Pessimistic Optimism

Life as I see it… sort of.

Heart of Choice

Cupid is running amok. Just ask Misters Hallmark and FTD. People around the U.S. and probably other parts of the world are spending their mostly hard-earned shekels on cards, candy and flowers… possibly jewelry, too.
I’m not going to do this just because the retail world dictates that I need to buy the women in my life corny cards, dying flowers, and delicious chocolatey treats. Oh no, I’m going to do this because I want to and it seems to make my wife, daughter, and Mother happy.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2014 Posted by | Valentine's Day | Leave a comment

Checking In

I decided the world wasn’t ready for more stories about life in and around our household so I haven’t posted anything in almost a year.  Then again maybe I just wanted to keep the hilarity to myself… or I’m lazy.

Information overload has sparked a backlash in my brain.  I don’t want to share things anymore because it’s too freaking common.  Look at this post.  Nothing has been creative or funny at this point, so what is its point?  The purpose of something of this nature is to make people laugh or in the least, think and this isn’t doing either.

I’ve gotta tie my shoes so I’ll catch you again sometime… I hope.

March 8, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Written Truth

My TomTom One steered me away from The Pessimistic Optimism path for a little while, but I updated it recently for a trip to Savannah and it now knows the route.  So here I am, world.  Be ready to read your balls off because I’m here to stay, I think.

The two children have aged a few years and had a thousand and one experiences since their dad has put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard about them.  Does this mean that their memories won’t be immortalized or just not scrutinized?  That’s the question that haunts my dreams.  Haunts might be a bit extreme, but it does find its way to the front of my feeble mind once in a while which causes me the need to fluff my pillow a few extra times.

So let’s see what the girl and boy have been up to.  She’s finishing third grade and he’s in first, again.  Just kidding, it’s his first go at it.

Enough said?

The older they get, the harder it is to write about them.  They’re old enough to refute what I say and I don’t want to be called a liar or more importantly, be sued again.

Back to my first question.  In the age of Facebook and Twitter, if something isn’t on video or written about did it really happen?  I think we all know the answer to that … NO!  If you can’t tell the world what you did, why do it?  If you can’t tell the world what you ate, why eat it?  If you can’t tell the world that you like something, do you?

As a responsible parent I vow to jump back in the writing saddle and start paying attention to what they do again.  I’ll see if I can re-immortalize and exploit the kids’ foibles and triumphs again like I’m supposed to.  I just need to find my voice.  I don’t remember where I left it so it might take a few more posts.

May 3, 2012 Posted by | Facebook, family, Humor, life, parenting, Twitter, Writing | , , , | Leave a comment

He Called His Shot(s)

The boy called his shot!  It’s a big deal.  I don’t think I ever called my shot… and actually delivered.  Besides that, it was a brave call.  He said there’d be six and there were.  This isn’t a story about a cocky four-year-old that goes around shooting his mouth off.  It’s about a kid that knows himself inside and out.

*****

The kids behaved exceptionally well this past week so we decided to reward them with something a little out of the ordinary.  As per usual, they had no clue to where we headed off to Monday evening, but they didn’t think it would be fun when the Prius finally stopped in front of The Bon Ton.  If I didn’t know our actual destination I would’ve been bummed, too.

From ladies’ shoes, through Juniors, to fragrances, our daughter lamented about a stomachache or headache or toe ache.  My ears were turned off, so I’m not sure which it was.  She kept this up until we saw a boy twenty-five feet in the air.  We were at a bungee trampoline.

“I feel better,” shot out of our miraculously cured six-year-old’s mouth.

Both kids took advantage of this generous opportunity to get an edge on the competition for the U.S. freestyle ski team in the 2026 winter games in Miami.  Visions of the next Speedy Peterson danced through my head as they flipped and bounced and bounced and flipped endlessly.  Now they just need to learn to ski.

I got a little jealous watching them, but my big lunch tipped the scale too much to do the adult version.  My wife could’ve gone, but chose to keep her feet on the ground.  She must be afraid… or smart.

Dinner at Dave & Buster’s followed.  The extreme activity must’ve gotten things moving around in the boy’s stomach because right before my Boss Chicken Club arrived he rubbed his belly and stated that he needed to poop.  I looked at my wife with chagrin and downed my Corona Light.  She smiled and batted her baby blues.  We have an unwritten pact; the boy’s mine and the girl’s hers.

I reluctantly left the table and searched for the little boy’s room.  After passing by everything from ski-ball to frogger we saw the red neon ‘restrooms’ sign.  Just another 150 yards and we’d be in defecation heaven.

