Monday, October 31, 2011

The Nice N Easy Daylight Shit-Demon Strikes Again

A couple of years ago, at around about this time of year, I was nearly thrown out of a gas station bathroom for being a homeless junkie. I wasn't actually a homeless junkie. What I was instead was a man who had been demolitioning parts of his house, was covered in detritus from that, unshaven, in the midst of a mental downward spiral and suffering from some sort of vitriolic stomach ailment. In other words I was a scruffy man without a toilet having diarrhea in a Nice n Easy gas station bathroom.

Fast forward to today. Like an NCIS serial killer I returned to that very same bathroom and committed a very similar brown crime. Ten minutes earlier I was sat in my daughter's classroom at the start of her Halloween party. She had been sullen and seemingly frightened all morning but hadn't leaked anything suspect. Whilst wondering whether she could make it I was taken by surprise and found myself puking it up in my nicely clean toilet (thanks honey!) instead. So my daughter got to go to school and I figured that I'd bungle through and be fine. Except I wasn't. Five minutes in to the whole thing I felt the cold sweats and the metallic taste on my tongue. Crap. So I handed the keys off to my wife and walked out of the school. We live about a fifteen minute walk away. I can make that.

Then came the race. Not to get home - just to get off school property before puking all over the place. I made it to the giant Douglas Fir on the main road before I had to hide amongst them wretching up mucus. All those weird signs that talk about doubling the penalties for drug offences and whatnot near schools seemed very much to be about people who looked like I did - which was like a smack addict bent over double behind a bush trying to just get the fucking thing out so I can go home.

Not much of anything came out so I walked off quickly. Just in range of the gas station I got the cramps. Shit. Literally. I knew then that I would never make it home without earning a really bad nickname for myself in the local community. No way would I be known as Fudge Butt Buckley in this town (and just to clarify - that totally refers to someone else in the next town over). So I tried to look calm and happy in the gas station and headed into the bathroom. Yep - good job I stopped. But it was one of those ones where you know there are at least twelve chapters to this story so don't bother trying to end it at chapter five because you won't get very far before.......okay this analogy stopped working. I can't think of a good reading analogy that refers to needing to keep shitting.

Ten mintues later I think I'm done and a second knock on the bathroom door. Thank goodness that I chose yesterday to shave off my first attempt at this year's winter beard or the people in that gas station would have struggled to understand what the hell it is I am up to. I don't think they recognized me from those few years ago.

Might have recognized the smell though. I haven't eaten methane-soaked ham and scalloped potato for months so no idea why it formed that aroma. Time for a lie down.

It's Coming Out Of Both Ends

Oh dear.

My family went to a Halloween party last night. I did not. I had a dicky tummy and all that, but that wasn't the real reason. My wife was giving me some time away from screaming kids. Which was nice truth be told. I could hear my brain cracking from the constant screaming so a few hours by myself was welcome. But more than that I will not be associated with spreading the stomach bug that my daughter clearly demonstrated she had. By puking all over the front door. My wife feels awful about being that parent that knowingly brought a stomach bug to a party. Just like she did last year.

Today my daughter has a party and costume parade at school. When I spoke with her teacher on Friday I asked how many of the kids at school had this stomach bug already. The boy who looked like Steve Buscemi was clearly already sick - because he didn;t normally look like Steve Buscemi. There was a girl in the room who didn't want the snack - she seemed off. The teacher said a few of them did. Then she emphasized that this isn't daycare - kids shouldn't skip school because they feel sickly. Just if they are actively chucking it all over the place. To really ram it home by saying, "they are all going to get it anyway - you can't avoid it." Ahh - she thought perhaps I was being overprotective. So I told her that if she wasn't sick in the morning she'd be in. And then to return the ramming-it-home treatment I pointed out that my parents always did the, "well, see how you feel after half the day in school" thing where you always went in, and didn;t get sent home because there were only two hours left.

So my daughter is on the edge of that criteria. She will go today if she doesn't continue to squirt out of both ends. Frankly it is cut and dry. She got up a few times in the night to get a drink of water because she's learned you should do that if you might throw up. She desperately wants to do all the Halloween stuff so reminded herself to get up and drink during the night. Not only that but her mother is going to her Halloween party at school. She misses her mother a lot as could be seen by the fact that she spent at least two hours just sitting on her yesterday just to be with her. She only does that with me if she isn't feeling good. Normally she'd be up and bouncing all over the place at 6am. Instead she collapsed back to sleep in her own bed after having a shower this morning. She just got up and is moping on the couch. She did mention it was Halloween and asked to see some candy. So I showed her and told her all the stuff I have left to do to decorate (which isn't much). Not a flicker of a smile for a good ten minutes. Eventually she asked for, "some healthy food - so you'll let me eat candy later." Right after that she told me she might have another headache.

Then she asked if we could sit under a blanket on the couch while I do my, "morning email." Prospects not looking good so far.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Daily Dump October 30, 2011: Pump(kin) It Up

The Magical Banana Poo

And then she puked all over her dinner.

Like most kids my daughter will insist every now and again that she doesn't like eating something that she actually does. So as I've taken on the school stomach bug and made it my own over the last few days I thought it best not to make dinner for everyone. So my wife quickly chucked together a barbecue chicken pizza for her and the kids. My daughter inevitably complained that she didn't like it. She hadn't eaten any yet but whatever. After a bite or two she started gagging. I quickly told my wife that I think it is amazing that she can convince herself that she dislikes the taste so much that her body actually tries to reject it. My wife simply thought she was acting. Like the good chef fattening the goose for Christmas she insisted that my daughter cut it out and eat more. My daughter then puked it all up like a fountain all over her legs and dinner plate. I thought that was a nice touch - now she definitely won't have to take another bite.

What's neat about that though is it is an entirely isolated incident. There was and won't be any other vomiting from her. She was sick before hand - and judging by the strangely yellow poo she birthed yesterday (I'm serious - it was like a massive banana) she still has some way to go to get back to normal. My wife will go to any lengths to avoid throwing up so assumes everyone else is the same. Not me - if puking it all out will make me feel better than I'm ready to go. My daughter puts her vomiting in context. If she's actually sick then it wasn't fun. Last years two week long vomiting and shitting volcano is a prime example. But the odd, "oops!" doesn't phase her at all. A minute later she was bouncing around the living room. Ten minutes later her and her brother were trying to actually kill themselves by spinning around as much as possible until they hit something hard enough to stop.

I don't remember this thing called the Terrible Two's with my daughter. Probably because she has been constantly turned up to eleven since birth. My son isn't two yet, but he has decided that for periods of the day he will arbitrarily commit war crimes against anything that gets in his way. He will make the effort to travel and find you just to bite you and run off. He particularly likes to find large blunt heavy objects that he can hit his sister in the face with. She sees this as an opportunity to get him into trouble so allows him to twat her one right in the head. Coincidentally when he's in a fit of rage she will often decide to be in that mood where everything hurts or was mean. So her brother will jump off the couch she's sitting on to go find a tool to torture her with and she'll whimper that he made the couch vibrate too much. It's very frustrating.

Yesterday was very much one of those mornings. My wife tried to placate them both with dressing up in their Halloween costumes and going out to a restaurant. They seemed much happier when they got back, but my wife then took a nap. She took my son with her, which is a bit like putting ten antacid tablets in a bottle of Coke. I can tell that there is no way in a million years he will nap. She still insists after four years and two kids that this time it'll happen. Because he does need a nap. He either has to have one or hit a point where he snaps out of the mood he's in and gets a second wind. Five minutes later I went upstairs to get him just so he wouldn't howl and beat the walls any more. Another ten minutes later and he was still in the old sadist wind. I know this because he had managed to smuggle his sister's huge blue glass marble and had thrown it at her so hard that it skimmed off the top of her head like a stone on water and then banged into the window.

After that he insisted (by grunting and growling) that I let him watch Thomas the Tank Engine. Nope - no television thanks. I then fluked it by asking if the kids wanted to play a game of Buckaroo. Not with a small plastic burro - that would be absurd. No - instead they had to try and hang on to me while I wildly flailed around trying to throw them off. That seemed to shake the both of them out of their respective irritable moods and allow me to physically take it out on them but call it parenting.

Somehow in the middle of that my daughter made up her own game in which I was a scary Halloween monster. She gave me a pair of fake monster teeth to wear that I'd been putting into Halloween bags as novelties. My daughter then decided to call me the, "Fairywolf" and kept insisting I, "bite my mega-ball!" Which is the name of her very bouncy rubber ball that she gets in trouble for bouncing in the living room. After a while of that she also wanted to watch television. No ma'am - not happening. I then made a catastrophic error of language. When asked by her why she could not watch TV I said, "because you can't watch too much television," and explained that it was my job as a parent to ensure that didn't happen. Which she took to mean that it is impossible for a child to watch too much television and it was my job to ensure that this simple law was proven. She wouldn't allow me to explain either - I had officially declared that it is impossible for her to spend too much time watching television and that if I said otherwise I was a liar and was trying to make her cry. It reminded me of when I was a child and I was bouncing a tennis ball off the living room wall. One of my parents (can't remember which) came into the room and said, "throw that ball at the wall again and see what happens." I took this as a prompt to, "throw that ball at the wall again and see what happens," and not as a test to see whether I was deliberately taking the piss.

