Thursday, December 29, 2011

Deep, Deep Inside

Christmas was swell.  I'll probably post some cute pictures pretty soon, and maybe write some words.  I kvetch about the accumulation of toys in an upcoming Aiming Low post, but other than my usual grumpiness about TOO MUCH STUFF, it was a very pleasant celebration of Jesus' and my wife's birthdays.

These kids of mine and their shenanigans, though.  Sheesh.  They're getting really hilarious and frustrating.  They're already way smarter than my dog in most ways, which makes me disappointed in Stella, who is much older than them.  She'll do something like get trapped between a toy stroller and a cardboard box and then freak out and skitter around on the hardwood floors and crash into walls and I'll be all, "What the HELL, Stella?!  These kids are half your age and they've got more sense than you!"  And then I feel bad for being disappointed in her, because she's, you know, a dog, and one with some very real developmental and emotional issues.

But the kids still do stuff sometimes that I think even Stella would realize is a bad idea.

The other day, for example, the girls were playing while I was puttering around in the kitchen, trying to get some dinner going before their mom got home.  Since they don't have any actual toys, they like to play with household objects like rubber bands, ribbon, tupperware, and recently, coffee beans.  They're fascinated by the coffee making process that happens several times a day in our house, and started demanding beans for themselves.

What harm could there possibly be in letting them play with a couple of them?  I mean, I'm not an idiot.  I only let them play with the decaf beans that we keep around for when weird guests who are into that kind of thing come over.  I don't let them use the good stuff as little people to populate their garbage can "boats" and six-pack box "houses."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bouncy Bouncy

The kids have been doing their fair share of driving me nuts lately, in the classic ways two-year-olds do: freaking out over inconsequential things, impeding progress of any activity with their dawdling, being fussy, being stubborn, refusing to sleep, refusing to eat, fighting with each other, whining, and so on.

But about half the time, they're doing stuff like this, so I can handle their cussedness.


Transcript of Video (I wanted to do subtitles, but that's hard.)

Both: [jumping on bed] Wild wild West, wild wild West [song from an Elmo video]

Butterbean: That's fun...that's fun...

Cobra: Where's the bouncy book?  I can read it.

Butterbean: Can I read it?  Can you read it? And I can bounce?

Cobra: Yes...on that book...yes...

Butterbean: No...I don't...that's not a bouncy book.

Cobra: This one...there's a walrus.

Butterbean: Where's the bouncy book?  Daddy?  Where's the [snatches book from Dad]...[to Cobra] can you read this?
Cobra: [points at picture of monkey] That's Daddy right here!

Dad: Here's the bouncy book.  Sissy's got the bouncy book.

Butterbean: You wanna read this?  You wanna read this?  This is the bouncy book.

Cobra:  Singing all la la
              Running round and round
              Bouncy, bouncy
              All fall down!

Here's your weekly clearinghouse of links to stuff I wrote elsewhere.

Surfin' Burt


Friday, December 9, 2011

This is what it's like when I whine

I just got back from the gym, which I'm going to be saying a lot from now on, and hopefully it will be true most of the time.  I've fallen into some bad health habits lately.  And by lately, I mean since the kids were born.  I've gained twenty pounds, in the usual way.  Actually, I think I gained that in the first month of being a stay-at-home dad.  But it hasn't shown any signs of leaving, for the usual reasons. 

My kids are cute though, right?

My sleep habits are not the best.  Since I'm now co-sleeping with Cobra at naptime (she won't sleep otherwise), I can't rely on that window of opportunity for writing or any other activity that requires any sustained concentration.  So I stay up until 2:00 or 3:00 or 4:00 most nights.  I average around six hours of sleep per day, I think, which has always been enough for me.  But it would probably be better if I were able to get those sleep hours consecutively. 

My back is still jacked up, as it has been for almost a year now.  I've got a herniated disc that bangs into my sciatic nerve and shoots pain bullets down to my feet.  Cause unknown.  Ironically, my specialist says it's probably not from all the years of construction work, but is more likely from hunching over babies and laptops.  I've had three cortisone shots into my spine over the past six months, which help for a while; but the effect diminishes over time.  The condition is probably going to get better without surgery, according to my doc, but after giving it so much time already, it's kind of my call whether I want to get cut or not.  I don't really want to get cut.  The pain isn't so bad as long as I take 6-8 Tylenol per day, but there's a lot of stuff I can't do that I used to be able to do.  Like running and touching my toes.  It's improving.  Just in imperceptible increments.