The toilet was just past the seventy-two urinals and it was clean… sort of.  I did the usual scrub down of the seat and had the pleasure of soaking my fingers in something wet under the seat and it wasn’t Palmolive.  This was an example of my carelessness at its best, now I’d probably have to wash my hands.

As per orders from my stomach I advised the boy that we were short on time and that this cut into our gaming and eating.  He pondered the situation and came up with a solution.

“I’ll just do six,” he said.

Guilt and panic set in.  “Don’t hurry yourself,” I said.  “Make sure you finish.”

“I’ll do six,” he said, “and I’ll hurry.”

The boy explained to me that the first one always hurts a little and groaned his way through it.

“That’s one.”

Another groan.  “That’s two.”

Groan again.  “That’s number three.”

He continued with this process until he said, “That’s six.”

“I’m done, Daddy.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.  “Make sure you’re done.”

“I said I’m done,” he said.

We wiped up and I counted the neatly dispensed nuggets.  There were six.  The little guy backed up his words with actions.  I felt like Babe Ruth’s dad at that moment, except a little more proud.  The Babe only called one shot; my son called six.

We made it back to the table with plenty of time left to devour our grub and shoot aliens and crash cars.

As a parent there are many times in life that your kids make you proud, like an “A” in math, a Nobel prize, or a really hot girlfriend, but this one takes the (urinal) cake.  That’s my boy!!!

March 5, 2010 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | , | 2 Comments

… or Get Off the Pot

I admire my son’s dedication to not do what he doesn’t want to do.  There’s no hesitation on his part to commit fully to a mildly unpleasant task to avoid something else.

On many days the boy wakes up too early for my liking.  On my non-working mornings I’m a devoted sleeper and a four-year-old will not alter that.  Stop laughing, I mean it.  When he comes into my room and asks me, “Is it morning time?” I answer, “No,” put him back in his bed and like a good press secretary I tell him no questions.  I’m snoozing again before my greasy hair slides onto my ice-cold Firmapedic pillow.  End of story… not quite.

On weekdays my wife rises before the sun, so she’s awake and making herself even more beautiful in the powder room when the boy gets out of bed again.  He heads right to her because he knows I’ll be of no help to his needs and she’s much easier on his squinted little baby-grays.  During his face-to-face he informs her that he has to go poopie.  Despite her doubt of his sincerity and honesty she dutifully succumbs to his wishes and lets him hop on the throne.  Ignoring his request isn’t an option because both she and I have witnessed the end result of denying bathroom privileges to a child whom I thought had cried wolf.  It’s not a mistake you make more than once.

She gets back to the business of getting ready for another day in the rat race while he sits there mostly quietly.  Every couple of minutes he asks, “Is it morning time?”  She answers, “No,” and he continues to sit and wait.

Eventually I stroll out of the bedroom at a more reasonable hour.  He asks again, “Is it morning time, Mommy?”

This time she says, “Yes, it is.”

“I’m done,” he says and peels himself off of the toilet seat.

His wobbly little legs deliver him to the sink to wash his hands and he looks at me.  “It’s morning time, Daddy.”

My wife peeks in the bowl to discover that it’s… empty. This product of my procreation would rather sit on the pot for forty-five minutes than lay in bed for that amount of time.  The little guy had the foresight to crap where he sleeps a long time ago just to set this up.  Diabolical!  Hopefully he’ll someday use his over-sized brain for good or better yet, my gain.   

 

copyright Linus Mann 2009

November 7, 2009 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, stephen baldwin | , , | 5 Comments

Pubic Speaking

At a gathering of 1st graders and Kindergarteners, one girl’s story stood out a little more than the others.  Actually, it stood out way more than the others.  That little girl is my six-year-old daughter.

The shorter female in my life is in a younger version of the group that hocks cookies for what seems like fifty weeks a year.  Her group doesn’t participate in that drive, yet.  They sell more valuable things like ornaments or disposable teapots. 

At the first meeting of the new school year the girls were asked to say a little something about themselves.  This is a great stepping-stone for their future public speaking engagements as flight attendants and auto show models.

When it was my silver-tongued angel’s turn to speak she didn’t miss a beat.  Since the womb she’s been an extrovert, so this was right up her alley.

It went something like this, “Hello, my name is ____, I’m in first grade and my teacher’s name is ______.  My brother likes to show me his penis.”

I wasn’t a witness to this, but one of the group leaders relayed it to me when I showed up at the end of the meeting.  She started out by saying that my daughter created a YouTube moment.  Then her face became beet red as she quoted my little future Dr. Ruth.  During the speech this leader had to excuse herself from the circle because she didn’t want the kids to see her laughing and peeing herself.  That’s when the other leader finished the story.

