Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
"Hello. May I please speak with William?" The voice on the phone asked.
"This is William."
"I am calling on behalf of TD Bank and I wanted to ask you a few questions regarding your recent transaction."
"Is this some kind of survey?" I asked.
"We only use TD Bank for our car payment. Every now and then I will drop off a check at the local branch." I explained hoping to avoid the survey.
Lauren was out and Max and Wyatt were running around like wild Indians (I am sure that wild Indians is not a political correct phrase but that was what they were doing, flapping their hands over their mouths while screaming). You are probably thinking that I should have just declined to do the survey. Well I know that the person calling me is just trying to do his job. I work in sales and I am constantly using the phone and I know how difficult it is to get people to listen. Most times I will listen to a telemarketer or a survey-taker. Again they have a job to do.
I used to hate getting junk mail; fliers, credit card offers, free trip offers and all of the other junk mail. I used to think junk mail was such a waste. Then one time during an email exchange I found out that one of my very dear blogger friend's husband worked in the junk mail business. I am sure they do not call it junk mail business but something like Direct Marketing. Now I look at every piece of junk mail. Why? Because it is some one's job. Not just one person but many. Somebody had to design the mail. Someone had to make the presentation and sale to their end customer to approve the final product. And, yes, a postal worker had to deliver the mail. People just trying to make living. Now, I appreciate the junk mail.
I know there are arguments out there about the environment and saving trees but I know that I have received fliers about saving the environment in junk mail form. I also know that the person who is trying to stop junk mail to save the environment, is just doing their job, and the fact that junk mail exists gives them a job. Think about it.
"It will only take a few minutes of your time." The man said.
"Okay. Make it quick."
He then asked me questions about the service I received and if the tellers were friendly and if the transaction was done in a quick and timely manner. I was to answer his questions with "very satisfied", "mostly satisfied", "dissatisfied" and "Very dissatisfied" (that's what she said). I answered "mostly" to all. Every time I answered a questions I could hear him click the keys on his computer documenting my answers. The entire survey took about 8 minutes. He then asked me if there was anything I would like to add.
"Yes." I said. "The actual transaction, at the bank branch, that we were just discussing, took a total time of 3 minutes to complete. Your survey took 8 minutes. If you add these 8 minutes to the 3 minutes at the bank for one transaction, that is a total of 11 minutes, which, as far as I am concerned, is too long for one simple transaction."
There was silence on the other end of the line. I did not hear him clicking his computer.
"Excuse me?"I said.
"Yes. Sorry sir." He said. "I have been doing these surveys for a while now and that is the first time anyone has pointed that out to me. Thank you for your time."
He hung up. I felt all smug in my "11 minute bank transaction" answer. I was the first person to ever point that out. I felt pretty smart. That was the first time any one ever pointed that out...then it hit me. He was being sarcastic. And it was too late to change my answers about being satisfied.
*The Tangent style of writing is credited to MRTL and was used in accordance to all copy right and by-laws and credit, although strict written consent was not obtained prior to the posting.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Spirit of Christmas Present
Last year Lauren trash picked some wicker rein deer. They were covered in Christmas lights and they seemed cute. She thought they would be great for our yard for our Christmas decorations for this year. That Lauren, she is always thinking ahead. I stored the wicker light covered reindeer in the garage for 6 months. I got tired of moving them every time I needed to use the mower that I eventually move the deer to the attic.
Our attic was/is packed with junk and the reindeer were jammed between an old pool table and some fireplace equipment and covered by a musty mattress. Once the holiday season arrived I took out the deer and put them in the front of our house. I did not plan to do too much with lights and I figured they would work for one year. I plugged them in with some other lights that I hung on the bushes and fence, only to find that half the lights on the deer were not working. I didn't care. I stood the deer next to a bush and was happy to have just half a lit reindeer.
The deer wouldn't stay up. Being crushed in my attic had caused the wicker legs to warp in a way that prevented them from standing straight. They kind of leaned bit. In an awkward way. Lauren called them stroke patient deer. Then two of the sets of lights I hung on the bushes went out. They were indoor lights and could not take the cold temps. Our house became a ghetto Christmas house.
Our next door neighbor asked Lauren if she wanted help fixing the deer and the lights.You know your Christmas decorations are bad when your neighbor volunteers to help you make them look nice. That means he was embarrassed for us and for himself and wanted to keep the property value up. Lauren declined his help. That night my brother Jim called me from his cell phone. He was out driving through neighborhoods with his family looking at lights. He laughed and mocked my decorating.
Spirit of Christmas Future
Both Wyatt and Maxfield asked for the I-chip for Christmas. I just can't believe that they can make an MP3 player that holds 50,000 songs the size of a thumbtack. I told them both that I would take them to have the I-chips implanted at the Piercing Pagoda. I told Max he could drive so he can get some hours in under his learner's permit. He is going to be in for a rude awakening when he has to pay for his own solar power for the car. I can't believe the price for an hour of sun is now up to 3 bucks.
Merry Christmas Everybody.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
You hear and read stories all the time about how some 3 year old saved his grandmother because he knew how to call 9-1-1. And you are impressed that a child knew to call 9-1-1 that you forget that it must have sucked for that child to actually had to have called 9-1-1 in the first place. I figured with the activity book in front of me it would be a good time to discuss the topic with Max. I mean I could always use the coloring book as a reference guide, except I would have to solve the puzzle first in order to get guidance. Maybe they should cover this topic of calling 9-1-1 on MommyCast.
I showed Max which button to push to turn on our phone, and how to listen for the dial tone before dialing. I explained that 9-1-1 is the phone number for the police, ambulance and the fire department all at one location and he is only ever to dial 9-1-1 if there is an emergency.
"What kind of emergency?" He asked.
I looked at the activity book. "If the house was fire."
"But I am supposed to get out of the house if it is on fire and wait for you and mommy at the end of the driveway."
"Yes. You are right. If the house is on fire you just get out. Right."
Stupid activity book.
I thought for a minute and said "Just say mommy was not home, and I fell off a ladder while I was painting crown molding for the baby and I hit my head so hard that I could not wake up, that is when you should call 9-1-1."
"Only if you fall off the ladder?"
