Friday, April 27, 2012

The Friday

Barely scraping by today, so you get what you get.  This is taken almost verbatim from Majestad, so credit where credit's due.  Basically you're getting a bulletpointed boil down of developmental issues, sorry.  I would respectfully point out, however, that it is free of charge:

Not many of you probably have any familiarity with this, since I was raised essentially one (or more) generation(s) back from my actual age, but do you remember blood brothers?  Like real deal Lone Ranger and Tonto blood brothers.  Me and my late childhood best friend literally swapped blood in a handshake.  Because that's what you did.  The 2012 version is apparently more antiseptic.  Majesty overheard Jack and his buddy talking a couple of weeks ago:
Jack: "Hudson, you are my brother!"
Hudson: "Yeah!"
Apparently Jack was pretty convincing because Hudson's mom reported that he also told a neighbor that Jack was his brother.  I had no idea it was that easy.

Incompetent Daddy:  Jack, what does "hilarious" mean?
JackIt's a lizard.
Other tricks and talents, for the record:
The Dude can pat his head and rub his tummy.  He does this during church.  Standing on the pew.  Facing backward (we sit very near the front).  Yeah.

He's pretty good at tongue twisters.  You heard me.

He makes up bed all by himself, every morning.  Now, I had to see this myself (via CIA drone monitor) to believe it.  Some days it looks eerily professional, too.

When Caroline gets fussy, Jack can actually rock her in her little rocker seat thingy and sing to her.  She stops crying immediately, and he usually sings Zippity Do Da (yes, really) or Blue Skies and Rainbows.   It's awesome.

We spent last Saturday at the park with some friends.  Was just pristine outside.  Playing soccer, riding bikes and scooters, chasing dogs... Jack was so exhausted the next day he took a nap.  A 3 1/2 hour nap.  Which is incredible.  Like Iran immediately relenting on that whole nuke program thing kind of incredible.  Jack then stayed in bed listening to music for another 30 minutes.  We were flabberstounded.

Jack, we're finding, is a social animal and absolutely must be around people for at least a little while everyday.  Or he's a lunatic.  Err... more than usual.

On to the other one.  The day Caroline turned 10 weeks she rolled from her tummy (unfavorable position) to her back (favorable position).  She did this on the floor.  Twice.

Did I mention we're using 6-month size clothes on her?  She is approximately 2 months.  Hmmm....

She is still a great baby (we're keeping her,  as we've lost the receipt and all).  She sleeps all the time, something we've never had much direct experience in handling.  Majesty tells me she does great when she's taken out for the day (the park, whatever).  From H.M.:
She's a total daddy's girl and stares at [E.C.] enough that other people notice.  I can rarely put her to bed at night.  She pops her head up and looks around for [E.C.] until he comes in to get her.  Then she settles down and goes to sleep in about 2 minutes.  She usually sleeps until about 5 or 5:30am but sometimes waits until 6:30!
If you make eye contact with her she immediately starts "talking" to you and will coo until you look away.  This sort of thing is entertaining for us parent folk.  Trust us.

And there you have it.

Friday, April 20, 2012


The video pretty much sums up our first heavy-duty (exactly 10 hour) car ride with Caroline.  She's a great, sweet little gal that only cries in extremity.

But boy, was the last 15 minutes of that trip the very definition of extremity.  Watch this:

We really lost it when Jack, ever the helpful owduh bwuvuh, decides to either mock, mimic, help out, or just plain go with the flow, in between bites of his M&M cookie.

Majesty remembers,  at about the 9:52 mark, that we actually have a passy in the car with us (Girlity Girl isn't normally interested in those).  Fixed her right up.  Mostly.  Okay, it bought us 5 minutes.

Other Easter trip highlights include Jack and Poppa playing telephone with a pool vacuum hose.  Like so:

We did it all.  Went for a boat ride in about the best weather you could ever hope for.  Jack decided to top that off with falling in the pool.  Just for kicks, Jack and Poppa got in for a proper swim later on.  They even talked me and Uncle Blake into it.  The water was about 13 degrees.  Or at least it felt that way for the first minute of sheer agony.  Was nice and refreshing afterward.  Jack swam until he shook uncontrollably, having to be cajoled into getting out.  He then went right back in and we talked him back out a second time.

