Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Let it Snow, Let it

Last week our little burrough of Seattle received about 7 inches of snow over 2 days. 

The story should end right there except this city goes completely sideways over a slight dusting of snow, much less measurable accumulation. The LA Times even called us Snow Wimps. I'll let that rivalry take care of itself- onto my personal tales of the apeshit craziness that happened within the walls of my own house.

There was ample time to prepare for the snow apocalypse as every local (and most national) TV stations were covering the impending weather, ad nauseam. The night before, Sarah and I went to the grocery store along with every other person in our greater metropolitan area. I think we all arrived at the exact same time. 

While shopping, Sarah came up with a few projects to pass the time with Miller and Quinn- making hot cocoa, baking oatmeal cookies and even using marshmallows and toothpicks to make mini igloos. Awesome and thoughtful ideas. Ideas that also contain sugar. Heaping boatloads of SUGAR. Neither one of us thought much of it at the time.

We woke up to several inches of snow already covering the neighborhood. It was beautiful. Then we realized a few things.

The snowfall meant we had no childcare to watch the Beasties. This also meant my lovely wife and I were stuck at home. With the Beasties. Like a family. For what would be 4 days. I'm convinced that modern families are not designed to be around each other that much. Isn't that why we invented the 50+ hour work week? And fantasy baseball?

I also think most of the life distractions recently invented to keep families from talking to each other in their own homes have a maximum 2 hour shelf life. For example, HBO Original programming, XBox, bathroom doors with locks, etc etc.

These distractions got us to 10:30- maybe. 

The snow falling from our living room window was starting to get deep and we could see sledders outside. This duped us into thinking it would be fun to join. Miller had also figured out that the marshmallow project was edible so it was time to get outside and expend some energy.

45 minutes later, we were all (mostly) at the front door, bundled up in layer after layer of snow clothes. Quinn had rain boots on that were two sizes too big and she stumbled around like Neil Armstrong on his maiden voyage to the moon. Miller was throwing a hissy fit about which mittens he could wear. He also repeatedly knocked Quinn down as he ran back and forth from the front door to his room. I had been sweating my ass off as I was ready 38 minutes ago.

Out the door we went.

By the time we got to the street the snow had picked up and was also really wet. We were soaked. Not letting this hinder our adventure we forged ahead, inch by inch. I was leading the group mostly because Sasha the dog was invited (not by me) and I was holding the other end of her leash as she bounded towards sledders at the end of our block. 

Miller made a break for it to catch up with Sasha and me. It began so cutely. Like any curious 3 year old he was sticking his tongue out to catch the snowflakes as he ran toward us. He also did this with his eyes closed. About 8 steps in, the little sugar fueled vehicle that was my son began to veer sharply to the right.

Bam! He tripped on the hedge of grass (covered at this point in snow and invisible to his blind eyes) and landed face first. To his credit he was going at such a good clip his landing knocked his gloves completely off.

Immediate crying and whining ensued. Cold Hands Daddy, COLD HANDS DADDYYYY!!!'

It had been a memorable 4 minutes or so outside but it was time to turn around and go home.

On the way up the 37 stairs to the house, I began plotting how to add schnapps into my hot chocolate without coming across as a derelict.

We were after all, only half way thru day 1 of 4......

Monday, January 16, 2012

Food for Thought

Quinn starts most mornings with 2 bananas. Starts.

She's 19 months old. It sounds excessive because it is. I understand as the adult in these transactions I should impact and change this ritual of gluttony- but you see, I can't. She demands 'NANA'! more NANA!! with an increasing hostility that makes me dread her entry into the 'terrible two's'.

I've tried various ways to break this process. First I cut the banana into as many pieces as possible. I'm getting so skilled they're beginning to resemble poker chips. It doesn't slow her down though, she just double fists them while mumbling 'nana'! 'nana'! her face looking like a squirrel drunk with an entire winter's haul of nuts in its cheeks.

I also try to get her involved. I'll strip off the first segment and give her the banana to finish peeling. This gives me an additional 3 or 4 seconds to get the cutting board and knife out before the yelling begins. I feel like a contestant on Hells Kitchen but my daughter is Gordon Ramsey and I'm about to be sent packing.