"No, but if I got hurt in any other way and I could not use the phone then you call 9-1-1."
"But you won't get hurt Dad."
"But can you imagine if I did?"
"No. You won't get hurt."
"No I won't. But just picture in your mind that I was not home and something happened to mommy and she was not okay, you could call 9-1-1."
"Mommy won't get hurt."
"But if she does..."
Max cut me off, "I don't want to call 9-1-1."
I could tell I was scaring him and I decided on a different approach. I did not want him to have nightmares about Lauren or I getting hurt. Maybe I was throwing too much at him, asking to imagine his parents being hurt and all. But I also wanted him to be okay with calling 9-1-1. Again, the coloring book was offering no help.
I pointed to our neighbors shed. "Do you see that shed out there? If that shed was on fire, you should call 9-1-1."
"That shed?" Maxfield asked and pointed in the backyard.
"How would that shed catch fire?"
"That doesn't matter..."
Max cut me off. "Oh I know. If a dragon sneezes on that shed then, then I will call 9-1-1."
I hope and pray that we have no serious accidents at our house, but if we do, I hope they are caused by dragons.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
“Yes.” I said as I turned to greet a smiling face. “And how do you know that?” I asked.
“I am Mrs. P. Paul and Gina’s mom.”
“Oh. Hi. How are you?” I think I shook her hand but maybe I didn't.
I went to school with both Paul and Gina and I worked with Paul for a few years. I was not sure how she recognized me though. I could understand that she knew me as one of my family but not Bill specifically. I only recalled ever being at their house once, when I was on the same “illegal” scavenger hunt team as Gina. And that was when I was a sophomore in high school. I use the word “illegal” because that was what the cops told us, but they never arrested any of us.
“I just want to tell you. I just love your blog.”
I smiled from ear to ear, my hat size increasing by two sizes. “Thank you.” I replied. She recognized me from Poop and Boogies. I felt pseudo-famous.
“I read it every day.”
“Thank you. Really.” I started to blush.
“Paul told me about it when your father passed away. I went and read it from the beginning. It really is a wonderful thing you do.”
My head size grew some more.
We talked about my dad, her son Paul as well as some other mutual acquaintances. We talked about the blog some more. She asked how Lauren was feeling and she told me she read her blog as well. She asked me how my reunion was why hadn't I posted anything about it yet. There were people milling about us because I was in line, it was not a really a line but more or less people standing in a group waiting for the customer service desk. I let a few people jump ahead of my turn so i could continue my conversation.
“It is just a joy to read.” She said.
Her cell phone rang and she answered it. “Hello.”
“It’s Gina.” She said to me and then said into the phone. “You’ll never guess who I am talking too. Bill M. Yes. Yes, yes I told him. I will call you back.” She hung up the phone. “She asked me if I told you that you are one of my favorite people.”
I blushed some more and I started to try and figure out how I was going to get my overblown noggin out the automatic sliding doors.
We chatted a bit more and she complimented the blog again. I told her it felt weird being recognized for the blog and I apologized if I had bad breath because I was not expecting to run into anyone. She assured me I did not have bad breath but she may have been just being nice and she left.
I waited a few more minutes before I stepped up to the group of people now waiting in line. I was smiling because of how cool it was that Mrs. P told me she enjoyed the blog and that I was recognized. I was kind of in my own little world when I felt some one tap my shoulder.
“Excuse me,” I heard over my right shoulder. “Are you…”
I turned quickly and said, “Yes…I’m..” and I was totally prepared to say Bill from Poop and Boogies because I was sure whoever was trying to get my attention overheard my conversation with Mrs. P.
And they finished with, “…in line for the customer service desk?”
Thanks Mrs. P for reading. It was great to see you and thanks for making my day on Saturday.
Friday, December 12, 2008
As I, the sea monster, wrestled the superheroes I would threaten to eat their ears or their belly buttons or toes. The only way the two Spidermen could defeat the sea monster was by pulling the green blanket away, which would turn me back to a normal person. I took down Spiderman #1 and pinned his shoulders to the ground.
"Unless your helper saves you, I am going to suck your brains out through your ear." I rasped as I leaned in and made slurping noises next to Spiderman's ears.
He giggled and yelled, "Wyatt save me."
"It is no use Spiderman. He is distracted by the TV." I growled. " And now I am going to eat your brains."
"Stop." Max said. Not Spiderman but Max. He was very serious."You can't do that."
"Can't do what?"
"Eat my brains."
"Yes I can."
"No. You. Can't."
"Because I only have one brain. You keep saying brains." Max stressed the "s" at the end. "I don't have more than one."
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The typical Mother's Ring has the birthstone of the child in it. I wanted to have the ring to be able to give it to Lauren while she was in the hospital. Maxfield's due date was February 29th. February's stone is Amethyst. There was a good chance Max would be born in March, which the stone is Aquamarine. I wanted to be prepared so I went to the jeweler and ordered two rings with the understanding that I would be returning the one I did not need. Max was born in March.
Wyatt was due mid June and I felt fairly safe to order a ring with an Alexandrite stone. We were in Florida at the time and I went to one of those jewelry stores in the mall. I explained to the young girl that I was looking for a Mother's Ring with Alexandrite. She showed me all kinds of fancy settings with Diamond encrusted this and that and super duper brushed gold with a Illudium pu-36 explosive space modulator. The cost of the rings she showed me were more than what I paid for for Lauren's engagement ring.
"I would like a plain ring setting." I said.
"You want a plane ring?"
"Yes. Just plain. With a stone on top."
"I am not sure we have something like that." she said.
"I do not want something too gaudy. My wife would not like that. Nothing too complicated. Just a plain ring."
"I could see if they could make a custom plane ring for you." She was being very helpful.
"I don't get it. Why would a plain ring be custom?" I asked.
"Well we do not carry anything that looks like a plane."
"You want a ring that looks like a plane, right?"
"No. I want a PLAIN ring. Plain as in simple. As in not too much bells and whistles."
"I am sorry but we do not have any bell rings either."
This conversation went in circles until I grabbed a catalog and showed the girl a picture of what I wanted.
