business names since, but none captured the true lazy nature of Coin Laundry. I started thinking of what my generic business name would be. What would a stay at home dad put on the side of a building?

I haven't really decided, but the one my mindthoughts liked the best was:

Ass Wipe.

I've got good tone...FIRING!

 The heat seeking missile is a pretty damn impressive piece of engineering. Developed in California in the 50's, the idea was to use electromagnetic radiation emissions from a given object to track and follow that object. All the while, it needed to be able to discern the pattern of what it was supposed to be following from other objects in the area, so the concept of filtering the emissions within the infrared spectrum and locking on to a specific frequency when fired was developed as well. Just as interesting and perhaps sinister, is that when they made the missiles in the 50's they were made with the specific amendment of being easily upgradeable. It's perhaps like selling a cell phone with the specific intent to make one the next year that is "drastically better."

My oldest son has a habit of kicking me in the balls.

One time it was actually pretty bad. To the point where I woke up in pain the night after it happened. Now, as a man who has seen every episode of House ever*, I'm aware of what testicular torsion is AND what the outcome can be. Perhaps knowing this is what led me to decline medical attention. I should note that our second child was conceived AFTER this event and while my wife was on birth control, so not only am I certain that I still work...but the kick may have given me groinal super powers.

The thing that really gets me, well the pain is the thing that really gets me, but the other thing that really gets me is his aim! No matter what direction he is facing, no matter the distance from his foot to my crotch accessories he is able to make impact with astonishing accuracy. One time he kicked me while he was eating lunch in the kitchen and I was upstairs using the bathroom, with the door closed and locked! That actually happened!**

I guess what I'm saying here is this:

Heat seeking missile: Able to use a heat signature to track and ultimately destroy an enemy target. Existed for about 60 years. Cost of roughly $300,000 or should you choose to factor in the jet used well over a million dollars.

Child: Existed for centuries. Assuming all children possess this amazing gift (everything I've heard from other people with children seems to confirm this), able to use visual confirmation to lock onto a specific area of a target and ultimately, well I'm just gonna stick with destroy, that target. Cost of roughly $200,000 to raise.***

Man, it seems like we should be able to get more out of $300,000.

*While this is factual, I am still a medical novice. Should you choose to ask me for medical advice, do so at your own risk.


***Please keep in mind that this is all jokingly said (all my research is pretty sound though), as is much of what I say. In no way do I support the idea of launching toddlers into enemy territory to kick people in the jingle sacs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Truth in Advertising

There's a part of me that thinks I would have made a really good advertising employee. I say "would have made" but I guess when the kiddos are no longer dependant on Capn' Diaperchange throughout the day, who knows where I might end up. *slight pause for dream sequence where I work for the British Top Gear*

Anyway, one thing that I appreciate about the concept of advertising is that they are supposed to be truthful. While I understand that "truth" is sadly a relative term when it comes to advertising, companies are not allowed to flat out lie in order to sell their product. When Red Bull* says it gives you wings, people understand that it doesn't give you actual wings. It's used as a concept for a burst of energy or even that "second wind" feeling where it can be the it beneath your "wings." The point is, Red Bull* is NOT allowed to claim that if you drink their product you will never get sick again and you will become wildly rich and famous. I like that.

It is in this very roundabout way that I wanted to complain about Facebook!

Something I'll likely mention again in other posts is that I love my kids. I really do. They're both awesome boys and I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to be at home with them. That being said, they annoy the crap outta me. They really do. They're both kinda jerks and I mostly can't wait till nap time every day so I can perform my sadness ritual of sitting for a while in total silence. Remember that Depeche Mode video, "Enjoy the Silence" where King Needsashave walks around with his circa 1920's beach chair and just sad sits in various locations? - If you need the reminder.

It dawns on me that the video may just be about a stay at home Dad who was forced to play dress up pre-nap time. Also! For the record, my favorite part is the first time he sets up the chair, and then turns around as if confused by step 2 in the process. "So I just...sit down?"

Okay, back to Facebook. While the idea of "reconnecting" with people who you have lost contact with over time is actually quite cool, I'm often pissed at how people choose to update their status, because it's so often just complete crap. For the interest of time I'm going to focus on my 2nd most hated status update: your kids**. Here's the problem. On Facebook, you get to be whoever you want people to think you are. Sometimes I find that the online version of my friends are people I don't much like, but more so I find that people have this nasty habit of posting something to reassure your friends that every aspect of your life is going great! When, as your friends, we are very aware that it is likely untrue.

Sample conversation:

Friend status - My kids are so amazing and great. They built me a 2 story yurt made of reclaimed wood from the Titanic! Soooo blessed.

Phone call from friend 2 minutes later - "Hey! How's it going?!" "ROARO!!!KIDS!!! RRRAWWRRR GODZILLA!!!BRAAROO!!!POOP ON THE DRESSER!!!"

Look. As parents, heck, as people we understand that you love your kids. However, it's okay to admit that not every day is the setup for a stock photo of the happy family having dinner around the nicely set table. Just as important, you don't have to tell everyone that they are driving you insane. Maybe just push away from the keyboard all together? Either way, you don't have to lie to me. It just seems mean.

* I did not get paid by Red Bull to mention them in this posting.

** If something genuinly happens that involves your kids, I'm okay with those posts.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Take...I don't 5 or something.

The last time I made an attempt to really "start a blog" 7 random people stumbled onto it. I've always wondered what became of them (or if they ever think of me), but I'll probably never know.

I think I'm good at this part now. The "first post" thing where you feel it necessary to state some form of objective. Why you made a blog, why yours will be different from the other million that are about the same thing, or even why you promise that this time (!!!!) you really will write more often!

Five attempts in roughly 2 years or so, and my reasons for wanting to have a blog haven't changed. This little space is supposed to be my safe place. My nest in the trust tree. The place where I can come and word vomit the things that are bothering me at any given time. I'd like to talk about things from my perspective as a stay at home father, and more so I'd like to talk about things from my perspective as a me.

It's difficult to say what will become of this, my version 5.0a, but I'm willing to make some form of effort to find out.