Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Maneuver

I've said this 1,000 times, but it's still true:  There are a lot of funny things involved in being well, male.

Separately, there are a whole lot of apocryphal parenting stories that get passed around as truth.

At the intersection of these two is... peeing in bottles.

A few weeks ago, 
we're clipping along at Warp 8 in the middle of Cajunistan.  Scooter's asleep, which is a moment above most others.

Now, Rule #457 says that there's no kinda way you stop the truck when The Ittybitty is asleep.  No.  Kinda.  Way.  She'll immediately wake up whenever you slow down or stop.  (Which is how I rationalize driving like I do.  Where was I?)  So you crank up the Jerry Reed, you keep the hammer down and you watch out for Smokey, dude.  Or Le Smokeey, as the Francophones say over yonder.

For some reason, I thought in my brain, "This would just be an IDEAL time for Jack to have to pee."  Ideal meaning catastrophic.

30 seconds later, The Dude picks up on my telepathy and of course, asks to tee tee.  Like, now.


But hey, it's better than the last announcement he made in the middle of a swamp.  Y'know, the one that cost me 5 cents and my sanity.

I tell H.M. how this will go down.  And she sort of looks at me with this I CANNOT BELIEVE I MARRIED YOU face.

So we pop him out of his buckles and such, half strip him down, and proceed with The Maneuver.  It was executed flawlessly, I've gotta say, but I was worried about uh, capacity.  We drift and weave, most everybody sans seatbelts, probably at 85mph, right by a State Trooper (Le Cinq-Z√©ro) that is apparently busy peeing in a bottle also.

Fast forward to last week.  We're not far from home, but Jack announces that he's full up and that's it.  Like, now.  We need The Maneuver, and we need it fast.

I happen to have yet another full 20 oz bottle of agua by me (we're indescribably hydrated, people).  Majesty wants to pour out the contents and drops her window.

"This'll be quicker," I say, and drain the bottle in seconds.  And I get the I CANNOT BELIEVE I MARRIED YOU face.  We're at a light, unhook Soul Brother #1 and help him drop trou.  "This is gonna be no problem because we are total professionals," I think.

And I think that just as SOMEBODY pees all over my arm, hand, the empty waterbottle, my pride, some cupholders, his pants, a rear A/C control panel, my sense of self worth, and the carpeting.

All I can manage to (a hyperventilating) Majestad and a visibly relieved little boy is, "You people are disgusting."

The light changes, and Jack flies backward as I gun it.

Heard On the Street
H.M.:  "Jack, tell Daddy what you had for lunch today at school."
The Dude:  "Daddy!  DO YOU KNOW what the pizza guy brought for lunch?!"
E.C.:  "I dunno, but I've got a pretty good idea."

Friday, May 24, 2013

Prohibited Item #652

From H.M.:

No more gum.

Grrr!  About 2 weeks ago now, Jack got gum in his hair.  And all over his arms.  And all over his clothes.  And all over his bed.  And he pulled a chunk of hair out* while trying to get the gum out without getting caught.  And he has a bald spot.  Not kidding-  BALD.   And then, he went to sleep and slept in it.  (No, I am not kidding).  I got a lot of the gum out with Goo Gone but his hair was shredded so off to the salon we all went.

Mr. Dustin got him in ASAP and didn’t even charge me, even though it was a Saturday.   I told Jack “No more gum until you are 5 and if you are wiggly for this haircut you will be 6 before you can have gum again.”

Jack did not move a muscle. 

So, now he has a very pretty haircut and his blonde highlights are really showing.  Just don’t look in the back at the bald spot.

*I found this later in his garbage can.  Looked like a dead mouse.  -E.C.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

That Stung A Little Bit

"By all means, have a safe and appropriate place to vent and "be real" about parenting—just recognize that place is probably not the internet."
Prepare to cringe.

We've talked about this before, but I'm a huge fan of discretion in social media.  So online nastiness, like spitball fights, the routine and inexplicable airing of deepest darkest whatevers, rants, or serial documentation of everybody's narcissism is all distasteful to me.  Like mayonnaise distasteful.

But I never ever thought about adding "making people laugh with something my lunatic child attempted" to that list of indiscretions.

I write to and for an audience (all 5 of you wonderful people), believe it or not.  And even starting out, I included Jack as part of that group.  And later, Caroline.  But I never really bothered to think about the idea of curating an online identity for an older them.

An identity that might just make them key my car.  Link below.

TGC - Parents, Do You Think Before You Post?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fun with Tombstones

I don’t tell work stories to many people for two reasons:  First, it takes too long to explain what I do and where I do it, and second, it’s dead boring to most people.  There’s that.  So at the substantial risk of posting a snoozer:

After I was miraculously and providentially delivered by The Almighty from The Worst Gig in the Known Universe, I have had the good fortune to work with exceptionally bright people.  It’s certainly not the end-all, be-all, but I’ve worked with some frighteningly educated folks.  Ivy. Oxford. Cambridge.  That crazy all-acronym business school in France.  You name it.

Which is sort of notable for a dumb country boy that went to an obscure Christian college in Arkansas’s hinterland.

I’ve bumped around with economists, mathematicians, investment bankers, high-powered lawyers, deal guys that leave slime trails when they walk, tragically flawed scions of wealthy and powerful families, buddies and hangers-on to sitting and former presidents.  Folks that sit on the boards of companies you know and of museums you visit.

I say all that to tell you that these brilliant luminaries are SO FUN to mess with.

