Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Should Concentrate More on Driving.

This is just a random thought that got stuck in my brain. At the risk of sounding lame, here is a list of the CD's in my pickup at the moment. 2-Brian Setzers, 1-Springsteen, 2-Classical, 1-Disc of Marches, 1-Greenday and 1-REO Speedwagon. My own lack of musical taste is not up for debate in this post. As I was listening to Born in the USA, by mind wandered into the 'what if' realm.

I wondered, what if my pickup was stolen today. What kind of person would the thieves think I was, by looking at the music in my cubby?

I ran through this scenario in my mind. The crooks deftly and delicately throw a brick through my window. They then speed off. When they realize that no police sirens are following them, one thief says to the other, "Hey Snake, Let's listen to some tunes."

"Sounds good, Spike. See what this guy has in the cubby." The passenger then opens up the CD cubby to peruse my music library.

I've come to the conclusion that most of my discs would probably be sent out the now broken window. Springsteen might be safe if the crooks are 40 years old or so.

But, what would they think of me as a person? A nerd for listening to Sousa Marches? An egghead for the classical discs? An old fart for the 80's music? Or super cool rocker who listens to Greenday?! Probably a combination of three of those choices.

Then I thought, maybe I should change some of the discs that I drive around with in case I happen to leave my pickup in an unsavory neighborhood. Maybe I should exchange the Marches for some Pearl Jam. Or trade REO in on some Rolling Stones. It doesn't matter that I don't particularly like listening to the Stones. What matters is, seeming cool to these soon-to-be inmates, right? Or, even better, I could just get the cool bands' CD cases and leave my old discs in them. At least I would look cool on the outside.

I suppose at this point I should probably be more worried about whether I sent that last insurance payment in, than a felon's critique of my driving music.

I hope the day never comes when I am the victim of a car theft. I don't think I can take the rejection.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hungry Like the Wolves

Sweet Pea concluded her soccer season with an evening soccer jamboree. It consisted of all of the teams getting together to receive their medals, t-shirts and in SP's case, a little stuffed wolf. Since her team's nickname was the wolves, her coaches got clever with a going away gift.

After the awards ceremony, which ended with a half dozen parents clapping and taking pictures, and one last team 'howl' we ventured over to the 'jamboree'. The jamboree included multiple fire trucks to climb in, around and through. The local K-9 unit from the sheriff's department was on hand to answer questions about Sabre, the German Shepard police dog.

A couple of booths sold t-shirts and ice cream treats, which I wickedly denied my children. They were pretty well behaved though, so we went to TCBY afterwards. Besides, the booth didn't have any blueberry swirl.

The evening culminated with a drenching of all of the young soccer stars with the fire hose. Both kids got soaked.

N1S decided he was wet enough and wanted to dry out. I told him to run around until he was dry.

"Run where?", he asked.
I pointed and said, "Run until you stop and come back."

I should have known that you don't tell a kid with Asperger's to run without specifying a turnaround point. That poor kid ran to the very end of two and half soccer fields until the BMX bike track stopped him, where he stood and watched the races until SP and I came to get him.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Morning at the Museum

Well, Thursday was the much anticipated day at our house. On Thursday, the whole family visited the Science Museum to become part of the Star Wars world.

Number One Son was so ready to go, he asked if we could change our tickets to Wednesday instead. But he made it to Thursday. Sweet Pea was also bouncing off the walls to see Yoda and R2D2. Lady Di fixed SP's hair in a fashion appropriate to the occasion.

It looks like even Yoda was impressed. Lady Di's enthusiasm for Star Wars was somewhere between 'I hope we don't have to stay long' and 'Do we really have to go?'. Needless to say, she isn't quite as big of a fan as the kids and I. In fact, she often gets Chewbacca confused with C3PO when the kids and I force her to watch one of the movies.

Our tickets said to arrive 1/2 hour early because of record attendance and long lines. Our tickets said nine o'clock, so we got up early and had great intentions to be there by eight-thirty. We got there at eight-fifty and were pretty much the only ones there. I guess the museum opens its doors at eight-thirty. Sometimes being nerdy does pay off.

