Confessional

Hero’s skeletons.

Disturbia

My children do things that disturb me.  I have worked hard to have them embrace their weirdness. To bolster their self-image and give them a sense that they are free to be who they want to be. I dare say the scheme has worked. They could give two shits what anyone thinks. They laugh at things they find funny and they use the word “fart” freely in public. I’ve instructed them in the fine art of shutdown of a bully through a sharp wit. I’ve heard them tell a boy that they didn’t care what he thought and they are way weirder than he could imagine so back it off. When we get a notice from school that the kids can ignore uniform rules on a Friday, Jane will pack a Lord of the Rings style cloak into her backpack and wear it all day. I caught her wearing a fox tail into school one morning and she was too far away for me to stop her. They have personal confidence. I can probably put this ship on autopilot for a while. I might even need to shame them a little for balance.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Supermom found her old Barbie’s in boxes in the attic. We brought a couple of the boxes home and the girls have been playing with them non-stop. The only problem is how they are playing with the Barbie’s. They think old style Barbie with non-existent underwear is the funniest thing ever. I have found half-naked Barbie in terrible poses all around the house. The kids hide her and then wait for me to find her topless torso in the kitchen utensil drawer while they look on from the other room. I act surprised and they die laughing only to run off and hide another Barbie somewhere else in the house.

Last night the game escalated.

Supermom called out from the bathroom, “You have to come see this.”

I walked into the bathroom and found this on the sink.

Disturb_3

I assume that Barbie crossed Skipper one too many times. Maybe the right-sized Barbie got jealous of the long legs and skinny arms from vintage Barbie. Either way, the kids thought this was really funny too.

What other disturbing things have they been up to? Hmmm. Oh wait I know. They insist on sleeping together every single night. All four of them in a make-shift king bed (two twins pushed together). I laugh a little at the thought of some people who probably had to share a bed thinking about how nice it would be to have their own space while my wolf cubs insist on sleeping like sardines. That isn’t the weird part. In fact, I find their strong urge to co-sleep kind of endearing; as long as they stay out of my bed.

The weird part was two nights ago.

I heard a strange series of thumps and, being a competent parent, I went to investigate. I found Donna Threeto curl up inside a large plastic container that she had placed in her quadrant of the community king bed. I dumped her out of the box and took it away. She was angry. She insisted that she wanted to sleep in a box. Twice she snuck out of the room to get the box and put it back in her bed. I locked it away in the closet. What in the world? Who tries to sleep in a box? The other girls acted like it was the most normal thing ever. This is coming from the same kid who has pondered the tooth fairy and instead of questioning her existence decide to call our bluff by cutting her hair and placing it in a ziplock bag under her pillow. I asked her, “Why did you do this to your hair?”. She replied, “I’m getting a dollar from the hair fairy.” She then stared at me to gauge my response to the idea of a fictional character. Well played Donna.

I didn’t dare leave a dollar for hair. We would all wake up bald when she realized what a goldmine was all around her. Not my head so-much but her sisters.

Also worthy of note. Supermom has embraced the small dog and bought him a sweater. Meet GQ Jasper.

Disturb_4

And Jane is working on a Science Fair project that is centered around swabbing animal spit and watching the bacteria grow. We want to see which animal has the most aggressive mix. Our test subjects are Cat, Dog, Squirrel, Rabbit, Gecko, Horse, Goat, Chicken, Human, and a blank Control sample. Leave a comment to guess which animal was the worst. I’ll share the answer in my next post. The horse is shown as the cover photo to give an idea of what it looks like when animal spit is cultured in a dish.

Disturb_1

This should be one of my kids. I would be so proud. 

Life rolls on here at the Underdaddy house. If you enjoy quirky everyday stories, this post was for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

When September Ends

Picking up where I left off. Last weekend we took an overnight trip to Memphis for food, fun, and music. Memphis has all three of these so the trip was a success. We avoided other things that Memphis has such as aggravated assault and armed robbery. I count that as success also. Thank you, Memphis, for leaving my radio in my car and my driver side window intact.

