Monday, October 7, 2013

Period

So, I sort of can't believe that it's been four and a half months since I last posted. I missed the entire summer and failed to write about a number of things: Axl's semi-fiasco of a birthday sleepover party, The Boys each learning how to ride a bike without training wheels on consecutive days in under a half an hour, and The Rocket Queen's general cuteness. There's no real excuse but a bunch of reasons, none of which I really feel like getting into right now. Anyway...

The Wife went out for sushi with The Father-in-Law tonight, leaving me to put The Kids down by myself. Unlike a lot of nights recently, tonight was cruising along with no behavior problems or attitude issues. The Boys got themselves dressed and "brushed their teeth" (quotes added to denote the fact that they went into the bathroom and made noises as if brushing their teeth but I have no idea if teeth were actually brushed with toothpaste) and were sitting on their beds as The Rocket Queen sat down to pee on the toilet. Then, Axl decided it was the right time to ask:

Axl: Daddy, why d girls get their periods and have blood come out of their butts?

Fuck. Why do they always seem to ask these kinds of questions when The Wife isn't home?

Me: Well...

The Rocket Queen: Daddy, I need a book.

Me: Okay sweetie, I'm coming (PHEW!)

I got her a book and went back to The Boys' room:

Axl: So why does blood come out of their butts?

Me: Um, so, when girls hit puberty, they get their periods.

Slash: What does that mean?

Me: Ok, well, here it goes. You know how babies grow in the uterus? Well, every month when a girl gets her period, the uterus sheds its uterine lining. And it comes out with blood.

Slash: So a girl gets a new uterus every month?

Me: No.

Axl: And the blood comes out their butts?

Me: Nope, not from their butts.

Slash: I don't like girls.

Axl: Then where?

I guess I need to really spell it out...

Me: The blood comes out of their vaginas.

Axl: So from their anus.

Me: No, from their vaginas. The anus is part of the butt.

Axl: Oh, so it comes out the front.

Me: Yes, the front.

Axl: What's the thing called on boys, like the weenie...

Me: You mean the penis?

Axl: No, it sounds like anus, but it's in the front.

Me: You mean the penis.

Axl: No, not the penis. It's like the anus, but in front?

Me: Yes, the penis.

Axl: No Daddy, not the penis. (He then stands up and motions to his front) This area.

Me: Oh, you mean the crotch?

Axl: Yeah.

Me: What's the question?

Axl: What question?

Me: What did you want to know?

Axl: I don't know.

Me: Oh, ok then. Good talk.

Axl: Whatever, let's read Harry Potter.

Good times.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fitness

So, a few months ago, I started working out on Monday with my friend Eddie Money. Eddie Money was in the process of losing about 75 pounds and we both liked the idea of going to the gym on Monday nights and keeping each other motivated. Last week, as we passed one of the fitness classes on our way to the locker-room room, I jokingly suggested we try one of the classes, like Hula-Hooping or Zumba. You know, for shits and giggles.

As I was sitting at my desk working this afternoon, I got the following e-mail:

Are we on for this evening?
7-8 pm- Cardihoop
7:30-8:30pm- KitchenSink (sounds intimdating to me!)
8-9pm- Zumba

What do you think?

We both had the same thought: this would be funny. I looked at the description of Kitchen Sink, and it said (I'm paraphrasing here) "We do everything but the kitchen sink." I had visions of wild dogs chasing us around the gym while a sadistic instructor made us hoist medicine balls or something. No thank you. CardioHoop was too early for us, so we settled on Zumba.

As we were eating dinner, The Wife and I were talking about the class:

The Wife: I want to take a Zumba class.

Me: You should take one.

The Wife: Why are you guys taking a Zumba class?

Me: I don't know, it's at the right time. And it should be funny.

The Wife: Are you going to do all the dance moves?

Me: Come again?

The Wife: You know it's like a Latin dance class, right?

Me: No.

This will be good.

Eddie Money picked me up at 7:45 and we drove to the JCC for the class. We assumed that we would be the only two guys in the class, but a few people were milling around outside the room (dance studio) and Eddie Money saw a guy he knows. The guy assured us that the Zumba instructor Elyse was really nice, very helpful and easy to follow. He told us that it might take a little bit of time to learn the moves but that it wasn't that hard. As we were talking, a woman decked out in Zumba gear walked by and said hi to the guy. As it turned out, she was subbing for Elyse. Ok, no problem.

Eddie Money and I made our way into the room, took our place in the back and started to stretch. We were standing next to those bars on the wall that ballerinas use:

Eddie Money: You going to put your leg up on that?

Me: (snorting) No. I could, but I'm not going to.

You know those scenes from movies where someone is expecting a nice teacher and a horrible, mean one shows up? Or a wicked stepmother? THAT'S who was teaching this class. I mean, she was pretty and was smiling, but she was TOUGH. The class started and we were able to keep up (a little). I kept looking over at Eddie Money and we were trying not to laugh. But then it got faster. The instructor, Kaydian, kept looking back at me as if she was giving me a heads-up as to what was coming. I was watching her but half the time I couldn't even figure out what she was doing.

We were five minutes into the class and already, my knees were hurting and I was winded. The next song started and it was in Spanish. I could only make out a few words, which I think were cabeza, abuela and queso, but I'm pretty sure the singer was trying to let me know that his grandmother's voice was in his head and she was laughing at me for eating too much cheese (which is weird becaue I barely eat cheese, and it's not very nice of his grandmother). It's a good thing we were in the back because as the pace picked up, I started moving in the wrong direction half the time. The instructor had great rythym and when she moved it was sexy. Me and Eddie Money? Not so much. Although, on the bright side, the music was so loud that I was able to fart wthout worrying about anyone hearing it (though I was constantly worried I was going to shit my pants and forever be known as "That Guys Who Shit His Pants in Zumba Class"). I couldn't believe how uncoordinated I was half the time. I was usually able to do the moves with my arms or my legs, but not both.

