Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lullaby

I try to let Max and Wyatt listen to music as they fall asleep. I try to stay away from songs with lyrics so the kids do not lay in bed singing along. Normally I play some instrumental Baby Einstein stuff or some CD that claims "your kids will be smarter if they listen to this" type of classical music. I do think the CD made Wyatt smarter because he learned at a very early age how to open the CD player and toss the CD across the room.

Lauren, on top of her many talents, has an excellent singing voice. Wyatt and Max prefer to fall asleep to the sounds of Lauren singing Ben Folds songs and request her to perform every night. I get a little jealous that the kids never ask me to sing to them. That may have to do with the fact that I can never remember all the words to songs.


I recently discovered this music by Sunflow. The music is perfect for kids and as a parent I love the fact that the songs are easy enough for me to learn and try to sing to the kids myself. Here is my favorite song from the CD. I wish you Love. I sound nothing like Sunflow when I try to sing the songs. Max and Wyatt seem to like the CD but have no problems telling me I should not sing and they request Lauren.

The past few nights I have been sitting in on her rendition of Lullaby by Ben Folds and I totally understand why the kids prefer her singing over me.

I am still jealous.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Illegitimate Children

I have been making arrangements for Jackson's baptism. I wanted to register with St. Johns, the parish that I belonged to as a kid, and I needed to finagle a paper work switch with the parish where I am supposed to go. I called the rectory at St. Johns and I spoke with Father R. and told him of the registration switch. In an effort to facilitate a quicker move Father R. asked me to register over the phone with him until the proper paper work made it's way to his office.

Father R. asked for the basic info such as address, family members, D.O.B etc. etc. He then wanted some background information about which sacraments I received.


Baptism-Check

First Penance-Check

Holy Communion-Check

Confirmation-Check

Marriage - well this is where it got interesting.

When father R. asked about the sacrament of marriage I explained that Lauren and I were not married in a Catholic Church. I did tell him we were married by a Catholic Priest we found on the Internet who left the priesthood to start a family.

Father R. then advised me that there was a good chance Lauren and I were not legally married. He told me of some local recent court cases where ex-priests who officiated wedding ceremonies were never legally registered with the state. He asked me if I would like to have a service at the church to bless my marriage and make sure it was all documented. I told him I would check with Lauren and let him know. Father R. urged that I investigate the legality of my wedding documents. Legally, he said, my marriage may not be recognized by the state and that my marriage is not really recognized by the Catholic church.

I, of course, could not let this opportunity for a joke go to waste and I said, "Are you saying there is a chance I am not married? You mean that I am single again. Woo hoo! Easy way to get rid of the ol' ball and chain. You know what I mea...I guess...uhmm you wouldn't....never mind."

He did not laugh and again suggested that me and Lauren to set up a time for a marriage blessing service.

We then got back to discussing dates for Jackson's baptism. We talked about the Godparents and requirements and whatnot and every time Father R mentioned Jackson's name I had to fight the urge to refer to Jackson as "that Little Bastard".

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This may be chauvinistic...

...but it is my belief that if the manufacturers of washing machines intended for men to do laundry they would have made the machines with one switch with only two positions; on and off.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Torture

Recently the US government released some documents regarding the CIA interrogation techniques used on prisoners of war at Gitmo. I was a little disappointed with their list. Most of the techniques resemble some hazing stunts that fraternities would use on new pledges during rush week.

If they want to extract information from these enemy combatants I really think that CIA guys need to think outside the box. Doesn't anyone in the CIA have kids?

If I ran the prison here are a few techniques I would use.

Have the prisoner sit in a room with 5-year-old who is trying to learn to count to 1000. The 5 year old gets stuck and makes a mistake at about the 220 area. The five year old, since he messed up, then has to start over from the beginning. The prisoner cannot be released from the cell until the child reaches 1000.

The prisoner sits at a table with a two-year-old, a plate full of vegetables and an Easter basket filled with jelly beans and chocolate. The prisoner needs to convince the child to eat the vegetables.

