Wallaby

Hopping The State Line

For some reason, society has decided that living life with anything other than two kids and two pets is crazy. Absolutely and certifiably, insane. If you just got married then you get a pass but it is only temporary. Time is tapping a toe and looking at a pocket watch. Get this show on the road.

If you are a little confused over what is expected of you have no fear, Hollywood and magazines have you covered. Or you could ask the internet indirectly by posting a picture and a phrase like “guess who is expecting!!”. If you have one child or less then you will get hundreds of likes. Maybe a few shares. Try it if you already have three kids or more and crickets…

So what is ideal? In an effort to save time I have looked into the matter. The ideal family has the following ingredients; a hard working father in a semi-physical trade that he can provide a good living but is definitely tired at the end of the day, a mother who makes a fuss over the family and is dramatic but she has a heart of gold and manages to cook all meals including school lunches; a son who is the oldest, good at sports, and is protective over his younger sister; a daughter who is the youngest and free spirited, highly pursued by boys but she is too busy with her studies for tomfoolery; a dog who is either a beagle mix or a golden retriever and was originally purchased as the companion to the son but is now best friends with dad; a cat who is fiercely independent but loves rubbing against legs when people are carrying large objects, she belongs to the daughter but you would never know it.

Throw in a white picket fence in a neighborhood with sidewalks and you have yourself a slice of America. Right out the oven.


If you don’t follow the recipe above then expect some of the following questions.

“Are you trying for a boy/girl?”

“When is the next one?”

“Are you ever planning on having kids?”

“Aren’t you going to give them a little brother or sister?”

or in my case…

“Four kids! Jesus. That’s one way to live your life.”

Old ladies in the supermarket are the most brutally honest. I have heard more than one person mention suicide if they had “that many” kids. Suicide! In front of my kids no less. It sounded more like, “Oh my. I’d don’t know what I’d do with that many. Probably jump off a bridge.” But honestly Gladiss, that is suicide.

Why wait lady? If life is that tough already. And thanks for letting my kids think that they are an unbearable burden.

It is just weird.

I have good kids too. They are polite and kind hearted. Definitely not “jump off a bridge” material.


People are no different with animals. The first dog or cat and people are all, “That is so sweet. Animals are such a blessing! Your kids will love it!”

Then hit them up with news about a rabbit or another dog or feeding an abandoned baby squirrel that lost its mother to a freak cat accident.

“Oh my.”

“Are you crazy?”

“What do you feed them?”

So what if I know what shows up when you type “squirrel nipples” into the Google search bar. It was a legit search. Go judge someone else.

I know people who spend more on booze than I do on animals. Or cars. Or fancy dinners. Hell, I spend more on fancy dinners than I do on pets. Which proves you can’t justify one bad habit by comparing it to a worse one but still… There are worse things than being an animal person or a having a large family.

All of the stuff above here was just a setup to say, “Hey we bought another wallaby. Her name is Bindi Lou Who.”

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Now maybe you will feel guilty about giving me grief over it.

Maybe not. Either way.

If you like wallabies and secretly knew that we were crazy enough to get another one, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Rogue Wave

A rogue wave is something that happens when regular waves get on the same wavelength and combine into a freakishly huge wave that crashes down on happy little boats. What makes them even more sinister is the fact that the waves may be travelling just right to cancel one another until that split second where they don’t. Boom. Rogue waves pop out of nowhere and vanish into nothing with only the eyewitness account of the survivors to tell the tale.

About a week ago we decided to get rid of our piano. A few hours on Facebook and someone had laid claim to the giant wooden music box. To be picked up Sunday at 7:00. Sweet. Little did I know, at 7:30, I would be standing in my living room wondering what story the survivors would tell to the rest of the world.

Per Underdaddy standard house cleaning policy: visiting people requires at least three of the rooms to appear clean. We spent some solid prep time getting our mess shoveled into other parts of the house. We folded up Toby’s play pen and set it in the corner of the room while Toby’s sleeping bag hung from the gate between the living room and the kitchen. We also decided that it would make the pickup easier to have the piano scooted out into the middle of the living room.

I don’t know what exactly happens in a child’s brain when their habitat is rearranged but it appears that they lose their freaking minds. They ran in circles in the very spot where the piano had been sitting. It was like the blank space on the floor was a dear friend that had moved away but came back to visit. It is 6:00 and the kids are playing themselves stupid over the rearranged floor space.

The Diapered Dog is whining about something. She whines constantly. Food, water, pee, thought she heard something, wanting to go to bed, nervous that the kids are screaming. Who knows? I just treat her like a newborn and feed her then change her diaper. Given our schedule of 7:00 I do the same for Toby. I realize that I have more animals in diapers than children. It is a strange moment. No time to ponder it because it is 6:30 and the grandparents show up with lasagna.