I guess my beautiful princess wasn’t done speaking.  Let’s just say that she likes to be helpful.  She’s considerate that way.

She finished with, “For those of you that don’t know what a penis is…” The leader that kept it together steered the conversation somewhere else before the anatomy lesson was concluded.

Before you condemn the parenting skills being applied at my household you should know the back-story.  At my house penis is not a bad word, not that it’s a good word, it’s just a potty word.  There is no shame attached to it, just the idea that it shouldn’t be thrown around willy-nilly.  That morning’s events must have led my daughter to forget that potty words are for the bathroom, or at the most, our home.  When I received a smooch good-bye from my wife who was leaving for work, my daughter yelled downstairs that her brother showed her his penis.  It wasn’t as bad as it sounds.  He just happened to escape from his bedroom half way through his dressing for the day.  He ran around sans pants.  He’s four, and my son,what do you expect?  As you know, the last thing kids see sticks in their mind, even if it’s their brother’s penis.

The whole incident seems to have blown over quickly, but we’ll see at the next meeting.  Maybe I’ll sneak in early to see whether my daughter’s gagged or being filmed for that next big viral video.

October 15, 2009 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, stephen baldwin | 10 Comments

Who’s In Bed With My Wife?

Fate tested me and I’m not sure if I passed.

Last night a screaming Mexican delayed my highly anticipated arrival in the boodwah.  I’m talking about enchiladas, not Hervé Villechaize *.  I won’t get into the details about how I spent my time, but it took a while and it cost me.  

After washing my hands, brushing my teeth and scraping my feet I ventured down the hallway to Shangri-la.  As I moved closer I could tell something was amiss.  The light from the TV didn’t peek out from under the door of the darkened hallway.  This could only mean one thing: my wife fell asleep or the satellite was down.  Either way, my entertainment for the evening was finished.

I quietly stepped on the squeaky floorboards making sure to hit everyone in its sweet spot hoping not to wake up the dog.  I reached out for the door handle and felt… air.  It was gone and so was the door.  My head rattled from side to side.  Something didn’t compute.  Was the door open?  Is this my house?  Is that freaking Mexican knocking at my back door, again?  The answers came to me quickly: yes; yes; and not yet.  I clumsily reached out into the void and found the door to be at an angle that confirmed my suspicions.  It was open.  I knew it.

I remained still for a moment to take in my zero visibility.  After about ten minutes I closed the door and stumbled toward the bed.  I feared for my toes because a laundry basket was in the midst somewhere in the room.  I’ve encountered its kind many times before and knew of the carnage that can result from one of my piggies entangling itself in the plastic netting.

I made it to the bed eventually.  The telltale sign being the mattress brushing against my thigh.  I made it!  It felt good to know that I can navigate so well in my dwelling.  Utter darkness was no match for me.  The following information is only being revealed because it is necessary for the reader to know.  I sleep on the outside of the bed.  Therefore, by default, my wife sleeps on the inside.

I reached out to make sure the covers were out of the way for me to crawl into bed and my world changed.  I touched a hand.  A hand very different from my wife’s.  It was a different size and not as hairy**.    The hand grasped mine and I froze.  I wanted to shout or run or cry, but instead I said, “What’s going on in here?”  There was silence in the room.  It seemed as though the infiltrator feared revealing its identity.  Then the words floated through the air like the mist from Niagara Falls on a breezy day; drenching me in a not completely unpleasant way.  “Hi, Daddy.”

To many of you this might be a regular occurrence, but it’s a first for my wife and I in our almost six years of parenting.  Our son just turned four and decided it was time to share our bed.  WTF was he thinking?  Well, I’ll tell you.  As I carried him back to HIS room he said, “When I get big I’m going to sleep with Mommy and Daddy.”  In my uneducated psychological analysis I’ve concluded that he turned four and became a “big” kid and Mommy and Daddy are big and they sleep in the same bed, so he should too.  It’s either that or some sort of Oedipus Complex.  For sanity sake, I’ll go with the former.

The events that took place last night made me realize that some things in life shouldn’t be taken for granted.  Things like alone time with your spouse and night-lights.  I just hope that I nipped this nocturnal invasion stuff in the bud.  I’d hate to see what would have happened if I wasn’t delayed by the screaming Mexican.

 

Copyright Linus Mann 2009 

 

*I know he wasn’t Mexican, but I just smile thinking about the little bastard.  It’s not my fault that I spent my adolescence in the late seventies and crap like Fantasy Island was shoved down my throat via Saturday night television.

