Thursday, March 31, 2016

Girls Are Gross

For all the shame brought on boys for being gross, I think it's time we shed the light on girls.  They're disgusting.  Maybe even more so then boys.  And thank god, because sometimes they make me look good.

Everything the girls get baths or showers.  It's a rotating privilege for who gets to share the tub with Lorelei each night.  Earlier this week it was Arianna's turn.  So she's sitting cross leg on one end while Lorelei is in her seat at the other.  I'm bent over the tub, scrubbing the baby when Arianna suddenly stands up in the water, aims her cheeks at me and let's a fart out right in my face.  Yes!  The same girl who had to take off the Disney princess dress just to get into said tub, is now releasing flatulence directly in to my mouth.  So classy.  I give her the stare. .. because there is a specific stare that one gives when this exact scenario plays out.

"What?" she replies, "I didn't want to do that in the baby's clean bath water."

It sounds considerate on the service. ... but I could tell by the smirk that she knew exactly what she had just done.  Watch out sweet little girl.  You've just signaled that the game is one. And perhaps the only thing grosser then little girls. ... are their fathers.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

And Then There Was Doug

We've clearly got issues.  On top of four children we are now up to two dogs, two cats and a beta fish who may or may not have recently suffered a stroke but none of us want to flush him yet because he still flops around when we put food in his tank.  We seem to have this "more the merrier" feeling about life and at some point we need to stop. ... and I thought we had. Despite jokes about going for a fifth (my mother keeps telling us we can still write off one more on taxes), we're convinced that we've reached the stopping point with children.  As for cats, I'm already convinced we have two too many and as for dogs, there's just to many paws, tails and shit to pick up in the backyard.  But there, here comes Doug.

Yesterday on the way to school, the girls came across a vibrant little Aussie Shepherd mix who had clearly lost his way.  He was dirty and matted, but very sweet.  He came with a collar and we determined he was micro chipped, but here's the thing:  collar with out a tag is useless.  Even more useless?  A micro chip that no one registered. ... what the hell is the point of that?!  Gina was going to take him to the shelter, but the shelter said they'll hold him for 2 weeks and then, if not adopted, he may be euthanized.  Here's the truth, my wife is a softy.  Like melted pudding in the desert soft.  All she heard was "we're gonna kill the bastard" and she couldn't bring herself to leave him at the shelter. 

Instead they brought him home, lit up the community facebook pages with pictures to try and find the owners and even had me canvas a four mile stretch yesterday hoping someone driving around looking for him would spot us.  So far, we're striking out.  I'm concerned because the longer he stays with us, the more attached we'll all get (let's face it, we're all soft) and if we never find his family then he'll probably become part of ours.  He fit in nice with the other mongrels, the girls taught him to shake paws, and now we've already been calling him Doug. .. in less then 24 hours.  See my concern?

Today the girls are taking out their posters (see below for the dead ringer likenesses) and we're hoping for the best.  But don't be surprised if future posts refer to three wagging tails instead of the usual two. .. I know I wouldn't be.

One of these doesn't belong here. ... yet.
You better only call if he's yours!
We "fawnd" a boy dog. ... with a detached head.

We may have found a three legged rabbit as well. ... or just a blue flower

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Three Graces

One of my sister-in-laws is an extraordinary artist.  Over the years you've been reading this blog I've shared a handful of examples, so you may already know this.  You see, she's made a habit of using my children as sources for quite a few of her pieces.  I'm always in awe of how brilliantly she captures them and how intriguing it is to see their essence reflected through her unique eye.  However, a few weeks ago, she contacted Gina and I to seek permission to start a new piece.  My first reaction found it odd, as she'd never reached out to ask permission to paint my children before (and I never thought she would need to, either).  But when she revealed the image she wished to paint it became clear why she was cautious to proceed. 

Every Wednesday, Gina goes to Orange County to teach several of her yoga classes, and she has the kids stay at my in-laws while she's doing so.  It's a weekly ritual and all parties lend a hand.  On these nights, just before Gina picks them back up, the girls all take a shower upstairs and wash their hair. My in-laws have a beautiful walk-in stone shower with exceptional lighting and colors.  It was this image that my sister-in-law wanted to paint, but given the nature of the girls being exposed, she didn't want to cross any boundaries.  I appreciate that.  I'm also sad that this is what the world is now.  You can see the finished image below.  It's not unlike hundreds of masterpieces hanging on the walls of the Louvre or the Academia d'elle Arte.  It captures beauty, and warmth.  It takes you to a place of wonder and familiarity.  It exudes love and youth, joy and mystery.  But we now have to post trepidatiously.  We have to wonder if some creep behind a screen sees something more, something sinister, something that a decent person could not imagine.  For that I appreciate my sister-in-law's concern. I take comfort in her desire to protect my children in spite of the artists draw inside her that yearns to create a magical image.  And because of that, I trusted that she would take care with my children.  That she wouldn't allow something unintended to emerge.  That she would create something so brilliantly that one could not see anything but the intended beauty and warmth. And personally, I believe she did.  I share with you here, The Three Graces by Alkisti Richards

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sunday Brunch with an ear infection. ... make it a double

I'm a week late in writing this.  I had all intentions of sharing, but perhaps it took me this long just to get over the brunch that was never meant to be.

After several days of dealing with a baby with bronchitis, we had a particularly rough Saturday night.  Simultaneously we were dealing with a 72 hour shutdown of the major freeway in our area so we were, literally, cut off from civilization. ... sort of; we still had access to a local brunch.  So when we woke up Sunday (who are we kidding, we'd never fallen asleep) sitting outside on a particularly warm February morning and enjoying a bottomless buffet with bottomless champagne sounded truly amazing.  They have outdoor seating and with the rest of the world stuck on the other side of the closure, we would have the place to ourselves and the kids could run around to their hearts content.