Mid-way thru the second banana Quinny becomes somewhat reasonable and sated. Miller takes this lull in action to announce from the couch that he is hungry. He's more of a waffle guy and being three, he likes to do everything himself. Not in a generally efficient way but by himself none- the- less. A quick trip to the freezer and Miller is back on the couch eating a waffle. A frozen, rock solid waffle. I can't convince him to see the benefits of a toaster yet. Or the perils of loosing teeth but in his defense all the current ones are coming out anyway.

This incites Quinn to riot. How dare I deprive her of carbs- she begins to yell 'down!' 'DOWN!!! off the kitchen bar stool so she too, can go grab a frozen waffle- (damn those bottom loading appliances). I meet her demands out of fear and lack of caffeine.

Quinn follows Miller to the couch where the bickering begins- I'm happily not the target during this segment of our morning. 'Mine'! mine!! MINE!! mine!!  Back and for they go, each one yelling progressively louder as to prove their waffle is most supreme.

Inevitably, the wrath of sweaty, tiny hands begins to thaw the waffles out- and the possession clock expires for both of their shrill voices- they begin eat the damn waffles, in silence.

I generally tune this out now that I've heard it a few hundred times- it's my moment to lean on the kitchen table and drink a cup of coffee-

It's MINE.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Awards Season is Upon Us

I just dropped my lovely wife off at the airport for a fun filled four days in Vegas. Bahhhhh.

Normally I'd be completely inconsolable and jealous at this turn of events but she's actually going for work- CES is this week. A work trip to Vegas is kinda like being the designated driver at Oktoberfest but I'm sure she'll find a few moments of joy eating at Bouchon educating tech bloggers on various OEM PCs and Windows.

I wanted to take a moment away from my usual posts about family dysfunction to humbly announce a couple of *ahem, awards I've graciously been a part of or nominated for.

First- thanks to Mary Harnetiaux at Bermtopia. My infant(ile) blog was nominated for a Liebster Blog award!

The Liebster Blog Award originated in Germany and recognizes up-and-coming bloggers. It is meant to showcase those who have fewer than 200 followers  (Liebster means “favorite” or “dearest” in German.) It's presented in the spirit of pay-it-forward.

I will shortly pass this forward by listing my 5 favorite blogs so please stay tuned- also definitely check out Mary's site as I read it daily and she never disappoints with humor and insight :-)

Second, I'd like to share a trailer for a short film I'm a small part of. It was just picked up as an official nominee at the Spokane International Film Festival, and I couldn't be prouder to be a (tiny) part of something so great.


Here is a link to Steel Drum in Space productions where you can watch the trailer and read about the real genius' behind the film. We hope to be updating the awards as we're in the midst of festival season and this will be the first of many, fingers crossed!

I'm sure the next four days of watching the beasties alone will give me plenty of fodder to resume my normal posts- carry on and thanks for reading!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Cost of a Tree

I imagine all parents pass milestones that serve as reminders of how pricey the little beasties we put on this Earth can be.

For me it began with the amount of paper products I bought and immediately disposed of when Miller was an infant. I found myself at the store every 48 hours stocking up on enough diapers and wipes to last until he turned five. (I had no idea children shouldn't be wearing diapers at five- it was my rookie season). Without fail, two days later the diaper genie began to belch out the overflow of these now soiled and disgusting products. So off to the store I went, again and again.

I didn't really mind the errand aspect of the job as most dads will confirm, this ritual became a kind of mini-vacation, a few moments of peace- especially during those early months. It was nice to be out among the public, even though I looked like a hipster crazed homeless person. Matching socks?, mehhhh. No shower in 3 days? Thats what baseball hats are for. Off I went.

In minutes, I travelled to a distant foreign land. Modern society. A people of sensible outfits. Who had hair product and time on their hands. I however, was straight out of the pages of National Geographic.

The store lights were always the first shock. They were too bright for my cave dwelling vision. Second was the illumination these lights cast on my ridiculous attire- awesome for me.

I did see women without babies attached to their breasts, which was a welcome but foreign experience. Thankfully I had the support of a cart to lean on and stagger to my designated aisle- good ol' #6. (its a small store, thank whatever pagan god these folks thought my tribe belonged to).

