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KIDS, ART (permalink) 10.31.2006

WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 10.23.2006
the only space in my home that i can call my own
in readying the everyman galleries, i don't think i'll be able to hang out with you all this week.

last time i checked out i shared a picture of where i'd be spending lion-share of that time so it feels kind of appropriate to again give you such a glimpse. this time though, instead of sitting in this office, i'll be up through the nights in this, my other office.

hope you all have a nice week. make sure to get a lot done so you can squander your time walking around the everyman exhibition.

KIDS (permalink) 10.20.2006
one fisher price catheter system please.
i have to go pee dad.

this is how it starts. with a small boy still in the rudimentary stages of potty-training tightly gripping his groin on a park playground. the more vicious the grip, the less time you have. you must also assess the feet because if they are fidgeting, time is extra-short. on this day, i gave the fist-feet combination a 7 out of 10 on the urgency scale. we were also about 50 yards from the indoor restroom. totally doable. i call across the park:

bella, i need you. come with us please.


alex has to go pee.

ahhhh. i don't want to go.

come on, bell.

en route, i endure a lecture from bella about how she doesn't want to go to the bathroom and how she is old enough to stay at the park by herself. she informs me she is not going to go into the restroom because it is the boys room since mom is not here and boys are gross. and their bathrooms stink. and they can be mean. as we enter the rec center i point to a leather-bound chair and tell her she can wait there. she falls into it with an exaggerated huff.

when we get into the stall, i look at alex's fist and speculate his penis hasn't seen an oxygenated blood cell in four minutes. i lay a few sheets of toilet paper on the seat, pants the child and throw him on the commode. a heavy torrent begins the second his buttocks touch the seat, like there's some button-mechanism on his ass that controls his urethra's flow. when the stream ends, i ask him if he's done. a clenched face looks up at me, struggling to enunciate ...

i have to go poop.

oh. ok. that's fine. go poop.

in a still clenched and strained manner he informs me that he 'needs privacy'.

oh. sure. of course. i step out of the stall and lean against it. i take the first full breath of air since he announced his need on the playground. a guy at the other end of the long restroom calls out, asking if anyone has lost a girl.

i think she's mine. bella?

father. where are you? you guys are taking sooooo long.

bella, we're almost done. alex is going poop.

i'm done dad.

ok alex. i'll be right there. bella. wait right there.

dad, i'm done.

i know alex. i'm coming.

but dad. i've got to go too.

uuhhh, bella. ok wait just one minute. let me get alex.

dad. where are you? i'm done.

coming alex.

but, dad i have to go right now.

ok bella. coming.

i wipe alex and raise his two pair of underwear, one pair of pants and two pair of shorts. don't ask. meanwhile, bella has gone into another stall and is working on getting on the toilet. i come in, get her on the seat and am told she also needs privacy. i step out. she tells me to lock the door. i explain i can't lock it if i can't be in there. alex crawls under the stall before i can shriek for him to get off the ground. bella counsels him on how to work the lock. after he secures the door, she instructs him to leave. he crawls back out of the stall. more ground. more shrieking. bella calls that she's done and needs wiped. i explain i can't get in there because she locked the door. she clarifies that she didn't lock it and that alex did. during my eye-roll, alex shoots back under the stall. i've since surrendered that battle. he unlocks the door. i get bella out and place both kids in front of the sinks, even though what i really need is a mild acid and fire-hose. bella uses this time to reiterate, loudly, her male theory explaining how boys are dirty and gross and mean. three men standing at urinals turn their heads our way. i smile. they don't.

we make our way back to the playground. it's now twenty-one minutes since alex first called me. three minutes later alex approaches me again ...

i'm thirsty dad. can i have a drink?


why no? i'm thirsty.

because then you'll have to pee again.

