Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Condom Theory

When we lived in Florida I met this guy , Mark G who became one of my only two friends in the Sunshine State. I have not had any type of communication with him since I have moved back to PA three years ago, but he is one of those people who I will never forget. Mark G gave me some of the best parenting advice I have ever received.

Mark G and his son Ethan met Maxfield and I at a playground. Max, who was only two and half at the time, wanted to climb up these weird metal spiral steps or something. I kept pulling Max off the steps and directing him to a more safer area of play. Max, who inherited his stubbornness from not his father's side of the family, kept coming back to the spiral metal steps. Max was insistent that he climb the steps.

Mark, sensing my frustration said to me "Bill, you would be better off teaching him how to climb that safely and teach him how to get back down, than trying to stop him from doing it all. He eventually is going to find a way to climb it. You may as well teach him to be safe. "

It took me a couple of minutes to take in what he said. I then taught Max how to climb the spiral ladder step thing. I felt better.

The other day I took Max and Wyatt to the theater to do a set strike. My friend Josh had his little boy there and three boys played well together. At one point my kids were jumping from the stage, climbing back up and then jumping again. Josh's kid wanted to do the same thing, but since he is slightly younger than my boys and Josh is more of an attentive father, Josh stopped him from jumping. His son insisted he would jump and I watched struggle.

I don't like to give parenting advice, but I felt Mark G's advice to me would serve Josh well. I told him that his son is going to find a way to do it and that it would be better if Josh taught him how to jump in a safe way.

Josh took in what I said.

I tried to make it more clear for him. "Think of it like the condom theory. They are going to do it. They are going to find a way to do it. We just need to make sure they do it safely."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Turning Bi

My wife, although I do not think she did it on purpose, has turned me into a Bi guy.

From my first one, when I was maybe 14 or 15 years old, all through my teens, twenties, all of my married life I was never a Bi type of person.

I always thought Bi men were a little strange. I never understood how they would want something long and thin on their backside. I always liked mine to be short thick and compact. Not that size matters. Its what's inside that counts.

Wait a minute, wait a minute, I am talking about wallets here. What were you thinking about?

I have always, from when I started carrying a wallet in my early teens, until this past Christmas, preferred to have a Tri Fold wallet. I always found that they fit better in my back pocket and that they were easier to organize. I also liked the fact that most Tri Fold wallets do not have a change purse (seriously a change purse on a man's wallet is a little bit sissified if you ask me).

This past Christmas I asked Lauren to get me a new wallet. I forgot to tell her it had to be a Tri-Fold. Lauren bought me Bi Fold wallet. At first I was bit apprehensive about using the Bi Fold (although it did not have a change purse) since I was so used to having a George Constanza-esque type of Tri Fold Wallet. My old wallet was so beaten and torn I figured I would give the Bi Fold a try. After three months of using the Bi Fold type of wallet I don't think I would go back to any any other style.

It is flatter, thinner and more comfortable against my butt. It is easier to take out and put back in even when it gets a little stuffed and enlarged...

Wait a minute...I am talking about a wallet.

What type of person are you or your husband/boyfriend/etc. ? Tri, or Bi? Or maybe something else?

Project Run-a-way

My wife Lauren has been busy making stuff for her Etsy shop. Every now and then she makes something that requires a model.

Now that Jackson is standing, walking and toddling he makes the perfect model. Although now that Jackson is standing, walking and toddling he will not hold still long enough to get a decent shot. He constantly runs away. For every 100 pictures we take only one will turn out usable. Thank God for digital cameras and the delete button.
Since Lauren makes a lot of girly things, Jackson is often modeling dresses and other "sugar and spice and everything nice" types of clothes.

Last September Jackson went to New York as part of a Huggies promotion. The great people at Huggies were nice enough to send us a pack of their new designer diapers, Little Movers Jeans. Diapers that look like Jeans, very cool idea.
So now here is a beefcake shot of Jackson modeling jeans.

Not really "snakes and snails and puppy dog tails" but I will take it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Left Out

"Billy, can you come up to my desk please?" asked Mrs. Tewksbury, my third grade hand writing teacher. She held up a mint green, triple blue-lined, news print writing paper with the letters BILLY M clearly written across the top.