The Dude even got his own day, officially known now as Jack's Day, I guess, with me and Poppa.  And we did what guys do when they're unsupervised:  Callaghan's for bacon cheeseburgers, a quick turn through the park, and a trip to the Old Dutch for ice cream.

Santa Claus himself couldn't have hooked Jack up with a better day.

Speaking of that crowd, the Easter Bunny came to see everybody on Sunday.  Or at least we had solid evidence that he'd been around.  Presents, half-eaten carrots everywhere, that sort of thing.

Probably the highlight of the weekend was seeing the table stuffed with the 3 grandkids.  It was loud.  Messy.  Noisy.

That's all I got.  What, like you expected more?  Like the tons of Easter pics on my camera at home?

C'mon, dude.  You know better.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Has it been another year already?  What?  Oh, stop.  You get ONE Belle post annually.  Take your meds.

I remember it was this gray but dry day.  It wasn't cool, and it wasn't hot.  It feels, in my memory, like a Friday.  Because Fridays feel a certain way.  I was working my first decent job after my execrable turn in Big 6.  We were still in Dallas.

We had just flown back from a big trip to Europe, I think.  Oh, relax.  This is pre-sprog, do-this-before-it's-too-late-and-as-responsible-adults-we-can't-possibly-justify-okay-I-mean-rationalize-it.  I'm not bigtimeing you.  I think.  If I am, then gosh, I hope I'm doing it right.  In any case, we were gone a good long time and had left Belle with my parents, out in the freeish free freedom of tall grass and open East Texas space.  But with strict boundaries.  Like Llewellin Setter Club Fed.

We retrieved her, reluctantly.  The Fuzz started refusing food.  This wasn't a big deal, because she was always a light eater.  But when she started refusing water, we started worrying.  Because, y'know, that sort of thing isn't a great long-term lifestyle choice.

I went to work.  So did Majesty, to the monstrosity of a nationally-known hospital where she financed my every whim pulled a paycheck.  Come mid-day, I started feeling weird.  Almost... responsible.  Like I needed to go home and check on things.

And so I did.  The nice part of having a flexible work situation/gig/arrangement thingy, I guess.  I left my converted broom closet and went home.  No, really, it was a converted broom closet, then with a glass wall that my boss could look through, if he wished, directly into my left ear.  I adored it because it was mine.

It took me a while to find her around the little Austin Stone house.  But at least I knew what I was looking for:  White.  Speckles.  Vacant expression.  Red collar.  Always the red collar.  Some of you will remember the perennially red tack.  We had inherited this ocean of monkey grass that was in all probability older than me.  In the liriope I found my dog, curled up and still.  Still, save for her eyes, which gave me this desperate "Get me the heck outta here, Dad!" look.  I tried giving her a little water.  She refused.  Her mouth was almost literally glued shut.  I carried her to my car.  The car I have now.

I had put a towel down in the passenger seat, and we took off for the vet at warp speed.  At some point, maybe on Lemmon, I had to stand on the brakes and I just clobbered her into right into the dash.  I apologetically tried to belt the pitiful thing in after that.  Didn't work  great, but hey, "E" for effort.  We made record time to Park Cities Veterinary.  Legal?  No.  Fast?  Yes.

I carried her in, and was assured they'd get to the bottom of the problem and phone me.  And so I waited, pretending to do whatever work I could.  When they rang my closet, sorry, office later, they said that there was this big blockage of some sort in Belle's gut.  Didn't know what it was.  It was a sixty five million X dollars to do whatever ridiculous surgery and elective lobotomy to remove our life savings from her gut and save her.  I didn't even care, "That's fine, do it," I drawled.  "Do it right now."  Remember, PET INSURANCE, PEOPLE.  Take THAT, vet bill!  Suckers.