Other than that this weekend is kind of meh. I did manage to clear some of the yard up a bit and try out the flavored coffee I'd bought for my wife. It's a pumpkin spice one from Target. I don't like flavored coffee so I'm not sure what miracle I thought was going to happen. Inevitably it tasted like someone had accidentally dropped something horrible into my coffee. My wife then cleared up what the terrible taste was by stating she though it tasted like those fake banana candies. Yep, that would be it.

I wonder if this is linked to my daughter's magical banana poo?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Daily Dump October 28, 2011: Lets Turn That Frown Upside Down

My daughter heard me mention that her picture of me being dizzy looked sad. So she changed it. Hmmmm.

Chucking Acid Into Their Tiny Faces

"I used to drink Mommy's blood, Daddy."

First off - there's a thick layer of frost outside. I played, "I can see my breathe!" for a bit whilst scraping the ice off my wife's car. I tried to show my daughter to but she was too sad (I'll get to that). A little while later though she noticed the frost for herself and told me we have to go outside to go ice skating. My son simply cannot get his head around it. He's pointing, gasping and looking repeatedly just trying to understand it. We might go out in a bit and he can meet frost up close just for the experience.

My daughter is sick. Yesterday she seemed to have recovered somewhat but today she's woken up miserable. She's not too hot with a fever, wasn't complaining about stomach pains and says she doesn't have a headache. But she is welling up with tears and saying she feels really really sad. Which frankly terrified me. I'm not going to explain that. I've had her smiling and laughing a bit this morning - and she helped me make a giant train track. But then she had an accident and has since been lying on the couch all sad and morose again. I talked to her about feeling sick and how it will take a while to get better. She didn't like that. Since then her stomach ache has come on stronger and she's been in and out of the bathroom a bunch of times. I think if at remains at this rate she won't be going in to school. Thankfully between little crying fits and trips to the bathroom she is starting to brighten up.

For a little while she just camped out on my lap. She wanted to watch a video on Youtube about cats. Then a JibJab Halloween video. Then she wanted to look at photos of us all. When she saw me in my Indiana Jones hat she asked, "is that our farmer costume for Halloween Daddy?" Self esteem dented. After that we looked at old pictures of her as a baby. She liked that. She reminded me again that she used to live in her mother's tummy with Seabiscuit. She also reminded me again that when you teach a child something they will reduce it down to something that makes sense to them so far that it will be incorrect. So my wife had clearly taught her about umbilical cords and In Utero feeding, but my daughter translated that to, "I used to drink Mommy's blood Daddy." When pressed she also admitted to drinking cows milk at the time. Not sure how my wife got it in there (visually that doesn't bear thinking about) but that's apparently what happened.

After that I looked through some online lists of Christmas presents after showing my daughter a wooden watch she saw in an advertisement. Most of what we encountered was flat out ridiculous. Such as a 64" flat screen TV. I can't get my head around why someone would buy their spouse a TV for Christmas. Or,and I'm not kidding here, a celebrity pampering package that appears to just involve getting Botox. My daughter got bored of all those so I started showing her novelty crap from The Gadget Shop and ThinkGeek. She loves that stuff. She liked the Newton's Cradle desk ornament a lot (I think I might get her this) and thought the dancing Coke can toy from years ago was fun. She liked all the weird marbles we looked at and the clockwork weather house thing. And those crappy little plasma globes were a hit too. But in typical fashion the thing she liked the best was when I remembered something my Gran had. It was a plastic donkey you filled up with cigarettes then yanked on it's ear so that it shits one out. Classy and might have replaced the day-glo jellyfish filled lava lamp thing she saw the other day. If you really don't have any idea here it is (complete with evil twist at the end....)

As an aside I looked for the donkey by Googling "donkey craps cigarettes" and the first entry Google gave me was "menstrual cramps." I think Google might need to go to a biology class. It reminded me of an old friend of mine who thought that sanitary towels were so that girls didn't have to go the toilet for a wizz because in all the commercials they poured water on them. He vehemently argued that it was false-advertisement and that they could have at least met him half-way and poured V8 juice on them.

I'm also supposed to call a few people today when I can get around to it. My wife spent four years reminding me repeatedly that she couldn't actually do anything like telephone people because she was mothering all day long. Now that we've switched roles and doubled the number of children involved she tish-poo's my assertions that, "I'll try calling" as naive laziness. When I say the same thing she used to - "I'll call when I get five minutes when they aren't screaming." - she looks at me like I must be parenting wrong. Because why would a child scream unless I was beating them, pouring acid into their faces or using a Chinese finger trap on them? They are the only reasons after all.

Anyhoo - firstly I have to get hold of the snow-plow guy we've used the last few years. He's been in business twenty years apparently but his place looks like crap right now suggesting he's given up. He's just let it go and hasn't put up any sales signs all year for landscaping or anything but did sell off some of his big vehicles. I had this epiphany that if he was actually selling his business he would need to take care of the big plot of land and the building he maintains. But he's let it go to crap. It's the sort of behavior a broken man indulges in. I'll give him a few more calls to see if he is still doing plowing though. Ironically last year I'd just lost my job and my wife was tasked with calling him to not plow. Which she couldn't do because mothering is really really hard.

I also have to call for dentist appointments. My son will get his first and my daughter her second. I've spoken to all sorts of people who have five and six year old children who have never been. Which is odd considering how neurotic Americans are about teeth in western New York. In central New York it's spotty though - some people just don't care at all. I've also spoken to parents though who have kids my daughter's age and younger who have had arse-loads of work done. That's crazy. Firstly because a three year old should not have rotting teeth. At all. Secondly because dentists are evil lying bastards. Four year olds getting cavities filled and teeth pulled and other silliness is clearly nonsense. I've mentioned before that I don't trust US dentists primarily based upon the fact they charge $45 for a mouthful of ACT. Some I do - but a lot of it just seems to be in the same vein as mechanics ripping you off. But a check up and a clean is always good. I need one too. At the very least I'll get to read Newsweek. It's an open secret that no-one actually buys Newsweek except dentists offices. No wonder they're going under. I'm sure it isn't just down to Tine Brown (I kid - of course it is).

Yep - looks like I'll need to call the school and let them know she won't be in. I haven't even told her we might not go to the Thrift Store yet.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sylvia Plath's Oven Baked Fries

My wife has been saying for a few weeks now that my son needs a haircut. His hair is - as you'd expect - thin but still somehow long. It's started refusing to move easily though. So since he got up this morning it's been sticking up all over the place. My wife has some unwritten rule (I lie - she likes making lists so she's probably actually written it down somewhere) that if a man/boy's hair comes over the ear at all then it needs to be shaved off. I'm fine for him to just look like a two year old boy usually does. It's not like he looks like Mowgly. Besides - he loves getting his own head wet and making his hair into funny shapes. I can't take that away from him.

My kids have been absurdly happy this morning. This is because they have heard the Thomas the Tank Engine song about ten times. The song for Thomas is so freaking jolly you could soundtrack anything to it and kids would dance. I want to dance to it and I am clinically depressed. Go on try it yourself. Put it on an MP3 player and show your four year old the footage of Moammar Gadhafi being killed as well and they'll still dance around giggling and jolly. That has Youtube Hit written all over it.

This morning I think I've washed my daughter's hands about five times. Then I gave in and washed her. Last night being sick she went to bed without being cleaned. This morning she highlighted how poor a decision that was by jamming her hands into her bits and bobs and then just royally stinking. I don't want my child to be the one at school that smells so I gave her a scrubbing down and extra-clean immediately-washed clothes to wear. I was risking it by taking my son into a bubble bath at 10.30 in the morning knowing that was his Go Time for pooing as well. And after chuffing one out on his mother last week I was nervous. Especially as the bubbles would hide the offending loaf/pebbles/manta-ray-shaped-shit until it would be all over us all. Thankfully for me whilst filling the bath he decided to, "make a delivery" before I took his clothes off. So the bath was actually really well timed.

Being the kid that smells is not something people forget. And I've been around all the four year old kids in her class. I can tell some of them are either the future name-callers or the name-callees. Its the same as being one of the girls in your area that has sex on the football field when she's fourteen. I don't remember her name at all or anything else about her. Or the girl who completely enveloped a Mars bar in a way it definitely was not intended to be used. Every now and again I remind someone I went to school with about that and they know who I mean, but not her name.

So I very much need to keep my girl pure. Because it doesn't matter what she does for the rest of her school life - all the boys in school will think she's a slut. At least that happened in my school. This is a smaller area mentally (although somehow not actually geographically) than where I went to school. If my kids make a poor start to life they'll have a reputation for their entire life. It doesn't even need it to be true. When I was at university I remember walking behind a group of maybe twelve year old school boys who were openly lauding the whore-like nature of a girl at school in their class who had boobs. That's it - she hadn't done anything sexually because she would also have been twelve. But they all referred to her as, "The Slot Machine." In an area like this my daughter so much as holds hands with a boy and she'll be known as Sally Spit Roast from here to Syracuse. Which is why - as I mentioned before - we are moving to South Georgia Island to study tapeworms.

My son has thankfully decided to nap this morning. The early start started to wear him down. Everything was off - they were done with breakfast by 6am and demanding lunch at 10am. I usually get that done 90 minutes later but their early start combined with the freezing cold had me reinventing last night's hasselback potatoes (big let down) into re-done french fries. I just cut them up and chucked them back in the oven for a bit to get crispy. I covered some in cheese too for myself. I jokingly called the recipe, "Sylvia Plath's Twice-Baked Suicide-Fries" knowing that my daughter wouldn't know what that meant, nor actually be able to say her name to anyone to ask what on earth I was on about.

