Halloween and A Cat

As Halloween’s are recorded into the record book of time, ours in 2017 won’t be one that breaks many records. Supermom and I decided early on that our energies would be focused on Disney and the rest of the month may be a wash. We set the bar low for Halloween and achieved everything we set out to do. In some ways it was a good holiday and in some ways we could have been better. But hey, that’s parenting right?

Let’s start with costumes. I dare say some bank robbers work harder on their outfits. Lady Bug was the most dressed up in her Vampirina outfit. For all of you who are out of the loop, Vampirina (if that is how you spell it?) is a cartoon about a small cutesy vampire girl who moves into a strange neighborhood and works to gain acceptance from her neighbors. Obviously a product of the liberal agenda and brainwashing children that blood sucking undead demons are harmless and should be welcomed with open arms because they struggle with the same emotional issues and desire for community acceptance. While not as obvious as the glittery emo vampires of Twilight, I still dispute the historical accuracy. But Lady Bug looked really cute in her outfit so she became Vampirina. Prima decided to be a unicorn so we phoned it in with a three piece kit and an all-white sweat suit. Put on some gloves for hooves and BAM… unicorned. Donna Threeto insisted on becoming a fox because her native American spirit guide is a fox. She displays many fox mannerisms and loves wearing a tail. Luckily, a fox is a generic enough outfit that the costume store also had a bag of fox-parts that we could combine with a sweat suit.

Three down. One to go.

Jane was a little more difficult. She wouldn’t decide on what to be and two days before the event decided that she wanted to go as a goat. She wants to be a veterinarian. She loves farm animals and goats especially. I can understand this outfit from start to finish but the problem is that being a goat is a really unique idea. There aren’t standard costumes. Probably because anyone described synonymously with a goat is either an old-goat or a horny-goat or both. Regardless, I value my children’s dreams and aspirations. A goat you shall be!

We went to the store a day before Halloween and found the scattered remains of various costumes. Walmart had grossly miscalculated the number of children who wanted to be ninja turtles. Anything resembling a goat was gone. I begged and reasoned with Jane to just choose something generic. The whole point is to get candy. It is like a bank robbery. The teller at the window doesn’t care if your plastic mask is President Nixon or President Reagan, they just want you to stop pointing your gun at them so they give you the money and you leave. The whole point is that you are hiding your identity and threatening the homeowner with mischief if they don’t pay you off with candy. Who cares.

She deflected my words with indifference. We walked Walmart twice while she pondered different combinations of things that might make her appear goat-like. She salvaged some red devil horns and a plain white shirt. She told herself that her outfit was Aires, the ram. I give her credit for knowing that Aires is a ram and for knowing some astrology. We bought the few items and returned home.

On Halloween night everyone was dressed and ready to go and Jane was deliberating over her costume. Something was off. Something needed to be added. The outfit looked like a backup dancer in a ballet put on a set of red horns. It didn’t scream “Aires the ram is here for your candy!” so she decided to face-paint the symbol for Aires on her forehead. So we did.

HalloLineup

The real tragedy of Jane’s outfit is that no one is familiar enough with astrological signs or subtlety to glean the fact she was a goat. Instead, their minds probably drifted towards member-of-a-satanic-cult. Not exactly what she was going for and that fault rests squarely on my shoulders. I should have provided for a better goat. We can’t be too disappointed because we did get lots of candy and that is what really matters.

This Halloween was the first one where all of the kids could run together from house to house without an adult walking along beside them and picking up shoes or dropped buckets. It was another quiet milestone that passed on the wind. They all waited for each other to gather on the doorsteps before ringing the doorbell, they watched out for one another, and they always said thank you to the people who handed out candy. I’m pretty proud of them and the people they are becoming.

I am also proud of my wife. One day while at work I got this text.

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Then a few days later I came home to this gem.

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I have a real appreciation for the unusual things and I think I have rubbed off on her. This Kleenex butthole cat is everything I thought it could be.  His posture. His look of fearful concern, like you have cornered him and are stealing the tissue against his will. He is a perfect new member of the family.

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Looking at a small sticker on the bottom that boasts “Made In China”, I couldn’t help but wonder. What does the factory worker who casts these things all day think of Americans and the kinky shit we buy?

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This was one too many on the cat pictures. I apologize. It is just hilarious to me. 

