Pessimistic Optimism

Life as I see it… sort of.

One Taco, Please

Procrastination is a tool used by every generation to get things done in a hurry.  I’ve found that when many people are put under the gun they find a way to accomplish their task.  Usually the project suffers as a result of the lack of preparation, but once in a while something great comes out of the hurried, supply-shy brain-tester.

My sister, Aunt Hockey Mom, has a fourteen-year-old son who is the procrastinator-at-large that inspired this post.

The teenager, Hockey Cousin, told his mother that he needed a taco for a school project as she was preparing to leave for work.  I don’t know if the kid is that naive to think that all his food comes immediately prepared when he asks his mother for it a la the Jetson’s, but not in pill form, or he assumes that she has extra tacos laying around the house for when an occasion like this presents itself.  Either way, a request for a taco at 7:45 am as your parent is heading off to work is a tall order.

I think my sister was bragging when she told me about this because of her ingenuity and ability to take it in stride.  After taking inventory of the goods on hand at her house she immediately drove to the store around the corner and bought bagged salad and frozen meatballs.  She knew raw meat wouldn’t cut it, even though it wasn’t going to be eaten, so she went with frozen ground beef(?) in ball form.  Brilliant!

The shell, taco sauce, sour cream and bag-picked lettuce waited in the wings to be assembled while the boy cut up the balls in awe of his mother.  She walked out the door with a smug look on her face and a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

This was one of those occasions where the pressure of time lead to a job well done.  Hopefully the teenager doesn’t use the success of this assignment as a model for all future projects… or his mother will kill him (figuratively).


May 30, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, procrastination | 2 Comments

Who’s Under Your Blanket?

Bedtime for two little kids can be a hectic time, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle and that’s exactly what I did.

The boy went down first without any protest, mostly because he loves to sleep, just like his sperm donor, me.  The next thing on the agenda was potty time for our daughter.  This is where I faded away unnoticed.

Mommy and Daughter discussed the day’s happenings during the latter’s (hopefully) last urine evacuation of her waking hours.  It’s great to eavesdrop on these conversations because I get to know what goes on in the XX chromosome mind… or at least hear if my daughter’s talking about me.

Hiding in my daughter’s bedroom has become an occasional bedtime ritual for us.  I actually scared the living crap out of her a few months ago by hiding too well under the covers along the side of the wall.  The worst part was the scary noise I made when I presented myself.  I felt shame almost immediately and vowed not to do that again, so now the hiding spots are pretty much obvious.  You know, like sitting on the bed with something blocking my face or standing with my back against the wall waiting for my punishment to come a la The Blair Witch Project, or my most common one, hiding under the blanket on the closest side of the bed.  This was what I chose this time with a little twist.

My wife and the victim of the prank, the prankee, walked merrily toward the bedroom.  I heard the usual, “where’s Daddy?” with a giggle.  That’s when I almost blew it because my wife heard me snickering from our bedroom.  She walked behind my daughter because she always wants to be the leader and my wife peaked her head in on me and smiled.  Luckily, I married an intelligent woman because she comprehended what I was doing immediately and played along greatly.

I have to give her credit for the idea because I unexpectedly found the same thing in my bed a while back, and she told me it was just a joke on me and not some off-the-wall kinky thing and I believe her… I think.

“Is Daddy hiding?”

“I think so.”

My daughter peeled away the blankets one by one with enthusiasm.  That’s when I heard a laugh so loud and long that I could only compare it to what I must sound like when I’m on a really good roller coaster or I’m watching The Office or The Facts of Life.  That Tootie’s a card.

I swaggered into her bedroom and smiled at my still-laughing little angel and asked who was in her bed.  She giggled, “Our doggy was in my bed.”  Our oldest boy performed his role as good as any of the seventy-two Lassies and much better than that pompous ass, Benji.  He must’v known he had only one take to pull it off because he didn’t make a sound or move a muscle.

My daughter’s plastered smile was still there when we shut off her light and I expect that she laughed herself to sleep.  I know I did. 


May 22, 2007 Posted by | Dogs, family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | 3 Comments


My little angel got herself into a bit of a pickle last night and it happened right before my eyes in a public place without me noticing until too late.

The hunger bug hit me for the third time yesterday around six pm so the family and I cruised down Transit Road to a little place called Applebee’s.  Those of you not from Western New York probably haven’t heard of it, but it’s a pretty cool establishment. Especially since it’s filled with all kinds of sports regalia, including Bills and Sabres stuff and one corner was even devoted to UB (the University of Buffalo).  My guess is that Mr. Applebee is a graduate or his kids go there.

The vast availability of parking spaces told me that there’d be no wait this time, which I’ll have to admit was a little disappointing because my wife and I found a fun way to skip restaurant purgatory, which is where all the people waiting to be seated are jammed in a six by eight cell hallway with way too few seats and they do their time staring straight ahead hoping not to attract the attention of the one person that wants to talk to strangers.  We avoid this voluntary incarceration by heading to the bar.  I know that a lot of people do this, but we do it with two small children. 