The next song was also in Spanish but all I could understand was Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Argentina, Puerto Rico and the Dominican. I can only assume that the song was about how they use Zumba to torture political prisoners, or rival drug lords, in those countries. Then she played te Shakira song that was the anthem for the World Cup in South Africa, but all I could think of was the version that we heard non-stop for hours on our LONG trip back home from Vermont a few years ago. At one point, she made us make two circles, with a smaller one on the inside. It was painfully obvious every single time I moved in th wrong direction. The instructor kept making eye contact with me and smiling, and I couldn't tell if she was thinking how hot I was and wondering what I would be like in bed or if she was plotting my rythmic death through dance. Near the end of the class she played Gangnam Style, and I silently cursed Psy's name (though on the bright side, I now SORT of know how to do the Gangnam Style dance).

When she mercifully ended the class, Eddie Money and I, winded, walked up to the instructor:

Me: So, would you say that that was more of an advanced Zumba class or more of a beginner's class. That was more advanced, right?

Instructor: What do YOU think?

Me: I don't know, don't ask me. I thought it was hard.

Instructor: There's no levels in Zumba, just Zumba.

Me: Yes, but was this harder than usual?

Instructor: Well, this was probably about medium. Medium to easier.

(I should note that about half the class, including the Zumba-holic Eddie Money knew, left the class before it ended because of instructor's speed).

Eddie Money: Are we the two most uncoordinated white guys you've ever seen in your class?

Instructor: No, actually, you guys did really well for your first time.

I knew it, she TOTALLY wanted me.

I literally would've paid money to watch video of us in class, but thankfully, no video exists. Maybe next time we'll try international folk dancing with the old people, if I'm not still sore.

Good times.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

An Open Letter

So, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries has been taking a lot of heat the last few days for comments he made about seven years ago that just became public. Since the firestorm of public opinion was immediate and everyone has been so quick to tear into him, I thought I'd write this letter of support for Mike Jeffries:

Mr. Jeffries,

I wanted to write you this open letter to let you know how glad I am that you have exercised your First Amendment rights and shared your honest opinions and marketing strategies with America. It takes a lot of courage to speak the truth, and you have done just that. I just read the Salon.com article from 1/24/06 that set-off the controversy and I loved it.

When you said that your company goes "after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely” I nodded my head in agreement. Because everyone knows that THAT is what it's all about. Being cool and popular. Everyone knows that it is MUCH more important to be popular and cool than it is to be a nice, smart, good person. As ANYBODY who has ever been through high school can tell you, the only people with any worth are the good looking cool kids. Hey, if you don't like it, get cooler. Am I right?

And when you said, "That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that” I say "Amen, bro." Because if you're not good looking, you're nothing. Everyone knows that what TRULY matters is looks. It's not what you have on the inside that counts, it's only what you look like on the outside. Style over substance, baby. Am I right?

When you said "Listen, do we go too far sometimes? Absolutely. But we push the envelope, and we try to be funny, and we try to stay authentic and relevant to our target customer. I really don’t care what anyone other than our target customer thinks,” I thought, "Finally! Here's a rich white guy who gets it and is not afraid to speak his mind!" You only care what your target audience --rich, good looking, cool white party kids -- thinks. Let the whiny minorities and ugly non-popular people worry about the t-shirts with what THEY consider sexist, racist and age-inappropriate drinking messages. Your target audience thinks they're funny, so screw everyone else. Am I right? High five, bro.

When you decided not to carry girls' clothes in any size larger than a 10 (and no XL or XXL, PHEW), because you don't want to target EVERYBODY, that just made me smile. I mean, why would you want to sell clothes to kids struggling with weight issues? That's so not cool, or popular. Hey, if you want to buy Abercrombie clothes, just put down the cheeseburgers and get thin. Am I right?

And seriously, good for you for sticking to your guns with the whole "thongs for middle school girls" thing. When you said, "That was a bunch of bullshit. People said we were cynical, that we were sexualizing little girls. But you know what? I still think those are cute underwear for little girls. And I think anybody who gets on a bandwagon about thongs for little girls is crazy. Just crazy! There’s so much craziness about sex in this country. It’s nuts! I can see getting upset about letting your girl hang out with a bunch of old pervs, but why would you let your girl hang out with a bunch of old pervs?” you spoke the truth. You got that parents? It's okay to let your little girls wear thongs, just make sure they don't hang out with old pervs.
Yup, nobody wants to let their young girls hang around with old pervs, and EVERYBODY knows that boys don't get interested in sex until they become old pervs. Come on people, get real. It's not like boys in middle school and high school are trying to have sex or trying to get girls to do anything. And besides, how else is a girl supposed to become popular if not by becoming a slut in middle school? Lord knows girls are just supposed to look good and seek approval from guys to prove their worth. With any luck, they can become trophy wives and spend their days at the golf club while nannies take care of their kids. Those girls who wear regular underwear as kids, use their brains, and make something of themselves are not cool, or popular.

And good for you for settling all of the lawsuits with which you are faced, you know, as you said, to avoid distractions. Especially that class-action suit you settled for $40 million "brought by minority employees who said they were either denied employment or forced to work in back rooms, where they wouldn’t be seen by customers." I don't know why you settled this. Nobody wants to see minorities working in your stores. I mean, after all, these are the 2000's and I don't think America is ready for that. A black president is one thing, but minority kids working at Abercrombie & Fitch, that great American institution? That's ridiculous. But you showed what a forward thinker you are when you said, "We have minority recruiters. And if you go into our stores you see great-looking kids of all races." You are a true Martin Luther King, Jr. of your time. The color of kids' skin doesn't matter, as long they're good looking.

To sum up, I applaud you for speaking your mind and speaking the truth. The world is TRULY a better place now that we all know how you, and your company, feel.