Here are a few photos from the concert, The Pyramid, and a breakfast pancake worth stabbing a family member over. All you tourists hit places like Beale Street and the Rendezvous but I would encourage you to work in brunch at Automatic Slim. Oh, and dinner at Flight. It was amazeballs. Totes delish. I think I saw an actress from Bridesdmaids too. The one who played the new best friend of the bride (Maya Rudolph).

Bridesmaid

She wasn’t having as good a time because our table was next to hers and we were pretty loud. Or she was having a terrible time with her date. He looked concerned that she was unhappy and she looked unimpressed with life. Maybe she was unimpressed with out discussions about kid vomit and poop? Maybe it wasn’t her but this lady was a reasonable facsimile and I never see famous people so I’m claiming it. Don’t steal my joy. Yeah, the more I look at the photo, it was definitely her.

Concert

We did get to see the Avett Brothers up close. Seth made a run through the crowd and came within fifteen feet of us. He had a thing with Jennifer Carpenter from the TV show Dexter which, by default, makes him one of my favorite members of the band. I don’t know if they worked out or not because he seems a little wholesome and she has a bad-girl streak. Wait, wait… I Googled it. They are married and had a baby boy named Isaac. Congrats!

Slim_Pancake

Here is the aforementioned pancake. I wouldn’t stab anyone over this one actually, it was lemon meringue. But the peanut butter one is another story. After brunch we went to the Bass Pro Shop built inside The Pyramid. For all of the non-southern people and non-Tennessee people, The Pyramid was the product of Memphis embracing the fact that it is located on a major river similar to the Nile and named after a city in Egypt. This effect can also be witnessed at the Memphis Zoo whose entrance looks like something from the Valley of the Kings. The Pyramid is a giant hollow, metal skinned building which once housed a venue for sporting events and concerts but now is host to an outdoor store on steroids. Think if Outdoor Man had a love child with Celebrity Station. Does anyone remember Celebrity Station? That place with arcades and putt-putt and go-carts? Never mind.

PYRAM_1

Giant Ode to Commerce

PYRAM_2

PETA Disclaimer: Only real animals harvested with projectile weapons were used in this exhibit.

I would also like to include some photos of things my children leave in their wake as they move through the river of life. There are on-going disasters, curious relics, and little nuggets of beauty that make it all okay-ish.

Toothbrushing

Total war zone. I don’t think it counts as hygiene at this point. Four days time. How did the green spot even happen?

CreepyAnimal

This was scribbled on a notepad left on my bedside table. It feels like something at the beginning of a horror film.

DEATHY

This happy little note was left in magnets on the pee-pee board we used to incentivise the youngest not to pee in the floor.  

Love_You

If I write a book I think this would be the cover. Maybe the title too. 

Disney is coming soon…. I can only imagine the blog fodder that is coming my way. If anyone among the twelve to fifteen people that read this are associated with Disney please know that I would be more than willing to trade a bang-up review of the Beast Castle dinner for actually getting reservations to eat at the Beast Castle dinner. You don’t even have to make it that special. I will straight up lie if I have to. I know I won’t have to because it is magical and life changing in its breadth and depth. But on the off-chance that the night is less than magical, no one will ever know. Just think about it and let me know. I will be one of a group of eight people who all have the same T-shirt and squinty look of confusion.

If you love trips and kids and any combination thereof, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Hurricane Season

Hurricane Harvey jacked up Texas. Irma pummeled Florida. Jose might smash New York. Yellowstone has earthquake swarms rolling around getting people all worried about a super volcano. Montana is burning to the ground. The sun just launched some solar flares and a G3 magnetic storm. A ship just passed through the Arctic without the help of an ice breaking vessel. HBO still hasn’t offered to bring back Dexter. I got served pulling into my driveway. My kid crop dusted me in Walmart. Plus kids in school are expensive, how do private school families make it work? Selling organs?