Lauren is not one for too much jewelery. With the third kid coming she did not really want a third ring. It would be too much on her fingers. I needed to find a ring where I could have all three stones in the setting. Around the time we were discussing the ring I received an email from this company . The email was not spam. Apparently someone there reads my blog and knew I would be in the need of a Mother's ring soon. We exchanged some emails back and forth and their website makes it easy to build any type of multi-stoned ring.
I added the link to my side bar so I could find them when it came time for me to actually order the ring, which, will be soon. I am having fun mixing and matching various stones and settings, although they do not have an airplane style ring. The new baby is due January 4th. Lauren could go early so I am not going to order the ring until I know for sure what stone I need to get. Try it. Mother's Rings.
Now I am going to have to google search birthing trophies.
Monday, December 08, 2008
She was 9 weeks along in the pregnancy when Lauren felt a little strange and there was some spotting. We immediately went to the doctor and they gave her the ultrasound and assured us everything was okay. They said they were 95 percent positive everything was fine. That was a Friday.
The following Monday I went out of town for a few days. I was on I-4, heading to Tampa Florida when I got a phone call that Wednesday. Lauren called to let me know that she knew something was happening and needed to go to the hospital. She needed to arrange a sitter for the kids and her mom was going to the hospital with her. I was 1000 miles away and was helpless. The sad reality about a miscarriage though is that everyone is helpless. There is nothing anyone can do.
I spent the rest of that day and night calling every half hour for an update. It was early evening when Lauren called me back to break the news. We lost the baby.
Did you see what I just did? I used the words, her and she when talking about the miscarriage but I used the word we when talking about the loss. That is just not fair. I did not get it at the time. When Lauren had her first miscarriage back in the fall 05 I was somewhat detached. Yes it sucked and I did what I could, but I just didn't get it. A few days after that first miscarriage, my dad called me and said, "Bill, make sure you mourn for that baby. Not for your wife or anyone else, but for yourself." I didn't get it.
The one last year. I still didn't get it. I flew home on Thursday and spent the next few days doing my best to help Lauren. I was sad for her but the whole situation still did not affect me to any extreme.
I know there is a lot doubt and regret and guilt that goes through a woman's mind when she has a miscarriage. "Maybe I should have taken it easy, this would not have happened." "Maybe I should have stopped drinking tea." "If only I would have eaten a bit healthier."
The thoughts are endless. These thoughts, combined with actual physical discharge of the baby as well as hormonal changes, can have a very dramatic effect on a woman. A man does not get it and never truly will.
A week after the miscarriage Lauren's father died. Three weeks after that, my father died. Somewhere in between all of that we had two boys to tend to and Christmas and work and, well, life. Lauren and I stayed positive through all of that. We usually do. I am a firm believer of casting away negative thoughts. But we kept looking for meaning in all the sad events.
One night, while talking about losing the baby, while I still didn't get it, Lauren said to me, "Bill, I can't stop thinking about the baby."
I tried to tell her there was nothing she could have done to prevent it. That is what everyone says. That is the cliché. That is supposed to be positive and take away the "woulda coulda shouldas".
Lauren then said something that I will never forget. Something that made me actually get it. Something that brought me to kind of understanding of a woman's thoughts when they have a miscarriage. She said:
"In some cultures and spiritual practices they believe that a baby chooses it's parents. I can't help but feel what is wrong with us as parents that this baby chose not to be with us."
I finally got it.
I started to question myself. I started to have doubt and regret and guilt. My thoughts were endless. "Maybe I am too hard on the kids. Maybe I am not a good role model. Maybe I am not cut out to have three kids. Maybe I don't deserve to have more. Why would this baby not want to be with me?"
I got it. And somewhere in between mourning for my dad and Lauren's dad and tending to the boys and work and life, I mourned for that baby we lost. I came to terms with the fact that we had a miscarriage. That it was our second one.
This year, December 2008, we are expecting our third boy. We are happy. Things are good. I have said it before, I am the luckiest and that too, I get.
Friday, December 05, 2008
When we were expecting Maxfield, the name we originally thought to give him was Westley. We made the mistake of telling my Mom, who then rolled her eyes and told us she did not like that name.
"Wesley?" She asked.
"Wesley? Wesley? Oh I don't like that." She said.
"It makes me think of Wesley Snipes and I don't like him." She said.
I explained to her the name Westley was from the Princess Bride. Which then made her chuckle and roll her eyes some more. I think she confused the character with Andre the Giant. The conversation ruined the name for us and we went with our second choice. After Maxfield was born and we told her his name. When she heard the name Maxfield, I think at that time, she started to prefer Westley. We explained the inspiration behind the name was Maxfield Parrish, the early 1900s painter, which caused her to giggle. Of course, as with all grandmothers, after meeting him, she was fine with his name.
When Lauren was pregnant with Wyatt, we kept his name a secret. We did not want anyone to ruin the name for us. Wyatt's name is inspired from N.C. and Andrew Wyeth. But since we did not want everyone thinking the kid could not pronounce his name, or that he had a speech problem, we went with Wyatt.
This next baby's name we are keeping a secret as well. It will be inspired though. Most of my family thinks I am weird for giving my kids names that have meaning to my wife and I.
The other day we were at my Mom's house and she asked us about names. We told her the ones that we ruled out and she rolled her eyes and scoffed at our choices. Basically making fun of our choices. As she was talking I remembered a story my dad told me about the night my mom went into labor with their second child, my brother Dennis.
My mom and dad were driving to the hospital and and the song Monday, Monday by the Mama's and the Papas, came on the radio. It also just happened to be a Monday. My mom turned to my dad and said something to the extent of, "Oh Skip, this is a sign. If this baby is a girl we have to name her Monday."
My father usually ended the story by saying "I never prayed so hard for a boy in all my life. I think I prayed so hard for a boy that is why the next 7 were boys."
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
So far, I have cleaned the attic and garage and I have painted the foyer and stairway and all the trim. I also painted all the crown molding in our foyer.
I so know the baby will come home from the hospital and the first thing he will notice is the crown molding.
I know this whole process is called nesting, but I also know I have never seen a bird's nest with crown molding.
