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PHOTO (permalink) 02.29.2008
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
february 2008

FAMILY (permalink) 02.28.2008
it's just gas
when i come home from work marty is typically putting the final touches on dinner and the kids are somewhere in the house playing invented games. the sound of the front door slamming at this time of day sends the children into an automatic frenzy and they scramble for hiding places because a game of ogre is now afoot. as i stand in the hallway i gauge each child's location based on their excited shrieks and hurried footsteps so i know where to begin my search for toes, tummies and biscuits. and on days when neighborhood kids are over, the fervor is extra-pitched.

when i stepped inside the house one day last week, i was not met with the usual cacophony but instead complete silence. i swung the door closed loudly and waited and listened. still nothing. my sweep of the first floor found no giggling hiders. i moved upstairs and checked the first few rooms. still nothing. then i found all three children shoulder to shoulder on the ping-pong room futon gazing blankly at a movie playing on marty's computer. as i stood next to the screen the glazed over kids barely acknowledged my arrival giving me a quarter-hearted 'hey dad' (we may need to take this no tv business a step further). i moved to my office to find marty sitting in the corner equally sullen. she was casually flipping the pages of a three day old newspaper.



how's things?

hanging on. long day. i haven't started dinner. feeling nauseous.

sorry to hear.

and, i'm too nervous to take a pregnancy test.

with our first few children marty used a pre-arranged code to tell me she was pregnant. the secret sign was she got her hair cut really short, like demi moore in ghost short. that's how i knew and when i'd first see her, she'd smile at me and i'd smile at her and then we'd hug and dance and shout right there on the spot (later i realized the flaw to this plan was some anonymous hairdresser learned i was to be a father before i did, but small price for the surprise frolic). now with three short haircuts behind us, i'm told the potential news while her eyes continues to skim the Week In Review section of the Sunday Times. marty is not a fan of unintentional things, especially when those unintentional things will go on to launch things off her dining room table during dinner and play with whatever they find lurking in the toilet bowl and repeatedly eat gravel.

and in case you were feeling anxious for us, marty's queasiness has since passed.

but the fear hasn't.

KIDS (permalink) 02.26.2008
you've been served
marty woke up 20 minutes late. i woke up 30 minutes late. what we were waking up late for was sunday brunch. guests were arriving in less than an hour and we were still bleary, un-showered and food-less.

marty made it to the kitchen first but was slowed down because alex wanted to help her make the custard french toast and bran muffins. after getting the fire going, i was soon hobbled by anthony nipping at my heels while working on the bacon. bella was yelling something indecipherable down the stairwell. the phone rang. it was marty's mother calling from florida. marty left her food station to gab ... for twenty minutes .. while i juggled food and humans. bella appeared in front of me seemingly out of thin air. she stretched her hand out forcing on me a full-size sheet of paper. once in hand, she turned on a heel and marched back upstairs. i read enough of the page to see it was a set of demands. i tossed it to the side and continued my circus act. marty hung up the phone minutes before our guests arrived and when she walked them into the kitchen made some crack to the room about how i should be cooking the bacon differently. our new audience was about to get a marital show-down, and i said as much, but comically announcing the point brought enough levity to pull us out of the spousal nose-dive and we went on to have a wonderfully homey and smiley day with friends.

after stomachs were full and the general fervor ebbed, i noticed bella's note on the counter. she was now beyond her funk and running about the house with her visiting playmates. i took the moment to read her text in full.

i decided that my webkinz is being cramped in their bed so until i can play webkinz again i'm staying in my bed and i will only come out when a movie is in or to play on the computer.

p.s. if you want me to come out you'll have to let me play webkinz again.

i'm hungry.

daddy cereal

for mom and troy
from bella

the true source of her angst is apparent given her use of "mom and troy" in the closing. bella lost her computer privileges a few weeks back and has been fretting for the webkin horse she received for christmas. for the uninitiated (read spared), you care for your webkin pet in this online environment, routinely giving it love and food and toys. after meting out the restriction i had a premonition that when bella did again log onto the website, she'd be met by a decaying, fly-covered horse carcass with cartoony fumes coming out of its sunken abdomen. another parent told me this is not possible in that the site is quite liberal with children's oversights and the worst she'd find is a pouty and tearful version of her horse. i think this is just another example of how our society is coddling our children to unhealthy degrees and years from now when bella finds some neglected real-life-pet molding in the bottom of an aquarium she will surely express surprise if not complete shock. and when her crest-fallen face turns to me for answers i'm going to be the one that finally delivers her the truth, "you should have stuck with those bullshit webkinz."