I would put the prisoner in a room with a five-year-old and a two-year-old and huge box of Legos. I would force the prisoner to help the 5-year-old build some huge Lego truck or something. Just as the project is finished I would have the two-year-old step on it. I would repeat this 4 or 5 times. If the prisoner does not succumb to the frustration of having to rebuild the truck over and over again he most likely will break from the crying and the screaming from the 5-year-old every time the truck is smashed.

These are just a few of my suggestions. I am sure some of you may have an idea or two. Please share.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On the wall

I was cruising through Facebook stuff and I saw someone, a friend of a friend, more like a Facebook acquaintance (which I really think Facebook should add that as category) post on someone else's Wall about a family member that went something like this.

"Sally having a tumor in her stomach and having an operation and it not working. Sally was such a good girl and didn't deserve this and...." A very sad post.

I do not really know this Facebook acquaintance, nor do I know Sally, but I felt bad for them. I hate reading sad stories about sick kids and I logged out before reading any more of the posts about Sally. Sally's medical condition hung with me the rest of the day and I felt really sad for her and her family.

Later that night I wanted to find out the whole story about Sally and I surfed through Facebook trying to re-trace my steps from one friend to another trying to find Sally's story. After about 30 minutes of searching I found the person that posted about Sally and finally discovered that Sally was the family dog. I felt so much better. Then I got a little ticked that, throughout the day, I wasted so much emotional energy thinking about Sally.

A damn dog.

I know there are a lot of dog people out there who may not agree with my sentiments and who feel that dogs are part of the family and that we should worry and sympathize and empathize with animals. But you see, I am not one of those types of people.

I really think people need to rethink naming their pets the same names as people. Good dog names are like Shadow or Checkers or Moto or Biscuit. If I read a sad story about a name like Mugsy than I would kind of know it was about a pet of some kind and I could go about my day without feeling bad.

Just like when I write a story about Wyatt peeing on the rug or Max eating food off the floor you know that I am talking about humans right?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Q-Tip Study

So you are going to clean your ears and you grab a Q-tip, are you the type of person that turns on the faucet and wets the Q-tip end with the tap water?

Or are you the type of person that puts the Q-tip into your mouth and rolls it on your tongue to moisten the end before you insert it into your ear?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Natural High

video


If Wyatt had his way he would be naked all the time. I know wanting to be naked is normal for a kid his age. Wyatt is most happy when he is naked. What I find funny, and I can't post the video here, is the dance and song that goes along with him being naked. The song is more like a chant than any actual words.

The other day I called the house to talk to Lauren and I could hear Wyatt singing in the background.

"Is Wyatt naked?" I asked. "It sounds like he is singing his naked song."

"No. But he was just a few minutes ago."

Being naked is a like a drug to Wyatt. The freedom from clothes changes his disposition in seconds. If he is angry or sad or hurt or in the middle of a meltdown the promise of being naked "for a couple of minutes" instantly makes him happy.

Sometimes when we are out at the store or mall and Wyatt acts up and throws a temper tantrum I am always tempted to just let him "be naked for a couple of minutes" just to calm him down.

So if you see a naked toddler running through the super market...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Guns and the Tooth fairy

Maxfield has a friend, Johnny, who lives up the street. Johnny comes to our house to play and they are, for the most part, somewhat supervised. I say somewhat because sometimes the two five-years-olds will go to Max's room to play with cars or action figures and neither Lauren or I are actually in the room where they are playing. I know the boys are safe in Max's room and that there is really nothing upstairs that could harm anyone. I know because it is my upstairs.

Max has been spending more and more time playing at Johnny's house. Johnny's parents are always home when Max is there and I have to assume that the boys are somewhat supervised. Johnny's parents are real nice people and they seem to have good instincts when it comes to their three kids. I can only guess at the "good instincts" part because I am only recently really getting to know them, but my gut tells me they are good people.

