A Case of Cant-Evens

I’m thankful for many things in life. I have one of the most blessed, first-world, placid existences that anyone could hope for. My girls are wonderful people. My wife is my beautiful partner in crime. We don’t worry about where our next meals come from or if we can afford medical care for our children. Our sink produces some of the best quality water in the world. These things make us extremely lucky in the game of life.

I only mention these things to preface the fact that I want to spend a few minutes bitching about small pointless things. Things to which I cant even…

  • TGI Fridays: We were greeted by a ho-hum staff of three sixteen year old hostesses who were training each other in the art of taking people to their seat. They giggled about seating a particular server five times in the last thirty minutes. Hilarious joke because we would be receiving poor service. I’m quite certain that I had to clean a booger off my chair before sitting down. I went to the bathroom to pee and possibly vomit from the booger incident and our server was talking on his cell phone. It didn’t even sound important. His conversation could have been mistaken for middle school yammering with that cute girl who has you in the friend zone. I know what that sounds like buddy and you are in the friends-zone. My tea was old. The food was weak. Then to top it off our bill had a suggested tip of 18% written in bold right under the total. I’m a consistent 20% kind of guy but I barely got 10% service and for my receipt to make the assumption that I should just fill in the blank with a “calculated” tip is insane. Congrats TGI Friday, your effort to alienate me at every opportunity has borne fruit. Your skillful combination of fast-food quality meals coupled with five-star dining prices has ensured I am done as a customer.
  • Cat: My cat has become entirely too comfortable with personal space. She tries to sleep on Supermom’s face sometimes. When we are eating nighttime snacks she has been progressively encroaching on us. Tonight we enjoyed some nachos. My favorite part is rounding up the crumbs and little bits of cheese. Not tonight because some asshole ruined it.Cat Nachos
  • Laziness in Manufacturing: In the past week I have noticed some laziness in my processed foods. My elbow shaped Macaroni and Cheese had a Velveeta Shells and Cheese noodle in the mix. Then, in my bowl of mini-ravioli, a stray Spagettio. What’s next? These may seem like small issues but the implications are large. How does something from one process end up in another? There is just an air of apathy to it all. Then, to top it all off, I went and got a Nutty Buddy because my nacho crumb snack was ruined and what did I find? More half-assed snackery.

    Nutty Buddy

    Tapered edge cheats me of delicious wafer and peanut butter enjoyment. Once again the little man pays in the name of profit! (I still love you guys. At least you aren’t TGIF.)

  • Judy Cornbread: This goofball of a dog is killing me. She got into some kind of stinging insect in the backyard and enjoyed an allergic reaction. She looked like Popeye for a couple of days. We spent a few hours making pirate jokes. They are even funnier when you know this dog and the fact that she is scared of cardboard boxes and bed sheets.

    Pupeye

    Arrgh matey. Curiosity kills the cat but just makes me look silly. 

If you have little things that annoy you despite your best efforts to be thankful, this post is for you. You’re welcome. We got school photos in this week. They are ever bit as funny as last time. Just so you know to keep a lookout.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Creepy Crayons

Have we talked about kids being creepy lately?

 

I feel like no.

 

Jane has always been the superstitious one and always has a story about her ghost friends. Now that she is getting to be a better artist she is trying to draw them more accurately. She drew a picture of them last Saturday and they look like a group of cursed pirates trying to steal the Black Pearl from Jack Sparrow. She swears one of them wears a wide brimmed captain’s hat.

Then she wrote a creepy story based on true events.

Crawler

I don’t know if the real event was a watermelon demon crawling on her ceiling or insomnia. I choose insomnia.

 

She has other art that is less creepy but just as disturbing.

Crap_Pony

Notice the magnet. This made the refrigerator. 

At first glance this picture features a pony on the left with a pile of poop or a Dairy Queen chocolate dipped cone stuck to its hoof. It also has a word bubble that says “CRAP”. The large faceless pony on the right is trying to break through a barrier. Disturbing enough but then add in the stubby sidekick who is obviously watching for trouble. I have tried to figure out what that thing is and there is no getting around the fact that it is a penis that walks around on its balls. If you have a better interpretation… I am all ears. In fact, I am hereby holding a contest for an alternative explanation. Please enter one in the comments.

My youngest has not started producing creepy art yet but she does have a dark side. After spilling most of a container of juice she repurposed it as a torture chamber for some Littlest Pet Shop toys. I would ask her if the pets were “swimming” but I imagine she would just say, “No. They died.”

LPS_Juice

Supermom in her HO pants.

