Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Every night, in an effort to help Maxfield remember or know his cousins, I hold him up to the freezer door and we play the "Where is..." game.
"Max, where is Mom Mom?"
He points to Lauren's mom.
"Max, where is Pa?"
He points to my dad.
"Max where is Elvis?"
No we are not related to Elvis. Max points to the Elvis magnet that holds up a greeting card.
"Max where is Marcus?"
He points to the Elvis magnet. He points to Marcus about 50 % of the time. I know he gets confused with the "S" sound at the end.
The other night we are playing this game and I decide to see if knows our animals and us.
"Max where is Luna?"
He points to the dog.
"Max where is Mommy?"
Points to Lauren.
"Where is Daddy?"
Points to Lauren.
"No. I said Daddy. Where is Daddy?"
Points to Lauren.
"Max? Where is DADDY?"
He, again, points to Lauren who is now laughing that nanny-nanny-poo-poo-laugh and Lauren says,
"He thinks I am both, because I DO IT ALL. Heh heh heh."
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
To change a diaper I (the pilot) have to position a diaper on a moving target (Max) with little room for error or there will be an accident or leakage. I have to make sure that the blue stretchy lining is aligned perfectly with his butt. That his pecker is pointed down (to prevent him peeing out the top) and that the Velcro/sticky tabs are properly placed and fastened.
Here is part of an article I read about landing on a carrier.
The carrier is 1,123 feet long and 257 feet wide, but an incoming plane must be almost exactly 14 feet above its ramp as it comes in. Approaching between 12 and 16 feet is considered acceptable; deviate much more and the landing is in jeopardy.
Next, a pilot must couple the plane’s tail hook with one of the four arresting wires strung across the deck – all while staying at full power, and constant speed. If something goes wrong, the pilot has to be ready to blast off the deck and come around again.
Doing that – touching down and throttling right back off – is termed a “bolter,” and it’s not a desired outcome (though anything, a pilot will remind, is better than crashing). In other situations, such as if a plane or piece of debris is still on the landing strip, the LSO can “wave off” a plane, sending it overhead and back into the
It is kind of fitting.
Somtimes I wish I had Signal Officers.
By the way my favorite MooneyAngelo is up.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
I watched the neighbors across the street putting up their Christmas tree. I watched our next door neighbors string their lights over the peak of their garage. I watched them inflate a giant Santa suited Snowman while Christmas music was blaring from their sound system. I listened to them humming Little Drummer boy as they staked plastic presents into their front yard.
How did I witness all this? Because it is 4 weeks until Christmas. It was 79 degrees.
And I was cutting my grass.
4 weeks before Christmas.
In 79 degree weather.
Listening to "Joy To The World".
I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around this right now.
Friday, November 25, 2005
I know you were concerned with me and my family being away for Thanksgiving. I just wanted to let you know that this Thanksgiving was just like the past 35 Thanksgiving's of my life, minus 37 other people.
Like my brothers and cousins used to and still play football on the Thanksgiving morning, so did I. You can see I attached pictures of me teaching Maxfield some of the basics of the game. You will be happy to know that I won. I beat Maxfield 28 to 7. He only scored a touchdown because I got cocky running into the endzone and was mocking him and I fumbled. He was lucky enough to pick it up and run it back for a TD otherwise I would have shut him out.
After the game we went home and complained how sore we were while watching football and eating snacks.
Lauren, Max and I went out to dinner. It felt just like we were home. The restaurant was packed and noisy and I could swear I saw a guy with three nipples protruding from his shirt (just like Dennis). We had Turkey and stuffing and mashed potatos and all the traditional Thanksgiving day foods. Max enjoyed them all as well as a side of french fries.
When we got home I called you so to make sure you picked our Pollyanna (Secret Santa)persons. As we get older it gets harder and harder to get gifts for these people. Anyway we had a nice Thanksgiving.
On Friday morning I decided to wake up at 5:30 am to go Christmas shopping. Black Friday is the New "Last minute shopping" for me. I just missed the big fight at the one Walmart I went to, it made the news down here and everything. It is totally ridiculous that these people were fighting over laptop computers. I mean C'Mon people it's not like they are Cabbage Patch Dolls.
Anyway I went to some other stores and then Lauren and Max and I went to some more. I am almost done my Christmas shopping. It was funny we went to Old Navy and Maxfield became fascinated with the headless Manequins that they have there. I have a picture with him posing with them here as well.
Well enjoy the rest of your Holiday Weekend. I miss you and love you and please make sure my pile of Christmas presents is bigger than any one elses.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
I turned to Lauren, “Wow, he weighs about what I weigh.”