What does that production meeting sound like? “Okay folks, we got another order for 10,000 plaster cats with the tissue-port assholes. I need everyone to stay late tonight to make sure this order gets out the door. Frank… make sure you paint the eyes on straight this time. I bought 500 cross-eyed tabbies back from North Dakota last week. We don’t have the budget for your bullshit. Eric… don’t send any out with broken tails. I know you have been boxing them up like that. People notice and it has your sticker on the bottom.” (For the record, I don’t think that Frank and Eric are traditional Chinese names but anything else would have sounded offensive.)

Also, a quick safety warning about Ring-Pops. If they melt inside the package and re-harden in the corner then it becomes a Ring-Stab.

HalloCandy

If you enjoy our normal weirdness then this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Tell Tale Cart Returns

I’ve lost faith in humanity. A weekly occurrence but this one was deep. This one cut me to the bone.

Supermom and I were entering the Mecca of merchandising known as Walmart. I was reflecting over the logistics problem presented by shopping carts. I was actually thinking… if everyone entering the store would bring a cart back inside then we wouldn’t have a cart issue. Underpaid teens wouldn’t have to stand in the rain loading up wet carts. Shopping would be a happier experience. Ergo, world peace.

I do my part. Whenever I go to Walmart and see someone nearing the end of their shopping cart usage I ask, “Hey can I take that inside for you?” or I say, “I’ll take that.” People usually respond with a Thank You and I have time from the parking area to the shopping are to decide if I like the cart. If I am near the entrance to the actual store then I ask for more details from the cart owner. Something like, “Does that cart make a thumpy sound or pull hard to the left?” It was in a scenario similar to the latter where my faith was shaken.

Back to the story. It went something like this.

Supermom and I were walking into Walmart. A lady in her later-twenties was leaving and taking a single shopping bag out of her cart. She made eye contact with us and immediately was able to assess that we didn’t have a shopping cart. Mostly because we didn’t have a shopping cart. She pushed her cart towards us and said, “Do you need a cart?” I replied, “Awesome. Thank you!” Then she added, “It isn’t bumpy or weird or anything.” She added that comment of her own free will as if it was assuring me that we made a good decision to trust her cart suggestion. We were standing beside three rows of newly returned carts so it would have been easy for this lady to stay un-involved. To leave us to an uncertain fate.

But she acted. She heroically offered her experience and opinion. I felt like the luckiest man alive. Here someone had given me a rare gift. A fully functioning shopping cart at Walmart. A unicorn. Guaranteed to be bump and weirdness free.

We pushed our way into Walmart and the happy adrenaline began to wear off. By the time we reached the aisle of Clearance items behind the greeting cards, I realized the truth… That bitch lied to me. This cart was bumpy AND weird AND everything. It shook like Michael J. Fox and sounded like a pair of tennis shoes in a dryer. There was a loose weld on the bottom rack and the metal slapped against itself the whole time. If I had purchased buttermilk it would have been churned by checkout. The handle had a filmy greasiness along the bottom edge. Body lotion or boogers? Who knows. I was confused. Violated.

Why on earth would she have offered me this total piece of shit cart? Why would she have put in the extra effort to tell me that it was neither a) bumpy or b) weird. I didn’t ask about the cart. I didn’t indicate I needed one. She sought me out for discomfort and despair. Was she following me? Laughing at my misfortune? Am I going to be on a candid camera show?

I don’t care. I’m enraged and disappointed all at once. I trusted her. She screwed me over. I had flashbacks of the Tell Tale Cart. We have enough struggles in life and now I have to worry about random sociopaths sandbagging me with shitty carts at Walmart.

If you get confused by people in public, this post is for you. Me too. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Tragic Kingdom

Disney is a land with love and magic. It also has frustration. And anger. And confusion. I kept a list in the notes section of my phone so that I could be helpful to someone in the future. There won’t be a grand narrative or connecting theme with this post, only a list of my random observations and experiences. Enjoy.

  1. Everyone Takes Constant Selfies. I saw a woman lying on the ground upside down while her friend stood on a trash can to get an extreme photo angle. What I saw later made me feel sorry for the lady on the ground.

  2. The employees are all very happy and the guests look like prisoners who have just been turned out to the rec-yard. I figured people who paid money to stand in line would have been happier about it. The entire thing is optional. The monorail will take you back to the parking area and the happy guests will be glad you leave. It is a small world and Disney makes it feel claustrophobic.

