Sunday, July 31, 2011

No One Can Hear You Toot In Outer Space

My daughter has been pushing buttons this weekend.

Everything she's been told to do she's ignored. With a smile on her face. She also started doing things she knows are wrong. Like loudly saying someone's farted at the store, and then making a giant farting noise. So I had to drag her out and tell her that was not on. I then reminded her that some words are not acceptable in public (such as the word "fart" which she has repeated with alarming regularity since coming back from the in-laws) and if she says them at school then she's in big trouble. I'm very much trying to lay the foundation that her teacher is going to be in charge and not her, so she best not piss them off. Because if she starts getting clever and weird I'm the one who gets the social worker on my doorstep advocating Ritalin and electro-shock treatment. Well too late lady - I'm already doing that. Oh you mean for her? The main thing to learn from this anyway is that it suddenly highlights that the rare times during the day where I lose my cool and say my own special brand of rude words is a situation best to be avoided. I don't want her calling her school a bag of something-rude that's been dipped in something-rude before being f-worded by a giant c-word.

Anyway, my daughter used her creative little brain and just changed all the rude words she knows to "hug." As in she makes a giant farting noise and then says, "I just heard a hug Daddy." She didn't just jump off the couch onto my guitar - no she "hugged" my guitar. It made yesterday afternoon one of those one's where you are left with a lingering cloud of rage long after the child has forgotten what they were deliberately doing to piss you off.

That was yesterday. This morning over breakfast she started it all up again and made a giant toot noise at the table. When stared at with the Eyes Of A Thousand Deaths she calmly stated that she absolutely did not make a rude noise. No, she just "sent a hug to Outer Space." My wife, seizing on the genius parenting trick of not reacting to something but instead talking endless bollocks about a subject to distract a child from poor behavior quickly interjected with, "did you know that no one can hear you toot in outer space?" She then explained how space works, and that you can't fart in a vacuum. I'm sure you can imagine what I feared at that point. Needless to say the girl did stop being a turnip and has not, as of yet, tried to chuff one out into the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner. And if she does I have my camera ready.

Since then she's been pretty good. My son fought off a nap long after he should have taken it. But we chucked him in the car to go out and he was unconscious before we got out of the driveway. Then we took my daughter blueberry picking, bought a week-supply of fruit and then quickly ran away from a bees nest at the nearby playground. Now my wife is in bed having a nap while I sneakily eat all the M&Ms. The rest of the day shall be lazy. My wife spent the morning weeding the vegetable garden and has probably forgotten the giant pile of ironing she needs to do to get her work clothes ready. So a nap is in good order. I may try and beat yesterday's record height for building a block tower with my kids, but outside of that the most I'm doing is having a bath, dreaming about gravy and chips and figuring out what kind of pickling juice to put Swiss chard in.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Put It Away

I had a very strange and real dream about friends of my family last night. It involved far too much nudity, cheesecake and snowmobile trailer repair to have been real, but it sure felt like it when I woke up. I genuinely wasn't sure if it had happened or not for a minute or so. I stayed awake a good two hours after it too feeling nauseous - although I'm mostly convinced the flagrant nudity didn't cause it.

My wife and daughter are out swimming. My son is taking a very belated nap on the couch. Normally I'd bum around a few websites and rant on here. Today I'm going to be quick and just go read. I think I'm also giving up a large chunk of my internet life. It's been fun but it seems quite forced now. I have used my Expat site as an avenue to spout endless esoteric bollocks for years, but I need some real life time at the moment. My head hurts and the lines are getting fuzzy again. So a break from playing a character is a good thing. I treat this as real life - especially as it gives me a way to tell my wife whats in my head and whats going on each day. And if I didn't write something each day - no matter how frivolous or small I might have to take up a real hobby which requires effort.

Cup of tea and a nice sit down to come.

Friday, July 29, 2011

One Plus One Is Three

"Daddy, you accidentally counted to three."

I went to pick up my daughter bright and early this morning. I was just going to swoop in and grab her, leave and get home before anyone could even think about having a nap that threatened bedtime tonight. But I noted that the grandparents would like to see their grandson, and that my daughter would very much like to go to the super-awesome thrift store in Old Forge, NY. So I drove up early with a big cup of coffee.

The first thing my daughter said when I got there was, "I'm making a cake for China Daddy!!" Okay. I plopped my son off with Grandpa and headed for the sandbox with my daughter. She immediately informed me that, "Daddy, in China they don't have castles, they have palaces." Okay again. She must have been watching something. About China. With her Grandparents - neither of whom would be remotely interested in China or it's un-American ways. I started digging a pile of sand to make a sand-turtle and my daughter told me, "if you dig too far down Daddy you'll end up in China." Okay this is mental. I asked her what on earth she was barking about and she said she plays games with Grandpa and he told her all about China. Fair enough. I picked up the plastic fork and she said, "in China they don't have forks to dig with and instead they make the people use chopsticks in the dirt."

So I spent the next ten minutes secretly decoding her and emptying the bilge out of her head. A sad fact about spending time at her grandparents is that with the 99% of awesomeness comes 1% of unpleasantness. A small fraction of that also appears to be dirt. The last time I picked her up she smelled like she hadn't bathed in a week - which considering she was there for just over four days was nearly true. This time she'd spent two nights and didn't smell bad, but clearly could do with a shower. The in-laws aren't dirty by any stretch - they shower every day at least once (sometimes twice) but they don't seem to have the energy to shower her. And she hadn't used an electric toothbrush for two nights either and I was aware of a mouth odor.

Then she told me that she was a Chinese beaver. Not even asking. She quickly followed this up by telling me she is a cheese-powered robot. My son had made it over to us at that point. And my daughter told him that he was, "the gorilla that goes SMASH!!!" and they both trampled everything in sight. When they got a tad too rambunctious I whisked the girl off to the Thrift Store. Which gave me a good ten minutes to explain to her in detail that her Grandparents are wonderful loving people who she is extremely lucky to have, but that they also spout a good deal of insane bollocks. As I'm sure I do, but it's important to know that some things are right, some wrong, but mostly you should decide for yourself.

Then my daughter randomly pointed out a child on the street and said, "I don't like that child Daddy. He's ugly." Now, I don't like your revolting offspring, But that's almost a medical condition for me. It certainly a gag-reflex thing. My daughter though was taught that by someone over the last few days. Or at least heard someone say it to her in confidence. She certainly didn't believe it. So I told her in no uncertain terms that she is not allowed to be horrified by random children until she is older.

On the drive home my daughter reiterated that I can't count. She told me flatly, "Daddy you accidentally counted to three. I said I was going to Grandma and Grandpa's house for two days." Of course we are both right, but we agreed in future that she would tell us how many nights she wanted to sleep there. She also told me, out of the blue, that she missed dancing with me. Which was very nice of her. I love my music and it fills me with such happiness that at least someone else in my house does too. It has it's own place at times and isn't everyone's cup of tea. For example, I remember years back updating my Facebook account to include a few bands I really liked and one of my church friends sent me the cryptic message, "Gavin, are you okay?" After a quick back and forth to find out what they were on about they told me that a Facebook update had flashed up that said, "Gavin likes Morphine, Jackie O Motherfucker and Gay Witch Abortion." Which are all very good bands (and surprisingly inoffensive) - but it didn't read that way. So for the whole drive home I let my daughter tell me if she liked the song I had on or if I should skip. She didn't skip any.

Since getting home my daughter has insisted that I pretend she is her brother, and that he is a robot imposter. She has been goose-stepping around the house for the last fifteen minutes chanting, "I'm Owen and I'm wearing Evelyn's clothes." Which sounds like something I may hear him say at a twelve-step support group I take him to when he's older. In the present day Owen is actually asleep. My daughter says she turned off his battery. And that now he's asleep we should throw him in the garbage. I went to the bathroom and she was honestly starting to drag him off the couch - presumably to dump him in the trash while I was looking the other way. Since then she has been trying to get me to promise to take her outside and roll in some mud. Seeing as there is a little yard-work to do I think I'll let her.

But I've had my attention on this for the last ten minutes so I think I better check the kitchen garbage can to make sure her brother isn't in there before we go out.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Wrong Kind of Eggs

My garbage has maggots. Ick.

Not the one in the house - that would be horrible. Just one of the outside ones. So I broke out a bottle of bleach and murdered the lot of them. I cannot stand the little bastards. How dare they try and live in my garbage can. I dont care if they are just flies and eggs like all the other ones. They are patently evil. And the smell - dear Lord it is horrendous. Why do they smell like that? I checked and apparently it takes a mere eight hours for the eggs to be laid and then appear. Now I love eggs but I don't love these. They must all be destroyed.

There have been mutterings in my area that they may try and move to garbage pick-up every other week. Things to note here for my UK friends - people know what they pay in taxes for this in the US. It's clear as day how much it costs. So when the town starts saying they want to curtail garbage pickup but still increase the taxes for it for next year it makes people angry. Also it is waaay too hot for bi-weekly pickup here. Nasty doesn't even begin to explain what that would be like. I had bi-weekly pick-up in Bristol back home. It was sold as a Greener thing to do. Very soon it became clear that it wasn't at all and totally down to the penalties imposed on the UK by the EU. We had three or four different colored garbage cans for different things to recycle and one for explicit food waste. The city told Bristolians they would never have to worry about maggots because they would see that their waste was much smaller than they thought, and the container would be sealed. Then when that didn't go smoothly people started being told either had too much or the wrong kinds of food waste. I remember a newspaper article strongly chiding people to modify their eating habits or freeze their waste until garbage day. I get the point here but you don't change social habits like that. Americans aren't going to roll over on that. Trust me - it will be made into a Capitalist Warmongering Jesus Freak  vs Communist Abortionist Mexicans issue within a week of that one hitting the floor. Try telling an American that they are doing their garbage wrong on the one hand, while demanding they pay a town taxes increase on the other.