After that my daughter launched into an impromptu diatribe about recycling. Which I already do. But she'd been watching TV this morning (sue me - I needed a morning off) and all of them had the same theme. If you have kids you will have seen it by now - the kids in the program will band together to save a tree from being cut down by The Man. In the one of them the kids stopped a parent from digging up a tree stump because if he did the Earth would die. Somehow this was all tied to recycling plastic bottles as well. So my daughter told me not to throw out any plastic bags or glass because it hurts animals. I'm glad she's socially aware of these sorts of things but I wish it would actually make sense. All these American, "grow more trees!" shows would make sense in the UK where there are no trees. But not here. I live at the cusp of a forest bigger than Wales. There are billions of trees here. Trees are very much not a problem. Offsetting with trees is a ridiculous way for people to keep doing what they are doing and for someone else to make money.

The commercial movement to, "go green" is such horseshit you see. The Bag For Life thing in the UK is absurd because it lays the fault and resolution for the mass consumption of plastic and glass all up to you. I don't know how these massive multinational corporations that ship shit all over the world, because it's much much cheaper to have foreigners do stuff like that, have done this. What I do know is that they overnight managed to convince British people to actually pay money for plastic grocery bags - magically making more money for themselves in the process - whilst making people feel like if they didn't repeatedly buy a Bag For Life then they are effectively shitting directly into a dolphin's mouth. And now British people are still carting their pork loin home encased entirely in a hermetically sealed plastic coffin and being chided for being evil to the planet. Even the frikking mangoes and avocados come in a plastic casket. The sentiment is somewhat sensible but the aim is all wrong.

Of course here no one gives the slightest shit about being green. Christians in the UK are intrinsically tied to the environmental movement. Conservation is Christian. Somehow in the US espousing any kind of environmentalism equates to not believing in God because he wouldn't hurt his chosen people. Which somehow misses the entire point of the Old Testament. Warmongering and medicine is apparently all well and good, but recycling is Satanic.

My daughter though does want to be helpful and that's a start. If she wouldn't waste her food I'd be happy. Mind she is trying. For lunch she had me make a whole salami sandwich and then ate all the meat and one piece of bread. Remembering my discussions about food waste she licked the salami flavor off the other piece of bread and gave it to me to have for my lunch. When I reminded her I don't eat bread she said I could also lick off the mayonnaise and then give the bread to her brother.

Which Heston Blumenthal would inevitably claim is actual food as long as it was licked by a celebrity hang-gliding or something ludicrous.

The Insanity Orb

5am is rather early for everyone to get up. But that's what they did. My wife shot off to work for a Very Important Day. My son wanted to run around all mental and throw stuff. He's perfectly happy being up that early though. My wife isn't so much but she is good as long as she's working and not just made to get up because everyone's being annoying. My daughter goes one of two ways. First is waaay too much energy to be natural. Hence yesterday's disco. The other is grumpy and angry. She will demand you lie down next to her but not disturb her. She'll then berate you with how you are ruining the blankets/warmth/light/smells in the room. It's delightful. She was okay this morning though.

My son though - he was full-blown silly. He wanted to topple elephants and chuck baseballs. My goodness he has a good arm - and when he's on form he goes bonkers with delight at how good he can hurl the ball. Years ago my dog used to own a ball I called The Insanity Orb because of the dog's sheer excited wigglyness when we played with it. Now I call my son The Insanity Orb. He'll pick something to concentrate his aim on and batter the shit out of it. First he picked the TV and nailed it over and over. Then he picked the toy witch on top of a lamp. Then, after that he got that twitchy look in his eye and started chucking it at me. To really shame me he kept putting on his best Carry On double-entendre faces. Like this -:

My daughter though - that's a whole other story. By 5.30pm last night she had gone from grumpy to demonic. I understood though - she's never had a headache. She kept begging me for cures but refused to actually commit to any of them. So I'd recommend drinking water and she'd turn into Linda Blair. She was emphatic - no liquids at all because they make your head hurt. So I calmly and lovingly recommended giving her some liquid Acetaminophen. She must have heard me say, "okay close your eyes - the only thing that is going to work is bloodletting..." I know this because when you offer medicine to people and they scream, hide under a blanket and pop out to throw shoes at you, then it suggests that you threatened them with medieval torture.She completely flipped out and was taken up to bed just after 6pm worrying that she would die before being allowed to go Trick or Treating for Halloween.

This morning the kids are fine now. They've built train tracks and tried to wrestle me. Even when my son has tried to beat and molest us both she's been fine with it. My son appears to be auditioning to be the World's Crappest Pick Pocket. He constantly chases me around trying to get my wallet, then checks my daugher for one. When he can't get his thieving little fingers on one he just tries to violently penetrate any part of the body below the head with his fingers. After trying to hand-stab my bellybutton he then crosses the line and tries sticking his fingers in his sister's arse crack. She should protest and try and prevent him from doing it but she finds it slightly more amusing than she finds it annoying. The only thing this morning that they both found more amusing than this was when I was getting him dressed this morning and his willy inadvertently got stuck between his legs like Buffalo Bill in Silence Of The Lambs. Then his sister started screaming, "Owen is my sister!" and he started dancing and doing what I think was a Frankie Howerd impersonation.

Right - time to find another breakfast that my daughter will insist I also put honey on.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Poke The Fence

It was raining and cold when it was time to wait for the bus. We have gone outside at noon every single day since my daughter started. It's rained in that time but oddly not at the precise time we've gone outside. I've battled to keep them out of puddles previously. My daughter then does that annoying thing where she isn't in the puddle but over the puddle. She also does it by not actually touching something she isn't supposed to, but completely surrounding it and remarking that I can't do anything about it.

But today it was cacking it down. Whatever - we went out anyway but much closer to when the bus was due and stood under the porch. My son is oblivious to wetness so just plowed into the giant pile of wet leaves I'd collected on the front lawn. My daughter though was sent into a screaming fit of madness by the rain and just ran off round the side of the house. She came charging back towards me a few moment later brandishing a huge stick as a jousting pole yelling, "POKE THE FENCE!!!" Not a clue what was going on there. Well aware that she would likely go swimming on the muddy driveway five minutes before school I tried to calm her down. I did this by getting her to focus on her battle cry asking what it was she actually means. She just kept chanting it in funny voices. So I just smugly said, "that doesn't make any sense." Why that gets her attention I'm not sure, but it does. She stopped yelling it, put her stick down and throw leaves at me. While blinded she picked up the green plastic rake and started yelling, "POKE THE STARFISH!!" She then claimed to be poking my starfish. She even just said casually, "I'm poking your starfish Daddy." "No you aren't" was all I could muster before her bus thankfully showed up and took her away.

My son then begged to go inside and watch Thomas The Tank Engine. He freaking LOVES that show now. He kind of likes the story itself, but mostly he likes the opening music and end of each episode. During which he makes an astonished Kenneth Williams, "oooooooooooh Matron" face and then dances Rick Astley. I tried to film it earlier today but he was simultaneously eating a potato chip and picking his nose. Not his best work, so I'll have a go another time.

Since my daughter got out of school she has descended into an abyss of self-perpetuating sickness. She told me her head hurt. The her finger started to hurt. Then her leg. Then her pants hurt. Now she says she has a headache again. She's been saying it for half an hour now so I'm inclined to actually think she does have a headache. Or her entire body is rapidly failing her. Either way she's lying under a blanket whimpering on the floor. I told her I had to cook dinner but she basically accused me of leaving her to die alone. I told her she isn;t alone - her brother would be next to her asleep. The silly bugger refused a nap again and collapsed right before I left to get his sister from school. I've made plenty of noise and moved him but he's not waking up.

The only other thing of note is that I started blasting, "strength of the bear" and other such nonsense when wrestling with the kids. That morphed into adopting other weird animal strengths. My daughter quite likes, "slime of a slug" and then I have to lick her leg or face. Sadly I'd also started calling doughnuts "dog nuts" in a very not-funny cool middle aged Dad kind of way. Which would have been fine if while play-fighting her in the school hallway on the way out of school she hadn't shrieked, "nuts of the dog!" and then rammed me with her arse.

Have to go now. Not only do I have to make Hasselback potatoes, but my daughter is trying to tell me what, "stupendous" means.

Indiana Jones Is Inside Me

"This is what I look like without any skin Daddy."

I decided not to turn around right away for that this morning. After all - what can that mean? It has to be the sort of thing a serial killer says. And seeing as we'd had such a lovely innocent morning I wasn't expecting that. That's more of a nine am sort of thing. My wife had zoomed off to work early leaving my kids to inevitably wake up as soon as they hear her engine start up. I'd gone upstairs and had a quick lie down and a cuddle. Somehow - and I'm really not sure how - it had turned into a disco. One minute I'm lying down showing my kids how to ride an upside down invisible unicycle, and the next they are slam-dancing into me. Quite frankly it can't be helped. My daughter had dragged her MP3 player into the bed and was playing Biscuits and Groovy at full blast. If your internal groove-gravy doesn't start bubbling to that song you are dead inside.

