Keeping Santa Alive

One More Year?

Santa Claus

Will he really be back again next year? (Because if he will, I’ve got his hat.)

This will probably be the last year I have a child who believes in Santa. That saddens me. I can’t tell if my 8 y.o. son still believes, or if he suspects otherwise and is just not telling us. Whatever the case, I know by next year at this time, there will be no believers left in our home.

Eventually, though, kids’ critical thinking skills lead them to believe that the whole world has been lying to them. I have tried to lay the groundwork for this transition. I have had discussions with the Boy about the role of storytelling in our society and how the spirit of Christmas is real and lives within our hearts, that everything he sees on TV, the internet or the movies is just a story, etc. I was talking around what I didn’t want to say. Continue Reading…

I Saw My Mother-in-Law Naked

And now I have hysterical blindness

hysterical blindness

After that, Peter looked only at the floor for six months.

Be careful what you wish for

When I was young, and my heart was an open book, I used to say, “I want to see a naked woman.” What I was not to learn until years later is that the Universe has a wicked sense of humor, and it pays to be specific.

What I didn’t specify when I was young was that I wanted to see a young, attractive woman naked. Eventually, the Universe allowed me to see a young, attractive woman naked, and then another and another. As I aged, this conscious wish became part of my forgotten youth. But the Universe never forgot, because the Universe never forgets, and decided that it would be a hilarious prank on me if it were to arrange for me to see a not young, not attractive woman naked—a woman who is high on my list of women I never want to see less than fully clothed. And so it was that I came to see mother-in-law naked. Twice. Continue Reading…

Prevent Your Family From Infecting You

sick cold

Artist’s rendering of what the Wife says she feels like when she’s sick.

Stay Away From Me!

Man Attempts to Distance Self from Diseased Family

I am the only one in my house who is not sick, and I intend to stay that way (the “not sick” part, not the “only one” part). The Wife, Thunderfoot, Junior and even the dog have things that I will lump together as “colds.”

My virus-carrying family members seem eager to get up in my grill. They seem determined to infect me with whatever maladies that have beset them. The wife has a sore throat and is coughing. Thunderfoot is exhausted and feels—what’s the medical term for it?—“yucky.” Junior has a fever and a sore throat, and the filthy animal known as our dog has a runny nose.

The wife seems more affectionate. The boy wants to wrestle. The girl, who normally treats me like a houseplant, wants to have face to face conversations. And the dog, while I was noticing her runny nose, sneezed in my mouth. Is it my imagination, or is there a conspiracy afoot to get me sick? Continue Reading…

Everybody Poops

You Were What You Ate

son

Inhaler of food

Father Adds ‘Poop Inspector’ to Rapidly Growing List of Titles

“Dad, come quick! I need you.”

It’s nice to be needed, I thought, as I got up from my breakfast to tend to Junior‘s emergency.

“Look at my poop.”

“What?”

“I need you to look at my poop.”

As a single man, I never considered that becoming a parent meant becoming a kid poop inspector. I would have been happy to have lived my entire life without inspecting any one else’s poop, but here I stand, staring into a toilet my 8-year-old son has just fouled. Continue Reading…

Would You Let Your Child Quit?

forced labor

You’ll thank us much, much later.

Forced Music Lessons

How miserable does your child have to be before you let him quit musical instruction?

I have often joked with my parents that I wished they had forced me to take hundreds of hours of musical instruction as a child. But I’m not really kidding. I wish now that I could play an instrument and that means that I would have had to take lessons when I was a kid. And I would have HATED it. I would have had to have been forced to take the lessons.

All I wanted to do when I was a kid was play sports, and my parents were supportive of that. Music lessons never came up. If they had, I would have been against them, and my parents would have seen them as an additional time and money commitment that they were unwilling to make for a resistant child.

But armed with this foreknowledge, the Wife and I have been forcing our son to take piano lessons and practice every day. We know that although he hates it now, someday, he will thank us. We have suffered through daily battles for the last three years, ordering him to practice piano, meeting his resisting and delaying tactics with sterner tones and threats of confiscation of privileges.

He has cried many times. Almost every lesson ends with him leaving in tears. He is a perfectionist, and wants to get each assignment right (though he doesn’t want to put in the time to learn it). When his teacher passes him on a piece he has been working on when he doesn’t feel he deserves to be passed, there are more tears. I greatly respect that he only wants to pass when he deserves to pass, but that is of no consequence to this issue. My child is miserable. Every day he is miserable because we force him to do this. Continue Reading…

Are you smarter than a string of Christmas lights?

An Epic Battle

Lights 1; Peter 0

Christmas shame comes in many forms.

Man Attempts to Outwit Inanimate Object

I am engaged in an epic battle in which there can be only one winner. Will it be me, or will it be this string of Christmas lights?

While putting up Christmas lights this year, the strings (strands?) of lights that worked perfectly last year have decided to go on strike this year. Some have individual bulbs out. One has half the strand lit and the other half out.

I have set aside extra bulbs from previous years. Though I believe these are the extra bulbs that came with these strands, none of them fit into the bulb receptacles. I put the non-functioning bulbs back in.

The strand that is half dark, I think I have figured out. First, I check to see that every bulb is properly seated. Next, I figure that since half the strand is out, one of the two fuses in the plug is blown. I have saved extra fuses in the same plastic bags that house the spare bulbs. Amazingly, as you know from the previous paragraph, I know where the bag is. Often, I outsmart myself when I put things away for the long-term. But not today. Continue Reading…

Kids Walking in During Sex

“You said you locked it!” – Kids Walking in During Sex

Locked, not latched

If it’s not locked AND latched, it slows down a 4 y.o. by about 1 second.

Man Learns Locking a Door Meaningless Unless You Shut It

[At the time of this story, Thunderfoot is four.]

The wife and I are pretending we are puzzle pieces in our bed. For some unknown reason, the covers are pushed all the way to our feet. We never do it this way. Never. Except on this day.

Thunderfoot, walking quietly, which she never does—NEVER—except for this day, comes to the door.

The door is locked. I know it is locked. I am obsessive about the door being locked. I never want the girls to see me in my underwear, let alone naked, let alone naked and on top of their naked mother. And I am never so caught up in the moment to forget about locking the door.

I know the door is locked. I locked it myself. I always lock the door before we do it. Yes, the door is definitely locked. But, unbeknownst to me (I love using the word ‘unbeknownst.’), not latched. Continue Reading…

Happy Black Thanksgiving!

penny roll

A roll for your thoughts?

A Black Thursday for our Family

Local Man Wants Family to Stay in House While He Watches Football

One time—one—I got up early to go shopping on Black Friday, and I vowed it would be the last. However, the females in my household have followed the disturbing trend and now go shopping on Thanksgiving evening.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (or, more accurately, it was). I like feeling gratitude and, like the Christmas spirit, it’s something I struggle to keep alive for the whole year. I love wearing an ugly sweater, fighting with my family, and hearing my mother complain about my father’s drinking. These are traditions that have lasted decades without change. They are traditions I have come to cherish and look forward to every year. And now, they have been hopelessly altered. Continue Reading…