Belle of course made it through the carnage in good order, and as insane as ever.  Our net worth?  Notsomuch.  Importantly, the, er, problematic item was also recovered, and was (strange to me then), saved for me in a gallon ZipLoc bag.  The item was... wait for it... underwear.  Women's.  I refuse to type the word panties.  Dang it, I just did, didn't I?  Wow.  Well, the owner of whatever they're called shall remain completely anonymous.  No, no, it wasn't Majesty.  That was the other time.  Yes, there was another time.

I'll spare you the "WHY?  WHY ON EARTH?" discussion about dogs and their foibles.

I went down there.  The great folks at the clinic presented the most disgustingly rancid, partly-digested, shockingly foul object I've ever seen in my life.  It had an odor that easily overcame sealed plastic.  The smell was enough to perm my chest hair.

I took the FuzzenFarce back to the house the next day, complete with a set of incredibly nasty looking stitches and an undeniably sheepish look.  She had to wear one of those Elizabethan collars, too.  Seriously, that's what they call them.  They're the things dogs wear at the dog park to sort out which ones are the complete idiots.  That's how they know.

Our punishment was that we had to cook the silly animal chicken and rice during her convalescence.  Because that's how humans identify the complete idiots.

The vaunted pet insurance came through for something like 800 clams.  Which, uh, wasn't quite enough, let's say.  Lord knows how I paid that credit card bill.  Probably plasma donation.  I'll let you know after the federal statute of limitations expires on bank robbery...  What?  There isn't one?  Okay, well forget I ever said that.

They have a wall at every vet's office.  Have you seen it?  It's filled with all kinds of things they've taken out of dogs.  Tennis balls, carabiners, stainless steel watch straps, you name it.  It's like the Wall of Shame.

We didn't make the cut.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Redd Foxx, Brand X and Bruised Egos

Never underestimate a child's ability to entertain themselves.  Every ounce of this particular super power is stamped out of us by the time we're about 18, when we suddenly can't sit anywhere without fiddling with some iGadget or having something with an on/off switch soothe us.

So the washer.  The old clothes washer (requiescat in pace) went to that great scrap yard in the sky (I imagine something like the set of Sanford and Son, complete with a duct tape winged Redd Foxx).  Or something.  Anyway, the thing had been squeaking and chirping and making all manner of hilarious rare-jungle-creature type noises for about 2 months.  So it was on borrowed time.  We knew the end would come swiftly.

And come it did.  Majesty was adamant about not having one of those newfangled communist front loaders.  Consumer Reports told me to get the Brand X top loader.  So I got the Brand X top loader.  Brand X is better known for making color teevees and such, and cost a staggering 4 times the Jungle Washer's retail.  Not to worry, I'll recoup my expenditure via water savings in just under 674 months.

But the extra dough is worth it.  Because Brand X has... wait for it... A GLASS LID.  Okay, I dunno if it's really glass, but you can see through the darn thing.  Jack promptly pulls his little tool of the Devil step stool 35 feet, parks it right in front and... watches through the glass lid.  And watches.  And watches some more.

And then I saunter by.  And watch.  And watch some more.  And Majesty happens along.  And she watches.  The whole family was entertained by a swishing load of baby clothes.  I will no longer make fun of you color teevee addicts.

Who am I kidding?  Of course I will.

In other news, Caroline had her check up this week.  Stats:
Weight- 10 pounds, 6 ounces (30th percentile)
Length- 23.5 inches (92nd percentile)
She got stabbed with all sorts of needles, poor gal.  I was quick to point out to her that I had nothing to do with any of that foolishness.  So we're still rock solid.  Majestad and I also had no idea that she was that tall/long.  She seems so petite.  But then, everybody seems petite next to The Monstrous Monstrosity.

Speaking of The Breaker of Rules, let this be a lesson to you:  IT'S UNWISE TO CLIMB ON A STROLLER.  The Dude fell somehow, catching - we think - his feet on the stroller's wheel, planting face down... wait for it... on the concrete.  He managed to scrape the daylights out of his nose, mouth, forehead, and shoulder.  He bruised his cheek.  Probably his ego.  H.M. said she heard him hit.  Hard.

Gravity, y'know?

Still just staggering over the fact that I did a washing machine post.  We've really touched a new low, haven't we?