Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Lamest Post Thus Far

Yeah, yeah, I'm late in posting. The reason? It takes time to carefully craft a post as lame-o as this one. Good pics, but wow. Big bag o' nothing today. Big bag o' nothing. Even Jack is charity-smiling for me (see above). Sheesh. Continue at your own risk.

This weekend I was reminded that there's no deep, dark, so-black-it-could-be-navy funk that a Rx of church, family time, naps, Chuy's, Led Zeppelin and Jerry Jeff Walker can't defunkify.

I had planned to do some topic cleanup today, since I haven't written about our microtrip to Dallas or our first experience with the lovely and tattooed denizens of the local pool.

No. Forget that. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, I now give you the pictorial equivalent of 2,000 words. Finished already?! Wow, you must be a speedreader or something! OK, now for some nonsensical thoughts:

I love watching Jack wave at complete strangers, or good friends, or pretty much anything really. The increased interaction with his environment is fun to see. It's cool to know there's a kind little soul behind those 28 inch eyelashes that just wants to say "howdy." To everyone. There's a lesson in innocence (and humanity) in there somewhere.

OK, I lied, one pool story*: I wonder at the morality of slapping a "mom" that repeatedly refers to her two 8ish year old boys as "y'all f***ing motherf***ers." Some folks could use a good stiff slap. And then there are those who are just begging for one. I read somewhere that once you become a mother, that you become the mother of all children. I think the same can be true for fathers. I cringe at what else those two little boys have seen. And what they will see. And I have in me the outrage of all fathers.

So check out Her Majesty and the Captain at Galveston! I wish this picture captured the smell of the bait buckets sitting in the sun. As you can see, even el Capitan's hat wilted from the heat. Hey, I just noticed that we accidentally photographed the Hall of Doom in the background! Now that is crazy. Good thing we didn't hang around.

You guys watch yourselves down there. I think I saw Black Manta and Lex Luthor at the Shell station on Broadway and 51st.

*Your admission will be refunded immediately. Ask your server.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Passing Class

Celebrating Lack of Responsibility
The crew has had a great long weekend. I'm watching Jack push his high chair into the kitchen (galley) island over and over. Bang. Bang. Bang. Whatever. Bang. As long as he's happy. Bang.

Gringos Don't "Do" Siestas.
Saturday we had a little picnic down at Galveston. It was a fine day, laid back and sunny and we destroyed the curried chicken salad like... OK, since I'm sort of on vacation, I can't locate an appropriate metaphor. Make your own. Themes to include: deliciousness, warfare, extreme hunger, maybe ravenous animals and/or castaways, etc. I trust you guys. And please share if you cook up a really nice one. One odd thing about the island - it eerily reminds one of early spring, since most of the non-palm trees are dead, I suppose from all the salt in Ike's surge. I can also tell you that we were the only fools that didn't take a siesta after eating like every other sane human being did. Have I mentioned that I LOVE AND APPROVE OF "siesta" countries? Mexico. Greece. Spain. Italy. Those folks have this whole living thing down pat. GDP? Not so much. But you can't have everything.

Special Price for You Today My Friend: Almost Free
Like the the wee little mercenaries we are, we sailed HMS Tahoe over to do some opportunistic recession shopping today. Jack made sure to wave, smile, laugh and generally ingratiate himself to every single person we met. He's pretty much an emissary of ebullience, a general of geniality, a missionary of mirth; he spreads happiness like an itchy rash. Someone stop me. We even snuck (sneaked? snanck?!) off while Majesty was trying some new garb or other on and nabbed a gloriously 100% full-caf double espresso. (Weeeeeeeeeeeee!) Who winds up in the same cafe? H.M. I backpedaled. I evaded. I zig zagged. I smokescreened. And I blamed it on Jack. I think it worked. Whew.

That Wasn't Me, It Was Him
If there's one thing I've learned by this 9ish month long crash-course in parenting, it's that self consciousness will get you nowhere. Fast. Dear readers, I offer this little gem:

Things are more funny when you shouldn't laugh. Like fire to oxygen, funny thrives in serious situations. Like, say, when the President of Oklahoma Christian is preaching at your church, and an entire row of college kids happens to be sitting in front of you. By definition, that's precisely the time when it might be hysterical for somebody to air out a nice big toot. Funny? You bet your soiled diaper it is. Now add NINE (9) more honkers on top. We counted. In about a 15 minute period, I was literally wiping tears while I choked down laughter. On the college row, Mr. Ashley (associate of Mr. Uncle Jay and Mr. Uncle Blake) was sitting in front of us, and was cracking up because I was. And I was cracking up because he was. The dude next to him was cracking up because we were. The girls by them, determined at first to be "mature" about all this by ignoring it, well they were eventually snorting and giggling and staring, too. About a 20 foot radius around Jack was completely distracted. I'm not kidding, the speaker, Dr. ...um... O'Neal, I think it was, looked directly into my blood red face and bored a hole right through me. Whoops. Guess that's one less college option for our hero. A post-service conversation:

Ashley: "He takes after his uncle."
H.M.: "Which one?"
Ashley: *Laughter*
H.M.: "Both? Yeah."

Newest Parental News Flash!
We have learned the secret of the late dinner. The Captain has now retired to his quarters and Her Majesty and your correspondent are whipping up the tried and true basil & sage pesto in the ship's galley. Chuck Berry's You Never Can Tell is blasting on the (babyproof) ship's phonograph. There might be some twisting (!) going on, but reports are still unconfirmed. Carry on.

Note: We also took Jack to the public pool today, and all that craziness will not fit in here. And it's bedtime for moi. I'll regale you with LOTS of cultural experiences some other time. OK, now you can carry on.