By the way Lauren has a funny post up at Gigglepotamus.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
I am taking a few days off from the blog to enjoy the holiday, to spend time with family and friends, enjoy my 20 year reunion, nurse a potential hangover and be thankful.
I am very thankful for all of the people who stop by Poop and Boogies. Seriously, thank you for reading. It means a lot to me. I know most who stop by here do not leave comments but, could you do me a favor, and de-lurk this week and tell me what Blogs you are thankful for.
Here a few blogs that I am thankful for. Each is different and each one inspires me. Some are funny, some are insightful, some are so well written you can't help by be inspired by the style and voice of the author and some are just by inspiring people. The thing that draws me to most of the blogs that I read is that you can sense the positive vibes from the authors. Go read a few and leave them a comment that I sent you.
Oh the Joys
What Was I Thinking (Turkey Post is up again)
Mr. Big Dubya
When Maxfield and Wyatt ask for something and they forget their manners, Lauren and I remind them to use the word please.
We do not teach them to use please by asking "What's the magic word?" Lauren and I, instead say something like "How should you ask?" or "There is a nicer way to ask for something." Hoping they pick up on the fact that they forgot to use the word please. It usually works.
Here is the magic part. When either of the them ask for something and the answer is "NO", they immediately say please, hoping that by saying the word please will change the answer.
Wyatt finishes his bag of M&Ms, and he asks for more.
"No Wyatt. That was the last of them."
"No buddy. There are no more."
"Wyatt. They are all gone. There are no more."
"PWEASE. I said Pwease?"
By repeating the word "please" as well as increasing the volume when saying it, Wyatt thinks, that magically, more M&Ms will appear.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
We greeted everyone. Frome Hollywood movie stars to hookers, from Atletes to the bus boys who worked at the local restaurants. We treated everyone the same. The club had a very large Italian clientele as well and we soon both learned the European greeting of kissing both cheeks of the guest. Including the male customers.
It usually went something like this. The guest would walk to the front door and upon seeing me or my bother would raise his arms as if waiting for a hug and would say "YO, How you doin? This place bumpin tonight? Or what?" The guest would then lower his hand to shake my hand and then hug me with the other arm and then kiss both of my cheeks. I would kind of make the kissing noise to both of his cheeks and then the person would enter the club.
At first, it was uncomfortable, since we were Irish boys from the suburbs and somewhat out of our element, but after a while we got used to it.
My brother and I must have done this European gretting at least 150 to 200 times a night. 4 to 5 nights a week.
After doing this for about a year my brother took a night off to go out with his wife and another couple they had not seen in a few years. My brother, out of habbit, greeted the husband of the other couple by hugging him and kissing both of his cheeks.
Apparently the guy was little freaked out by my brother's affection.
I keep thinking of this story because my 20 year reunion is next week.
I see my group of friends about every two months. When I see some of my guy friends I still give them a handshake and a "Bro Hug".
When I see my female friends, sometimes it is a kiss on the cheek, and sometimes it is a hug. But most times we do that awkward dance of where they lean in for what appears to be a kiss on the cheek. And so I lean in to return the kiss to their cheek but then realize they were just leaning in for a hug and it becomes an awkward moment of suspended animation. I have a split second to figure out if I should stay committed to the kiss on their cheek and end up kissing their ear. Or change direction and give them the half hearted hug. It freaks me out all the time. And part of me knows that it freaks them out too. I think Ali and L Mac know what I am talking about.
Recently, I made the decision that I would just give my female friends a kiss on the cheek. It is easier. They do not have to stand to greet me, if the are already seated and I can just lean in and give them a peck. But some of them are still huggers and awkwardness continues. But now I am committed to the kiss and can stay on target.
But now with the Reunion around the corner I know that I will be seeing people I have not seen in 10 years. Some of them were people I was very close to both men and women. Are they huggers? Kissers? Or are they just firm handshakers? I can see many awkward moments happening. I need to come up with an official greeting.
What are you? A hugger? Kisser?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
When Lauren was making the kid's Halloween costumes she had to dye a jacket blue for Wyatt. A pair of my white socks accidentally got ran through the wash with the jacket. The dyed jacket, of course, bled, and my socks ended up a nice shade of purple.
The other day, I decided to wear my new colored socks. Why? Because I really don't care what is on my feet, I mean no one looks at a guy's socks, do they? Besides their wife that is.
I was sitting across from Lauren while I was putting on the socks. I expected her to same something about the purple socks because she notices every time I wear mismatched socks that she would not miss the purple socks.
To beat her to her smart ass comment I said, "Yes. I am wearing Donny Osmond socks today."
"What?" she asked.
"I am wearing my Donny Osmond socks."
"What does that mean?" She said looking at me like I was speaking another language.
"Donny Osmond? Purple socks?"
She gave me a blank stare. "What are you talking about?"
"You really don't know what I am talking about? You never watched Donny and Marie?"
"You are only 4 years younger than me. How can we be from two different generations?" I was in disbelief.
"I don't think generation has anything to do with watching the Osmonds."
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I keep posting pictures because I have not had time to write.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
A true Con artist is patient and lets the con unfold over time in an effort to gain the CONfidence of the person they plan on duping. Most times a Con artist exploits their victims weakness such as greed or love or vanity.
The Con Artist: Lauren
The Victim: Me
My Weakness: Sausage, Biscuits and Gravy
I love sausage. Any kind, although I prefer the breakfast variety. I would eat sausage for every meal. (I know my brothers are laughing at me confessing my love of sausage and all the innuendo that statement possesses). Now I am going to mess with people's google searches by my next statement. Sausage is like Sex. There is no such thing as bad sex, or Sausage. Sure, some times some are better than others, but either way you are still getting some. Just like Ice Cream.
One of my favorite meals to have is Sausage, Biscuits and Gravy. When we lived in Florida, the South, I could order this meal almost any where and any time. Now that I live back in the North, not so much. There are a few places that try to make it but for the most part the only place that does a halfway decent job is Cracker Barrel. The closest Cracker Barrel to us is in Plymouth Meeting, a 30 minute ride and it is always crowded, so we never go.
