Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Socks and Hats

I’ve heard comedians talk about washing machines eating socks, and I used to love The Far Side’s “Land of Missing Things” which includes car keys and marbles along with the piles of socks. But, it’s not funny anymore. I’m actually upset.

I’ve been doing the laundry now for a while and I can’t figure out where the socks are going. I can account for two or three socks being statically clung to my wife’s sweat pants, suicided behind the dryer, and tucked in the elasticized corner of a fitted bed sheet, but the rest have no logical explanation.

By the way, why do they say “fitted bed sheet” when they don’t fit squat? If you get the pillow top fitted sheets they either look like a deflated balloon or you have to crank them down like a pregnant woman pulling on skinny jeans. It’s like the “One Size Fits All” hats that only fit that guy that works down at Quiznos with the really big head. How did he become the standard for heads? China makes all the hats. Does China have one model head that they use for all the hats? I thought those guys were even smaller than Americans. Was there a terrible “I Love Lucy” type accident with the model head, which got glued back together in a Frankenstein’s Monster shape, which became the go-to head for all Chinese headwear manufacturing? Why can’t they just have small, medium, large, and Big Gulp like the drink cups. The Quiznos guy can get his Big Gulp hat and the rest of us can get one that fits too. Who came up with the Big Gulp drink anyway? Who, besides a porpoise, needs that much liquid? And when the heck did “small” become a half gallon? I went into Burger King for first time in a year or two and ordered a Coke. She asked me what size I wanted, and I pointed to a healthy sized cup on the counter. She replied by saying, “Okay, one ‘kiddie’ size fountain drink.” Kiddie size!? Are you kidding me? You’re going to emasculate me because I only want a QUART of Coke? Should I order “Sippy Cup” next time if I’m only a little thirsty?

Whoa… side track, bad… what the heck was I talking about a minute ago… Socks! That’s it.

I can’t find them. I’ve looked. I found one in my wife’s underwear drawer. That’s how desperate I got. I looked in my wife’s underwear drawer.

I had a weird rotation of three orange socks because one of them went missing a year ago. The three remaining got equal wear. Then one day, without it giving me an explanation, the missing orange sock reappeared. I looked around the closet for a newly installed Lost Sock Dispenser, or a remorseful sock burglar trying to make amends, but alas, I was alone with my new mystery.

I tried putting the sock back into the rotation, but it felt wrong. You can’t have one faded, worn out orange sock and one new-looking orange sock on. So, do I just throw away the good looking one? I mean, it just came back. That feels wrong, too. And where was it all this time? Does it know where the others are? I’m thinking China is somehow involved in this.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dad's Potty Training

My children’s bladders are magnetically triggered by the Subaru. It’s either a magnetic trigger or it’s just regular voodoo.

When we leave the house, one or both of them have to use the bathroom before the car makes it a mile. I’ve tried hugging them really hard before we leave to see if I can get them to go, but that rarely works and I’m not sure if it’s legal. I’ve considered putting one of those little port-a-potties in the hatchback, but I don’t much like the smell of that blue stuff, and it might slosh out on the sharp turns. Litter boxes are an obvious solution. They could just sit on them in the back seat. People looking in the window might not immediately see the wisdom in sitting on a litter box… now that I think about it, forget the litter box. They would just kick the litter out on the floor like cats do.

Both kids drink very little on the whole, so I don’t really know where it’s coming from. I have wondered if their esophagi have overflow valves that connect directly to their bladders, but I’m 82% sure that is physically impossible. I’ve also wondered if they absorb water through their pores… like reverse sweating.

Whatever the cause, I’ve learned to deal with it. I had to teach them both how to pee outdoors pretty early on. The day after the first outdoor-potty-training session, while we were letting them play on the school playground, my wife screamed. I looked up to see my son and daughter peeing right there in the schoolyard. My wife wanted to sell the house and move, but I convinced her that the majority of people who saw them probably thought they were just getting bark chips out of their pants.

My daughter now apparently belongs to an exclusive club that allows her to use anyone’s restroom at any time. When I was getting my hair cut, she walked right around the counter and into the back room. None of the employees even blinked. Since I was the only one who seemed distressed by it, I let it go.

My son is an expert at using the restroom in strange places (it’s like a hobby), which gives me a sense of solace if not a bit of pride. I’ve seen him spot toilets or port-a-potties from a half mile away.

I need to call Steven Hawking and NASA to check out the Port-A-Potty at the park next to the school. I’m convinced it somehow disrupts the time space continuum. My son has spent hours in there with no explanation. I’ve gone in there myself to see if there’s a hidden passage to a pizza place or a maybe a video game screwed into the wall, but it’s just a giant plastic box with toilet paper, a tank of excrement, and D-Dog’s name scratched into the door along with a misspelled message proclaiming him to be a cool guy.