“You don’t weigh 204.” She said.
“No but I weigh about 200. I fluctuate but I am about 200 pounds right now.”
She just looked at me.
“Great.” I said, “You look at him and you look at me, and now you think I am fat.”
She was silent for a moment. She looked at the TV. Looked at me.
Choosing her words carefully she said, “No…….Bill……I am sure….he is just….ummm….shorter than you.”
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
When shopping, we let Max run around. Either Lauren or myself has the job of being Max Herder, while the other actually does the shopping. While I was busy talking to the electronics guy at Sears (where America shops) Lauren followed Maxfield over to the toy section. When I finally caught up to them, 20 minutes later, Max was playing in the aisle with a boy his age and Lauren was talking with the boy’s parents.
I introduced myself and listened in on the conversation. They were talking about how the two kids were getting along nicely and what not. During the conversation it came up that we only lived two miles form this family and that maybe the two kids could get together for a play date. I mentioned how that would be nice since we do not know many people with kids Max’s age being that we recently moved from PA to Florida.
The dad mentioned that he was from PA and in the conversation he said he was not an Eagles or Steelers fan but that he was a Cowboys fan. He stated that he watched the Cowboys over the weekend.
“Wait a minute.” I said, “The Cowboy game was not on any of the local televisions stations. Do you have the NFL ticket?”
“Yes. We had to get it so we could watch the Dallas games.”
I smiled and joked, “Oh I am sure we all could become great friends.”
After we said goodbye and we went into the mall I asked Lauren if what I said was rude.
“I was just joking.”
“You just met the guy. People who know you for years don’t get you sense of humor.”
Monday, November 21, 2005
“I think I will reschedule it my appointment.”
“I don’t think you need to reschedule Lauren. The news says we will only be on the outskirts of the storm.”
“But the news also said there would be high winds and the chance of tornados.”
“I think you should go. It will probably be a pain in the ass to reschedule.”
“I am going to cancel it Bill.”
“What if I am at my appointment and a tornado hits and I don't have my pants on?”
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
LAUREN AND I
asked me to go and turn the fan off in Max's room. Of course everytime I go into his room after
he is sleeping I lean over the crib and I hold my hand real close to his mouth and nose, just to,
you know, make sure he is breathing.
WE ARE HAPPY
Do other parent's do this? Is it Paranoia (or should I say Parentnoia)? When does it stop?
MAX WILL BE A BIG BROTHER
****Update 1/4/05. Many people figured out my little secret code thing. For those who may visit this at a later time and are trying to figure it out. I italicized letters in the text to spell out "Read between the lines". If highlight the white spaces between sentences with your mouse (Click and drag) it spelled out the good news.
When I got back to bed, I turned of the TV, turned out the light, put my glasses on the nightstand and went to sleep.
I was asleep for maybe an hour or two when I woke up for no reason. Lauren was asleep next to me. I could hear the hum of the baby monitor and knew Max was asleep. I could hear the dog snoring at the end of the bed. The cats were locked in the garage. I turned to squint at the clock to see the time but could not make out the red blur of the three numbers. I reached for my glasses and knocked them off the table. Since I was still groggy I figured I would leave them on the floor until morning. That is when I saw an eerie glow coming from the hallway.
What was it? All the lights were off in the house. This was a soft white glow. Coming from the hallway, or maybe the stairs. Adrenalin started to course through me and I shot up. I got on the floor and started feeling around for my glasses like Velma in Scooby Doo. I couldn’t find them.
Was it a ghost? No the house is not built on and ancient burial ground, nor is the house old enough. Was the light the moon? It was a full moon last night. No it couldn’t be there are no windows in that part of the house. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I frantically searched for my glasses. Finally I found them.
Without moving from the floor, with sharper sight, I tried to figure the source of the light. I did not want to turn on bedroom light because I did not want to wake Lauren and I was afraid it would prevent me from figuring out the where the hazy glow was coming from.
Was it the computer from up stairs? No the angle is wrong plus it goes into a sleep mode. Did I leave the second floor bathroom light on? No. I even closed the bathroom door. What was it? I was getting nervous.
I finally stood up and went into the hallway. I looked up the steps and realized what the light was. On the top of the steps there is a gate to prevent Max from falling down the steps. There is a motion sensor night light on it so when you approach, it lights the way. Whew. No Ghost.
I calmed down a bit, went to the kitchen to get a drink. I climbed back into bed, placed my glasses on the nightstand and started to drift off. Five minutes later I shot back up wide- eyed. Wait a minute. The safety gate has a motion sensor light. Key word here is MOTION.