KIDS, HYGIENE (permalink) 10.19.2006
i can't handle the truth
i was in the breakfast room reading the paper. bella was in the living room pretend-reading a nancy drew. she called from the couch asking if i would bring her a glass of water. i walked a plastic cup into her, she took it, raised it and then paused before drinking:

dad, did you get this water from the sink or the fridge?

i got it from the sink.

oh good. that means i won't get diarrhea.

it was at this precise moment that i stopped asking questions about things in my home. questions like why is our brita pitcher disassembled on the kitchen counter in more pieces than i even knew it had. or why did my daughter just say that our purified water supply would induce diarrhea? i didn't ask because i've learned, slowly and finally, that i'm simply not prepared for the answers that will come.

SCIENCE, SPORTS (permalink) 10.18.2006
there is a difference
i don't exercise to look and feel good, but rather so i don't look and feel bad.

FAMILY (permalink) 10.17.2006
back to business
one week ago was my six month anniversary at the new job. the biggest factor of this milestone is i can now take vacation time (i can also get sick). coincidentally, bella had yesterday off school so i cashed in my first official vacation day. marty had invited bella's entire kindergarten class to join us for the day at a pumpkin farm. she had several takers and it was shaping up to be a lively day in the country. then monday morning we woke up to this ...

so what does any sane, hookey-playing family do with a free day, no plans and torrential rain. we go to the zoo! the saint louis zoo is a real city gem, one of our finest. we spend quite a bit of time there. you could say it is our family's amusement park, and it doesn't hurt that it is in biking distance, although, we left the bikes at home on this wet day.

the moment we walk through the zoo's gates, alex starts; "train daddy. i want to ride the train. where's the train daddy? is the train sleeping? are we walking to the train daddy? do i hear the train?" if you hadn't guessed yet, the zoo has a train. it can carry something like 50-75 people on its nearly two mile run and has four stations along the way. alex personally thinks a zoo is more about this miniature locomotive than about exotic wildlife.

given the weather i was not confident the train would be in operation. as we approached the desolate station i saw a man in a conductor's hat sitting behind a fogged ticket window. i asked if the train was running. with a sigh, he said it was. he picked up the phone and said into the receiver, "i got a family of five at the living world station". he then hung up. it was here i realized the train was scheduled to run but was sitting warmly in the garage because of the few patrons at the zoo, none were requesting a ride on the outdoor steed. and then there's alex looking up from my hip, "train coming daddy?". yes alex, train coming. i could only imagine the startled expressions and gravelly curses exchanged between the two mason-like men who got the call. after our attendant had summoned the train, we learned there was a problem with our membership tickets. given the engine was en route, the ticketeer gave us a free pass. when the train pulled into the station a few minutes later marty and i expressed our gratitude to the two rain-slickered engineers who were extra-gracious about the task.

our family then shared in a personal tour of our city's zoo with bella and alex smiling widely in the very front seat. the conductor gave us the real-deal announcing the animals and amenities over the train-speaker just as he would for a sunny-saturday crowd. little did he know i, or even alex, could have probably done the same spiel straight from memory. although, at one stop he did say "we're coming up on the river's edge station, please have your tickets ready, but since you don't have any tickets, don't worry about it."

by the time we got home, we were collectively drenched and starving. we all stripped in the foyer and headed to the kitchen for soup, left over manicotti and oven toast. we capped the late-lunch with stove-top coco garnished with bella-cut mini-marshmallows and headed up for a viewing of monsters inc. while crowded on the couch, sharing a fleece blanket.

it has been too many month's since our family has enjoyed such a private and focused day. here's to remembering to slow the ride down every now again, even if you end up with wet underwear while on it.