I am always paranoid when Max is not home with us and my thoughts and fears get the best of me. One day, while Max was at Johnny's house, I asked Lauren if she thought that Johnny's parents would own a gun. I explained my fascination with guns when I was kid and that I think to some extent little boys are drawn to weapons. I worried Max would be the same as me and that there was potential for danger. When I read or hear about children and firearm accidents it makes me sick to my stomach. I see and understand why people may own firearms but I know that I am not comfortable around guns and I will not have one in my house. * One day, when I feel Max is old enough I will have my friend DC teach him about gun safety but until then Max will know very little about the danger of guns.

My favorite line I have ever heard anyone say about guns was said by a guy I knew named Croke. He worked security with me in the nightclub business and one night while we were patting down patrons and checking for weapons a club-goer said to him "Don't worry, there is no need to check me. I don't believe in guns."
Croke laughed and said, "Don't believe? Listen buddy, guns are not like the Easter Bunny or the Tooth fairy. Guns DO Exist. So you better believe I am going to check you."

So yes, I believe in guns. I believe they exist. I know they exist.

Lauren did her best to calm my fears but she did think, that maybe, I should ask Johnny's parents if they had a gun in the house. I told her I would ask them when I went to pick-up Max that afternoon. I told myself I had a right to know if they had a gun because my son was there a lot.

As I walked the 5 houses up to Johnny's house I had a change of position. I was not going to ask them about guns in their home. I had no right to ask them. Sure I could ease my own worry about Max's safety but in reality where would my questions stop. If they did or did not own a gun I am sure there were other things in their house that could harm Max. Was I then going to ask them if there were any prescription pills in the house that Max could mistakenly think were PEZ candy? Taking medication could kill him just like a gun could. Was I going to ask them how far from their kitchen counter's edge they kept their kitchen cutlery? Max could have a fatal accident with a sharp object. Or should I ask if they cut all of their blinds strings down to a size that could not strangle a young boy. Was I going to ask in the future how much alcohol the parents drank in the event that one of them may eventually take Max in their car to get ice cream and wrap their vehicle around a tree? Drunk Driving is another serious way of harming someone. The possibilities are endless.

I never did ask them about the gun. As much as it is my business, it is also none of my business. I have to trust my gut with the fact that Johnny's parents are good people and that if they do have a gun in their house, it is properly locked up and out of the way.

But the question...it still nags me in the back of mind...you know?

So Internet people, what would you do? Do you ask your children's friend's parents if they have a gun? OR do you let it go?

This is not a question about the right to own a gun, but more of a question is it a right to ask someone if they own a gun?


* Please note that since I have publicly stated that I do not have a gun and in case you are some creepy criminal who now realizes you can try and invade and rob my home...I may not be able to shoot you dead for breaking in my house, but I sure as hell would wrestle you and force my (generic non narcotic) prescription pills down your throat and then I would tie your neck up on the pull string to my(not a name brand or worht anything) blinds as I slug back about 8 shots of ( regular run of of the mill cheap stuff) tequila and get in my car (which is a KIA and not worth stealing) and run your ass over.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Better Life

I think most of today's parents want to provide a better life for their children than the life they perceived as having when they were kids.


They want to provide more opportunities than what they had. They want to give their own kids what they (today's parents) as children did not have.


On Friday I had reached my first successful moment regarding giving my kids something that I, as a kid, never had; we had Doritos for dinner.

I am feeling pretty good about myself at this moment.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bathroom Begats

We started the re-do of our bathroom in October of 07. At that time we only fixed and completed the bath and shower side of the bathroom. A year later (December of 08) we finally got around to fixing the toilet and sink side of the project.

The above picture is the before picture. Friday December 26th I did the demo work to get the area prepared for the next morning. I had a plumber friend coming over early Saturday morning to to help with the pipes.

We took apart the old sink and cabinet and prepped the area for the new sink and cabinet. Lauren who was two weeks shy of giving birth to Jackson came in and did the Beadboard work.


We were on such a roll that the Beadboard and sink were installed by 2pm on Saturday. Why 2 PM? I think Lauren held us back a a little. She was perfectionist with her Beadboard and anytime she entered the small bathroom with her big belly I would have to step out so she could maneuver around. Otherwise I think we would have been done around noon.