I think I like my new GP. First and foremost when they weighed me they used an electronic scale. The last place I went to still used one of those bizarre weights-and-measures machines where the person weighing you slides a weight and pours some water into a bucket to figure out how much you weigh. Secondly the doctor was very nice and gave me a good vibe. Said the right things, was insistent on some things, advised on others - all good stuff. When he whacked me on the knee for reflexes he did make my son cry though. Now that is a good reflex. ?He also took my blood right in the office instead of insisting I go to a special clinic too which was nice. They said they would only call if something weird was going on. So I expect I'll get a call late Friday to tell me that they found a slight trace of hemoglobin in my chocolate stream.

My son is doing what he does when his sister isn't here. Meaning struggling to stay awake. He's had one forty five minute nap. He's itching for another one. Without the visual stimuli of his sister he just isn't interested in life. He's like a nineteen year old college kid. He's just lying staring at the ceiling on the couch. I've waived some cheese at him and he didn't reach for it. He'll be out in a quarter hour. His sister was probably awake by 5am this morning. Raring to go as per usual and insisting her grandparents get up four hours before they normally do. She's like the other kind of nineteen year old college kid - the one who joined the track team and the rowing club to try and burn off some energy, but is still flying all day long.

My wife is considering steering her towards horsey-stuff so that she can use that energy up and get good discipline mucking out stables at five am every day. Sounds good and did my wife the world of good. It also gave her thigh-muscle strength like you wouldn't believe. She can leg-press more than double that I can without it being any effort at all. I remember right after I met her I walked in on her nearly killing a friend of hers. He was a tiny little man-boy friend of hers who had learned of her leg strength so bet her that if she leg-hugged him he would easily be able to escape. Or, more probably, be able to demonstrate his awesomeness and get to have sex with her. When I walked in she had practically cutting him in two, he was very short of breath and his face was swelled with blood that had been squeezed from his waist. That's the sort of man-repulsion technique I want my daughter to use as well.

Actually my daughter told her mother last night that she was expecting to see her today. The plan was to get her tomorrow after staying at her grandparents for two nights. She came up with the plan herself. My daughter had apparently used the same kind of mathematics that John Boehner used to count his budget plan and came up with an entirely different number than she'd originally claimed. So I might be making an early extraction. I thought it might be exciting to treat getting her like the FBI ripping Elian Gonzales away from his Floridian parent and whisking him off back to his Socialist paradise. Which would be my house. I'd play to blind prejudice by wearing a Sombrero and praising Huge Chavez as I did it giving credence to the impression given by some news media here that anyone south of Laredo, Texas really is all the same - even if they are actually Cuban. Or in my case, from Peterborough.

Also I found out this morning that an old work colleague of mine had another heart attack. I think it's their second but honestly they might have had more. They are younger than I am and with a baby too. I have my own issues, but I'm not under such obvious risk of dropping dead. Still, it has highlighted the need to focus and enjoy life with my children. So to honor that I'm going to eat all of my son's M&Ms for toilet training.

Thanks boy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Gift

I have a gift for those of you with both patience and an unnatural obsession with my life. It's another blog. The contents of which are actually legendary in some circles. It's a very long account of the house that my wife and I purchased at an auction in the Summer of 2009. It was housed somewhere else in fragments but now it's in one place.

 Feel free to read it when you have a few days to spare.And try not to gasp too much.

Uncle Touchy's Den Of Felonies

Daily Dumps July 27 2011

Run Fat Boy Run

Just got home after dropping the girl off at the in-laws. Before I left she insisted she put on a helmet to kiss me. Is that insulting?

My brother-in-law was there with his kids and future wife which was nice. I love the idea of a communal big family and so do they. And it meant that my daughter would get to play with her cousin which she very much enjoys. I knew this because her cousin was supposed to leave thirty minutes after we got there. I stayed for two hours and they weren't even close to making lunch let alone packing up and leaving. I would go nuts in that family. Actually he flattered me by stating, "you're looking very slim - are you doing long distance running again?"

"No - started sniffing glue." I replied.

I do this every year. I'm never fat per se, but I do eat like a Viking over the Winter. Come early Spring I'm just not that hungry. I don't get it. In January nary a minute goes by when I'm not thinking about food. But I don;t even eat anything most days until after 6pm during the Summer. When I quit my job I was 185 pounds. This morning I weighed in at 158. That's quite a few bowls of ice cream skipped. But it felt cool last night so I started craving no-bake cookies and things drenched in custard. Didn't have any though. Sounds like too much work. And with my daughter gone for a few days I will actually have to remind myself that my son requires feeding. Add that I get a new GP doctor tomorrow - which means I get stocked up on all my meds again. At which point I will start long distance running again very regularly. I went out the other morning without anyone knowing and had a blast. If my wife finds out (which she just did reading that) she'll recommend I take the kids in the jogging-stroller we have. Uggh.

Anyhoo - I am very excited to get into that again. Nothing beats running a good brisk 10k around the Adirondack trails. We saw some hard-core lunatics belting around the State Park last week and I got a severe tinge of jealousy. But they were in a group which I just don't get at all. Running is an inherently selfish thing to do. I get to be alone for hours and listen to music very loudly. Or books on tape. Actually I really enjoy chucking that on, a stand up album, or even a Radio 4 thing and just staying out for ages. I have no interest of any kind in running races. I couldn't care less if I'm fast. I certainly don't want to go running where other people are. Especially if they are related to me. It's not mean - its just my time to kind of zone out and float along.

Until then though I think I might have some ice cream.


The Arse Worm Rescue Farm

Yesterday my wife was present to see my son crouch on all fours and try to take the dog's tail into his mouth. He really was trying to get a good bite on it. Unfortunately for him due to the awkward angle and the small size of the tail (it's about the size of a marshmallow) he couldn't get an adequate purchase. I hadn't ever seen him do it before. "Stop licking the dog's bottom" my wife cried. Then my daughter yelled the same thing. I just let him get on with it and watched with amusement. Should I video this? Is this how he'll make his name? Who taught him this? Why is the dog reciprocating? Is my wife protesting too much? Are there college scholarship opportunities here? Should I have go? Will my son be known as the Michael Phelps of Dog Tail Biting?

My daughter came hurtling into the living-room late yesterday afternoon announcing she was going away for a few days. She would be staying with Grandma and Grandpa and had packed her scarf, hat, a pair of pajamas and slippers. Odd choice but whatever. I had Skype open on the computer so my daughter sat down and tried to dial Grandma to let her know the great news. I plugged in the camera USB and the microphone and they worked it out between themselves. So this morning I'm driving her up there and spending two days alone with my son. As per usual I'm looking forward to dealing with just the one kid and sad that I'll miss her.

All you single-child parents have no idea. You think you have had all your time taken away by your spoiled little demanding leech. You haven't. You don't know this but you can actually have more of it taken away. The great thing is that having a second one is much easier in the sense that you aren't worried about much. You know how to have them not die after they are born. And if they cry big deal. Kids cry. Although I hate it when yours do. It sounds like an annoying crow is just putting on a melodramatic performance. Anyway, that's much easier. And it really doesn't seem like an issue. That is until they can both move. Once they are both running around like drunkards you suddenly realize you did have more time and focus to lose and use. And you did have one arm free. Now you don't. And it wasn't this ridiculously loud before.

So my daughter going away really highlights that. It will be quieter, slower and weirder. But to stop my son from thinking she's gone forever I should fill in for her. Randomly I'll scream, "BANANA" and then chuck something at him. Then, after he's set himself the task of piling cars on top of one another I'll just come bowling into him and smash the whole thing to bits. Laughing and eating cheese and yelling, "What are you gonna do Dr. Bonk? Huh? The Winkie Wobbler cannot stop Princess Bounce. A hahahahahhhahhahhha!!" Maybe I should dress the dog up as my daughter. You know - to stop my son from any emotional scarring from being alone?

And although my daughter is only four (in a few weeks) I have still managed to convince one tiny part of my brain that she's sneaking off up north to play with boys. Dirty nasty lying boys. And with this being small town America you can throw in chewing tobacco, Kenny Chesney and guns. Yes - even in a four year old. I've already had the conversation with my daughter to stay away from boys. 99 out of 100 teenage boys are evil little shits that spend all of their day fantasizing about doing dirty nasty things to girls. They objectify, sexualize and see every encounter with girls as a potential opportunity to ejaculate in or on them. When I see one when I'm out driving it takes all my will power to not run them over. I know all about them and their dirty little plans. I was a teenage boy and a colossal wanker of one as well. I saw first hand the emotional blackmailing, the sexual bullying and the wanton disregard for potential pregnancies at a ridiculously young age. And I was a pretty nice teenage boy - which automatically means I was still a complete fucking idiot. And I'm especially aware that this will be more acute if she's a lesbian. I have a few lesbian friends who have indicated the living hell they were put through in their teenage years. The sexualization is manifested time ten at least. As is the hatred of them for their unavailability.

I've been warned that this kind of behavior will drive her away from me and into the arms of some twat. The kind who epitomizes everything I want her to avoid. I'd like to see that happen as I physically drive her all the way to northern Manitoba on her thirteenth birthday to live on the arse-worm rescue farm I will be buying. I have this all planned out. I will shove her into a passion like one of those creepy parents who force their little kids into child pageants. Or those people who drag kids to the National Spelling Bee. Or those parents who try to live their sporting lives vicariously through their kids. Better - prodigal violinist/piano kids whose parents actually flog them when they play something incorrectly for the sheer shame of it all.