Let’s start with Walmart. We had a normal bi-annual lapse in judgement and took all four kids shopping. They reminded us why anxiety medications exist. The highlight was when Prima farted in the snack aisle and I thought she crapped her pants. The smell crept up and slapped me in the face. I was tired and annoyed by that point in our trip and I exclaimed out loud, with very little forethought, “Jesus, who just shit their pants?” I caught side-eye from a passing family and an arm punch from my wife. They were judging me but they didn’t have to bear the smell. I was there. It was straight toxic fumes off a hot turd nugget. Poo particles lingered in my nose. Offensive. I can’t believe the kids were still picking snacks off the shelf and talking about which ones tasted better. I was trying to maintain my balance and avoid vomiting. Those kids should work in the medical field or the sanitation industry.

Whats next? Oh yeah.

I realized that we need to move. I’m driving home the other day and there are several kids playing basketball in the street in front of my house. Not unusually because we live on a cove. As my car approached this one kid turns to face me and starts making weird symbols with his hands. I had the benefit of a high class public education so I know some gang signs when I see them. I believe the term when I was in school was “stacking”. I also remember that kids who learned about throwing gang signs would play around with it and try to act cool in front of their friends. I am certain that this kid was doing the same thing – just trying to be cool for his friends. The sad part is that he was maybe ten years old. After I pulled into my driveway I asked him if he was making gang signs with his hands. He told me he just felt like holding them that way. His friends giggled and didn’t make eye contact. Maybe I was wrong and he really did have awkward hand positions. I hate assuming the worst but being a parent makes me a cautious cynic.

A couple of days after my encounter with unconventional sign language we decided to go out and ride bikes as a family. Prima, who has no sense of how she is perceived, was racing in circles on her pink bike while wearing a bright unicorn helmet. Two of the neighborhood boys were playing basketball and she kept riding through the middle of their game. Each pass she would try to strike up a conversation. Only it didn’t sound like that was her goal. She never meets a stranger and says exactly what she is thinking. She doesn’t adjust her tone for anyone and often sounds like an asshole. One of the boys had removed his sandals and left them laying in the road.

She told the boys, “Whose shoes are in the road? You better move them before they get run over.” She stared directly at them with wide eyes and an emotionless face. She might as well have been Pennywise the Clown asking if they wanted to play a game. It sounded like, “Move your shoes asshole before I move them for you.” Playful in that aggressive kind of style. I would say that she will catch a punch one day but she is so much taller than kids her age that I bet she gets away with it for a while. Until middle school anyway.

Speaking of school, I don’t know if she will make it to middle school in the public system. We may have to home school. The totally free public school is expensive. I have tried to make a mental note of all the things we buy or assist with or fund-raise for. I understand the causes on an individual level but collectively, with four children, it all gets to be a lot. Below are the extra-curricular things and my notes on them:

 

T-Shirts – Raising money for the playground. Always the playground.

Jackets – I like the jackets. No negativity with this one. They have monogrammed names on the back.

Smart Cards -I always pay and never remember to use the damn thing. Mine is an idiot card.

Uniform Charity Extortion – This one is interesting. If the students donate to a specific charity then they are allowed to deviate from system-wide uniform standards on Fridays. Lesson => Money creates different rules. I’m not sure how I feel because it is a real-life lesson that holds true. I bribe them with money all the time. And soda. I’m the worst.

Charity Snacks – Carrying snacks to a nearby school that is also public but somehow has a high ratio of lower income bracket students?

Book Club – Fully support this one. They need a book writing club. Story club.

Book Fair – On the fence about this one. It is a sale of books inside of the library. They are selling books in a huge room dedicated to free books. Anyone? No one? Carry on.

Shoe Box Dioramas – We always get reminded of these projects the night before and spend fifty dollars at Walmart for them to make something that looks like we spent fifty cents. I refuse to do projects because I have enough projects of my own.

Ice Cream Money – Why not? We can’t send cupcakes or sugary snacks for birthday celebrations. Damn healthy rules. Thanks Mrs. Obama.

Math-A-Thons – Money for solving math problems. Again, this mirrors life so probably is fine.

