Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jack Hath Skated, and Well

IN 2004, in the midst of raging obsession and outright mania, this post would have been extensively researched, and laced with pictures, video, and really iffy anecdotes.  Plato would have been quoted.  It likely would have been the first of a five part series.

Jack has skated.  Ice skated.  Twice.

Don't fret, I'll give you The Philosophy and Art of Hockey:  A Personal Statement someday.  But let's just say for now that I have been waiting many, many years to take the photo above.

So they put up this makeshift ice rink in The New Town every winter.  It's south Texas, so I naturally use the term winter uh, liberally.  I had seen the place go up and then be taken down for a few years, but had not been in to skate.

But this year I finally got my tookus in there on a very cold day to scout it out.  And to see if daddy had any legs left, there was that.  It was probably mid 40s inside, with me and three other people, one of them the hockey-playing skate guard dude.  We talked shop.

I wanted to avoid Jack having my first experience with a public rink (old, oatmealy Prestonwood in Dallas).  It was great fun, what with the ill-fitting medieval torture devices disguised as rentals, and two hours of hugging the wall, soaked from the waist down.  Yeah.

But this was magnificent.  The cold air in your lungs, on your face, numbing your feet through the black plastic toe guards.  I looped for a half hour, shaking off the rust.  The rink (and my legs) had passed inspection.  Dad's still got it, man.

A few days later after work, I picked Jack up and grabbed his Union Jack helmet.  Off we went.  He was superduper excited, but was patient as I laced him down into the (very good) rentals.  I mean, they actually looked comfortable.  Didn't see any rusty nails sticking out of them, or anything.  I put some dinky little worthless kneepads on him just to pass the Look! This Man Is A Seemingly Responsible Dad sniff test.

And he loved it.  Loved it.  They had the foresight to provide these little metal walkers (they look exactly like what you just imagined).  But darned if he would occasionally ditch the walker and go out on his own.  He looped a few times with me in the role of the left-behind walker.  Sometimes Jack felt it necessary to just see if the old man could skate and hold him by one arm in midair (yes) or if I might be persuaded to say, fall if he suddenly... FLUNG HIMSELF BACKWARDS LIKE THIS (no).

I think his favored mode of locomotion was locking his arms into the walker, letting me push him swiftly around the rink like the world's most poorly designed lawnmower.  Speaking of contraptions, the Zamboni was also a huge hit.  He's now well versed in ice rink management and water phase changes.  Gotta teach 'em early.  There was some disappointment when I couldn't wrangle him a ride on the thing.  Clearly, I don't know folks in high enough places.

He spent a lot of his time on the 16x16 kids' rink.  This was because there was a SUPERIOR buildup of snow over there, so snowballs were made.  One snowball was thrown.  One itty bitty snowball may have clobbered a little girl in the face.  A certain fourpointfiveyearold may have been threatened heartily.

We realized too late that his head, at some point over the last month or six, had outpaced his helmet (see pictures).  It's the thought that counts.  But there were no catastrophes, no crying, no blood, blisters, head injuries, water-soaked jeans, no mental scarring.  He did remarkably well in doing something that is patently unnatural for humans to do.

And I am so very proud of him.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Tying of the Loose Ends

I can't see a coherent way to put this stuff together, so off we go, incoherently grouped:

Pointless Stories with Pictures!
Check this out.  It's truly amazing what you can find in a LEGO set.  There I was, friends and neighbors, furiously creating LEGO greatness with Jack this weekend, and what do I see?  Whoooeeeee!  The Cajun Turkey Frying Set.  (Not to be confused with the related but completely different Crawfish Boil Set.)

Stories But No Pictures!
I was getting Jack and I dressed one Sunday morning in Alabama this past Christmas.  I told Jack to remind me when we got back to Texas to shine his shoes.  The white of each saddle ox was all scuffed and dirty on the toe.

He ran off, right there in the middle of getting his shoes tied.  Annoyed, I hassled him, “Jack!  Jack!  Come back here.  I haven’t finished tying your shoes yet.”  He streaks back into the room with a flashlight.

“Jack.  Really?  I mean, a flashlight?  Now?  We’re late for church, man.”

And with his best incredulous, pitying look, he says, “I have to shine my shoes!”

(He might as well have added, “You old fool.”)

Old Blurry Pictures, No Story Whatsoever!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Belated Birthday Wishes

I'm a few days late, but in honor of both The King (January 8th) and Jimmy Page (January 9th), I give you a little excerpt from my favorite documentary of all time, It Might Get Loud.  Happy birthday, fellas.