I’ve noticed that while I grow gray hairs waiting for him to come out, he appears to have grown a bit younger and possibly a bit happier when he steps out. I’m beginning to think the Fountain of Youth might be a semi-nasty plastic box that smells like Scope poured over a dirty diaper. And I’m wondering if Mr. D-Dog really is cool, after all.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tazers and Nuggets

Today, I decided to take the kids rock climbing. It sounded good in my head. Sort of like the way, “Hey, I think I’ll poke this wild animal” sounds good until you do it.

While scrambling to load the gear, I noticed the three dogs (Tebby, Ollie and the neighbor’s dog, Sonny) staring at me. Tebby told me that they needed a walk and that they would like to chase small animals amongst the rocks, so I put them in the car along with leashes, and told Tebby not to speak English anymore because it creeps me out. I pulled out of the driveway with the puker (Ollie) already looking green, the crotch clawer (Tebby) trying to get on my head to get a better view of rabbits, and the elephant (Sonny) in the way-back drooling on the seat and blocking my rear view.

I made it to the schools, found my children, and made sure both of them had their backpacks and shoes (you’d be surprised). When we got rolling again there was an extra boy in the back, but I knew him and he didn’t appear to be there against his will, so I kept driving.

The first comment was, “I’m hungry AND thirsty.” This was solved by a stop at the place that sells Little Debbies alongside RockStar, cigarette lighters, and hats that say, “Who Farted?”

Nutritional needs met, we drove to the USFWS parking lot to meet the family we were going to climb with. I let the dogs out next to a sign, which read, “Dogs Must Be On Leash” and started digging for the leashes. I found the leashes just as Sonny proceeded to leave a massive poo on the beautiful grass. I had no poop bags, and even if I did, that thing would not have fit. Luckily, my daughter was able to yell loud enough for Idaho to hear, “Dad, Sonny is pooping on the grass… you need to pick it up!” I smiled at the nice couple walking by who were trying to melt me with their stare, and tried to go to my happy place.

Soon enough the other family pulled up and we loaded the dogs and drove to the crags, leaving the poop and the leashes behind. We pulled off the road next to the trail to the climbing area, and I searched for the leashes. I thanked Karma for being kinder than I deserved, and started to let the dogs loose just as a cop pulled a car over a few yards down the road. My son, being a well-mannered child yelled, “Dad, can we go see if he gets Tazered?”

We waited a few minutes to see if the cop would leave so that we could head up the trail sans dog-of-leash citation, but it became apparent that the fellow who got pulled over was dead drunk and definitely a Tazer candidate. At this crossroads, I did what any responsible father would do in the same circumstance… I let the dogs out of the car and yelled, “Run kids!” and headed for the trail.

We didn’t stop running until we were safely in the woods. The last thing I saw over my shoulder was a wobbly guy, with his eyes closed (not touching his nose with his finger), and a cop watching three loose dogs chasing 5 children into the woods.

At the crag, we set up ropes and told the kids to climb on. While I belayed my daughter, who was 50’ up the rock, I spotted Sonny staring at us from the cliff edge 100’ above us. As the others discussed the possible super powers that allowed him to get up there, I was wondering how mad my neighbors were going to be and how much family counseling would cost if Sonny decided to come down the quick way.

Sonny made it back down without a helicopter rescue, and it was getting dark, so we packed up and left. I took my car load to a place where dirty, loud children are always welcome: McDonalds.

As I was practicing my “I’m not here” look in the booth, my son looked across the table at me with a French fry perched between his nose and upper lip, like a cartoon mustache and said, “I need more food, father.” Ignoring the mustache and the fact that he has never called me “father” before, I got him some Chicken McNuggets to go, while I listened to him and his friend making up new and interesting nicknames for their testicles.

With nuggets, dogs, nicknames, and kids in the car, we finished the trip just in time for bed. While the kids sawed logs, I fed two of the dogs, but Tebby was not to be found. After a frantic 30-minute search, which included waking up and interrogating the incoherent children, I decided to retrace my steps since pulling into the garage. This led me to the Subaru where I discovered Tebby, who had been left in the car… with the McNuggets that my son “needed”. So, instead of dog food, Tebby got nuggets, paper bag, and BBQ sauce for dinner. I had just fed this stuff to my children, yet I worried that the dog would get sick. Hmmmm.

At 10:00, with clean up done, I flopped on my bed, but something was still bugging me. Why didn’t either of the boys say anything about McNuggets when they were making up nicknames for their testicles? It seems so obvious.