  3. Sometimes the monorail breaks. Then you sit in line for the ferry with other people who would rather take the monorail. Tragic_Ferry

  4. There is no good place to fart at Disney. I didn’t consider it before but a few facts about humans became important. The human body is constantly making methane. Everyone farts. If you don’t fart it could be a sign of a fatal condition (see your doctor). Despite these facts, society frowns on farting in crowds because nothing is worse than oppressive heat except for oppressive heat and a sulfur cloud. Lady Bug gave zero shits what anyone thought about farts. She crop-dusted everyone within ten feet in nearly every line. She would giggle and when the smell hit us she would say, “That’s my butt!”.

  5. You can give an alien plant a hand-job in Pandora. No shit. There is a large plant that has a large red area on the side. If you rub this area vigorously for a few seconds the plant will groan and spray water out of the end into the passing crowd. I’m not sure which part is more awkward. If you walked into Pandora in the Animal Kingdom and felt a mysterious spray of water…
    Tragic_Plant

    I mean… how is this not inappropriate?


  6. Disney must be the largest disease vector in the developed world. All handrails are at licking height for children and they must touch each and every surface in the entire park. I tried to show them examples of why we don’t touch surfaces in Disney. In one instance, a sickly man was walking behind a lady in a scooter. He began coughing and leaned on the scooter in some attempt to half walk, half ride. The lady asked him, “Are you okay.” To which he replied, “No” and then vomited watery snot directly onto the sidewalk. The rear tire of the scooter rolled through it and left a trail of moisture for about five feet. I pointed to the spot and told the girls, “This is why we don’t crawl on the ground on our hands and knee. Because no one is going to clean this and after it dries in the sun, you won’t have anything to let you know it was here.” The message didn’t stick because Prima licked the exterior wall of our condo later that night. I assume out of boredom.

  7. Disney is home of the overprotective mother. I can’t count the number of full grown children who had their knees crammed up to their chins in a stroller while their mother pushed them through the crowd. If your child is in danger of getting their entire leg sucked under the stroller before their upper body would move, they may be too big. Lady Bug is four and walked 100% of the time. She never requested to be carried and we went from morning until night. Kick your entitled kids out of the stroller. While you are at it, kick them out of the wrong bathroom. A good rule of thumb for moms, if your child has a baritone voice or any manner of pubic or facial hair, they are too big for you to take with you. They can wee wee all by their big-boy selves. The amount of women taking their boys into the women’s room was ridiculous. Cut the cord already.

  8. Scooters are proof that God has abandoned his creation and is blind to our suffering. I couldn’t tell if I had stumbled into an area of character actors from the movie Wall-E. America is so out of shape. And old. I nearly went ape-shit on an old man in a scooter who I am fairly sure might have been dead already. His eyes weren’t responding to movement around him and he was slumped over with a slight drool. I would have cared but he hit me in the ankle twice. Fuck that guy. There should be a test when the keys to the scooter are handed out. Not a hard test. More of a safety check. Something like, “Excuse me sir, do you have a pulse or a functioning motor neurons? Oh you do? Fantastic here are your keys. Enjoy the mayhem you will inevitably create. May God have mercy on your eternal soul.”
    Tragic_Scoot

    This old dudes scooter said “SUE” on the front. The woman next to him had a sign that said “Frank”. I rest my case. 


  9. Fast pass is an interesting social experiment. It gives you a chance to be a “have” and a “have not”. Every time I had a fast pass for a ride I would zip to the front and look at the sad faces of the people waiting in line. I would think, “You poor bastards. Ha ha. Sucks to be you.” Then, two hours later, I would be standing in a slow-moving line with a farting four year-old while fast-passers zip past me and I would think, “You self-righteous pricks. I hope you die. I hope the ride malfunctions and lops off your leg.” Everyone probably encounters the same level of waiting but it just felt good to hate the fast-passers.
    Tragic_Passes

    We summon the dark-lord of animation… STEAM BOAT WILLIE!!!


  10. Two of the most enjoyable rides for me were the Toy Story rides. It was basically a drive-by shooting. You get a laser gun and unlimited ammo to blast bad guys. Very satisfying.

