trolls

Smiles Are Contagious

Today we took an excursion to the local movie theater to see the new feel-good cartoon Trolls.

The basic idea of the movie is this; Trolls are always happy and their enemies are always grumpy. The enemies are called Bergens. In typical Hollywood fashion, a grumpy Troll and a happy Bergen are the catalyst for bringing both sides together. At one point the Trolls become sad and all lose their color until the one-and-only grumpy Troll decides to sing and brings back the happiness. The faded Trolls catch a wave of color. Emboldened by their improved attitudes, the Trolls manage to cheer up the grumpy Bergens and bring peace to the land. Yay! An unlikely hero saves the world.

The moral of the story – attitude is important and one person can make a difference. How inspiring. I thought to myself how it was a fun movie even if the lesson was a little less than realistic.

As the credits began to roll a catchy tune played while all the main characters danced around. Lady Bug stood up and started dancing, totally engrossed in the music. She was bouncing and singing just as hard as she could go. We were all looking at her and laughing because she was really cute and totally unaware that we were watching. The smile on her face was a glow.

Then a funny thing happened.

Lady Bug heard a giggle and looked around. She froze for a minute, trying to decide if she should be embarrassed or keep hamming it up. Everyone was enjoying her cute show so, one by one, we all started dancing along with her and the music. No one wanted the moment to end. In a few seconds there were nine people dancing to the music of the rolling credits. It was a really cheesy moment but happy and beautiful too.

I was reminded that one person can affect the world, especially if no one tells them it is impossible. I hope I always remember these little lessons that my children teach me and maybe they can search through my stories one day and find a treat for themselves. (Amidst the ranting and swearing of course.)

If you are ever touched by the pure joy of children, this post is for you. It is nice to be reminded that smiles are contagious. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

tempur_pedic

When Tempurs Flare

Dear Tempur-Pedic,

When I first got married I wondered how we would integrate the little things like our choice in mattresses. For the first few years we were financially bound to hand-me-down, well-sprung Serta/Sealy styles. Our first co-ed bed sagged in the middle and provided a gravitational force that made sure we stayed close. It was an apt model for the space-time effects of gravity. We dreamed of the day that we could have a designer mattress and a comfortable night of sleep. Then, one star sprinkled November evening, we decided that our health and happiness was more important than our fragile credit rating so we financed a king sized Tempur-Pedic sleeping apparatus.

Oh happy day.

I am perfectly happy to swallow my pride and fully disclose that we financed around $2k for a mattress. Another minor detail, we actually bought a pair of twins and smushed them together under a king sized top sheet. It was cheaper but we used rationale such as “more isolation of movement” and saying, “it was cheaper” to defend our pride. So in effect, we financed a lie upon a lie on which we lay. Twenty four months with no interest which would have been nice if we hadn’t missed the first fucking payment and had full interest and penalties applied.

Didn’t matter. Not even a procrastinator tax could ruin my excitement over a new mattress and the hope for a good night’s sleep. After all, the material balancing the pressure under my weary back was none other than a top-of-the-line molecular structure developed for astronauts by NASA. Not Cosmonauts or Chinese-nauts, good old first-world American bodies in the deadly depths of space. Surely this would be the wisest investment in the history of man.

Never once did the thought occur to me that using NASA as a credential for a mattress was flawed. I realized today that astronauts are in a weightless environment. They could be strapped to the flat side of an I-beam and would be grateful to not be floating around banging their face into vast panels of complicated button panels. What could a foam mattress provide? How hard are they strapping astronauts into their beds? Hindsight is twenty twenty. Moving on.

The delivery day arrived and we put the magical cube of super-dense mystery on top of the faux box springs. I thought it would be appropriate and symbolic to do an honorary swan dive into the lush comfort.  About the point where gravity took over I had a salient thought, “What happens when memory foam hasn’t developed a memory yet?”

I’ll tell you.

