No thank you.

April 9, 2008

Hey. There is (finally, I know) a new essay over at JPChambers.com! Go! Read! Comment!

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oblivious

August 27, 2007

I had to make a trip to the supermarket today and took my 4 year-old with me. He always likes to ride in those huge kid-friendly carts when we go there. You know the carts I’m talking about? They have a slightly smaller than normal shopping cart attached to the rear of a plastic car or truck that is big enough for 2 kids to sit in. They have little seat belts and annoying horns and fake steering wheels. Thank God, they’re fake. These contraptions are so large and difficult to maneuver as it is that the only way to make it worse would be to let pre-school aged kids steer them. If normal grocery carts are regular cars, these things are stretch limos. So, we grab our purple stretch limo and do our shopping.

When we are ready to check out, I get in line behind a Deceptively Normal Looking Young Woman. She stands directly in front of the cashier with her cart behind her. I have to be behind my cart in order to reach the stuff I’m buying because the kid car thing is too huge to reach over. So it lines up like this: her, her cart, my cart and then me. I can’t reach the belt to unload my stuff, so I just wait for the woman to realize that she needs to move her cart, which is already unloaded. She doesn’t. The cashier scans the Deceptively Normal Looking Young Woman’s groceries, the D.N.L.Y.W. MOVES TO THE END OF THE CASHIER STAND TO BAG UP HER STUFF and leaves her cart right in my way.

I feel my annoyance begin to burn inside of me.

I wait until she moves back in front of her cart and then bump it. Just a little.

“Oh, sorry!” I say. “Couldn’t see the end, there. Sorry. Couldn’t see.”

“That’s O.K.” she replies, still not moving her cart or sensing any possible reason why she should. I thought that maybe she was afraid of me hitting her heels with my cart and that was why she kept her cart in between us, sort of as protection, but then she moved back to the end of the stand to bag some more, leaving her cart right in the way.

Now, my annoyance is a full burn. The grocery belt is empty and I still can’t reach to put my stuff up there. I don’t like grocery shopping in the first place and I really hate checking out. I want to leave! My kid isn’t going to be good forever. At some point, he will see the entire rack of chocolate and chewing gum that is easily within his reach. I NEED TO MOVE. What is this woman thinking? Anything at all? That’s it. I mutter under my breath. I place both hands on the handle of my cart, make sure Bud (4 year-old) is sitting safely, look casually to my left and BUMP. I hit her again. Harder this time.

“Oh, sorry again!” I say. “I’m really sorry. Trying to reach … um … can’t see … sorry … really sorry … he he … whoops.”

“That’s O.K.” she said, still not moving her cart or sensing any possible reason why she should.

Unbelievable. How could she be so oblivious? Why wasn’t she run over by a car in the parking lot when she was walking in here? How did she find the door to the store? How on earth does she have any money to buy things with? This person, this D.N.L.Y.W. is either so self-centered that she doesn’t notice anything around her that doesn’t affect her directly, or she is so unaware of her surroundings that she shouldn’t be allowed out or she did it on purpose and she’s just a jerk. No matter what, I don’t need the hassle. Next time, I’m getting in front of her and pulling my cart through backwards, so she’ll have to deal with Bud. Face to face. And he’ll be armed with chocolate.

gum, socks, etc.

June 9, 2007

Did you know that a pack of gum can set off the metal detector at airport security stations? I didn’t, until last weekend. The glasses I was wearing didn’t set it off and neither did my belt. It was the gum and the security guy even demonstrated it for me.

If you ever need to buy socks, take note of those with “moisture-wicking” properties. I always thought (and still do, actually) that any absorbent fabric would wick moisture away from your skin, but sock companies want you to think that only those labeled as such can do the job. Frankly, I’m not sure what the big deal is, since my socks are usually locked up inside my shoes, so it’s not like they can take any moisture away and dispose of it anyway.

I’m not sure why, but the previous paragraph has been on my mind for a week. Now I can let it go.

Yesterday, the temperature here reached between 95 and 100 degrees (that’s 35 – 37.778 for you Celsius people). That’s not good news for a guy like me who likes any temperature up to about 80 (26.667 C). I suppose if I lived in a Celsius using country, I could just go ahead and round it up to 27, which would be 80.6 F, but NO HIGHER.