Sincerely,

Good Times Dad


 



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Boycott

So, there have been so many posts I've wanted to write lately that it almost seems overwhelming to sit down and write them. So instead of trying to create something, I decided to tell a story from my past, which will serve two purposes: first, it will hopefully entertain you, and second, I will now have it written down for posterity.

This is the story of how I came to boycott Billy Crystal.

Back in 1998 I worked for the New York Yankees in the Publications Department. My title was "Assistant Editor," but I was technically only an intern. I had gone from covering high school sports as the Sports Editor for a small weekly newspaper to covering the Yankees (during my interview, my soon to be boss informed me that I would have to stay late and cover Yankees games and asked if that would be a problem: "Let me see," I said. "I'm going to cover a girls' high school basketball game tonight. No, staying late to cover Yankees games will not be a problem.") I was making only $18,000 a year with no health insurance, but it was a great opportunity.

1998 was an awesome season, and, as long as I live, I'm not sure another one will ever replace it for me. The Yankees won a record number of games and stormed through the playoffs, sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series. I was at every single home game, both regular and post-season excet for one: I was home sick for David Wells' perfect game.

As is custom, there was a victory parade a few days after they won the World Series. As employees, we were part of the parade. Everyone, players and employees, met at "The Stadium" (Yankees Stadium) and boarded buses for the trip down to Battery Park. The best part was the full police escort. You got that? A FULL...POLICE...ESCORT. Man, there is NOTHING like travelling in a caravan with a full police escort. They shut down the highways so there was no traffic. Do you know how rare that is for New York City? No traffic. For all you non-New Yorkers, that's like a Kardashian without a TV camera. There were cars pulled over on the side of the road, but instead of being pissed off, the drivers were honking their horns and waving. People were hanging out windows waving and cheering.

We got down to Battery Park, got off the buses, and made our way into a large tented area with food and drink. We mingled with the players for a while and then everyone got onto their floats. Getting to ride on  float in the victory parade was probably, hands down, the single coolest thing I've ever gotten to do in my life. There were people as far as the eye could see, and everyone was going crazy. Well, they were going crazy for the players.

When our float would pass by, people would start to throw things at us and they'd chant "Who the fuck are you? Who the fuck are you?" So we would chant back "We're on a float! We're on a float!" You could see them think for a second, shrug and then start to cheer. Everything about the parade was just pure awesome.

Everyone in the organization was invited to a party at Gracie Mansion, the house in which each mayor of New York City lives. Rudy Giuliani was the mayor at the time. The players all had more exciting places to be, but as lowly employees, we were excited to be going to the party and hobnob with the mayor and other celebrities. Plus, you know, free food and drink.

We get to the party and immediately head for the bar. To that point in the day, I'm not sure I had eaten much, if anything, so the alcohol started to work even faster than normal. At one point I looked up, and standing no more than 10 feet away was Billy Crystal. Billy Crystal is, very famously, a big Yankees fan. We saw him around the Stadium a lot that year, so it was not really a big surprise that he would be at this party. Being 24, and not normally in situations in which I had the opportunity to meet movie stars whose work I enjoyed, I decided that I was going to go meet him.

Now, I don't remember how many beers I had consumed at this point, but it was at least a few. I walked up to him and introduced myself. I figured everyone told him how much they liked "When Harry Met Sally" or "City Slickers," so I decided that I would tell him something else, so he would know I was a TRUE fan:

Me: Mr. Crystal, hi. My name is Good Times Dad and I work for the Yankees. It's an honor to meet you...

Billy Crystal: (with that smug smile of his) Hi.

Me: I'm a big fan of yours, and I just wanted to let you know that "Throw Momma From The Train" is my favorite movie of all time.

(Spoiler alert: It's not, and it wasn't at the time, bt I said this very sincerely. Although I think I did. There's a pretty good chnce I was drunk and slurring my words).

He just looked at me and said:

Billy Crystal: Yeah, cuz it's funny.

And turned away.

If I was older, or more sober, and not scared of getting fired for telling Billy Crystal off, I would've told him to go fuck himself and that the only reason he was anything was because people like me pay to go see his movies. I vowed then and there that he would never get any of my money and that I would do my best to never watch any of his movies.

Not long after that, and at least one beer later, I saw Mayor Giuliani standing a few feet from me. Seeing as how my interaction with Billy Crystal had gone so well, I decided to go introduce myself to the Mayor of New York. However, unlike Billy Crystal, who could not have been more of an asshole, Mayor Giuliani could not have been nicer (which just shows the difference between actors and politicians):

Me: Mayor Giuliani, my name is Good Times Dad. I work for the Yankees and it is an honor to meet you sir.

Mayor Giuliani: It's nice to meet you too Good Times. What do you do for the team?

Me: (a little surprised, I wasn't expecting questions) Oh, I write for the magazine and website.

Mayor Giuliani: Very nice. Do you like it?

Me: Yeah, it's really cool. Can I ask you a question sir?

Mayor Giuliani: Sure.

Me: Do you remember when you hosted Saturday NIght Live, the skit whre you played a cab driver?

Mayor Giuliani: (laughing) Sure, "Friggin Giuliani!"

 Me: Yes! That's the one. My sister and I LOVE that skit. What does Tracey Morgan say in the cab at the end of the skit? We've never been able to figure it out.

Mayor Giuliani: (chuckling) You know, I've never been able to figure it out either.

Me: Thank you very much sir.

I went bak to my coworkers and recounted my two conversations. There was talk of going to a bar for happy hour, but we decied we should stay where we were because, hey, free beer. So we sat down on chairs on the patio and kept taking turns going to the bar for rounds of beers. I can't remember exactly who was with us, but I remember Mikey H, Patty Mac, and Nicole Sibs. At one point, Mayor Giuliani stuck his head out the patio doors, looked at us and asked:

Mayor Giuliani: Are you guys having a good time?

