Saturday, June 30, 2012

World's Stupidest Playground Ride

These are everywhere. What on earth are they for?

Mind you - I'm going to look pretty bloody silly when they turn out to be the very tip of the Intergalactic Overlords Space Vessels protruding out of the ground  - ready to rise up and kill us all for fuel a la War Of The Worlds.

Oh - and we shaved the dog. I bet that he thinks he's all manly and massive. Well...

And no - he isn't holding that butterfly net in his anus.

The Burp Dog

My son insists the dog is covered in a tiny cold birds. 

Billy Connolly tells a joke about the Irish in one of his stand-up routines that they are kindly liars. It's not meant as as unkind at all. He expresses it by saying if you're walking somewhere, meet someone and ask them how far it is to wherever you're going, that they'll tell you it's half the actual distance so as to make you feel better about the whole thing. That's sort of how the in-laws are. Perfectly paralleling Connolly's point by them calling me the other afternoon to tell me they were at a place thirty minutes away from my house so would arrive at my house in ten minutes. It's not really a negative thing if you factor in the Connolly Formula. It's to be nice. But my kids haven't quite figured out the calculation yet so heard them say, "we'll be there in ten minutes!" and then get over-excited and dismayed when thirty minutes later they still hadn't arrived.

Both kids stayed with them overnight this past week with apparent success. I asked how they slept and whether my son had any accidents. In reply I was told they went to bed easily and slept through the night until 7am without a hitch, and that my son wonderfully had no accidents. But when you factor in the Connolly Formula it doesn't really mean that at all. Especially as their bedtime is at 7pm and when we called at 8.45pm to check on how it was all going they were still awake. Add when I took the kids home my son had clearly had at least one accident - possibly two - because two pairs of his underpants were damp and had that tell-tale smell of urine. So either the in-laws were being overly-nice and didn't want to relay the actual information for fear of something - or they're telling the truth entirely and one of them urinated on my son's underwear.

Anyhoo - we went to a rather swanky restaurant the other night. The sort where a lot of the stuff on the menu has a name that might also be a European car. Here's the menu - although the online version doesn't name each item the full wanky way it did on the paper menu. Anyhoo - we sat there and ate for two hours. It was that sort of retaurant where they bring you lots of stuff you didn't order between courses (sorbet refreshers, hot towels to freshen up, root bear float in a shot-glass and pop-rock chocolates, etc). Not to mention giving out gifts just because we showed up. The food was so good I thought about letting the chef in on the secret of my amazing Herpes Gravy (the one made with ranch dressing). That would go over quite well I think. And if you think that isn't the sort of name a fine chef would want associated with his menu then consider that my wife and I both agreed that - based upon the curlyness of her arugula in her salad course - that arugula are basically the pubes of the vegetable world. Amusingly my wife was trying to let her friends know what she'd eaten there but the predictive text on her Kindle kept suggesting different names for the meals that sounded more like they were from a Bourdain novel than a Bourdain menu. So the Bison Titaki came back with the delightful, "Bison Fatality."

Yesterday afternoon pretty much involved the usual. As in my daughter has some odd readjustment mood problem when she comes home from the in-laws. She gets snotty and fights around bedtime in a way that she rarely does. I can tell it's going to happen well before the fact too by the way that she's a little bit clingy and makes comments about how I'm her favorite/the best. I know I sort of have to manage her behavior because when she will be told she can't have or do something she tends to react poorly after coming home. Frustratingly she really wants to see her mother a lot - but can't process the mental dichotomy of being really happy when she gets home from work and frustrated herself that she had to wait for it.

After that I showed my daughter the opening ceremony from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Partly because she spent some time in teh back yard riding her bike toward the pool and then diving in. After I explained the triathlon and mentioned the Olympics it all sort of spilled from there. After the opening ceremony - where she sat opened mouthed in awe - I showed her some general highlights of athletics. She then declared she would be entering the London Olympics in the monkey-bars, dancing and bicycle riding competitions. I tried to dampen those expectations somewhat - especially after my daughter wanted to know why all the people in the Olympics were adults. So instead I explained there is an age limit but there are kid competitions just like the ones in it. I showed her this video series of kids practicing gymnastics stuff for a club in Toronto.She absolutely LOVED it. She also kept announcing that she already practices the stuff in her back yard. As in she is already an expert on the high beam because she can balance on the fallen-down telephone pole I used as a buffer on the driveway. She was quite gung-ho about the whole thing and has insisted that even if they won't let her compete in London she will definitely be in the one after that.

But mostly yesterday we wombled about in the back yard - picking berries, splashing in the little pool, chasing butterflies and sucking Popsicles. The dog - at least listening now to me when I warn him off the fresh-green walnuts turds dropping from the tree - has taken to running about like a lunatic in the woods. He inevitably returns absolutely covered in burs. My son really is enjoying his word-game silliness and was rolling about at the idea that I'd said the dog was covered in, "brrrrr" - as in the noise you make when you're cold. Then he laughed at the idea he was covered in birds. And was uncontrollably giddy at the idea he was covered in tiny cold birds. Sensing the golden opportunity to have my son laughing so hard he couldn't breath I asked, "wait - did you say the dog is covered in burps!" Which lead to two minutes of my kids fake-burping on the dog and laughing manically. The dog liked it a lot and seems to want the kids to burp on him more often. That can be arranged.

Now all I want today is for both kids to not be so overly-sensitive and combative. It's beginning to be almost too annoying to have them come back like this. So time to take them to the playground and hope they get out of their system whatever this bloody thing is.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Muncher

"Daddy likes to munch on ladies."

My kids have gone up to the in-laws for the night. It's my son's first night without one of his parents around. He should do fine - what with his sister with him - but you never know. So before they left we sat outside and munched on popsicles. My son had a purple one, my daughter a red one and I had a blue one. My daughter asked me what flavor it was so I told her, "babies." Then I chased them around the yard pretending I wanted to eat them. They laughed and giggled in that way that - even if it wasn't as hot as it was - they needed to have a rest every few minutes to recover.

After that we picked some blackberries, then got the butterfly nets and and goofed around for awhile.

