Pessimistic Optimism

Life as I see it… sort of.

Happy Barkday

Our dog turned five today so I thought it would be appropriate to pay homage to him.  We couldn’t ask for a better-behaved and more loving dog than our Golden Retriever.  No really, we tried, but the dog people said no.

This dog is a true member of the family… except when we go on vacation, usually.  We love him just as much as the kids… almost.  He never fails to amaze me… definitely.

Smart is an understatement in regards to our pup.  He will not touch the kids’ toys even if they are lying amongst his multitude of soggy, chewed up, limb missing playthings unless a person gives it to him directly.  He also has never chewed on our socks, shoes, underwear or chain mail unless we asked him to.  When he comes in the door he sits down on the tile until we wipe his paws.  That one took a while to sink into his furry little head, but dog treats and body blows can do wonders.  I’m kidding… about the dog treats.

The kids love playing with our pooch and he doesn’t mind a bit, even when they get a little rough.  I saw him twitching when my daughter was about nine months old and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him until I noticed that she was poking him in the eye.  He just sat there and took it right until I stopped her ten minutes later.

The K-9 does indeed love the kids because many times in the day I see him sidle into where they are and just lay down as close as possible.  It’s love or the hope of them dropping some sort of food or beverage, either one works for me.

I mentioned how smart he is but he does have momentary lapses of good judgment.  The other night on our way back from a walk I noticed a stray cat happily sauntering onto our lawn so I told our best friend to “get the kitty” and released him from the leash.  He darted across the street at full throttle and the cat hopped over the fence and ran into our yard.  The boy must have been focused in on one thing, the cat, because he slammed head first into the fence and bounced backwards about five feet.  Luckily, the only thing he seemed to hurt was his pride.

Happy birthday, big guy!  Cake’s at seven PM tonight for whoever’s interested.     

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March 30, 2007 Posted by | Dogs, family, Humor, kids, life | 3 Comments

Handy Little Critters

My wife is the forward thinking one when it comes to parental decisions and I usually like to stick with the status quo until forced to enter a new arena such as a change in diaper size, letting your child eat popcorn or do the laundry.  I guess my wishful motto is Why change something that’s easy just because the kids are growing or developing isn’t going to cut it.

Towards the end of our vacation while my family strolled around a place called Broadway at the Beach my wife suggested that we release the hounds, AKA our children.  I gave her that look and said that it sounded like a great good idea.  The open courtyard must have been a huge world that the wee ones were ready to conquer because the frothing animals sprang out of their strollers and never looked back.  What happened next surprised and elated us; the big sister immediately latched onto her little brother’s wrist and led him forward and to his credit, he never resisted.  They looked like a couple of kids with a purpose or at least a desire to explore foreign lands… without their parents.

After observing this amazing development my wife and I smiled and headed to the nearest bar because the children were obviously ready to be left on their own.  Okay, all right, we didn’t go into a bar, but did leave a small gap between them and us while we drank out of a flask.

The kids manuevered their way around hordes of people without missing a beat until they, meaning our daughter, decided to venture into a heavy metal store.  They went right up to the owner and he couldn’t have been friendlier to them without getting arrested.  He gave them some cheap plastic leis for free, hoping the kid’s parents would buy something, which we didn’t because we didn’t need more Anthrax t-shirts or spiked collars.

After giving our thanks we headed out with the colorful leis secure around the kids’ necks and the leader attached herself to her sibling again.  Many people told us the obvious, you know, how cute and good-looking the hand-holders were as we walked behind them.  They were stuck together for at least a half ‘n hour without a single incident.  Maybe we should set them free more often.

March 28, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, Myrtle Beach, parenthood, parenting | Leave a comment

Par Excellence, Almost

We decided that it was time for the boy to try his hand on the links… the mini-links, that is.  The four of us strolled down to the fun ‘n games section of the resort to pick up the necessary equipment that all guests are allowed to borrow.  The clerk was a nice exchange student who couldn’t understand much English, or just liked to build up her mad charades skills by having us act out what we needed.  After about ten minutes and three pantomimes of Happy Gilmore, Tin Cup and Seven respectively, we finally left the shack with four putters and four different colored balls and headed toward the course.