After that we headed out early to buy a few things. I'd run out of paper towels. And chocolate. So obviously we left before 8am. While driving to the store I tried to pry some information as to what my daugter got up to yesterday at school. She wont tell me much. They are learning about things with the letter A. She told me yesterday that the snack they had was, "candy and goldfish." That is pretty weak and I was not buying it. After a little probing today she said it was some weird plastic square cheese. Yep that's right - a slice of American cheese. But also some candy and a small handful of goldfish. Out of everything beginning with A that's what they got on day 2. Frankly the teacher must have been phoning it in.

The rest of this morning I've been trying not to fan the flames of the one and only fanboy obsession I've had in years. I am a small, very white English man. And yet for reasons that I cannot understand I am very eager to buy some cowboy boots. Yes, cowboy boots. Now obviously I'm aware that I'm probably not the sort of person who should be wearing cowboy boots. Not that I think they are manly or anything like that. But I don't think they are aimed at me. And don;t think I buy stuff. I don't care about anything. I have no idea why anyone rushes out to buy iphones or flat screen TVs or tools. I don't care about anything like that. But I want some boots and am willing to pay good money. But let's just highlight a few facts (both for and against) -:

1) I am not a cowboy.
2) I live in New York state. While possibly the gayest state in the Union, I do live in one of the least gay parts of it.
3) I simply can't see how I - even as an English stay-at-home Dad who drives a minivan - can look any sillier than the thousands of American men who insist on wearing Mom-jeans and white trainers all the time. Everyone looks like Jerry Seinfeld stuck in 1983. I only wear shoes and sandals. I dislike sneakers with a passion and wear hiking boots during the Spring when I can bust out the shorts.
4) I usually buy really awesome shoes, but I do own a pair of round pastie-looking things that drew me some criticism. For example I posted a photo of what I thought might be a human bone that I found in my backyard on an Expat forum. Within a minute someone accused me of wearing orthopedic shoes. Someone even sent me a private message that simply stated, "even your feet are spackers."
5) I really really like eating horse meat. This would seem somewhat anathema to cowboyness.
6) I love PBR bull riding.
7) Modern country music is stupid. Apart from the odd Toby Keith (or as he's known in my house, "Kobi Beef") song I'm having none of it. Give me the real Americana stuff. Unless they're singing about grain elevators and distilling their own whisky I'm not interested.
8) I am probably not what one would consider cool. Like this -:

Now he's cool. Basically I am very aware that if someone like me buys cowboy boots then they might actually be a twat. I even asked a group of brutally honest people if that's the case. "They" being expats on an online forum - you will not find a group of more honest, sharp, empathetic, caring nutcases anywhere. The jury was split but plenty of them buy boots of all kinds. Leading me to confess that I had been considering buying the same boots Indiana Jones wears. And considering I really wanted to be Indiana Jones (and I bought a similar hat in the Spring - which would be the one in the previous post) I figured actually dressing up like him would make me some sort of cosplay mega-twat. So after a recommendation I now want these instead -:

I showed my daughter. She said, "are they mudboots for Mommy?" Bah. I told her they were for me and she asked, "but why would you want to wear Mommy's mudboots? You're a man, Daddy..."

Anyway, back to my skinless daughter. When I eventually turned around to check she showed me a tiny little dot on the palm of her hand. She had a splinter there the other day that I heroically removed with tweezers. She now somewhat believes that all sorts of things might try and get into her body if they find out she has a hole. She's particularly weary of bees and snow getting in there.

Yep - still kind of serial killer.

Daily Dump October 26, 2011

My Sister Is A Couch

Big Lip

I Might Actually Be Indiana Jones

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Santa Has Cancer

As soon as I picked my daughter up today we had this exchange -:

Daughter: A boy touched me in school today Daddy.
Me: Where?
Daughter: In the library. No - in the hall.
Me: Where on you?
Daughter: My back. My teacher yelled at him. He was just poking me but she told him not to poke me. She is sending a letter home to his Mommy.

Now that is zero tolerance. My daughter told me the story again from start to finish and that's it - kids are not allowed to touch each other in any way at any time. But a kid in her class wanted to talk to her and poked her so the teacher wouldn't know they were talking (which is pointless because kids are useless at whispering). Now the kid gets a letter home because he wanted to tell my daughter that he could see a book. I dunno - I get the whole point. And the age spread in the school is pretty big so you don;t want an innocent nearly-four year old being physically touched by a ten year old for various reasons. Let alone evil teachers stepping over the line. And as a general rule it's a good one. But this kid now has a record (of some kind) for doing something most people do every single day.

My daughter ran around the house all morning yelling, "My pumpkiny wumpkiny." I cannot tell you how proud I am. Then again she also blew her bloody wooden train whistle every fifteen seconds for a good two hours. She interjected each blast with, "listen Daddy!!!" as if I had somehow managed to miss the repeated chuffing nuisance. Anyway the point is I think I can program my little girl to repeat well known comedy phrases from classic British sitcoms that Americans have no idea about. I'll have her wailing, "Neil, Neil, Orange Peel" and, "I didn't get where I am today by sleeping with sweaty, Caledonian chefs," soon enough. It's going to be fantastic.

In the meantime I listen to her repeated whistling - but only after a long very powerful crying fit. Today is swimming lesson day. Last week she broke down in the changing room and told me she hated it. This week she was massively excited by the whole thing and couldn;t wait to get in there. And the only thing worse than making a kid do something they don't want to is telling a kid they can't do what they want to do. Yep - we got it wrong. Last week was the last lesson of swim class. Holy crap that girl can cry. She turned crimson red, wailed and screamed and did that weird wibbly voice thing were she couldn't speak because she was just too emotional. She kept asking me why there was no lesson. She wanted me to answer her, but the answer I gave her sucked so she kept asking me over and over again. Every time I answered it was like new information - new painful stunning information. But judging by the powerful explosive reaction she wasn't hearing, "there's no lesson." Instead she must have heard, "Santa has cancer" or, "someone ate all the salami that was left on Earth. It's all gone." I thought about promising that her mother would take her swimming tonight. That's a tough one though - because if she doesn't then I'm a liar. Nope - avoid that one. But she just kept getting worse and worse. Screamed in the changing room. Screamed walking out the building. Screamed in the car. Screamed into the house. Screamed and screamed and screamed. Until I asked if she wanted me to sharpen some pencils. Then she calmed down and stopped in about 90 seconds. She hasn't even instead at crying since. Total turnaround.

That's a very painful switch in behavior sometimes. It's useful when I know I can turn rage or pain off. But they do it themselves with love and compassion too, and that kind of blows. When my wife goes out of town the kids turn their good feelings to me. I can cuddle and comfort each of them to sleep and all that. They want my affection. When we lie awake early in the morning it's nice and calm. When my wife came home last I still wanted - no expected the cuddles for myself. My kids though gave me that, "yeah - beat it loser" look and would grunt if I tried to peel them off their mother. And heaven forbid I cuddle her. My son tried to jab his fingers into my eyes like a bowling ball and growled like a feral hyena this morning. And it;s not calm and nice in the morning. Instead they fight each other to lie next to her whilst simultaneously trying to whack-a-mole me if I so much as peep up. Screw that. You can have her.

Anyhoo - I spoke with my daughter's swimming instructor and she's going to stay in the class. It starts again in something like 3 weeks. Amusingly the reason my daughter didn't want to swim last week is also the reason she is staying in this swimming class. And I learned the name of the girl she races against. So that's good. I think her parents did something different by giving her a normal name but totally mispronouncing it to be cool. Her name is pronounced, "You-lee" but spelled with a J. Bizarre.

My son has been refusing to nap until he just cannot hold on. Yesterday and today he struggled to stay awake until late and then capitulated. Just nap you silly bugger - it seems painful not to. Instead he'll walk around like a drunkard tipping over, tripping and holding on to anything he can. Then he'll take a dive and pass out on the floor for ten seconds. Then he'll rage himself awake, stumble across the room like a bad guy in a horror movie until he crashes immediately asleep onto the wooden floor like a narcoleptic Redwood. It's freakish. I've seen him go down - his eyes are shut. Then when we go pick his sister up he immediately falls asleep in the car and doesn't wake up until quarter after four.

But it's leftovers night. Yay. I might chuck some fish-sauce (you heard me) over the beef and cabbage if we have any left to make it seem different. But probably won't. Can't be arsed today.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Indignity

"Why won't you lick my fingers Daddy?"

There are some things you don't want to ever hear from your own child. Some of those things are when they complain because you won't lick or sniff their fingers. Or make their brother do the same thing. One place you definitely do not want to hear the above question is in the hallway of you child's elementary school whilst walking between a group of thirty people. But that's what just happened. This is because the snack given to my daughter's class today were apples. Yep. Oh - and bowl fulls of unmade Jello powder to dip them in. You know - healthy stuff. I was actually invited into the room to see how happy all the kids were. All the little buggers were covered in slightly-wet fluorescent Jello powder sporting a retarded smile or suffering hypoglycemic shock. It was like stumbling across fifteen kids who;d been shown how people used to huff snuff from a box, and were impersonating it with sugar dust. Both I and my son were offered some and declined.

Thankfully before this atrocity I was so proud of my daughter this morning. That's because she has started singing my old favorite song again. That son is, of course, B, L, Double-O, D. Our new singalong version goes like this -:

I cut my arm and broke my leg. B, L, Double-O, D!
My white t-shirt has turned all red. B, L, Double-O, D!
There's a giant pick-axe sticking through my head. B, L, Double-O, D!
It's pretty much a given that I'll end up dead. B, L, Double-O, D!