My son got so much juiced smeared on his face he looked like he'd been eating dead animals. His sister was so impressed that she deliberately mashed a berry into her face before I told her to not get herself really dirty before she as about to leave. Annoyingly I got blackberry juice all over a white shirt I'd put on (again - how is it that so many people I see on construction crews/landscapers are wearing white t-shirts?) so had taken it off - sprayed it clean with a hose - and went off to hang it on the line. On the way back I'd picked up the weed whacker ready to get to work immediately after the kids left. I heard a car pull up into the driveway and wandered slowly back to my blackberry stained offspring. For a joke I put the butterfly net over my head to make my daughter laugh again before she left.

As I got closer I could see it was a black Audi. I know someone with one of those - must be them. Nope - instead it was a very attractive young woman - probably late twenties - who was smiling in that way that it was so nice that it just has to be sinister. My kids - not normally so conducive to strangers - seemed completely taken in by her smile (among other things...) and were saying hello. The woman was a touch surprised by the blackberry stains and the half-naked man with a gardening implement stood like a twat with a butterfly net completely covering his head. She then cheerily (in court her attorney would probably describe her tone as "nervous") asked how we were. My daughter then broke the ice by saying, "Daddy likes to munch on ladies." I quickly said, "Thank you dear, let's not be silly shall we." Which normally would be a slightly childish example of a kid mentioning private parts - but suddenly my English accent took an an air of nefariousness. I had thought I looked comfortable in my own back yard - maybe even halfway decent and convincing as an attractive man (please -don't offer opinions on that one). But she was so over-dressed for the weather (and the town she was in) that amusingly I actually thought that I should tell my wife that I had finally seen another woman wearing actually suitable office-professional clothes - although still with the definitely-on-purpose revealing neckline. The woman then with a big smile and slightly bigger cleavage breezily handed me a small piece of paper and said we were all invited to a nice event in a few weeks and all the details were enclosed. Then she got in her car and drove away.

Ah. A Jehovah's Witness. I see they've dropped the whole men-in-suits on bicycles and gone for the Bibles-with-Boobs angle. Only then did it dawn on me that instead of the woman thinking that my daughter was publicly exposing me as a man so comfortable with pleasuring lots of women with my mouth, that she must have at least considered (what with the prevalence of what might be blood on everyone's faces) that we'd just eaten their mother. And yet she still gave me the promotional leaflet.

That's bloody class, that.

The Compost Forker and The Poop Train

I am under siege.

We've all been involved in that situation where a fly somehow gets stuck behind your eye. In it goes - completely oblivious (you would hope) to where it's going and it smashes against the cornea. Instinctively your eyelid closes - mashing a now half-dead fly up and down the eye - hoping to deposit it as a wet blob in the corner by the tear duct. But more often than not you can feel it under the eyelid - thrashing about and presumably trying to lay eggs in there before it finally completes it's suicide mission.

Well - about six weeks ago I was forking my wife's compost (No. Just no.) when a fly flew into my ear. Actually it would be more appropriate to say up my ear. It didn't appear to suffer any injury at all judging by the noise it was making. I frantically told my wife that there was something in my ear and started smacking myself on the head and rapidly wacking my ear up and down in the hope I could shake it out. She obviously thought I was mental. Then I convinced her to look and she saw it in there - a whole big bug barreling around like a corkscrew. Instead of helping she yelled in surprise and stepped back three feet. I eventually got it out and carried on forking.

Then this morning I was running along in the brisk morning air when a a fly went straight up my nose. Clearly it had a decent run-up because it went so far up my nostril that I couldn't reach it. And again - it didn't die for ages. It just wriggled about in my nostril an eighth of an inch away from my finger. It was at this point that my wife's endless protestations about blowing my nose may have been proven a tadge true. I have no idea how to blow my nose. There are a few skills that I don't possess that my wife has had to single-handedly teach our children. Swimming, never being a comfortable temperature, gluttony of sour candies and nose-blowing instantly spring to mind. I no how to breathe out of my nose. And yes I can do it at variable speed and intensity if I want (....that's right ladies.....). But hand me a tissue and ask me to blow my nose and I haven't the slightest idea how that happens. So instead I had to endure a mile or so of a fly wedged up my nostril - presumably air-humping away up there until it was spent.

Yesterday at the dinner table I realized two things. Firstly - I may have invented a food that is actually quite good. It's basically pan cooked chicken breasts with sauteed onions (cooked in butter) that  - once nearly done - I make a quick gravy with it all still in the pan but squidge in a blob of ranch dressing as well. It's surprisingly good. I could tell because not only has my wife asked me twice if I really made it up myself, but my kids wanted me to wash it off the chicken before they ate it. You can't get better proof than that.

Secondly though I realized that my staying home with my daughter has gifted her the sense of completely open-minded free-thinking that will stand her in good stead for life. She's a free spirit unencumbered by the regular boundaries and conventions of life. A maverick - but more Finley Quaye than John McCain. Granted sometimes it can be funneled into unbridled rage like a runaway train (that has to be a cracking book). But mostly she's someone who's life is filled with music and movement and ideas. You know - like this.

In other words the kind of person that allows one to ask questions without the idiotic fear that it means you must be stupid because you don't know something. Questions like, are there people who speak sign language and also have a stutter? Or even a lisp? And (my favorite of the week) - do you think Curious George likes the Man In The Yellow Hat the most because he looks like a banana?

The point here is that my daughter has taken on my ability to talk absolute bollocks at all times and not really give much of a toss what other people think about it. Take last night at dinner. Randomly she made this claim.

Daughter: You can't eat like me Daddy.
Me: What do you mean honey?
Daughter: Girls have a special tube for chicken and potatoes.
Me: You do realize you've described a place for meat and two veg?

And yes - I'm aware that's only one vegetable. But she was also eating peas - I just didn't mention those. Anyhoo - after then making a statement about how she thinks that once there was a skunk that pretended to be a groundhog just so he could surprise people on Groundhog DayI grabbed the camera. What spilled forth were what she calls "jokes" (expertly judged by her brother for hilarity) a a spurious statement about a Poop Train. As you can see her initial joke was unappreciated.

But like a good stand-up she kept plugging away trying out new bits and eventually got results.

And then the poop train arrived in the station.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Pig Storm

"Daddy!! It's raining bacon!!!"