My daughter loves kneeling on the stool and touching all the drink accompaniments.  Her favorites are the lemons and limes.  Be rest assured that we always make sure she doesn’t suck all the juice out before she puts them back in the jar.  My son’s usually content with playing with his cars on the mahogany, but occasionally likes to follow the grain of the wood with his tongue until he almost falls off of his stool.  When we’re in these situations we use the motto if they’re happy, we’re happy.  This wouldn’t be necessary this time because my intelligent deduction was correct and there would be no wait.

The word “car” reverberated through my ears as we passed multiple pictures of racecars on the short walk to our designated no-wait table.  The boy’s obsession with our four-wheeled gas guzzling necessities was in full force last night.  The restaurant proved to be an enabler by having a NASCAR show on one of the TV’s he could see.  This actually wasn’t a bad thing because it would help occupy his over stimulated mind.

The menu I perused was unique to me; it was interactive, something like a scratch ‘n sniff.  A more accurate term would be touch ‘n taste because it was covered with bar B Q sauce, which was delicious, but I was in the mood for something else.

My wife and I enjoyed our entrees while the kid’s shared an order of mac ‘n cheese and applesauce.  The waiter brought extra napkins per my request because I could tell this would be a messy one.  I used the last one after my final bite of burger and we cleaned the kids with wet wipes unaware of what was to come.

As I signed the check I noticed peripherally that my daughter’s head was sideways through the wrought iron design on the separation between the dining rooms.  This seemed odd to me because her head is usually straight so I asked my wife to back up the little escape artist’s chair and remove her head… from the railing.  My wife misunderstood my poorly directed instructions; she thought I wanted her to back her away from the wall, not the table so this didn’t help the situation much.

Finally I got out of my chair and tried to free her.  It looked simple; just slide her towards the biggest opening and guide her out slowly.  This didn’t work.  Whatever path her head took for entry was no longer available.  I calmly informed a waitress about our predicament and she calmly freaked out.  I asked her to relax while trying to excavate my little captive and she went off to cry to her manager or get help or something.  At this point many emotions raced through me; fear that my daughter was hurt; embarrassment because people were starting to stare; and believe it or not, amusement.  Don’t get me wrong, I did feel badly for my now crying daughter, but the scene unfolding before my eyes was surreal.

I patiently tried to work my daughter’s head out again, but her noggin grew or the opening shrunk because she wasn’t budging.  Even though I’ve been in this situation before with other people’s children I didn’t think of an obvious possible solution until a busybody Good Samaritan asked if I could pull the bars apart.  Duh!  So I used my super-human strength and pulled the bars apart a little and her head popped out and was straight again just the way I like it.

As soon as she gained her freedom three staff members came to her rescue.  I think they were disappointed that they missed their chance at being heroes, but I’m sure someone will need the Heimlich sooner or later and they’ll be up to the task.

We got out of there as fast as possible.  Well, we did stop at the hostess podium and scammed two balloons for the kiddies.  So, I guess, we got out of there relatively fast… as possible.

My curious three-and-a-half-year-old was no worse for the wear and she hasn’t brought it up since.  It will probably come out in therapy when she’s a young adult.  There goes my retirement money.        

May 16, 2007 Posted by | Buffalo, family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | 5 Comments

Life’ s the Same, Same is Good: Life’s Good

I’m halfway through the first week of getting used to my new life and it’s surprisingly similar to my old one. In fact, it feels exactly the same. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse by posting about this again, but it’s in my nature, just ask my wife. There’s hardly a day that she’s not cleaning up another horse carcass around here (you don’t notice the smell after a little while).  The best thing for me to do is to keep the idea of being a celebrity out of the forefront of my mind and get back to living “my” life, my way; fat, dumb and happy. I’m kidding, I’m not that happy.

Now that the media blitz has died down I just want to hang out with the wife and kids again. Speaking of the kids, they didn’t treat me one iota different since this crazy whirlwind blew into our lives and I respect that. It’s not that I didn’t try to have them worship me even more by telling them to call me Super Daddy, but it didn’t go as I planned. After the first hour it morphed itself into Stupid Daddy. At least that’s the way it sounded coming out of the two-year-old’s mouth. Like usual, the elder child didn’t do as I asked right from the start, but did give me a big old hug and told me to stop whining or I wouldn’t get a snack. It was just like old times… and the old times were good… and yes I’m very happy. is where all the cool kids hang out. I know because they let me buy them beer and list Pessimistic Optimism for all to view.

May 13, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, Ranting | Leave a comment

Now That I’m a Star, Where are the Perks

It’s been two days since the media confirmed the one thing that I always knew; I belong in the limelight.  Look below for another glimpse of my performance.