I stood behind my son with visions of him smiling over at me while he put on the green jacket at Augusta and helped him make contact with the ball.  It went about six feet and stopped behind a rock.  The visions started to fade quickly when he gave me that you suck look and strutted toward the ball.  He reluctantly let me help him again and this time we rimmed the cup to set him up for an easy three and the visions returned.  He then ran ahead and blasted the ball off the course shattering my dreams of him being a golf champion along with a headlight. 

Luckily, my wife’s pretty little head is always full of great ideas and this time was no different.  She told advised me to let the kids play on the hole ahead of us so that we could actually enjoy the course ourselves.  I loved it, but I don’t think the people in front of us appreciated it much.

The kids didn’t “play” golf very long that day, but did climb all over the alligator, treasure chest and numerous huge rocks along the course which seemed to suit them just fine.  I was only three over par and my wife was about six over, or vice versa, but who really pays attention to that kind of stuff anyway?    

March 26, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, Myrtle Beach, parenthood, parenting | Leave a comment

Sandy Sandwiches

Being a northerner in the South in March, seventy degrees was warm enough to head to the beach.  So we my wife packed our beach bag with all the necessary supplies and some sandwiches before we headed toward the Atlantic.

Shorts and t-shirts were the uniform of choice because we knew the water would be very freaking cold.  For those of you wondering, I did not sport the aquamarine thong aforementioned in Seems Like a Good Time for a Vacation.

The kids immediately threw themselves into the sand and started digging.  After a few minutes we gave them the shovels and pails because their little fingers weren’t quite doing the job of getting the sand high enough to catch a breeze and land on one of our soon-to-be-sandy neighbors.

The surf enticed us enough to get our feet wet.  Did I mention that it was freaking cold?  That was an understatement; I had an ice cream headache in my feet.  The worst part was that my daughter couldn’t get enough of playing in the six-inch deep water, so much that I might have to refer to her as the ice princess from now on.  Relief came when the waves receded back into the ocean for a period of a few seconds once in a great while.

My wife was the smart one, like usual, by hanging with my son because he only dipped his toes in for about a minute and then decided that the dry sand was more fun.

The lunch bell rang just in the nick of time because hypothermia had started to set in.  My wife and I feasted on ham sandwiches while the kids nibbled on their favorite lunchtime meal, jelly and peanut butter on wheat.

Kids in general are curious beasts that are easily distracted and so am I, so being at the beach for the first time in quite a while was too much for my son to expect him to sit calmly on the blanket and eat his sandwich.  My attempt to confiscate his sandwich failed when he darted from the blanket that we stripped off of the extra bed in our daughter’s room.  The sandwich seemed to hover just high enough above the sand for about a minute or so in between bites, but eventually was submerged completely when the boy lost his balance.  I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but jelly and peanut butter is very sticky.  When the thing formerly known as a sandwich surfaced it was unrecognizable, but, of course, this didn’t stop him from taking a bite.  Yum!

We played for a little while after our delicious lunch, but the other Sandman came calling and said it was naptime and the kids were tired, too.  We packed eveything up, including some seashells that we found at the seashore and discussed who would change the boy’s sandy diaper.  I won the argument and changed the diaper on my wife’s seat in the car.

March 21, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, Myrtle Beach, parenthood, parenting, the beach | Leave a comment

Sorry Mr. Photographer

I wrote a post about a Lying @#$%ing Photographer the other day and I think he might of read it because my little angel’s pic did end up appearing in a newspaper on March 18, nine days after the shot was taken.  Because of this I feel that I need to apologize for my scathing attack on this defenseless picture taker.

My only complaint about the photo is that it was only in the Niagara County edition of the local newspaper and we don’t even live in Niagara County.  Lucky for us, my in-laws do, and they joyfully collected all their neighbor’s papers so our family members could have copies for ourselves.  I just hope no one saw them in the act of collecting the papers or they might be in the Niagara County edition crime & courts section next week.

The picture itself was huge and colorful and um, er, showed my daughter, er, um, with her fingers in her mouth pulling it wide open while my wife, son, and I looked on.  This is one of those proud Daddy moments and all I can say is that she’s definitely her Mother’s daughter.