As they walk in the house I notice gathering clouds on the horizon. This is what we call in the industry “foreshadowing”. The radar on weather.com confirms a popup shower over our part of town. The brave men who are picking up the piano assure me that the rain is no concern. 6:45.

The children eat lasagna and drink Sprite which may not have caffeine but somehow still works like cocaine. All four kids are strung out with marinara stains around their mouths running like hyper zombies at a brain eating festival. Running circles around the piano. Squealing like scared piglets. I’m exhausted just writing about them.

7:00 – the music movers arrive and come into the house to assess the heavy lifting. In my living room are five grown men, two grown women, four small girls, a dog, and a wallaby hanging in a bag. I should mention that the dog is twelve years old. She has a history of a medical condition called “old floppy dog vagina” where she leaks pee in spurts but she also evacuates her body when she is very nervous.

She is very nervous at 7:05. Time to play moral decision… It is raining outside and her diaper is about to erupt into the floor. We have put lots of time and effort into a façade of a clean house. We pull the diaper off the dog and push her out the back door into the rain. See peers at me through her cataracts and the drizzling rain as I shut the door. I turn around and feel the weight of my rogue wave crashing all around us. Dirty lasagna plates, soggy diapers, and the blank stares of confused adults who are unable to hear themselves think.

7:10 and finally the piano is out on the front door stoop. The menfolk are outside the house and I close the door behind us. Beautiful silence. This is where the difference between men and women becomes well defined. The four of us are all fathers to what adds up to about eleven or twelve girls. Men don’t count our exact number of kids we just know one, two, or several. Nothing is mentioned about the madness we all emerged from five seconds beforehand. The biggest discussion is about how we will load the piano and if there are enough straps. Thank you gentlemen for your quiet understanding.

I have no doubt they all got back in the truck and thought out loud, “Holy shit. What was that maelstrom?” There were probably some “Thank God that isn’t my house” thoughts or “Why doesn’t he drink more vodka?” Good question. I have been looking for a new hobby and I have some spare potatoes. Vodka it is!

If you ever try to put together a good show for people and your stage crumbles beneath you, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

I Am A Time Traveler

I may be a time traveler.

Correction. I must be a time traveler.

Not the kind of time traveler that you are accustomed to reading about in an HG Wells novel. There are no Eloi living above ground in silky dresses. My character will never be played by Michael J. Fox riding a skateboard to the tune of Huey Lewis and the News. My shiny Delorian is actually a Honda Odyssey with four kid’s seats, 23 cup holders, and a headrest that is well suited for hanging a diaper bag that a wallaby named Tobias calls ‘Home’. My theme song is the intro to Sponge Bob Squarepants. The only thing that would have made the drive worse would be no AC like the picture above of my ancestry in their stylish Ford.

Today, my fully loaded grocery getter, confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Alien abductions are associated with “lost time” events. Road trips with my group result in “found time” events. The faster I drove the more time I found had passed between each stop. The trip was one we have completed many, many times in the past. All records indicated that this trip should take approximately 5.0 hours from driveway to driveway. We shattered records with an impressive 7.5 hours.

I know this claim is so outrageous that you might not believe me so I have included a play-by-play as evidence.

11:30 am – We departed from a city in the east and were headed west. Since the hour was near lunch the loving grandparents sent us away with Lunchables and snacks for the kids. We even had a box of juices. Supermom and I thought we had better grab some lunch at a drive thru before hitting the interstate. Zaxby’s seemed as good as anything so we zipped around and ordered two snacks to-go. While we waited, Supermom started to distribute Lunchables and noticed that two of them were pizzas and needed to be heated. The minivan is a top-shelf swagger wagon but we did not get the microwave option. She went inside to get a few (4) kids meals because everyone has to have the same meals or a blackhole will form in the universe.

11:50 am – Supermom returns with the meals and Don Threeto pulls off a perfect delay tactic of “I have to pee.” I take her inside to pee and after that ordeal of her explaining to me that she isn’t a boy we loaded up and were on the way again.

12:05 pm – It starts to rain just enough to make me question if automatic wipers are needed. There was not quite enough rain to lube the wipers but enough that I couldn’t see well. We got in a small fight about me hitting the wiper arm manually. This rain continued for the next fifty miles.