I don't remember the specifics of the actual conversation but she said she wanted to use my paper as an example. I remember smiling, feeling proud that she was going to use my work to give the class a lesson on this new cursive writing we were learning. I was quite happy. I stood next to her as she held up my paper and asked for the class' attention.

"This" she said shaking the paper above her head "is an example of a messy paper."

I was horrified.

She took the three pronged wire thingamabob that held three pieces of chalk at the end and in a quick motion drew three even lines across the chalkboard. She then asked me to write the few letters we were learning in the space she just made. I picked up a single piece of chalk in my left hand and wrote on the board. As I moved, left to right, across the board I tried my best to perfect the various loops required in cursive, only to realize that my sleeve of my left arm had wiped away what I had just written.

I looked at my paper and saw that it was completely smudged. I looked at my left hand to see my left pinkie and outer palm edge were black with graphite.

The curse of a left hand-er.

Mrs. Tewksbury then took the opportunity to tell the class why it was important that Lefties either angle their paper or bend (contort) their arm to prevent smudges. She then gave a quick history lesson about how a long time ago, like in the 1950's, left handed people were considered evil. She explained that left handed people were required to write with their right hand and how that was better for teachers.

I felt the eyes of all the students watching me waiting to see if I had horns on my head. For the rest of the day I was excluded, left out, from the rest of days regular activities. Kids kept their distance at lunch. I was not picked up on a kickball team at recess. It was bad day.

I remember going home and telling my mom that my writing teacher thought I was evil. I was worried that other kids would not play with me. I was worried that maybe I would be left out of other school activities all the time. My mom told me not to worry. She said I couldn't be evil because she loved me and she would not love an evil person. My mom made me feel better.

It was at this point in my life that my older brothers and sister, thanks to the movie The Omen, learned that triple sixes were the sign of the devil. I was born at 6 in the morning on June 6. I was also the 6th child. They made sure they pointed this out to me on a regular basis. This of course again made me think I was evil.

My older brothers also claimed that Rocky, our mailman, was the Devil, which made sense, since they also told me he was my real father.


GoodNites is having a great contest over at their site. They are asking people to write the next chapters of their incredibly awesome audio series Iggy and his Wiggy Bed. The winner will receive a $2,500 adventure package. I think that means vacation. Go and listen to the story and take a crack at writing the next chapter.

Go here to find more details and to enter the next chapter contest. Please enter. I get to be one of the judges and I am looking forward to seeing some of your entries.

GoodNites has other features on their site that parents may want to check out. They have their Bedwetting experts(which I think it is awesome that they call themselves that) and their Support Area for parents.

GoodNites has offered me the opportunity to give away a pretty cool prize pack to one of my readers. Go to this post to see a picture. The prize pack is valued at $175.00 which includes a 2GB Ipod shuffle, Logitech speakers, an Itunes gift card and a cuddle blanket.

For a chance to win this prize pack from Poop and Boogies and GoodNites, leave me a comment about any time ever felt left out, or singled out. I will announce the winner in a few weeks.

Check out these other bloggers who are also having this same contest.

The winner from my last Bedtime Theater post is Mary AKA Tattoo Mary.


Disclaimer--I have partnered with GoodNites® Sleep Pants for the Bedtime Theater program. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which includes developing the Iggy’s Next Adventure story, sharing the program information with my readers, tweeting my blog entry and judging the Iggy’s Next Adventure contest entries. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards the GoodNites® products.”

Monday, March 22, 2010

Till: A four letter word

I was eleven or twelve years old when Steve G, a fellow percussionist in our middle school band, told me that the definition of the word “Fuck” according to the Oxford Unabridged Dictionary was “to turn over ones garden; to till soil; to plow.” Steve told me I could use the word “fuck” as long as it was in context and I would not get in trouble by any teacher because it was in the dictionary. I did not believe him. He convinced me by pointing out that in Health Class we were learning how sperm is like a seed; that one of the euphemisms for having sex was to plow someone, and that is why a girl’s virginity was also referred to as her flower. He told me the word “till” and the word “fuck” were interchangeable.