March 19, 2007 Posted by | Buffalo, family, kids, life, Myrtle Beach, parenthood, parenting | 3 Comments

Sharks, a Hurricane and a Timid Grip

Is loud snoring a justifiable reason to wake someone up?  My wife thinks so.  On the first night in our luxury suite she tickled me awake about a dozen times in our rented bed.  I know this sounds exciting, but it’s about as fun as having someone give you a wet willie without the benefit of a good ear cleaning.  My daughter joined in on the fun by shouting that the sun was up many times before I could get to her room and unsuccessfully convince her that it was actually the moon shooting all those beams of light through her curtains.  Unfortunately spring ahead didn’t go in effect until the next morning, so this was at 6:30 am while we were on vacation.

Being the trooper that I am, I didn’t let this slight inconvenience affect my positive attitude… once I had my complimentary bland coffee in me, that is.  

On our first full day in Myrtle Beach we went to the Ripley’s Aquarium because when it comes to animals or fish, my kids are usually enthralled.  Anything that keeps these over-energized little freeloaders occupied makes my wife and me happy.

The place has many cool exhibits, but I thought the circular shark tank was the best.  It looked as though you could touch the menacing beasts, so I lifted the boy to the ceiling whenever a shark swam over our heads.  I’m worried about him though, because he smiled just a little too much when his fingers scraped the glass.

Our interest was peaked when we noticed people pick up living things out of a tank in the middle of the room.  It was decided, not by me, that I’d join in on the festivities so I reached in and picked up a seemingly alive creature.  I told myself not to let them sense my fear.  By them I meant my wife and kids and, of course, the prehistoric freaky looking Horseshoe Crab that was in my hands.  Even though I was informed by the crab caretaker that it wouldn’t hurt me, I winced when its spiny legs tickled my hands.  I know that my wife enjoyed seeing me vulnerable like this, but my daughter wouldn’t even look at me while I held it.  Maybe she could tell that I was afraid and little girls aren’t supposed to see their Daddies cry.  The boy liked it, but we didn’t let him get too close for the sake of the crab and we didn’t want to get kicked out.

After the tour of the aquarium ended we did what all responsible parents do; we went to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.  What child doesn’t want to eat in an establishment that has a giant blender being filled with alcohol from a bottle that drops down out of a hurricane on the ceiling?  That was rhetorical.  It was actually a lot of fun, especially after my third margarita.  Don’t judge me because it was the only way to get my hands to stop shaking.

March 18, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, Myrtle Beach, parenthood, parenting, Ranting, zoo | 4 Comments

What Reservation?

We landed safely in Myrtle Beach.  Yay!  The airport was probably equivalent to Buffalo’s, which means that you can cover the whole thing in about five minutes.  The rental car booths were conveniently located right behind baggage claim so I figured that I’d get the car while we waited.

My daughter and I patiently waited in line behind an employee gabbing with the rental agent.  It sounded as though they were going to have an enjoyable lunch that day and the counter person really liked the other one’s hair.  I was asked if I needed help a few minutes later when their important business concluded.

“Are you sure ya’ll rented from this location?”

“Yes, as long as this is the only Myrtle Beach Airport location.”

“Do you have a confirmation number?”

“Daddy, can we eat something?”

“Um, er, no.  I forgot to write it down.  Little one, we’ll eat soon.”  I wasn’t concerned that the rental agent would think I asked her to join me for lunch because she was far from being a little one. 

“Hmm!  We don’t have any cars available without a confirmation number.”  She tried not to gloat, but couldn’t help herself.

I was shocked because I had made the reservations myself on-line over a month earlier.

“Daddy, I’m hungry.”

“Soon, we’ll eat soon.”

Then it hit me like a lightning bolt; the confirmation number was in my email.  I asked to use her computer, but she dutifully refused, but did send me to the hospitality counter, who also refused, but advised me that the airport was wireless.  Good thing I brought our laptop.

We went back near the luggage carousel to join my wife and son and to fire up the laptop and prove this woman wrong.

It took a little while to connect, but my excitement grew when I saw the rental receipt confirmation in my email.  I opened it up and was ready to read off the confirmation number to my wife when I noticed the dates of the rental.  This was highly disappointing because they read 02/09/07 to 02/16/07.  I somehow made the reservations for February instead of March.

“Doh!”

“Daddy, I’m very hungry.”

“In a little bit, little one.”

I tucked my tail between my legs and went back up to the counter and asked what they could do.

“Nothing.”

“Well, I thank you for nothing.” 