QUOTES (permalink) 02.22.2008
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
old (part ii)

SCIENCE, FAMILY (permalink) 02.21.2008
proof that men menstruate
last night i was on the tail end of reading books to alex and bella when marty rushed into the room. she went to the back window, peering out of it. after a moment she called us over to see the lunar eclipse in progress. the kids quickly scrambled out of bed joining her. marty began explaining what was occurring. bella and alex stood on the windowsill taking in the scene while marty and i looked on from behind. three-fourths of the moon was already dim.

while we waited marty and alex began a guessing-game about the people traveling on the walkway behind our house. he would call out when he saw someone approaching and we would first try to guess their gender and then their name. my guesses of cornelius and pumpernickel were met with chastising looks from bella. between pedestrians, i got some paper and sketched out for the kids what makes an eclipse an eclipse. intrigued bella started asking questions about what direction things were moving in and what other things were possible out of this (i.e. solar eclipse). marty interrupted my lesson to point out a man dancing in his third-story bedroom across the way. we all silently watched this older man gyrate and swivel to music we couldn't hear. while no one announced it, i'm sure all four of us were squintingly trying to see if he was naked. in time he paused, walked to the window, seemed to peer at us peering at him. his arm came up and he twisted his venetian blinds closed. we returned to the moon and watched the last slivers of brightness fade. when it was done it seemed anti-climactic. slowly, people drifted back to their routine spots resuming their routine acts.

for as uneventful as this unique diversion proved, i have a sense that the twenty minutes the four of us gathered around a window in a dark room to watch the earth roll between the moon and sun will hang in a framed picture in my head for much longer than one would think such a mild-mannered event should or would.

KIDS, HEALTH, HYGIENE (permalink) 02.19.2008
genetics only take you so far
monday morning i popped the top to my deodorant and found a gash through the typically smooth, glisteny surface. upon inspecting it closer the mar appeared to have been made by two small teeth. it would seem anthony is broadening his culinary horizons.

anthony has proven to be a bit of a problem for marty and i. with the first two children we just let them put into their mouths whatever they felt compelled to and let them learn first hand the reasons not all things are meant to be eaten. the first time i saw anthony play with a bar of wet soap in the tub, it wasn't long before he raised it to his mouth and took a bite off the corner. i quietly watched his face wrench up waited for the waxy chunk to drop out of his opened mouth. but instead of pushing the morsel out he lifted the bar back to his mouth and took another bite. i hope he's not a cusser because it looks like the classic punishment ain't going to have much teeth with him.

SCIENCE (permalink) 02.15.2008
when my mom worked for the CDC in colorado, she worked with doctors who flew all over the world treating epidemic illnesses. in their journeys they met all sorts of folks practicing all sorts of medicine. one technique a doctor brought back was a cure for hiccups. the fix went like this. for someone experiencing persistent hiccups you would pinch them on the arm or leg. the pinch would be firm so the person knew they were being pinched but not so hard it would hurt them. while pinching them you'd ask a series of questions. like the pinch, these were to be hard enough to make them think but not too hard that they couldn't answer them. the other night while putting alex down, he started hiccuping. i asked him if he wanted me to make them go away. he did. so i explained what i was going to do, pinched his arm and began my questions.

alex, whose house did we eat dinner at last night?


no, not sebastians.


you don't remember where we went last night? we went there to watch a game. and you played with their little girl.

uhhmm. i don't know.

ok. different question. what friends came over to play this weekend?


no. not sebastian. it was a brother and a sister.

sebastian and sophia?

no. these friends have red hair. and their mom does too.


the girls name sounds like heaven.

i don't know.

ok. new question. when we get up in the morning and get dressed, where are we going to go?


no. not sebastians. school! we are going to go to school!


not only was this the first time this has never worked, ten minutes after leaving the room, i found i had the hiccups.

PHOTO (permalink) 02.14.2008
bellatine '08

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.12.2008
give it up for your local dumb-line
sunday we drove by a street protest. the group was across the way from the scientology church in our neighborhood. as we approached the mass alex started yelling for me to stop the car. startled, i asked him why. "because there is a marching band! stop! stop now!" i remembered that alex thinks any collection of humans on the street is a marching band and i told him i didn't think this particular group was a that kind of band. as we passed the rag-tag collection, alex asked, "well, what kind of band is they?" i sedately told him it was just a band of nut-jobs with an enviable amount of free time.

seriously, isn't picketing the scientologist about as necessary as protesting a presidential bid made by me.