I defend myself quite a bit on here. I can only hope that our family is a normal level of crazy and I am just more lax about admitting it.

If your kids are the next M. Night Shyamalan, this post is for you. Every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. Tell yourself often. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

PAY DAY

I’m a little nervous. Tonight I am sitting here counting a pile of cash that I found on my doorstep. Not really a pile as much as a roll of cash secured with a rubber band. Just lying there at the front door. Do I call the cops? Who leaves money at the front door? I would ask Donna Threeto if she has any ideas but plausible deniability can be a valuable thing.

When we got home she saw the roll of money and cocked an eyebrow. “Whats that?” I put it in my pocket and she squints at me. “I don’t know honey. Looks like someone lost some money.” Undaunted she asked, “Can I see it?”

“Not right now”

“Can I touch it?”

“No we have to get in the house.”

“Does it smell like money?”

“Stop asking about the money.”

She cut her eyes at me and disappeared to her room.

I carried the fat wad of green into my bedroom and proceeded to count the value. All told we had found $916,519.

Too bad the money was printed in China and doesn’t include being actual legal tender. This still could be a shakedown on a neighborhood kid by my future CEO. I’m going to play it cool a few days and see if any new info leaks out. I’ll keep you posted.

Free_Money

Another thing that happened this weekend. We went to see Beauty and the Beast. That’s right. I put my morals and heterosexuality at stake and sat through what was sure to be an onslaught of man-on-man indoctrination that would squeeze my powers for rational thought.

Beauty and Beast

The movie was good. Emma Watson was perfect. The CGI team did a great job with the Beast. Gaston was played well and I had a little heartburn over how they executed the ending. It removed some of the symbolism of Gaston’s bravado sealing his own fate and left things to fate at large. There were a couple of additional scenes that strengthened the story and a weird witch came back to make the ending less logical. A better premier than both Fifty Shades movies because although there were lots of children in this one I am fairly certain that zero children were conceived in the 90 minutes that we were there.

 

Animal updates.

Phillip got a squirrel chalet on the back porch. He hates the outdoors. He stays inside the cage and runs back and forth. So much in fact, that the residual aluminum dust generated from his sliding around has colored his dragging nuts a dark shade of grey on the lower half. Im going to have him Knighted as a servant to the Queen; Sir Phillip Blacknut the First.

Sugar_Baby

The baby sugar glider is out and making friends. Harry Glider is his name. We didn’t have a solid plan for a girl because his parents were already named James and Lily. We back ourselves into a corner there but it worked out.


-If you have a questioned your manhood from a Disney movie, own a squirrel with half-metal nuts, or found a large sum of random money lately. This post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

My Friend JP

I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago from a good friend. I’ll call him JP. He was excited about a new job opportunity and the changes it would bring to his family. We hadn’t talked in probably a year and it was probably another year since we talked before that. It feels good having a friend where the relationship transcends time. Some friendships default to an acquaintance until you spend enough time to get back to the comfortable say anything-ness that defines a good friend.

As we get older there are so many less of these friends. Friends who you can count on in a pinch. We talked about his oldest son who is in college and is doing some amazing things. He is working on a double major and setting the bar high for grades and hard work. I could hear the pride spilling over as he swore he wasn’t bragging. It was bragging. Any good father would have done the same. He talked about his daughters and how proud he was of them. We talked about guys and dating ages and such. I shuddered to think about my girls going through teenage years and the things that were on his mind for his. We caught up on all the new gossip on the people where our lives overlap. The call was a little longer than normal and it felt good to catch up. We exchanged new phone numbers and promised to get lunch together soon to celebrate his new job.

I laughed because for some reason I thought of a day several years ago when JP and I went to lunch. My wife was very pregnant at the time so we switched cars for a couple of months. The reason we had to switch was actually the fact that her car was, in-fact, a half sized replica of a car. A two seater convertible with a fabric top that could be retracted completely without getting out of your seat. Add in the fact that JP is not a small man and the scene was comical. We looked like a couple of sardines crammed into a can but it was a beautiful day and we got lots of laughs about it afterwards.

We made been co-workers at my previous job and when I turned in my two weeks notice, he was one of the people I hated to leave behind. We kept up on the water cooler gossip and industry chatter.

Last weekend JP had an allergic reaction. He spent some time without oxygen to his brain and, while he is still alive, he is unresponsive. From what I understand, the long term damage to the frontal cortex is not something that will recover.

I hurt for his family. How do you begin to process loss in healthcare limbo? I hurt for my memories. I feel selfish for grieving the loss of a friend who I didn’t see that much and honestly probably wouldn’t have much into the future but I know he is on his way out.

