Tag Archives: Flashback Fatherness

Regarding Germs…

The following exchange happened at the park this morning while the girls were spinning on a tire swing..

Big Pink: What about our butts and the germs of other people’s butts?
Me: You mean your butt touching things that other people’s butts have  touched when sitting down?
BP: Yeah…
Me: That’s really not something you have to worry about.  The main thing is your hands touching things other people’s hands have touched.  That is the way germs are spread.
BP: Hands have germs and not butts?
Me: Well, people touch a lot more stuff with their hands, so yeah, kind of.  That’s why they have hand sanitizer.  You haven’t heard anything about butt sanitizer have you?
Big Pink and Little Pink (in unison): Butt Sanitizer! (Followed by thirty minutes of continuous, uproarious laughter).

And this is why you should let me teach your children science.

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Everything Must Go!

Since my wife and I made the decision to downsize some things, we have been eliminating possessions like hot air balloon ballast. Our garage sale that was held last weekend was a big step in getting our “stuff” down to a manageable size. Don’t get me wrong, we still have too much stuff; it’s just that now there is a little bit less of it.

Obviously, the act of moving into an apartment from a house requires the jettison of some now-superfluous items. Lawn and garden tools have been rendered unnecessary along with a great deal of other “fix-it” items from the garage. Our basement, once a storehouse for excess (and excessive) furniture is now all but bare, with a small pile of boxes in the corner that is ready to move. Honestly, our front yard looked like a flea market furniture store last Saturday, and it all sold. In fact, other than my Newcastle Brown Ale sign (which I was reluctant to part with anyway) the few items that did not sell are already packed up and ready to be dropped off to a local non-profit.

The miracle part of this whole process is that we also managed to get rid of a lot of toys that the girls either don’t really play with anymore or that are too big to take with us. They honestly didn’t really care about most of them. With the exception of a large Mickey Mouse ball, which Little Pink looked at longingly for a few seconds, the kids didn’t put up any fuss about it. They have certain things that they play with on a regular basis. I think that they have a better understanding of what they value and what they enjoy playing with thanks to this little exercise. In fact, I think that parents (and grandparents) tend to assign value to toys more so than the kids do. I know that as they age, their desires and demands will become more difficult to dissuade. Right now, though, they seem pretty reasonable and rational when it comes to possessions. Our oldest will entertain herself with a mirror; that’s just how she is. Our youngest does more actual playing with toys, such as the dollhouse and Barbies, but she has particular favorites, and most of the time she will occupy herself for hours with a small doll and a couple of outfits.

Again, they still have too much stuff, but it is a workable amount for now. I have a feeling that the real battle will begin as we approach the holiday season. If any grandparent decides to go a little “crazy” on the gifts this year, they will also need to budget in the storage unit rental that will need to accompany said purchases. We don’t have the room. This is a good thing, in my opinion. It frees up funds to buy one quality gift that the girls will really enjoy. All too often, I feel, people employ a “spray pattern” of gift buying for kids instead of targeting their specific desires. I know that 75% of gifts purchased for my kids get played with approximately once before they are tossed into the toy box and forgotten about. Sometimes this is simply because so many more toys get piled on top that they never see it again. In order to combat this, I would like my kids to pursue activities that interest them. Toys and activities aren’t just ways to kill time or a distraction for kids; they are modeled interests that reveal parts of their personality. They are tools that allow kids to explore and grow in the world. If you don’t let them focus on the things that interest them, they will never know what does interest them. If I constantly introduce new toys into the mix, then they never have time to actually be interested in anything. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cause of ADD was too many damn toys as a kid.

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!