I had a boss one time that was very into his accomplishments.  The term vanity doesn’t do it justice.  This guy’s identity was entirely derived from his work.  He was an Ivy League i-banker that had made zillions of bigtime deals, mostly 20, 25 years before.  He had pictures scattered around the office of him shaking hands with world leaders that have since been assassinated.  Yeah.

Sprinkled between the photos were the tombstones.  Now, when you participate in some securities offerings, they hand out what people call a tombstone.  They’re cool little clear glass or plastic blocks engraved with company names and the amount of the debt offering or the shares issued or whatever.  They’re ubiquitous in any investment banker’s office, and their primary purpose is to sit there for decades attracting dust and small particles of conceit.  They’re actually less useful than paperweights.  No one cares one whit about the things.

Except for this guy.

One night, the cleaning crew had moved the dusty little blocks around to scrape off the inch and a half of grime on the shelves.  The ‘stones were moved around, and it was kind of noticeable.  Well, next morning, el jefe makes inquiries.  “How do we know someone wouldn’t STEAL them?!” (Because they have no value.)  “How would we know if someone TOOK one?” (We wouldn’t.  Because absolutely no one else cares.)

He then issued one of the most preposterous orders, well, ever:  Our spunky office manager was to inventory the ‘stones in a spreadsheet.  Immediately.  The order was, uh… flatly refused, to the great amusement of everyone within earshot.

A few nights later, SOMEBODY rearranged the tombstones on a single, particularly out-of-the-way shelf so as to make it seem like one – and only one – was missing.

And I forgot all about it.  Because I actually have, you know, a life that’s worth living.  It was a bit like a comedy trot-line, something you just bait up and leave for later.

Days pass.  Then one morning, I could tell the office had this quiet hum.  You office inmates know what I’m talking about.  All the admin gals were flitting about, whispering to each other.  I asked the CFO what was up.  (My cynical guess was layoffs.  But that was later.)

Yep, you guessed it.  Heaven and earth were being searched to find that missing tombstone. 

I quietly watched as a half a billion dollar hedge fund essentially ground to a halt for an entire trading day looking for a hunk of 25 year-old clear plastic… that wasn’t missing.  You know, I felt a little guilty.

And then I got over it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Like My Town

When people talk about wanting to live in a small town, I know exactly what they mean.  Even if they may not.

Living in a small town isn’t idyllic.  It isn’t even enjoyable in a great many ways.  It’s just... different.   And sometimes that’s good, and sometimes it’s awful.  (Ironically, you’ll find tons of folks in rural areas that would kill to live in hyper-urban, steel-and-concrete settings.   I guess we all want contrast.)

So I find living in our pseudo-small town to be pretty interesting:  it’s almost what I’d consider a perfect hybrid between large and small:  the amenities of Large, the familiarity of Small.

And when you boil it down, familiarity is what the affinity for small towns is about.  Cheers had it right:  Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

These days, that's a rare thing.

Everyone needs to convince themselves they’re not simply one of the zillions of unnamed faces in a massive crowd.  So it’s pleasant when someone remembers what you typically order, or calls you by name.  The marketing dudes at SBUX have this down to a science.  It's an awesome social, connective experience to have someone write your name with a China marker on a paper cup.  As desperately sad as that is.

But it's great being known.  I mean, the sandwich sultans at Tony and Comically Expensive Grocery know they should hold the mayo.  The gal at the front knows my total usually sums to the same, exact amount of dollars and cents.  (No, I will not tell you.)  She repeatedly comments on this phenomenon.  Yes, she needs to stop.  Bygones.

I'm on a first name basis with every guy in the store where I buy my shirts.  Majesty says this means I go in there way too much.  She may have a valid point, but there's just no telling.

And seeing the same people in different contexts – even if they’re otherwise complete strangers – is comforting and familiar.

In the mornings, I’ll pass by the same people, walking the same dogs, on the same trails, at the same time.  There's this old ponytailed dude that could be developing a dog walking service.  It looks like dog Six Flags.  I run through this new, ritzy neighborhood and one day saw a car parked on the street that seemed really familiar. I realized it sits near mine every day in my parking garage.  It's still there every time I swing through that run route.

Folks will pass by in the gym, only to later appear in a restaurant, or walking down the street.  They’ve swapped out the That-works-for-NFL-receivers-but-is-waaaaaay-too-tight-for-you-man workout duds for a suit and tie.  I bump into church folks at the grocery store all the time.

There’s a huge sense of belonging in all of this, one that I hadn’t experienced in many years.  Again, I don’t know these people well, or in most cases, at all.  But it’s the sense that you are home, that you have a place, that you know a great deal about your little slice of the universe, that is tremendously comforting.

We’ve been here long enough to know who will open a house’s door on Halloween.  (And Jack knows which candy isn't worth the big huge dog that will rush you.I know which places on the street that look great in Christmas lights, and which will be entirely obscured in verdant, jungle-y growth during the summer.

All the time, friends say they saw me driving agressively on a certain street one day.

It’s nice.  Maybe even… idyllic.

Heck, it has to be idyllic when this kind of stuff is going on (courtesy of a Majesty intra-day text a long while back).  Observe:
Watching Jack and Hudson pretend is hilarious.  In about 10 min they have played ball, shot some elephants and lions with their bazookas (a.k.a. the biggest sticks they can find and carry), shot a canon at some pirates and now they are looking for elves.
 I like living here.  I like raising our kids here.  I like my town.