PHOTO, KIDS (permalink) 02.08.2008
that's not how mom does it
marty is the maker of breakfast in the morning. while i finish getting ready for work i can tell what kind of day it is by the smells wafting up the stairs. many times it is oatmeal or fresh bran muffins with yogurt. sometimes it's plain ole cereal. but on lucky days french toast or pancakes make the cut. i descended the stairs on a french toast day, speared a couple of slices and readied my plate. bella soon followed doing the same. marty was upstairs finishing with the boys. before bella dug in she said:

mom usually ties my hair back before i eat syrupy things.

oh. what does she use?

i don't know.

as it turns out, i don't know either, which marty was quick to smirkingly observe when she entered the room.

KIDS, HYGIENE (permalink) 02.07.2008
all before morning coffee
lately marty has been sending anthony in to wake me in the morning. reason is he is better at it than anyone else in the house. in trying to get me to play with him he hits me about the face, perches himself on top of my head hoping i'll try to make him fall and/or buries my face with books, toys and clothes. yesterday he woke me by trying to force a plastic car into my mouth. very effective that. i groggily sat up, patted him on the head and moved to the bathroom.

i mindlessly turned the shower on and walked to my office giving the hot water a chance to start its day. anthony waddled behind me at each stop hoping i'd toss him in the air or read him the book he held in his hand. as i leaned over my desk typing my password i felt something on my foot and looked down to see an arc of pee coming from beneath his unbuttoned onesie and landing on the top of my foot. he looked up at me proud and smiling. from my up-high view i didn't notice that he was diaper-less. my mind tried to remember if before cramming the matchbox in my mouth if he had sat on top of my head that morning. i couldn't be sure. while still watching the stream i let go a throaty "AAAAAAHHHHHHGGGGG!" hearing my exclamation marty innocently called from downstairs, "is anthony peeing?"

on the good side, i couldn't have been in a better place in my day to get pissed on. i was already naked and the running shower should have reached a steamy state by now. when i finished washing my foot five times (and my head twice just in case), i pulled the curtain back to find alex standing in the bathroom. his pants were around his knees and he was fumbling with the front of his underwear.

hey dad! look at this?

what am i looking at alex?

i can pull my penis out of this hole in my underwear.

well yes you can. and it's only 8:12 in the morning.

do you want to try to pull my penis out of my underwear?

not today pal. i gotta get ready for work.

standing in the kitchen, i quickly ate a bran muffin, got dressed and headed down to take the kids to school. as i descended the stairs alex was standing in the foyer with his pants, again, at his knees and showing his new trick to the rest of the family.

look mom. look della. i can take my penis out of my underwear through this hole.

(the girls bend and crouch to see the action)

i see that alex. now can you put your coat on for me.

no. wait. one minute mom. do you want to do it?

no. i don't need to do it alex.

della? do you want to do it?


no. bella doesn't need to do it either. please put your coat on alex. you're going to be late.

i wish i had a penis. (bella said in her saddest voice)

while not as noteworthy, this day held like surprises for me throughout. but i absorbed them all with a broad grin thinking at least these humans weren't smilingly dousing me in fresh urine, nor were they offering to let me bend and contort their penis through a too-small and not-straight-enough passage in their jockey briefs. you can't keep a man with this outlook down. it just can't be done.

QUOTES (permalink) 02.06.2008
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.

PERSONAL (permalink) 02.05.2008
i woulda paid twenty bucks to see june cleaver doing that ... thirty with the apron
people do different things when they're stressed. i bite my nails and yell at small children. marty scrubs the kitchen floor with a metal spatula, hand sponge and bucket of water, in nothing but her underwear.

on paper, i would not have thought such a thing would stir me. turns out we can't always rely on paper theories.

PERSONAL, SCIENCE (permalink) 02.01.2008
sleep hard!
i fell asleep last night at 8:53pm (with if not slightly before alex) and just now woke up at 7:35am and only then because marty came and tussled my hair.

i once read a book that claimed one day a week you should just go to bed. they say that on this selected evening you should not plan or attempt to do anything. you just go to bed. if you're not tired, read or do something else you find to be sleep-inducing.

if there is a down-side to this recommendation it is that your back can protest eleven hours of downtime, as mine is doing as i type this quick note. this negative is compensated by the state of your mind which is in a state between frenetic fluttering and stumbling drunkenness, just like back in high school, the only other time we routinely slept in 11-hour blocks.

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