I jumped back out of bed. What the hell set the motion sensor light on? Not the dog. Not Max or Lauren or the cats? Crap. Now I had to go and check the whole house, which I did. I did not find anything.
I slept with one eye open and with my glasses on the rest of the night. I think the safety gate is malfunctioning.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I must have said his name 100 times over the span of 30 minutes.
"Max, you have to share."
"Maxfield, you can’t push."
"Max you can’t jump from the….Okay I guess you can."
"Max, you have to wait your turn."
"Maxfield, you need to hold my hand."
"Max, don’t lick the stairs."
"Max, be gentle."
"Max, Where’s your mother?"
And so on.
I still like the name.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
After 8 hours of driving we decided to stop at a Cracker Barrel in NC. As we pulled off of I-95 and into the parking lot, I noticed a rust colored pick up truck facing us. The truck was kind of sticking out of the driveway and as we approached. We could not get around the pick-up. I looked at the driver and through my hands in the air in frustration. The driver, a ratty looking guy made a hand gesture, which I thought meant, “go around” So I did. I made the turn and waved back to the driver to say “thanks”.
We were making our way through the crowded parking lot I noticed the truck turn around and follow us. I pointed this out to Lauren, “Crap. The guy thought I probably gave him the finger or something.” The rust colored pick up was clearly leaving the parking lot when we pulled in. Why would he turn around? I told Lauren to wait in the car.
I got out of the car, a little nervous, thinking there was going to be a confrontation. The guy parked his pick up a few spaces away and approached me. The muscles in my neck tensed up, my palms started to get a little sweaty.
“Excuse me.” He said, “My car just broke down and I had to put a new alternator and I have another 6 hours drive and my wife is pregnant and starving. I was hoping you could spare some money so I can get her something to eat.”
I heard what he said but my mind was racing. I have dealt with my fair share of panhandlers. I puffed up my chest and said, “No! I can’t help you out. Sorry!”
He took a step back. “I don’t mean any harm but she needs to eat.”
“Look buddy, I don’t have any cash on me.” I shot back.
He walked way.
I was flustered as I tried to un-strap Maxfield from his car seat, adrenaline pumping through my body. I told Lauren what the guy wanted and that I could not believe the guy would be panhandling. That he actually turned around in the parking lot to ask us for money. The nerve.
Lauren said something to the effect of “What if he really did need food? We have all those sandwiches your mom made. Offer him the sandwiches.”
I sighed, knowing that I was probably too harsh to the guy. I grabbed a few sandwiches and a couple of cans of ginger ale and ran over to his truck. He started to walk towards me, followed by a woman who had to me at least 8 months pregnant. I said, “Look, I’m sorry. I don’t have any money but you said you needed food. This is what I have.”
He took the sandwiches and handed them to the woman and she unwrapped one, right there, and took a huge bite. She really was hungry. He thanked me and they got into their truck and they left.
Later, in the restaurant, I was telling Lauren that I felt bad about my initial response to the guy. And she said, “Yeah. You never know it could have been God testing you. Hell it could have been Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus.”
My Mom was happy that her sandwiches fed Jesus.
Monday, November 14, 2005
For those people who know me, you know I love penguins. Nothing says Christmas like Penguins.
I tried licking it.
Max did his best to try and break every ornament.
This was the strangest part. I think they were a street gang. At first there were five or six of them but as time passed their numbers kept growing. They all wore red hats and purple outfits. I did not see them flashing any gang signs but we kept our distance anyway. "Once you're a Jet, you're always a Jet........"
Thursday, November 10, 2005
But any time I see a person sit backwards on a chair, straddling the seat with the back-rest against their stomach I have to say out loud, “Hey, hey,hey-hey. What’s Happening?”
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
I admit I enjoy some of the reality type contest shows. Survivor, Trumps Apprentice, Rockstar INXS and even The Biggest Loser. I find these shows are quickly losing their appeal to me. Not because of the crying and the “I thought we were friends. I trusted you. How could you do that to me?” that seems to come with every one of these shows. But because each one of these show’s contestants (and I am sure there are many others) are constantly saying the same phrase.
Each contestant on every one of these shows says this phrase at some point to show that they are going to do their best. That they will not get voted off. That they will not get fired. That they will sing better than everyone else.
Every time I hear the phrase I cringe. I gag on the Doritos I was eating. I look at Lauren and shake my head in disgust. This phrase is now causing me seizures during my television entertainment.
The Phrase is GAME ON.
