Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Mother's Day Out has done wonderful things for both my wife and the twins. It provides a much needed break for the wife every week and allows her some time to decompress. Ella has really come out of her shell and is not nearly as clingy as she used to be. And Jack has been exposed to every germ and virus on the planet.

He currently has strep throat accompanied by a rash over his entire body which he brought home from Mother's Day Out. People say that it is helpful to expose your children to illness in order to strengthen their immune systems. Well, at this rate, the twins should be approaching total germ immunity in a couple of years. Here's a partial list of illnesses the twins have contracted and beaten off since starting Mother's Day Out:

Colds, Flu, Strep Throat, Pneumonia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Polio, Whooping Cough, Smallpox, Consumption, and Syphilis. OK, so I made a couple of those things up. But seriously, it seems like a new illness every week. I think they should change the name from Mother's Day Out to something more honest, like, Festering Cesspool of Germs and Viruses for Children.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Desperate Housewife

The twins went to bed early tonight. Not by choice, but by necessity. You see, they were very fussy and the wife was at the end of her tether. Her sanity was eroding like a beach in a hurricane, and the only evacuation route was an early story time followed by the brushing of baby teeth and the safety and comfort of a bottle of wine.

But she was out of wine. Or was she? She remembered that she had bought a cheap bottle of red wine for cooking purposes which somehow still remained unopened. How cheap? How does two dollars and ninety-seven cents sound? Yes, amazingly enough, for less than a dollar a glass, Bay Bridge Vineyards produces a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon which they would have you believe is fit for human consumption. It was a chance she would have to take. After all, she was desperate.

She was three glasses deep when I came home and trying to convince me that this swill wasn't as bad as one might expect. So, reluctantly, I took her glass and decided to see for myself. The following is the first and only wine review I shall ever attempt...

The first thing that struck me about Bay Bridge's Cabernet Sauvignon is that there was no vintage printed on the label. I can't be sure, but I think this wine was bottled at least three to four weeks ago, and has aged like a two pack a day coal miner with tuberculosis ever since. It's color is anemic yet has an almost blood blister quality to it which is hard to describe in words. It has a nose like Jimmy Durante and legs like 40 weight Valvoline after three thousand miles at redline RPM. And the taste? Hints of Dogwood and Crabapple with a pronounced BermaShave note. Or is that Brylcreem? And it finishes like the Mojave desert only slightly more dry. It's a wonder how they can put all of this in a bottle at so little cost. Pairs nicely with a bologna sandwich, if the sandwich doesn't take too much offense.

So, before I go to bed tonight, I'll be a dear and lay out four aspirin, three Tums, and a gallon of water on her bedside table. And when I get up in the morning, maybe I'll drive down to the liquor store and buy her something nice to drink before the next toddler meltdown. God forbid she should have to drink the Listerine, although, quite frankly, it might be an improvement.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


So the wife is on her fourth attempt at potty training Ella. She has decided to tackle the girl and not the boy this go 'round, as if this will somehow make it easier. She thinks that Jack isn't ready yet, and perhaps she's right. Ella has been doing pretty good earning cookies for pee, which is a job I would like to apply for myself.

Jack, on the other hand, has become very enamored with personal hygiene. The kid loves to wash his hands. He loves to watch the wet soap fly out of his hands like a lively speckled trout and flop around in the sink. He loves to feel the water and report back to headquarters "hot" or "cold". And he loves to splash around in the water. The other day, Ella peed in the potty seat, and as we were celebrating and doling out cookies, Jack walked over, stuck his finger in the pee, and said very excitedly, "Wash hands!". Yes, son. It is now time to wash your hands. Of course on the way to the sink, he stuck the offending finger right in his mouth without a care in the world. Jack lives on the edge. You can't stop that kid.

Just last night, Jack and I had a breakthrough. I was in the bathroom with the twins doing a little potty training. Being manly, I had both of them sitting on the potty at the same time... none of this girl first stuff for me, thank you. After reading a few books, Jack stood up and peed like a man. All over the floor. And on "The Belly Button Book" by Sandra Boynton. You can imagine just how proud I was of my son's first book review! Although I suggested that he provide a little more constructive criticism next time, I found his review to be accurate as the book's plot moves very slowly and the character development is a bit amateurish. Boy, I hope he never reads his Dad's blog!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I knew the honeymoon wouldn't last forever. I knew the dynamic would change. My friends all told me that once the kids came, it would never be the same. Apparently, romance fades with the introduction of offspring quicker than a pair of blue jeans soaking in a puddle of bleach. And I'm OK with that, really, I am. Our love for each other is still strong and I wouldn't give up those beautiful twins of mine for all the romance in the world. But the wife has gone and done something I never expected. She has replaced me with a machine.

She knows it's wrong. She must. That's why she hides it from view. She never leaves it lying around for the kids or the neighbors to find. Oh, no. She closes the door and draws the curtains before she succumbs to it's rhythmic undulations, it's small but powerful motor pulsating with variable speed underneath that sleek ultra-white exterior. The machine can go for hours on end without tiring, sustaining her pleasure for as long as she likes while I, on the other hand, can't seem to please her for more than five minutes at a stretch. But what really irks me is that the machine was a gift from her mother.

You've probably guessed by now that the machine in question is her Pfaff 260 Automatic sewing machine. And she takes better care of it than she does me. But that's OK, too, because she's actually been making money with it. And she likes to sew, she really does. So check out her stuff here. And cross your fingers and hope that one day, she remembers that she still has a husband, and he's sitting on the couch trying to figure out how to compete with that infernal machine.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


When I was a kid, I loved video games. I used to steal quarters from my mother's purse and sneak off to the country store to play classic arcade games like "Defender", and "Donkey Kong", and "Missile Command." But when all of the quarters were gone, I had to go home and play with my friends. Usually outside. Hide and seek, endless variations of "Tag", and football were a few of our favorite games. Gather up all of the neighborhood kids, any age will do. We just needed bodies to form teams.

Nowadays, ask any kid if he wants to play football and he'll likely answer, "Sure. I have Madden '08 or I just got NCAA '09." These pre-teen couch jockeys have no idea what they're missing. They may never know the joy of executing the perfect Statue of Liberty play against those snot nosed kids from the other side of the block. Kids that age are supposed to be outside getting dirty, getting exercise, getting into trouble. The only thing they exercise now is their thumbs, which is why you should never thumb-wrestle a twelve year old.

And what's with the cell phones? Seems like every kid in double digits has a cell phone, so his or her parents can call them home for supper. My Dad could step out of the house and whistle, and I could hear it from as far away as three city blocks. And I knew if I didn't get home quick, I'd be forced to attend a meeting between his hand and my butt. And none of that cost $30 a month.

We were never allowed to watch TV at dinner, either. Parents today don't seem to leave home without their portable DVD players so that junior can watch his favorite cartoon characters while stuffing his face with chicken nuggets and french fries. I didn't know what McDonald's was until I was about eleven and my friend's family took me there. I didn't know what ethnic food was either. I can remember my first egg roll. I must have been fourteen. Mom did all of the cooking and you ate what was on your plate or went hungry.

Where did it all go so terribly wrong? When did technology take over our lives and leave us crippled, sedentary zombies? And, yes, I do realize the irony of typing these words into cyberspace for all of you to read at your leisure, but my Gutenberg movable type printing press is in the shop and my rotary phone dial won't turn past the three so I can't call the repairman and I'd send him a cable, but they don't do that anymore, either and I'm ashamed to say that I never learned how to whistle.