Steve G was very compelling. I am not sure if he believed the story himself or if he was trying to trick me. He was the lead drummer and played the drum set and I was just the kid who played the tambourine, so I looked up to him. Or maybe I was gullible. Needless to say I got a detention from Mr. Mauro when I told him I had to leave band practice early so I could go and “Fuck” my garden.

Lauren and I decided to start a vegetable garden in our back yard. We decided the best spot for the garden would be where we have a decent sized tiger lily bed. My job on Saturday was to till the garden and take up all the tiger lily bulbs. I couldn’t help but remember what Steve G told me back in 7th grade.

Part of the gardening process of course became an outdoor begats session. We needed to dig up an Azaela bush, which begat me digging up a large decorative grass, which begat me planting the grass in another location which begat me digging another hole. Somewhere in the midst of all the digging I tweaked something in my back. Tweak is not a strong enough word to describe what I did to my mid-lower back. No, what I did to my back was I messed it the Till up.

Sunday morning I picked up Jackson and I swung him from my left hip to my right hip when most excruciating pain shot out from below my shoulder blade down to my foot.
“Oh Till” I said as I placed Jackson on the ground and I lowered myself to the floor. I cried out for Lauren to come and help me.

“What the Till?” I thought, “I must have really Tilled up my back.” The pain subsided after a few moments.

Later, Lauren left me to go to a craft show, I took the kids food shopping. Max and Wyatt went into the kid care center while I took Jackson in the cart. As I shopped Jackson played the drop game by dropping everything I gave him, the keys, the sippy cup, the bottle, just so he could watch me pick it up. Every time I bent down I could feel a twinge in my back muscles. We were in the soup aisle when I realized that my shopping cart, now half full, was too far in the center of the aisle. I steered the front wheels towards the shelves but I could not maneuver the back of the cart due to an old lady standing in the way. I tried to dead lift the back of the shopping cart when I felt something snap and twist in my back.

My knees went out from under me. “Mother Tiller!” I huffed through gritted teeth and I knelt on all fours. I broke out into a sweat as I realized I was not going to be able to get up. Jackson looked down at me, smiled and dropped my keys on my head.

It took me a minute or two to catch my breath and I slowly turned over and scooted my back against the shelves of store brand tomato soup. I took a few deep breaths and using the shelves as a brace I tried to push myself up. The old lady asked me if I was okay. I thanked her as she reached out and held me steady as I stood up. Man was I Tilling embarrassed.

I have a prescription for when my herniated discs flare up and when I got home I decided to a take a couple of them to help ease the pain I was feeling. My back was Tilling killing me. I took the rest of the day easy trying my best to nurse my back. When Lauren returned we decided to make some frozen drinks and enjoy the nice weather on the patio. Some neighbors stopped by and I made another batch of drinks. After a while Lauren asked me if I was okay. She said I was slurring my words and I was acting a bit strange. It was then that I remembered that I took the pills.

Needless to say I was little Tilled up.

I don't know if he knew it then but Steve G was kind of right about the word. I tilled my garden and my garden tilled me right back.


Winners from last week's contest.
My first issue of Avengers was #188. The three winners of the Iron Man childrens books are Diet Goddess, Nilbo, and Shannon. (Gretchen was close too but she left a duplicate answer which was against the rules).

The winner of the Sausage a month for a year goes to Gwen.

Please email me batmeaks@ verizon .net so I can get your address.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Marketing Super Hero and Sausage

There has been some debate in various blogging circles about the approach marketers and advertisers take in working with bloggers. Many bloggers, some more than others, write/complain/mock on a regular basis about how they can't stand when and how marketers will write them asking them to pitch certain products.

Continue to rest of post click here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not a Chess Man

I have always been a Checkers kind of guy. If the choice was between playing Checkers or Chess I always preferred Checkers. I suck at both but I prefer checkers.

I never really learned how to play Chess until I met Lauren; she taught me to play. When we played (ten years ago), I always lost, and I have since lost interest in the game.