Star Maker

Now that you’ve seen it again please tell me how come I still have to do all the same things I did before I “made it”?  Today, I changed diapers, did laundry, grocery shopped, had a good cry and ran the dishwasher just like almost any other day.  I thought the world was going to be my oyster or at the least my toaster by now, but the only out of the ordinary positive thing that happened was that my daughter had a great potty day.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be treated differently, but some kind of financial reward would be nice… soon.  Some free time would come in handy, too.  Maybe I could break 100 on the golf course if I get out more than once a year.  That only applies if Putt-Putt’s still in business, of course.

I need to nip this negative thing in the bud quickly because I know the good stuff is on its way.  It’s just taking a little longer than I expected for Brad and Angelina to ring me up for a fun n’ sun in a Mozambique Aids camp with the wife and kids.  I thought, at the least, I’d be asked to play a rapist on Law & Order SUV, by now.

I guess I’ll go on like nothing happened until something happens.  It’s not easy being in demand when no one’s knocking on my door.  Maybe I’ll wait outside.

May 10, 2007 Posted by | All about me, Buffalo, career opportunities, firefighting, Humor, life, Ranting, Television, Usual Day at the Office | 8 Comments

Career Photo Op, Chance of a Lifetime

My job occasionally gives me the opportunity to be an extra on television and in this modern age, on the web.  I don’t get paid for this, but the possible exposure can only boost my writing career.  I never know when the occasion will present itself, so I always have to make sure I look my best while I’m working.  I need to take advantage of any chance I get. 

Yesterday afternoon the cameras were rolling and I actually made the cut on both mediums.  I hate to brag, but I was brilliant.  Even though I was only on TV for a second, I hit it out of the park.  I was so good that the news station used a still frame of me for its main promo on the web.  I’m talking; it was the first photograph on the home page.  This is big-time, baby.

I’ve been walking on air all day today because of my new-found celebrity.  When I went to the bank everyone acted as though they didn’t recognize me, but I saw them talking to each other about me around the conference table behind the glass partition that said Employees OnlyIt was almost sickening how they pretended not to notice me.

If there’s a downside to my exposure it’s the way my family and co-workers will probably treat me now.  They’ll wait on me hand and foot or shower me with gifts just to make sure I take them along for the ride.  I really hope they don’t do those things, but I’m keeping tabs.

I’m reluctantly putting the pic in the following link only because it needs to be seen: Star Maker.

No, we don’t all look alike, and yes, I’m positive it’s me.  I think it shows my best side, just like my web log photo: My Best Side.  I might want to shave my neck, though.

Just so all three of you that read this thing know I will remain the same humble guy no matter where this incredible stroke of luck takes me.  Say hi to all the little people for me. 

May 9, 2007 Posted by | All about me, Buffalo, career opportunities, firefighting, Humor, life, Ranting, Television, Usual Day at the Office | 7 Comments

Technology, Can’t Live Without it, Can’t Shoot it

I’ve mentioned this before; I’m a technological neophyte.  Every time I try to do something by myself that involves electronics, I almost destroy the world, or at the least, my world.

Our wireless router went the way of the Dodo this week.  Its environment didn’t destroy it, as far as I know, but it did cease working.  My F.I.L. was the one that detected this after he witnessed me smacking the side of the laptop because it wouldn’t connect to the Internet. 

After he diagnosed the problem he broke the bad news to my wife and I gently, but it still hurt… especially in the wallet.  He was kind enough to advise me where to go and what to buy, which is the way I like it when I know nothing about something, because then I don’t have to over-think the matter.  I would make a good soldier, as long as I didn’t have to exert myself too much or get my hands dirty.

The little sponges that live under the same roof as my wife and I accompanied me to Office Max today to buy the new router because I couldn’t leave them home alone with the dog.  It’s not that he isn’t capable of watching them, but they tend to mimic his bad habits, like drinking out of the toilet bowl, licking himself and watching too much Lifetime.  Those chick flicks can really damage an impressionable child’s psyche.

When we got back, the kids wore themselves out in the yard enough that they both wanted to nap, which was the plan.  Being the go-getter that I am and the fact that I was the only adult home and the little ones were sleeping, I hooked the new one up by myself.

Most people probably feel a sense of accomplishment when they take on something that intimidates them, I just felt sick.  I assumed that I inadvertently ruined our laptop, desktop and/or new router even though every thing appeared to go smoothly. 

My olfactory receptor neurons were in overdrive as I typed this, because I feared that something would be burning soon and if I caught the odor of smoke quickly I could possibly limit the damage.

So far, so good.  Keep your fingers crossed. 

Does anyone want to buy a slightly used wireless router? 

May 2, 2007 Posted by | electronics, Humor, life, Ranting, technology | 6 Comments