Sunday morning December 28th was a glorious day. It was sunny and crisp outside. The kids were still on a high from their Christmas. Lauren was glowing and felt great. I was feeling good about completing that bathroom. The Philadelphia Eagles had a game that day against the Dallas Cowboys at 4pm. If the Eagles won (and other teams lost and won etc etc) then the Eagles would be going to the playoffs. I think I would lose some of my Eagles Fan credentials if I don't add this statement at this time: Cowboys suck. Anyway, I was excited to finish the bathroom and watch the game that evening.

Sunday Morning at 10 AM I called my brother Dan to ask his opinion on which type of molly bolt I should use. I told him I was going to be replacing my vanity/medicine cabinet/ light fixture. We chatted for a few minutes and then I went to Lowes to buy his recommended bolts. It was a beautiful day. There was no line at Lowes and everyone was friendly and helpful. I returned with the bolts and a few other needs and I quickly went to work. I explained to Lauren and the kids that I needed to turn off the circuit breaker for the bathroom which also included the entire upstairs. While I worked on replacing the vanity/medicine cabinet/light fixture they would not have Internet service or television since the routers and main cable box came into the house through the upstairs. Lauren quietly occupied the boys with their toys and everything was good.

Taking down the old fixture was a breeze. I used the molly bolts and prepped the wall for the new fixture and cabinet. I hung the new light. I connected black wire to black wire white wire to white wire and green wire to the electrical ground screw. At the rate I was going I was going to be done this entire project by 3 PM. It was a good day. I went down to the garage and turned on the breaker.

It is right after the above picture was taken when I started cursing mothers and asking God to send everything to hell. Every other word or phrase out my mouth was "Son of a bitch." or "God Dammit." The new light fixture would not go on. I double checked my work, the breaker and the switch. Everything was connected the right way. I must have bought a defective fixture.

I went into my bedroom to check to see if I had the receipt so I could return it to the store. I flipped on the light only to find that my bedroom lights did not work. In a slow motion panic I checked all the lights in all the bedrooms. None of them worked. The entire upstairs had no electricity. It was at this time that I started to utter every combination and variation of the word "Fuck".
After checking and rechecking and rechecking and rechecking my work I could not fathom why the entire upstairs had no power. I asked my neighbor for help and he came over and double checked my work. Two hours later and multiple trips to Lowes, replacing breakers and light switches I still did not have power. I called my brother Dan to get his opinion. His opinion was that I was screwed. I called my brother Dennis who knows more about electricity than anyone else I know. He told me he was going to be watching the Eagles game but he could hear the desperation my voice and I may have pulled the "Lauren is pregnant and could go at anytime card.". He came over at 3 PM.
Dennis double checked all my work with all his electrical gadgets. The light fixture was fine and my wiring was fine. He too could not understand why the power was out. At 5 PM we took a break from scratching our heads and had dinner. I checked my Blackberry and updated him on the Eagles game. Everything fell into place for the team and if the Eagles won they would be in the playoffs. I had no TV to watch.
At 6 PM we went back to work. It was starting to get dark outside and we had to hurry so we could still work by the light coming in from the window. We dismantled everything and started over. Black wire to black, white to white and green to ground. I am not sure what caused me to accidentally touch the green wire to the white wire but when I did the light flickered. Dennis gave me the "what in the hell was that" look. He used another electrical testing gadget and we found out that the green wire was also a hot live wire. This same green wire, which is supposed to ground out the circuit, was actually the wire that completed the circuit for the entire upstairs. We fixed the problem and I had power and lights just as the Eagles won the game. We missed the entire game.
Re-doing the bathroom, begat a new light fixture, which begat new light switches, which begat new breakers, which begat new wires, which begat new combination of many curse words. But in the end it all worked out.

Dennis deduced that electricians in the 1960s, who did the original wiring for the house got lazy when it came to the bathroom light and switch. Apparently all the power for the second floor of my house goes through my bathroom.
Now, every time I flush my toilet I am afraid that the lights will flicker.