Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kids are great...

My boys are my reason.  You're all now asking, "your reason for what," especially those of you who don't have kids. Simple answer is, they're my reason for everything.  It sounds trite, but it's the bald truth. I Love them fiercely, tenderly and totally. I would die or go to war to protect them. They are my greatest source of pride and joy.  And sometimes, just sometimes, they drive me CRAZY.
   I took them out this evening for a little excursion to the local grocery store to pick up some odds and ends.  Of course because they were along, I ended up getting twice as many odds and it never seems to end, but we finally managed to negotiate through the herd with our hard won crap and get to the car, or as the kids call it, the Zzzzippy Pod.  By this time, I could feel, distinctly feel, the process of a half dozen more hairs turning gray.  My little angels had been possessed as we walked the aisles. They prefer to do that in public, where they can make dad look like an inept parent.
    Details you ask? Let's start small, with Owen, affectionately known as The Beast.  Somewhere over the course of the past week, he heard the expression "Christ on a bike!".  As is the way of things, he figured that the Superstore would be the perfect venue for his own comic debut.  He sets to, at the rather impressive top of his voice, in convincing Scots brogue, with a repeated chorus of the phrase. Papa Bear, usually indifferent to what other people think of his kids being kids, was mortified.
Past the cat food:
"Christ on a bike,"
through produce:
"Christ on a bike," 
"Oh, hello Reverend,"
"Christ on a bike"
OK, so I made up that last one, but that's about how it was.  The more I tried to shush, the more he suggested a trip for the Messiah across the water on a two-wheeler.  
   The big brother wasn't as bad, Gabe likes to ride up front in the cart while The Beast takes the rear facing rumble seat.  I long ago gave up the notion of using baskets at the market; no room to corral the kids when, not if when, they need it.  Problem is that Gabe is now very independent and getting quite large.  At the best of times, these carts corner as well as the Titanic. With The Boy in the bow, the handling becomes glacially sluggish.  If he's out of the cart, he must be the driver.  The cart handle being above his head, and the fact that the cart empty weighs as much as he does matters not one iota. He's driving.  Wishing to encourage independence, and teach a lesson about limitations, I allow this.  Gabe has two problems when he drives the cart: steering, and acceleration.  The main steering problem is that he can't see where he's going, but he's determined to get there, no matter who or what may be foolish enough to be in the way.  The speed problem is that Gabe's only got two gears: stationary and ramming speed.  The long and the short is that I get to try to steer and control the cart, while Gabe pushes, without looking like I'm doing so because he'll do a convincing impression of a Viking Berserker if he thinks I'm helping.  Finally we reach the checkout. Gabe unloads the groceries. I don't buy eggs anymore...too risky. Owen is smiling and charming the checkout lady, "who are you handsome?'' she asks.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


It seems like everybody these days is into some kind of therapy.  They go to a shrink or seek out a guru, priest, numerologist, palm reader or insightful auto mechanic who missed his calling. Either that or they're medicated with anything from endorphines to Captain Morgan to antidepressants.  Most of these solutions entail some monetary cost on the levels to put other people's kids through university.  I prefer to save up for my own sons' useless overpriced degrees thank you very much. So where is the solution?
Having been a basket case myself lately on a fairly regular basis, I have come up with three absolutely free (well....mostly...) attacks against the woes of modern living.  They won't work for everyone, but they work for me (well...mostly...). I have discovered what should have been obvious to any reasonably intelligent 40 year old:  you don't have to be a shrink to be able to sooth and give good advice.  One friend in particular has been a great source of knowledge. She's a  veteran of the same war I'm in, and she always makes it better, even if it's just by sharing a laugh.
  Music is an invaluable outlet.  It's spiritual and physical, as well as a healthy translation of anger and hurt into creativity.  I'm singing more and better than I have in years.  You've gotta know pain to really sing the blues, or anything else, for that matter .
My third coping mechanism is a little's buckets of weird, but I find it very therapeutic.  I like to sharpen things. See, told ya, weird. I think what it is is the rapid accomplishment of a definable task.  Dull, ten minutes later, sharp with lots of care and concentration, but no real thinking in the middle.  The only problem is that every tool in the shed, knife in the kitchen,  pair of scissors, and vegetable peeler in the house is already ant-sweat-shaving-hair-popping-nick-your-bum-if-you-look-at-it-too-long sharp.  I'm out of stuff to sharpen. I'm afraid to send away for more on ebay; I'm sure there must be some kind of limit I'm approaching. All that aside, I find any work that requires concentration, physical strength and skill but that still lets you switch off your brain, to be very cathartic.  Have an imaginary conversation with whoever is causing you grief while splitting wood if you ever have a chance.  You'll win the argument every time:)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Suddenly single dad at 40

Here we go again: yet another step on the inexorable march toward surrender to the invasion of the internet and technology into every facet of life.  I have reconnected with long lost friends on it and discovered the depth of the loss.  I have been doing the biggest part of my work on it, preparing reportcards for my little critters at school.  I have enjoyed quality time with my two boys on it, laughing at comedy and singing lustily to songs on the 'tube with a boy on each knee. and most incredibly, I lost my wife to it...

Of course I realize that the net and her attachment to it was only a signal, a symbol of the drifting apart that was already happening in our marriage and not the source of the end. Changing feelings and personality differences on both sides were the bomb that blew things to hell.  But the net was the means through which she met her new love interest.  I'm sitting here now for heaven's sake, with my sons that I have through the week (and part of the summer) trying to work this out in my head and typing it for your consumption on the GD computer.  It's stupid to blame a box of circuit boards and an ethereal tapestry of wireless connections for the fact that I am a single dad at 40... isn't it?? Why do I still want to take my rusty sledgehammer to a laptop, or run over my cell phone with the lawnmower?