Dem Bones, or Das Boot

Ann and I decided early on in our parenthood journey that we would be supportive of Anthony with everything he did. Whatever he wanted to try, we would let him have at least one stab at it and be behind him all the way.

And so we did: tae kwon do, t-ball, violin, trumpet, and even the drums which I use more than him even though I suck. He gave all of these a chance but never really went anywhere with any of them but does indeed spent a lot of time at my drawing table producing abstracts that I can’t even being to comprehend. He’s got an artist’s mind for sure. I have no idea where he got it.

We’ve even so gone far as to not brand him with any one religion and only act as a moral compass along the way. If he decides later in his life that one has the answers for him then that’s great. Adults can’t make sense of that stuff most of the time so why confuse a child?

There was, however, one exception to all of this: playing football, and this goes back to long before we were parents. The sport seems to lend itself to inflicting serious injury onto the other players and for kids, I think it’s over the top and way too much for them. They have enough trouble trying to understand and execute plays and I couldn’t stand to see him or any other kid get flat-blasted on the field and not get up.

Then there’s the whole sports parents thing. I guarantee I would have been in my fair share arguments. Football was definitely out.

We never played it as kids but did toss the old pigskin around during those long, warm summer evenings while listening to the AM transistor radio. None of us would he harmed by that. But as for some of the other things we did as kids, well, that’s up for debate.

I’m not willing to divulge any of the stupid, stupid things we did as kids but let me tell you that it was by some miracle that none of us ever got seriously hurt or maimed. The most painful injury I had as a kid was a sprained pinky finger that I got while catching a kickball at school during a play at home plate. I never hurt myself playing any sports with the guys on the block.

And despite all of that, I’ve made it to the ripe ol’ age of 48 without breaking a single bone, even after my scooter accident. I’m a tough old bird.

So what does my childhood devil-may-care attitude and Knievel-esque propensity for adventure have to do with my son?

First, I haven’t told him half of the things I did when I was his age or younger. He doesn’t need any inspiration for stupid things to do and post on YouTube. In fact, it’s safe to say that me and my friends were the original version of Jackass but without cameras rolling. We were that bad.

Second, he recently started expressing an interest in football. We watched the Super Bowl and for not being a football fan, Ann was amazed at just how much I knew about the game. (The rules are pretty basic; I just get bored sitting for hours on end seeing guys yelling into headsets and watching six-second plays unfold.)

He told me that they were playing flag football at school recently and that he really enjoyed playing. That’s fine because hey, rip the flag off the dude and the play stops. No contact, no injuries.

Then one day after playing at school, he came limping up to me and told me he hurt himself playing football – tackle football, something they weren’t supposed to be doing. So we RICEd it – rest, ice, compression and elevation – for a few days in the hopes it would get better.

A week later and it was still the same so we had to take him to the doctor. The diagnosis was a sprained ankle but they took x-rays anyhow to be sure. They gave us the same RICE recommendation, scheduled a follow-up visit and prescribed some crutches.

Later that day, Ann gets a call: they found something on the x-ray.

Yep. His ankle was fractured. And $300 later, the kid is now sporting a huge boot that he has to wear all the time except to bed for the next 4-6 weeks, a time that includes our vacation in Las Vegas.

The good thing is that he doesn’t have a cast and he can move along pretty well, even better than I expected.

Hopefully this experience was a wake-up call for him.

Then again, if he’s anything like I was as a kid, it probably wasn’t.

Blogging 365, Day 39: …For An Old Guy


I left work early today so that I could attend an assembly at Anthony’s school since he was getting an award. I told him that I wouldn’t be able to make it since we were busy at work but, as I do from time to time, I surprised him.

And being that I made it home with little time to spare, I stayed in my work clothes and only changed my shoes – from dress to running, for comfort and because it was raining.

Once the assembly was over Ann and I waited in the car for Anthony and his friend who we watch on Fridays. Close to dismissal time we headed over to the school to meet them. By the time they were dismissed it was drizzling a little bit and the two of them decided to make a run for my car.

So I decided to have a little fun with them. I asked Ann if I should try to pass them up and get to the car before them. She agreed and off I went.

From a dead stop down the sidewalk I sprinted passing a few students and parents along the way. In the end I did beat them both to the car and as I waited, I noticed Ann approaching and laughing.

“Did you hear those kids?” she said pointing behind her.

“No. Why?”

Ann tried to regain her composure. “They said, ‘Wow, he runs pretty good for an old guy!’”

Woah woah woah, hold the phone, Mabel! For an old guy? What, because I have some spots of gray hair* as well as a graying goatee, that makes me an old guy?

Pfft. Whatever! It’s a state of mind, kiddies. You remember those words when you’re uh…older – say, in your teens – and can’t get yourselves to get up in the morning to exercise or don’t want to mow the lawn. This “old guy” turns 44 in a week and feels as fit as ever.

I’ll give you old.

Ahem. All that aside, I did get a compliment from the parents I passed who told Ann that I indeed run fast – period. She told them that I run every weekend and whenever I can and again, another compliment.

And that made me feel darn good.

But old? Come on, kids. I’ll take on your mom or dad any day of the week from a dead stop like today. Then you tell me who the old guy is 🙂

*It’s more than a “patch” but you know…oh well.

Blogging 365, Day 16: Thanks A Lot, Kids

I’m going to make this quick seeing as I don’t have a lot of time.