At nine AM we were the first to enter the actual Star Wars exhibit. But just before we went in, we had a pre-emptive bathroom visit. That made us the sixth or seventh ones in the exhibit.

N1S really enjoyed seeing the model space ships and reading the interesting facts about the making of Star Wars. We were both disappointed to find out there was no 'live light saber' demonstration. Sweet Pea liked getting her picture taken in front of all of the Wookie costumes.

We got to see an animatronic show in the robot theatre. Various robots on the stage would move and talk in time to the lesson about modern day robotics. The theatre sat about fifteen people. On the bench behind us, a grampa pointed out R2D2 on the stage to his granddaughter. SP turned around and piped up very lecturely, "That's not R2D2. That's R4!"

It was one of my proudest moments as a Dad.

Each kid also got their picture taken and inserted into a Star Wars scene of their choosing. SP wanted to be either Princess Leia or Darth Vader. N1S had a more difficult decision. He couldn't decide between a dozen different pictures. One princess and one sith lord isn't too bad.

The climax of the day was tickets to the IMAX theatre to see a documentary about special effects in the movies. Three-fourths of our family loved it and learned a lot about special effects. One-fourth of our family got an $8 nap.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm Too Excited to Sleep!

The countdown has started. We will be there in less than 12 hours.........
I think N1S might pull an all-nighter just thinking about it.
Report to come.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

That's Life

It's 8PM and it's still 93 degrees outside. We northerners aren't used to such sweltering temps. If we were to expose our pale, pasty skin to that kind of sunshine, our skin would melt off of our bones like the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

So with Lady Di at a church meeting, I decided to have a family indoor activity. You may be saying to yourselves, "How could he imprison his kids indoors on such a beautiful summer evening?" Because I'm hot, that's why.

I sent the kids to the basement to bring up a board game. After the requisite ten minutes of whining, arguing and threatening over which game to choose, I invoked my fatherly authority and decided on the game Sorry.

The kids came up the stairs with the board game Life.

"Awwww, come on! Life takes almost as long to play as Monopoly!", I whined, argued and threatened.

I was overruled.

To start the game, Number One Son and I chose to go to college. Sweet Pea chose a career in law enforcement to start the game. Once N1S and I graduated we got to pick careers, he got artist and I drew doctor. "All right! I'm going to score some big bucks this game.", I rejoiced.

N1S pulled the $100,000 salary card. I pulled the $40,000.

We all got around to getting married, but it seemed that the kids were getting more valuable Life Cards than I was. They didn't seem to be paying out as much as me either. This game is just like real life.

When it was time for the kids to buy a house, they both declined. "Too much money.", they both declared.

Dad wanted a house. But he forgot to buy homeowners insurance and landed on the home burglary space and the tornado space. I was just teaching the kids a valuable lesson about the importance of insurance. And the importance of paying attention to the game.

After the house spot on the board, most of other spots are either Life cards (worth money), paydays or paying out for various life expenses. Sweet Pea's top goal, whenever we play this game, it to land on the Life card spaces that say, You have a boy, or a girl, or twins. She always wants to fill up her little car with kids. Well, the board didn't start out too well for her. She was in the lead, but would always miss the children spaces. Her brother, on the other hand, who couldn't care less about children, got all of the kid spaces, boy,girl and twins (boys of course). So his car was full. And every time he got a child, SP would look longingly at his brood and sigh with a pitiful look on her sad, stuck out lower lip, face.

But then, a miracle! She got twins! (And one of each, of course!) Then another girl. Then a boy. She was one proud Mama.

Not to mention, she was also trading the $100,000 salary card back and forth with N1S. No one seemed to want my $40,000 card and I couldn't, for the life of me, land on that darned trade salary space.

So with cars full of family, each kid made their way to retirement, collecting large paydays and Life cards along the way. They each thought they had the most money, so they both retired to Millionaire Estates.

When I had finally limped around the board, paying each kid each time I spun a ten or a one, I had only one option for retirement--Hobo Court. The board actually has Countryside Acres for the less affluent, but apparently I couldn't qualify for a loan their either.