Little man

May 19, 2007

My four-year-old son is getting to the point where he wants to help me do everything, so I have begun letting him take our Schnauzer (who I call “Schnozzie” due to her penchant for nudging things with her nose) out for her afternoon walk to the end of our backyard. I won’t get too graphic here, but her afternoon walk is when she does her “number 2”. She’s on a schedule. It’s very important to me that she stay on her schedule, since that frees up me up from having to constantly watch her and ask her over and over again if she has to go out. No one likes to have their day revolve around what might be coming out of a dog’s butt. So the point is that the afternoon walk is a big responsibility and is key to my daily sanity.

I, in my wisdom, have assigned this duty to a pre-schooler.

Since it’s so important to me that the Schnozz stay on her schedule, I have implemented a daily debriefing session with the four-year-old (Bud) immediately upon his completing of his dog walking duties. Here’s an example:

ME: How’d it go?
BUD: She did only one thing.
ME: Was it poop?
BUD: Yes. And pee.
ME: Wait a minute. Did she only do one thing, or did she do both things?
BUD: Only pee.
ME: She didn’t poop?
BUD: Yes.
ME: Start over. Did she pee?
BUD: Yes.
ME: Did she poop?
BUD: Yes.
ME: Ok. Thank you. Good job.
BUD: She only pooped.
ME: C’mon Dude! Did she pee or poop? Which was it?
BUD: Only poop.
ME: Are you sure? Only poop?
BUD: Yes. Only poop.
ME: Only poop.
BUD: Only poop.
ME: Thank you.
BUD: And she peed a lot!

The debriefing lasts twice as long as the dog’s walk and at the end of it, I’m never quite sure if the walk was successful or not. Bud, on the other hand, feels very good about himself and his ability to do a “grown-up” job and feels that he is really helping me out. So I let him continue to do the job in the hope that, someday, he actually will.

So S.A.H.D.

January 2, 2007

Monday, June 12, 2006

So S.A.H.D.

The following is a message I posted on a message board in response to
a debate/argument some people were having about stay-home parents and
kids and all kinds of touchy subjects. It got a pretty good reaction over there, so
I thought I might share it over here. Feel free to let me know what you think, even if
you hate it.
:0)

I’m a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD – and I don’t like that acronym one bit).
I freely admit that I’ve lost my mind. Actually, I turned my mind over to
the authorities when we made the decision that I was to quit my job and
spend all my time with pre-schoolers. I thought my mind was possibly
defective and wanted to get it fixed.

no luck. out of warranty.

So, I mindlessly trudged on. I truly do appreciate that I get to have a hug
from my kids when they wake up, hear them say, “Good morning, Daddy”
and then tell them to go back upstairs and brush their teeth. I don’t look
back wistfully at my former job and wonder what it would be like if I
hadn’t given it up. I do sometimes think of the boat I could buy with all
that extra money, but otherwise it’s best if I just realize how lucky I am
to be in this situation.

It can be hard and some days it takes quite a bit of effort to stay grounded
and centered and not get frustrated. I mean, just because I chose to be
a stay-home parent, that doesn’t mean my kids have suddenly become
the Brady kids, forming singing groups and performing in talent shows
wearing matching outfits. They’re still kids. I’ve been doing this for
five years now and I STILL have days where I wander the halls in
confusion muttering, “What the hell is going on around here? Where am
I?”

Bored? Sure they get bored. I have a 13 year old who can not sit still
for the TWO MINUTES between the time she’s ready for the bus and
the time the bus actually arrives. She fills those two minutes telling anyone
within earshot how bored she is. That back to school commercial with the
guy in Staples – I’ve done that. I re-enacted that commercial in the
Staples store. It went really well until I crashed my shopping cart into
another guy doing the SAME EXACT THING.

Being a stay-home parent is truly a blessing, but it is still really hard to
spend your entire day, seven days a week, with kids. Parents have to
find a way to be grown-ups from time to time. A supportive spouse makes
it much, much easier to handle. I am in awe of those single parents who
are taking care of everything solo. I don’t know how they do it and they
have my respect.

Some stay-home parents miss the working world and feel like they’ve
sabotaged their career and maybe they have. But the other day, my
son brought home from school a paper about what he wants to be when
he grows up. The paper said, “Fireman”. I asked him, “So, you really want
to be a fireman, huh? That’s pretty cool.”
He said, “Not really. They made me pick from a list.”
I asked, “Well, what do you really want to be?”

“A regular dad, like you”, he said.

That’s enough for me.