**I’m kidding snookie-pie; it was close to your size.

May 2, 2009 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

Preschooler Faux Pas

Fitting in can be difficult for many children, but so far my daughter seems to blend just fine.  Her way of blending isn’t in the traditional sense, such as doing whatever the leader does, partially because she’s often the leader, but by being similar enough to the other kids to not stand out all the time.  But a  startling new revelation might just knock my little angel into the loner club because kids can and will be cruel… if taught properly. 

She brought her problem to the forefront by being honest and being herself, which are sometimes a no-no in the preschooler-eat-preschooler world.  I guess she hasn’t caught on yet how important it is to follow the crowd in life if you want to be comfortable and boring, like her daddy.   

Here’s the problem: she doesn’t like goldfish.  Can you believe it?  She doesn’t like goldfish.  I’m not talking about the kind your great-grandfather swallowed in college, I mean the edible ones, you know, the dusty freaking crackers that every four-year-old loves.  She doesn’t even like the rainbow ones and that’s her favorite color.  To put this in context, imagine a twenty-something not liking Red Bull or Barack Obama or a forty-something not liking Starbucks or U2.  This is a big deal!

The taunting hasn’t started yet, that I know of, but I’m trying to prepare myself.  What am I is she going to do if she’s not in the kiddy in-crowd? 

I wish her well.  I’ll have She’ll have to stand tall and take the heat like a man big girl.  I hope it’s not too late for her to ride this one out by not thinking for herself and start copying her friends like she’s supposed to.  That’s the only way she’ll be able to just be one of the crowd, like her daddy. 

Godspeed young beauty!

copyright Linus Mann 2008

June 11, 2008 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, peer pressure, preschool | 3 Comments

Learning My ABW’s

One great thing about being a parent is the chance to be a witness to a child’s mental development.  The physical part’s pretty cool, too, but I’m hoping my fat gene doesn’t ever kick in for them.  That would just be another thing to blame on me when my kids’ psyches are raked through the coals during therapy in young adulthood.  For the record, my fat genes didn’t show their puffy face until I was about twenty-two; it’s amazing what a positive effect drinking and not exercising can have on one’s life.

As I was saying about mental development, my daughter’s skills and abilities have grown astronomically this year.  I’d like to give credit to her teachers at preschool for these amazing advancements, but I won’t, because it’s probably just a coincidence that this has happened since she’s gone there.  I know that I’m the catalyst that triggered her brilliance to come to the forefront.  I can’t back this statement up with facts, but take my word, I just know it to be true.  How could it not be?

With my son’s advancement, I think it’s my wife’s doing, because I have to blame someone.  I don’t mean to infer that he’s not doing well, because he is… in his own way.  This week he loves letters, not the paper kind with threats of retribution on them that arrive in envelopes once a week; the kind that make up those futile words.  Actually, he loves a letter: W.  I don’t know why, but his whole world’s about “W”.  “W” this, “W” that.  I’m sick of the freaking thing.  It’s not even in his name, first, last, or middle.  I tried getting him to appreciate all the letters by subjecting him to my singing the alphabet song in F-flat, but that proved to be futile.  He tunefully sang back at me, “ABW KLW RWS WOP XYZ W”.  What’s a parent to do?

The bright side of this is that he’s progressed, because last week his favorite letter was 3.

Copyright Linus Mann 2008

March 22, 2008 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | 2 Comments

The Return of… Words

Wow, it seems like yesterday that I last posted, that or 106 yesterdays.  Well, I’m back and I’m ready to start filling your heads with thoughtful anecdotes about my family and my life in general.  Okay, I’m back and I’m ready to spout my views, spill my guts and make you weep.  Okay, okay, here’s the truth: I’m back and I’m going to write about anything that I find interesting whether it bores you to tears, tickles your fancy, or just makes you want to cry or laugh or shake your head or pull your hair…

Since I’ve been away for a while, I’ll try to catch you up on my life.  This is your last chance to look away before I start droning on, so don’t say I didn’t warn you if you pass out or fall in love (with my writing).

The kids have both changed dramatically since my last post.  My daughter has become an emotional roller coaster that knows exactly what she wants out of life and is not afraid to go out and take it, whether it’s hers or someone else’s.  This can be a little troublesome if the item in question is expensive or hard to conceal, but assertiveness is very important in today’s child-eat-child world, so I can deal with it. 