Except my bad-parenting choice of obsession will be deliberately aimed at something everyone else will find disgusting. I don't want it to be totally fruitless and I do want it to require very devoted focused academic schooling that will invariably lead to helping society as a whole. So I chose arse worms. It's a real thing. And they are creatures that presumably some people like. I've met a woman nutso for slugs. She was very nice and seemed well adjusted. Except for the fact that she loved slugs. Well, my daughter will be like that but with arse worms. I want her to be the Jane Goodall of arse worms. During college I wont have to worry about her neglecting her passion and hanging out with friends drinking, smoking weed and looking for seedy little dance clubs to drop ketamine in. Oh no. Her house mates will say, "Hey - you wanna come out tonight? We're gonna take acid naked on the beach and try and have group sex with the local homeless man and his dog as an act of communal giving! Then we are going to make protest banners out of hemp and distill our own vodka from our own piss" Or some other such mindless idealistic retarded drivel that college kids come up with.

"Sorry guys," she'd say, " I don't have time for this - I'm busy with my arse worms."

It can't fail.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Wife's Wet Womb/You're Taking Off The Wrong Person's Pants

Daughter: It was raining when I was inside Mommy too.

Lately I've been spending quite some time telling my daughter about where she came from. Which is a bit odd because I've also been telling her that caring about people shouldn't stop at the border, or be confined to people just like her. Anyhoo - it's consisted of me telling her lots of things about England and Bristol in particular. Every situation seems to lead to me telling her an equivalent British option. We got raw milk at a local farm over the weekend - which led to me blathering on and on about the milkman. And how the milkman brought big glass bottles of Schweppes lemonade too. And that the boys that were, "on the milk" were arseholes. And how, at one point, the chip shop van would always come when Hong Kong Phooey was on TV. Then at swimming today a bunch of people arrived on a yellow school bus. Which led me to ranting about how I didn't take a bus to school and had to walk forty minutes each way come rain or shine. By the way it was rain most of the time, I can promise you. And how we all wore uniforms which is a great leveler and not the scary socialist nightmare that some here portray it as. Which in turn led to me explaining how you could tell which girls were total slags solely based on how they butchered their school tie. Oh - and the fact that they fucked loads of people on the rugby pitch during Youth Club too.

I've noticed this creeping in a lot lately. Which means I'm getting itchy about something. I am not pining to go home I can assure you. It took me three minutes after arriving back in England after four years away to realize that was a colossally stupid thing to have done last time. But as I am in the middle of another self-evaluation this has cropped up. She's come to understand that she isn't a real American. I mean - in American terms she is. Not totally seeing as she was born in a different country. But her mother is a US born citizen. And the US Embassy did insist on us taking a tiny baby to them within 30 days so they could stick a flag in her like she was The Moon. So she's like three-fifths of an American. Which is steeped in American tradition. Maybe she should ask for reparations?

Anyway the point is that I've constantly been going on about her being born in Bristol. Which became so lame that when it rained today I blurted out the rather naff, "it used to rain in Bristol too." Yeah - that lame. She had said mostly nothing all morning about my barrage of, "you aren't really from here" comments but answered me after the stupid rain comment with a furrowed brow and a combative, "no, I came from inside Mommy." She knows full well where she was born and all about babies and whatnot so clearly she was taking the piss somewhat. Which was born out by her quickly adding the, "but yes, it was raining inside Mommy too while I was in there." For the remainder of the morning everything was "inside Mommy" which is a horrifying thought. Mostly because we drove by an awful lot of farm animals and municipal equipment today. After being told for maybe the fifth time that something ridiculous was, "inside Mommy too" (in this case a garbage truck) I told her to knock it off even though I definitely wanted to see where that went.

Oh, some advice for new and future parents out there - you are never out of the Danger Zone. My son had two poos this morning. And yet I still put him on my shoulders without underpants on thinking I'd be fine. Let's just say a flannel wasn't going to be anywhere near adequate.

My daughter has also spent the entire day insisting that I make her hot chocolate. Even though it's 82 degrees. And I know she wouldn't actually drink it because it would make her too hot. So I held off and took her swimming, played outside, and then drove to the store. And all the while she wouldn't shut up about it. Needless to say I folded about 3pm and made her one. And she didn't drink it.

My daughter has also started a ridiculous game of rushing to the bathroom, insisting that she can't go to the bathroom by herself (she can and has for years) and threatening to piss all over everything unless I join her. Sometimes she insists that both my son and I join her. This game took on a borderline-wrong element this morning when she incorporated a part that she clearly knows is annoying me. Basically she runs into the bathroom, calls for help, demands more people join her, we go running in, she cries, "I need help getting my pants down!!" at a ridiculously loud volume, and then she tries to take off my pants. At which point she yells, "Oh no!!! I've chosen the wrong person's pants!!" Sometime I can fake-laugh it off and just get her to go. But at least once she has coerced her brother to actually make me at least start taking off my pants under the threat of her pissing on the floor. So I had to bribe her with coconut ice pops to stop doing that. Which I suspect was her plan all along.

This morning I wandered blindly into the after affects of the Storm of Death. It was raining at my house when we left for the store. Not in a weird way or anything although there was a little thunder. Two minutes later we crossed a major highway that was apparently some sort of invisible barrier for the edge of Hell. Because immediately on the other side of that road everything had been knocked over and broken. Trees had been toppled and ripped apart. Garbage cans were all over the road. None of the traffic lights worked and there had been enough car accidents to make it noticeable. It was bizarre. Didn't stop going to the store mind you - weather doesn't stop anything around here. If you have any concept of what it's like to drive on roads caked in a good foot of snow while another foot pounds your car during the short drive you make your way to work, then you'll understand why nobody around here is going to not go anywhere because of some wind and rain.

The really bizarre thing though was that when I got to the grocery store it was closed. No power. That's fair enough. What was totally bizarre was that some people - upon being told the store had no power so was shut - pretty much acted like total dicks and insisted on shopping anyway. One woman very angrily yelled, "I've come all the way from Poland" (no not that Poland - although I'm sure the Daily Mail would love to scare you into believing differently with how tales of marauding gypsy-Poles were reaping the countryside and buying all your bread) and tried to barge into the store! As my daughter was taking all this in I had to explain to her that this woman was being a tosser. I really don't understand people who think that the world revolves around them. You know those people that park their very ordinary car between four spaces at the store? Those people are complete muppets. But once I actually saw someone park their very ordinary car between two disabled parking spots. That person is a tosser. Anyway - I explained it to my daughter and she asked me the excellent question, "why would that woman want to go shopping if she can't anyway?" Beats me. I can't really tell her that some people are just turnips. Too young for that devastation I think.

Anyhoo - we drove home with the explicit aim of jumping in puddles when we got there. She calls the flooded area out back Puddle Jump Pond. It's immense fun, but there is a shocking amount of broken glass that keeps surfacing there. The house used to belong to a Cooper who half buried/half chucked broken glass, ashes and bricks all over the one part of the yard. And - based upon evidence - the neighbors had a tendency to drop chemicals/engine oil/sharp pointy stuff wherever they were stood when they stopped using it. Still - I'd cleared out the ditch and it was spotless yesterday so I said sure. It's been two months since we wallowed around in giant mud puddles and cleared the ditch and we really enjoyed doing that. But when we got back there wasn't a puddle in sight - weird storm. Disappointed my daughter demanded we go inside the house. So that she can have a cup of hot chocolate.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Back To Earth

My daughter is charging around the living room and chanting, " I LOVE SALAMI!!" in short blunt bursts. Which makes it sound like she's yelling, "I LOVE SODOMY!!" instead.

My wife, after reading the entire entry in which my daughter investigates her own Bat Cave, protested with passion, "Why did you tell them all that? Now they'll think we go to Subway." Yes clearly that's the problem there.

A series of unfortunately timed events occurred this morning that have confused my daughter. First of all I tried to show her on a map where she was born - Bristol in England. The moment we were done with that my son turned the TV on and there was some naff entertainment slop on. On which they were discussing if - based upon a paparazzi-style photograph - you could see Bristol Palin's crotch as she got out of a car. At which point my daughter enthusiastically announced," hey that's where I was born Daddy!!"

My son is currently tying to drop pieces of bread and ham into a sleeping dog's ear. This can only end poorly.

The Serious Entry

This is very hard for me to write about. I haven't formulated this in a neat nice concise way. Because it isn't nice, neat and concise. And there is such stigma around this that it tends to turn people off but.....yeah it's who I am. And no - it isn't funny.

I was just reading this morning a couple of instances of parents feeling conflict and a sense of struggle because their kids don't believe what they believe. As in politically. Two friends have children that firmly advocate talking points that as parents they find dumb and revolting. As my eldest is not quite four I suppose I don't have to worry about that for a good while.

And yet I do. Because what you teach kids helps create what they become. It's why prejudice is learned and not innate. And people are partly made up of what they learn. It's not all internal. Also my daughter just asked me if I became friends with Jesus at school. As in - when did this man she has heard about from different places show up? At which point I started to feel sick, uncomfortable and torn right down the middle of what makes me who I am.

