Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Monkey Chocolate

It's mid afternoon, and I'm looking for the monkey chocolate… all alone.

Let me back up a bit. This really started when I took over the grocery shopping duty two years ago. The first 10 times I went to the grocery, I read the labels of hundreds of products.  After I decided what was good, I stopped reading labels… including the actual names of the products.   

For example, I once bought a small white container with a tan wave on the label and green lettering on it.  When I bought it, I read the label and ingredients.  When I ate it, I decided it was fabulous.  I buy it all the time now, but I've forgotten what it's called or what's in it besides tofu. My daughter and I refer to it as "the tofu stuff" and usually eat it within 5 minutes of getting home from the grocery store.   

So, let’s fast forward to the mid afternoon at the cereal isle where the monkey chocolate is supposed to be.   

It’s not there.   

I can’t walk up to the guy with the box cutter and name tag and say, “It seems you are out of the monkey chocolate… it’s not chocolate made of monkeys, it’s chocolate with a monkey on it… well, actually, it’s a chimpanzee and chimpanzees aren’t monkeys… I don’t think… they’re not, right? Something about the tails, or rather, they don’t have tails, and monkeys do, which makes them apes maybe?...  Bushes! There’s another chocolate from the same company with bushes on it… or maybe they’re trees, but it’s definitely greenery of some kind, and you’re out of both of them.”   

That kind of crazy-talk would only worsen my already precarious standing in the community.  So, I suck it up and continue shopping without my monkey chocolate until I get to the end of the isle and my cereal isn’t there.   

I can only take so much. 

I find the nearest guy with the box cutter and name tag and say, “Is there any way to check and see if you have any more of my cereal in the back?  You seem to be out of it.” 

He replies promptly, “Sure thing.  Which one is it?”   

The words that come from my mouth start out on the right track, then get derailed by my idiocy, “It’s pumpkin nuts and flax or something or other.  No… well… the flax word is big and pumpkins are in there somewhere but maybe not pumpkin nuts, because pumpkins don’t have nuts, they’re… well, you know, never mind.” 

I had dodged the monkey chocolate bullet only to shoot myself in the foot with pumpkin nuts.   

Much to my relief, Mr. Nametag isn’t even mildly ruffled.  He walks to the end of the cereal isle mumbling something about a green box, and scoots a beige box of Nature Lumps out of the way to reveal my green-boxed cereal! 

I beam and thank him.  He responds by saying, “Anything else I can help you find?”   

The words, “monkey chocolate” are forming in my mouth until my medulla oblongata finally rescues me.

“No thanks, I’ll quit while I’m ahead.” 

Author’s note:  The monkey chocolate did, indeed, return to the shelves (as depicted in the photo) and all is well.  I have decided that the bush chocolate is better though.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I am no fool.  I had planned to be digging out the drainage ditch outside for a few hours, so I made a list for each of the children to work on while I was outside.   

This is good parenting.   

I also told them that they were not to interact with each other while doing their chores. 

I was being proactive. Yes, I am one smart cookie. I am dad-tastic. I am Superdad. 

I heard the screaming before I reached the ditch.   

They had attempted to devour the remaining half of my daughter’s birthday cake after confirming that I left the house.  The fundamental flaw in their plan was that they do not share well.  They managed to get the cake unevenly divided and partially eaten before I made it back through the door.   

I’m not amazed by much anymore, but I was amazed that they had managed to eat so much while screaming at each other. I checked that they each had all ten fingers, admonished them appropriately, reminded my daughter not to let her brother do the dividing next time, reminded them of their lists, and departed again.   

Hey, it was a minor setback in a foolproof dad-plan.  I’m still numero uno in dad-land.  I had confidence in my dad-ness.   

In fact, I am such a good dad that I came back to check on them after 30 minutes.

Before I walked up to the house, my cell phone started ringing.  When I answered, the screaming through the phone was slightly delayed from the real-time screaming, which I heard through my other ear as it wafted through the windows.  It was all sort of Pink Floydish, but in a bad way. 

Once inside, I checked for structural damage to the house before being entertained with the stories of woe and abuse each sibling endured from the other.  I gathered from my son that he broke his glasses in half because his sister had only bent them after she threatened to break them, and therefore, the glasses rightly should have been broken so that his sister could get into proper trouble.  From my daughter, I gathered that the breaking of the glasses led to fisticuffs, which led to screaming (because brother hit back).  

I led the children to the counter in the kitchen where the lists were lying unmolested in the sunshine.  I pointed out that the lists did not have “Fight”, “Destroy valuable items”, “Scream at sibling”, “Threaten loved ones”, or “Concoct evil plans” on them.   

The children only blinked at me.   

My son wanted to see a hanging, and was apparently waiting for me to stop jabbering and get on with it.  My daughter expected me to grant her “Unlimited Fingernail Clawing” for being framed, and was also waiting for permission to attack.  

I looked at both of my agitated children and realized what was at the core of the whole mess...
No one told them I was Superdad.  

I spent the rest of the afternoon working with them to finish their lists.    
I figure I can get back to the drainage ditch when they’re in college.