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PHOTO, WEB (permalink) 10.28.2011
from the attic representin'!
back in august i was contacted by an agency who licenses photos for commercials and film projects. the woman in the email asked if i would put her in contact with a past everyman winner as they would like to use her image in a chevy commercial. as i occasionally get these sorts of emails for everyman entrants, i thanked the woman for the inquiry and passed her info on to the entrant. i never heard anything back from either party and assumed my email for the entrant was dated. then last night while watching game six of the world series (amazing!!!), i saw a chevy commercial and in it i saw the photo i was asked about. few things could have made that game more enjoyable, but that surely rates.

the original photo, a third place from the attic winner back in 08.

and the commercial it was used in (photo is at the 40 second mark).

KIDS, FRIEND (permalink) 10.27.2011
i'm having an OMG moment!
in response to aleo's card yesterday, a friend sent me a note their kid wrote, saying she wished she could claim aleo's instead of her daughters. while i wouldn't trade aleo's note for the world, i can confess to being crazy jealous that one of my kids isn't responsible for the following: please come see me.

KIDS (permalink) 10.26.2011
yesterday was a wicked long day (on the tail end of a wicked long ten days). and then in the evening, marty had a meeting which put me in the barrel getting all three kids down. i read to alex and anfer and then hung out with anfer while he went to sleep. before moving in with alex i stopped in the bathroom. when i opened the door to exit, there was a piece of paper on the floor. it is shown below. if you subscribe to the bucket system (a paradigm that likens your emotional needs (e.g. esteem, energy) to buckets that can be filled and emptied by various actions), this modest token penned from a child's emotion is the equivalent of having a dump truck's worth of water deluged atop a small, tattered bucket. i post it here so down-the-road on another low-level day i can come back and ladle some of its pooled goodness into my wanting bucket.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

KIDS, QUOTES, MUSIC (permalink) 10.25.2011
not exactly how you hear the disney djs calling it

this is the last album she made before she hit the wall of puberty.

bella commenting on a miley cyrus disc she slid into the car stereo.

FAMILY (permalink) 10.21.2011
so this week of occupied marty has given us a pretty realistic taste of what our life may look like after marty goes back to work. my only salvation rests in the hope that the real change will come with a little better notice so we can plan and prepare a touch better. my residual fear is that it is hard to prepare for a constant state of unbalanced back-peddling.

and the below image is in no way intended as a guilt-inducing tactic. it simply stands as my favorite visual that captured the sense of the week. we all, including marty, wanted to lean on a similar defense this week (in case you're not seeing it, spy bella's note to her teacher above the grade).

click to enlarge

FAMILY (permalink) 10.20.2011
a village moment.
during marty's tour on jury duty, her mother, mamma nat, has been instrumental in us surviving the week. every day when anfer gets out of pre-school she has picked him up and brought him home. upon entering our our more-disastrous than usual 1 home, she gets anfer occupied in some manner, moves to the kitchen, rolls up her sleeves and begins digging us out. i did mention this was happening daily, right?!

in gratitude, on wednesday, after everyone was safely in school, i cleaned the kitchen. i then ran by the store and bought some magazines and a variety of chocolate bars (mamma nat loves her some chocolate). i laid them out on the clean kitchen counter with a note that read, "momma nat. thank you for all of the amazing help this week. you're a lifesaver! troy". in this modest display i had three of the five love languages covered. clean kitchen (acts of service), magazines and chocolates (gifts), and my note (words of affirmation). if i were there when she arrived i may have given her a hug (physical touch) but time has taught me women, young and old, are fine that i use my words over hugs to express adoration. and as for the last love language, quality time, those minutes are quite few around these parts at the moment and not even my wife or myself are logging proper clicks of the clock with one another, so my three, and kinda four, out of five is going to have to do. 2

1 if you're wondering what 'disastrous' means on the walter-dearmitt calamity scale it is this. two weeks ago, both bella and alex got to have friday night playdates over. in addition to completely destroying the kids bedroom, one of the guests used our bathroom and didn't get the faucet turned all the way off. we had a slightly clogged drain that could not keep up with the water's flow so in time filled the sink causing the safety drain at the back of the sink to also attempt to help displace the water but it also had problems. the combined weight of the water in the sink broke loose the piece of gum marty had put on a small drip on the the drain pipe (some years back, unbeknownst to me) and in addition to water flowing over the pedestal sink's rim, was also funneling out of the backside through the failed gum-based-patch-job (which, to be fair, is exactly how i would have fixed it too). by the time a responsible party 3 walked by the bath, the entire floor was pooled with standing water. the resultant repair to the 90 year old sink, in as we all know by now, our home's only bathroom, has it presently missing all of its drain assembly and the U-pipe at the base, which i broke trying to fix the clog. so for the last ten days our camping sink has been sitting atop our bathroom radiator with a bucket on a stool beneath to accommodate our strictly-enforced hand-washing and teeth-brushing.

2 i'm not entirely sure what mamma nat's love language is, thus my attempt to cover as many bases as possible.

3 by "responsible party" i mean someone whose first utterance upon seeing this flooding mayhem was not one of the following phrases:
  • why'd you do that dad?
  • hey guys, come here! you've gotta see this.
  • isn't that bad for the floor?
  • ohhh. cool.