Us: (raising our beers, in unison) Yeah, we're having a great time Mr. Mayor, thanks!

I think one of us asked him if he wanted to join us for a beer and he politely declined. He went back inside and for some reason, I looked around at the party: there was literally nobody left except for the help cleaning up and a few drunk idiots (i.e.: us) sitting there on the porch drinking.

Me: Uh, guys, I think he's telling us we should go.

We decided that it would be a good time to head out and find a bar for happy hour, so we got up, beers in hand, and walked through his mansion towards the front door. As we started to walk off the grounds into the street, we were gently stopped by either the Mayor's security or the NYPD, who informed us that we couldn't walk out into the street with open containers. We finished our beers and left.

And that is the story of not only one of the coolest days of my life, but of why I will no longer watch Billy Crystal movies. The Wife thinks I'm crazy but the boycott will remain until I get a personal apology from Billy Crystal.

Good times.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston

So, once again, I find myself struggling with how to write about yet another senseless tragedy and how I, as a father, move forward. By now, which is two days after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, there have been countless blog posts written by parents about how they are coping with telling their kids about what happened or why they're not telling their kids about the tragedy. Like I wrote in a post after the  Newtown shootings, my feelings are no different than everyone else's: I'm angry, sad, confused, and heartbroken for the families whose lives have been changed forever. Once again, one of the three people killed was a young kid about Axl's age. I saw his face and I saw my son.

I know one of the big topics in the parent blogosphere is how to deal with telling kids about what happened. There's obviously no guide on how to do it, and frankly, The Wife an I have not spoken about it with The Boys yet. The Wife and I were talking about it quietly on Monday evening and The Boys overheard us and asked what we were talking about. I told them that there had been an accident and some people were hurt, but mainly because I didn't feel like getting into it at the time. However, my story about telling The Boys would probably not be any different than any of the numerous blog posts already written.

But more important than providing an opportunity to talk with The Boys about good and bad, love and hate, this tragedy made me think of something else. As I read the heartbreaking story of the little boy who died while waiting for his father to cross the finish line, it made me think about myself as a father. I know The Wife will read this and say "G-d forbid," but it made wonder "What if the next time I say goodbye to The Kids is the last time I see them? Will their last memory of me be a good one?"

I thought this because I feel like I haven't been the best father I can be lately. Axl is almost 8 and Slash is 6, and it seems like they fight ALL THE TIME. If they're not fighting with each other, or bothering one another, they're giving us a hard time. I dread mealtime because it's never easy. Between what Slash won't eat (most things) and The Rocket Queen can't eat (from a dairy and sesame allergy), dinnertime is a chore. The other night, after struggling with Slash over an omelet that The Wife had dared to cut into pieces, I had to send Slash to bed without dinner, which prompted him, between sobs, to tell me that he would "eat his snot and drink his tears," which was immediately the grossest and most heartbreaking thing I'd ever heard one of my kids say.

They've been driving me a little bit crazy. The Wife tells me to relax and to not get so annoyed, but it's hard. The Rocket Queen is almost 3, so the kind of frustration she adds to the whole picture is different. She's adorable and sweet, and though in the throes of her terrible twos, she's also a little easier to deal with. I've yelled at The Boys much more than I've meant to and they've spent more time crying because of it than I'd ever want. I realize that as a parent, not every decision I make will make The Boys happy, but I never want to be the reason my kids are sad. G-d forbid the next time I say goodbye to them is the last time they see me, I don't want it to be a bad goodbye.

There are bigger lessons to be learned from the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon, but if we are going to try and make it a better word for our kids, I think change starts at home. I want The Kids to grow into the kind of people who ran into the chaos to help. I can't go out there and fight terrorism on the front lines. But I CAN do everything in my power to raise happy, good people. I can do this by being more patient and yelling less. I can do this by taking a deep breath when I'm frustrated and trying not to let small things bother me as much. I can do this by making sure that they know that I ALWAYS love them. I realize that even though I was not personally touched by this incident, it has helped give me some perspective I've been missing.

Sadly, I won't be able to stop future terrorist attacks, and at some point I'm going to have to explain to The Kids why there are people out there who would place a bomb in a crowd of people. But now is not that time. Right now I can change what I put out into the world, and that's not a bad thing for everyone to consider. That's what this tragedy has made me think about.

Bad Times.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More Duff

So, as I wrote in the previous post, The Rocket Queen has a new found affinity for Duff McKagan, the original bassist for Guns 'N Roses and the frontman of his new band Loaded.Upon hearing that Duff is not only a daddy but that he has two daughters, The Rocket Queen instantly decided that he is her favorite guy in GnR. And, as most parents out there know, parenthood is about nothing if not about being able to adjust on the fly and figuring out a way to stay one step ahead of the kids.

I quickly realized that I could use her new admiration for Duff and his daughters to my advantage. Let me be clear: I do not personally know Duff or his daughters, nor do I really know anything about them other than what a quick internet search turned up (that they're about 13 and 16). However, I have not let that stop me from using them to manipulate The Rocket Queen.

The Rocket Queen has very dry skin and gets itchy very easily, so the pediatrician has told us to put lotion on her after the bath. For some reason, she hates this (actually, it's not so surprising because I hate doing it. I don't particularly like the way the lotion feels on my skin when I'm done putting it on, but it wouldn't suck having someone massage it onto me the way we do it for her. Heck, we even call it a lotion massage). The Wife put her diaper on, stood her up on the changing table, and started to put the lotion on her. At first, The Rocket Queen protested and then she just started to cry, saying "No lotion massage! No lotion massage!"

Her crying quickly went from upset to Defcon 5 gagging herself and about to throw up. Thinking quickly, and desperately tryng to avoid having to clean-up puke, I said:

Me: (gasping) The Rocket Queen, do you know what?

The Rocket Queen: (sobbing) What?