12:45 pm – Interstate traffic comes to a complete stop as we see a large gathering of people in the road ahead of us. We pulled out Waze (a super cool app that you really should use on trips, thanks Ben) and we found that there was an accident about 500 feet ahead of us. A truck pulling a large camper had jackknifed and flipped on the side of a mountain. The passengers seemed okay but the camper and truck were in pieces. I hope everyone is okay. Luckily we were close enough behind this accident that we made it around in only 15 minutes.

1:30 pm – I have to pee so we stop. The car could use a full tank of gas so that happens too. Then the three older girls have to pee. I send them into the restroom as a group with instructions to a) not touch anything and b) help each other with hand washing and whatnot. Fifteen minutes later three girls emerge with arms wet from the elbows down. I don’t even care why. We get in the car and start to leave. Lady Bug has a wet diaper so we pull to the side to change it before continuing. Back on the road at 1:50.

2:15 pm – The rain has finally stopped but Lady Bug has started crying. We turn on a movie on the kick-ass DVD player and traffic comes to a halt. Once again, Waze informs us of an accident and we are able to reroute on local roads to bypass. This accident was a large semi-trailer that caught on fire. The cargo burned so hotly that the remains of the truck fit neatly on a flatbed tow truck. We saw this on the exit just past the accident but I am getting ahead of myself.

2:35 pm – We are travelling down a local road in a small town that I haven’t seen before. Supermom is trying to feed Toby (the wallaby for the newcomers). Lady Bug is still crying. Just as we beg her to stop or to tell us what is wrong, she projectile vomits into the back of my seat and her own lap. It looked like her face was pouring out a cup of wet cornmeal. Awesome.

2:40 pm – The clothes have been changed. Wipes are piled with bits of chewed chicken and fries in a Walmart bag. I can smell it in the cloth of the car seat. The three other kids are giving us helpful information like, “She threw up”, “I can smell it”, and “I’m hungry.” Not kidding.

3:00 pm – We are back on the road. And travel uneventfully for an hour before the next round of events.

4:00 pm – Lady Bug starts crying without any clear reason. Supermom knows what is up and starts to climb in the back to be prepared. Sure enough, she rockets the pacifier out of her mouth using only bodily fluids. I keep my eyes on the road but I hear the sound of rocks hitting wet mud. A splat of puke spattering around. We are ten miles from an exit so Supermom gets things cleaned up the best she can. The first exit we come to is busy so we opt to keep going a few miles to one that is more user friendly.

4:30 pm – Lady Bug seems better and is watching a movie. Supermom goes into the gas station I assume looking for a large bag of marijuana but returning instead with Sour Patch Kids and a soft drink.

4:50 pm – We are back on the highway On the home stretch. Lady Bug pukes again and gets her clothes this time. We stop at the first available exit which is an abandoned hotel and a small gas station. This time we change Lady Bug into last night’s pjs and the fast food bag from lunch is over flowing with used wipes. Supermom insists that she needs to wash her hands. I suggest we go down to the next exit because this gas station looks rough. She insists we stay there and she goes inside to wash her hands. She returns to tell me about the barefoot lady who was popping pimples into the sink where she needed to wash her hands. We continued to the next exit.

5:15 pm – We decide that Lady Bug is either car sick or has allergy snot that is making her stomach unstable. She is fun and lively right up to the vomit thing. The joint committee on blind decision parenting decided to try some Benadryl to settle her allergies and maybe help her relax for the rest of the ride. The gas station didn’t have a children’s liquid. I started to crush a pill and mix with some Advil (I know the appropriate dosage) and a car pulled up beside me powdering a pill into a syringe to give to my two year old. I felt like a champ once again. She was given the dose and made a terrible face because of the taste of the Benadryl. I gave her the slightest taste of juice to help her out. How does she repay me? That’s right, by vomiting everything at approximately 5:30 pm while we are once again on the interstate. To which Threeto comments, “I didnt see that coming!” Really???

5:31 pm – We are an hour away from home base. Supermom has cleaned the best she can but the car seat is soaked. Lady bug is floating in and out of consciousness. The other three are asking for constant status updates. Supermom is fighting a migraine and Toby is preparing an impressive wallaby scented present of his own. I don’t even care.

5:32 pm – I vow to the Lord Jesus Christ that this van will not stop until it is in the driveway and I will chisel everyone out of whatever crusty coat of excrement they have created but not a second before. We are a solid hour from the exit.

6:20 pm – Almost there. Everyone is tense from some tense question and answer sessions. We notice a beaten up truck in front of us taunting another vehicle. The driver of the truck pulls along side the other vehicle and he reaches out to punch their side mirror. In the back of the beaten up truck I can see the silhouette of a small child bouncing around, I assume drinking Mountain Dew in their underwear.

6:30 pm – Off the exit.