Chess, to me, is an intellectual game using strategy, tactics and counter moves. Checkers, to me, is street game where it is jump or be jumped. I think most people fall into either the Chess camp or the Checkers camp; book smart or street smart.

For Max's 6TH birthday, we got him a Chess set so Lauren could teach him the finer points of playing one or two steps ahead of his opponent. Lauren and Max have played a few games.
Max had been doing okay at the game of Chess but he has yet to beat his teacher Lauren.

The other night I came home from work and Lauren and Maxfield were having a conversation about the best way for max to win at Chess.

Lauren asked Max,"What do you need to do to win at Chess?"

Max looked at me and then his mother and did not answer the question.

Lauren asked again. "Maxfield, earlier today we talked about you winning at the game of Chess and I told you what you needed to do to win a game. What did I tell you?"

Max looked at me, looked at his mother, looked at me again and said, "If I want to win at Chess I have to play you."

What do you prefer, Chess or Checkers?

Monday, March 15, 2010


Sometimes raising three boys is a loud, chaotic, frantic and repetitive bundle of stress. They fight, argue, jump, bounce, hit, stumble, fight, and throw things all day long; and this is when they are just playing and being nice. They do all this playing in a very loud way. My wife and I try to teach them to use their "inside" voices but I think, that they think, when we say "inside", it means use the voice you would use if you were inside a stadium.

As a parent I am always "on". Constantly in a state of being ready to react to the sound of something breaking or the cries and tears of pain or sadness. Basically it is self induced stress.
My wife and I do our best to keep each other in check. We try to offer each other breaks, time away from the house, from the chaos, from the noise, for own peace and sanity.

Lauren might go to a craft store or JoAnn's fabrics for a hour or so to get away for a bit after a long day of having her patience tried. I may venture off to a book store, to sip some coffee and browse the shelves at a leisurely pace when I am feeling my nerves start to fray.

We go to a places for a little down time to feel normal, because, sometimes, when you have said "Don't do that. You are going to get hurt" for the seventy fifth time in a day, normal is what you need. Normal adult conversation and interactions without interruption is a welcomed necessity. Walking through a parking lot into a store at a normal pace, not herding children or pushing some type of wheeled containment device, from time to time is essential to not going crazy. We try to find peace. And quiet.

I recently discovered a new place to go and find peace. Not quiet, but peace and a chance to feel perfectly normal. I go to the Burger King by myself and I sit close to the play area. I sip my coffee and I listen to the noise. The sounds of kids screaming, laughing, yelling and carrying on. I eavesdrop on the parents chatting or talking to their kids. I hear, over and over again, the same things being said to each kid multiple times; "Come over here and eat", "No you cannot take your socks off", "don't hit your brother" and "Don't do that. You are going to get hurt." I hear the tantrums, the screaming the crying and the parent's muffled disciplinary threats said through gritted teeth.

I sit and listen to the parents struggle with their children.

I find peace in the fact that other children are just as loud as my children. I find peace in the fact that other parents are saying the same thing to their kids as I do to mine. I take it all in. I realize and reflect on the fact that I am normal, my kids are normal and that we are blessed.

Then I smile and laugh to myself as I find joy in the fact that I can just sit there and not have to react to anything. None of the kids in the play area are mine.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Line Please

We are down to the wire with the show I have been rehearsing. We open this Friday March 12th and run Friday and Saturday nights for the next three weeks. The play is The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh. This is how the back of the script describes the play.

"With echoes of Stoppard, Kafka and the Brothers Grimm, The Pillowman centers on a writer in an unnamed totalitarian state who is being interrogated about the gruesome content of his short stories and their similarities to a series of child murders. The result is an urgent work of theatrical bravura and an unflinching examination of the very nature and purpose of art."

Oh and don't let the "child murders" scare you, it is also described as a black comedy.

I have been struggling with my lines.

I have a lot of lines. In the past, having a lot of lines was not that much a of a big deal. I could just take a few hours of each day, study, rehearse, study, rehearse, ad lib here, ad lib there and voi la I was done.