Dance-A-Thons – Money for physical exertion. I need someone to pay me to move around more.

Yearbooks – They don’t even make them hardbacked anymore. The last set that came home looked like the recipe books that church ladies put together to sell at the bazaar. And do kids even sign each other’s yearbooks anymore? I remember all the fun things that I used to write. Stay cool.   I signed your crack.    I’ve waited all year to disclose my undying love and here we are at the edge of summer so maybe we will be in the same class next year and I can continue to choke down these feelings.)

Butterbraids — Fund raiser where parents have to figure out the logistics of delivering frozen treats.

Picture Day – Two to three times in a year; Uniforms, Casual Clothes, Class Photos. I enjoy seeing how the children will find new ways to ruin the world’s easiest photo shoot.

Bake Sales – I love cake. These are easy because you can buy some cookies at Walmart, throw them on a paper plate, and wrap them with Saran Wrap. Boom. Good to go.

Spirit Night – I felt misled. This was not about whiskey as I had hoped.

Baseball Nights – Joining the great American pastime. If only my kids cared about Baseball. They have dollar beer sometimes which could be problematic.

Ads for the Yearbook – Show how much you love your child by buying a second picture with a personalized message. If the printing is sponsored by ad sales, can we at least have hardback editions? This plastic spiral bound this is bothering me.

Christmas Toy Boxes – One year we shipped these toy boxes over seas. I had real distress over what would be appropriate to put in the box. I didn’t want to make assumptions. Do they need batteries and flashlights or hand sanitizer? Or candy? Or C vitamins to prevent blindness like that Sally Struthers commercial? It is a lot or pressure trying to be the light of the free world. Do you put too much stuff and then another kid with a shitty box feels cheated by the inconsistencies of America?


We have parent-teacher conference tomorrow and those are always fun. They give us unrealistic suggestions like setting aside quiet study areas and practicing spelling words. That is some only-child advice. Reality at our house is different. There are six of us trying to watch Henry Danger in the living room over a plate of spaghetti in our laps while we keep the dog away from our garlic bread. Quiet isn’t going to happen. We do practice spelling words though -when they actually bring the list home. Children are terrible students sometimes.

I don’t know if any of this was coherent or worth reading but I feel better. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

A Gift

I often get the question, “Do your kids ever read your blogs?”

Which I answer, “No.”

However, I know that one day they will. That is the whole point. To create a record of all of our craziness and random life events that they can look back on and laugh. That is also why I try to create nicknames and spread the love on embarrassing stories. I hope the stories will sneak past their teenage years. Past the unforgiving eyes of bitter tweens who may use the information for harm. I also hope that they are strong enough to ignore lesser mortals and their insults.

Even outside of this blog, I know my kids will share embarrassing truths with their friends and will face a situation where their delicate secrets get exposed. It happens. Friendships change and relationships end. Things you share in confidence don’t always remain that way. Write that down.

If I have learned something from writing my life stories for other people to read, it is this… Everyone has a similar life experience with someone else. In other words, if something has happened to you then that same something has probably happened to someone else. I can’t tell you how many of my stories that I thought were unique had a followup from a reader who said, “ME TOO!”

As adults we don’t share. We try to maintain decorum and civility. We try to act like we have things figured out. That life is going smoothly according to plan. It never is. Life doesn’t conform to plans. I try to keep the transparency pretty high for my kids. I figure that if I am going to be a mediocre parent then the least I can do is not lie to them.

We had a talk the other night about one of the kids and a funny poop accident. I could tell they were a little embarrassed so I let them in on a secret.

UD: You don’t have to be embarrassed about potty accidents.

Kid: I don’t?

UD: No. Don’t take that as an excuse to start crapping your pants but accidents happen.

Kid: Have they ever happened to you?

UD: Uhhh. Well… Sure. They happen to everybody. If you live long enough I guarantee that you will ruin at least one pair of perfectly good underwear.

Kid: *laughs* Tell me about it happening to you!