Sadly my daughter has also started blurting out, "The indignity...." because that';s what Gordon sometimes says on Thomas The Tank Engine. She tries to do the accent too and isn't that bad at it. My son, not to be outdone in the impressing-Dad stakes has learned how to put shoes on (but not get them off causing visceral rage) and put train tracks together. Good man. Unlike his sister he gets the right shoe on the right foot too. Which I discovered by finding him charging off out side this morning to jump in leaves - but with his shoes on. No pants - just shoes and underpants. He's going to give Ghost Blower a bad name at this rate. I told my kids that the rule is that if the trees are naked that they have to wear more clothes to compensate. My daughter angrily argued that the tree is actually wearing pants (bark) so that's why her brother didn't. Apparently she's protective about her brother's pantless needs.

Right - I'm off to make sure we have all our black-out supplies ready. The skies have turned black and it is absolutely hammering it down. And all in a matter of seconds so I wouldn't be surprised if we get a power cut. I reminded my daughter of her attempt some time ago to stop weather using a photo of Meryl Streep drinking milk and her yelling, "cabbage!!" out the window. She thinks it might work this time. But only if I go up on the roof and try. And maybe bring her.


The Wet Weetabix

My son took a shit on the rest of my family yesterday. That's what they all get for sharing a bath together. As weird as it sounds I do kind of feel left out. Of course if things had gone the way they normally do (I usually get in first) it would have been me frantically trying to avoid rabbit pebbles. of course, if it had been me he probably would have plopped out a wet Weetabix. To be honest I'm amazed my wife allowed a child into the bath who flat out refused to follow the First Rule of Baths and Showers (and Hot Tubs and Swimming Pools). And that warm/hot water was always going to relax a small boy's twitchy bum hole.

Anyway let's move on. Yesterday afternoon we went out to the new local Mexican restaurant. Food was good. Prices are good. Ambiance is good. They don't stand a chance though. The building they have is bigger than the popular restaurant next door, and that place knows not to be open after lunch. It is weird though that when we moved in a few years back lots of the businesses on the main street had long been dead. Now lots of development and business is taking off. This whole nationwide recession thing really is local. The central New York region towards Utica is a pit of misery. Western New York looked like it didn't even know there was a recession. This area has a 7-8% unemployment rate. Not too shabby and average for the state. Add no-one really mentions that for college graduates unemployment numbers actually got a tiny bit better (and yes, I understand the issue of under-employment as I went that route myself). So it's nice to see the area get investment. And we could do with some not-Italian American restaurants around here. Bland chicken in a flavorless tomato sauce on pasta is useless and barely a cuisine. So something else - even or for a temporary period - is a treat. And they were treated to my daughter randomly screaming, "Love Beans!" as we all mucnehd our refried beans.

I took the kids out this morning to grab all our Halloween candy. We definitely have way too much. I say this because my wife more ore less insisted I get too much so she can stuff her face right after we make it clear to everyone that Trick or Treating at our house is over. Also I know I got way too much because absolutely nobody came to our house last year. And why would they? I live in the previously scariest house in the neighborhood. If anyone had to pick a house in the whole area which represented the Scariest Haunted House it would have been mine. It's also next to people that everyone in the village says, "those people are weird." Then they wait a second for me to not appeal and say, "you know - they seem kind of rapey." I also live at the end of the village opposite a cemetery. My house isn't on the way to anywhere else around. So we got nobody.

Of course now all sorts of people have told us how nice the house is now. As in they gush about how wonderful it is that the local House of Death and Child Sacrifice has gone, and a nice family have moved in. But I can tell what they really mean is that if the neighbors they all think is weird goes batshit that they will stop to murder all of us first while they get a chance to call the cops. Add that my daughter is in school now and we've discovered that people her age live right around us. Close enough to walk to even. So we should get a handful of kids this year. Leaving four bags of candy for my wife.

One of the really fun things about this Halloween is that it really does stress that society is what teaches laws and outlooks. Meaning that almost everything is social construct that presses on people's emotions to create a feeling or a mood. Certain things are said to be scary or happy things for so long that you believe it eventually (except songs in a minor chord - they are automatically sad). My kids aren't scared by anything yet. Scary Halloween things just aren't. My daughter constantly laughs at it all and points out it cannot be scary because it's just pretend. So while at the store today we would see pumpkins, glow in the dark spiders and whatnot which isn't scary. And then without warning there was a life-size dummy of a masked man spattered in blood holding a head at least half his size (so either a child or a cast member from Time Bandits). That should be scary seeing as it clearly says that you can pretend that someone has decapitated a child on your front lawn. For a laugh. But my kids didn't even blink at it.

I think that's what people mean when they ague that kids should be allowed to keep their innocence. I see that all the time too. Every time we drive past the local VFW building with it's tank parked out front my daughter yells that she can see a Stump Grinder. Today on the way home we were on the lookout for decorations for Halloween on people's lawns and passed a place that makes marble gravestones. Which my daughter thought was a house that had just really jumped headfirst into Halloween. This country is kind of odd though that most people I know that talk about childhood innocence aren't really referring to death, violence or wars, but sex and gayness. Especially sexy gayness.

Which blows my mind seeing as every single girls Halloween costume I've seen seems to be for sluts to wear. Slutty witch? Yep. Slutty princess? Aren't they all? Today I even saw a pair of costumes that were for a teenage boy and girl. One was Charlie Brown - so a fake bald head and a t-shirt. The other was one Lucy, so you'd expect a wig of some sort and a blue dress. Which is such a very very dull outfit that the woman modelling it on the front was wearing a sheer skin-tight blue cocktail dress that showed her gusset off. And the model seemed to be really really trying to show Charlie Brown her arse as well. And Charlie had a smirk on his face that suggested that later on he was going to give Lucy quite the treat.

But not my kids - and octopus and an elephant. My wife is mulling over whether to dress up. I have nothing. I asked my daughter what I should be. As we were driving past some sheep at the time she said a sheep. Then I drove past a pond of ducks and she changed her mind to them. I told her I could wear a sheep costume and then wear a duck costume over that so that people could tell I was a sheep wearing a duck Halloween costume. Pretty neat idea. My daughter went one level further by saying I should wear a duck costume and then wear a slightly different duck costume over that. Which is absolutely genius. I might try that.

Good job I don't live in Ohio. No way I would walk around rural Ohio at night dressed as a duck next to an octopus and an elephant.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Leopard Skin Crutch

My wife ran into work this morning for three or four hours. So while she did that my kids jumped around to music I played and music they made themselves. My son is still thrashing around in his guitar, but now my daughter makes it even mroe impressive by yelling, " Owne!! Rock me off my socks!!" She then went and grabbed the wooden train-whistle and warned me about her musical chops by stating, "I can blow your ear out Daddy." That didn't happen. It did sound though a lot like Ian Mackaye singing a Levellers song. Which, as good as Mackaye is, is terrible. No one has ever made a song that sounded good with a wooden train whistle in it.

While they did that (and then watched Thomas The Tank Engine) I watched Man Citeh absolutely batter Man Utd. Marvelous stuff. After that we went outside and jumped in leaves. I tried to move a bunch of them so I could actually see my lawn. I'll go back out later on and finish up. My kids enjoyed the wheelbarrow rides and helping being a "leaf weight" but wore way more jazzed about going to the nearby farm for apples and pears, and then to the grocery store. My daughter was also giddy at the promise we would make sugar cookies in different shapes this afternoon. I didn;t really feel like it but thought it would be a nice treat. Magically my wife pulled an old frozen blob of cookie dough out of the freezer. Eerily the date is exactly one year ago today. They are now cooling on a rack.

On the way to get apples my wife my stopped at someones house who had loads of free stuff for the taking on their lawn. Actually free too. Not the, "free" that a relative says things were when he turns up with a child's bike or a canoe that someone had in front of their house. It could be on their driveway two feet from the garage door and he will swing up, nab it and drive off absolutely confident that they wanted him to have it. Anyhoo, my wife came back with a framed picture of a cow and a pig, and a pair of crutches covered in a leopard skin pattern. I thought it best not to ask....

At the farm their dog started sniffing like mad around the underside of my car. This is because on the way home last night I an over someone's cat on a major highway. No way I could have avoided it. I managed to slow down some but it's a 55mph road and it just shot out stood there seemingly bracing for it. I felt the two bumps under the car, my wife shrieked, and then I waited for the car behind me to plow on through as well. They were about 30 seconds back from me so if it wasn't dead by me (and it most likely was) it certainly was after the second car. It's a shame - I've never hit anything. I've seen massacred deer all over the place. Squashed beavers and groundhogs all over. My street alone is a squirrels nightmare. And guaranteed that during this time of year you will at least smell a dead skunk between my house and where my wife works (or ,as tends to be, for the entire 8 miles). I've seen dogs on the side of the road too.

But I've never hit anything. I live on a pretty busy road but it's a 30mph one. I have two cats and readily expect that if they start crossing over to the cemetery that they are going to get hit. The cat I hit was on a major 55mph road. It was inevitable really. And the dog at the farm could smell it. I might have to go under and take a look to see if there's anything gross and nasty under there.

Speaking of gross underneath - whilst writing this my daughter asked me what a weird lump was. Not really thinking I turned around to find her half-naked from the waist down innocently pointing up her own bacon sandwich. No. Not looking at it. Her mother is home so she can look. It totally put me off me Cheetos as well. And my fancy hot chocolate. I'm not saying it will happen, but I think I've discovered the new weight-loss craze. I have a kitchen full of just-bought snacks (including a nice new tub of Perry's Caramel Craze ice cream) and am completely uninterested. I'll need to figure out the logistics obviously. I certainly don't know how I can explain this method to people without them freaking out.