I'm not going to go into the long version of what I believe. Too complicated. And no - I'm not going to tell you to believe it either. Because that is exactly the point. Believe whatever you want. But it is important to note that I am not a life long Christian. If you want to measure it I'm very new. And half the time I don't even like the skin I'm in - especially the labeling. It just happened. I certainly didn't choose this. And it hurts like a bastard. You think I want to believe this? I spent a good portion of my life ridiculing it. I didn't sit around a table of pamphlets and figured I'd plump for something. And I'm not blindly following anything. I must say I am constantly amazed at the comments about "blindly following something." It hints at the atheists belief that people of faith are either a) dumb and lying, b) scared, fragile/gullible and lying or c) mental. It doesn't ever offer for any alternative or explore why perfectly intelligent people come to believe something - be that a belief in God, religion or even believers turning to atheism for that matter. It only allows for something nefarious or idiotic. It reminds me of that constant hammering point that Richard Dawkins makes that Christians in particular have been brainwashed deliberately by other people that don't actually believe in anything they say. It's all a sham. No one can believe this by choice right? All that does is sharply highlight that those who feel this way about Christians (especially) don't understand what it is that Christians believe, have no idea why they believe it and have no seeming real interest in finding it out.

Which is usually why I don't bring it up. Especially in this country where many many people hear "I believe in God" as "I hate fags, welfare and Mexicans." But I came to faith in England which is an infinitely more progressive church than the US one seems to be. I felt more at ease there knowing that my faith seemed to serve that. And yet here I feel like a liar. Weirder to me is that once people find out that I believe in God they suddenly think that I'm not the ridiculous inappropriate wanker they thought I was ten minutes ago.

Earlier on in my faith I didn't care what people thought. I often wandered into these kinds of echo-chambers where amazingly tolerant enlightened people patted each other on the back for not believing in something they don't really seem to understand but knew was stupid. And then I'd say, "oh, I believe in that" and they'd tell me in a very intolerant way why I am a retard. Nor did they ever really want to understand what it was I believed. I would never try to force whatever I believe onto someone else. I certainly wouldn't deride you for not agreeing with me - there are plenty of other things I can make fun of you for believing. Your hairstyle for starters. Sometimes I would suggest reading The Bible to get some idea of it. But as someone who hasn't always been a Christian I can understand why that seems like a stupid thing to do. It's a great chasm between what Christian theology is and what Christians do. It's a bit like me telling my father-in-law to read The New Economic Policy from 1920s Soviet Russia to see why on paper a lot of socialist ideals make sense. Never going to get anywhere like that.

So a simple "when did you meet Jesus?" question is very hard for me to get into without knowing what is inevitably coming after it. What I believe has been an immense struggle for me. Still is. The power of mixed feelings wants to come out of me like a waterfall. It's not been blindly followed. I spend an inordinate amount of time throwing skepticism and common sense at it. And it makes for a very uncomfortable difficult time. I'm not afraid of death and the ensuing nothing. I don't get comfort that I'm going somewhere ace after I die where there are angels, fairgrounds and everything tastes of chocolate. I didn't even want to believe. At all. Skeptic doesn't even cover it for what I was. But no-one made me. I haven't plumped for something because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I wasn't sat around choosing options. It just happened and I can barely explain it. It's an incredibly complex and almost impossible thing to explain to people. And I have spent an astonishing amount of time studying various codas and interpretations of what it is that lies beneath the simple call to faith that I have.

So I cheated and fobbed off the answer. I need to answer this correctly. Which you do to if you are going to tell your kid categorically that what I believe is totally wrong - especially knowing that they also will come to a point where this will be a thing they deal with as an adult. In very simple terms I wrestle with the dichotomy of knowing what I believe, and also knowing that previously I didn't believe this at all and that I didn't really choose to. I have plenty of friends who would think telling a child about religion is an unkind, selfish and evil thing to do. And I am very nervous about teaching my kids about what I believe. I'm certainly more uncomfortable about teaching them about church. One glance through the Sermon on The Mount and I start feeling very queasy about church. Jesus spends an inordinate amount of time reacting to normalcy and comfortability. In highlighting humbleness and deriding the bloated selfish material hunt for money. And attacking the organized church. If you believe that Jesus wanted to destroy the Temple then it seems incredibly odd that we'd go and build a whole host of them with the same failings. I have endless battles with my faith, what I understand and reality itself. I can't drive past new church buildings without feeling sick. What an extraordinary way to spend an awful lot of money. With what seems to be the realistic result that people leave a church they are already at to go to another one with a newer bathroom. I say this as a massive failing hypocrite that has hopped from church to church demanding it serve me and my family (in many ways). I also say it as someone who - as little as it is - has possessions and property and an element of wealth.

I have a friend back in the UK who, whenever I think about her, fills me with very good feelings and loving smiles (Hi Grace!). She quite rightly asked me once how someone like my wife - educated to a high degree scientifically - can believe in God. Surely the two worlds can't fit together? I am not articulate enough at all to explain that without it sounding like bollocks. Or crazy. My wife - upon me telling her that years ago - said it made perfect sense to her. How can I explain that to a four year old? And should I?

I've heard plenty of justifiable reasons why people say they can't choose to believe in God. Lewis Black has an excellent account in his book of watching his brother die - and struggling to understand the Love of God when everyone in that family suffered in the worst way - and stating that pushed him away from Judaism. It's very common for non-believers to point to evil and ask, "How can God allow that?" Especially if the perpetrator identified themselves as a Christian. Of course following that line of rationale and the idea that it's a philosophical choice - atheists have a lot to be desired as far as evil goes as well. I remember a short while before I came to believe in God I was standing in my back yard and watching a bird die. My mother told me it had been there for a few days. Alone. Starving to death. It was like a weird slap in the face - I chose then - based on what I had learned - to ignore any inclinations to a loving caring God. A month later that was all blown to bits.

For a few years I went bonkers learning The Bible, reading this and that, listening to everything I could to interpret things. To get comfortable with what I now had within me. But I constantly reminded myself - actually wrote myself notes! - that what had amazingly changed me one day and what I learned via other people/interpretations/reading was not the same thing. One didn't necessarily follow the other. I did not want to develop excuses for what I felt. But the more I learned didn't make it easier. It certainly didn't help redress the two halves of me. The one that is logical, empirical, reasonable and intelligent enough to see skepticism as a profoundly important value. And the other that believes - against his will - in God. That sounds wrong and mean but it isn't meant to.

But what it has done is plant a firmly wedged seed in me that challenges me. I can attend church (which I suck at doing) and take my kids. But no-one is going to teach my kids into faith. It just doesn't work like that. That is where Richard Dawkins totally doesn't get it. And I deeply value my kids having the choice to do whatever they want. But I also believe that I didn't choose whatever this is! You can see how that's a difficult thing! Faith is a far more complex and challenging thing than non believers understand.

Lastly it's important to know that I'm not shiny and happy now. I have my own medical issues that are greatly affecting my family. Much in the same way that Lewis Black talked about. Struggling with that is a complete bitch. I'm not seeking solace in God to help with that. And it makes it harder to rationalize my faith to a degree that hurts.

So in short - "I can't answer that honey." A four year old can't wrap their head around this if I can't.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kill It With Fire

I want you to tell me if I am insane.

Its my daughter's birthday soon. It's also the height of Summer - I'm sure you have noticed. I asked my daughter what she would like for her birthday and she instantly answered, "banana." Which has actually been her answer for absolutely everything lately. So I asked again and she said she'd like Christmas for her birthday. So I have genuinely been thinking about giving that to her. Would it be either awesome or emotionally bewildering for her to get up on her birthday to find the living-room completely kitted out for Christmas? Tree in the corner - totally decorated. The room decorated - fake-snow frosting spray on the windows. Presents under the tree. Christmas cookies on a tray. With the kicker being Santa Claus showing up about three minutes after she got up in his suit, sack thrown over his shoulder and asking if she had a carrot for the reindeer.

I think that would be fun. But the more thought I put into it the more psychologically damaging I think it might be. So I've even wondered if it would be good fun without all the Christmas decorations and tree, and for Santa to just show up on his Summer vacation. So some sort of Summer Santa suit and big white beard, and to tell her he was on his way to the beach and thought he'd pop in for a birthday breakfast with her. Is that even workable? And if it is can I convince my wife to wear some sort of hot Mr's Claus Summer bikini thing and ride a Caribou around the back yard?

Because outside of that I have no ideas what to get her. I thought maybe a watch. I'd prefer to make her something but a watch is a neat gift at some point I guess. She knows what time stuff happens verbally, but she doesn't really remember where on the clock that is. A watch would help. Or it would break in about a week and would devastate her to no end.

Oh - without any advance warning my neighbor approached me during the week waving a photograph of a giant killer caterpillar. He then told me, "I have some very bad news - your children are in danger of going blind." My brain was firing at full capacity trying to put together his dire warning for my children's vision together with the oddly up-close shot of a hairy white caterpillar. He then went on to explain that he had actually done some research on the caterpillar that had shown up this year and determined that if my kids rubbed it directly onto their retinas then yes, they made suffer eye damage. I had a quick look myself and that is technically correct. In the sense that if you suffer from an oddly specific sensitivity to this caterpillar and it is fired like a torpedo into your eye then you can indeed go blind. Potentially.

Without anything neutral enough to say I asked him if he had any opinions on where they came from. "The Indians..." he said, with apparent confidence. It's certainly one idea I guess. It's certainly refreshing to hear that it isn't the Mexicans at fault over this one. He then asked if I would join him so we could double our efforts to locate the specific poison that will eradicate them. Then he asked if I had any suggestions (off hand) as to what could be done. The ideal answer I should have given at that point is obviously, "I have no idea." Instead I went with, "fire?" Which he met with, "if that's what it takes then I'm prepared for that."

I actually thought it would be pretty amusing to have a birthday party out back with a giant frikking pinata in the shape of one of the killer caterpillars. Frankly the main reason I wouldn't do that is because my neighbor would probably charge across the back yard spaying a flame thrower through the crowd of children to kill "the Queen." Which I will tape and send to Americas Funniest Videos.

