Monday, February 18, 2008

Paris, anyone??

A question has come to mind this morning, and I have no way of really knowing the answer on my own. It's not important, and it's not going to make my day either way. It's not going to change the outcome of the Super Bowl (Sorry, I thought I was over it...), and it’s not going to melt the snow. The question is this - do the French do French Toast? Do they enjoy it with a glass of Merlot? Do they take one of those canisters filled with powdered sugar and sprinkle it, ever so carefully, over the yummy goodness?? I have a vision of French couples, sitting in the shadow of the Eifel Tower, downing French Toast with some French Syrup and French Coffee, while using French phrases that are supposedly romantic and elegant, but are probably announcing which American they now want to see hit by a van. So, do they? Do they eat French Toast? Or, is this just something else that Americans have decided to give credit for to someone else? Like Moo Shi Pork. Or pizza. Or weapons of mass destruction....

I made French Toast this morning. In case you were wondering. The attack on the French? Not sure where that came from. Although I must say I had a French teacher that enjoyed throwing desks out the window. Seriously. More on that later, I suppose.

Anyway, French toast. I received a griddle as a wedding gift years ago, and have probably only used it a dozen times or so over the years. Mostly because it is a pain in the butt to clean. (Do the French clean their griddles?? I've heard they don't shower...) Anyway, when I can find a food that Chloe will eat, I stick to it like glue. Peanut butter sandwiches, chicken nuggets, French toast. That's pretty much it. Throw in the occasional slice of pizza, and you have Chloe's menu. Chloe trying a new food consists of her putting in her mouth, nodding her head, smiling for my benefit, and then spitting it out on her plate. She follows this dramatic moment with a declaration - "I tried it! Can I have a snack now???"

I really don't mind the French. I don't even know a French person, so I shouldn't be critical. Since I live in a state that borders Quebec, however, I have spoken to my share of French speaking people. Nice people. Very down to earth. I have no idea what they are saying. But they are smiley. And that makes me happy. Why am I telling you this?? I don't know. But I made French toast this morning. And it was damn good. As was the Merlot.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A New Day Has Dawned

It took a week, but I am ready to move on. I have put away my Patriots stuff and am looking forward to pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training. While the disappointment of losing has been palpable, I am also awash in disappointment in what the Patriots may or may not have done in the past regarding certain videotapes. I don't like cheating. I don't like the idea of someone gaining an advantage over someone else by means other than their own ability, technique and preparation. Whether through steroids, spitballs, stealing signs or videotapes, I believe that the sanctity of the game, when compromised, presents a quandry to us all. If the Patriots have indeed gone beyond the scope of the rules on more than one occasion, and if they are found to have blatantly cheated beyond what other teams are doing themselves, I will find it hard to root for them. While I have been a Sox fan since the embryonic stage, I have only really become a fan of football in the past 13 or so years - in other words, I don't think it's going to take alot to turn me off. I am hoping beyond hope that the things they are being accused of are false. Regardless, it is time to move on. It is time to remember that it is just a game....

In other news, Shea is voting for Barack Obama. In his own mind, at least. Shea wakes up every morning needing to know the score of every NBA game from the night before. He has his favorite teams, and he knows who plays for them. Upon waking up on Sunday morning, and after a day in which Washington, Louisiana and Nebraska voiced their opinions on the candidates, Shea awoke and asked if the junior senator from Illinois had "won". He also wanted to know the "score". Ahh, if it was only that easy to explain. Shea is an extremely analytical thinker, and there are moments that I find myself torn between giving an answer that will quickly dismiss the question (usually used when I have not a clue what the answer is), or answer the question honestly and directly, seeing what he makes of the explanation. Knowing that I could not explain the inner workings of the American political process, I took a stab at the basic points. I think he actually understood alot of what was being said. I think he now understands that there are people who are attempting to better our country by becoming our president. I think he now understands that everyone has a right to their opinion. And I think he now understands that we shouldbn't be critical of others opinions. And, as it is at the end of many of our conversaions, I walked away shaking my head at the scope of his knowledge - and wondering what incredible things he has in store for this world.....