  11. They sell double balloons that consist of a colored mickey shaped balloon covered by a clear balloon. Grandad Map found one crammed into a trash can and he rescued it for the girls. They loved it but in about ten minutes they were done with it which meant that it got tied to my backpack. One side note about the backpack… I have lifetime rights to put random shit in my wife’s purse until we are old and grey. I carried everything for everyone in a backpack while we were in the parks. I carried juices and snacks and ears. I tolerated constant stooping over for someone to zip and unzip the backpack. Back to the balloon. This balloon decided to torture me and everyone near me for the next few hours. It was depleted of helium enough that it hovered instead of floated. It smacked people in line and wedged behind me when I tried to sit down. If I die and go to hell, 90% chance that the devil will tie a balloon to a backpack and make me navigate a crowd.
    Tragic_1

    I offered a man twenty dollars to pop the balloon. He walked away with a confused look. Too bad, easy twenty. 


  12. Money falls from the sky at Disney. Every surface that is too far for guests to reach are covered with coins. Any water was guaranteed to have piles of coins littering the bottom. The posts sticking out of the lake next to the ferry boat glistened with nickels and dimes. You could hear them hitting the post and splashing into the water. I was on a lower level and I held my hand out. I caught thirty five cents. True story. I wonder if people are just that broken at the end of the day and they say, “Here, take it all you rat bastard!” Tragic_Money

  13. We betrayed all of our children’s trust through traumatic roller coaster rides. Prima fell victim to Yeti Mountain. Jane got motion sick on Mission to Mars. Prima may have lost consciousness on Mission to Mars. Donna Threeto was broken by the Tower of Terror. Lady Bug was up for absolutely everything. She rode Big Thunder Mountain and shamed her sisters back into riding roller coasters. My favorite kid meltdown was someone else’s kid. We were waiting in the line for Rockin Roller Coaster and a small girl ahead of us in line was whimpering. Her father was assuring her that everything would be fine and there was no need to worry. The line moved out into the loading zone for the ride and the waiting guests got to watch a few cars launch before riding. The Rocking Rollercoaster is built to launch the coaster from zero to sixty miles per hours in a couple of seconds. Like a rocket. As the small girl, who had just finished crying, stopped at the fence to watch the first car leave, there was a burst of air and the coaster shot into a darker tunnel and disappeared leaving only echoes of screams. The girl melted into the floor in a pool of tears and screaming. She lost her mind. I laughed too hard to be helpful. Jane was with me and she thought it was funny too. Strangely enough, the girl decided to ride the ride proving that humans are addicted to bad decisions. By the end of the trip all of the girls liked roller coasters and were more open to enjoying all the rides. Plus we got cool pictures on the ones that scared them out of their minds. Tragic_Tower

So there you have it. A few tips and notes on Disney. There are probably lots more but I’ll save them for another day.

If you have ever been to Mickey’s world then this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

King of Lions

Fall break is always an opportune time to take a vacation. The stresses of summer and starting back to the school routine often makes life too busy. The rains dry up and trees start to turn brown. Allergies happen. Federal budget standoffs. Elections on the even years. The fall is a tumultuous time. I always appreciate something that makes me take pause and enjoy my family. This year that something has been a trip to Disney World.

It has been an amazing trip. There have been moments here and there that are blog worthy and I will share them soon but overall… amazing. I think the part I have enjoyed the most is the waiting in line.

Seriously.

Maybe not exactly the waiting as much as the forced interaction. The pause. The conditions that make us stand or sit with one another for hours on end and share ourselves. Closeness as a family is found in the spaces between activities. Discussions on the car ride to school or right before bed. Most of the time we try to fill empty space with distractions. We avoid closeness in the day-to-day. This week has been different and I have enjoyed it.

A couple of things have reminded me how short of a time that we have with our kids while they are kids.

Jane is ten and growing into her own independent person. She is starting to rebel a little to establish her identity. She is being moody and opinionated at times. She has also insisted on being my partner on scary rides and has held my hand more in the last three days than during the entire last two years. I have enjoyed it.

Lady Bug is four and is at the magic age of being able to walk everywhere without a stroller. I am beyond excited that we have not had to use a stroller but, even so, she has grown more than I like to admit. During a live performance of The Lion King she sat in my lap and danced with excitement to Hakuna Matata. Later, during Can You Feel The Love Tonight, she turned and gave me a big smile and a kiss. Then she snuggled against my chest for the rest of the show.

My mind started to wander away from the show. I thought about her sweet gesture and how long it had been since my girls had offered me kisses. I put them all to bed every night. I tuck them in, give them a hug and kiss them on the forehead. When they were really little they would say, “Daddy give me kisses” and pucker their entire face.

Then someday it just stopped.

It had to happen sometime but I thought I would have noticed. I thought I would have protested. But here I am with four beautiful girls who are growing up, up, and away.