A few weeks ago Lauren started to drop hints that maybe we should go to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Every time she mentioned it we had already eaten and were busy with something else. She was teasing me. She was patient and she started the con early to gain my confidence. She was laying the groundwork. She mentioned it again this past Sunday morning. We had already eaten breakfast and we were busy.
The day went by and all I could think of was having Biscuits and Gravy.
Around 3 PM Sunday afternoon Lauren suggested we go to Cracker Barrel for Dinner. They would have enough choices for the kids and Lauren for a normal dinner and I could have Brinner of sausage biscuits and gravy. She exploited my weakness. I was sold and was excited with anticipation knowing that I would have my favorite meal in just a couple of hours.
Later, as we were packing the kids in the car, Lauren said, "Since we are going out to Plymouth Meeting I figured we could just stop by the IKEA which is right down the street."
And there it was, the greatest con.
I hate IKEA. IKEA is like going to Joann Fabrics. It is like the Pit of Despair. It is like Hell.
Lauren baited me with Cracker Barrel and switched in IKEA. We were in IKEA for an hour. I did eventually get the Biscuits and Gravy but it cost me a piece of my soul.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Both Maxfield and Wyatt are at developmental phases in their lives and they are both changing. I have been really trying hard to pay attention to those changes so I can remember them in the future. Wyatt is in his terrible twos, full swing, and is speaking in full defiant sentences that both piss me off and crack me up. Wyatt does not simply yell "NO" to tell us he is not going to do something. He explains it to us.
"I do not want to eat my peas. I do not want to eat my meat. I want you to get me dessert. Now. Pleeaaase." Is Wyatt's way of explaining he is not going to eat his dinner.
Every parent knows that the terrible twos is the first phase the child goes through in order to make their own choices and become more independent.
Now Max, on the other hand, knows that he is independent. He is growing up so nicely into a little boy I am afraid I am going to turn around and he will be a teenager. I have been paying particularly close attention to him and the changes he is going through. He is on his way out of that "terrible toddler defiant" mode. I have become so used to some of his tantrums as a toddler that I forgot that Max would eventually be a little boy. Sure he still has his moments of crying and carrying on but they are becoming fewer and farther between.
Over the past few weeks I have been lucky enough to see him in settings I am not used to witnessing. I attended a school trip, a school function, a birthday party and there was Halloween. At each one of the these occasions I found myself in awe of his ability to adapt and fit in and make the right decisions and do the right thing.
On his school trip I was on his turf and he took the lead. He introduced me to some kids in his class. Without prodding or suggestions Max said, "This is my dad. Dad this is Julianna. And this is Andre." I could not stop smiling at how proud I was of him for taking the initiative. The rest of the trip he made the decisions as to where we would sit on the hay ride and what pumpkins we would pick and even when we would leave. He is growing from a toddler to a little boy right in front of my eyes.
At the birthday party he introduced himself to a couple of other kids and he went off to play with them by himself. Some of the older kids were playing wiffle ball and Max got his turn at bat. When he struck out, he did not cry or demand a do over. Max gave the bat the next kid. Max did the right thing.
While trick or treating Max said "thank you" at every house. He is saying the right things. Max is no longer a toddler. He is a little boy.
Like I said, I have been watching him. I am noticing the changes. Max holds conversation with adults and he uses words like "actually" and "prefers" and "condensation" and other words I did not think a four year old would know. He talks about God and "What ifs" and dreams. I am not saying that Max is smart I am just amazed that he is paying attention to us and to himself too. Max is a little boy growing into a big boy.
Lately I have been overwhelmed with mixed feelings regarding how much Max has grown, physically, mentally and emotionally, over the past 10 months. I am proud of his independence but it also saddens me. For the past four and half years of his life I have been his best friend. But now, he is becoming independent of me. I am losing my little guy. He still needs me, but needs me less and less. I know he is now starting down the path where I have to be more of a father to him than his friend. I am sad because I am losing my friend Max.
This morning the whole family went to the playground and I was thinking about how grown and independent Max is when I let him run ahead of me. The invisible tether, in which I have had him leashed to me, is getting longer and longer. I felt sad. I tried to focus my attention to Wyatt who still needs someone to push him on the swing and follow him up the ladders to the slides, who still needs a friend.
I watched Max converse with other kids and he did not need me to steer the conversation. I let Max talk to other adults and watched how he conducted himself and I was very proud of him. I realized that "time was flying" as I helped Wyatt up some tire steps and I thought about how I used to do the same with Max. My heart stung a little. And as I was caught up in my own little world I realized Max was not playing with anyone else. He was sitting by himself in the sand box, his head, looking up at the trees, tilted slightly to one side, his bottom lip slightly protruding from his top lip. He sat there, that way, for a few minutes.
I handed Wyatt off to Lauren and I walked over to see if everything was okay. Part of me knew he was thinking of something profound about God and the trees changing colors and the chilly November winds. Part of me was hoping he was going to ask me to play with him. And maybe I got a bit of sand in my eye and a little lump in my throat because I was missing my little boy immensely when I finally asked him if everything was alright.
He turned his head towards me and I could see the sun glistening off his face.
"I'm fine dad. I am just trying to eat my snot." He said and he licked his upper lip.
I smiled from ear to ear. My little boy was back for a few minutes at least.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
...and I dressed as a cowboy, or as my brother Kevin would say since I have so much grey in my beard, Kenny Rogers.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
No really I was. Well, not all the time, but there was the fall of 1986 and the fall of 1987 when I was his favorite son. He would admit it and my seven brothers knew it too.
When I turned 16 and I got my driver's license there were 4 kids of legal driving age that lived at home. Plus my parents, there were a total of 6 drivers with only two cars. The kids were always asking to use the car. My dad always wanted to have one of the cars at home so that left 1 car for 4 kids. The old policy was whoever asked first got first dibs on the car.
We, of course, would argue over who got to use it and when. We were all different and hung out in different crowds so there was rarely any sharing of the car. Besides, having the car meant that you could actually go out on a date. It would be awkward to try and go to "inspiration point" while your brother was in the back seat waiting to get driven home from a party.
That was when my dad came up with the Favorite Son Policy.
His policy was quite simple. Whoever was involved in an extracurricular activity that would entertain my dad (sports) would have first pick of using the car. If two of us were involved in the same sport, first pick would go to the person that was either on the Varsity squad or who actually started in the game.