It's certainly going to be a tricky grant proposal to write.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Princess Bounce and The Ninja Stoat

First things first, time to be alarmed. My daughter got a book about cows out of the library. I'm going to test her with various beef products throughout the day to determine whether we need to escalate to DEFCON Moo or not. It might be a possibility that she is infatuated with cows in the same way that people think they like seals. You know - they have fluffy seal toys and hold a special grudge against Canadians because they speak English and kill the poor baby fluffy creatures. Then years later they see grown seals fighting and vomit astonishment at the amount of blood and rage involved. So yes - my daughter might just like the idyllic cute version of cows (whatever that is) instead of actual cowness. We shall see.....

So my wife is home. My kids are ecstatic. You could tell my son was happy because he cuddled her for an hour or so and then fell asleep after about two minutes of me trying to put him to sleep. Exhausted from waiting, basically. This morning we even managed a decent cuddle in bed. My wife and I even attempted it until my son realized it and immediately stopped us by sitting on my head. I don't want to get too graphic but let's just say he literally gave me a wet willy in my ear.

Right now my wife is hiding in the dining room attempting to sew together an octopus outfit. Oh yes - we do have outlandish sex. Sometimes I dress up as a Jellyfish and ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK!!!!Actually no, she's making a Halloween octopus for her daughter. I think she's trying to throw it together so that we can ride the Halloween train up north with the inlaws. We are off to visit them today. Today is the first time in ages that we are aware that it might actually snow while we are up there. My son is going to explode when he experiences that this year.

Outside of that my wife has come home to find a new episode of Princess Bounce and Dr. Bonk on the go. My daughter - completely unprompted - yelled yesterday afternoon that she, as Princess Bounce, was going to violently tackle me, who was apparently the Ninja Stoat. No idea where she got that from. As far as I knew her only interaction with stoats was an old stupid story I used to tell about how stoat spit can heal any ailment as long as you get them to lick your wrists. Yes, you did just read that. So my daughter spent the afternoon with her shirt on around her neck, but her arms not inside the sleeves, insisting that she was wearing her Ninja Stoat Battle costume. Then she and Dr. Bonk would repeatedly jump on me and then lick my wrists. Go on - try and prove that will cause mental retardation, because you can't.

So this morning during Big Bed Cuddle Club my daughter licked my wrist a few times and my son played Dragon Beep Beep. Which is very much like normal Beep Beep, but he growled the sound like a rabid mythical beast whilst trying to climb inside his mother. Evidently he possesses the same level of serial-killer passion she does. She used to tell me that she would feel much closer to me if she could either bite me or climb inside me. Terrifying stuff. Mind you she also tried to genuinely convince me to buy her a chimpanzee, so her judgement can often go absolutely haywire.

My daughter has also adopted a wonderful thing where she asks permission to get up because it's still dark outside by asking, "is it daytime Daddy?" After asking that this morning I said it was and she told her brother, "Look outside Owen - dark!!" At which point he started quacking. He was either taking the piss or needs a hearing test. So we got up, put on real wool sweaters (my son is wearing the World's Most Awesome Sweater - photos to follow) and are sitting around waiting for the Sex Octopus to appear.

Okay fine - it's not a Sex Octopus.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bovine Botherers

So after my son's midnight cock-a-doodle-moo (TM: Vegasrudeboy) my daughter spent the morning cracking herself up with her latest joke. That is pretending to be a "ghost cow." So mooing in a spooky voice. She thought that was hysterical. And apparently energizing. Because every single time she hid under her ghost blanket and gave a big moo she would then burst out from beneath it and run around screaming with laughter until she hit something that made her fall down.

Recognizing this would likely lead to a broken limb/window/marriage I took the kids outside. And we did this -:

Which is fantastic fun. It's still not quite time to wheelbarrow everything away because the maple tree these are under still has half it's leaves. All the walnut trees are naked though. So we just jumped in and out of these massive piles I made for half an hour.

After that we had hot chocolate whilst waiting for the school bus (my daughter and Id id anyway) made by pouring hot chocolate milk into hot chocolate mix. I highly recommend this. I even chucked in a few marshmallows to seize up the arteries a little. My son stuck to Ribena. He had to wait annoyingly long because I couldn't open the damn no-spill cup he uses in the livingroom. I don;t care how at ease he is with a regular cup - no way is he poncing about with a cup full of purple food dye. I have no idea why the lid to that damn cup gets stuck so hard. The only person who opens and closes it is me. And I know I'm not abnormally strong.

Sure that we were now exhausted of nervous energy my daughter then remembered another joke I've been shaming the family name with. It goes like this -:

Daughter: What animal is always hurting itself?
Me: I don;t know.
Daughter: An owl!

That's gold Jerry. Gold! At which point she will always repeat the word in two syllables as, "Owww!!! L!" I know how that jokes goes, but I did have a sneaking suspicion she was going to say a cow as a the punchline. Thankfully not though - I think three independent references to cows in one day confirms a fetish doesn't it?I quickly turned her away from this and confirmed for her that she can do magic. Every day I tell her to coutn to two (not asking for much...) and when she hits two the bus will appear. This is because I can see it coming down the hill before she can. She genuinely thinks she can will it into existence. I'm sure she's at school right now betting some other ugly child good money that she can do it. Let's hope the school bus driver doesn't accidentally come smashing through the classroom wall when he arrives today. Can't have her being that smug all weekend.

Right now I'm doing the last load of laundry before the wife gets home. I'm nearly delirious and blinded from the faceful of Fruitloop dust I inhaled cleaning up the couch covers. God bless my kids but even they aren't gung-ho for Fruitloop Friday now. Instead my son dumped the small bowl of colored demon-hoops into the couch crevice. They were more than happy with the Halloween decorations we got at the thrift store and the proposed leaf-leaping we will do later today.

As am I.

T For Tripe

My son woke me at 3am this morning mooing. Yes, I did just write that sentence. Not a half-hearted one either - he was mooing the heck out of that moo. So I took him downstairs to regroup. And possibly to milk him. I don't know - how far am I supposed to go with this role playing thing anyway? It's a moot point anyway because he fell asleep within ten minutes anyway. So I took him back upstairs and plopped him next to his sister. It's now just gone 6am and he's up but she's not. He's sitting next to me on the couch trying to compute the picture they just showed on the morning news. This day last year we had a dump of snow apparently. And today the freakishly young looking weatherman has once again uttered the words, "lake effect" and given us the stern sullen look of someone who thinks that they actually control the weather. Yep - it really is almost time for perpetual snow. Once it starts it keeps on going until 115 inches (on average) have been dumped and then it's May. That makes no sense if you don't live somewhere like this, but that's just how it is.

I'm sure you are all wondering what unhealthy snack my daughter had at school yesterday that begins with the letter T. Well, it was a cookie. And some grape juice. I'm going to go ahead and say that teacher took a look at the bag of tripe they brought into class and second thoughts. My daughter did assure me though that they went outside and played, "T for Tag!" Good for them. That should put a small dent in the thousand calories of pure heroin-grade sugar they usually ravage each day. Maybe today they'll dig a, "T for trench" and then run, "T for ten miles" and burn off a few more. Although I think it's more like they'll, "T for take a nap" and then, "T for tried to mainline a bag of icing sugar right into their femoral arteries."

Speaking of largeing it up like a massive fatty, my wife called in briefly from her difficult business conference to tell me that in between gorging on pork tenderloin and lobster tails that they had all done a spot of kayaking. Sounds awful. Especially as she also tells me that there's an open no-extra-charge room that has a popcorn machine and ice cream cabinet in it (like you get at a gas station filled with brand name nosh) that you can just dip into if you feel like it. It has loads of other stuff in there too like doughnuts and other not-really-food-group foods. But it's not all hard work and toil. Apparently they sat around the bar fireplace until 2am in the morning drinking cocktails and laughing. Oh - and talked shop. They do have workshops and technical sessions. It must be awfully hard to hear them though when your ice-cream headache kicks in. Obviously I'm being picky. She does work extremely hard. And she is actually working. She spends a work-day length period of the day doing her job in between the truffles and gravy baths. And I wouldn't want to spend from breakfast until being allowed to go to bed without seeming like you're slighting the board-level technical staff of North America's best technical companies. Balls to that. I'm a good employee and can talk bollocks all day with the best of them. But I certainly don't want a job where deciding to go lie in bed at 11pm with a bucket of chicken and a tub of ice cream and watch Steven Seagal movies on cable would appear unprofessional. Which is why I've foregone the rat race in favor of watching the mulletted pillock attempting to rescue an unusually busty woman from Bananistan (a genuine country in Seagal's movie Flight of Fury) whilst eating chocolate peanuts in my own home at 10.30 at night.

Today is also, of course, Thrift Store Friday. My daughter is ridiculously excited to bring home every single bloody item of Halloween and Fall tat that she can lay her hands on. I brought two shopping bags of crap home last week and they still have three or four times as much left to get rid of. And they dearly want to as well. So I'll take it off their hands. They have some new stuff there too but I want to avoid toys and trinkety crap. The last few things we've got have either been totally unused or are obnoxious. For example, my son brought home an interactive dog thing that has touch pads on it which make it talk. But the stupid thing makes the exact same sounds as my phone when it needs to be charged or I have a message. And he doesn't use it in any other manner than smacking the buttons repeatedly until it sounds like it's doing very poor impersonation of jazz scat singing.