My son is at the developmental stage where using slightly the wrong words is absolutely hilarious to him. So for example yesterday he was laughing uncontrollably at the idea that a "pig storm" (that's "big storm" for those of you unable to decode that masterful riddle) was on it's way to our house. Which is good because it makes playing more fun - as his sister is all too happy to run with that sort of silliness. Within minutes of declaring that it was storming pigs she had concocted an entire scenario where it was raining bacon and the lightning was made of cake. And don't worry - she even used culinary smarts by declaring the cake is a big corn muffin, so it would be good with the bacon. Then, brilliantly tying the whole thing together, I grabbed a book about a lazy farmer to show my son - claiming it had a picture in it of the last pig storm we had.

He was quite impressed with that. But not as impressed (and by impressed I obviously mean horrified) as I was when I said I'd found the kids a photograph of Bacon Man. There has to be one - Americans are bizarrely obsessed with their bacon - even if it does taste like garbage. So I confidently Googled away. Granted there was the odd succesful return like this -:

But quite a lot of the images were of bizarre sculptures of bi=peds made out of bacon. Which frankly looked like an after-photo of a dessicated body after a serial killer had dicked around a little bit.

But - what with this being the Internets - most of the images came leading to questions from my daughter that I didn't want to answer. Questions like, "why is that man naked on his bed with all that bacon?"

This is probably one of the reasons people become vegetarians. Although I should point out this horrifying image about Tofu Man is far more sordid.

At the playground this morning my daughter attempted to destroy my self esteem by asking my to go down the biggest slide. Which doesn't bother me. I already know that the other mother's there frown upon my participation in playing - all five of them - as some sort of parenting failure. They repeatedly told their kids they weren't interested in whatever shit they were doing (which was literally true with Monday's defecating child). But when my daughter zoomed down and then challenged me to do it they all turned around to see if I would drop another level and do that as well. At which point my daughter yelled, "Come on Daddy!! You're the World's Widest Champion!!!" Which isn't true in any way you judge it (don't even think about sending me inquiring emails...). But it did mean I had to rocket down that slide like a wet-fish fired down a toboggan ramp. But then I did get stuck (very briefly) in the toy ladybug.

Clearly though there was no question of my slenderness. I haven't been this light and skinny since before I met my wife. This morning I weighed a shocking 138 pounds. That's a staggering 9 stone 8. I don't look like a weak, twig of a man thankfully. And I do run a lot now - so I think I have more of a middle-distance runner's physique. Hopefully anyway. I might look like Dale Gribble without the gut for all I know (that first one is work-safe - the second one is him in his underpants). Annoyingly all my clothes are too big. I even bought two new pairs of jeans about a month ago and dropped 5 pounds since then and they are a bit saggy now. But I'm not starving myself or doing anything odd - I'm just not absolutely stuffing my gob with a bag of potato chips/chocolate like I used to enjoy. I'm just not that hungry. Which is a luxury I can afford I suppose. It does somewhat bother me in that white-western-male guilt sort of way that I pretty much decided not to eat much and it took - yet there are whole nations of people starving to death. Mind you the world is weird when you look at it from that perspective. I still have mental problems when I consider that there are entire countries that don't have clean water - and yet we in the First World have so much of the stuff that we've devised a system where we shit into it.

Anyhoo - I'll leave you with the original Bowling Bodies video that I didn't put up yesterday.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I'm On Strike

My daughter cried twice this morning.

Not due to injury or being deprived of anything. This was more in the intangible mental way. Tommy Tiernan perfectly described it by describing how one of his children was inconsolable because they'd lost their invisible sword. So early on this morning my daughter began crying because, "I don't smell like oatmeal." Then - during our daily playground visit - she started blubbing a little. She had the curled up lip and was concentrating on not showing me tat she was bothered by something. Thinking something must have happened I got down to her level and asked what was up.She then said hat her friend at school was mean on the playground by calling mispronouncing her last name as, "broccoli." I told her he isn't being mean really - it was just a funny word that sounds like her surname. And that really - if being called broccoli is as bad as it getst hen she's already won that one. Then I asked which friend at school and told her (based on the fact his name rhyme with the word, "gay") that it's fairly likely that he's going to struggle with problems related to his name for a lot of his school life.

Anyhoo - we had to go out. to the playground. My kids were getting antsy being indoors - and frankly I was beginning to feel nauseous about a whole day indoors with both of them. So I told them it was wet and cold, but by golly we are off out to a playground. I picked the one we'd already been to the day before because it has bathrooms, a water fountain, a pavillion if it's really wanking it down and is partially covered by the trees. So I forced them into warmer clothes than they expected to be wearing. That took some doing. It may be June 25th but on the drive over to the playground I even put the heating on in the car. Weird morning indeed.

My daughter commented that - with all this water about there may be bugs. "Yes - lots of mosquitoes" I added. Apparently that was wrong. "Actually Daddy - that's wrong." (see - I told you) "At this playground they have mousequitoes. They're much bigger than mosquitoes" I do hope not. Mosquitoes are annoying enough. And mousequitoes sounds like the sort of thing you learn about after a whistle-blower reveals what the secret ingredient is in the new Taco Bell $1 chalupa.

When we got home it was raining a little bit so we watched a TV show before playing some games and doing some painting. The TV show did something that a lot of kids show do - and makes no sense to me at all. That being a reference to Elvis. I've seen characters in Dinosaur Train that are basically Elvis as a dinosaur. I've definitely seen characters in other shows that are an alleged pop-star that is also basically Elvis - but as a fairy/animal/whatever concept the show has. I made this point to my daughter and she looked at me blankly - like I was explaining the pros and cons of hydro-fracking to her. Which proves the point entirely. I know Elvis is a massive icon to many - but my nearly-five year old can't name any famous pop stars at all. So why would Sesame Street - a pretty smart show in my view - have characters enthuse about Elvis who is allegedly off-screen? Seemed weird to me.

I didn't want the kids watching TV today so I took matters into my own hands and entertained them. Primarily by teaching them how to bowl. As I'm sure you'll agree I'm bloody good at it. .

Gorilla Dribble

Daughter: Eee Eee Ooo Ooo Aaa!!
Son: Ooo Ooo Aaa!