My son’s goals are very similar to his big sister’s.  In fact, he wants exactly what she wants out of life, but only while she possesses it.  This is a bit more of a hassle for me than my daughter’s issues because I care if someone takes her stuff, but I’m learning how to work with my daughter to appease the boy.  We throw out some red herrings and the boy is as happy as Heather Mills is this week, and like the former Mrs. McCartney, it keeps him occupied for a little while until there’s something else to be coveted.  Luckily for us that just might be a plastic frog or a drumstick, as opposed to song royalties or castles.

As for my beautiful wife, she’s just as wonderful as before and still tolerates me, usually.  She’s a great mother and hardly scolds me about my lousy parenting skills unless they are life threatening, which isn’t very often, you know, once, maybe twice a week.

My dog’s just as loyal as always and still holds a higher standing in the house than me, but I can deal with that.  Well, I have to deal with it because what’s the alternative, dog stew?  I’m kidding; I prefer chops.  Does anyone have any golden retriever recipes?  I’m kidding again; I really do love my dog as much as the rest of my family.  Okay, not as much as the rest of the family, but almost as much.  Kind of how the Baldwin’s feel about Stephen, but a little more.

As for me, I put my writing on hiatus to pursue an important goal: becoming a mime.  I was quite successful, actually too successful; I was stuck in that freaking imaginary box and couldn’t get out for days.  This kind of stripped me of my passion to be the next Marcel Marceau, but I did lose ten pounds.

The last paragraph was total B.S., but I do plan on making this site a regular thing again.  Check back sooner than 106 days (early July), because I might get on a roll, or at least a tailspin.  Huh?

copyright Linus Mann 2008

March 19, 2008 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, Ranting | , , , , | 5 Comments

Urine Trouble

Today, I experienced something for free that I heard some people pay good money for.  Not me, just some people and maybe not good money.  Let’s just say it has something to do with the words “shower” and “golden”, but not necessarily in that order.

Before you get your panties in a bunch and judge me, let me explain myself.  It might be as gross as you think, but probably not as seedy.  I mean, it’s not like I enjoyed it… much.

A typical day took place before this, you know: cereal for breakfast with the kids; watch Sesame Street; kick the dog; and give the kids a bath.  The end of bath-time proved to be my downfall.  While drying my son off outside the tub something just didn’t feel right.  A warm sensation spread across my thigh and something caught my attention peripherally.  It was a yellow spritz of liquid traveling through the air with no concern of where or whom it hit.  My slug-like reaction time helped soak the throw rug and myself before I could plug the stream with the towel.

I swear the boy just laughed when I informed him of his offense.  And when I told him that it was gross he mockingly made a face and said “Arrh” a couple times.  I don’t think he comprehended the utter disgust I felt at that moment even when I punished him by placing him back in the tub to be washed again.  It probably didn’t help that he loves being in the tub and that I really wasn’t utterly disgusted, maybe not even mildly disgusted, but he doesn’t need to know that.

Now that the moment’s passed I’ve had a few moments to ponder what took place today.  My son PEED on me.  My son PEED on me and LAUGHED about it.  Now that I got that off my chest, er, I mean, leg, we can all get back to our lives again.  I mean, it was only a little pee, well maybe not a little, but it was only pee.  Like I said, some people pay for this kind of thing.  Not me though…   

December 3, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | 4 Comments

Decisions To Live By

Not many things in life are as easy as being a parent.  I mean kids these days practically raise themselves.  Because my children really have it so together, I try to stay in the background as much as possible unless they need my help with something small, like: eating, drinking, dressing, or defecating.

Occasionally they do need guidance because they are only four and two and I try to expel my astuteness as succinctly as possible.  It sounds easier than it actually is because I can really drag out an explanation if I’m in my chair of wisdom.  That particular chair’s located at a friend’s house where I’ve been known to enjoy a few cocktails, and my kids are mostly at my house so they usually aren’t put through that arduous assault on their listening devices, aka ears.  Today was one of those times that a reasonable adult was needed to point my little girl in the right direction and fortunately my wife was the one that was home.  Our little angel wants a tattoo.  Yes, a freaking tattoo.  A freaking tattoo on her freaking back.

It really was a good thing that I wasn’t the one home because for a moment I thought that it’d be cool to have the only preschooler, that I know of, with a tattoo.  Her juvenile choice of ink brought me back to earth so I didn’t even try to persuade my wife.  She wants candy corn on her shoulder.  I mean, let’s be real here, that’s such a time-sensitive piece of body art.  It’d just look kind of stupid in April.  Besides, the girl’s four-years-old and everyone knows that bad life choices should wait until your at least ten or eleven.

I’m glad that I could be there for my non-branded little girl, again.  She’s very smart but my infinite guidance is always waiting in the wings if she needs it.  Lucky girl!

October 21, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | 6 Comments

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