Monday, May 18, 2009


1: the condition or state of being babyproof.
2: a sudden, expensive condition in which every item in the world is revealed to be an agent of certain death to one's children.
3: a regime of annoying plastic devices that exposes the true nature of bumbling, unintelligent adults.

Home Port 2.0 is now (mostly) safe. I didn't know the crew was on the verge of horrible disaster at any moment, but oh, we were. I had complete access to drawers with knives in them, stairs, prescription drugs, the old bottle of grog, and the gunpowder stores, to name a few catastrophes-in-wait. All these things are now safely secured from the crew's sweaty little hands by small plastic gadgets. And I mean everything. To turn on the faucet in the galley, it takes 8 deckhands, a pair of needle-nosed pliers, 2 rolls of electrical tape, and a yo-yo. You should see how we turn it off. I think it's actually possible that I could be trapped inside my own home and starve to death. It's like the Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Cheerios, cheerios everywhere, but nor an "O" to eat... Anyway it goes something like that.

Confession: I threw in the towel and had someone else do the 'proofing for me. Because I'm totally a poser. And a poser that wanted plausible deniability.

The ship's DVD player and phonograph are now protected by age-appropriate retinal scans and thumbprints. Every 15 feet there's a child gate with a combination lock. First Mate Belle is hooked into an Elizabethan collar and has a twisty tie around her schnozz. Her Majesty's crown is now bubble-wrapped and looks quite silly. The scepter didn't even make the cut, and got tossed along with the bazooka, concertina wire, phosphorous grenades, exploding grape-shot, bag 'o glass, hydrochloric acid and the box of rusty nails. They didn't really take anything from your correspondent personally, since I'm about as dangerous as overcooked pasta. So I'll just sit around here and try to figure out how to get the childproof lock working on that carton of OJ.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Caught Red Handed!

I might have been involved. And it might have been a very earnest but doomed attempt at a Mother's Day present. Maybe. It also might have involved permanent ink. Oh, I didn't know it was permanent. I did know that it was NON-TOXIC which was the only real stipulation that I had in my head.

Yes, the F5 tornado of thought that is my noggin must have pitched that little bit of data right out with the Holstein and the tractor flying through the greenish air.

EC: "Promise you won't get mad."
HM: "What? I'm not promising anything. What happened?"
EC: "Promise you won't be mad."
HM: "Why would I promise something like that?"
EC: "Because I'm not coming downstairs until I get my promise. We'll just live up here."

Boy I am dumb. Well meaning, yes. But duuuuumb. And my child basically got a tattoo that says "I HAVE AN IDIOT FOR A FATHER" right before a Monday wellbaby checkup with The Tigress. I clearly am insane. And I have to leave the country immediately.

On to other (arguably) less stupid things in the tornadic brain activity. I am amazed this week with how rapidly different paths present themselves. To call up the timeworn, most overused and most over-quoted poem of the 20th century (that I can think of right this minute), two roads diverged in a wood, Mr. Frost said.

To me, the really interesting part of that poem is what went on right before the traveler comes to the fork. Whatever was done, whatever was prepared for, whatever was anticipated before that moment was of critical importance when the branch presented itself. So this week I just find it amazing that we prepare (or not) for the unknown, and then suddenly it's known. We can't calculate what's ahead, but there's value in trying to be ready. Maybe we're on the cusp of some unknown good. And maybe it's unknown bad. But we try to be ready anyway.

To shamelessly rip off a great story from another, far more eminent daddy-blogger, Busy Dad tells the story of talking to a Muay Thai fighter that just won a huge title match on literally one day's notice. As he was congratulating the guy, the winner said simply that he tries to train every day as if he'll get a call about a career-changing fight for the next day. No time, no forethought. He decided he would be ready for the unlikely, and he was.

So back to Jack and we, his loyal minions. I want to be doing the little things in life, the little disciplines, to prepare us for the big things headed our way. But hopefully those won't include having to rumble with a kickboxer.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kaizen Suggestion Box

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm
One of the wisest things ever said over a kitchen table was from Her Majesty's Uncle Jesse (think Einstein with a goatee and a great Tennessee drawl). He shared the following from a book somewhere: "We're not really sure who discovered water, but we're pretty sure it wasn't the fish."

Suggestion (In)Box
So in that vein, what have I missed? I have certainly not posted about something important. I've skipped an entire subject somewhere. But, like the fish, I'm too close to the whole situation, and just can't see it. So in the interest of kaizen, or continuous improvement (thank you Professor Reely!), I'm looking for input. Now, the last time I asked for input, feedback, questions, topic suggestions, whatever, it didn't go well. But I still have completely unfounded, irrational, sure-to-be-dashed faith in Jack's readership. The skipper's email/suggestion box is listed on the right. So have at you, ye scalawags!

Captain Crankypants Cowers Crew
Ooooh el Capitan has been CRANKY of late. He was sporting a ridiculously snotty nose this weekend (a boatswain's mate has already been lashed half to death for an ill-advised swine flu joke, so ixnay the inesway uflay comments). Nothing the crew did this weekend was satisfactory. Jack's hammock was swaying too much. The deck wasn't swabbed with the grain. The cannon didn't have the appropriate oily shine. The jibs weren't furled tightly about the bowsprit. The new tug even capsized, spilling the head honcho and his trusty stuffed robot out like so many Tour de France crash victims. It wasn't pretty. And the infectious, snotty, open-mouth, retributive kisses he tried to plaster the crew with weren't either. Yuck.

You Say 'Goodbye' and I Say 'Hello'
We have figured out waving! Yep, waving halloo, waving goodbye, waving to First Mate Belle when she's on Squirrel Safari in the front yard, you name it. OK, now picture Jack waving goodbye. See what I did there? Word pictures, people. Word pictures.