Just before dinner last night my kids showed up in matching Superhero shirts. My daughter claimed that they could no longer hide their true identities as The Invincible Gorillas. They then spent a lot of time making monkey noises (yes primate-pedants - I realize there's a difference between gorilla and monkey noises). Which is no better illustrated than during dinner when they hooted along whilst eating "Gorilla Balls." I asked if the fettucini was the acompanying hair might expect with Gorilla Balls. Apparently not. Anyway - I'm busy this morning so enjoy this sloppiness. I think this crosses the line for non-parents who see this sort of thing and think it proves why kids are just generally gross.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Slip and Slide

 "The Daddy bus is better than your bus!"

I was worried about this morning. My daughter was due to start her first swimming thing of the Summer at a local outdoor pool. It's twice a week for a month and would normally be a great way to get outside in the mornings before the hot sun and crippling humidity kicks in. Except when I went running early in the morning it was 52 degrees and raining. By the time the kids got up it wasn't much warmer, but the rain had held off a tad. The sky was so dark and ominous it actually looked like it was about to snow (good Lord that would be fantastic). Annoyingly too it's been so warm lately that I'd put away almost all my sons clothes that aren't t-shirts and shorts. So now if it's cooler or wet he only has the one long sleeved shirt out. My daughter said she understood that it might not happen today. Didn't matter though - she'd still be upset about it. No amount of prefacing or reality would prevent her from feeling like she'd been not allowed to do something that might be fun.

In an effort to promote the idea to everyone that it would be a good thing to poo before we all left I tried to set an example. At which point my son wandered in to do his latest weird thing. He came into the bathroom with this.

Now - I should explain that these past few days my daughter has played a harmless but annoying game where she controls me like a robot. She then pretty much makes me do a lot of things like dancing, exercise and hitting myself for comedy value. I normally wouldn't be so willing to do that every time she wanted to do it, but I've found that when she's being violent/unreasonable that pretending she is a robot seems to work as well.

Anyway - my son has taken this idea and made it more awful. So now when he knows I'm in the bathroom he rushes in with a controller - seemingly trying to control the movement (now that's good writing...) of what I was doing. After I delicately told him to naff off he ducked down and tried to slide the aerial of the controller between me and the seat. Pesky little bugger. I got him to clear off before that was achieved in any way. Neither of my kids felt motivated in any way to chip in either. What a let down. 

By the time we got to the pool it was just above 60 degrees and the sky was doing that rapidly-moving cloud thing where the sun comes out very fleetingly as they rolled past. There was one other family there. I told my daughter we'd wait for ten minutes and see if a bus showed up with other people. Five minutes later one did and 30 kids got out. The lifeguard at the pool then animatedly pointed out that we aren't supposed to be there for another thirty minutes. Even the people taking care of the kids agreed that they knew that, but that the town insisted on the pick-up times so this is just when we'll all show up for a month. So with that the whole pile of us went nuts on the nearby playground for half an hour.

It's a nice playground too - if not a teensy bit big for my son for him to just get on with it with the bigger kids rampaging around like they do. So he had me follow him around a lot. My daughter met up with four kids from her Pre-K class - all of whom were ridiculously excited to see on another - and ran around like a demented weevil. I had my camera so I took a few pictures and a video or two for that idea I had about posting them linked to Google Maps so people looking for a playground can see exactly what's there. Then I realized that it probably seemed a bit weird for an adult - the only male as well - to be stood on a playground taking video of everything but his own kids. So I toned it down a bit and figured I'd just get anything I fancied getting in two days when we come back. In the meantime though here's me and my son on the main raised platform part with my son.

Now - call me a cynic if you want, but I think a slide stops being as exciting once a child defecates on it. I know - maybe I'm just being fussy. Seriously though one of the kids belting about - one fo the older ones as well who was about 8 or 9 - sheepishly admitted to his mother that he;d crapped himself. Not only that but he'd had a go at scraping it off his own arse and wiping it off on things around him. Notably that big twirly slide you can see at the end of the video above. He'd apparently jarred loose a shart on the way down and checked himself at the bottom - realized the chaos that had occurred and then bravely tried to tackle the situation himself. His mother had been notified by a sibling. Which was good because it happened right after I took that video and I overheard him revealing it to his sister. And with me being an adult I would be obligated to go tell the mother that her eldest child has not only curled on out, but that he's now tagging everything with it like the cat from Red Dwarf marking his territory. The mother came over - decided not employ tact by keeping it quiet and sorting it out covertly - and loudly commanded her kids to go up the slide looking for similar smeared wedges of monkey fudge and to yell down if they found any. Evidently it was just the lip of the slide at the bottom where every kid puts their hands to stand up, and the pole next to it that the boy/frosting pipe had sullied. So she scraped it off with her shoe and then proclaimed it was all fine for the kids to get on with. No - it isn't. There's now invisible shit on the slide. Thankfully neither of my kids went down before the town cryer announcement was made that a beige banana had been mashed into things.

Then the lifeguard called them all in to swim. My daughter said she was fine getting her clothes off (bathing suit underneath) and lining up with the other 5 year old kids with her towel and goggles. I had to ask because they lock the gate and can't promise to let you in during the swim. So me and the boy wandered off to goof around while she had fun. He was particularly interested in checking out the stuff about 50 feet from the main playground designed for little kids. Stuffl ike this -:

We periodically wandered past the fence around the pool to wave hello. Then after about half an hour I came back and she wasn't in the pool. Probably in the bathroom. Another six or seven minutes past and I asked the lifeguard to let us in to check. On the way through the changing room she picked up my daughter who had gone to the bathroom and was now stuck halfway in her wet bathing suit. She was cold and upset. She said she was done swimming when I got there but cried harder when I told her that was fine and we could just go get her dressed. Then I figured out the second problem - she'd left her clothes on the changing room floor and they were now wet. Which wouldn't bother her one iota if we were home. We play in the rain. She climbs in and out of the pool fully dressed. She jumps in the sprinkler/hose water without a care at all. But this combined with the stuck bathing suit made her feel like she didn't like swim class.

But I'm a hero. I brought spare clothes. Just in case hers got wet. I didn't bring socks though and that upset her a little - but not enough to not go back and jump around on the playground some more to warm up. We tried this weird thing out. My dismount is pretty feeble.