Mosquitos asses go through their brains against car windows in much the same way.

I peeled myself up and reassured my inner self that if I could tough it out a few dozen months then the memory function would kick in and my new mattress would be form fitting heavenly down. The heavenly part was true in as much as heavenly equals clouds. Also, clouds in this case equals a thin fog of moisture that wouldn’t support a stiff breeze. This mystical shape shifting brick bound lump of shit turned from polished stone to sixth grade home economics throw pillow half filled with poly-fil, overnight.

One minute it is hard and the next… I can feel the double stitched seams of the box springs under my butt cheeks. I’m 95% certain that the mattresses used in the children’s tale, The Princess and the Pea, were a dumpster scavenged collection of twice used Tempur-Pedics. Five second rundown – the story is about a girl claiming to be a princess so they test her by putting a pea under her stack of mattresses with the assumption that a pampered princess would be able to feel the slightest discomfort of the pea. Of course that skinny poser felt the pea, it probably damn near ripped a hole through the bottom six layers. Piece of shit.

In other news, I might be royalty.

I wake up every morning want to punch myself but I find myself unable because my arms are floppy tingly dead weight. I need to leave this bed.

It is like a bad relationship. I am constantly worried that I will do something to ruin it but that may be the best possible outcome. I worry that I will spill something on the foam and according to the salesman (after we signed the deal), any wayward moisture breaks down the molecular structure. Is that what has happened? Did I sweat too much? Did the humidity of the southern United States doom me from the start? Is this a sign of magnetic planetary pole reversal? Was it ALIENS?!?

If I had an ounce of manhood left I would douse this mattress in kerosene and throw a lit match. But I don’t. Mostly because I am tired from poor sleep but also because that is arson. In the unlikely event that my house burns down and the evidence points to my mattress, let the record show that I am firmly against setting intentional fires. Desire and action are two different levels of involvement.

In conclusion, screw you guys for shallow reasoning (i.e. NASA technology), predatory marketing to habitually poor people (who finances a mattress?), and for the persistent neck pain that I endure. Maybe I am just getting old but the next bed will be something adjustable that is developed for sleeping under the full gravity of our home planet. I bet Orgeenic was developed for cooking in space too.

Sincerely,

Underdaddy

fence

On The Fence

I have the hope that my children will read my blogs (far in the future) and be able to know how I think about some things on the off-chance that we never really discuss them. This is one of those subjects that gets fuzzy on a national stage but for me everything starts at the family level. After all, what is America if not one big dysfunctional family.

When we first moved into our neighborhood we were optimistic. Our family was just beginning to grow and it felt good to be moving into a new home near other young families like ours. Not to mention, the old neighborhood came with frequent incidents of drugs, prostitution, and miscellaneous violence. I wasn’t very keen on letting my children play outside in the yard. In fact, I didn’t really like to answer the door. I have a good story, Love Nest, that goes more in-depth if you want to know about our first home together.

So… we moved into a new home in a growing neighborhood and we had all the expectations of any other neighborhood; waving at neighbors as you mow the lawn on a Saturday morning; borrowing a cup of sugar to finish that homemade apple pie; kids riding around on their bikes and climbing trees with a rag-tag gang of nearby friends who all play until the street lights turn on. Like the Sandlot but with a more diverse, co-ed cast of children.

Then one day, while watching the children playing in the backyard a stray Rottweiler comes lumbering into the yard. We all went into the house and I went to look for the owner. She was walking down the road calling for the dog and I told her, “He’s behind my house.” She replied, “Oh good. Don’t try to pet him. He bites.” I was a little alarmed to know a large aggressive dog was living four houses down. “How did he get out?” I asked. “I can’t hold him, he is so big that he just goes where he wants”, she said. “Seems like a legal issue to me…” I said passively. It happened a few more times and my opinions became more direct.