I wasn’t upset with the woman; I was just kind of embarrassed for my stupidity because I don’t make mistakes like this.  Let me rephrase that, I don’t usually make mistakes like this.

I wandered down rental car row and found a replacement for just a couple of bucks more, and she threw both car seats in for the price of one.  So somehow I lucked out and my wife and kids didn’t have to kill me.

“Daddy, I’m very hungry.”

My daughter was pleading with me to feed her.

“As soon as the luggage comes, little one.”

“Okay, daddy.”  She then proceeded to eat her umbrella stroller.

March 15, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, Myrtle Beach, Ranting | Leave a comment

Lying @#$%ing Photographer

Last Friday we had the pleasure of flying on the inaugural flight for Myrtle Beach Direct Air from Niagara Falls, NY to Myrtle Beach.  I included the destination in case a couple of you couldn’t connect the name of the airline with where it took us.  It was a festive scene at the airport with a band and some media.  Unfortunately, if there were any free cocktails they must have just been for the crew because I didn’t see any.

The airport has a small terminal with a huge runway that we were able to see while waiting for our plane to arrive.  When it landed the media types snapped pictures and filmed much of the usually mundane happenings of a plane unboarding.  They even pulled a couple of people aside for interviews.  What interesting info could they possibly have gotten from questions like How did it feel to fly here? or Was it everything you thought it would be?  Maybe someone cared, I guess.

There was one photographer who I thought had an eye for a good story because he took photographs of my little girl looking out at the plane.  She hammed it up for at least ten pics and then he came inside and asked us her name and age for the local newspaper.  If I would have been thinking on my feet I could of made up a funny one, like Marsha Mallow or Britney Aguilera but we gave the real one instead.  I’ve never considered myself to be a publicity hound but I actually liked the idea of my daughter’s picture being in the paper.  We called both sets of grandparents to warn them because we knew they’d love to see their granddaughter in print and so they could brag to their friends.

The next morning came and we checked the on-line version of the paper and the story did not include a picture of our precious un-camera shy beauty queen, but did include a photograph of the first person to head out onto the tarmac to board our flight, who, I must say, isn’t as attractive as my daughter.  If it sounds like sour grapes, that’s because it is.

The reality is that it doesn’t matter that she wasn’t in the newspaper because we probably have about twenty thousand pictures of her already and one more wouldn’t make a difference.  Besides, now we won’t have to field all those modeling agency calls that the picture would have generated.  At least not for another fifteen years or so… I hope.   

March 14, 2007 Posted by | Buffalo, family, Humor, life, Myrtle Beach, parenthood, parenting | 1 Comment

Seems Like a Good Time for a Vacation

My family and I invaded South Carolina this week, Myrtle Beach to be exact.  For some reason we thought that leaving the icy-cold weather of Western New York would be a great idy-er and we were right.  Can ya tell that I’ve been in the South for a li’l while from my accent?

I promise that nonemost of my vacation posts will not be like those slide-shows that people want you to watch with them that make you want to slit your wrists within the first five minutes to end the pain.  They couldn’t possibly be that boring when they’re about my wonderful family.  Everyone wants to know everything about our trip, right?  Right?

Okay, maybe I’ll try to keep it to the interesting things, like bowel movements and temperature changes.  My first bowel movement occurred in our room at….  Just kidding!

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to get into any of the details of our trip yet, because the boy’s waking up from his nap and we need to go join the women in our lives by the pool.  For those of you that know me, think lime-green thong! 

   

  

March 13, 2007 Posted by | All about me, family, kids, life, Myrtle Beach | 4 Comments

Close Call

“You almost dropped me into the potty.”

The words cut through me like a knife, or at least like a paper-cut, because my daughter, my innocent ever-so-trusting daughter, directed them at me.  I wanted to cry… but that’s a different story.

“I didn’t almost drop you in the potty,” I whined.

It might have been a little too close for comfort for my finely trained potty-goer, but I was right there the whole time and never would have let her fall into the bowl.  I mean, she barely got her bum wet, yet she harped on about this for forever or two minutes, whichever came first.

“Daddy, I would have been in with the poopy and tinkle.  That’d be yucky.”

“Yes, it would be yucky, but it never would happen.”

She looked at me as though I just told her that Santa Claus and Anthony Wiggle don’t exist.

“Daddy, you almost dropped me in the potty.”