That was why I was the favorite son in the fall of 86 and 87. At that time there were really only two of us fighting over the car, my brother LawnWhisperer and myself. I played football and LW played basketball. The early part of the fall of 86, my junior year, I was not on the varsity team, so LW and I would argue every weekend over the car. But then, Tim A, the starting wide receiver became academically ineligible (he was failing Spanish I think) to play football and I got to start on the varsity team. I did not care that I was now the starting wide receiver for the football team as a junior, I was more excited that I was officially the favorite son.
I got the car whenever I wanted it. LW would ask to use the car on a Friday night, I could invoke the Favorite Son Rule and get the car instead of him. I can still remember the chilly nights after the games, with the stadium lights glowing down on us, my dad would throw me the keys to the car and occasionally slip me a 10 dollar bill and tell me to have a good time. My social status amongst my friends shot up because now I could drive to get Slurpees after the game. I was the favorite. LawnWhisperer would have to ride a bike to see his girlfriend or bum a ride from someone else. It was good to be the favorite.
Of course right after Thanksgiving, football would end and basketball would start. I was no longer the favorite. The title went to LW. My social status in school plummeted. I was now the one riding my bike to see my girlfriend or friends. Basketball being the winter sport and all it was quite cold on my bike. I think LW got the better season to be the favorite.
The fall of 87, with LW away at college and my younger brothers not old enough to drive, there was less competition for the car. Occasionally my mom would want the car for something but I would trump her request and invoke Favorite Son Rule and I usually won.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
He was very proud of himself.
"Actually Max, when you spell the number one, it starts with an O." I corrected him. "It makes the W sound but it is an O."
Max stared at me with a confused look as his lips pursed making a W sound. Grasping the English language is challenging to a four year old.
"Actually Max," Lauren chimed in from across the room. "The word won, as in, I won the game, starts with the letter W. So you are kinda right."
Max beamed as his mother confirmed his spelling and word sounding skills. Lauren walked over and rustled his hair. Max looked up at her and smiled.
"Mommy," he said. "You are more smarter than Daddy."
Wait until he finds out that the Knuckle Sandwich I give him starts with the letter K.
Monday, October 27, 2008
"I can't stop eating them."
The next day.
"Bill, where are the candy corn?"
"I ate them all."
"You ate the whole bag?"
"Yes. You said you didn't want them in the house."
"No. I said you shouldn't buy any more. Not that you should eat an entire bag by yourself. "
"I was just trying to help out."
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Every morning, around 5:30, as I am waiting for the coffee to brew, Wyatt and I have this exact conversation. Every morning.
I have written about the show Yo Gabba Gabba before and I am amazed that he is still addicted to it. It is the first thing Wyatt asks for when he gets up.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Every week we ask the librarian for suggestions based on our previous weeks likes. For instance we read Ted by Tony DiTerlizzi and the next week the librarian suggested Jimmy Zangwow's Moon Pie Adventure also by DiTelrizzi (we also discovered that Diterlizzi wrote something called the Spiderwick Chronicles which I am sure Max will like in a few years and we learned that one of DiTerlizzi's influences is Maxfield Parrish which is very cool with us).
This past Saturday, I was flipping through the movies and I watched Max a few aisles away pick out his books from the picture book section. He took his time making sure he would like his selections and then he came over to me to choose his movies.
This was his selection this week.
Max is fascinated with Lauren's pregnancy and when he saw this he had to have it. I have no idea what it was doing in the kid's section. I think the Dewey Decimal system is messed up.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Maxfield has been testing his independence lately and has been asking to wash himself. I started a little game with the kids to make sure that Max washes every part of his body as I wash Wyatt. I ask both Max and Wyatt where certain parts of their bodies are and then he uses the soap and wash cloth to clean that part.
"Where are your shoulders?" I ask.
I clean Wyatt's shoulder and then Max scrubs his shoulders.
"Where is your collar bone?"
He will then scrub his neck and upper chest.
"Where is your arm pit? Good job. Where is your bicep? Okay now wash your elbow pit. Now wash your forearm and your wrist?"
Elbow Pit? Yes. That is what I call the area between the bicep and forearm? Is there a name for it?
The other night we were playing this game and I was introducing new words to them. Instead of saying leg I told them to wash their shins and then their calves.
"Wash your thighs. Good Job. Now your knees. Okay, wash your shins. That is the front part of your lower leg."
"Shins?" Max asked.
"Yes. Shins and the back part is called your calf. Now wash your ankles. This part on your ankle is called the Achilles." I said and I pointed to it. "Now wash your knee pit."
We were finishing up when I told Max to wash his groin.
"Gwoin" He said. "What's that?"
"That's the area between your legs around your penis. And the area under your penis, that is your grundle."
"Gwundle? That's a silly word. I will call it my penis pit."
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
"I picked them out. Why?
"I was just......(sigh)...checking."
Monday, October 13, 2008
That's what she said.
If you were at the same pumpkin patch and the blue grass band that was playing said "If you have any requests just yell them out." What would you yell?
We went on a hayride and there were about 15 people on the ride, 8 of which were kids. The guy driving the tractor stopped to tell us about certain aspects of the farm. At one point he went on for a very long time about how many pounds of feed could and would be stored in one of the silos. He went on for a 10 minutes. The kids, not just mine, were getting antsy. I said to Lauren, maybe a bit too loud, "If I knew this was going to educational I would not have brought the kids." Which got me looks from a few of the other folks on the ride. Was what the guy was saying interesting? Yes. But not to children under 5. I was bascially saying "let's speed this up" without trying to be rude.
Sometimes I just say the stuff that comes to my mind which causes an eyeroll from Lauren. Most times I am trying to be funny but other times I am merely speaking what is on my mind and it can be interpreted as mean or mean spirited.
On the drive home Lauren and I discussed the fine line between funny, mean spirited and honesty.
"Do you know how many times I wanted to kill you, when we were dating, for things that came out of your mouth?" She asked.
"Really?" I asked back.
"Yes. There were many times you have said something to somone and I was mortified."
We laughed at the various circumstances Lauren could remember.