She told me she doesn't want to swimming in case she gets stuck in her suit again. I don;t want her to quit two swimming programs. Thankfully she's an avid and very good swimmer so it's not fear of water at all. She throws herself in the lake bout back of the in-laws without a care in the world. So I told her we can go get her a two piece suit so it's just like going to the bathroom normally then. She liked that - especially the idea that her and her mother could go late after work maybe tonight or tomorrowand make an occasion out of it. I also told her I know a secret way to not get clothes wet (not putting them in puddles, basically). So we should go back in a few days and get it right. Then after one more run around on the main playground I told her it was time to head home. At which point she bellowed at an exceptionally loud volume, "The Daddy bus is better than yours!!!" and we left.

You could see how mystified the other Moms were after that claim when we slowly moseyed away in a blue Dodge Minivan.

The Kosher Turd

I didn't get around to chucking this up yesterday afternoon due to the inevitable wasted 90 minutes watching England fail at football, so here's the light, fluffy, spattered detritus that I collected at the end of the week.

- We were stood in the grocery store yesterday with my daughter looking at shampoo. My son had been chuffing his way around the store and had been carted off to the bathroom to dispel his, "brown clouds," as his sister sometime calls them. My daughter and I then spent some time sniffing different scents of shampoo. It seemed to be the theme of the afternoon out as we'd just spent five minutes in a candle store sniffing out the one we wanted as well. I start pulling off the different scents and asking my daughter what she thinks it will smell like. She uses a coconut one so guess the white was also coconut. Bingo. Then we tried the green one. She guessed it was green bean scented. Which is the same color at least but I have no idea what smell that would be. The actual smell was cucumber - which is a smell I don't think I've ever walked in on and said, " someone eating cucumber?" After trying out a few others I picked up the pink one and asked her what she thought it would smell like. To which she responded, " it pork?" I didn't have the heart to tell her that technically it might be made with pork fat. Unless it's Leviticus-friendly soap. Some people care about that quite a bit. Speaking of which - here's the oddly tautological sign outside the other store we go to -:

- This morning whilst putting a jigsaw puzzle together of the United States my daughter made two declarations. The first being that her teacher told her potatoes are grown in Idaho - but that's wrong because grow potatoes in our garden. The second declaration - following similar logic - is that all the pencils in America are made in Pennsylvania.

- My son adores the brocolli we grow. It is very good - but he's almost fervent about eating it. Especially if it has anything on it - like a soy sauce or similar Asian-style sauce. I recognize something about the way he eats it but could never put my finger on what it was. That was until last night when I realized the strange stuttering-sucking sound he makes is exactly the same as when Hannibal Lecter talks about eating someone's liver with Fava beans and Chianti in Silence Of The Lambs. The point of that in the movie - for anyone who eats Fava beans - is that it takes bloody ages to peel them, so the evil of it all was more labored, deliberate and intentional - and not some red-mist lunacy. Which I take comfort from as far as my son's shared Hannibalism - because as soon as he notices some of the sauce is dribbling down his wrist he can't eat anymore until someone rescues him.

- During the same meal my daughter asked the perfectly sensible question, "Mommy, do I have any nut parts?" I'm ashamed to say that the set-up was too easy and I replied on my wife's behalf, "no honey, you're a girl" before having to ask my daughter to please ignore me being silly, and that yes she does.

- My daughter needed new socks, so along with a big pack of practical ones we got her some absurd ones. They have pictures of nonsensical things on them. Her favorite ones have french fries on them. They look like this -:

But what's great about them is that they follow the same logic as new sneakers do to little kids. That being when you got a new pair you genuinely believed that you can now run faster and jump higher. Except in this instant she believes they make her more mentally unstable. So much so that it makes her fall over.

- My daughter is supposed to start a new outdoor swimming program in an hour. Presently it is 67 degrees and looks like it will rain any second. Which means that for the next 45 minutes I have to work hard on pointing out two issues.

1 - Please understand that there may not be any swimming due to the weather. No need to get upset about something that hasn't even happened yet.
2 - Please concentrate on having a poo before we leave. You are nearly five years old and entering your formative years in a small community where every knows one another, news travels fast and people are never forgiven their transgressions. Earning the name Shit-Pants and causing the local swimming pool to be evacuated the day it opens at this early stage of your life would cause deep, life-altering psychological issues that can't be solved via the usual methods. It would also lead to unemotional, bland comments by people asking others, "is that Shit Pants' dad?" when they see me at a local event, but can't quite place a name to my face.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cows, Condors and Candyman

I was chased by a cow this morning.

No - this isn't an hilarious Les Dawson-style joke. Rather I'd decided to add on a nice chunk to my morning run route that goes down a pretty rural county road (it was the corner of Peterboro Street and Ct Rd 13 in Vernon, NY for any would be kidnappers hoping for a bizarrely helpful heads-up) that happened to go past a good few farms and a creamery. When I burst round a corner - like a well-toned whippet fired from a cannon - I noticed something large stood on the side of the road. I knew it wasn't a bear or a moose or anything like that. And although my whippet-sense (which is like Spidey-sense - but to achieve continuity with the above cannon-fired canine athletic sex-dog, and avoid copyright infringement with Mattel...) told me it was likely a deer, it was clearly the wrong shape. It didn't have long, lanky legs like a deer and seemed bulkier. As I ran closer I recognized the weird, pokey shoulders of a cow - those weird boney parts that make it look like a pole-tent that's fallen in on itself. Glancing around into the nearest field I realized that amidst the head-high crop were other cows. Being me I instantly wondered if I'd ever seen cows hiding in a field with crops that high and determined I hadn't. Instead of surmising that was probably because you can't see them if they are hiding in the crop, I came to the quick conclusion that this meant that if I wanted to trap and violate a foreigner running down a road at 4.15 in the morning then a great way to do it would be to dress up as a cow and hide in a rural field on the off-chance that would happen.

Obviously at that point I figured my eyes were wrong and the cow was in the field. Even when it clearly wobbled up onto the road in front of me I still bravely stuck to my stride and path. Then it bellowed a moo at me. I say at me - I have no idea. And it probably wasn't, "moo" per se because don't relly make that sound. Frankly I was just happy it hadn't bellowed, "QUICK!! RAPE IT!!!" Like a whippet slinking around weaving poles (you love this whippet thing really) I dodged it. I glanced over my shoulder thinking it would just be looking sorrowfully at a missed opportunity/weirdo-running-in-the-dawn-light. But it wasn't doing that. Instead it was following me with enough pace that if I was walking it would likely have been a slightly faster speed than me. It followed me for about thirty feet before giving up pathetically. I got away quite easily in the end. Which means that I can now assert - with evidence- that I am faster than a cow and/or rapist dressed as a cow.