Me: Do you know who puts lotion on after the bath?

The Rocket Queen: Who?

Me: (very enthusiastically) Duff's daughters put lotion on after the bath too!

The Rocket Queen: (suspiciously) Duff's daughters?

Me: Yeah!

The Rocket Queen: (tears stopping) Duff's daughters put on lotion too?

Me: Yeah, they put lotion on after their baths, just like you The Rocket Queen.

The Rocket Queen: (tears have now stopped, her face has lit up and she seems to have forgotten that The Wife is rubbing lotion on her arms and legs) They use the same lotion as me?

Me: Yeah, right The Wife? They use the same exact lotion.

The Wife: Yup, the same lotion.

Tragedy averted and a town saved. After that, she allowed The Wife to finish with the lotion and I got her into her jammies. She sat down in The Wife's lap on Slash's bed and drank her oat milk while I read some Harry Potter to The Boys. I don't remember why they started to move but suddenly Slash and The Rocket Queen moved at the same time and banged heads. It took a second fr her to realize what happened but as soon as she did, she started to cry. Again.

And once again, she was crying so hard that she started to gag:

Me: Shame The Rocket Queen, are you okay? Come here, let me kiss your head. There, is that better?

The Rocket Queen: (Shaking her head--No, that's not better dummy, my big-head 6 year-old brother just smacked my sweet little delicate head with his melon. What do you think?)

Me: (Let's try this again...gasping) Guess what? Do you know who has banged their heads together?

She shook her head, still crying.

Me: Duff's daughters used to bang their heads together when THEY were your age and Slash's age.

The Rocket Queen: (again, tears slowing) They did?

I made up some story about them bumping heads and, like magic, it worked. She stopped crying and showed an immediate interest in Duff's daughters, forgetting her bumped head.

But it gets better. The Rocket Queen is a bad eater and getting her to eat breakfast before pre-school is always a challenge. But the last two morning, I was able to convince her to eat toast and a toasted bagel in the car on the way to school by telling her that Duff's daughters eat the same foods every morning. I might have to put them on the payroll.

Good times.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Clone

So, as anyone who has read this blog with any sort of regularity knows, I'm a huge Guns and Roses fan. Hell, even if you've never read any of the posts extolling the virtues of the band once called "The Most Dangerous Band In The World," all you have to do is see what names I use for The Kids--Axl, Slash and The Rocket Queen--to know I'm a big fan.

When The Boys were younger, I showed them the Paradise City video on TV, which prompted Axl to ask, upon seeing drummer Steven Adler sitting down at one point in the video, "Why is that girl just sitting there?" and led to a discussion about how some boys have girl hair (i.e. long) and some girls have boy hair. However, as much as I tried, I was never able to truly get The Boys to WANT to listen to GnR.

Recently, I found this video of the band doing "Knockin On Heaven's Door" from a concert at The Ritz in NYC back in 1988. It's a great version of the song and I played it on my phone while doing something in the kitchen. The Rocket Queen saw it and was mesmerized. As soon as it finished, she wanted me to play it again. Then again. And again. She has become obsessed with it to the point where, when I try to put on a different live version of the band doing it, she tells me that no, he wants "the regular version." I play the performance of Paradise City from that same show and The Kids all like it because Axl jumps into the crowd at the end of the song. Every time she watches the videos, she laughs and says:

The Rocket Queen: (laughing) Axl Rose looks like a girl! (and) Why isn't he wearing a shirt? (and) I want a blue hairband like Axl Rose.

At one point, after watching her almost three year-old perfectly sing Knockin On Heaven's Door while dancing like Axl Rose, The Wife looked at me in amazement and asked:

The Wife: How do you get her to like your music?

Me: (It's good? It's not atrocious soul sucking musc like a lot of the crap you listen to?) I don't know, I just put it on.

It gets better. She has learned all of the words and dances like Axl Rose whenever it comes on. She loves talking about Axl Rose and the only time she lets us put a headband in her hair is when we call it an "Axl Rose hairband."

The Wife wanted me to start trying to get The Rocket Queen into Sweet Child O' Mine, but it didn't take until this past weekend. I played it for her once, and even though she asked for "The Regular Song" (Knockin on Heaven's Door), she watched it all the way through and something must've clicked because this past weekend, she asked me to play "The Charlie Song." It took a lot of confusing back and forth to realize that she meant "Sweet Child O' Mine."

So on Sunday afternoon, I took her with me to Wegmans to get a rotisserie chicken for dinner, and since I pretty do whatever she wants, I let her hold my phone and watch her favorite Guns and Roses videos as she sat in the cart (seriously, how many other parents have almost three year-old girls who love GnR? In addition to being the cutest, The Rocket Queen is the coolest). She obviously knows Axl Rose, but she always forgets the names of the other guys in the band. As I was doing the shopping, she kept asking me the names of the other guys:

The Rocket Queen: (pointing at Slash) Who's that?

Me: That's Slash, he plays guitar.

The Rocket Queen: (pointing at Steven Adler) Who's that?

Me: That's Steven, he plays drums.

The Rocket Queen: (pointing at Izzy Stradlin) Who's that?

Me: The guy in the hat is Izzy, he plays guitar too.

The Rocket Queen: (looking serious and pointing at Duff McKagan) What's his name?

Me: That's Duff, he plays bass guitar.

The Rocket Queen: (crossing her arms and making a sour face) I don't like Duff.

This is a surprising turn of events. For the life of me, I can't figure out what has prompted The Rocket Queen to take such a hardline stance on Duff. Aesthetically speaking, he's probably the best looking member of the band:

Me: Why don't you like Duff?

The Rocket Queen: He's not my favorite guy.

Me: Why not?

The Rocket Queen: I don't like him.

