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Archive for August, 2008

img_Aug_30_2008_54_10You know, the thing is on a “batchelor” weekend, you never get the chance to do what you want in the house, so you have to get some stuff done.
Cleaned off second floor porch (Home decor tip: For a proper appearance, try to not have any table saws and drill kits stashed on a sitting porch).
Cleaned off first floor porch (Tip two: For a proper appearance, try not to leave the newspapers and paint cans and secondary vacuum cleaner on porch).
Restacked roofing slate in backyard (Hoping for payoff in resale).
Cut grass.
Vacuum house (ladies like coming home to dust-free floor).
And as always, after a hard day of getting stuff done, for the coup de grace of a “batchelor” weekend…drum roll, please…
Cook entire dinner on grill. (Vegan sister, I don’t usually recommend that readers drop out, but drop out now, Amy! Run, run!). Buy big hunk of beef at store, wrap ginormous potato in aluminum foil.
Wait for smoke.
Eat dinner.

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img_Aug_23_2008_24_40Wife and three girls are out of town, so I have the place to myself. When this happens, once in a while, it goes a little something like this (phrase from De La Soul and others):
Last night, I left work late and what with no reason whatever to come right home (Weird!), stopped by a friend’s place for a late hang-out-on-the-porch. The first night of the fam being away, you go to a friend’s place, maybe go to a “restaurant,” maybe have some friends over to watch sports.
You get nuts, in a middle-aged guy sort of way. You might go to bed as late as midnight, knowing you’re not going to get awakened at 2:30 and 5 a.m. by a yelling baby.
So anyway, at the friend’s house, guy named Charles says:
<i>You got the place to yourself, Larry G? What’re you gonna DO?</i>
It’s like that scene in “Risky Business,” where the brilliant shaggy guy says something like, <i>O.K., so you played the old man’s records, drove the old man’s car, now what’re you going to do? Sometimes you just have to say, What the ****?</i>
Heck, you’ll see. You’ll see how a Dad parties down when he has a whole day at home by himself.
You just wait.

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Beat This

img_Aug_18_2008_19_12I’m not one to gloat, but:
Sorry Michael Phelps.
Many apologies, Bill Gates.
Tiger Woods? Try again next time.
Tough luck, fellers.
Tonight, as she kissed me goodnight, Fontaine said:
“Daddy, you’re the best boy in the world.”
I’ll take that. I’ll take it and write it down. I might make it into a T-shirt and wear it. I’m thinking about bumper stickers, buttons and maybe a personalized handmade decorative flag to hang in front of the house.
Pity her first boyfriend, or second, or tenth, because the best he can shoot for is second place.
Stinks being the Washington Generals, eh dude?
But hey, not my problem, because again: “Best Boy in the World.”
And I got the heck out of the room before she could tack on a “for now.”

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Silence Amid Chaos

I used to work at the Sentence and Paragraph Factory with a guyimg_Aug_12_2008_44_33 named Jack. Jack was a real pro, got in early, knocked it out, went home. But what I remember about him was what he would put on when it was really time to knuckle down and write.
iPod? Harumph.
Foamy ’90s-era headphones? Don’t kid.
Jack covered the military, and somewhere along the way had acquired a set of the ear covers that the signalmen wear when they wave in jets to land on an aircraft carrier.
Jack strapped those things on.
Now, an editor will walk up to a reporter at any time with a question: When the reporter is typing (an e-mail to her mom), when the reporter is on the phone talking (to his wife about dinner plans), when the reporter has an iPod on (to imply deep concentration).
But clamp on a pair of signalman’s headphones, and it says one thing to an approaching editor: “I’m busy, go away.”
The headphones said it, so Jack didn’t have to.
Which brings me, finally, to tonight’s point. Two good nights out of about eight since we went the “cry it out” route.
The two bigs, the wife and myself are starting to think about getting some of those signalman’s ear covers so we can get some sleep.
Pretty sure that an F-18 Hornet landing on a ship is louder than a screaming baby. But there are times that I wonder.