Other than that my morning was marked by dog seizures, fecal lumps and a urine-soaked bed. While that might sound like a News Of The World exposed Formula One party, it was just another mundane early morning in our household.It's all prompted - I think - by my dog's utter refusal to see sense. He spent a large part of yesterday trying to eat all the walnuts that were falling off the trees. It's an infuriating cycle of annoyance because he hears them falling, eats them, gets sick, throws up, eats that up, then gets the shits, scoots around trying to wipe his burning anus in the grass, then is distracted by another falling walnut. This happens over and over again and he simply is too stupid to learn from it. Weirdly much of yesterday afternoon he didn't do any of the throwing up thing. But at 2.45am this morning he wanted to go out. Which was when I got up. But being quite mouthy now he started barking at the neighbors house (how dare it be there) so I called him back in about two minutes later and he went back to bed.

Then at 4am I have my headphones in my ears am literally just getting ready to go out for my morning cow-chase when I heard a huge crash from upstairs. I gave it a second assuming I would then hear one of my kids crying after falling down on their way to The Big Big Bed to tuck in with their mother. But I didn't hear that. Instead I heard another crash, but not quite as loud. Obviously I assumed we were under attack from flying, rape-condors and they'd broken directly through the walls in an attempt to satisfy their lust for English victims. I could have just left - but there was a possibility that something terrible had happened so I started up the stairs. At which point my wife told me the dog was having a seizure and had fallen out of bed. She had told him to go downstairs when he started convulsing and gargling but he couldn't stand up. By the time I got upstairs he was frantically licking his lips and still seeming quite out of sorts. I told my wife that I thought it might be walnuts - but that they'd never done that to him before. I was about to pick him up to take him downstairs when I noticed an unusual walnut-sized brown lump on the landing floor beneath my wife. Amusingly it looked an awful lot like a walnut. I asked her what it was and she backed away from it like it might attack her. Frankly I was let down by this. My wife is the sort of person who has memorized the Bristol Stool Scale (which annoyingly classifies a lot of the turds described within as varieties of sausage entities) so surely she knew it wasn't some mislaid human-fudge - possibly dropped by a burglar dressed in a condor suit. Fearing the worst I got some tissue and picked it up - gave it an investigative sniff and positively identified it as a broken off dog-poo end. Sheer madness. The dog defied us both and ran off down the stairs - somehow not falling down as he went.

I spent a few minutes outside with him and he seemed perfectly fine - other than desperately needing a poo. Had my wife mistaken a desperate clenching as a seizure? Seemed unlikely. When the dog noticed a squirrel and started to give chase I figured he was fine and went back in the house to quiz my wife on her ability to identify a shit-seizure. She had cleaned the floor and we were both surprised to see my daughter - who had already jumped in our bed - jumping out to go to the bathroom. Which was when I noticed that she'd wet herself - and ergo our bed. "It's all going wrong..." I chuckled to my wife, before we whipped the covers off and got them in the washing machine straight away. The wife and daughter went back to bed in her bed - I let the dog upstairs to lie down with them - and I buggered off out to avoid the Bovine Bum-Bandit ("Where's The Beef?".- you really don't want to know...).

I should have known the morning would be odd based on the prior night. Whilst telling my daughter her bedtime story she kept interrupting me with insane plotlines that made no sense at all. For example - she had me telling her a story about how I was a tiny mouse trying to solve the mystery of some missing cheese-milk I think she got that from a hopefully successful attempt I'm making at making my own creme-fraiche (not physically, thank God). Also helping me in the story was fervent alleged journo-pervert Geronimo Stilton - who had somehow discovered via Kevin The Caterpillar (probably used torture to get the info) that a skunk was hiding the cheese-milk in a tree stump hidden in our back yard. Which isn't that weird (which is revealing in itself), except that when I asked how the skunk was going to stop us from getting the cheese-milk back I expected her to say it would spray us. Instead she yelled, "with laser beams!!" My wife came in to lie down with my daughter for a bit then and I didn't get to correct her. That probably started the whole big dung-beetle-turd/seizure/cow-rapists/piss-ball rolling.

Right now though my kids are in the kitchen eating breakfast. My daughter is eating Cheerios On a Bunny (that's Cheerios and honey). My son is supposed to be eating oatmeal - which annoyingly this morning is the, "strawberries and  scream" flavor. Except before he started eating he started doing a demented side-to-side wobbling thing - prompting his sister to warn him that, "No! Stop! Too much wobblin' turns you into a goblin." He apparently took that as a direct challenge, in the same way that incredibly brave teenagers stand in front of a mirror and say "Candyman" five times confident that a bee-covered hook-handed murdered doesn't suddenly appear. So right now he's gyrating back and forth like a cocaine-riddled Tasmanian devil. 

Today should be good then.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Horse Violator

Continuing the trend of looking ridiculous....

The Man Dream and The Moose Knuckle

Last night I had a man-dream.

No - don't worry. Not that kind of dream. It revolves around my wife and living amongst men for a day in their natural habitat. So basically like Jane Goodall with chimps. Except my wife and I were on a building site helping build a brick wall before going to a sports bar. Which bizarrely was actually the Queen Vic in Albert Square. At which - oddly - there were a lot of ladies milling about who's faces I couldn't see, but who's boobs I definitely could. Then my wife said, "okay - now we have to find someone we can punch!" before the dream wandered off into the inevitable crippling nightmares that I usually have.

After that sordid insight into a world I clearly don't understand (which is clearly illustrated by the idea that I think that lots of blokes stand around on a building site slowly making a brick wall) I went for my morning run. I've probably mentioned that we live in the area for my kids. There are lots of decent reasons for that. But on the short-lived cool morning's like this it makes me want to live in Quebec or Maine. Which is silly considering I've only been there a couple of times. But of everywhere I've ever been in my life Quebec City and Bar Harbour, Maine are easily my favorite places. When I ask my daughter where she has enjoyed being/going to the most she tells me Maine as well. And I know enough people who live up there who love the place. So as I did years ago with Quebec City (and to a lesser extent - Montreal) I think I'm beginning to develop a strange obsession with the idea.