6:45 pm – Into the driveway. I carry Lady Bug into the house and my shirt is soaked in stomach juices leaving a dark green pattern down my front. I disregard and carry in several loads of bags with a dead look in my eyes.

7:10 – Luggage is inside. Lady Bug springs to life and is running in circles and laughing. No fever. Fantastic. The wallaby is another story. Stress of travel has made him into a squirrel shaped salad shooter. I grab the keys and head back out the door to Walmart to get supplies for the week. I notice that I smell like a cooked ham that got left in a bay window in July.

This is why we need flying cars and the knockout medicine that Dexter uses on his victims. I just want it to travel across the state in piece without need for gloves. Snoop dog doesn’t stock the stick icky that I need to get through that again.

If you ever feel like life is against you on a road trip. This post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Things You Didn’t Know About Wallabies

Imagine that you (or your partner) are nine months pregnant and are starting some serious contractions. The baby is on the way and there is no turning back so you head to the hospital. Then the doctor who greets you takes you into a little room and tells you anything and everything horrible that can happen to an infant. The doctor covers every angle and describes the deaths in detail; choking, SIDS, failure to thrive, falling off of objects, aspirating milk, kidney infections, dietary concerns, and being attacked by ravenous wild animals. Just as you are filled with horrible thoughts and a sense of dread, the baby crowns and is delivered into your arms. The nurses hand you a bag and a care kit and wishes you all the luck in the world but you leave knowing that you are utterly and totally alone. You are convinced that you will sit on the sidelines and be forced to witness a death spiral that is unavoidable. Congratulations my friend, you just bought a wallaby!

Over the next few days we learned several interesting wallaby facts:

  1. THEY WANT TO DIE. Stress triggers panic which causes a release of toxins that can be fatal. This is what I was told so I worry about sneezing, farting, kids screaming, thunder, the dryer, and thinking too loudly. Wallabies reproduce constantly and being sacrificial is a trait that got promoted through evolution although, I’m not sure how. Maybe the wallabies who are willing to die are more passionate lovers too? I’m an engineer not an evolutionary biologist so lets keep moving.
  2. THEY REQUIRE SOME MAINTENANCE. A wallaby develops in his mother’s pouch until he is ready to… not be in his mother’s pouch. During that time he eats. Logic follows that he must also poop and pee right? Where does it go? I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED BECAUSE I DID NOT. You have to rub his butthole with a wet wipe to encourage him to poop and pee. Four to five wipes should get it. It is a strange experience.
  3. MALE WALLABY NAUGHTY PARTS ARE WEIRD. The berries are above the twig. Imagine your own bellybutton and its relation to the rest of your body parts. Got it? Okay now hang your testicles on your bellybutton above the penis that they serve. That is how a Wallaby is assembled but that isn’t the weirdest part. The actual penis is hinged or something. Opposable maybe? I don’t know what to call it but the damn thing has a knuckle. Maybe research will find a use in search and rescue situations for robot penis cams. Dont underestimate nature and how it can help.
  4. THEY BOND SOCIALLY. He thinks we are parents and that the Diapered Dog is a sibling. He tried to climb in her non-existent pouch today and it was the cutest thing ever. The dog doesn’t know how to act.Toby hugs and snuggles against you which is fine if his man parts are not clicking around down there.
  5. CATS HATE WALLABIES. I could go into a little detail here but not many people will care because we all know that cats, while cute and useful outlets for affection, are cold blooded killers who would eat all of us if they were bigger. (See Siegfried and Roy + Tiger Attack) On the plus side, the cat hasn’t slept on Supermom’s face in weeks. She is plotting something sinister.Point to Toby.
  6. THEY ARE FAST AND AWESOME AT HOPPING. We let him free in the living room and he took a minute to warm up before bounding all around in circles. He got braver and faster until he crashed into the playpen and then tried to eat some paper. These things are cute as a button and dumb as a brick. Plus when they scratch their arms it does look like they want to box with someone.
  7. MEN CANT CARRY WALLABIES. The place we bought him supplied us with carrying bags and bottles, etc. There is one special bag that is for carrying him long times in public. It is constructed similar to a baby carrier so I figured, “I got this.” Nope. This thing looks like I stole a dress from Michelle Duggar and sewed the top and bottom together. I expected the back to be bedazzled. It is an awesome design but not in my fashion arsenal.
  8. WALLABIES WIN HEARTS. I wanted to drown him in a bucket or toss him out on the interstate for the first few days. (Not really) It wasn’t his fault it was just the hanging cloud of responsibility and the limits that he represented. Stress and panic were part of the equation but we knew that he needed his new mommy and daddy. I understood the indecision of a young mother and her dumpster baby. Alas, our hearts are too big. It has gotten better. I like him now. The girls love Toby and Don Threeto insists that the pronunciation is actually “TWO-BIAS” and she holds up two fingers to stress her point. She does not like Toby as a nickname. Everyone else wants to see Toby even though I know the unspoken reaction is a mixture of “WTF” and “That is crazy as hell.” They still want to see him and touch his ears. Point awarded to Toby for magically winning hearts.

