Fatherness Flashback: What Goes Thump…All the Time.

Last bit o’ filler whilst I “kick-it” on the beach. Fear not, I will make up for this upon my return with many pictures of me sunbathing.  To put this old post in perspective, the 19-month-old is now a 3-year-old.

In the past week, my youngest daughter has fallen down the stairs and fallen in the yard. The stairs left her with some bruises but no damage. The fall in the yard was a bit bloodier, and resulted in a panicked call from my wife who was worried about a broken finger. Though it wasn’t broken, it was cut up pretty badly. That injury taught me that putting a band aid on the little finger of a 19 month old is probably akin to fitting a chipmunk for a tuxedo. Even the prospect of a princess adorned band aid did not persuade her.

I suppose I am writing this more for my benefit. Just in case anyone sees my daughter in public and is tempted to call children’s services. Trust me, she is that accident prone. You should see the danger we actually manage to keep her from.

Although she did eat poison berries from our shrub, twice actually, we are generally pretty good at showing up in the nick of time. She is just overly curious. Our oldest, Big Pink, did not have that interest in the least. You could have placed her in a room with a ball, a box of thumbtacks, a box of matches and some exposed electrical wiring and she would have rolled the ball back and forth for half an hour. Little Pink would have managed to roll the ball, covered with tacks, into the wiring, causing electricity to arc and ignite the box of matches. At that point, she would look around with a look of mild concern on her face and announce “Uh-oh!”  At least she recognizes danger once it actually happens, even though she is completely oblivious to it beforehand.

Fatherness Flashback: Tubthumping

Still on vacation.  Still more old stuff.  Still about home repair.

I admit, with no small amount of surrender in my voice, that I have been repairing our bathroom shower wall for the last three months.  I am not proud of that fact.  In a better sense, the shower and I have been locked in mortal struggle.  It was just yesterday that we both managed to capitulate, with truly neither of us being the victor.

There is no longer a gaping hole in the wall, nor is there a large sheet of plastic covering that hole.  This is my boon.  However, no one will assume that Norm Abram stopped by with his bountiful knowledge of homes and repaired our wall.  They may assume that we hired a contractor stricken with Parkinson’s.  Probably because we like to support worthwhile causes; like the local chapter of Kitchen and Bath Contractors with Parkinson’s Local 254.  This is what I am going to tell people.

But in all honesty, it was me.  I did it.  Fifteen trips to various home centers and hardware stores, stupid amounts of money spent on stupid tools that didn’t stupid work, a person without the proper skill or knowledge to merge 1930’s building materials with modern day materials, all things which did not come together to create the symphony of success that you might expect.  At the end of it all, covered in mortar and grout and ceramic dust, I had pretty much given up.  Frankly, as long as the kids didn’t have to go to their Aunt’s house to take a bath, I would be happy.  Ok, maybe not happy, but sated.

This morning, lying in bed, I hear our 3-year-old go into the bathroom.  I waited for her inevitable leap into our bed to rouse my wife and me with demands for food, or stickers or whatever it was we bribed her with to get her to sleep last night.

Just before the flush, I hear her call out “The tub looks good, Daddy”

This is my daughter, a three year old who has seen enough defeated looks on her father’s face over the past few months to know that it will please me more than anything for her to say something about my work.  It does, very much.

Fatherness Flashback: The Quotient

While I’m on vacation, I thought I would keep the blog fresh by posting some things from the old incarnation of Fatherness. This works much the same way as a dog freshening up by rolling in old, decaying things. Enjoy!

Today was another fun morning in the “This Old House” saga of, well, our old house. My wife and I really do appreciate the unique design elements and the character of old homes. If not, we would have run screaming the moment our real estate agent opened the door. It’s not that our house is falling apart, far from it. It is just all of the minor inconveniences, like when the plumbing beneath the kitchen sink decides to come apart all at once…when the garbage disposal is running…full of coffee grounds and day old milk.

I am getting pretty good at these emergencies. The house has made me so. I have developed a new theory regarding the age of a home and the direct relationship to the amount of duct tape you should have on hand. I like to call it the Jim’s Old House Aggravation Quotient. I may put together an e-book available for download if anyone is interested, and possibly even if you’re not. The formula goes something like this…

A(Age of home) X B(Number of curse words uttered per minute during home repairs) / C(Your home repair aptitiude rated from 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest).