Her dog wasn’t the only concerning one. There was a pit bull that wandered through about one a month. She was indifferent to people but not real excited about other dogs. At the time we had Biscuit who was like our first child. Biscuit was scared of her own shadow so she would have stood very little chance against a large aggressive dog with an anatomy for a killer bite.

We liked our neighbors. The kids played well together and we often played Frisbee or catch across all of the backyards. The neighborhood news spread through casual conversations while taking out the trash or raking leaves. It was fun and felt like community.

Then we got a swing set and a trampoline. We were in the talks of getting a small pool. The legal liability of having something that other people’s children can get hurt on was concerning. The potential for stray animals who are less than friendly was concerning. The media’s constant stories of creepy vans offering candy and hugs curbside to unsuspecting children was beyond concerning. We decided to build a fence.

It makes me think about other scenarios where fences and walls are being discussed. For us, the fence has very little to do with neighbors and everything to do with controlling the environment for our children. Regulating who and what is allowed to access our backyard. We can’t patrol our backyard constantly so our fence is a reasonable barrier for when our eyes are elsewhere. I have to fill in some holes when squirrels burrow under and repair boards that get knocked out from time to time. Anyone is welcome at our house as long as they ask and come in through the gate.

If you think fences, moats, walls, or barriers are necessary then this post is for you. The anger that many people have towards walls is most likely a frustration that we even need them in the first place. A few risks ruin what could be a beautiful open community. At some point we have to decide if the risk is worth the reward. For me it wasn’t so I built a fence.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

strange

Stranger Things

Reality is truly stranger than fiction. My only hope is that I document all this craziness and get to turn it into a five season family comedy sitcom where I am played by an actor who is really close to my likeness, like Taylor Lautner.

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He has a little more hair but other than that… pretty much identical. 

Today would be an excellent episode. Here is the rundown…

It is universal bath night. Everyone in the house except the squirrel will be bathed tonight. We have a system for the girls now that they can all shower. It works because I stand near the bathroom and shout like a drill sergeant telling the children when to switch. If they are left to their own discretion then the hot water will last for about one child. They think of showering of more like talking in a warm rainstorm and less like a deliberate effort to get clean. I constantly think, “Oh my God what are you doing there are only two steps in this puzzle. 1) Wash Hair. 2) Wash Body. Then get out and move on with your life!”

A common theme is for the child who is waiting to get in the bath to suddenly decide that they have to pee right this second; or on super lucky occasions, that they have to poop. This was a pee day. One of my children, who will remain anonymous, jumped on the toilet to pee while I was helping the youngest child out of the shower. I suddenly felt a spattering on my leg. I looked over to see my child trying, as hard as she could, to pee really fast. This voluntary spike in pressure caused a change in the angle of the stream and somehow she peed down my entire leg and on two of the towels in the floor while sitting squarely on the seat. I doubt that Bill Nye or Neil DeGrasse Tyson could explain the physics for this anomaly on a whiteboard. Maybe the scientists of CERN will discover a discrete urinary tractive force hidden inside the Higgs Boson. Who knows?

Much like someone who has seen aliens or Bigfoot, I know I saw pee move in a sine wave pattern and soak my leg. True story.


For those of you who wonder if the infamous Don Threeto still has her cold calculated magic, I present the following story.

A few nights ago Supermom was drying hair after a different universal bath night. Don Threeto had just finished having her hair dried and to promote good hair health, Supermom trimmed off some split ends.

DT: Mommy! Mommy! Can I have that hair? (pointing at the floor)

SM: Um, sure.

DT: Im going to put it in a bag for the hair fairy.

SM: Oh, Is that like the Tooth Fairy?

DT: Yes but for hair.

SM: Makes sense.

So Don Threeto takes her hair trimmings and disappears into the kitchen. She reemerges a few minutes later with a ziplock full of split ends. Bath time became bedtime and the hair was placed under her pillow. I would like to make a note here that all four of the children were extremely tired from a weekend of running and playing outside. They all fell deep asleep in about twenty minutes which is record time. Supermom and I stayed up a little while but we were tired too and soon went to bed. At around 7:00 I woke up after my third snooze alert and I immediately went to wake the children up. I found them all in a deep sleep and hesitant to get out of bed. No one seemed to have moved throughout the night.