I sat for a moment frozen in fear. I have had no hesitation sharing their stories but I realized I didn’t want to tell them my own. What kind of role model is that? Some of their harshest stories are about poop-gone-wrong so I searched my soul and offered up a couple of tales.

UD: I can tell you that there were two times in my life when a fart lied to me.

Kids: *laughs hysterically*

I then shared the following accounts…

The first one that I can remember was during bath time with my cousin. I couldn’t have been more than three. I remember my cousin making bubbles in the bathtub using his mysterious internal gas powers.  I also remember my mother walking into the bathroom and spotting a suspicious looking floating object and having a mild “freak-out”. How to get this turd from tub to toilet was an interesting problem. The solution to this quandary was scooping handfuls of water out of the tub and into the air towards the toilet. Imagine trying to pick up a boat by scooping the water around the boat. Exactly like that but with a turd. I suppose the approach worked because I don’t remember anything after that except being blamed for the problem in the first place. That whole memory is fuzzy.

I also remember an incident from kindergarten. I was probably five. This one was not so much of an accident as much as it was a straight-up pants-shitting. It was nap time and I was drifting in and out of consciousness when suddenly I realized something wasn’t right. My body had bypassed all decision making processes and while I was dreaming, it shit in my pants. Adrenaline rushed into my veins and flooded my mind with one overwhelming feeling… Oh shit. Literally. I raised my hand and requested a trip to the restroom. I was told to wait a few minutes and we would go as a class. Fantastic. I didn’t have that kind of time but what else could I do? I waited. Play it off. Keep a poker face.

Fifty hours later (ten minutes) it was time for class potty break. Kindergarten is the worst kind of place to go to the bathroom. It is like an insane asylum. Other kids would peek through the cracks in the stall and try to hold a conversation. Not the best scenario for trying to perform damage control on what is left of your wardrobe. I won’t elaborate details but rest assured the logistics of the kindergarten bathroom were not suitable for me to discreetly correct the problem. I spent the rest of the day self-aware of my personal space and tried to minimize all movements. It was traumatizing. Like a kernel of popcorn in your teeth or a small rock between your toes when you are wearing boots, the feeling is unique and unmistakable. Somehow, I made it through the day and the ride home without drawing the attention of any of my soulless sociopathic five-year-old peer group. I rushed to the bathroom to try and re-handle the problem on my home turf. I recalled the process my mother used to clean my baby-sister’s underwear whenever she had an accident; wash them out in the toilet. Think through the steps. No mistakes. I knew that the water needed to be moving to wash the debris from the soiled cotton. No problem. I had seen it done several times before. Go time.

This is one of those memories that are burned extra bright.

I deftly pulled the handled to unleash the torrent of water and held the underwear against the raging stream. I remember thinking, “This is going to work!” The water promptly snatched the underwear out of my hand and sucked them down the toilet. I stood staring at the gurgling whirlpool with wet hands and wide eyes. Right on queue my mother, walking down the hall, asks, “What are you doing in there?”

Panic.

“Nothing…”

Poor planning. I didn’t have any fresh fruit-of-the-looms. I should have gotten some before attempting triage. Idiot! Cut me some slack. I was five. From there I remember going commando and acting surprised at my amazing disappearing underwear.

Luckily that is the last incident I remember as a young child. The next closest call was at a church Christmas dinner. We went to a Methodist church and there was food which meant it was a Wednesday. Santa was a surprise guest and everyone lined up to sit in his lap. I had just eaten an after dinner peppermint. The semi-chemy kind that had been sitting in the glass bowl in the lobby since Easter. I wasn’t aware that a sudden intake of sugar is sometimes a strong stimulant. Instant gut bomb. I didn’t want to leave the Santa line but I broke out in cold sweats and had to admit defeat. Thanks to all that is holy, I didn’t shit in Santa’s lap. That would’ve been a disaster. The little helper elf photographer would have captured the moment for eternity. For all that has gone wrong in my life, that moment landed in my favor. What is church for if not for small miracles, right?

So there you go. To my future kids. Here are a few tales of personal shame that you can enjoy. You’re welcome. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

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.