So after paying off my student loans and adding up my meager assets, I ended up with around $200,000. I suppose I could live on that for a while, as long as I live a modest lifestyle and only eat one meal a day.

SP ended up with more money than she could count. She totalled $1,900,000 and was edged out slightly by N1S with $2,100,000.

Maybe one of them will let Dad live in their garage until he can get back on his feet again.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

88 Is Great!

Lady Di's high school class turned twenty this weekend. So we packed the minivan with yearbooks and hairspray and headed up north to party like it was 1988.

Last year, I had my twenty year reunion and we had a blast. Lady Di's class had a tough act to follow. I had some high expectations for this year. I'm glad to report that the class of 1988 rocks almost as much as the class of 1987.

We started off the weekend with the fishing Gramma and Grampa. We arrived a little late so all we had time to do was shoot some two year old fireworks for the kids. The kids were pretty excited to wave some sparklers and slap mosquitoes a few hundred times. It seems that whenever fireworks are involved, kids will always gravitate towards the fireworks box with their lit sparklers. No matter how far away I started the kids with their fire sticks, they always gradually backed themselves closer and closer to the box just to keep Dad on his toes.

The next morning Lady Di and I had the opportunity to swing our golf clubs with another couple attending the reunion at the local golf course. Gramma and Grampa kept the kids entertained on the lake, so I had no excuse for losing as many golf balls as I did. We still had a lot of fun and hopefully will be able to play another round if we can all get together at the end of summer.

Golf was followed by a rare night out at the fanciest nightclub in town. It also happens to be the only nightclub in town. In fact, nightclub may also be a bit of a lofty description. But who cares? We saw a band and did some dancing and stayed up late. So we were nightclubbing.

On reunion day, we went to a classmate's home for a cookout and Lady Di was able to reconnect and reminisce. I got to hear all of her embarrassing secrets from high school and luckily I had a pen and paper to jot down the juiciest stories for future posts. I may have missed a few stories because I was put in charge of the grill. I must have had the grill a little too hot because along with the smell of hamburgers, there also was the smell of singed arm hair.

Once the cookout was done, we raced home to quickly check on the kids. Yup, still fishing. Then we were off to the fanciest dinner club in town. We had to drive ten miles to the actual town where Lady Di went to school two decades ago. This town is a little bit bigger than where Gramma and Grampa live, so there are actually a few restaurants to choose from. After the lovely chicken and ribs buffet, we again went nightclubbing.

And just so you don't get the wrong idea, we didn't spend the entire weekend drinking at the bar (I mean nightclubbing). We did lots of other things like visit and tell stories and look through year books and we only drank during some of those times. Well, I guess that's what you do at reunions.

The highlight of the weekend was getting the award for 'Most Handsomest Spouse of a Classmate'. I was so totally not expecting it. Luckily, I always have a 'Most Handsomest' speech ready at a moments notice.

Overall, it was nice to see Lady Di get caught up with her friends and it looks like we may get together with a few of them later this year.

Lady Di has a great class of friends and I had a lot of fun meeting them. There was already talk of planning a twenty-five year reunion so I have five more years to practice my golf swing and my nightclub head bob.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Easy Come, Easy Go

Last week, in a moment of parental weakness, Lady Di and I were hoodwinked into giving Number One Son permission to get a Mohawk haircut. Well, a week and a half later the Mohawk is no Mo.

Sweet Pea thought it was way cool.

Dad thought it was kinda cool and would be OK for the summer.

N1S thought it was cool at first and enjoyed the extra attention from friends and family, but eventually forgot he even had it.

Lady Di liked to rub her hands on N1S's buzzed sides.

But in the end, the Mohawk just wasn't our little boy.

