Monday, June 27, 2011

Bird Rebounds

I’m never washing my windows again.

It's not that I'm lazy, I'm just looking out for the birds.
I’m here in the house and there are birds bouncing off the windows like two guys in foam rubber Sumo wrestler suits. The noise makes me cringe every time I hear it.


That was the sound of a little bird who should have had a helmet on. There is no way that doesn’t cause brain damage. I wonder if they fly back to their nests and the other birds have to chirp slower to them.

Today, after a seriously loud thunk, my son picked up a female grosbeak that was wandering around on the lawn. He decided it must be divine province that brought the bird to him, so he put it back down on the grass to go find a suitable prison.

Meanwhile, our little huntress Cockapoo went outside and saw a yellow-feathered Scooby Snack standing on lawn.

When Jay returned with a proper (totally improper) cage, he found Twig (yes, he had already named her) dangling from the mouth of a very cocky Cockapoo. The retrieved bird was not only sporting a fresh slobber glaze, it was also solidly dead, so Jay did what any pet owner would do. He got out a shovel and dug a hole in my septic field to give Twig a proper burial.

I was unaware of all of this until Jay came to me with a request for lumber. After a round of questions and semi-answers, I discovered the purpose of the lumber. A headstone... well, head-plank.

I informed Jay that the septic drainfield was one of the few places that I mow, so he couldn’t put up a head-plank there. He took it in stride and did some grave robbing.

With a new location found, and Twig lying on top of the fence like a dirt covered bird-zombie, I taught my son how to use a router and clamp down the wood properly.

An hour later, the head-plank was ready and the new grave dug. Twig was put to rest and Jay went into the house to play video games. The router, extra wood, paint, and clamps are still scattered outside, but at least he brought in all the wood chips and sawdust that had stuck to his clothing.

By now, I’m sure Tebby, the Cockapoo has dug up the grave and had lunch. I’ll go out in a little while and tamp the dirt back down, and remove the yellow feathers from the corners of her mouth so that no one will be the wiser.

Now it’s time to…. Dern, another thunk. That one sounded like a sparrow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

I made a terrible mistake. I thought that Father’s Day meant Father’s Day Off.

My wife got up this morning at 7:00AM to fly to Chicago. My nine year old daughter was up early and decided to make me a Father’s Day breakfast while I slept late. Her heart was in the right place, however the sound of dishes crashing was not restful.

During the kitchen destruction episode I continued to feign sleep, and before long, my twelve year old son woke me up to tell me they were going to let me sleep in. His heart was in the right place….

After I rolled over and pretended to be dead, he decided to wrestle the dog next to me on the bed. I got the hint and stumbled out of the room. My daughter wisely seated me at the table so that I couldn’t see the kitchen. The eggs and biscuit type thingy turned out pretty good. The kitchen did not turn out pretty good.

The rest of the day turned out much like the kitchen. Amidst the arguing, complaining, daily chores, kitchen triage, demands, and temper tantrums, we biked to the bakery, where my son went mentally insane.

I took a gamble that the insanity was caused by low blood sugar. The police were not called, but I have a hunch that Child Protective Services received a call that a poorly dressed man was trying to force feed a $10 piece of quiche to a screaming child.

On the ride back home, we were attacked by plants that hate bicycle tubes. After pulling the spikes out of the tires and exhausting my patch kit, we sprinted for the car while 3 of the 6 total tires slowly went flat.

At some point in the day I noticed all the charcoal in the oven from the cleaning cycle, so I found myself cleaning out the oven while the children stood behind me thinking up, and saying things that would make me mad.

I held it together for a few seconds before I pulled my head out of the oven and snapped.

“Listen up kids! This is Father’s Day! I’m the father, which makes it MY day. I’m not driving you to Evan’s house. I’m not driving you to Mariah’s house. I’m not cleaning up anything else. I’m not going to strip search your brother to find your missing Ring Pop. I’m not going to build a custom weather proof barn owl habitat. I’m not going to help you find your shorts. I’m not going to smell your flip-flops. I’m not going to look up the name of Selena Gomez’s new boy friend. And I’ll be damned if I am going to watch you shoot 347 Dark Creatures with Lego Warriors on your video game!"

"I AM going to change into my Sesame Street t-shirt, put on my Journey Escape CD, sit on the couch and read last month’s issue of Men’s Journal! Please go away into the woods… and take a box of crackers with you."

It was not my best moment.

The children steered clear for about three and a half minutes, before returning to add insult to injury. My daughter came into the room and turned off my Journey CD so that she could call her friend and arrange a play date.

I was so bamboozled by this brazen action so soon after my tirade, that I had no other choice but to give up.

I reached into my brain, removed all of my expectations of having a lovely special day, and flushed them down the toilet - that needed cleaning. I then walked downstairs, picked up a controller and shot Dark Creatures with my son until it was time to smell my daughter’s flip flops.

I fully intend to remind them of this day when they become parents. I will have my revenge. Oh, yes, I will.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Open a Window

I am not only a SAHD (stay at home dad), I am also a bit of a DIY (do it yourself) guy when it comes to the house.