Truth is, it started out just as we'd hoped.  Second group in the restaurant, whole patio to ourselves (girls were even allowed to take their own table by the lake) and mamosa's were served before we'd even gotten fresh silverware.  I took the kids and loaded their plates, sat across from my wife and we share a smile. ... a very brief smile.  Moments later Rosaline came up crying that her ear "itched".  Her cry turned to a scream and her "itch" turned to a "pain" and it was pretty obvious that something truly wrong was going on.

Check please.

With that, brunch was over.  The quickest and least satisfying hundred dollars I've ever spent.  With in the hour Gina was in urgent care with Roz and the other girls and I decided to get the oil changed around the corner (because urgent care was much more popular then brunch so there was no parking).  Turns out she had not a single, but a double ear infection.  So the remainder of our day was spent trying to find a pharmacy located in the lock down zone so we could get her medicated and turn off the screams coming from the back of the car.

Not exactly the Sunday we'd envisioned. ... and we were still very hungry come Monday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Low Bar

This weekend began the festival season for Gina, so while she got home late at night, she was gone just as early the following day.  It was a good trial run for Lorelei, this being her first festival season stuck at home with me and the big three.  Nothing of consequence happened in Gina's absence, so I don't have any great stories to tell.  This is more of an OpEd piece today.

On Saturday we attended a birthday party for some friends and as I walked in the door I heard the familiar "father of the year right there" comment.  Now, they're newer friends of ours, so this is really the first time they've seen me go solo for a weekend with the four tote heads in tow; but I think that makes it even more disheartening.  Every time Gina's gone and I'm alone with the kids, someone thinks that's amazing, or odd. ... or just wrong.  I mean, how can a father possibly take care of four children under 7 for a whole weekend?  That's just cray-cray!  You'd have to be a parent or something to survive that!!!

Why is the expectation so low for dads?  Why is it that something my wife does every single day blows the minds of others when I do it for single weekend?  Add in that my wife has to juggle school and shopping and gymnastics and soccer and play dates and PTA meetings, doctors visits and yoga classes and dentist trips.  I slept in (relative to my normal 4:30 wake up), turned on a tv, scrambled some eggs and left for a 12:30 party with 4 very mismatch dressed kids in pretty crappily done pony tails. I didn't even wrap the present - Gina did that earlier in the week.  Father of the year?!!  That's just sad that these efforts would even qualify me for a nomination! 

But it's this dual expectation that we set in parenting.  We're amazed if a father shows up to the recital (oh what a doting dad with his camera); and then we're expecting that the mother to show up to rehearsals, make the stupid outfit, practice with the kid at home and still find time to change out of her yoga pants for the performance. How is that fair?  How is that balanced parenting? 

Obviously with the stay at home mom angle there is a little more expectation.  I work all week so my wife can have more time to manage some of the day to day efforts that keep our family running.  But when I'm not working, does that suddenly mean expectations for her cease too?  I'm a dad.  I should not be congratulated and praised for doing my job.  But that's how it seems to be looked at by the masses.  I've said it before, but I think we need higher expectations.  Partners are partners.  I don't think dads should be considered minority shareholders anymore.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Dangers of Second Hand Whale

Subtitled: My Daughters Toys May Be A Bad Influence.
Sub-subtitled: My Children's Plush Pushers.

We have four children, that you know already.  But when you have a four children, you also lose a little bit of your sense of pride.  Suddenly, you're willing to take anything anyone is willing to give, loan or throw away.  You want some old clothes?  Yes please!  You want a kids drawing table missing one leg? Why thank you very much.  Did you catch that sofa on the side of the intersate?  Sure did, honey - I'll take a U at the next light!

Fortunately, people seem to love us (and by us, I mean my children. ... as for me, I'm tolerated), so there is no shortage of hand-me-downs clothes and second generation toys to enjoy.  One of the people that I know (kept non-descript for obvious reasons) has been kind enough to share with us things their 13-year-old granddaughter no longer has interest in.  To date it's been mostly clothes and accessories, but this last week was a sack full of old stuffed animals. 

The girls were over the moon, so this weekend we dumped the contents out and held a draft, where each of them took turns picking from the lot until they were all gone.  One of the ones that Genevieve was particularly excited about was a medium sized Orca whale.  Your opinions on Blackfish aside, there's not much cuter then a smiling killer whale stuffed animal.  Her only concern was a small tear in the mouth, but Gina was quick to tell her that the next available appointment for surgery in the laundry room would fix her new aquatic friend right up.

However, last night as I was tucking them in, there was more to be concerned about.

"Daddy," she said.  "I think this whale is supposed to talk."

I advised her that was unlikely, but she was adamant.

"There's a battery pack inside his mouth," she persisted.

I took the doll and sure enough, when I squeezed it I could feel a hard, rectangle like shape just under the eyes.  To her horror I jammed my fingers down the rip in it's mouth and fished around until I could feel the hard plastic piece.  Even before I pulled it all the way out, I could feel the metal gear, the press lever.  And as it came out I was holding a fairly new Bic lighter in my hand.  Turns out we found out where the previous teenage owner was keeping a portion of her stash.  Needless to say, after the girls went to sleep, I went back through and did a pat down on all of their "new" toys to make sure what ever the lighter was intended for was not hiding elsewhere in my childrens' rooms. 

It was not.  Sadly.

So now comes the uncomfortable conversation with the gift giver.

"So. .... your granddaughter. .... she might want to buy a Zippo next time."

Friday, January 29, 2016


The twins had a very special day today - the 100th day of school.  Their kindergarten does something very cute at this milestone; they have all the students dress up as though they were 100 years old.  It's quite adorable. ... and I'm really not a fan of saying "adorable". ... ever.