I’d heard enough, but there was nothing I could do to change her mind because that moment that she felt like she was being dropped in with the poopy and tinkle was burned into her brain.  What’s a father to do when he’s lost the trust of his offspring?

I know that she’ll eventually get over this because I’ve been there before… a few times.  The two most notable ones both happened in our pool.  Two years ago I tossed her up very high and “missed” her on the way down and she didn’t like that at all.  Last year was even worse.  She kept jumping off the deck into my arms and then my lovely wife decided to take a picture so I had to prepare myself, right?  I bent back and submerged dipped my hair into the water so it would look good in the picture and I came back up at the exact same time that my daughter jumped.  Ouch!  We clunked faces.  Tears and blood were everywhere and some of each was hers.  Luckily there was no permanent damage except to my pride, because my wife likes to show people the pic of me trying to look pretty.  To my daughter’s credit, she was jumping into my arms again five minutes later.

I’m sure that I’ll come up with a way to regain my daughter’s respect and trust soon, but until then I’m locking the bathroom door while I’m on the pot. 

March 9, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | 2 Comments

Twinkle, Twinkle Faux Pas

I would have to guess that nine out of ten people in the U.S. had Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star sung to them as a child and most parents sang it to their kids from time to time.  It’s pretty much a standard even though I don’t know why.  In my opinion that and Rock-a-bye Baby are highly overrated.  They must have known somebody to get so much airplay in the households of America and the world.

Last night our little girl quietly called out to us via her monitor that she couldn’t sleep.  She kept her voice low because she didn’t want to wake her little brother.  I’d like to think that it’s because she’s a very considerate child, but the cynical part of me surmises she wanted our attention all to herself, which is okay because she’s three.  The whisper out to us isn’t the norm, but was to be expected because of her *”sleep” withdrawal.

I told my wife that I’d take this one because I’m a wonderful husband and that the next time our daughter calls out we might be sleeping and my wife would have to get out of bed.  I walked into my daughter’s room and found her sitting up.

“What’s going on, Little One?”

“I can’t sleep and need your help.”

Her plea for help made me feel like Superman or at the least, one of the doctors from ER or Scrubs.

“What would you like me to do?”  Man, am I good.

“How about you sing me Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star?”

I hesitated a moment because that’s just not my usual choice of song.  My favorites are Old MacDonald, Hush Little Baby Don’t Say a Word, and Losing My Religion by R.E.M. but they wouldn’t work at the moment because the first would be too loud, the second too long and the third too freaking weird.

“Okay, honey, I’ll sing you the song.”

After the first line I knew that I was in trouble because I didn’t know the words.  How I can forget the words to a four-line song I don’t know.  Being the type of person that thinks on my feet I faked it.  I sang something close to what I thought were the lyrics, but when the second and third lines both had the word sky in it I knew I was off.  Luckily for me my daughter is kind hearted and seemed to enjoy my butchering of a classic.

I looked down at my little girl quite sheepishly and she smiled broadly at me.

“Thanks, Daddy, I can go to sleep now.”

I kissed her on the nose and floated out of the room.

* “sleep” see “Sleep” No More

March 5, 2007 Posted by | All about me, family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | 2 Comments

Penalty Box

After my last post I realized that I haven’t written much about the boy in a while and it’s for good reason; he’s been in the penalty box.  Actually they call it Timeout.  Who they are I don’t know and I’m not sure why I’m following their advice because it doesn’t seem to be working.

Okay, he hasn’t been in Timeout the whole time, but the cushion on the chair is starting to wear out and that can’t possibly have anything to do with my extra large gluteus maximus occupying the same seat for dinner most nights.  For some reason he’s decided to stop listening to us and constantly attacks his big sister.  Some of you might have just cheered, because you remember how she treated him when he first came into the picture and you might think it’s payback time.  I think he’s more than made up for her past misdeeds by now.

I’m not sure where the attitude came from, but I swear the boy swaggers as if he’s the new sheriff in town.  The little gunslinger can send a car flying in his sister’s direction quicker than Wild Bill Hickok and he must think that hair pulling is a cool thing to do because he does it almost every chance he gets, just like his mother.  I’m kidding about that last one… at least since I cut my hair.

I hope know this is only a phase, but I wish it was over because every time he attacks I have to get up off the couch.  He’ll be two very soon, so I hope know things will get better.  Right?

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