Today I decided to install the counter-top for the sink in the utility room. The process required that I do something that I have never done before – glue laminate to the top of the counter. This procedure requires glue. The glue in question is very specific to laminate… and probably drug users.

I started reading the glue can, while sitting in the tiny, unventilated room. On the can, there was a warning about tiny unventilated rooms, right next to a paragraph about long term exposure, brain damage, and operating heavy machinery.

Eventually I got around to the instructions for application, popped the lid, and started applying the toxic goop with a brush. Within seconds, the room was filled with an unusually strong odor, and I was unclear what my initial mission was.

I began gluing the lid to the floor, and the can to the drill, and my shoe to the shelf. It was terribly funny to me at the time.

At one point, I came around enough to get back to the task at hand and decided to review the instructions for wait-time to stick the laminate to the wood top. I read something about vomiting, so I double checked to see that I had the can right side up, then reread the step to see where I was supposed to vomit and for how long.

Upon realizing I had been reading the hazard section again, I turned the can to the application instructions and found the drying time – 30 minutes. Oooo, math. I like math.

I looked at the pretty little numbers on my watch, but the numbers didn’t provide much help.

I went back to the can, and it said to wait until the glue was tacky. I imagined the glue wearing socks with sandals – very tacky. I thought it was terribly funny at the time.

The glue was wet still, so I went out to the shed to put away some tools. While in the shed, I went completely blind. Everything was black. I couldn’t help but think that it was odd that I would go blind so quickly.

My eyes started adjusting to the dark, and to my great relief, I discovered that the door had blown shut and the lights were off. I groped to the door and with my newly restored sight, I went back into the house as loopy as ever.

I stopped in my son’s room, which is next to the utility room to see if the vapors had killed his gecko. I looked through the glass at the nocturnal creature, which was now wide awake and licking its eyeballs. It was terribly funny at the time. I wondered if gecko saliva made his eyeballs tacky…ooooh, tacky…TACKY… I’ve got to check the glue!

Back into the utility room, I found the glue to be perfectly tacky and ready for installation. I got the laminate in place and rolled it on and installed the sink…. I think. I don’t remember all of that, but it’s done and I’m the only one who would have done it, so it must have been me. The gecko is not that industrious.

Now, I’ve got an incredible desire to eat Doritos and Little Debbie snack cakes. You know those ones that have the creamy swirl wrapped inside the chocolaty goodness? Man, I need to go get a box of those. I wonder where the kids are?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Adult Slushies

If you give my children caffeine, you’ll be sorry.

Not because I will get mad at you, but because I will politely force you to be responsible for them until their brains return to normal.

It’s safe to say my son has destructive tendencies. With caffeine in his system, he is destructive… faster. My daughter is very social. With caffeine in her system, she is like a cheerleader on speed.

I was in the grocery store today. I told the children they could pick out a drink. They know the rules – no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial-chemical-Frankenstein-sugar, and no caffeine. They perused the juices, vitamin waters, and flavored sparking beverages, before turning to me and asking politely for a slushy.

I flash-backed to my childhood, standing in the 7-11 with a crumpled dollar bill in my pocket trying to decide which slushy would cause maximum tongue discoloration. I proclaimed, “What the heck, kids, knock yourselves out! Get a slushy!”

I went about my business knowing that my children were safely cocooned in my nostalgia and undergoing a right of passage – unsupervised slushy mixing. I looked forward to seeing the familiar foul gray color that occurred when one mixes all the slushy flavors together in an attempt to create a new and groundbreaking slushy flavor.

My daughter ran up to me as I stared at chicken.

“Dad! The slushy has caffeine… and Jay has it!”

“Oh, dear child, slushies don’t have caffeine. Slushies are full of sugar, flavors, and magic neon fairy sprinkles. There’s nothing bad in slushies, so don’t you worry your pretty little head.”

My daughter didn’t go for it, and gave me the You-Are-A-Dumb-Adult look. I strolled back over to the slushy machine to check on Jay.

His eyes were bugged out as he sucked frozen blue/green slushy out of a clear cup. He pointed to the microscopic label that read, “CAFFEINE TAURINE GINSENG” and said, “See, that doesn’t say, ‘caffeine’. It says… well, I can’t read it.”

Apparently, the transformation had begun.

My heart stopped beating for a couple of seconds. My lip twitched. My childhood memories were dashed to the sticky floor. The green slushy has caffeine and taurine in it.

What the hell are they thinking! Who would put caffeine in a slushy? If some psycho wants Red Bull in his slushy, let him buy a dern Red Bull and put it in his own dern slushy! What’s next? A little Ecstasy in the SweetTarts? How about some crack in the Nerds. Heck, cocaine in the Pixie Stix should create a lovely sales spike.

In an effort to restore some of my innocence, I took note that the row of tanks did not have the infamous Icee polar bear hanging on a gargantuan circus colored cup. Instead, they had “Italian Sodas” printed below the unnaturally florescent churning semi-liquids. I guess that makes it marketed for adults.

I think I’ll write the company to see when the “Camel Menthol” flavor is coming out.