Now, it is not so easy. I have three kids who need my attention, I am busy with work, my wife's birthday is this week, I am coaching Tee ball, my wife is preparing for a craft show ,I have this blog to maintain and Guilder to frame for it. I am swamped. The most honest excuse I have for not knowing my lines is that I am getting old. The stuff I put in my brain just doesn't stick like it used to.

Since the kids are sacrificing their time with me, my wife is sacrificing any type of birthday celebration I would have put together, I am blowing off a Tee Ball coaches meeting, I figured I needed to sacrifice some blog time for my theatrical endeavors. I hope the anxiety nightmares I am having about this show will now stop.

Here are some other blogs for you to read while I take a short break from the Internet this week.

Tales From The Dad Side

Clark Kent's Lunchbox

Creative Type Dad


Luke I am Your Father

The Meanest Mom

If you live in the Philly area and want to come see the show go to http://www.actionarts.net/ for more information.

Oh and since I do not have anything for my wife's birthday please leave a happy birthday message for her in the comments.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


My sister, the oldest of 9 kids, the only girl in our family has always been the "Fire Marshall" of our family. She takes fire and home safety very seriously. I am not sure when her obsession about fire safety started but for as far back as I can remember my brothers and I have been making fun of her for her somewhat paranoid obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to flames and home safety. My sister is the one, that for a wedding shower or a housewarming gift, will buy smoke alarms as gifts. I heard that she even gave someone a UL listed ABC rated fire extinguisher as a baby shower gift.

When Lauren and I moved into our current home my sister, as a house warming gift, gave us a remote controlled carbon monoxide detector. I had no idea what the "remote control" part meant. I just plugged it into the outlet in the kitchen and figured the thing would sound an alarm if there was a problem. The thing has been in the same spot for two years.

The first time I ever heard the alarm from the carbon monoxide detector was this past Christmas. The boys were in the kitchen playing with their new toys as Lauren and I were preparing dinner. The alarm sounded in small bursts. At first we thought there was an issue with the stove but then I figured the back-up battery was going bad and I changed it. Everything was fine.

A couple of weeks ago we got hit with some serious snow. I mentioned to Lauren that I was worried that our chimney to our heater may get blocked and that I would keep an eye on it. The snow came down off and on for about a week. Every day I would look out the bathroom window to make sure the chimney was clear of the more than 2 feet of snow. I think this made Lauren somewhat paranoid.

Last week, Lauren was making dinner and the boys were playing in the kitchen when the carbon monoxide detector started beeping. Beeping loud. Beeping consistent. Lauren tried to call me but for some reason the call did not go through. She decided it would be better to be safe and she took Maxfield, Wyatt and Jackson out to the car. She explained to Max and Wyatt what was going on and that if there was poisonous gas in the house and they stayed there they could get really sick. She told the children to sit tight and she would be right back. She was going to run back into the house to get her purse and cell phone.

I realized I missed a call from home and I called back at the exact time Lauren ran back into the house. She explained what was happening. I told her to open some windows and to make sure any potential causes of carbon monoxide were turned off. I told her I did not think it was a defective battery and we discussed other causes. Finally it dawned on me what was causing the alarm.

"Where the kids playing in the kitchen?" I asked.


"Were they playing with remote controlled cars or trucks?"


"That's got to be it." I said. I explained that the detector we had had some type of remote function but I was not sure what it was. I remembered that the last time it beeped the kids were playing with the new RC trucks. Lauren grabbed a toy remote controller and tested the theory, sure enough the alarm sounded. We talked for a few more minutes and Lauren said good bye.

Lauren went back out to the car to find Maxfield in a very scared, confused and saddened emotional state. Tears were forming in his eyes and he had a lump in his throat. Lauren asked him what was wrong.

"You said you were going to be real quick. But it took you so long to come back." Max said.

"I know but daddy called when I was in there and we figured out the problem."

Max choked back tears. "You were gone so long I thought the invisible poison killed you. I thought you died in there."

I called my sister later that night to tell her about the panic that her gift caused. I asked if she would be willing to pay for Max's therapy that he will need as a result of the alarm. My sister chuckled and without missing the opportunity to be safety conscience said:

"You do realize that the carbon monoxide detector is supposed to be plugged in on the level of the house where you sleep. Not in your kitchen."