In defense of the store, lighting is not designed to induce coma- like sleepy time so parents can grab a 20 minute nap. I get it. What I don't get, and would like to recommend to groceries across the world is this:

  1. Put the diaper, wipe, paper product, toilet paper, paper towel, etc, etc products in the LAST aisle CLOSEST to the exit. This will ensure minimal contact with regular customers and the likes of me and the Walking Dead.
  2. DIM the lights in this aisle- I understand that an heirloom tomato's chance of landing in my basket is enhanced if I see that perfectly reflected water drop from it's well positioned light source. A box of diapers doesn't warrant light- its like crack. I just need it.
  3. If followed, your business will be better for it- trust me...

When I'm done with diapers forever, I promise to buy a shit load of those Heirloom Tomatoes- in season. At full price...

Just keep 'em away from aisle 6.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Don't Judge a Book by It's Cover

No 'Year in Review' for me.

Fortunately there was plenty of action to convey, mostly at my expense over the holidays. Here are a couple low highlights from the past 2 weeks...

My daughter Quinn learned about Santa. Rather she learned to say 'Santa'. She's in a very object focused point in her life. She calls things out purely by name to remind us that we have functioning ears. It's a constant inventory of the world around her- if theres a question about what to call the blanket I'm holding she will call out 'BLANKET!'. If I'm on the couch with the iPad, she will grab it and try to smash it into my face yelling 'IPAD' and so on. All day.

When Santa finally hit her radar in the form of several Christmas decorations around the house it made for a lot of confusion. You see my dogs name is Sasha. Quinn had already filed her name into the top 10 identifiers we enjoyed hearing every few minutes. For grown ups the difference is easy to decipher but coming from a 19 month old who pronounces 'water' as 'daughter' you might see how it can get a bit confusing. So, any older white male, beard or not (grey hair being the only common denominator) became 'SANTA!' or 'SASHA'. It depended on mood and on how much time you spend with her to know the difference, not that strangers cared.

Miller is able to carry on long, mostly- articulate conversations unlike Quinn but they inevitably turn to questions. And more questions. At home, I'm all for explaining the difference between a T- Rex and a Triceratops or why 'four more minutes Daddy' doesn't mean wilding out for an hour or why Mommy doesn't have a penis- but this becomes a double edged sword when in public.

The week before Christmas, we all loaded into the car to get our tree. I wasn't sure why we all had to go as I knew who would be toting the beast up the 37 steps to our house. At the entrance to the lot, there was a gal with a crew cut working at a sawhorse station trimming the butt end of the trees before they got wrapped. The best way to describe her was handsome- but definitely female. For safety reasons I imagine,  her set up was a safe distance from the rows of tree inventory stacked against those temporary wooden frames built for three weeks of mayhem. Miller was oblivious to the tree section or the quest to find that perfect Balsam Fir for the living room I was trying to sell him. The action was with this woman in the snowmobile onesie and the loud chainsaw.

After losing Miller's attention for the tree hunt two or three or five times- (each time I'd find him too close and tug the back of his hood towards in the direction of the task at hand with no luck- off I went). On the last attempt, his little voice chirped out oh-so- high and piercing 'DADDY- WHAT HE DOING??' 'WHAT HIM DOING DADDY????'

Before he even finished screaming,  I had subconsciously mapped out the next closest tree lot and strategized an excuse to tell Sarah's parents why we couldn't support the local charity that funds long term AIDS care in our neighborhood. (Sarah and her family have been buying trees and volunteering at this lot for decades). I could have apologized but in the spirit of the holidays I did infinitely worse. I looked at Sarah and find that tree.

I went total hunter and gatherer. and, well....fill in the blank.

The tree I found was surprisingly at the far end of the lot, around the corner of most of the other trees- and it was perfect. I mean, really it was one of the best trees we've ever had. it was a perfect triangle, no crooked spine and zero empty spots.

I took it down today and every single needle dropped off if it- EVERY one as I first took the ornaments off and then the lights.

Maybe my New Year's resolution should be to not run from one mess to create another?

Happy 2012!