So we'll stick with Halloween. Which my daughter is physically acting out right now by trying to ride the vacuum cleaner like a witch on a broomstick. There is a broom in the next room, but that must be soooo 2006 to her generation. And my daughter strikes me as a trend setter, so I'm guessing by next Halloween you won't see a single witch on a broom. Us old folks are going to struggle to adapt. Actually I imagine it's a lot when Dylan went from the old acoustic and started playing electric guitar. Sure he lost a few people, but he did spend the next thirty years of life doing that instead. Oddly people still try and paint Dylan as the 1963 Times They Are A-Changin harmonica-and-acoustic hippy wanking dream. With, by the way, freaking awesome uncontrollable hair. Mind you when you realize he now looks like a gay-Mexican assassin with the weird matching black electric guitar and circus hats it's no wonder people pine for the old sexy Dylan.

So maybe people will remember witches on brooms. But like me encountering dog-costumes at the grocery store they won't think it's odd when they see a witch on a Dyson bagless ball vacuum cleaner.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


"Owen put his finger in my nest, Daddy."

First and foremost - here's a low-res photo of that amazing picture I was gushing about. It captures my lingering mood entirely. Not only that - it is the perfect depiction of dizziness. Note - it's actually a pink piece of paper - the same color as pink Tums are.

I know people who work at MoMa. Just sayin'.

After a surprisingly easy night and a lovely early morning the whole world turned to shit. My daughter cried and cried because she misses her mother. That's twice this week she's lost it now. She let lose that she hates it when her mother goes away (which is these two times, just to be clear). Please note that she does go to her grandparent's house for 3 or 4 days at a time without these sorts of emotional outbursts being reported to us. Which, if you haven't figured out from tales I've told about them, means she has definitely been losing it big time up there. Oh well - she had to learn it's okay I guess, but they could just let me know.

Actually to be clear she lost it because her brother was in the second hour of losing it himself. Apparently it was contagious. He just started getting moodier and angrier all morning. He was on the hunt for trouble for a good thirty minutes before he got into any. After narrowly missing his sister with a huge Thomas the Tank Engine train that he tried to pistol-whip her with, then not managing to rip her head off by her hair he tried to pull the dog's tail off. Good luck with that buddy - we didn't even know he had one for a full week after we got him. So after not managing that he managed to evade my pre-emptive strike (this is what Wolfowitz was on about, by the way - except with WAAAY more innocent dead people) and he pinched her back skin pretty nastily. Obviously she was shirtless - why wouldn't she be when I'm trying out keeping the house colder (I'm trying out 65 by the way - I own far too many sweaters and have far too many nice blankets to be sitting in my house in shorts complaining I'm cold and cranking the heat up to 70).

That was when she lost it. Why is Owen so mean? Why is Mommy not home? Why can't she have any more gummy bears? So we sat around with Halloween stuff I wasn't getting out yet and goofed about. Spider Hands - a long time in hiding - came back out and sang his songs to her, which she really liked. The World's Smallest Man got to hear all about how there might be a haunted mouse in a haunted house down the street. Last of all, she explained (after apparently hearing me joking to myself about it yesterday) that when people in Canada get cold they get, "Moose Bumps."

After noshing on some pizza from yesterday I whipped out the super-cheesy Goldfish crackers. I don't eat them myself. No idea what they taste like but I imagine they are not that great. Still, she asked for them instead of other candy and I couldn't bear to see either kid cry any longer. I was involved in a brief discussion this past week about whether Cheeze-Its or Cheese Nips are better. I have neither at home. And by discussion I mean everyone talked about Cheeze-Its like crack whores and put down Cheese Nips as if they were baked in the crack of a whore. An overwhelming and shockingly passionate verdict there. Just to be clear my wife agrees with this verdict and underlined it by stating she would eat Cheese Nips, "if she had to." Apparently if threatened at gunpoint or something equally sinister. Of course I can't tell the difference in her preference, because if there is a box of either of those in the house then her face and hands are plastered in orange dust. She looks like she's been fingering an Oompa Loompa. I imagine...

My daughter is off at school now. Earlier we played in the wet garden leaves. My daughter made a nest of leaves and complained that her brother, "put his finger in my nest, Daddy." Seeing as nests are synonymous with eggs I thought the worst. Thankfully he was just poking her leaf pile. Now she's off coloring in pictures and eating something beginning with T. Thorazine, probably. My son is currently doing this -:

That's right - after waving goodbye to his sister and me carrying him ten feet back into the house he collapsed asleep. I'm letting him have an hour before waking him up. He will sleep tonight.

The Morning Beep Beep

It looks like my kids had one of those 24 hour stomach bug things. For quite a bit of yesterday they treated me to violent explosive diarrhea. My daughter would be coloring and then shriek, run to the bathroom and then call for help. When I was done "helping" with that I'd find my son - once again - looking as if he had sat on a Sara Lee gateaux. I think this sort of thing happened five or six times before they both began to run out of whatever abomination was coming out. My daughter did not have any problems in school but managed a few moments afterwards. By evening she was fine. My son seemed to get his all out of the way in a rapid three hour shitting session.

And before any of you go blaming pork rinds it started before eating those. In fact the rapid turn around may even be due to the innate medicinal qualities found in a stray pig hair that remained attached to each piece of deep fried porcine skin. I did receive some lovely advice from a mother of more than double the amount of kids that I have. She suggested just plopping the kids in the bath and leaving it running to contain the monster in one location. One can only imagine this is based upon experience and trail and error. I will admit to going this method myself a few years ago before ending up in hospital. Worked a treat. But then I felt like I was actually going to die at the time. My kids, on the other hand, didn't let a bout of Delhi Belly bother them at all. One minute they would be gaily frolicking in an enormous pile of leaves, the next my son would emerge like a cresting whale covered in it's own shit, still giggling and trying to beat his sister with a rake. Thankfully it was a dry morning so I just kept changing him and going back outside again. My daughter would vanish back in the house and deal with it herself to a degree until I came in and "helped" - usually after disposing of another pair of of my sons ridiculously tiny underpants.

Still, by dinner time that was over. So - like the good sport I am - I made the kids homemade pizza. I don't eat it so they really seemed to understand how much of a selfless hero I was being. I then blew it somewhat by telling them that I was bribing them to go to sleep and be nice. To reciprocate my son went to sleep like a charm at 6.50. My daughter didn't refuse to go to bed or anything clearly rebellious. But she clearly made as little effort as possible. It was like she was taking a page out of a union playbook and tried a little, "go slow" trickery. She would slightly fidget and roll over every two minutes or so. She didn't make any noise or try and get up. She just did enough to not go to sleep. Until 8.53. At which point I got up to let the dog out, put the dinner away and make sure the cats weren't hiding in the dining room and planning a midnight shitting spree of their own. After getting all the animals out (into what sounded like another Fall rainstorm of biblical proportions - they just keep coming this year) my son got up. Well done kids - you gave me seven whole minutes of alone time.

But instead of my son producing a camp ham-soaked Bette Midler off-broadway level performance he snuggled up to me and pointed at the bed. So I gave it a go. He didn't wake up until 11.30. He was bouncing all over the bed at this point so I got up and went downstairs for a drink of water. I plopped him on the couch, got him some water too and sat down. After we finished drinking he very animatedly got off the couch and grabbed the big blue blanket we use to make pretend-water on the floor. Then he crawled back up on my lap, tried to cover us up and tried to cuddle himself back to sleep. So I leaned into the couch and sat there for about ten minutes until he dropped off. Then we went back up to bed.

I woke up again then at 3.45 - not that far off what I'd normally be up at - and my son was lying in the window next to me playing a game we play normally around 6am. Every time a set of headlights would appear on the road he'd start with a low hum until the car actually came into view and then he'd yell, "BEEP BEEP!!!" I considered getting up but my daughter then asked me to cuddle her. If she gets up at 4am there is a strong possibility that global warming will quicken by a century or two. So I stuck an arm around her and scratched my sons head for a few minutes. He lay his head down pretty quickly. Next thing I know it's 5.30. My daughter is snoring away like a dragon that's been downing Guinness all night and my son is wriggling about. So we lay in the window and played Beep Beep again for a good thirty minutes before getting up.

Since getting up my kids have been in a grand mood. My daughter has been drawing pictures all morning that are convincing me that some of those parents that enter their kids into constant talent competitions in spite of the fact that their kid isn't very good at something aren't deluded fools. Note I said some - most of them are oblivious. But my daughter drew me a picture this morning that 99% of the population would insist is pretty poor standard. It's supposed to be me when I'm dizzy (after I was a worm - but ignore that part). Dear God it's amazing. I mean - I know that it's not - but it is.

I've worked in art galleries- believe me when I say that most of the stuff in there annoys you because anyone (and I really mean that) could have done it. The difference between classical painting and a lot of modern conceptual art is actual skill. One gallery I worked at had an installation of white paintings. Yeah - corridor after corridor of slightly different sized white rectangles. I swear that artists got back stuff that they didn't submit and had no idea. I have simultaneously been amazed and irritated by Jackson Pollock works because it could have been painted by a provoked epileptic. So I feel that I have some art-critic chops that have merit. Therefore me thinking that this simple crayon drawing is the dog's bollocks has some weight to it. I have to recharge my camera battery but I'll take a photo later and stick it up here. Then you can all experience that sense of hilarity when you meet a parent who tells you her daughter can sing, and then they open their mouths and sound like a walrus mating.