I want you all to take part in a kinesthetic exercise of sorts with me. Whilst reading this I want you to take both your index fingers and hook the corners of your mouth. Now pull your mouth apart to make a big gaping void face. That is what I constantly keep finding my daughter doing to her naughty bits. I suppose it's perfectly natural for a person to investigate their own body. Still, when there is absolutely no advance warning and you encounter that it is rather unpleasant. I have to tread a delicate line here to convey that actually it's fine to take a look at yourself, but to make sure you do it in a suitable place. So not in line at Subway or anything like that. Unfortunately my surprise is often so great that I do tend to blurt, "Oh God!!! What are you doing?" To which my daughter always has an answer that worries me even more. Today she was getting ready for a shower and I found her splayed on my bedroom floor. I announced my surprise and she told me that she had a bug in her bottom. I left that one for my wife to figure out.

We went to a local farm this week and bought a jar (yep - a bloody big jar) of unpasteurized milk. My wife liked it but thought it had a slightly cheesey taste to it. I can see that. I thought it tasted like I remember milk tasting when I was younger. Back then the milkman would literally squeeze the milk out of the cow, bottle it and drive it around the neighborhood in a matter of hours. With a fat thick layer of cream right on top of the bottle just daring a blackbird to peck through the foil lid. So I liked it a lot. I tend to find that milk I've purchased over here in the US is either kind of chemically or tastes like it has lemon juice in it. Or, "bad." Needless to say I'm more inclined to drive all the way out there for this milk. It isn't actually that close so I may have to look for a closer farm that offers the stuff.

It also prompted my wife and I to commit to getting the back yard ready for chickens and ducks for next year. When you really look at it once we've got them somewhere to live it's pretty much eight weeks of taking care of them and then one day of butchery, plucking, cleaning and prepping for freezing. As much as I'd like eggs I can't be arsed with it. I might change my mind but that seems like a decent first step. Especially as we very clearly have foxes around here. I've seen them, and my dog has helpfully rolled around in the gifts they leave around the back yard as well.

One of my kids spent a day pissing on everything yesterday. Once you've toilet-trained a kid it's mostly plain sailing from there out. It is a fantastic day when you put those diapers away. That's the stage we hit with my son. He has been letting us know quite often when he needs to go. Which is great. My daughter though spent the day not quite making it to the toilet and then just spraying lakes of wizz all over the place. Three separate lakes of golden yellow sadness.

It reached the climax (God I hope nobody comes to this blog using some sort of word-search combination from the last two sentences) last night when my wife and I were sat watching late night TV and heard her get up. We heard her run to the bathroom, and then....well, nothing. So my wife went upstairs to find my daughter stood on top of a stool in the bathroom, almost catatonic and staring zombie-like at the slowly-pouring water flowing from the faucet into the sink. Worse was that she was surrounded by a pond of urine. Her underwear was drenched. My wife tenderly approached and waited for a reaction. Nothing. So she asked what was up. Mental screaming. My guess is she was still half-asleep and felt let down/embarrassed/frustrated that she'd done what she had done. Her bed was wet too. So it took another fine balancing-act to explain to find out what was up that was causing he to piss all over everything even though she was making it into the bathroom without having her think she was an awful person.

Time for more milk.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Release The Cracker

I don't know how this has happened but my daughter sometimes sounds like Penelope Pitstop.

She doesn't slip into the accent all the time - but if she needs "Heyelp!" she will yell that. She can pronounce "world" with two firm syllables too - but without an "r" so I frankly have no idea how to spell it. Maybe, "wo-yuld" is right? In a month she'll be in school half the day and her whole speech will change. Mind you, this morning she told me my t-shirt is, "exceptional." Not a clue where that came from.

I'm not a fan at all of the central NY accent. Or the broken caveman English many people around here seem to use. I will not tolerate that in my house. If she dares utter that something is, "done broke" or that she wants to, "go get her hair did" I will explain that as an English-born citizen she has a duty to teach all the uncouth butchers of the English language how to use it correctly. If she does it again then the Beating Stick will be employed. Zero tolerance.

Yesterday afternoon my daughter dressed me up as a gay bicycle messenger. I had to pull my head out of the head-hole of my t-shirt (so it was behind my neck but still on my arms), wear a hairband over my eyes, a tiara on my head, the bicycle helmet tied dangling behind my neck, and a pair of my wife's shoes. To be fair to her though there is a strong chance I may have picked that outfit for myself anyway. My wife was going to be getting home from work late so I had to goof around at the end of the day to keep the kids interested. So I combined two games - Release The Kraken and The Adventures of Dr. Bonk.

Release The Kraken is just a simple game where my kids get to jump on me and stop me from crawling from one side of the room to the other. My daughter actually calls is Release The Cracker which sounds like a Wipeout-style show on B.E.T. In which ten African American contestants have to try and cross a wobbly cream-soaked elevated platform above a giant pool of water - only to be charged out by a drunken Billy Bob Thornton wielding a corn-dog on a stick. Still, I have convinced my daughter to scream, "crush the beast!!" before hurling herself at me with knees and elbows primed for maximum impact. As I was trying to distract the kids from the fact their mother wasn't home yet I changed the name of our regular adventures to Princess Squashaduck and Dr. TripandBleed. My daughter, all by herself, called me Father Fish Knickers. Which is either a comment on how I smell or is the name of a particularly horrifying Catholic priest.

Needless to say, we got excessively sweaty and they pretty much just beat me up for forty five minutes. At which point my wife got home to find me shirtless with a tiara on while my daughter screamed "CRACKER!!!" at me.

Tomorrow we go drink milk right out of a cow. Totally untreated. I'm told it is delicious. My wife is waaay too excited by the whole thing. I told her that we should propose some sort of breast-milk exchange program if she likes it a lot. She said no. She also said no to swamp coolers. Which makes sense - it was 105 yesterday but tonight it will be in the 60s again. It's really only for a couple of weeks a year. And when it gets really awful we can just go further north to the in-laws and play in their basement all day long.

Alright - screw it. 11.36am is an acceptable time to bust out the ice cream.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Wife Made A Boner Once

Both kids are napping. Take that. That's what you get for waking up at five frikking thirty in the morning. Firstly it was too hot to sleep. Secondly some turnip called my cellphone at 4.45am. It was the wrong number. Which it surely ALWAYS is at that time of day? My son spent the day refusing to give in until around two thirty in the afternoon when I made a quick sojourn to get some Boylan's Grape soda. My daughter was collateral damage. I was smart and planned a carpet-nap for ten minutes before quickly jumping up and driving off to get the drinks before they could figure it out. I'm refreshed and they are asleep. I rock.

I like it when they nap. But I will be waking them in 15 minutes. No way am I losing both my morning and my evening. I love spending time with them. But I love not spending time with them too. My time is definitely held dear to me. When they won't sleep - my son usually being the one who might not - in the evening it pisses me off.

There are plenty of weird things that I like and dislike about being a parent. The loss of my time is actually not so bad. Other things that I would never have had an opinion on before are weirder though. For example, I really like cutting the fingernails and toenails of my children. When you get a giant wacking great big one that comes off whole - oh yes. It has that same chipping-away satisfaction that peeling school-glue off your hands does. Or peeling skin off sunburned shoulders - the way it's just out of your reach and your eyes hurt from straining to look behind you but you know if you keep at it you'll get a giant big strip of crispy skin to come off in just a second. Oh baby.

It wasn't always that way though. What nobody tells you is that when your child is born their nails already need clipping. Except they are tiny so any attempt to do so draws blood. And at that tender stage of being a parent you are almost certain that you may have just killed your child. You instantly believe that nobody else who took their new baby home damaged it like that. Because you would have heard that story. There would have been a news report at least about a parent who took their baby home and then it bled to death. Good Lord what will you do next? But then you have a second child and you couldn't care less - you go hacking away with a scythe. Second Child doesn't get photos. Or panic. They get hand-me-downs and shrugs. Suck it up Second Child.

Which reminds me - I don't like little boy boners. I just mean aesthetically as well. It's an atrocious thing to look at. Totally out of proportion to the rest of him it is. They are a necessity though - it's what my son does to not piss himself when he's napping. That's what his body does now that it knows he isn't wearing diapers. But that's not what I don't like about them. Because what totally blows my mind is that they happen In Utero BEFORE BOYS ARE BORN. Yeah that's right - my wife grew a boner inside her. Everything you think you know about men and women gets totally blown to crap when you try and figure that out. Her body grew an erection inside her. Then it separated from it and it continued to live. Absolutely mind blowing. It sounds very much like a pornographic episode of Star Trek. "For God's sake beam it off the ship!!"

I like curing whatever ails them - especially when it isn't really anything. I don't want to make my kids into wimps by whining about imaginary pain - but it's phenomenal how great a quick kiss on a bump makes them feel. At the moment my son can pretty much get hit by a car and not care. He smacked his forehead pretty bloody hard this past weekend falling off a picnic bench. He's got quite a nice yellowy-blue lump on his head now. He cried - more from the shock of the fall - but twenty seconds later he could care less. My daughter is at that age where she is convinced that everything that hurts (or in most cases doesn't actually hurt) may kill her off. She's also a liar and insists that her leg hurts so much that she needs ice cream.