By the time I got home my wife was awake and spending some quality time with the kids in the wee hours before doing a half-day Saturday in work. My daughter was in an inexplicable bad-mood so I did my best to be ridiculous to snap her out of it. So I told her about how we were camping in a month and we'd have to test the tent out in the backyard - and then she'd be able to watch the fireflies. It is an eternal shame that you can't get anywhere close to how fantastic it looks in back yard at night with my camera. There are so many fireflies that it really is phenomenal to just stand out there and watch whilst being eaten alive by everything else. That cheered my daughter a little but not quite enough. She still remembered to be annoyed about something, but now couldn't remember why. So I reminded her of last night's bedtime story about Princess Bounce and The Missing Sock - and how she solved the entire mystery by discovering that Bobby The Banana had stolen it to use as a sleeping bag. That seemed to work and her mood was much better.

As I stood there - still glistening after my morning shower and wrapped in a modest towel - my son began his morning ritual of poking me as hard as he can in various exposed body parts. He started off with my nose - mostly because he can say, "I poked you in the nose!" with no problem. Yesterday actually was some sort of watershed moment for both my kids. My daughter took a massive physical leap of development. She learned how to do so many different things on the playground that had evaded her before that she now seemed much more agile and oddly tall. My son also had a vocal-leap - speaking in longer, more complex sentences all day long. Add he accidentally (in a rage) yelled his sister's whole name - instead of the bizarre, French grunting that he usually makes when he wants her attention. Lately too he's turned his perfectly normal "yeah" word for "yes" into a more Germanic, "Jah" as well.

At which point he poked me hard in the nipple. His mother asked him what he'd poked and he clammed up because he can't say nipple (either because he can't or he doesn't ever remember it). His mother then stated, "we best teach you the word "knuckle" so you can get 100 percent in your pre-k test." This is because the only thing my daughter didn't know for parts of the body was what to call a knuckle. Which triggered my two current obsessions (being innocently inappropriate and going on about Maine) by saying, "If we moved to Maine you might get to see a moose knuckel - so you'll need to know how to identify it so you can tell the police." Blank faces all round.

Right now though I'm trying to convince the kids to stop eating so we can go out. I can't decide between another playground or taking the dog out for a run. I also have some yard work to do - such as trying to figure out where exactly the local skunk lives. The air is awash with that skunk musk odor. When I got back from my run early this morning it mixed very poorly with my sweaty stench. Which prompted my mind into horribly choosing to make me fleetingly imagine Albert Steptoe's crotch - nestled sweatily in tweed-underpants (screw you Google search - I don;t even care anymore). I'm hopeful it lives off my property and it's aroma (which is weirdly both bad and good at the same time) is just wafting on. I certainly don't hope to find it close by. My wife mentioned the back steps. That would be absurd. And it wouldn't live under there with the now-burned chipmunk would it?

All in all - I want you all to think positive thought and keep your fingers crossed I don't get sprayed by, "Steptoe's Crotch."

Friday, June 22, 2012

Elephants and Eyebrows

This morning was quite surreal. 

Firstly I was lying in bed at 3.30am waiting to get up to go for a morning run. I could smell the delightful stench of the Hood sour cream factory mixing with the dull, hop-like waft from the local grain elevator at the feedway store. Just as I was about to leap out of bed and run off down Rt. 5 my wife got out of bed. She just felt like going to work early. She gets a work-mania every few months or so and this was one of the nights she had been lying in bed mulling over something she wanted to do. Being awake anyway she figured why not go to work and dig into some of the ideas she had been obsessing about in the darkness. At least that what she told me. Frankly it sounds like the behavior of a junkie or someone hoping to get a quickie in with their bit on the side before the day begins. Or maybe all three at the same time.

Luckily for me my wife's morning subtlety is as soft and delicate as her whispering. Meaning my daughter woke up due to the lights being flashed into her eyes and asked if it was time to get up. Thankfully she fell back to sleep with a little cuddling from me. my son though shot awake right after the wife made it outside to her car. From the strength of his crying when he woke up he was having quite the nightmare. I tried comforting him but it's no use when you wake up from a nightmare - time to get up. Once downstairs my son wanted me to hold him in just that way that is likely the most uncomfortable position you could be in. In this case sat up on the couch with him held in the air in front of me - but not held against me. Each time I would weaken enough to lower him down he'd balance himself by driving his toes like a pitch fork into my groin. I can't tell if it was because it helped him stay upright, or it had the same mental reasoning as whipping a horse to make it try harder. It invoked images of Alberto Gonzalez and Lindy England.

An hour later my daughter was shrieking down the stairs for me to come up stairs and lie down. She didn't want to sleep either. She'd had some realizations of her own that had startled her awake - shaking her to her very core. She wasn't crying, but she was notably upset. I tried to gently lie with her till she woke up enough for me to see if she would snap into happiness (she does that a lot) but she didn't. Instead - while I desperately tried to stop her brother from crushing the two of us/furiously licking us/violating her teddy bear - she furrowed her brow and told me, "Daddy - last night I realized that my name isn't Evelyn." Well this could only be interesting. Because while I was pretty sure her name is Evelyn she did seem pretty confident it wasn't. I was beginning to doubt it myself. Then she said, "My real name is ELEPHANT!!!" and then started violently trumpeting and bouncing around the bed.

While painful it should have signaled that she hadn't woken up depressed. Except she went to the bathroom and came back dour and more annoyed then when I'd first come into the room. Then she hid under the blankets and nearly cried. I tried the humor-angle by mock-yelling that he brother had his trunk out and was about to vacuum up a peanut. Nope - she honked. That's something she does when she's annoyed or upset as a control measure. It stops her lashing out. It took about five minutes to convince her to be comfortable enough to tell me what was up. Then she awkwardly told me that she didn't sleep very well because school was over, but - and I quote - "you left your eyebrows on my school bus and now they're gone forever."

We then dawdled about for the early morning - both kids desperate to sit on top of me the entire time - before heading out to today's playground. I took a bunch of videos and might put togetehr a local guide thing to playgrounds. That sounds somewhat handy to me. I did realize though after walking around the whole thing the first time that my natural inclination to notice the seedier side of things may not be everyone's flavor. Mostly because I realized I had seen one of those things like a tin can with a string you an speak into (and a child across the playground can talk to you) and instead of just saying what else I saw I ended up telling a tale about how some weirdo probably pisses into them just to be callous. Anyway - if I do that I'll let you know - although most of you would have no use for it.