Right - time to check the basement for flash flooding.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Anaphylactic Pixie Balls

My wife is going out of town again. She's driving to some swanky conference resort up in the mountains this time though. Which means me and the kids get to try and get enough sleep until Friday again. We should do fine. My son doesn't even have a cold this time so he went have that problem. I also won't have any excuse to give him medicine that makes him sleepy either. Of course, if he finds it all by himself and drinks it then that wasn't something I did right?

In honor of my wife hob-nobbing with industry moguls, eating swan pate and lobster bisque before declining to join all the old blokes in the hot tub we got Chinese takeout last night. As a special treat my wife got shrimp and noodles. Or, as I call them - Death Noodles. I am now at that stage of allergic reaction where if I ingested some I probably wouldn't make it. Last time I accidentally ate some (and I mean a spoonful) I swelled up, starting burning, my hearing and sight started shutting down, I blacked out and started going into anaphylaxis. Well aware of this my wife and kids surrounded me and casually flung around bits of noodle and shrimp juice all over the table. I almost told my son that if he got me with shrimp I'd end up in hospital, but then realized that he might actually go with that because then his mother would stay home. I gave up on my egg-drop soup and sat in another room alone. Which considering my wife will be out of town was just the twenty minutes of alone time that I needed.

At school this week my daughter is learning things that begin with the letter T. Yesterdays appropriate snack began with T too. Go on - make some guesses. Turnips? No - most adults I know think they don't like them. Turkey? Nah - wrong season for that. Turkey jerky would have been fine though. Actually you can stop guessing. The teacher gave the kids all a big fat bowl of Trix. Which are these evil little things -:

That's not good. I wouldn't eat them. Partly because they just look like pure sugar-soaked pixie testicles, but also because wouldn't that be indigestible? I mean - I know sugar is easily broken down by the body, but not when it's soaked in whatever evil witchcraft potions were used to make them that color. My daughter even said that they hurt her tongue a little. Well yeah - mercury burns. Seriously though - how can I suffer anaphylactic shock from eating shellfish - a food source entire cultures survive on - but these satanic little fake chemical things don't do that to people?

This morning we all ran out to get a few things. I had run out of tea so obviously had to go out and get some at 7.30 in the morning. Whilst at the store I realized I have been in this country waaaay too long. This is because I realized that it was only my children who were alarmed by the fact that you can buy dog costumes for Halloween and that isn't considered weird at all. My daughter laughed. My son pointed and made "what the Reginald Perin is that!?" noise. I just shrugged and helpfully said, "oh - costumes for dog;s and tried to move on to the Febreze. Then I realized that in my life now dog costumes er just a thing that's perfectly reasonable. Like people who eat liquorice. Both of which are just flat out wrong.

Also at the store was an egg nog display. Dude - it's October 19th. There are still at least two holidays before Christmas. My wife immediately mentioned Veterans Day too, but there's no chocolate associated with that so it doesn't count. I'll start including that when someone starts selling chocolate bullets. I mean come on - it's only a holiday if it involves getting fatter or British corner-shops can use it as an excuse to flog cans of stout. I worked in one once that sold Oranjeboom lager as a special Mother's Day gift. We didn;t try and sell anything for Armistice Day.

The sad truth though is wanted the egg nog. I only didn't buy it on principle. Screw the shame - I just drove a minivan to Walmart to buy tea. I have no decency. But no way am I buying a Christmas product before Halloween. No way. I settled for pork rinds instead. It takes a special kind of innate fatness to expend actual energy to reach food that's further away. So now me and the two kids are munching on dried pork fat. They're okay. They aren't the wondrous scratchings you can get at the pub back home (the ones with hair and suspicious black bits) but they are hitting some kind of spot. Not eating loads though. Firstly I don't want to ruin the kids appeatite before lunch. Secondly - and more importantly - if I hold out for a few hours my daughter will be in school and my son will be asleep.

I win.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ghost Blower and An Australian Olive Branch

I asked my daughter the other day if she could spell the word, "Daddy." After a few calculations and sounding out the beginning she got the D. She threw in a few other letters that had no business being there. So I spelled it out for her and she thought it was hilarious. No idea why. So, knowing that I myself had made a crass juvenile joke about women earlier in the day, I asked her what Daddy spelled backwards was. She instantly said, "Yes, it spells ghost blower." Not a name I want to make for myself locally I can assure you.

My son has also become quite the established Escape Artist. He has learned how to open the front and back door - even after I turn the little lock bit inside the handle. So I have to keep my eye on him if he's fiddling about with the knob (so to speak) or he'll slip away. Normally I catch him peering out the door but not this morning. This morning after falling asleep on the floor I whisked him to the bathroom. On the way he got a little damp so I ran off upstairs to get a clean pair of knickers for him. (Oh - and just to be clear here - for any Americans reading that I am just taking liberties with the English language for colorful purposes. He doesn't literally wear knickers. I'm not Canadian.) Anyhoo - by the time I'd come back down he'd wiggled off the toilet, ambled across the room and was stood on the front steps pulling his plonker. Not even with finesse either - he was tugging it down to the ground like he was milking a yak. Can't be good for him. I can only imagine the neighbors driving off to work thinking to themselves, "Is that Ghost Blower's son polishing his lighthouse on the front lawn? Going by odds alone I'm going to say it is. Good Lord - he's going to pull that thing right off..." Obviously I've ordered an ankle monitor and given him a stern talking to about public indecency. I'm hoping he gives up trying to pull it off in the mean time.

My daughter had a good time in school. She won't tell me what she did though. She is also insisting I stuff her with crappy snacks because she's been, "super good." No way - she's been fussy about dinner the past few weeks. I'm going to starve her (for an hour) and then give her real food. I'll chance an apple though. Whilst at the school I was talking to a woman in the hall who started asking me about, "back home." After a few minutes I realized she was talking about Australia. I told her I wasn't from Australia. I thought she might chance her arm and mention New Zealand. Then I remembered the number of North Americans I've met who have absolutely no idea where on the globe that is. One bloke my wife and I knew balked at the suggestion he apply for a PhD in Christchurch on the grounds it is, "cold up there." Even weirder is he went and got it. Anyhoo - I told her I was English and probably went on a little bit too long about how I am definitely not Australian. Which is weird because I have pretty neutral feelings about the place. It conjures the same feelings as say Hungary or Brazil. I know it's there and what's in it but I've no real desire to go there. But when I got home my daugter asked me to show her where on a map Australia is. So I did. Obviously it didn't mean anything as she has no real concept of the globe and distance. So she asked me to show her something on Youtube. That lasted three minutes and then she wanted to watch videos of cats falling over. So in honor of her curioisty I compiled a list of Australian "facts" for her in case she asks again.

Let's see.

- Everyone is called Wayne or Sharlene.
- Every last one of them is descended from criminals, dirty foreigners or are strange kangaroo/koala sex hybrids.
- Aussie Rules Football highlights are almost entirely dedicated to the amazing art of "marking" or "catching a ball" as it's known everywhere else. My four year old girl can catch. It's not special.
- All Australians speak at a volume three times louder than in any other country for no good reason.
- "How you going?" is not a sentence that makes any sense. Stop asking it.
- Most of the place names sound like children's words for a penis. No one really believes that Wahroonga or Wallawallawingwang are real places.
- The dude who played the lead role in Crocodile Dundee (that would be tax-cheat ultra-Catholic Republican anti-immigrant activist Paul Hogan by the way - he makes Mel Gibson seem soft)was supposed to play the lead role in the movie Ghost. Which would have been a much better film.
- The singer from Midnight Oil (the one who looks like he's made out of an ghost's erection) is actually allowed to be a politician and run things.
- Unbelievably aboriginals are stereotyped as drunks by, of all people, Australians.
- The Australian national anthem is actually called "Ya Flamin' Gala."
- Shane Warne is considered to be an athlete in spite of being a porky round slow man.
- Australians are better at every single sport they get involved in. Except football - which is the only one that actually matters.
- Australian women are the classiest women on the planet - especially after a few drinks. Just delightful. I've been out a few times with an old Australian friend of mine in Bristol and my word that woman referred to her crotch inhumanly often.
- Australians can't say broccoli properly.
- Spiders are not supposed to be bigger than your cats are. That's just wrong.
- Australians are obsessed with the very idea that Britain has the audacity to consider itself better at some things. Except for mullets, swearing and constantly referring to how fucking amazing it is that it's always hot obviously.
- Australians will be irritated that an Englishman would dare say these things. The difference is as an expat I'm fully aware of how laughably wank where I come from is. That's why I left.
- The word "absobloodylutely" is said by all men every thirty seconds.
- People actually drive a Holden Commodore without shame. And I say this as a man who drives a Dodge minivan.
- Bogans and Chiggers are almost entirely responsible for the way that allegedly cool teenage kids dress in the UK. Thanks a lot.
- The three most irritating people on Earth - Rupert Murdoch, Kylie Minogue and Nicole Kidman are Australians. By the way - that would be the worst threesome on film EVER.
- New Zealand is just up the road. Much nicer.

That'll do.

Right - time to gather rabies vaccination forms and plan dinner.

Oh yes.