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Time Has Come

I have heard alot of opinions about the actual moment that a man truly becomes a dad. Is it when the firstborn makes his/her way into the world? Maybe when you change your first diaper. Maybe when a milestone is reached - first step, first solid food, first time throwing a ball through the living room window, etc. Maybe it doesn't happen until your own father has passed away, and you become the patriarch of the family. These are all wonderful ideas, and I'm sure that we can find merit in all of them. But I now know that I have arrived as a father. I now know that I am worthy of the title. I have faced a brick wall, and have proceeded to walk through without so much as a scratch....Because as of today, I have more than one package of toilet paper sitting under my bathroom sink. The significance of this moment cannot be overstated. For years I have been a typical man. No - a typical bachelor-type man. I buy toilet paper (toilet tissue for those of you with more tact than I - whatever - it all does the same job...) Anyway, I buy a pack, and if I'm lucky, it lasts through the week. If not, I hope that there are enough napkins left to do the job until grocery day. If not napkins, paper towels. If not paper towels, prayer....A new day has dawned, however. When I went to get groceries this morning, I found myself grabbing for a second package. Why, I asked, are you grabbing for that second pack?? You've never done this before, I thought. What is the purpose of this over buying, I pondered. Why do women go crazy over Tom Brady, depsite the butt-chin, I wondered. Before I knew it, the deed had been done, and I was staring at a cart full of toilet paper. Tissue. Whatever....

What then does this have to do with becoming a father??? Well, here's the deal. When I was growing up, my dad would have multiples of everything. Cereal, soda, chips, napkins, coffee, and yes, toilet paper. Tissue. Some of these things were kept in various places around the kitchen, while some ended up in our barn, in the cold, in order for them to stay fresher. As a teenager, I was often amused at how our cupboards resembled a grocery store. And God help you if you opened a new box before the old one had been finished. I still remember one of these conversations like it was yesterday.
"Ashley, why did you open a new package of Duplexes??" (Cheap Oreos for anyone that was wondering)
"I didn't know that we had any open."
"They're in the cookie jar, where they always are."
"I didn't look in there, sorry."
"Well now I need to buy a whole new package."
"But Dad, there are 5 more bags in the cupboard."
"Do you really think that's enough?"
This was my teenage life in a nutshell. Now keep in mind, I love my dad. I think he's a good guy with incredible intellect and a decent sense of humor. But up until the past couple of years, I didn't think that we had much in common. I have, naturally and inevitably, come to see the real truth. And today, I stared right into the face of oncoming dad-hood when I looked in my cart at my two packs of toilet paper and thought - "Is that really enough?"

The new world has been conquered. Long live the king of toilet tissue. Paper. Whatever....

Monday, January 28, 2008

The attack of the yuckies...

It's almost February, so that can mean only one thing - everyone in the house is required to get sick for at least a week. Not only is this a requirement, but a good time that is had by all. Because Shea is the oldest, it is his birthright to present us with the sickness of the day. This year, he chose Bacterial Pneumonia. A wondrous, exciting, and yet not completely debilitating illness that can wreck havoc not only on your respiratory system, but also your appetite. So, the good news to come out of this is that I will not be contributing as much to my local supermarket this week...Some pointers for sick children. Well, some pointers for anyone dealing with MY sick children.
1. Telling Chloe to cover her mouth when she coughs is as useful as expaining gravity to a Yankees fan. You can explain it over and over. The concept is just way too much for them to comprehend.
2. Peanut butter sandwiches, while usually the staple of Chloe's diet, will be rendered useless. And yet somehow, peanut butter will still find it's way to the furniture...
3. When a cranky and tired Shea says that he wants you to move out from in front of the TV, do as you are told. You may just find yourself under fire of pillows.
4. And of course, whatever you do, the words "doctor" and "shot" shall not be used in the same sentence. Even if that sentence is - "I played golf with Dr. Minor today, and he shot a 75!!"

So, in short, it has been quite a week. I had promised myself that I would get to this blog more than once every 10 days. Hopefully, I will soon be able to put that plan into motion. Until then, I will take advantage of the semi peaceful home that I have been provided by children sitting quietly sipping water and watching Dora....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Minivans. And the inability to dress myself....

Mornings are, without a doubt the most difficult time in my house. People running in a million directions, teeth being brushed, outfits being argued about, children bouncing off the walls...A small miracle is performed every time that the children are actually to school on time. The other morning, the aforementioned outfit arguing hit a new low when Chloe informed me that her pink shirt and her pink pants were WAY TOO MUCH PINK. Now, I found this incredibly ironic as I looked around her room and found it difficult to point out a single object that wasn't pink. Without pink, my daughter would be, well, pinkless. And terribly unhappy. Nonetheless, with the irony oozing from her lips, she informed me of the obvious problem of pink overload, which I had obviously overlooked. I proceeded to pull out a pair of blue jeans for her to wear. Little did I know that a new shirt was required as well. To this oversight, I was welcomed with this - "Daddy - you don't know much about clothes." Like this was something that I had to be informed of. Like I couldn't look in my own closet and see my shirts from 1997 that should have been thrown out in 1998. I decided then and there that Chloe will now pick out her own clothes...