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img_Sep_10_2008_47_33About a year ago, a friend of of mine told me that when he and his daughter go to a Japanese restaurant, they like to get the edamame.
Pronunciation: Ed-uh-mah-may.
I said, What?
He went on to describe a gastonomic delight.
We had some one time. It was cool. Cooked soy beans in the husk with chunky salt on the outside. Six bucks.
Again, it was good, but I also decided that in Japanese <i>edamame</i> means: “Yankee pays too much for unhusked soy beans.”
So anyway, wife got some frozen at Trader Joe’s and we ate it. (It’s kind of like eating steamed crabs. They taste great, but by the time you pick ’em, you can eat a ton and still be hungry. But anytime you get to eat salt, that’s lots of fun for me.)
Anyway, the other night we were going to eat some more, and wife opened the freezer and the 16-month-old said, “edamame.”
She says “Mommy” and “Daddy” and “up” and “no” and “edamame.”
I never heard of edamame until a year ago, and I never ate a green vegetable until I was 30, but the six-year-old eats hummus and they all eat yogurt and wheat germ and the four-year-old is darned near a vegetarian and sometimes I just wonder what the heck happened to hamburgers and hot dogs and french fries?
Edamame.
Allow me to twist a joke. What’s the difference between soy beans and edamame?
About three dollars a pound.

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Last night, we were driving to Moe’s Southwestern Grill, yet another commercial interest failing to leverage the free pub I’m just now giving it.img_Aug_08_2008_44_11
Wife said, “Something in this car stinks, and I can’t find it.”
“Yeah, it fells bad in here,” almost-4-year-old said, trading out the “sm” for an “f” as she does.
“I don’t smell anything,” I said, being the traditionally olfactory-deficient guy. “What’s it smell like?”
I started thinking about the time we found an orange and green orb tucked behind the seat track, then held it up trying to figure out what it was. It was about the size of a golf ball, and had begun growing mold spores. We finally concluded it must’ve, at one time long, long ago, been a tangerine. It looked a little like the one in the photo above.
It looked a lot like Nerf tangerine. We felt lucky that one of the girls hadn’t found it, bitten into it and gone off on some sort of psychedelic SUV ride.
Who knows how many half-eaten bananas have done prison-length sentences on the car floor, then there was the bloated organic Horizon milk I found in a rear crevice once. Man, that particular one was <i>really</i> organic by then.
“I just can’t figure it out,” my wife said. “It smells sour, like trash.”
“I don’t know, babe,” I said, “I’m just not getting anything.”
We turn left.
“There is a bag of trash back there,” wife said, “but I don’t think that’s it. I stuck my face in it, and it didn’t smell.”
Her nostrils are clearly singed from six years of changing diapers, I thought.
So we went into Moe’s (two mentions, no ads), ate, came back out and drove home.
We went in the house.
We left the trash bag in the car.
Where today it cooks in the southern summer sun.

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Yeah, that’s rimg_Aug_06_2008_43_11ight, I’ve kind of stayed away from the sappy here, unless it’s been sap-tastic. So forgive me:
But when you come home from a bad day at work, because apparently it’s more profitable to comment on the news than it is  report or  find it and report it, nothing can save the day like a well-timed “Daddyyyyyy!”
The two bigs rushed toward me when I came in the door and layed out hugs, then the third waddled over with her arms reaching high.
Beat that, corporate America.
A little while later, just after I sat on a chair in the living room, the 15-month-old again stormed over, hands held high as though to surrender, and offered a big hug. She had on an orange and white skirt, with flowers and orange trim, and her head is almost bald, like with a 40-year-old guy’s amount of orange hair. She went for a gooey crumb that had fallen on the carpet, and I asked why she had such a nose for bad things.
She looked at me, then started jabbering.
Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.
Jabber, jabber, jabber. It was like I was being cursed out in a foreign language.
Really, I said that wrong, I’m sorry.
I started jotting notes. She chirped like a squirrel, when there’s a cat under his tree.
Doo-rollll!
Ahhhh!
Eeeee!
Then she looked right at me, like she knew what I was writing down.

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