The people who weave themselves in and out of our lives become threads in our fabric. These threads form a cloth that is every bit as important as food and shelter. We wrap ourselves in this cloth every day. Each time we lose a thread it leaves us a little colder and feeling a little more exposed.

I’d love to tell JP about my kids and the crazy whirlwind of small children this week. The fact that my youngest went on a juice bender that ended with her peeing in the floor twice in one day. He would find that shit hilarious. I could bitch about kids not paying attention or being rational human beings and he would laugh and share some of the same stories. We probably won’t trade the latest government conspiracy theories or get black market video games downloaded to a microSD card for my Nintendo 3DS. I wont walk up the stairs to see him playing counterstrike on his lunchbreak. But I will remember all of that.

It just sucks.

To JP, I hope there is a miracle spark in there that fights its way out and leads you to a full recovery. If that isn’t in the cards then I want you and your family to know that you were a great guy and meant a great deal to me. I hope your wife remains strong and seeks out an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on whenever she needs it. I hope your girls realize that a dad’s rules are all about protecting teenage decisions so that life options don’t become limited before you get to see just how big the world really is. High school is like looking through a key-hole at the world beyond. Once you get out in the world you will be amazed at what is waiting for you. You will remember how your dad felt about you and that is a good place to start when you wonder what he would want to see. Take his good points and make them stronger in yourself. Life moves forward.

If you have lost a good friend, this one if for you. Keep fighting JP until you can’t and if you have to leave, know that you were a good dad.

-Rest In Peace.

Who Got The Hooch?

Today I would like to inform you of something and then confess something.

I know how to make homemade wine. This is not the confession. This is the information.

Making wine at home is simple. Juice + Yeast +Time = Wine. I decided to try making wine about a decade ago and I was pretty good at it. I studied it voraciously and within a couple of months I was overrun with cases of strange fruit wines ranging from lime to apple cinnamon to jalapeno. I didn’t even really drink wine. I just liked the science of making it.

There are different strains of yeast. Some yeast is resistant to high alcohol content and allows fermentation to continue until the wine is very nearly port. Some yeast is weaker and used for lower alcohol drinks like beers. Some wines can be made from natural yeasts that exist on the skin of the grapes. Some specialized strains of yeast are transferred from each batch of wine to a new batch of pressed juices. Companies base their entire recipe around the unique flavors that their yeasts produce.

Knowing how to make wine isn’t that difficult or special. In fact, prisoners in jails often try to make an alcoholic beverage by storing juice in a container, like a soda bottle, and covering the top with a balloon with small holes poked in the skin. This allows carbon dioxide to collect as the natural yeast turns sugars from the juice into alcohol and thereby produce CO2 as a by-product. Ingenious really.

Some nights the kids make me wish I still made wine in the garage.

They were in rare form tonight. Prima told me that I have man boobs and they are droopy. I love my children so much.

They also didn’t want to eat dinner but kept sneaking into the kitchen to steal some corn chips and ended up eating the entire bag. They were laughing about it the entire time. Then they were thirsty.

Prima asked, “Can we have some Gatorade.”

“No you can have some juice.”

I don’t like them having lots of sugar so we mix up juice in a plastic dispenser that holds about two gallons. We cut the juice down with some water. The container has a little nozzle that dispenses the juice. If we don’t leave the lid off to allow air into the container then suction will stop the juice from flowing out.

Prima replied, “I don’t want the juice.”

“But you drink juice all the time”, I argued.

She made a sour face, “That juice doesn’t taste right.”

“I WANT SOME!” insisted Lady Bug.

I remembered something. Another delicacy that we store in our refrigerator is grapes. As I mentioned earlier, grapes carry natural yeasts on their skins. I began to piece together a Perry Mason worthy mystery.

We have… (1) Large container of juice + Grapes stored above it + an unsecured lid + a couple of days = oh boy…

I went to the kitchen and pulled out the juice container. There was a nice light layer of yeast settled on the bottom of the container and the fresh yeasty waft of fermentation.

No wonder they have been little terrors. Toddlers act like drunk people anyway. It’s like putting a microphone near a speaker. That was the confession.

Booze Baby

Poor little guy. All he wanted was apple juice. 

If you have ever accidentally made jailhouse hooch and served it to your children, this post is for you. You’re welcome. If it helps, I did some quick calculation and found that the actual potential alcohol is very low. Not zero but low. We have altered our juice storage policy including time frame. It doesn’t really make me feel better but what can you do?

-Underdaddy to the rescue.