Later that day I was looking for my sunglasses.
"Lauren do you know where my other pair of sunglasses are?"
"What's wrong with the glasses you have in your hand."
"I like the other ones better."
"What's the difference. They are both ugly."
Was she being funny, mean spirited or honest?
That is not a pumkin under there.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Since Mike and Jim live so close to my mom they are the first ones to be called when something needs to be done. A foot and half of snow in the driveway, they get called to shovel. Water in the basement from a heavy rain, they go and shop-vac. Mom needs help moving furniture, they are the first to be called. When I lived with my parents, last year, I was part of the "compound". I felt kinda of special. I mean, I was never really accepted as one of them because the living arrangment was temporary but it was cool to fit in for a bit. I knew that my mom loved me a little bit more than those that did not live in the compound.
And then, even after I bought a house in the same town as my folks, It was deemed too far away to be part of the compound. I no longer felt special. I felt like I was demoted. I was not as loved as Mike and Jim.
Last Saturday the "Compound Kids" were away and I got the call. It was about 9PM and I had just put on my pajamas and was eating a bowl of ice cream when the phone rang. I answered.
"Bill." The other voice on the phone said, "I need you to do me a favor. Well it is not me who needs the favor, it is Mom that needs the favor. You see I am at work and Jimmy is out of town and Mom needs a favor."
The way that he asked it almost seemed like he was using a code. Almost like he was ashamed to ask me, a non compound person, to step in.
"What do you need Mike?" I asked.
"Mom is watching Jim's kids overnight tonight. She went outside to check on something and saw that there was a dead rabbit on the driveway. She does not want the kids to see the rabbit if they go out to play in the morning. She needs someone to go and clean it up."
"A dead rabbit? Really?"
"Yeah. I would do it when I get done work but that would be at 2 in the morning."
"Okay. I will go over there now." I said and I hung up the phone.
I put together my "dead rabbit clean up kit" which consisted of a shovel, two trash bags and a pair of garden gloves and headed over to my Moms. I made quick work of the clean up and put the rabbit's body in two plastic bags, tied them securely, and put the bag in my mom's trash can. I went inside her house to wash my hands and to also bask in the glow of her love knowing that I was for a few minutes her favorite son and the most loved.
"Where did you put it?" she asked in a hushed tone so the kids would not overhear.
"It is in your trash can."
"What? No it can't go there. You have to get rid of it. I don't want the bugs and trash day is next Friday. You have to take it with you."
"Where am I going to take it?"
"I don't know. Just not here."
"Fine. I will take it to the Sunoco Station and throw it in their trash can."
"Yes. That would be better."
"I can't believe I am going to be driving around with a dead rabbit in my car. You know I am going to blog about this right?"
"Yes. That's fine. Just get rid of the rabbit."
Monday, October 06, 2008
What we learned:
-Max screaming at the top of his lungs, because Wyatt stole his lollipop, is louder than the sirens on the fire trucks.
-I can say "Don't touch that." 37 times in the span of two minutes as the kids were inside the truck. I hope fire department does a check of all switches and valves and buttons before they start up the trucks.
-Teaching a four year old Stop, Drop and Roll is very difficult if they can't get past the fact that they may be on fire. The thought of that was very scary.
-Fire stations DO have bathrooms. Before we left for the event Lauren and I tried to convince Max to go the potty. Max refused. Lauren said something like, "Max you should go now, before you leave, in case they don't have a potty there." Max's response. "Where do the fire fighters go?" Good Point. The first question Max asked the fire fighter. "Where is your potty?"
The kids did enjoy themselves.
Friday, October 03, 2008
In the middle of the night I tried to move him to his bed. At first he seemed happy with having his own space but after a minute or so he started fussing. Since Lauren is sleeping for two, and I was already awake, I figured I would do my best to soothe him. I carried him downstairs, gave him some medicine and tried my best to snuggle with him and rock him to sleep until the meds kicked in.
He was miserable. He tried to cuddle with me as we were laying on the couch but he kept waking up every 15 minutes and he would start to cry. I thought maybe I was crowding Wyatt and so I nudged Luna, the dog, out of the way and I laid on the floor and I reached up to the couch and I rubbed his back and held his hand. He would calm down for a few minutes but then he would start to cry again. This went one between 12:30 and 3 AM. I was at a loss. Bewtween the dog's snoring and Wyatt's sobs I barely got a wink of sleep. I was exhausted and I felt so bad for Wyatt. I just wanted him to feel better and get some rest.
At some point I must have drifted off. I woke up to Wyatt climbing off the couch and trying to nudge me. I thought he was still feeling bad and wanted some comfort. I tried to hug him but he wanted none of it. He was nudging me away from where I was laying. He cleary did not want me to be where I was. I stood up and Wyatt quickly laid down on the floor in my space.
Wyatt then took a deep breath, rolled over, put his arm around the dog and quickly fell asleep for the rest of the night.
Wyatt would rather cuddle with the dog than with me.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
"I am going to visit Pop-Pop in the hospital." She would tell him.
Max being the typical three year old would ask "Why?" to everything. We would answer, "Pop Pop is sick and the hospital is where sick people go."
Everyday that Lauren was away Max would ask for his mother and I would explain that Pop Pop was sick and in the hospital.
When Lauren's father passed away we explained to Max that "Pop Pop went to live with God."
Three weeks later, before my father died, he was in the hospital for 5 or so days. Every night that I would leave to go visit him Maxfield would object. "I don't want you to leave."
"I know Max." I would say. "But Pa is real sick and I need to go see him in the hospital."
Everyday I was at the hospital Max would ask Lauren where I was and Lauren would explain "That Pa was in the hospital."
After my father died Max asked a lot of questions. We explained that "Pa went to live with God."
Being a typical three year old he asked "Why?" to everything. We explained that people who get sick and do not get better eventually go to live with God.
That was almost a year ago.
Tonight while Max was playing with some of the neighborhood kids, he fell pretty hard and did a good job of scraping his knee. I told him to "shake it off" as I do every time he gets hurt. The mother of the other kids looked at his wound. Max was being very dramatic about how bad the boo-boo hurt and the mom, playing along with Max's seriousness and being very kind and sweet, asked him if he wanted to go to the hospital.