I just want to extend a hearty thank-you to the kids we watched on Monday. Thanks so much for barfing and defecating everywhere and for sharing your flu germs with us. Ann and I have been playing Musical Chairs in the bathroom since 2 am and not only were we not paid for watching you, we now have to miss (at least) a day of work while we recover.

A special shout-out to the parents who were completely oblivious to their collective illness.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go – literally.

Blogging 365, Day 14: OMG! WTF?

polls_cat_i_barf_3437_384303_answer_3_xlargeWow. I can’t even begin to tell you what a horrific evening we had but I’m going to try anyhow.

Just before I left work, Ann sent me a text message telling me that she had agreed to watch Anthony’s friend and his three brothers while their parents attended some kind of function. The parents – we’ll call them Aragorn and Galadriel since I’m still reading my Lord of the Rings books – also promised to have pizza delivered to our home while they were out, returning to our place at about 10 pm.

(And since we’re using pseudonyms, the boys will be called Gandalf, Frodo, Bilbo and Merry.)

Ann took the time to clean the house up a bit for the company we were expecting. They arrived at about 5:30 and unloaded all of their goodies in the den, most of which were Xbox controllers, games, and Skylanders toys. Once they did that, we let them all go outside to play for a bit.

By 5:45, Merry’s foot had slipped off the pedal of the go-kart twice causing him to wail. By 6, Gandalf had shit his pants and had to put on a pair of Anthony’s pajamas. He, by the way, had already told Ann that he wasn’t feeling to good and we later found out from Aragorn that Galadriel was violently ill at about the same time Gandalf’s bowels gave way.

The kids continued to play outside until it got a bit too cold for their liking so we all went inside so they could play some Xbox. About 30 minutes later I hear Frodo say that he wasn’t feeling good and by the time I could direct him to the bathroom, there was a trail of vomit from the hallway leading in to the bathroom – and all over the toilet. I handed him some paper towel and asked if he could clean it up which in his eyes meant just covering it. I eventually had to do it.

As time went on, the kids started to get hungry. About the only thing we had in plentiful supply were packages of fruit snacks that we got on clearance so we asked who was interested in having some. (Remember, we’re used to feeding one kid not four.) They all wanted them so that’s what they got but they were still hungry, especially little Bilbo. The parents had promised pizza but it had yet to materialize so they were all getting cranky.

Bilbo continued to cry that he was hungry which, of course, led to him feeling “like I have to barf.” And as you could imagine, he did just that on the kitchen floor. About 15 minutes later I hear someone in the den say, “Frodo is barfing again.”

spaceballs john candy barfBy now, we’re completely out of paper towels and our collective patience is running thin. With barf flying around this house like a city park sprinkler shooting out a steady stream of water, we had no choice but to use our spare bath towels. As far as preventing cleaning up any further messes, all I could do was run into the bathroom and tell them all that if they were feeling sick and they couldn’t make it to the bathroom to use the trash can. Bilbo was the only one who made use of it.

I made my way into the den and once again, picked up after Frodo as he apologized. But despite my outward nonchalant attitude toward it all, deep down inside I was thinking, “Don’t apologize. Here’s a towel. Use it.” I also vacuumed up what I couldn’t get by hand.

All the time we’re calling Aragorn and giving him the play-by-play and getting his ETA. Between Galadriel and the kids, he had no choice but to turn around and put the kibosh on their evening plans. Our house was in total chaos between kids whining about being hungry and spewing.

We get an ETA from Aragorn who said he would pick up some food for myself, Ann and Anthony since he didn’t want his kids anywhere near food for the rest of the evening. At this point I didn’t really care what he did or didn’t bring; I just wanted my house back in order.

Before he arrived, as you might have guessed, we had another barf incident. This time it was Gandalf who, as mentioned earlier, was a ticking time bomb to begin with. Fortunately, he had the presence of mind to go outside and do it on the yard. I guess that’s better. I don’t know. You tell me.

By the time Aragorn arrived, we had three green kids slumped over sick. The only one who didn’t barf or complain about being hungry was Merry. As for the rest…UGH.

Aragorn apologized profusely for what had happened as he handed us a boxful of In-N-Out burgers that he had picked up along the way. Once he wrangled up the Company and strapped them in the car, Ann handed him a bag and told him, “Just in case.”

It didn’t matter. By then, Frodo had rolled down the window and blew some final chunks all over our driveway.

scream-16_6155The burgers were a fine gesture no doubt and to be quite honest, after the evening we just had, we didn’t feel like eating much but we did just that. I even ate some of the fries which anybody who knows me will tell you is out of character since I despise In-N-Out fries. I even drank a strawberry shake, not even caring about the fat or calories that any of the items contained or the fact that I am lactose intolerant. At this point all of it was comfort food for quite possibly one of the worst evenings of my adult life.

The house still smells of barf despite my burning several sticks of incense. We’ve taken showers, cleaned and sprayed down just about everything those kids touched and I don’t think Bath & Body Works is capable of producing the amount of antibacterial gel I would feel comfortable with at this moment, even if they worked overtime for several shifts.

Holy shit. What a night. All I want to do is go to bed and forget it ever happened – and be thankful Anthony’s an only child.



It’s a drizzly day and there are a ton of leaves to clean up. Why rake them?

Shot with my LG Optimus Elite using Pixlr-o-matic app for effects