KIDS (permalink) 10.19.2011
find a penny pick it up, all day long you'll have an imprint of lincoln's silhouette on your penis.
while walking home from our dad-day lunch, anfer he found a penny on the ground. upon spying the unexpected treasure he let out an unabashedly excited, 'oohhh, penny', crouched down, and raised it in his pinched fingers. he held it inches in front of his eyes as if inspecting a fine gem. suspicious, he held the penny higher for me to observe. he asked if a real penny could be this skinny. i lowered my glasses on my nose, glancing at it. i confirmed it looked to be the real deal. he responded with a hushed "yesss" as if he didn't want any passersby to learn of his luck. he then looked down at his right hip, patting it with his hand checking for a pocket. finding none he swung his gaze over to his left hip. again no dice. without pause he slid the thumb from his free hand under the waistband of his shorts and underwear and pulled them them both away from his body. he then held the penny over the open chasm as if lining it up for some sort of carnival game and let it drop into his shorts. once it disappeared his thumb released both elastic bands and they tautly snapped back in place. confident his treasure was safely concealed he resumed his wistful march towards home.

KIDS (permalink) 10.18.2011
there may be a lot of fish but the present tank is quite small
marty got called up for jury duty. this is the third time since we've had kids. the first two times she got out due to breast feeding. this time she felt she should step up to it. she worked hard to figure out the logistics of getting kids where they need to be for the week. the mornings are are pretty much all me. yesterday morning, the first morning of the week, the three children and i were all in the foyer, minutes from jumping on bikes. the boys were putting on their shoes and i just removed some braids from bella's hair and was brushing it smooth. alex looked up and with great sincerity said, "wow. your hair looks beautiful bella." to this bella matter-of-factly replied, "well, don't even think of falling in love with your sister dude. there's too many girls in the world for that."

i'm quite confident if i spent more time with my kids, documenting their innocent, daily banter would become a full-time effort.

LIFE, SOCIETY, HOW-TO (permalink) 10.14.2011
good living.
if you haven't guessed by now, i track just about everything in my life. one of the more unusual things i keep tabs on are my favorite reads of the year. this extends beyond books into websites, magazines, office notes, commencement addresses, and even wall graffiti. this year's front-runner has been carrying a strong lead since early march. i've been thinking something would have knocked it out by now but it just hasn't happened. i think part of its success with me resides in the way it snuck up and held me tight before i even realized it had laid hands on me. i've wrecked its chance to quietly sneak up on you, but hopefully you'll still enjoy my favorite story in 2011 (thus far), the tire iron and the tamale.

KIDS (permalink) 10.13.2011
much more colorful and succinct than my age 10 response would have been
bella had an homework assignment. it asked her to envision what the start of a day would look like in her adult life. in the middle of working on it, bella read a cut at the work to the boys and i as we settled into bed for reading. it went:
I woke up and looked around my cozy room. it wasn't enormous but it wasn't small. the walls were posted with pictures of animals and their owners. i put on anything i wanted, as long as it didn't embarrass me. I walked into the kitchen grabbed a bagel and started out the door. I walked for about 5-10 minutes and then saw my office. St. Louis Animal Rescue Center. I walked in and the room erupted with people politely greeting me.

QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 10.12.2011
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.

KIDS (permalink) 10.11.2011
i work as hard as i do in the chase for moments like this.
imagine anthony nestled in a top bunk piled high with blankets and pillows given the fall morning chill, after his wake-up pee, flipping through the colorful pages of the first three installments of the Amulet, due to the thankful release of the fourth in the series, wearing nothing but a loose pair of shorts - backwards, no underwear, and with more than an hour before the school bell rings. that is a pretty good start to the day. and he doesn't even know how to read. jealous, jealous, jealous.

WIFE (permalink) 10.06.2011
our water heater and financial strategy is less complex
we had friends over for brunch. we had finished eating and the adults were sitting around the table talking. the ceiling resonated with the reverberations and excited shouts of the children playing the made up game of the day. dead in the middle of two conversations the male guest suddenly let loose a loud "oooohhhhhh!" and leaned forward in his chair. he excitedly exclaimed, "so you're both that way. i always thought it was all troy. or all marty. or, i don't remember which, but i thought it was all one of you."

i can't recall which or how many of our rituals he assumed was divined entirely by one of us. nor can i recall who he ultimately gave credit to. but something in the conversation at hand, made him realize that both marty and i contributed to the regiments and rituals of our home, many of which outsiders find near maniacal (e.g. monthly menu).

if you think it's obvious or easy, here's a test. look at the below picture and guess if it would be troy or marty who would devise this contraption to efficiently and effectively extract every last drop from our syrup container. i would predict some folks who just sorta know us might have problems figuring out who would take this on. but then again, those who know us really well, should now the answer straight away.

QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 10.05.2011
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.

KIDS, HYGIENE (permalink) 10.04.2011
keep your eyes straight ahead. but if you gotta look, at least take turns.
i chaperoned a field trip alex's class took to the zoo. shortly before lunch, the teacher instructed the kids to use the restroom. just after, she asked if i would oversee the boys room break ensuring no mayhem broke out.

the spacious and surprisingly clean bathroom offered five urinals and four stalls. the kids quickly raced to spots along the wall and started doing their business. alex and a few others held back choosing not to fight for a spot. as bladders went limp the first set of kids raced for the sinks. i repeatedly scanned the scene from urinals to sinks making sure no water wars, pee or tap, broke out. kids filed past me by the door laughing and goofing as you'd expect. the urinals were handling their last customers, alex being one of them. as i glanced that way i noticed alex looking to his left past an open urinal and watching the boy two spaces down urinating. i eyed this to see if what was happening was an acceptable passing glance or a problematic studied gaze. given the stare held for more than two seconds, we were most definitely facing the latter kind of ogle. while re-checking the boys at the sinks, i made a mental note to visit with alex about such matters of etiquette. as i glanced back to the wall of urinators, alex was now looking straight ahead and the red-headed boy alex had been observing at my last check was now turned to the right taking in what was going on in alex's bit of porcelain.

it seems i either need to have two talks or recognize this is a business as usual for this age group.

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