“Oh I have been out on the island for 20 days with no food or shelter but it’s GAME ON time.”
“I did really well as project manager and I will not let John throw me under the bus. The GAME is ON.”
“I did not realize I was supposed to be singing my best from the start. Well now it’s GAME ON.”
Does anyone else hate this phrase?
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Better relationship between the parents and the kid.
Improved brain development of the child.
Improved language skills.
Children that were taught sign language do better in school at a later age, and so on and so on.
But the real reason we taught Max sign language was to prevent tantrums. Knowing that he wants something, that he has needs, saves the headache of a screaming child and a frustrated parent. This by far the best reason to teach a toddler sign language.
I worry that the signs that we taught him will prevent him from actually speaking the words that he is trying to convey. I know he knows many words. He just does not speak them. Seriously why should he even try to say “milk” when he can just sign it to us?
Maxfield knows some, what I like to call, “solid” signs. Signs like “milk”, “drink”, “eat” and “bedtime”. These words all have an object involved. A specific need. He also, much to my amazement, knows the signs to, what I call “abstract” words. Signs based on a concept. Signs like “more”, “help”, “thank you”. Intangible signs.
Of course some of the textbook signs we taught him have been modified to suit his style. Whether it is because of laziness or just creative freedom, I don’t know.
Here are some examples.
Book Sign for MILK- One hand in the air imitating squeezing a cow’s udder.
Max Sign for MILK- One hand clapping. His fingers move so fast that his fingers hitting the palm of his hand creates a noise. This is followed by a whine.
Book Sign for HELP- Both hands slightly patting the chest.
Max’s Sign for HELP- Either one or both hands slapping his chest like an ape. This sign started out as HELP. Now it means, “Please open the cabinet that the television is in, and turn on Elmo. NOW”
Book Sign for THANKS- An open hand, palm facing the face, is brought up to the chin and brought back down.
Max’s Sign for THANKS- This sign is very similar to the Signs for EAT, Blowing a kiss, covering the mouth during a cough, HOT, and our sign for “Excuse me, I just burped.” When Max wants to say thanks, he either coughs or imitates a burp, ocassionaly he blows a kiss which I guess works.
Book Sign for DRINK-A hand shaped like it is holding a cup and tilted towards the mouth.
Max’s Sign for DRINK- Max started using this sign and it looked like the universal sign for “Can I have Beer.” Or “Ooops it looks like some one had a little too much to drink.” I t has now evolved to a pinky-and-thumb-out-surfer-dude “hang loose” sign.
Bill, I just want you to be prepared for what may be in your future. My wife just called me and told me that when I get home I have to give my son and enema. You see he is a little constipated and the she took him to the doctor and the doctor said that is what we need to do. Why me? Because I am the poop master. Apparently that is my title in the house. This is what I have to look forward to this evening when I get home from work. Everybody always says “Ohhh being a parent is wonderful” or “Fatherhood is so rewarding.” What is so rewarding about giving an enema? How do I explain to a four year old that I am giving him an enema? How are you supposed to do that? I know the kid is in pain. He didn’t even want to go trick or treating and if he doesn’t want to do that, than I am sure he needs this. I just wanted to let you know that is what I have planned for this evening.
This is part of the phone call a few hours later.
So I get home and I say , “Luke, come here. I have to give you an enema.” He says to me, “M&M’s okay.” So now I know I let the kid down already. I bring him into the bathroom and I show him the box. On the back is a picture of the position he needs to be in and I explain to him that I need him to kneel down like the guy in the picture. So he gets down on the towel that I laid out and I tell him I have to take his pants off? “Why do you need to take my pants off?” I tell him to just do it and I leave the bathroom to get another towel. He turns to me and says, “Dad? I am not going to like this am I?” How am I supposed to answer that? I come back and he locked me out of the bathroom. He kept saying that he was fine and that he did not need the enema. I had to get a wire hangar and break into the bathroom to give him an enema. I was trying not to laugh. No one tells you this is what being a father is all about. I tell him to relax, that I have to insert the plastic tube into his butt. He said “No you don’t.” I explained that it was going to hurt me more than it hurt him. Although I know that is a bunch of bullshit. So I go to insert the enema and he clenching his cheeks so tight. You should have seen it, I am fighting with a four year old trying to pry open his cheeks. Do I have help? No. Because I am the Poop master. This is my job as a father. I take out the trash, cut the grass, move heavy things and I give enemas. They are the manly jobs.