So, as I sat watching The Lion King, I felt a tear at the edge of my eye. I thought about how few of those moments may be left. I thought about the cycle. In the background, Simba became king and the performers sang Circle of Life. The metaphor of the moment was enough to make me want to shoot Simba and mount him on my wall. To stop the progression. To avoid the inevitable.

One day Dad will be replaced by a new lion. I hope he loves her enough to wear matching shirts at Disney and carry every item known to man in a backpack while sweating in the ninety degree heat.

I have tried my best to enjoy our moments this week. To capture the parts I can carry and to soak in the ones that pass like a cool breeze on a hot day. I hope to remember the smiles of wonder and joy. The holding hands so we don’t get lost in the crowd. The hugs when they were tired of walking or scared of an uncertain ride. More than that, I hope they remember.

I hope they read my words later and always know that the magic isn’t in the rides. It’s the person in the seat next to you.

And to Noni and Map, this post is for you – Thanks for passing that on!

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Tidbits and Errata

I have an accumulation of randomness that I always think, “Hey this would make for a good blog.” But then I realize that I would have to type out one every day and I’m not at the point in my life where I have time for that. So here is a smattering of photos and the thoughts attached to them. Enjoy.

Of all the fun word games that are available to modern adults, my favorites are “That’s What She Said” and “That Was My Nickname in High School”.  The other day I was shopping in Walmart and while perusing the French Fries I had an excellent “That Was My Nickname in High School” opportunity. I was totally and utterly alone. So, I took a picture.

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We have been waiting for weeks for school photos to come back. We sent the kids to school somewhat unpolished on Picture Day because we didn’t remember it was Picture Day. I secretly prefer awkward pictures because that makes them worth looking at fifteen years down the road. Donna Threeto did not disappoint. Prima did a good job too.

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Like she had no idea what was going on or who these people with strange objects are. 

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Another epic photo that I came across in my newsfeed came from a language barrier. It is a thought provoking piece that should serve as a warning to all the young men and women who get inspirational quotes tattooed on their body in strange foreign languages. Just know that what you think says, “Love, Life, Laughs” might actually be the Chinese characters that say something like “Sperm Dumpster”. It would only be fair repayment of the untruths we release on the world. Somewhere in Africa there are entire villages clothed in T-shirts that claim the Atlanta Falcons won the last Super Bowl. Now imagine that you have a cute pinchy-cheeked child and he gets a free hat from America! What a generous and benevolent country! Happy Day! I think this kid lives in Vietnam.

Motivational

If you laughed at this photo you have an ethical and moral obligation to visit fredcolton.wordpress.com 

I have had to say goodbye to something that was part of my life for as long as I can remember. It functioned in the background. A supporting role. I dare say I took it for granted. Then my mother sent me a picture of it on the day it died. Standing next to it was the replacement. Staring her down. Mocking her death and degrading her service to our family. How could you?

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I grew up thinking everyone used old plastic jugs as sugar storage.

The free market system does a great job of reflecting society. I live in the south. While at lunch at a Mexican restaurant last week I had a chance encounter that perfectly captured southern priorities. There was a claw machine in the front lobby. A variation of the claw machine where prizes hang by a string and the claw is a dull scissor device. It is such a scam that there is actually a note on the machine explaining that the scissor might not cut the string on the first try. The prizes include a DeWalt Drill.

Redneck_Claw

How is this not gambling?

Have you ever said a common word slowly or repeatedly and realized that it starts to lose its identity. Like margarine. Mar-ga-rine. MAR-JAR-RINN. Butter’s replacement. Margarine. Look at the word. Is it even spelled right? Who the hell knows. When you get too close to something that you should breeze by and only view peripherally, it overloads your brain and life unravels. The world ceases to make sense. I felt like that recently when examining my smashed pinkie toe. It started to look like an Orc finger and I had an out of body experience.

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Holy shit. Look at that thing. 

I have also been delving into a little family history. I learned that my Grandfather was a gansta-ass-boss-playa from day one of busting outta the mutha-fuckin womb. Rolling hard on his foes and never hesitating to bust a cap in multiple asses. All the while never staining his socks or letting a single strand of his luxurious hair become mussed.

OG

Seen here riding a “Try Me” cycle. 

If you like a good dose of random musing, this post is for you. You’re welcome. I didn’t even mention the new dog. Then again, that subject is deserving of its own dedicated post. Until next time.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.