I don't like cleaning dirt off my kids. I want them to be clean. But I mean real dirt - not food stains or whatever. I mean the ground-in crud. It requires a degree of effort that means you will hurt them getting it off. It's unavoidable. Kids really do get that nasty crap behind their ears that looks like peanut butter by the way. Dirt under nails is nigh on impossible to get off. I'll lie my daughter into a giant bubble-bath that is secretly way hotter than she finds acceptable in a hope that the heat will weep the shit out from under her fingernails. Then I'll spend maybe 10 seconds using a nailbrush on her. And it does nothing. I've seen other people with their kids. Stainless clothes with pink skin and shiny clean nails. While I know it's partly because they don't let their kids touch mud unless it's special play-mud bought from Toys R Us, I also fear that I have dirty kids sometimes. I've been in the grocery store right after they've eaten something appalling - like blackberries. Both of them covered in purple blotches and a dirt-rash around their mouth from sticky-sweet crap all over them that I didn't clean up fast enough. To be honest I mostly don't care. But when I want to get that nail-dirt out and it clearly isn't going anywhere it makes me seethe.

Another thing that is satisfying is when they have colds it is immensely pleasing to pull out of them those giant chunky crunchy snot-lumps that they get. The wet dribbling nose? No thanks. Stop dragging it around the room and squishing into things. But the massive globe kind? Oh that's fun. When you yank on them you can feel the resistance as the one end is holding on to a tendon inside the back of their nose. I wait for them to fall asleep and get the tweezers out. Or when it dries around their nostrils and starts cracking off - I want to peel that off badly.

Okay time to cut this short - my daughter is awake and I think she has pins and needles. I don't think she's ever had them before. This will be interesting to explain.

The Big Fat Daily Dump


Egg Head.

Garlic Drying


50 Cent Guitar (it works too)

Up To See Pumpkins

Frog Fondler Is Making Good Choices. Yes You Are!!!

My daughter told me her first real joke. Usually she either repeats the terrible ones I've taught her. Like -:

Her: How does my belly talk to your belly?

Me: I don't know.

Her: On the belly-phone!!

That's terrible. But this morning she went one better with -:

Her: What does a firefly do when it runs out of light?

Me: I don't know. What?

Her: It sticks a light-bulb up it's bum!!

Swelling with pride, I am.

We made a quick dash to Walmart this morning for box fans. Screw you hippies - I can't survive in this heat. When I got home an acquaintance/online friend/cultural guru had mentioned a swamp cooler. I'd never head of them before. Now I WANT. I may show my wife and I'm convinced she'll fold and get one. They seem strangely cheap and being portable I'm definitely sold on one.

On the way to the aforementioned Evil Chinese Goods Pedlar ("come buy our crap at China-Cheap prices") my daughter pointed out to me that we may not be able to buy a fan because the sun was hot, and therefore would need a lot of fans to cool down. And ice cream. And is wearing a pretty dress to stay cool. And might be spraying itself with water to stay cool. Frankly the Sun sounds like a bit of a tease. Not at all venerated like Helios, Sol Invictus or whatnot. I'm sure the Greeks and Romans would have had less trouble with elevating the Sun God if she were constantly spraying her ample chest with water and blubbing, "oh my, I seem to have dropped ice cream just here on my cleavage. Again. How will I clean it up?"

Anyway I have firmly instructed my daughter that we are staying cool today, so that might mean not going outside much. Which she disliked because yesterday she may not have found Mr. Toad, but she did find Mr. Frog.

For an official Champion Frog-Fondler that is an atrocious way to handle a Frenchman. She played with him for twenty minutes. She even tied to get him to lick her Popsicle. Ick. I convinced her to that wild animals don't eat Popsicles but she thought was stupid and selfish. Especially coming from someone who stressed how important sharing is.

Speaking of which, at China-Cheap we encountered a parent doing a style of parenting I just don't get. Now, I won't even pretend to be an expert of parenting. This blog is testimony to that. Add that it is really important to note that no two kids are even vaguely alike. Development is totally different between children and means very little with regards adulthood capability. And upbringing from one kid to another - let alone from one family to another - is totally different. But I've never understood a tactic of parenting where the parent affirms, "Yes Michael, you are making good choices. Choosing good! Yes you are!!" I've heard it a lot so I'm assuming it is in a book somewhere. It's usually aimed at kids between say two and five. Who are told to consider their options and then make good choices based on the empirical evidence. I kind of get it. It just sounds silly to me. It's like baby-talking to a baby. Cooing and "boo-bee-boo-bee-gaa!!!" nonsense spoken to a kid is very strange.

Right. The bank thermometer (That Which Tells No Lies) told us it was 90 degrees at 7.58am this morning. Which means I'm totally torn between more boiling hot coffee or a frozen Edy's Fruit Bar.

I'll alternate.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Princess Bounce Doesn't Like Wasps

First things first - today's Daily Dump.

We went to the playground. I've started taking my kids to the one at my daughter's future school. That way she will be acclimatised to the stuff there that is too big for her before she plays on it every single day. Nice plan I thought. It was 82 degrees on the way there and 87 on the way out. It hasn't rained in days and yet the slides all had puddles at the bottom. Being a Super Dad I always take a shammy to the playground because every single playground ever has a wet slide. Gold star for me. Nice playground too - it has three of those massive things that have slides, climbing things and dangly bits all in one construction. My daughter pretends each one is a pirate ship and that the woodchips surrounding them are the water. Sometimes I get to be a shark. Or a pirate. Or oddly I can be an orangutan. Today I was none of those and got to be Daddy in an adventure my daughter called Princess Bounce Doesn't Like Wasps. Dr. Bonk didn't even get a look in. Hilariously this playground also has a jousting pole you sit on and shake up and down until you fall off. We played on that for a good ten minutes until I was sure my son would get wounded if we carried on any further.

Luckily whilst there we met some people yelling. One was a teacher (or someone working at the school in a tie during the Summer) yelling at a town worker in a truck. The tie-man kept sternly yelling, "it's completely inappropriate. Completely. COMPLETELY." No idea what it was. Or why they came into contact. It must have been odd though because Tie Man kept it up even upon seeing us, except he just did it in that angry shouting-whisper way. I'm hoping it was just something like smoking on school property. As long as it isn't something nefarious and evil like wanking in the school cafeteria or asking Tie Man for some good Ecstasy on school grounds I'm happy. It's probably a small-town thing. Everyone around here is either related or grew up together. So maybe the one guy was just asking the other guy if he could marry his donkey. Or had broken a borrowed donkey. Or put diesel in his gas donkey. You know - small town America.

Mind you we've all worked in jobs where we've had to endure those weird people who have no idea that their behavior is totally unacceptable to everyone else. I worked somewhere once where a guy exclusively ate Bachelors Super Noodles dry right out of the packet. That's not right at all. When I worked at a bank in Bristol we had loads of weirdos there. Open coke-heads who everyone knew popped to the toilets for a top up during the day. A boss who slept her way through her whole team and ate massive corned beef sandwiches at her desk. She didn't make the sandwich - she just ate chunks of bread and spooned corned beef out of a can into her mouth to accompany it. There was even one woman there would shower at lunchtime everyday and change her entire outfit. Which would have been vaguely okay-ish but she'd come back from lunch in different wigs and behave differently. We had a fun (supposedly) poll at that place once where you got to write something about one colleague that you wanted everyone to know and put it in a hat. Clearly not thought through for when the boss would read them out during the morning meeting. It was all fun and games until the boss read out that Gerald was "most likely to rape someone in the car park." More important was the agreed nodding in the room. Even he didn't seem all that bothered by that communal statement.

I've met some terrifyingly mental people at jobs in my time. The most recently bat-shit was Horse Toucher from my last job. She was Silence Of The Lambs mental (It puts the lotion on the skin or else it gets the horse again). Here's hoping that this nice little school in this nice little town doesn't have any of that kind of lunatic working there. Let's just hope for Trekkies or people who collect dead squirrel road-kill for home-taxidermy or something acceptably strange.

Anyway, the people stopped yelling and we played for maybe thirty minutes before leaving to get dinner supplies. I'm easily winning with the choice of grilled sandwiches. I figured a grilled ham, cheese and tomato, a tuna-melt and maybe a grilled cheese would placate everyone else and lead me to not cook anything inside.

Right now the girl is upstairs making banging noises and singing loudly. Or shouting. Or in pain. One of those anyway. My son is sitting astride an elephant after nearly falling asleep and then dramatically waking up and running around like a drunken rugby player. Oddly they have both made it clear that they don't want to be interfered with. So I wrote this during that time. Meaning when the boy falls asleep later I can sit quietly and read. Hopefully.

Sticky Wicket

Weird. Both my kids are asleep and it's gone 7.30. My daughter didn't even get up yet. My son is neither really asleep nor really awake and is flip-flopping on the couch. He even sits up completely, rubs his eyes, then flops back down again unconscious.

It is going to be high 90s (with heat index above 100 degrees) for the next three days. The humidity is projected to be even more evil. What on earth am I going to do with the midgets? The Very Important Weather Man has been ferociously telling all and sundry not to stay outside for longer than thirty minutes. Is this just his power trip? Or is he planning on running naked through the streets of central New York and wants us all inside away from his wobbly pink bits?

Relatively speaking though I don't remember this being a problem when I was a kid. Of course I don't remember anything about being a kid. But I don't think I've ever heard stories from anyone that go, "Remember that Summer it didn't rain? And was hot? So everyone had to stay inside or they'd die?" My daughter has suggested putting "extra water" in the pool. Oh and I mentioned to he that some people go hide at the Mall on days like this and she thought that sounded good. Because they might have ice lollies there. I have ice lollies at home and the Mall is filled with those people that try to get you to put moisturizer on your hands even though you don't want to. And while that might be better than being accosted by those bastards that litter UK high streets asking if you've been involved in a car accident/need a newer cellphone than the one you got last week, I still don't like bothering with them. I can't imagine anyone buys anything ever because of that strategy.