So I'm hoping to get into a virtuous cycle wherein I sleep more (somehow), eat better, exercise more and disgust myself less.  If I lose some weight, it should help my back get better.  If my back gets better, I can exercise more.  If I exercise more, I can once again become the vain prick I was at 13% body fat.  (That was a long, long time ago.) 

I hesitate to write about this kind of stuff because my weight and pain (and self-image) issues are so minor compared to a lot of people's; but I'm hoping to shame myself into staying on task.  Nothing else has worked so far, so maybe if I post updates on my progress (or lack thereof), it'll keep me honest.  What I should really do is post pictures of myself in my underwear.  But then I would have to whine about all my blog traffic drying up in addition to everything else.

These are my favorite accessories


I wrote quite a bit of stuff that's currently being displayed on the internets, though; and that makes me feel not disgusted.  Perhaps you would enjoy reading some of them?

At Aiming Low, I wrote about being puked on.  It's short, funny, and gross.  Just what you were looking for.

At DadCentric (recently declared Best Dadblog by Parents magazine and Best Group Dadblog by Babble!), I wrote about why I hate Christmas trees.  It involves fire.

At Man of the House, I rolled out the old wooden trikes and waxed philosophic about building things for your kids. 

Also at Man of the House, I wrote about my run-in with a dangerous Guatemalan criminal network.

Finally, at Insert Eyeroll, I wrote about dirty K-9 cops.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Moist Ache

When all this Movember stuff was just getting started, I was on my iPhone, contributing to a DadCentric email thread about some aspect of growing mustaches.  I wasn't sure of the preferred spelling of "mustache" because I had had so little occasion to use the word in the past.  I never dreamed I would have said or typed "mustache" so many times in my life, much less actually sported one on my face.

Anyway, I used the British spelling "moustache," which my iPhone autocorrected to "moist ache."  Wacky antics ensued, as you would expect.

And the antics continued through the month, even though the cause they served was a serious one: research to prevent and cure cancers that affect men.  Our team of 65 mustache farmers, under the leadership of dad-to-the-dadblogosphere Doug French, grew approximately 67 'staches (Whit Honea grew at least three by my count), and raised over $19,000 dollars to fight prostate and testicular cancer!  On behalf of my team, I thank everyone who donated.  Those of you who didn't--I'm sure you had a good reason, and you'll do the right thing next year.

On top of the $19,000+ that we squeezed out of our friends, families, neighbors, and readers, Philips Norelco kicked in another $15,000 in our name!  I'm no math whiz, but that's seems like it equals a shitload of cash.

And, as if that weren't enough, Philips Norelco donated a bunch of high-tech mustache-removal equipment to help some of us transition back into normal life once Movember was over.  Full disclosure: those of us who took advantage of this offer agreed to videotape ourselves shaving off our 'staches and provide links to this hefty rebate offer.

When it came time to hack off the ol' soup strainer, the beard trimmer and SensoTouch 3D electric razor made the job easy and mostly painless.  The trimmer bush-hogged the heavy brambles, vacuuming up the detritus in its wake so there was no mess to clean up.  And the SensoTouch sanded it all down to a smooth finish.

I was skeptical about electric razors, not having used one since the days when they all had the ergonomic properties of a brick.  But this thing was comfortable, lightweight, and it gave me a pretty close shave.  And supposedly, as your skin gets accustomed to it, you will get even closer shaves and less skin irritation.  When you're done shaving, you park the SensoTouch in a little dock that charges it, washes it with jets of cleaning solution, and then dries it.  It's practically a robot.

I'm so lazy and generally unkempt that I usually only shave every three or four days.  But my sleek new toy makes me want to shave every time I see it.  I seriously think I'm gonna shave right now, at 2:00 a.m..  If you're thinking about getting an electric razor for yourself or as a gift, I think this is a solid choice.  And don't forget about the holiday rebate they're running.

Here's the video of my depilation.  I'll understand if you don't want to watch the whole gnarly process, but the beginning and end, where the girls express their opinions about the mustache and its absence, are pretty damn cute:

Click here to see the videos some of the other guys made.  At the very least, do yourself a favor and watch Whit's disturbing contribution

Getting rid of my mustache was bittersweet.  Although I never really owned my mustachedness, I enjoyed the air of authority and/or criminality it gave me (or I imagined that it did), not to mention the foil it provided for the other aesthetic flaws I've accrued over the years.

But now, like it or not, where once my mustache adorned the vast flesh-desert of my face like a bristly oasis, all that remains is a slightly sweaty phantom pain--a moist ache, if you will.


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