So enjoy the vid, and grab yourself a coffee and an Elvis Special.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An Actual Conversation

(Filed jointly under You Just Never Know Sometimes and Where Did This Child Come From, Anyway?)
Jack:  "Mommy, an angel came to visit me last night."
Majesty:  "Really?"
Jack:  "Yes.  He told me to leave Texas and go to a far away place called... Washington.*"
Majesty(laughing) "Yes?"
Jack:  "Yes.  Queen Elizabeth says that is a safe place because King Herod is mad that me and Caroline were born."
Majesty:  "So do we have time to pack?  Or do we need to just leave?"
Jack:  (big smile at the thought of packing his suitcase)  "Oh! We have to pack first..."
She emailed me shortly after:  "He's probably got 55 t-shirts in his suitcase by now."

*State,  not District.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

In God We Trust

We finish years with a bang.

We spent a few days in Alabama for the holidays.  It's a pretty big drive, but everyone did great, especially me quite frankly, in avoiding all the county mounties and assorted bears on I-10.  We were eastbound and down, loaded up and truckin', man.  So no sweat, we get over there with no big problems.

I mean, there was the issue of me worrying about the relative health of the truck's battery.  Last week, somebody decided to push The Buttons That Should Not Be Pushed.  Twice.  Like say, the stupid fog lamps that inexplicably don't turn off on their own.  (GM Engineering Geniuses, I have strong, strong words for y'all.)  This rendered the truck as dead as a ball peen hammer twice over, but y'know, bygones.

We spent some great time with the family, and Jack and The Curlycue got plenty of cousin-time.  We headed back.  All was well.  We were booking it through Eastern Louisiana somewhere, when I hear it.


Man, I hate that sound.  The sound - and then the moment - riiiiiiight before clothes and furniture and books and trucks and carpet and usually some part of me or other is splattered in yakkity yak.

I look back and see Jack with two fingers down his throat, tickling his pancreas or whatever.  I yell at him to stop choking himself.  He's freaking out.  Majesty's trying to figure out what's wrong.  He's retching.  And hacking.  And clutching his neck.  And screaming that it hurts, it hurts.

I can't exactly remember how it played out, but somehow H.M. decides that he's swallowed something.  Y'know, other than his hand.  Before I know it, and before I really know why, she's holding a dime and a quarter in front of (still flipping out) Jack and asking him which one.  It comes up quarters.


We are travelling 80 zillion miles per hour, in a moderately remote part of Cajunistan, with a child that's just eaten U.S. currency.  The only thing I can think of doing?


The iWhatever routes us to an emergency room 20 minutes away.  Listen, for all the naysaying Apple-haters out there, that thing's brilliant, even if fouryearolds are um, somewhat less so.

Majestad and I are angrily doing the calculus on how big a quarter dollar is compared to various and sundry openings in the gastrointestinal tract of a (once) loved one.  Pyloric valves are mentioned.  So that's fun.  He's now clutching at his sternum, in obvious pain, just hating life.  He declares that he doesn't WANT to go to the MUWGENCY WOOM!  Tough tortillas, Pancho.

Anyway, en route to the ER, SuperFrau gets on the horn to our on-call pediatrician.  The doc that answers is the same guy that has taken the following calls, in no particular order:
  1. Jack's mouth versus parquet floor at high speed (the parquet won)
  2. Jack taking Majestad's prenatal vitamins
  3. Jack eating like 25 Halls cough drops
  4. Jack almost impaling himself through the ribcage whilst BASE jumping onto the crenelations of a wooden toy castle
The man thinks we're lunatics.

He gives us some guidelines, says everything's probably fine, but look out for X, Y and Z throughout the day.  We continue to interrogate Jack (believe me, I would have waterboarded him if I had a spare washcloth) and one of us asks who was on the coin he swallowed.


I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking we were just trying to show all you other parents up by teaching our child which U.S. presidents are on our money.  But it's not like that at all.  It comes in pretty handy when you're trying to figure out what they swallowed.  That one's free.  Just file that away for future use.  And for the record, yes, I would've fainted if he had said DUHWIGHT DEE EYZENHOWUW.

A nickel.  Well!  That's SO MUCH BETTER than a quarter.  Smaller diameter.  Smooth sides.  Less expensive, too.

I pull him out of the truck later, and he's got quarters stuffed in his seatbelt straps.  They're in his pockets.  Littering the floor of the truck.  The dude is awash in dough.

We get back home with My (Former) Main Man and Soul Brother #1, who is on a "No Big Chunks of Anything Whatsoever" diet.  He goes in for an XWAY the following morning.

Thomas Jefferson's sitting right there in his stomach,  reading Voltaire in French on a beach chair.  Jack told me his personal diagnosis after being gleefully irradiated:

"It's in my E Phosuhgus.  My lungs are next to my nickel!"