Alright - I should at least make sure I have ice cubes on hand. And I think we need more frozen things that taste good too. I'll have to make some. Okay daughter is screaming for her Dad. Bugger it - we are going out to the playground super-early to get that out of the way. That way if we do hide in the house this afternoon when it get's extra-sticky I won't feel bad.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Automobiles and Insulin

For reasons that escape me my daughter spent a good chunk of the morning peeling the paper off her crayons. When she was done she ran into the living room to tell me that she had made her own toilet paper. Maybe we could do this homesteading thing after all.

Before my wife ran off to work this morning she gave the Oboe and I a haircut. I don't want to brag but yes, I look like an undercover CIA Agent. Not a feeble-headed soft-bellied stay-at-home Dad. I now look like someone other people fear and respect. I could totally show up on one of those hilariously bad shows on TV like NCIS and pull off being a British MI5 agent loose and dangerous in North America. Of course twenty minutes after my daughter got up she demanded that I build a train track on the living-room carpet "as big as your bum Daddy!" Apparently the only thing she fears is being sat on.

My son looks weird though. He immediately started wilting after his haircut as if he was secretly Samson born again. He was full of vigor and running around like a lunatic this morning. He actually woke me up at 5.30 with a double-handed karate chop to the solar plexus. Obviously even though asleep I knew it would happen. My inner-ninja Spidey-sense told me I was under attack well before he struck the blow. But I let him do it. Honest. Anyway - his curls are gone so now he looks all square-headed. I think I prefer the other look. I don't think I'd like to go the whole hog like some parents do and have him look like he's been raised by feral wolves. That bizarre long-haired scruffy look seems ill-advised to me. Especially after going camping for two days and still having to wash melted marshmallow out of my daughters hair. Here - my daughter picked out these two -:

Speaking of which she has really gone in for our Daily Kitchen Dancing Competition. Basically we all just wear shorts, pop on my MP3 player and jump around like idiots. If a slow song comes on they still jump around like they are on fire for twenty seconds and then my daughter yells, "BORING!!!" At which point I have to put on something very loud. Her current favorite band is a French-Canadian band called Les Breastfeeders. I'm suspicious of her predilection for all-things Montreal. It's a bit too close to my own biases. But then she has started doing things just to be as cool as Dad is. I off-hand told her once that when I was a teenager I thought I was immensely cool because I wore odd socks. Yeah - I was that edgy and dangerous. So now she's started doing it and very openly telling people it is so she can be like me. She probably just likes that band because it has something to do with breasts.

Today at the swimming pool things were odd. Not in a, "oh my God he's bleeding all over that baby!!" odd. More in the way that some people were having a very loud conversation in a small public space where they interject their opinions on a subject that is best left for private. It started off with one Mom describing her home life with four kids as a living Hell. She spoke about her children strictly as if they intentionally set out to destroy her life and therefore she loathed every single freaking thing about them. And yet she still managed to do so whilst boasting about her children's abilities at being sick. Seriously - she was doing the whole, "oh first Jayden had Yellow Monkey Fever, and then Brayden had it and the doctor said it was the worst case he'd ever seen. Then Cayden had it AT THE SAME TIME as pneumonia. Really I should be given a medal." Then she started going on and on about how rude people were for not respecting her space when driving her fancy Cadillac SUV. And how she has to give one of her kids insulin shots all the time and if she had known then maybe it would have been better to have less children.

Somehow the conversation drifted in a matter of seconds to gay marriage in New York state. Which provoked an emotional reaction from half the room to say quite loudly that it was disgusting. Not the marriage thing - gayness in general. There was a lot of, "as a Christian..." prior to saying that they hate people like that. I'm both a Christian and a hypocrite but I haven't managed to wander into a situation where I advocate my faith as a means to explain why I think something is icky. The loud woman started trying to get the quieter people to agree with her that marriage should remain, "traditional." I didn't have the energy to ask her if I could exchange a cow and a half acre for her ten year old girl. You know - "traditional." One older gentleman actually calmly said he had no problems with it and didn't understand the fuss. The loudest woman challenged him with, "it's not natural though is it?" To which he brilliantly responded, "like cars and insulin shots?" That's genius. I quietly slipped away at that point to get my little girl.

In the changing room my son tried to grab a strangers willy. An old guy (I mean the kind of old where he might not make it home) decided to get changed right next to us, even though we were in a tiny corner and the whole changing room was pretty much available. At which point his organ became dangerously available for my son to yank like a church bell rope. He didn't get it though - I stopped him. Some might actually say I cock-blocked my son. It's just part of the every-day job as an MI5 Agent to be honest. I take it in my stride.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Coma-Toad and The Poop Turtle

"Daddy - Mrs. Toad isn't moving anymore."

After building what has to be the finest indoor train track ever constructed I decided that we would simply have to go outside. It wasn't as nakedly hot as the last few days, but the humidity was up. The issue for me were the bugs - these evil yellow feckers that simply don't care about the 40% product I apply to my skin. It's not that they are unaffected by it. Oh no - they are just completely dumb. They will repeatedly bounce of me and eventually land, take a bite, then spasm and die. Mosquitoes and deer fly are smart enough to just go away. Actually no - they'll linger and figure out which tiny molecule-sized portion of skin I have on my body that isn't wet with cancer-juice and will attack that. But these yellow bastards still actually bite first.

So we went out and my daughter worryingly told me she'd made a new toilet to poop in.

You would think I would have been reassured that she told me she hadn't been in it yet. But no - because she told me I should go first and that she didn't see any need for her to move while I did it. Sensing the revulsion on my face she told me she was pretending and it was still her old paddling pool and not a toilet. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I was more repulsed by the fact that she suggested I go to the toilet outside of my own home rather than spray her with goodness knows what.

While out I found a shed snake skin under a tarp. This led to a long search for wriggly things that my son probably would have put down his pants. Weary of the enormous number of ants all over certain parts of the back yard I went on a guaranteed treasure finding hunt. More often than not if you walk the perimeter of my house you'll find a toad. One quick stroll and I found two of them. My daughter instantly named them Mr. and Mr.s Toad. She ran around with them, plopped them in a bucket of water, pushed them down the slide, held them while she went on the swings and rode her bike. She didn't crush them or anything but she had to be constantly reminded that as wild creatures they do need to go back to wherever they came from. I also had to convince her to show her brother them. At which point he would scream liek a demented banshee. He held Mrs. Toad a good few times until my daughter abruptly announced that she was taking "Mr. and Mr.s Toad to Planet Poop." I was absolutely horrified that she may actually have been suggesting that she was going to either poo on them, or stuff them up her bottom. Apparently Planet Poop is "really high in the sky" and can only be reached, "by a spaceship made from a motorbike." Or, as was the case, by her sitting on her bike and making rocket ship noises.

After a little while I convinced her that they were hungry and needed to home to eat. So she put them back were I'd found them but kept chasing them around with her brother. Who then stood on Mrs. Toad. My daughter quickly told me Mrs. Toad wasn't moving. So I had her take them off to her sunflower patch. Which she did without fuss and we went inside so I could make dinner. Tragically she made the catastrophic mistake of lying down on the floor.

During dinner my daughter randomly told her mother, "Mommy - I think my eggs are getting bigger." Yes - she means her actual eggs. She explained that they had to get bigger so that when she had babies they would be big enough.

Right now I hear her yelling. She should be sleeping. I guess I best sneak off to eat some Fox's Glacier Fruits that arrived today in the mail.

Daily Dump: July 18 2011

Gurn Of The Day.

Pretentious Hypocrites

I just stopped myself from engaging in one of those moments where I know I've been doing it wrong.

I'm out of milk. And bread. More importantly all the fruit we had turned to crap in the humidity. We need some meat too I guess. We don't eat all that much meat but I only have a little ground beef and then some fancy off-cuts of pork - and the kids like meat. I have to go buy stuff. The problem is that - once again - my wife and I have become very aware that we have slipped into doing what we didn't want to do. This was absolutely underlined this morning when I told my daughter we needed to go out for fruit. Then I said we'd need meat too, and she said, "let's go to Walmart!"

Seriously? That's not good. I'm not just going to mindlessly bash Walmart. But meat from Walmart? We buy most of our fruit and veg from farmers markets, independent farm stands or even right from the farm in the Summer. When I get lazy I will get it from the store. When I get REALLY lazy it'll be from Walmart. I go there because I've convinced myself the fifty cents I save on Chex is worth the drive past four grocery stores and the farm stand. But I will never buy meat from that place. Nobody can convince me that it is a good idea to buy the cheapest pork available. Or that you want to buy a pound of ground beef made from the left-over bits from sixty cows. Add that mass-farming is a despicable and horrible thing. I'm no hippy, and I'm certainly not one of these middle-class Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wannabees. And I am definitely not one of those, "oh this doesn't taste like a tomato at has to be an organic tomato licked by wild virgin-peacocks to be tasty." But really - intensive farming is gross. As in THIS gross.

My wife and I always dreamed of living as homesteaders. Actually ten years ago we saw a television show called Pioneer Quest on PBS. It was one of those reality shows where they have a few people see if they can rough it somewhere without much help - in the same vein as the real pioneers of North America. In this case it was for a solid year in northern Manitoba and it featured two married families dropped off in the mountains with nothing. Really - absolutely nothing. The difference with this show was it didn't do what all the other reality shows do and select hopeless twats who are mentally unstable and have no idea how to open a can of beans, let alone survive in the wilderness. No - these people had to cut down trees, strip the wood, build their own houses, figure out what they would eat, grow it, and not die in the Winter. And really - they were allowed to slog along as if they were homesteaders in North America in the early 1800s. One of the four of them actually got pleurisy. Which is pretty manly when you compare to the other guy who just got poison ivy on his willy.