I mean, I know she has a thing for Axl Rose, but let's be honest, he's really not a role model for anybody, unless you want to be a paranoid, delusional semi-psychotic egomaniac who takes 15 years and millions of dolars to make, based on the amount of money and time spent, the crappiest album ever made. But Duff is actually an interesting guy who has gone on to do some other things, such as write for various publications and become a financial advisor (as well as marry a model).

Me: But why don't you like him? Did you know that he's a daddy and has two little girls too?

The Rocket Queen: He has a baby?

Me: Well, I think his daughters are a little bit older, but yeah, he has two daughters. He's a daddy, like me.

The Rocket Queen: He's my favorite guy! I like Duff!

Me: And Slash is a daddy too.

The Rocket Queen: He has girls too?

Me: No, he has two boys.

The Rocket Queen: Like my brothers!

Me: Exactly.

The Rocket Queen: Is Axl Rose a daddy?

Me: No, I don't think so.

The Rocket Queen: Why not?

Me: He's not married (that was the easiest explanation).

But then she started in with other questions:

The Rocket Queen: Daddy? What Axl Rosh having for dinner?

Me: Um, I don't know sweetie.

The Rocket Queen: What he eat?

Me: Um, I think he's having chicken too, just like you.

The Rocket Queen: And sushi?

Me: Yup, probably sushi too.

The Rocket Queen: Axl Rose like sushi?

Me: I think so.

The Rocket Queen: The other guys like sushi too?

Me: Yes.

The Rocket Queen: Daddy, where is Axl Rose?

Me: (I have no idea) He's home sweetie. He's getting ready to have dinner (or snort blow off a hooker's ass, either one).

The Rocket Queen: He get ready for night night after dinner?

Me: Yup, that sounds about right.

The Rocket Queen: Is he going to have a bath tonight?

Me: Probably.

The Rocket Queen: And the other guys?

Me: Yes sweetie, all of them.

Later, after her bath, she was freaking out about something and I couldn't calm her down, and you know what stopped the tears? I told her I would get my phone and look up Duff's daughters' names. And as I put The Rocket Queen's diaper on, I assured her that no, Duff's daughters don't wear diapers anymore (they're about 13 and 16). And I had to reassure her this morning that Axl Rose was having a bagel for breakfast, just like her and yes, Slash likes butter on his bagel and Duff likes jelly on his.

Good times.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mayhem

So, the last two afternoons/evenings have been a little crazy. The Wife had a meeting after work yesterday, so I was by myself with The Kids as soon as Mary Poppins left. The Rocket Queen had stayed home from pre-school with a low-grade fever. Slash was sitting on the toilet when I walked in and Axl was doing something, but I can't remember what. I checked his homework and told him to sit down and read for 20 minutes (as part of his homework, he's supposed to read 20 minutes a day). He walked into the playroom and sat down on the couch with a book.

I noticed The Rocket Queen crouching on the floor of the kitchen, which is her way of announcing "I'm taking a dump." Now, usually, The Rocket Queen will walk around with a diaper full of shit without batting an eye or telling anyone.

Me: Are you pooping The Rocket Queen?

The Rocket Queen: (she just looks up at me and nods)

Me: Ok sweetie, let me know when you're done.

The Rocket Queen: Daddy? Change my diaper!

Me: Oh, ok, that was fast. Sure, come here sweetie.

I approached her, and as I bent down to pick her up, I was overwhelmed by the awful stench. It smelled like a skunk ate a decaying corpse and then doused it in raw sewage. Almost as soon as I started walking her over to the changing table,

Slash: (from the bathroom) Daddy, my pad is broken. Could you fix it?

We had gotten each of The Kids these cheapo pad/pen sets from London, and the pad has spiral sides. Apparently, the pages were starting to separate from the spiral binding.

Me: Not right this second Slash, I have to change The Rocket Queen's diaper.

I opened up her diaper and the smell hit me even harder. The Rocket Queen, whose dumps are usually pretty solid, bordering on rocks, had diarrhea all oer her front and back. Axl announced that he was done with his book, and thus, done reading:

Me: That was only about one minute, you need to read for 20 minutes. Go get another book and read more.

Slash: Daddddddy, I want you to fix my pad.

Me: I already told you, you have to wait, I'm trying to get The Rocket Queen cleaned up!

I cleaned her up and as I was about to snap her onesie shut, I noticed that there was a little bit of wet poop on the bottom. Meanwhile, Slash keeps yelling out to me, asking me to fix his pad.

Me: Ucch, gross The Rocket Queen. OK, no problem, let's just take off your jammie shirt so I can get the onesie off.

I take the onesie off and slide it down over her legs. So now she's shirtless with her pajama pants and standing on the changing table. She starts to say something about wanting to stay on the changing table, but the diaper smelled so bad, I didn't want to leave it there for a second longer thn I had to. I picked her up off of the table and put her on the floor. She starts crying. And not just light crying, either. She's fucking bawling. She's crying so hard that she starts to gag. She does this when she gets really upset. She works herself up to the point of gagging.

I ran to the back of the kitchen to get a plastic grocery store bag, all while telling her to calm down, put the diaper in it, throw it outside onto the front step, and then go back to The Rocket Queen, pick her up and stand her back up on the changing table.

As she's standing there crying, she looks at me, and all of a sudden...

The Rocket Queen: Bleaeaeh.

Me: Oh come ON! That's not fair.

She projectile vomits. Most of it ended up on the changing pad but some of it flew out onto the floor.

Slash: Daddy, fix my pad!

Axl: I'm done reading, I don't want to read anymore.

Slash: Daddy, I'm done, wipe me.

Me: (I'm about to lose it. Keep in mind, I've only been home for about 10 minutes at this point) SLASH. ISAID NOT NOW, YOU HAVE TO WAIT! The Rocket Queen just threw up and now I have to clean this up too. Axl, keep reading it hasn't been 20 minutes.