Fast forward 30 minutes. We are sitting in the car at the kids' school. Shea is going to school, Chloe is not - she attends 3 days a week, and this was not one of those days. As we are waiting for Shea to enter the building so we can leave, Chloe notices the minivans and SUV's surrounding us in the parking lot. To which she says this, while pointing to a minivan - "Daddy - why don't we have a car like that?" I explain that we don't need a van, because there are only two kids in the family, and besides, I don't really know much about minivans. I then am confronted with this -"Daddy, you should get a minivan" As I asked why, a little voice, barely audible, could be heard in the far reaches of my mind. I'm pretty sure it was telling me to look out..But, as I said, it was barely audible, and I went on with my inquiry, and she responded with, "Well, lots of people have minivans. And anyway, you don't know anything about clothes, either.." I should have my van by next week.....

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Boys against the Girls

I have a recurring dream. Actually, I have a few. But for the sake of this discussion, I have one recurring dream. I suppose it's more of a nightmare, but I digress. It goes something like this...Chloe, or Beans, as I affectionately call her (An explanation of that will follow at a later time...) is having a tea party. Now, that in and of itself is not the nightmare, although I figure any number of men reading this are wondering how anything could be more disturbing. (As an aside, I have come to appreciate tea parties over the years - I have found that I look halfway decent in a princess crown. And, I get to enjoy pretend cake and muffins, while not feeling like I need to hop on the treadmill at the conclusion of the snack. It's a win-win.)

Before I continue, let me preface this story by saying that I enjoy my daughter a great deal. She is the younger of my two children (Shea is 5, and is a clone of my father. Paging Dr. Freud..) She is a bundle of energy. My mother has told me that if I had been a girl, I would have been Chloe - as if that's supposed to comfort me as I am bombarded with questions like, "Why do I look so cute in pink, but you don't?" Regardless, she is an incredible child, with an amazing imagination.

Now, where was I?? Ah, yes. Fake tea and cake. In this dream, I am sitting in my assigned seat at the tea party table, when all of a sudden, Chloe's pink horse (we'll call her "Horsey" to conceal her real identity), begins to speak to me in an up-tight, snotty, made for TV-movie British accent. Now, I've never been to England, but I'm pretty sure that horses don't talk, even over there. I am about to converse with "Horsey" when Chloe looks at me, and says, "Daddy, animals don't talk." Confusion sets in, as I am simultaneously listening to my daughter explain the ins and outs of animal conversation, while watching "Horsey" grow to the size of an elephant. It is at this point that the pink giant takes my cake, gobbles it in one huge bite, and laughs a laugh that can only be explained as a mix between Richard Simmons on crack, and Howie Mandel seconds after he realizes that another poor sap chose the wrong suitcase. Now, I don't know why I've had this dream more than once. Maybe I need to make nice with the horses in my life (???) Maybe I really DO like pink. Maybe fake food is wreaking havoc on my digestive system. Anyway you look at it, I am now scared to death of the tea party. But I can't seem to stop wearing this crown....

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Blog Revolution, and Such

Well, the time has arrived. After much planning, consideration, sleepless nights, and contemplation, I am going to do it. I am going to take the plunge. I am going to blog. It is fascinating to me that men (and women) of my age are right on the cusp of technology. Let me explain. I am 31 years old. Not ready to fall asleep in the recliner every night after the first quarter of the Celtics game, but not ready to completely grasp the technological culture that has enveloped us all. There are things that I am still trying to figure out that a 8 year old could probably explain in 3.2 seconds, or in other words, the time that it would take for my eyes to glaze over in complete confusion and disgust. Thus, I am late to the blog game. Similar to being picked last in a 7th grade game of dodge ball, I understand that my responsibilities are simple - make a contribution, try not to get beat up, and stay out of the way of things flying toward my face.

So, a moment about me before I go. Two kids, no pets, and a car radio that doesn't work. Asparagus is not in the picture. Cupcakes are. Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots. In that order. Still working on that trip to the North Pole that the kids say is ABSOLUTELY necessary before next Christmas, since we missed it this time around. Snow - bad. Heat - bad. 70 degrees with a slight breeze - perfect. Golf - would be better if I knew what the hell I was doing from 100 yards out and that aforementioned slight breeze blowing directly in my face. "In the end, aren't we all just waiting for the door to slam shut?" I think Bob Dylan said that. Or, I may have just made it up. Not sure. Anyway, I welcome myself to this strange and exciting cyber world. Let the good times roll.