Anyway, the point is that we didn't really want to go in for a mainstream lifestyle. When we came back here we had a solid plan in mind - we would buy some chickens, some ducks, maybe a goat, and meat rabbits. Yep - meat rabbits. My wife would stay home and farm - I'd go make some money and provide some security. We were very close to doing this too. All we needed was some property and away we would go. Things did not go to plan though. More of that elsewhere.

The point is - the very least I can do if we aren't actually going to raise the damn chickens and then butcher them is to buy stuff that tastes good and wasn't raped to get bigger. I'm sure we'll do something one day along those lines. I'm assuming that will be once I stop being completely cack-handed and lazy.Or a hypocrite.

So it's off to the farm-stand then...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Ginger Pied Piper

This weekend I watched a man peel a boiled egg in a public bathroom.

Actually my whole family spent a short weekend camping in a local state park. It had me thinking about life in general and whatnot. But instead of blathering on about that I figured I'd whet your appetite with a few quick tasters.

- My wife is still a top quality candidate for stalkers. Which I'm oddly very proud of. She's had many actual bona fide stalkers in her time. She has that certain something that creepy people prone to stalking find alluring it seems. Anyway, you can imagine my reaction when she wandered back to our campsite and said, "A nice man just told me that if I go over there behind the toilets at 8pm then he said I can see despicable me. He said to bring the kids." She claims it's a cartoon. Let me just say that even though there was a free showing of a cartoon with the same name as that over at a park building near the bathrooms, I'm still certain that someone had the goal of making a suit out of her skin.

- My daughter swam around a lake filled with other people singing at the top of her lungs, "Swim Swim!! With Naked Jim!!!" Which meant that I had to constantly stand up out of the water so that people could see my shorts. I also had to subtly point out that I am not called Jim but am her father. She kept it up so I persuaded her to change the song to, "Swimming Swimming!! With The Naked Women!!!" which the surrounding bikini-clad hordes thought was somewhat cute.

- No matter the amount of planning it is nigh on impossible to prevent sand from invading your inner sanctum.

- Camping in a state park barely fifteen feet from a hot shower and Coke vending machine still somehow makes you feel like a Pioneer.

- I really did watch a man peel an egg in the park toilet. Actually I saw him get it out and balance it on the sink. Curious about what mayhem may be unleashed I pretended to have a much much bigger pee than a man of my stature could possibly contain. He washed his hands and then peeled it in the sink. Did he leave before he bit it? No he did not.

- In my kids eyes camping 45 minutes away from my house is exactly the same as going to Bora Bora. Really - I don't know what your state parks are like but every single one I've been to has been great. They're cheap, clean and most people respect everyone else. You can get a site that just has a tent spot and a fire-pit, or you can even get an electrical outlet on some. My in-laws take an Airstream and plop it next to everyone else who wants to think they're camping even though they aren't really. And if you can't bare the idea of having to start a fire and cook up some bacon and eggs you can always just hop in the car and drive twenty five minutes to a doughnut place. Just like the dudes from the Mayflower did.

- I've also learned that I definitely like Summer the least of all the seasons. It's hot, humid and the bugs are a pain the rear end. The heat died down a tad on Friday night from a strong ninety-something degrees because of a very slight breeze. That made the evening tolerable. Still, I could not at all understand the people milling about the park in sweat pants and hooded sweatshirts. The campsite we were at aired a free movie for the kids (with free juice box and animal crackers too) and a good ninety percent of the people there were dressed up like it was late October. I even saw people wrapped in blankets. It must have barely eased off into the eighties at that point. I looked like a sweaty pig in shorts and t-shirt. Then last night sucked big time. The air didn't cool at all and it stuck in the 80s. Our tent rocks but the air still sat stagnant until maybe four in the morning. Give me the height of Fall every time. I want to need a sweater on inside my house. I went my cheeks to be so cold to the touch that my wife insists that I put pants on.

- Apparently my extended family says "hamburg" instead of "hamburger" all of a sudden.

- When visiting the bathroom (yes the same one) at one thirty in the morning with a four year old it is always the right decision to tell the man sitting on the floor in there that you don't need his help to find your back to your tent.

- My daughter is very good at collecting ginger people. Seriously - she's like the Ginger Pied Piper. On Saturday morning my daughter collected a ginger girl twice her age. The older girl was reluctant - she was just on the cusp of being too old and too cool for playing on a playground or goofing around with sand - but she caved in. Later on that morning my daughter collected a younger ginger child - probably the same age as her. I'm seriously considering showing up at Christina Hendricks house and seeing if my daughter can convince her to come play in the play-pool behind my house.

- Some kids can make friends. Some cannot. My daughter tells kids her name and then a random fact. So, "Hi. My name is Evelyn. I have sparkly toothpaste." Instant friends. Sunday morning she tried making friends with a new girl - maybe nine or ten years of age - and told the girl her name. At which point the girl - clearly on the tail-end of many rejections - lashed out with, "oh....are you a girl?" Which is ludicrous. My daughter has the kind of beauty CNN hopes abducted kids have. This other girl looked like a chip-shop sausage. Obviously they played together anyway.

- I've just found some more sand. I didn't think there would be under there.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nice Trick.

Every single time my son has successfully pooped on the toilet I've accidentally dropped his reward M&M into the bowl as well. He doesn't even know until he looks down and sees it too.

I can't even imagine what he thinks he could poop out if he tried harder.

The Lady In The Lake

At some point around two am last night my daughter decided that she wanted to come sleep in "the Big Big Bed." She usually sleeps in, "the Big Bed." That's the queen-size we used to sleep in, but gave to her to promote her to sleep in her own room. At which point we purchased the biggest bed known to human-kind.

I feel for my son when he realizes that the tiny little single-bed in his room is his. At the moment he thinks it's for one of the cats. Which is it is really. Whereas the rest of the room is for keeping boxes in and for my wife to get dressed for work. At some point over the coming months I have to face facts and accept that we need to sort that room out. It's not even remotely a grand project compared what we have already done in this house. But there is a chance - no matter how remote - that I'll discover bees that we didn't kick out of the only spot of the house we did not actually tear down. Although I did rumble around in the attic before we filled it with insulation foam and didn't see any. But then maybe twenty showed up coming out of the ceiling that year, and then another then this year. I will unleash murderdeathkill if there are bees in there.

Anyway, my daughter often wakes up very early and comes into our room. Sometimes she goes to the bathroom first. Quite often she wakes up because she needs the bathroom. Being four years old it means she does wake up most of the time. Two nights ago she did not. She came into our room early and then proceeded to leak everywhere. My wife quite often ends up as a Mom-Sandwich (that website is in the works by the way) and may be leaked upon. It's not exactly the romantic tale of the Lady In The Lake we all know is it? But two nights ago my wife did not get hit. Still, it meant a two am total stripping of the bed, sticking things in the wash, trying to clean up the wet patch with lavender smelly soap, blotting the whole thing with cloth diapers (seriously - go buy some of these - they are INFINITELY useful) and then spraying the bed with Febreeze. I mentally noted that we needed more enzyme cleaner and that was that. You wouldn't even know the bed had been disgraced in such a fashion.

This morning was not the same. She woke up, ran to the bathroom and then came into my room. I woke up, cuddled her back to sleep and then got up. I did notice that she had decided to come to bed in a t-shirt, nothing at all on the bottom and some slippers. It's quite a look. She did that because her underwear would have been wet enough to notice. Her bed, thankfully, was not. Nice catch.

The important thing that parents note here is that "accidents" tend to come in spurts (ewww). Two nights of some kind of seepage is a pattern. Which is daunting because tonight we are off camping for the weekend. Wizzing all over the inside of a sleeping bag is not pleasant for anyone. And it's damn near impossible to clean and dry during the trip.

I don't know how long it has been since you've enjoyed the brackish aroma of drying stale piss. You can't ignore it. It isn't manageable. No-one thinks, "oh it's not too bad - I'll burn an incense stick and we'll barely even notice.' Yes you will. And so will other people.

In fact I think we need to run a conclusive international study. All of you are enlisted and I expect you to join in. Because if you aren't 100% positive that the reeking stench of urine is only slightly less horrid than a skunk then I advise going upstairs right now before work and gushing a fountain of your own failure all over your bed. Go on. I'll still be here when you're done. If you aren't motivated to actually go right now just imagine that your entire bed is covered in jellyfish that may sting your family members. Go rope in a child or your wife to really get a good strong deep puddle of pee in the center of the bed. Actually this seems like the kind of community event that only Craigslist can draw adequately urine-filled people to. Just make sure you stress in bold italics in your ad that contestants (you should call them that - people love thinking they are on a game-show) must not under any circumstances start improvising with other bodily waste. Let's not make this weird. You'll have people driving down from the mountains to chip in. Just remember, communal peeing is a lot like Ghostbusters - whatever you do DO NOT CROSS THE STREAMS with your companion. The resulting explosion could take out half the street. Anyway, I'll let you all go gather everyone together, or send that text message to get enough people over. You can just come back to this once your all empty.

Done? Good. Now, just go to work. It'll dry and cure all by itself. If you really want to make it fun fold the covers back over the massive puddle you've made. If you have a duvet (a good one - not the feeble nonsense they sell in the US) even better. It will incubate the urine to a concentrated state so powerful that it will attract Candiru fish all the way from the Amazon hoping that there's a urethra on the end of that smell. And when you get back from your day don't ruin the surprise - leave it until you are ready for bed. Take a shower, put on whatever it is that you wear to bed, peel the covers back (that is actually pretty descriptive of the noise it might make after 10 hours of drying) and jump right in. Quickly fold the covers back over yourself and take a good deep breath. Then I want you to come right back and tell us all if it is "manageable" after all.

I bet you're convinced now.