I clean it all up, get her into some clean clothes (ok, I checked the pants she was wearing, didn't see any puke and left them on her and found a half-clean nightgown on the changing table I used for her shirt), and then wipe Slash.

Thankfully, everyone had good behavior and the rest of the night went smoothly.

This afternoon, hwever, dod not go smoothly. I was sitting at my desk about 3:45 to 4 pm, when my hone rang.  saw my home number come up on the caller ID:

Mary Poppins: Hi Good Times Dad.

Me: Hi Mary Poppins. How's it going?

Mary Poppins: Ehm, today has not been good.

Me: (uh oh) Why? What's going on?

Mary Poppins: Well, Axl and Slash have been raising their hands at each other (that's the polite British way of saying "hitting each other"), and Axl has been doing a lit of yelling. And...

Me: And what?

Mary Poppins: Well, um, Slash has sort of locked himself in the bathroom.

Me: What do you mean he locked himself in the bathroom? Tell him to come out.

Mary Poppins: He can't, he's locked in there?

Me: (I'm confused) What do you mean he can't unlock the door? It's easy. Tell him to turn the lock.

Mary Poppins: He can't.

Me: Bring the phone near the door. Slash, can you hear me?

Slash: Yes.

Me: Open the door.

Slash: I can't, it's stuck.

Shit.

In the background, I hear Axl yell:

Axl: THAT'S why you're not supposed to lock the door (not helpful dude, not helpful).

Me: Ok Mary Poppins, I'm going to call Next Door Neighbor and see if he's home so he can come over and help you.

I figured Next Door Neighbor will be able to help. He's two older boys and knows how to do stuff. He's got a ladder and cleans out his own gutters. He built a hockey rink in his backyard a few winters ago.

I called but there was no answer.

Dammit. I mean, Slash will spend 30 minutes on the toilet making his dumps last a long time, but he's usualy free to leave. I text Next Door Neighbor and ask if he's home. Here is the screen shot of the text:



Yup, total autocorrect fail (excuse my poor autoshop job). He came over, freed Slash and reassured me, via text, that apparently, getting locked in the bathroom is all part of gowing up.

Good times.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Meeting

So, today is Valentine's Day, which also happens to be The Wife's birthday, and in honor of the occasion, I thought I would use this post to write about Valentine's Day 2001 and our how this whole crazy journey began.

Twelve years ago on Valentine's Day, I had what was probably my worst first date. Ever. I was using an online dating site and had been corresponding with this girl whose name I can't remember. For the sake of ease, I will refer to her as Rachel. Rachel was a law student at Columbia University and we would instant message while she was at class and I was at work. I know this probably sounds ridiculous, but I bet most of you "digital age" people know exactly what I'm talking about: our instant message "conversations" were really good. She had sent me a picture but it was very blurry (these were the days before everyone had really good cameras in their phones) and I couldn't tell what she looked like. We were trying to find a date to meet for a drink, and the only one that seemed to work best was Thursday night, which just happened to be Valentine's Day. No problem, we said, we're just meeting for a drink.

We agreed to meet at this brewery in Rockefeller Center, which was a block from my office, after work. When I walked in and met her, the first thought that ran through my mind was "Wow, she is really not physically attractive. At all." I know, it sounds shallow, but nobody reading this has ever said "Hey, I want to date someone that I find physically unappealing." But no problem, I thought. We've had really good conversations and this could still be a good night.

It wasn't. I am not someone who has a hard time talking to anyone, but she could not carry a conversation. I kept trying and we would speak a sentence or two and then...crickets. The date was just dragging and I had no diea how to get out of it. So we were sitting there at the bar, and the date suddenly went from awkward to uncomfortable.

There was a group of women next to us and they had ordered some food that just arrived. As the bartender put down their plate of nachos, I looked at it and laughed:

Rachel: What's so funny?

Me: (laughing) Oh, nothing. Their nachos just reminded me of a joke I heard back in junior high school.

Rachel: What's the joke?

(Side note: Let me preface this by saying I don't have a racist bone in my body. I truly don't. I just remembered the joke and it was funnier than anything else I was experiencing at the moment)

Me: Oh, I don't really remember the joke, but the punch line is one guy asks the other guy how he knew it was nacho cheese, and the first guy says "because there was a black guy running down the street yelling 'That's nacho cheese! That's nacho cheese!"

She looked at me like I just killed her puppy, execution-style, and made her grandmother hold it while I pulled the trigger:

Rachel: That's not funny. Those are some of my best friends, blah, blah, blah...

Sigh. This went on for a few minutes. I started to try and explain that I'm not racist, but for the first time all evening, she was actually talking and I couldn't get a word in edgewise. She finally stopped lecturing me and excused herself to go to the bathroom. I quickly pulled out my cell phone, called a friend, and told him to call me in 5 minutes so I could pretend I was getting a call from work and leave. Sure enough, she came back from the bathroom, my phone rang and I pretended that there was a very important Japanese sports emergency that needed my immediate attention. When I told her that I had to go back to work, she responded that she had class in the morning and should get going anway. This was the only time, on any date I ever had, that there was no pretense about speaking again. We parted with a somewhat insincere "Ok, nice meeting you," and never spoke again.

Simultaneously, in a different part of Manhattan, The Wife was celebrating her birthday with her sister and her group of close friends from college. I guess none of them had boyfriends that year because they were all out together on Valentine's Day. Up until this point, The Wife had been going on lots of dates. She had had one or two boyfriends since moving to NYC after college, but nothing major. In fact, by Valentine's Day 2001 she was sick of dating and made a big, dramatic announcement to her friends at dinner that night that she was not going to go on any dates for 6 months.

We had our first date the following Monday...