As an example, here is a test problem based upon myself.

1938 X B / 4 = 37,489

Yes, I swear like that guy who used to do the Micro Machine commercials.

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

I am excited.  Today we are loading up the Family Truckster and heading to the beach.  I’m not sure what I am going to do with all of the unstructured free time, but I think I will figure it out.  It’s probably something I should get used to anyway.  We are driving down at night, so the girls (hopefully) sleep through the trip.  Not that we aren’t packing a full entertainment arsenal in the van: DVD player, MP3 players, etc. with headphones so that Daddy can concentrate on pounding energy shots and bad gas station coffee.  East bound n’ down, ya’ll!

Starting Monday, while I relax, enjoy some old posts that I dug up from a previous incarnation of Fatherness.  I had fully intended to repost this stuff once I had this new blog up and running, but didn’t.  So enjoy the reruns.  Not to be confused with Rerun, even though this blog is totally what’s happening!

Just a Little Something

I just wanted to post a couple of quick things as I try to complete the packing list for vacation. It’s really not that difficult, since my wardrobe consists of four t-shirts, one pair of pants and three pairs of shorts that fit me. My list basically just says “pack the clothes that fit you”.

First, I have fixed the subscription link on the upper right corner of the main page. It will now take you to the RSS feed. I know you’re thinking “but Jim, we liked the fact that when we tried to subscribe to the feed it just took us to a broken link. It was different, it was NOW!” I just thought that maybe I would try to get a few more readers. Probably selfish, I admit.

Second, with regards to the ongoing potty training issue, here is a conversation between my wife and I as she packed the snacks and treats for the kids.

Wife: I’m packing the poop suckers.
Me: Um…okay.
Wife: That’s what they are incentive for…not how they are flavored.
Me: cool.

Just a small example of how having children turns your life into a combination of Twin Peaks and the Airplane! movies.

Paging Dr. Wimsatt

Before having kids, I used to enjoy fixing things.  I have a certain amount of technical aptitude and, other than one ill-fated attempt to fix a television set, I generally succeeded.  Now that I am a Father, I have brought up my “fixin’ stuff” game to a whole new level.  It begins when they are still all cozy in the womb, with all of the cribs, strollers, swings and seats that come in more pieces than E.T. ate of Reese’s.   I was never sure why the manufacturer of an item that, by its very definition, is meant to be assembled by people existing on very little sleep would want to create a forty-eight step assembly process for an item with zero moving parts.  It only took me three tries to assemble the crib correctly for our first child.  On the first try, I’m pretty sure I built an Edsel.

Tonight, I ventured into a realm of mechanical engineering and repair that I have not known.  Instead of packing for vacation, which is sorely needed unless I plan on making this vacation clothing optional (which is not an option), and working out (in case it ever does become an option), I spend part of the evening in Zhu Zhu pet surgery.

The sterile operating environment
The sterile operating environment.

This was the first time I have worked on a fake hamster, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.  Several small screws (and a couple of terrifying moments where I thought I had broken it) later, I had managed to remove nearly all of the Pomeranian hair that had tangled up inside the wheels.  After a battery transplant and a ten minute search on the garage floor for a microscopic screw, Patches was back to his old, annoying self.  Tonight, in an effort to ensure this never happens again, I will remove all of the hair from the Pomeranian.

Untimely Movie Review

There comes a time in every parent’s life where they sit, eyes wide in amazement as they marvel at just how much the kid’s movie they are watching absolutely sucks.  Anyone who happens to have a copy of The Care Bears Movie knows what I’m talking about.  This is why I have named this phenomenon the Care-Bear-Stare, in accordance with the movie.  Glazed eyes, mouth open in astonishment of just how horribly thought out this show, movie, etc. might be.  The only thought that runs through my mind during the C.B.S. is how these people still manage to have jobs in an “entertainment” business.  If I would be as bad at my job as these people are, something would have exploded by now; and I work in an office. 

I pretty much C.B.S. my way through each mornings “Arthur” episode during breakfast.  I would prefer Blue’s Clues, but for some reason the girls really like that horrible show featuring that irritating, whiny um…hamster?  Continue reading Untimely Movie Review