Monday, November 07, 2005
But everyday while putting away the dishes, I just grab the handle to cabinet door and pull. It opens an inch and then "clack" it gets stuck. I curse under my breath and I think "Why do I think that the locks know when an adult is trying to open the cabinet?" I fight with the latch, and open the cabinet, and put the dish away.
Then, 30 seconds later, I will go to put another dish away and just pull on another cabinet door. "Clack". It gets stuck. It is an endless cycle.
Friday, November 04, 2005
On our last three visits (no Lauren) to the bookstore Max has used this opportunity to have an explosive diaper. I do not manage well with changing him public restrooms. It always is an adventure, with trying to tie him down to the changing station, keeping his hands out of the urinal, preventing him from eating the blue urinal blocks, as well as getting him properly cleaned.
I don’t know what it is about Books A Million that loosens Max’s insides, but after the third time, I started to think maybe it was the air inside the store.
Last night Lauren, Max and I went to the Library. Our library system in Orlando is very cool. You can borrow video games, CDs, DVDs, complete seasons of TV shows, oh and books. There was a lot to look over since this was our first trip to the library.
We were not there longer than 20 minutes when Max had another explosion.
It’s books. It has got to be books. Not just one or two books, but if he is surrounded by thousands and thousands of books. I don’t know if he gets nervous around so much reading material or if he has picked up on the fact that I bring a book into the bathroom at home and he has subconsciously linked books to “going”.
I hope he gets over this by the time he starts school. He may have some serious problems working on his term papers.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
"I'm trying to sleep."
"I know but you do this to me all the time."
"Go to sleep." She closes her eyes.
I stick my finger out just centimeters away from her face and I hold it there. It is just enough for her to sense it without me actually touching her. She slowly opens her eyes, “What are you doing?” she asks somewhat groggy.
“Well knock it off. I am trying to sleep.” She closes her eyes.
Thirty seconds later I reach my finger up again just below her eye. Without moving she says, “Knock. It. Off.”
“What? I am not touching you.”
She turns over and mumbles something.
“How come it’s funny when you do it to me?”
Then it hit me.
She plays “I’m not touching you” In bed WAY more than I do.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
One of his first creations was a barn. He painted it free hand. It was very ugly. He named it the “Ugly Barn.” His next piece of work was a picture of a duck. It was pretty lame. He titled it the “Lame Duck”. LW’s middle name is Mooney, which is an old family name, and he signed his work MooneyAngleo.
The best part of the “Lame Duck” was the birds flying in the sky. LW never having studied art in elementary school was unaware that the simple way to draw birds flying in the distance was to use the style of the lower case ‘m’. LW thought that he was supposed to use the lower case ‘w”. All of his early paintings had birds flying upside down. The upside down birds became a signature trademark of his work.
The MooneyAngelo signature upside birds also inspired a series of paintings. A blue “w’ was a Blue Jay. A red “w’ was a Cardinal. A black ‘w” was a black bird. He painted these on canvas as well as boxer shorts.
I an effort to expand his horizons, MooneyAngelo embarked on painting more complex scenes. His works during this revolutionary period included: “The Invisible Robber”, which a was a black and white etching of a stick figure policeman pointing a gun at and empty space. “The Snowball Fight” which is two snowballs boxing. And “The Unfortunate Cow” which showed a cow not quite making it over the moon.
Having a minimal audience that understood his genius, MooneyAngelo realized that some of his images needed a story to make a more serious impact on the viewer. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” He said. “But with a story, my pictures are worth a thousand Plus.” And so each of his masterpieces would now have a companion poem.
Many years later, LW rediscovered his portfolio of hundreds of paintings and poems. Knowing that there may be an audience for his work at this time, he sought to improve upon his already existing ideas. Since MooneyAngelo had the artistic style of a
2nd grader, LW asked for assistance from his brother William who had the artistic style of a 5th grader. William would re-invent the images, adding his own influence while keeping true to the original context of the writing and images.
And that is the history of MooneyAngelo.
I plan to update the MooneyAngelo Blog/site once a week. Please check it out and leave comments. Lawn Whisperer loves comments.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I think Maxfield had a good time last night. He enjoyed seeing other kids all dressed up. He only made it to a few houses because our neighborhood was pretty lame with many porch lights out.
Couple of cool things to note.
1. Maxfield is officially 20 months old today.
2. "Maxfields Favorite Uncle"'s birthday is tomorrow. Happy Birthday.
3. MooneyAngelo is updated.
4. My brother Jim (the youngest and my mom's favorite son) and his wife had their fourth baby on Halloween. That makes it the 20th grandchild for my parents. Her name is Olivia although I was hoping for Elvira or Broomhilda or something like that. Congrats.