Max became very quiet and asked me to carry him home. I told him I couldn't because I had Wyatt to manage. He jumped into my arms and started sobbing and begged me to carry him home. I did.
Max cried into my ear, "I don't want to go live with God, Dad. I don't want to go to the hospital and I don't want to live with God.
It broke my heart and I couldn't shake it off.
Monday, September 29, 2008
It rained all weekend. We played inside all weekend. We played seek and find all weekend.
In the below photo see if you can find:
2.- Spiderman guy (There may be more that one)
4.-A Little Peoples Sheep.
5.- An Elephant
6.- A soccer ball
7.- A Croc like shoe
Friday, September 26, 2008
A while back, in an effort to get the kids to eat their oatmeal, Lauren started putting various things in the oatmeal. Besides some healthy stuff like ground flax seed she would also put in raisins or bananas or applesauce. One day she decided to top their oatmeal with some rainbow jimmies. She and the kids call them sprinkles. I call them jimmies.
Yesterday I made the kids their breakfast and I topped their oatmeal with rainbow non-pareils. There is a significant difference between the two. Jimmies are long and tubular and non-pareils are just dots. Of course Max noticed the difference.
"Dad, mommy puts sprinkles on the oatmeal."
"That's what I did."
"These are NOT sprinkles. I don't like this kind."
"Maxfield they are the same thing."
"No they are not."
"Yes they are."
"No they are not."
"Yes they are. They are both made of sugar. They are just different shapes."
"They are not the same."
Knowing that I could have a logical conversation with a four year old, I grabbed the container of the jimmies and threw some on top of his oatmeal.
"There." I said. "Is that better?"
His rolled his eyes and placed his spoon next to this bowl clearly as a sign he was not going to eat the oatmeal.
"What?" I asked."That's what you wanted. Now eat the oatmeal."
"But I wanted chocolate sprinkles." Max whined.
"We don't have chocolate, only rainbow sprinkles."
"These are not rainbow sprinkles." Max said as he picked through them.
"Yes they are."
"No they are not." Max said confidently. He picked up a brown colored sprinkle. "This is brown." He then picked up a white sprinkle. "This is white. Here is another brown one. Rainbows do not have the colors brown and white in them. These are not rainbow sprinkles."
A minute ago I questioned his logic, now I had to question mine.
What do you call them? Sprinkles or Jimmies?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I think I have dug up and removed about 15 bushes and shrubs from our front yard in the past year. The shrub removal has begat a new garden project.
I used a Mantis rototiller to dig a rather large area for our walk way garden.
Of course the kids helped with sifting the dirt. Notice their brown shirts that help hide the dirt for our many trips to Lowes. The only thing of interest we found sifting was a about a dozen worms and rusty quarter.
The new garden begat a "cosmetic fence" to the front of our house. Lauren took pictures to document the progress. It was right at this point that she said, "Wow. The first two posts went in so easy. That wasn't bad at all.", which then cursed me to have the last post take twice as long to set.
We are half way done our landscaping project and now I feel comfortable that if we have any visitors to our house that ride a horse, they will have a place to tie up reins.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
"I just bought them tonight." I yelled back. "I wanted to try their new flavor combo."
"How are they?" she asks.
"I thought you told me last week you were gong to try and lose ten pounds." She says, reminding me of my goal to lose ten pounds.
"I am." I said. "Thats why I only at HALF the bag."
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I have been to a few book signings but never for Brad Meltzer. The guy is one of my favorite authors and it was a perfect opportunity to meet him and talk to him and you know...stalk him.
I arrived a little early and staked out my seat in the middle of the goup of folding chairs the book store had set up in front of a podium. I did not want to be too close to the front because then I would seem too eager, too dorkish. I did not want to be too far back because I did not want to seem like I was not interested. My seat was perfect.
I met a lovely couple, John and Joanne, who were there to get a book signed for their son Dennis. They were not fans of Brad but were willing to muddle through the event for their son. I chatted with them for a bit before Brad arrived.
Brad spoke for about 30 minutes about his book, his writing, his television projects and comics. He was very funny. Joanne and John seemed like they were entertained. I did not see too many people there taking pictures so I was not sure if I would look like the biggest dork in the world if I started snapping photos. When Brad sat down to sign some books I decided to sneak some pictures in.
That is him there signing away.
The above picture was so I could have a picture of Brad and me together in case they were not going to allow it. I stood in line for about 10 minutes trying to come up with something witty to say but I knew that once I started talking I would sound like Chris Farley interviewing Paul Mc Cartney. Again Iwanted to avoid the whole dorkishiness.
When I got to the table I said hello as Brad asked me if I wanted to have the book personalized.
"I'm Bill, from Poop and Boogies." I said.
Brad jumped up from the table. "I am so glad to meet you." He said. "Thanks so much for coming tonight. Give me a hug."
He hugged me and said. "I really love your blog."
Then we chatted for a few minutes and I do not remember what he said after that,because I could not get past the fact that he told me that he loved my blog.
I aksed him if I could take a stalker picture with him and he said of course. He thanked me for the review and again for attending the signing.
I was relieved. I was not a dork at all. I did not embarrass myself.
The Book of Lies is now #2 on the New York Times best Seller list. Do you know where it was on the list before my review? It wasn't. I like to think that my review boosted his book to the number 2 position. Poop and Boogies bumped his sales up.
I hung out for a while after and listened to other people talk about his books and I listened to his responses. He was genuinely gracious and appreciative of every person there. He was also very, very funny. I was enjoying listening to him crack jokes. Then, I realized that I was the only one sitting there besides Brad's friends and family. I suddenly felt quite awkward and weird. I was the only person there that was not part of his group. Should I just get up and leave? No, that would be strange, like why was I just hanging out and then get up and bolt out of there? Should I say something else to him? No that would seem waaay too stalker-ish. I was stuck. His friends were kind of giving each other looks, but referring to me, like "yo what's up with this dude?"
I sensed the complete awkwardness of the entire moment. I stood up and shook Brad Meltzer's hand and I left.
All the efforts I took to avoid me being a total dork...gone.