First of all, we couldn't find a gel strong enough to stand his hair up. So it just laid on its side and looked like a giant fuzzy caterpillar resting on top of N1S's head which diminished his rocker vibe. Which brings me back to who N1S is. He is not a rocker. He is a very polite thoughtful boy. He likes to ride his bike, play chess and watch Star Wars movies. He likes to ride his skateboard a little bit, and likes to pretend to be cool by saying 'Dude' every once in a while. He can't seem to keep a straight face when he says it though. He doesn't put up his pointer and pinkie fingers in the 'rock on' sign and stick out his tongue. He's not a slacker, unless it's time for piano practice. He's just a nice kid.

So perhaps letting him have a Mohawk made him realize that it's just not that big of a deal, and maybe he won't ask for another one for a long time. Mom and Dad are hoping that is the case.

He now just has a regular summer buzz cut.

Hopefully, he will not think that he has to up the ante to a piercing or tattoo of some sort next summer. His fear of shots at the doctor will likely discourage him from those.

Now, it seems, we have our old son back at least for one more summer. And his Mom can still rub his head when she wants to.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Greetings from Camp

Number One Son completed his first ever basketball camp this week. We are always a little nervous when he starts something new. Especially if it involves lots of people, action and noise. There are times when he will get sensory overload and things will start to bother him. He has played basketball before with his team, so he was familiar with most of the noise and action. When dropping him off at the camp, we were pleasantly surprised to find a few boys he knew from school. They didn't recognize him at first due to his expressive hair, but once the initial shock had passed, they all got down to ball playing business.

I was only able to stay and see a few minutes on two of the days so I had to rely on N1S to fill me in.

"Did you have fun?, I would prompt.


"What fun things did you do?", I pried.

"I don't know."

"Did you dribble?"

Staring at Spongebob on television, "Uh-huh."

"Did you shoot the ball?"

Still staring, "Uhhhhh.....(trails off)".

"How many touchdowns did you score?", I tested.

"Oh, I didn't count.", still in TV trance.

So I gave up on that conversation. He did come home sweaty each day so I will assume that he actually played some basketball.
At the end of the week, he got his tee shirt and the coaches said he did fine. We are always a little nervous sending N1S alone to a noisy, crowded situation but he did pretty well for himself.

This week Sweet Pea also finished up on her week long Girl Scout day camp. She went for four days from 8:30am to 5pm. This week also was the hottest of the summer with each day reaching 80 degrees. Each day SP came home an exhausted ragamuffin. Even though she was tired, we always got the full story of her day. They made crafts, learned songs and did science experiments.

SP would usually relate most of what they did for science.

"First we took a cup and put some vinegar in it. Then we put some other stuff in it, and it crackled. Then we put some different stuff in it and it foamed over.", she explained.

"Do you remember what the 'stuff' was that you put with the vinegar?", I asked.

"Um....I forgot.", she answered.

Very excitedly, "Then the teacher took a bottle of pop and put some candy in it and it shot up."

"Was it Diet Coke and Mentos?", I hypothesized.

"Yeah! How did you know, Dad?"

"I used to be a girl scout, too.", I joked.

I'm glad she got the joke.

On the last day of the camp, all of the girl scouts went to the beach for a beach party. SP was a little frustrated that morning getting her new swimsuit on. Lady Di said she had two legs in one hole and the top on upside down. Lady Di straightened her out and showed SP the little logo on the swim pants.

"See where this says Speedo? That goes in the front.", instructed Lady Di.

Just then SP frustration left as her face lit up and her eyes widened with excitement.

"This is a Speedo!"

Where did a six year old learn what a Speedo is?

Lady Di was lucky enough to be a chaperon for the beach trip. She thought she would be able to lay on the beach and relax. On the bus ride to the beach, Lady Di was treated to a girl scout sing-a-long. The entire way. Listening to a busload of little girl scout shouting campfire songs was enough to make Lady Di rethink her luck.

On the way home, Lady Di had the idea to sneak over to the second bus. That way she would be able to sit with Sweat Pea and enjoy a little peace for the return trip. As Lady Di settled into her seat and lowered her eyelids, she heard a familiar voice from the back of the bus.

"I heard that this bus didn't get to sing on the way to the beach! Well, we'll fix that for the ride home!" , cheered the song leader from the first bus.

Lucky Lady Di.

Stuff About Me

My photo
I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.