Anyway - the playground completely changed my daughter into a happy orangutan. She loves chucking herself around.

Here's my son toughening up his scrotum on the Swedish-Massage slide.

 And here's me using my athletic prowess to lift everyone's spirits.

Marvel at that.

I Am Impressing You Right Now

Yesterday I was unfairly tainted.

Some friends (if they can hold their shameful heads up and still call themselves that) derided my obvious enormous ability at football. I had posted another video of me and the kids on Facebook goofing around in the backyard - and it happened to involve me kicking a ball about. It's this particular one. I put it up because I thought my daughter was funny it. Little did I know the derision it would bring.

Within moments "friends" showed their clear jealousy by not only suggesting my brain and my feet are not related in any way, but also that I could still get a game for Liverpool. I normally wouldn't lower myself to this level - especially as the locals in central NY have often been heard to call me The English Zidane - but some things need to be considered.

1 - I'm wearing sandles. Any time the ball hitst he top strap it shanks off like a stone skimming on water. If Barcelona's talent scouts had gone to see Lionel Messi dinking a ball about and he was wearing my sandles they would have told him to consider getting his feet amputated in some sort of apology to football. Considering that fact my ball control should be considered heroic.

2 - That's a cheap, nasty plastic ball. As in a $2 ball. Not only that it has a picture of horses on it. Clearly it's not designed to be caressed and made football-love to by my amazing feet. In fact if you gently tap it forward it will wobble off in random directions. It requires 100% concentration to keep track of it's insane drunken orbit. And as you can see I am watching my daughter's water-ballet (snort) performance. In other words I have committed my higher senses to protecting her from drowning. Add you can see me jog off to rescue my son from the slide (a bird had crapped on it, much to his dismay).

3 - My children are butchers. Normally you'd watch me "foreplaying a football" (that's the technical term...) and gasp audibly, "Look at the graceful dancing. Oh how I admire the Nureyev-like body control!! Is there any way that man's hovering grace can be anything other than a gift from God?" Obviously not in the video above. That's because my children stamp angrily at my legs like Ed Norton in American History X. For example here's my son displaying unbridled aggression. I have an uncannily similar video (or "evidence" if you like) of my daughter doing the same sort of thing.

Don't worry though. At the end of each footballing masterclass I make them pay for every foul.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Playground Whoopsie Daisy

I feel half naked right now.

Today I was going to start a naff thing where we go to a different playground every day (obviously that ends after about three weeks - there are loads around here but not 25 plus) and we do a "review" of sorts. But I forgot my camera and my son lasted about three minutes before needing a poo. Which somewhat ruined my amazing plan to get to the playground at just before 8am when it was still cool (which we did, and it was) because the bathroom was still locked. So we'll start that tomorrow I guess. I'm sure it'll be really useful for no-one who lives around here. I might even upload the photos onto Google Maps so that other parents can check out the parks/playgrounds and stuff without needing to go there.

So in the meantime we hung out in the back yard for a few hours. At lunch time we're off out to buy another fan and some apples. I've run out - and frankly without them I feel like I'm shirtless in a public place for no good reason. Which is just one step away from how naked I feel when we I realize we have no onions. When we get back we'll have one more dip in the pool before the footy. In the meantime  - my son has his American Citizen look down pat.

And apparently I've aged quite rapidly overnight. And ignore this shorts and t-shirt look. I normally don't like just t-shirts but it's too bloody hot. And I've seen lots of people doing the white shirt only thing and had a bash at it today. And it's as silly as I thought - looks okay but within ten minutes I was filthy from moving the garden house wrestling the dog.

The Egg Swap

My wife is so clever.

At the realization that my daughter is now off school and home all day long she announced to me that, "you're going to go mental." I presume this is why she came home from work late yesterday and then kept the kids up well after their bedtime jumping in sprinklers in the front yard while I dug holes in 90 degree heat for the ridiculous quantity of hosta's she bought. The kids eventually went to bed late but easy enough. But as any of you with kids will know, it's today that the "mental" part will come into play. Especially if they get up early. Effectively their mother has treated them like a bottle of root beer - shaken it up maliciously - and then handed it back to me saying, "I think this is yours...." and buggered off to the bar. I say bar - I obviously work and then the bar. Which is where she's headed right after work tonight (deservedly I might add-  and it's technically a "working-drink" seeing as she's the Big Kahuna). My desperate need for a reprieve is apparently on hold until the weekend when I've been promised time to myself. Which I imagine I'll be using to mow the lawn.

My daughter was clearly delusional from the late-night as she would not stop singing, "there's a slinky on your winky" during the cold shower afterwards before bed. I kept telling her it was inappropriate but she kept fobbing me off by using the undeniable truth of, "no - it's funny." Can't argue with that. In fact she seems to have returned full-force to accosting me with urgent, incomprehensible nonsense. Take this short conversation after school yesterday that she seems to have completely understood - but I was entirely in the dark about. 

Daughter: Daddy - I've hidden that picture of you for when the burglar comes back. That way he won't be scared.
Me: What burglar?
Daughter: The one with the eggs.
Me: Well obviously.

On the one hand it would be quietly disconcerting that a burglar feels comfortable popping in and out of my house even though he's met by my dog/kids (that's pretty much interchangeable and the same thing really). On the I'm inclined to believe that my daughter is the real victor here as she seems to have set up some sort of eggs-for-swag exchange system. And evidently we are doing quite well because I haven't noticed anything important missing (just one of my t-shirts, the can opener and my dignity is astray at the moment)

In a similar vein of inappropriateness it also didn't help that she really wanted to give the librarian at the library a drawing she'd made. There are a bunch of people that work there - and my daughter didn't really care which one got the drawing - just that she could be altruistic and give one of her ace pictures to someone to make them happier. Which is sweet. It just would have been better if it had been the usual woman we see there  and not the Very Chesty Girl working yesterday. Mostly because my daughter had oddly decided to draw a picture of me with massive hands reaching up to grab two of something in front of him.

"Ummm, my daughter drew you this...." said the massive pervert before he was arrested.