PHOTO (permalink) 10.13.2006
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
october 2006

KIDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 10.11.2006
stop, drop and run like hell
yesterday i bumped into a friend and her three-year old son leaving his pre-school. after introductions i had the following conversation with her boy.

so ravi, how'd school go?

good. a fire truck came.

oh, wow. a fire truck. that's pretty cool.

i didn't cry.

well, that's ... great. firemen do good stuff, there's no reason to cry.

he says he didn't cry because half his class did after the firemen put on their uniforms.

did you know this? that kids are freaked out by firemen. i had no idea. fortunately our fire professionals are a little more in tune and make it a point to tour their communities acquainting kids with the process. can you imagine busting your ass through a burning house only to have the little human you're trying to save shriek, turn and scamper under a flame-engorged bed. if it were me i'd be as alarmed as them by their reaction and think there was someone else in the room they saw and i didn't. odds are i'd dive under the bed right behind them to get away from the scary thing. it wouldn't be until they screamed, again, scurried away, again, and locked themselves in a burning closet that i would figure out i was the scary object in the room. and this is only one of the reasons i'm paid to type on a keyboard all day long instead of rescuing humans in peril.

additionally, if you remove the fire-element from the above, the scenario has way more similarities a marty-troy date night (before children) than i'm willing to share in such a public venue.

VIDEO, MUSIC (permalink) 10.06.2006
the rave party in this only child's head
this video portrays how i think my life would have been different if i had a sibling ...

and could dance ...

and looked good in a red thong ...

FAMILY (permalink) 10.04.2006
they may be small but they still have nerve endings
not only is this the first photo of our new family, en masse, it is also the first picture ever taken of me and anthony in the same frame (this is the suck-part of being the family photographer).

and for the record, i would never hold baby antonio that way which also goes quite far in explaining his anguished expression. the last time someone held me like that i almost ... oh wait a minute ... it was actually a good thing, but never you mind that, little anthony isn't yet ready for those sorts of shenanigans.

FASHION, KIDS (permalink) 10.03.2006
is that a combo-meal in your pants or ...
alex has graduated to big boy underwear. when i was his age, they were white. maybe a colored band here or there, but mostly just plain ole white. nowadays these utilitarian garments are a colorful and busy strain branded just for kids. you name it, someone makes it. right now, alex's favorites are batman and spiderman, with buzz lightyear getting some occasional play.

for alex, in addition to selecting which super-hero to pull from the drawer, he must also decide which artwork he likes better, the picture on the front or the picture on the back because for him it is important that the better of the two be front-facing giving it superior exposure. so each morning before slipping his tiny jockeys on, alex diligently studies the front and back of the shorts, deciding which scene deserves the marquee. you'd think this review would be consistent, but for reasons i can't explain, it is a total crap-shoot from day to day, and one i'm mildly embarrassed to say leaves me thoroughly intrigued.

i'm a boxers man. have been for decades. in looking at a pair of briefs i would have guessed they could be worn backwards without even noticing, other than having the ill-conceived penis-tunnel even further from the member it is meant for, making the knee-bending maneuver of extraction that much more precarious. but, if you, like me, thought the cut was reversible you'd be wrong. it turns out the material on the back is significantly larger than the front, and when you wear them backwards you find it only partially covers one's biscuits (that's parental-speak for ass-cheeks). this unforeseen detail results in what appears to be, from the back-side, a modest man's thong. and, before you think this is the only flaw in the design, consider all that bonus material in the front which makes the wearer look like they shoved a hot-pocket down their shorts.

all this said, how ill-fitting the shorts appear doesn't phase alex in the least. he just sucks in his tummy, looks down and excitedly points at the display saying, "BATMAN!, look daddy! batman on my shorts". and i do look and i must confess that the picture of batman standing atop gotham with his cape flaring in the wind looks pretty smart in wide screen across the front and am both impressed with and pleased by my son's eye for such detail. but it is during this revelry when alex turns to leave the room anxious to show others today's selection where i'm left spying his narrow biscuits sneaking out of the deficient material in the rear ... and sneaking more with every excited stride.

WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 10.02.2006
dump those compact flash cards
last day, last reminder. the everyman deadline is tonight @ midnight. central standard time.

entries will be put on public display wednesday, november 1st.

winners will be announced monday, december 4th.

good luck to all who play.

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