So If you have temporary buyers remorse sometimes this post is for you. New parenting panic? You know what might help? Buying a Wallaby, I know of a good deal on one. You’re welcome.(Call me!!!)

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

How Not To Check In

On our recent trip to Colorado we broke up the drive out by stopping overnight in Kansas, creepiest state in the US. Seriously, “the hills have eyes” minus “hills”. Everything that isn’t nailed down just blows into Missouri. Kansas blows.
I tried to be understanding. The Great Plains stretch on for days and at the right spot on top of a rolling hill the view is breathtaking. The cattle feedlots are breathtaking too.

But it was at a Best Western hotel that I held my breath voluntarily. The scene was set before we arrived by a pulsing thunderstorm on the horizon. High winds, torrential rain, and cloud to ground lightning hounded us all the way to the hotel lobby. Supermom had arranged reservations about an hour before we arrived and she ran inside to get our room key.
She returned with a baggage cart and a key card to room 229. I parked the car and ran through the rain to the safety of our hotel.
I know the hotel was safe because we checked Kansas state gun laws and found that personal carry is an unspoken requirement in Kansas. I think the actual law states “Persons entering any public or private place of business shall brandish hand powered weaponry to maintain public welfare and general order. Section 4d. Subsection 22.f.IV”
The night manager stared with a glazed look in our general direction and I couldn’t decide if she was looking at us or at a demonic spirit climbing on the ceiling behind us. It is hard to gage where people are looking when their eyes are red and twitchy. We chose to ignore and continued to the elevator with our three wheeled, rolling luggage rack. The silence of midnight and the large tiger picture on the elevator wall fit nicely with the 1980’s horror movie motif.
Room 229 was almost the furthest from the elevator except for Room 230. We swiped the key card and it didn’t work. We turned around and went back down to the lobby. The night manager wobbled out to the front desk and reprogrammed the key. We tried again. More luggage in the strange elevator. More walking down the haunted hallway. More swiping with no green light.

“Are you sure this is the right room?”

“She said 229.”

“I’ll go tell her.”

“Good, Im sitting right here in the hall. Call me if I need to go somewhere else.”

I make the journey solo back to the front desk.

I hand the car to the manager and huff, “Still doesn’t work.”

“What room was it again?”

“You said 229.”

She takes the card and stares at it for a minute. Her eyes roll around a bit searching for consciousness I think.

“Did you say room 228?”

“No… How about this. My reservation is under [Underdaddy] so just look me up in the computer and lets make sure.”

After a little typing on the computer she looks up at me, “They haven’t checked in yet.”

“Then why did you give me a card? I am them.”

She looks at the card and then back at the computer.

“Who checked you in?”

You did, like three minutes ago.”

“Oh. I will just let you in the room. We can fix this in the morning.”

“Is 229 the room number? I don’t want to bust in on Yosemite Sam and get shot.”

She is on the computer again. “229 is [Underdaddy]”

“Sounds good Captain Obvious. Lets go open that door.”

“Okay.”

We both went back to the elevator and I tried to make small talk to avoid her passing out or forgetting who I was.

“What is with the elevator and the weird holes in the frame?”

“We get all kinds of people out from under the elevator.”

WTF?!? I froze momentarily while that thought processed. Images of The Undead crawling through a crack under the elevator made me shiver.

“What?”

“Keys. People lose their keys and phones so I have to get them.”

“Nevermind.”

We walk silently down the hall and I am relieved to see that Supermom is still sitting on the luggage cart and not kidnapped by desert mutants who live in the walls. The keycard works and we thank the manager and hurry into the room.

Deadbolt. Lock. Towel over the crack at the bottom. Large furniture angled into the knob as a doorstop.

I check under the beds and in the closet before laying down for the night. I am keenly aware that screaming only makes other boogey men aware of fresh blood. I felt an eerie sense that we would die in our sleep. I slept like a soldier in a foxhole. A shallow foxhole called Kansas.

The next morning we awoke to sunlight and were surprisingly well rested. Off to Colorado to buy our wallaby. Stay tuned for more.

If you enjoy quality service at creepy motels then this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.