Now, to back up a little bit before I tell you all about our first date, let me fill you in on how we met. As I mentioned above, I was using an online dating site, JDate, as was The Wife. However, back in 2001, online dating wasn't as socially acceptable as it is now. In fact, there was a certain stigma attached to telling people that you met someone online because, up to that point, "meeting someone online" often meant meeting someone in a creepy chat-room. So for a while, when people asked us how we met, I would say:

Me: You know those porn shops on 10th Avenue? I was in one of those and I was looking at the lesbian videos. She and I reached for the same video at the same time, so I asked her if she wanted to go get coffee or a drink or something.

Because THAT was less embarrassing than saying we met through an online personal ad. The Wife always just rolls her eyes whenever I tell that story (what, you think I would stop telling it just because online dating is normal now?).

Anyway, I don't remember exactly when The Wife and I first started corresponding, but I saw her picture and responded to her ad/profile. Like Rachel, The Wife's picture was blurry. To this day, this remains a point of contention. The Wife insists that the picture she put up was NOT blurry, but I maintain that it was fuzzy and that I could not completely tell what she looked like.

Her ad mentioned that she was from "Upstate New York," so when I replied, I asked her what she considered upstate because I am from Westchester and "some people consider Wesychester upstate." That's right, I actually wrote Wesychester accidentally back then, which she teased me about. Our online courtship was brief. We emailed a few times and then decided that we should talk on the phone. We spoke, had a really good conversation or two and decided that it was ridiculous to keep talking on the phone and that we should just meet for a drink. So we agreed to meet for a drink at a bar in Hell's Kitchen on Monday, February 19.

There was nothing remarkable about February 19th other than both of us had a crap day. While I was walking to the bar after work, I called home and asked my mom if there was any mail for me. Yes, I was living at home at the time because I had applied to law schools and was leaving in August/September so it didn't make sense to sign a new lease. She said yes, I had gotten letters from two schools: Boston College and the University of Georgia. I told her to open them up because I was excited to find out if I would be an Eagle or a Bulldog. I got rejected from both, so I was now heading into this first date in a bad mood. On the other hand, they had laid off a bunch of people in The Wife's office that day, so she was not in the greatest of moods either (yet, I did not know this when I got my own craptastic news).

I got to the bar first, sat down at the bar and ordered a drink. Not sure what to order, I went through the following thought process:

Me: (internal monologue) Hmm, what should I get to drink? I know there are some girls who are not beer drinkers and might even look down on beer drinkers, like my mom. So should I get a beer? And if I do, should I drink it from a glass so it looks a little classier? Let me see what they have. Hmm, nothing I really like. Okay, I'll get a vodka tonic. Ooh look, they have Stoli Raspberry! I'll get a Soli Raspberry and tonic. Problem, solved.

My drink came and I started drinking while I waited for my date. A few minutes later, in walked The Date (obviously, she had not earned The Wife status yet). I could tell it was her because she looked enough like the fuzzy picture that I could figure it out. Wow, I thought, she is really good looking. I think we gave each other one of those "Hi, nice to meet you" hugs. She sat down and ordered an Amstel Light. Despite her choice of shitty beer, that was really cool. And there I was drinking a girly drink (which she teases me about to this day).

So we sat down on a couch and had a few drinks. We were both having a really good time, so we decided to go have dinner at this little Italian restaurant across the street. Now, it's worth mentioning that The Wife had this down to a science. She would meet her dates at a bar in her neighborhood so that way if the date was a dud, she would already be near her apartment. Back to the story...

We went to dinner and were two of the only people in the restaurant. The conversation was flowing, and unlike the date I had with Rachel, this was going really well. Fueled by the confidence of this date with this really pretty girl going well, and alcohol, I decided to say something bold:

Me: (You can do it. You can do it!) I think you're much cuter than your picture.

She looked at me like I had two heads. And said nothing...

The Date: Um, what did you just say?

Me: (oh shit, what the hell did I just do? Abort! Abort! Quick, try to find a way out of this...wait a minute, did she...) What?

The Date: Did you just say you think I look cuter in my picture?

Me: NO! THAN your picture. You're much cuter in real life THAN your picture.

Tragedy averted, and a date saved. After that, dinner finished without a hitch. The date was still going really well, so we talked about going somewhere to get coffee or a drink, when The Date said:

The Date: You know, I live across the street. Do you want to go back to my apartment and hang out for a little bit?

Cha-CHING!

We went back to her apartment and sat down on her bed and talked. For some reason, The Date thought that it would be a good time to bring out what I like to call her "Big Box O' Pictures," and that's not a euphemism. She took out her box of pictures of college and the summer after college she spent in Cape Cod her her group of friends. The show and tell went something like this:

The Date: This is my college boyfriend. He was my first love. And here's this person and this guy and that girl, blah blah blah.

All I could think was "How can I pretend to care about this long enough for it to pay off? Man, this is worse than watching someone's vacation slides."

Finally, I had had enough, and when there was a break in the pictures, I looked at her and said:

Me: I'm going to kiss you now.

And I did. And it was good. There was some discussion about what would, could, and should happen next, but some of it is R-rated and for another time (editor's note: The Wife just read this and wanted me to make it clear that we did NOT have sex that night. She also wants me to tell you that we only kissed that night. ;D). We saw each other again a few days later, and the romance had begun, though since she had made this big "no-dating" proclamation to her friends, I was a dirty little secret for a few weeks/months.

But that was the last first date either of us went on and I couldn't be happier.

I love you The Wife!

Good times.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guest Post

So, after watching part of Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah, I decided to write an open letter to Lance. Coincidentally, one of the people I follow on Twitter is this cool chick Tracy (@momaical), who runs a site for women writers called The Epistolarians, and I had seen that they were running a series of open letters in January.

After I wrote the letter, I sent it to Tracy and I am proud to say that my letter is up on The Epistolarians and that I am the first male contributor to the site! Does that make me a pioneer, a ground-breaker, a hero to young boys everywhere who dream of writing for female-oriented and dominated sites? I don't know, that's for the history books to decide.

But for now, go check out the letter here.

Good times.