At this point I had forgotten about the Hair Fairy care package. Then I heard Don Threeto call out, “IT WORKED!”

I’ll be damned if she didn’t walk into my room holding a fistful of change. While I can’t imagine why a magical fairy would break-and-enter for hygienic trimming and why this same creature would leave forty nine cents of change, I couldn’t figure any scenario to explain how the money got under the pillow. Her surprise looked genuine and the rest of the gang aren’t that good at lying. The older two would have wanted credit immediately. The youngest would have probably eaten the hair trimmings and flushed the money down the toilet.

Deep down I know that Don Threeto is an unflappable gangster. I’m sure the Hair Fairy ruse was a creative cover to siphon money out of a sister’s piggy bank. Another brilliant scheme by the future leader of the free world. I’m kind of proud at her thought process. Strategic as hell.

If you have the challenge of a deep thinking mastermind, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

halloween_tears

Halloween 2016

Halloween has come and gone. We survived.

I’m exhausted.

Supermom is exhausted too.

I have several updates that I feel I need to share just to get the memory out of my head and into some sort of cataloged history. To kick things off we can start off with a popular Supermom text message.

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The joys of the school pickup line.

 

Along those same lines, I feel I have to mention the phone conversation we had today.

 

UD: Hey honey. How are you this afternoon.

SM: Oh… you know… good.

UD: What happened?

SM: Your child just took a shit in the floor. On purpose.

UD: Hardwood or carpet?

SM:Carpet.

UD: Hmmm. Not good. How did you clean it up?

SM: Well, after I cleaned her feet and legs there wasn’t much to clean up.

UD: What about the carpet?

SM: Ms. Judy Cornbread thought she would help me out…

UD: So kid crapped in the floor and the dog ate it?

SM: Yep.

UD: …

UD: I love you.

SM: Yep.

UD: I’ll call back later.

SM: K.

 

Let’s see… what else do you need updates on? Halloween report you say? Okay. Here were our costumes.

 

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Judy Hops!!!

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Pikachu!!!

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Bookworm Belle! I am proud that she likes this look better than ballgowns.

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Jane was a white wolf. Custom origami claws were a nice touch.

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Nick Wilde. More like Nick Tame who really let things go after a couple kids. 

The night started in excited anticipation and ended in a puddle of sugar soaked tears in the living room floor. Not for me though, I ate Reese’s cups until I thought I might be sick and fell asleep at midnight.

 

halloween_tears

The end of any good Halloween run. 

 

I do feel the need to rant just a bit. A couple of neighborhoods that were former candy-getting hot spots have fallen by the wayside. I can’t help but feel that it is driven by the phenomenon of trunk-or-treat events that are basically a blend of flea markets and parking lot carnivals. A local church had bouncy slides and fire trucks. What in the actual hell is going on here? Have we become so protectionist that we can’t let the kids jump from a slow moving vehicle and rush into a screaming mob of other children in strange neighborhoods?

Halloween is about dressing up and wandering door-to-door like a candy fiend zombie. It is a chance for elderly people to enjoy the exuberance of children and hand out cheap flavorless candy. Okay… that last part is cliché because this one lady last night was old enough that she was trying to decide if one of her bushes was a trick-or-treater yet she was handing out handfuls of the good stuff. God bless that lady.

Take note America. That is how you fight stereotypes, with fistfuls of Kit Kats and Hersey Bars. Thanks to her cloudy vision we went back twice. Four kids X two trips = eight candy bars for DADDY! Just kidding. They only went once so I only got four candy bars.

If you think the spirit of Halloween is being killed, processed, and sold at wholesale prices – this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.