I've begun spending an inordinate amount of time outside lately. I'd originally envisaged this whole thing as a way for me to impart all this knowledge and wisdom to my children. I have so much to teach them. Of course the truth of the matter is that they will end up teaching me (there - four weeks of reading this boring crap and finally I say something infused with wisdom). For the time being though I thought I could prepare my daughter for school by teaching her to read, write and do high-end mathematical equations before she even gets through pre-K. She was very interested in reading and writing, but that's tailed off now. I've come up with a plan though - I'm going to buy tons of sticky notes and put the name of everything up everywhere in G I A N T letters. It can't hurt at the very least.
I also planned to show my son the ways of Man. After I've learned these ways myself obviously. In British eyes I wasn't exactly a definition of masculinity. Meaning I didn't like drinking until I puked on myself, didn't want a Ford Fiesta with a giant tail-fin, nor was I interested in yelling racial epithets during sporting events. In American terms my masculinity rating plummets somewhat further. I can't use a drill, don't care about cars and I own more than one pink shirt. I also actually have a favorite poem and eat tofu because I think it's tasty in spite of the fact that I am not in any way a vegetarian. My advanced skills seem to be making a decent cup of tea, finding deeply inappropriate websites, making any situation - no matter how horrifying - funnier (to me, at least) and being able to poo quicker than anyone else surely is able to. My son's prospects are not good. It might be better if I let the dog raise him.
Instead we've ended up spending all our time outside knee-deep in mud-puddles hitting tree stumps with an axe. I had a vision that I could clear a large chunk of the woods out the back of my house so that a) the bugs in late Summer won't be as evil as last year, and b) the kids could be more contained where I can actually see them. My daughter has a tendency to bugger off for a wander and lately my son has became intrigued as to where she's going. So if I make the immediate backyard into some sort of cup-shape (maybe if I try to picture it as a catcher-s mitt I can regain some sort of masculine fervor) all will be safe. The wife has been working her fantastic little arse off making a massive flower garden out front. Visually it should deter my son from wandering into the road. Add that cutting down trees, moving brush and digging up stumps will make me look like a Marine. Maybe. It does allow me, of all people, to wander around with a chainsaw cutting stuff up. Whilst wearing a pink shirt mind you, but you can't have it all.
It also gives me the chance to do two things. Firstly, I can keep the television off. My daughter has started liking some shows that are just horrendous. Such as the show Boo! which is officially The Worst. Show. Ever. Added that the channel that it is on only features commercials that are apocalyptic. And all of them seemingly delivered by Henry Winkler and Montell Williams. Apparently we are all under constant threat from identity theft, imminent bankruptcy and mesothelioma. Luckily Montell knows where we can get $1000 fast. It is a very good job we don't have a land-line telephone because my daughter would definitely have called him by now to get cash to remove the asbestos he keeps telling her is somewhere in the attic.
Secondly it allows me to play music that I like to listen to all day long. I stick the stereo in the kitchen window and we all sing along and ponce about in the mud for hours. One thing to note is that a lot of the music I like makes my kids mental. Now, being English I can't dance at all. I look like I'm having diarrhea cramps. My wife knows only one actual dance move (she kicks her heels like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz) and thinks that Line Dancing is actual dancing. So the chances of either of my kids being innately good at dancing were slim to none. However my daughter loves to dance. Especially to a lot of the music I like. Sadly she had to learn from us. To compensate she throws herself around like she's simultaneously having an epileptic seizure and is covered in fire ants. My son stands in one spot and stamps one foot. For an hour. At first my daughter expected me to dance with her. But after a week of yelling, "stop dancing like that Daddy!" and then completely obliterating my abilities by telling me I am deliberately "dancing funny' she has given up asking me to join in. Which is good - I can pretty much ignore them and chainsaw away free in the knowledge that they will be in the same spot - riddled by violent spasms and stamping away - when I'm done.
I'm also trying to make dinner interesting again. Sometimes it goes wrong. Yesterday I made burgers with blueberries in them. Good Food magazine insist that is the coolest thing this Summer. Yes, it was as fantastic as that sounds. Clearly someone on the board of that magazine has an arse load of blueberries they needed to shift. My wife may be the finest cook on Earth, so it's pretty difficult to make meals that she genuinely likes. I tend to make things that I think she won't bother trying to make. And I'm happy to say that our sausage intake has gone through the roof. I also keep avoiding making ice tea for my wife. She drinks it when we visit the in-laws so I know she does like it. But as an Englishman I can't bring myself to make a lot of tea and then deliberately not drink it until it's very cold. It's a vile drink and I certainly don't want my kids to grow up thinking it's acceptable. They can become bi-sexual vegan Scientologists for all I care and I'd still love them, but if they start drinking that crap then they are on their own.
Daily Dump - Boo