Come with me and learn all about the roots of Country Music and the First Family of Country Music in my Vinyl Roots column at The Music Initiative! Git to page 10 to be edumacated! Go on now, Git!
I just wanted to drop you all a little note because I have some exciting news to share. A dear friend of mine has launched a brand new online music magazine. Come check out the inaugural edition at www.themusicinitiative.com ! For those of you that actually do visit the site, check out my column under the Vinyl Roots section on page 10!
Updates on M & Lil B to come soon. Enjoy!
Ahh the holiday season. The weather is crisp (usually). Football is in high gear. The aroma of fattening treats fills the air. Francine, our Elf On The Shelf, makes his annual pilgrimage from the North Pole to play a month-long game of cat and mouse with our children. Described in this manner, the holidays sound like a fun, stress-free time with Santa, Frosty, and the gang. However most of you already know how cruel the holidays can be at times. Here are a few super happy fun holiday tales from my family. Hopefully, I have not pulled the trigger to the shotgun in my mouth by the time you have finished reading…
Holiday Decorating: Other than the actual putting up and taking down of holiday decorations, I do not mind a little festive decor. I rather enjoy seeing the lights that adorn the neighborhood homes and businesses. This being said, try decorating a Christmas tree with a 4-year old and a 16-month old. I drag the decorations in from the garage one excruciating box at a time. Meanwhile the wife and kiddos destroy the den unpacking the boxes. Despite the mess, the initial setup of our tree looks normal. Within 3 hours of hanging the ornaments the bottom two feet of the tree are as bare as the tree had been in the woods…before it was sacrificed in the name of baby santa jesus. We must have collected the wayward ornaments from around the house and replaced them only two or three times, when we succumbed to having a bottomless tree this year.
Francine: Let me start by singing high praise to Carol Aebersold and Chandra Bell, the creators of the Elf on the Shelf. Without our little Francine, the holiday season headaches would be ten fold. The relief that comes along with threatening your child with no Christmas if they misbehave is truly a gift in itself. I cannot tell you the joy that I feel when M acts up and I get to use the F word (Francine) to put her back in check. Ahh the delightful sounds of M fanatically crying, “NO! NO! NO!” as I pretend to call Francine on my cell (yes, he is sitting right on the shelf in front of me, but the phone adds a dramatic flare). However, I am not sure what the long-term side effects of using the EOTS might be. We have noticed M having a conversation with Francine on multiple occasions. I am talking full-blown two-way conversation. I just hope that she is not actually hearing Francine talk back to her or we will have a schizophrenic on our shelf.
Toy Assembly: Is there any activity in the world that is more painful than assembling toys on Christmas Eve? I almost wish that fat ass Santa was real so that he and his fairy posse could fight through toy assembly while I watch internet porn, er I mean bake Christmas cookies for homeless kids. This year we are tabbed with the assembly of the Barbie Dream House. This “toy” is almost large enough to house Lil B and as you might have guessed, it comes in 4000 pieces. Approximately 2 hours and 2/3 of a bottle of Crown Royal are down when we place the finishing touches on Barbie’s new crib. All the work (and hangover) was worth it to see M’s face Christmas morning, and more importantly to see Lil B doing his best Godzilla as he destroys Barbieville. He is eerily reminiscent of the giant marshmallow man on Ghostbusters…
Christmas Light Viewing: One of my favorite childhood memories of the holidays is when we all piled into the family truckster and headed out to Bishop Hills or Southwest Park to look at the Christmas lights. We mention seeing lights with M in an area of Plano that is known for its Christmas light display and naturally, she seems excited so we plan the event. We shuffle dinner around so that we are eating along with the Senior Citizens, we bathe the kids in the speedy dual bath, slap some PJ’s on them and then just as darkness falls, we are off to see some lights. A quick stop at Starbucks for mom and dad suddenly turns ugly when they inform us that they are out of Pumpkin Spice. Mom had to be subdued by a chop to the throat while I order us a peppermint mocha in place of our normal latte. This is not good and should be taken as a sign of things to come. As you can imagine, the traffic flowing through a neighborhood that is well-known for its light display is similar to rush hour traffic. Once you enter the subdivision, you don’t leave until the subdivision is says you can leave. We take our place in the car line and crawl down the first street filled with lights. I am unimpressed, but holding faith that the good stuff is further back in the maze of overpriced houses. Apparently M is unimpressed as well. Approximately 3 houses in she wants to go home and does not stop whining until we pull out of that subdivision some 30 minutes later. Lil B enjoys the lights so much that he instantly falls asleep. I am thoroughly underwhelmed by the “famous” display and Bishop Hills sounds pretty good right about now.
This & That: Lil B has officially entered the biting stage. He shows no pattern for how he selects his victims and certainly shows no remorse. Mark my words, if that little punk bites me again he is going to be looking like Sloth from the Goonies when I finish with him.
M & Lil B are starting to play together and this is such a wonderful time. We are trying to soak it in before the fighting begins and the years of tattling and brawling ensue. Speaking of playing, Lil B is quite the Barbie fan. He particularly enjoys Ken in his sleeveless tuxedo…pink tuxedo…I am thinking that if Ken were real, he would look more like Perez Hilton…
For any of you guys out there that are looking to escape the fam for just a bit from time to time, I have a solution for you. Install an outdoor TV. I have done this and it is quite possibly my greatest accomplishment (other than the creation of the two kids…which led to the outdoor escape TV…hmm). Seriously, if your patio accommodates, get the escape TV or forever risk your sanity.
Lately it seems that our sweet little angelic daughter is starting to look to the dark side for inspiration. Rare are the days of snuggling on the sofa while we enjoy the timeless stylings of Dora The Explorer. These sweet moments have only come to be replaced by endless battles over what we think M should wear to school versus what she thinks she needs to wear. Pour thing obviously got her fashion sense from her dad.
We still battle at the dinner table each night trying to get Mrs. Thang to eat something besides tater tots. Although, we have experienced a little progress with her palate as she has expanded into the realm of beef in the form of hamburgers and most recently, tacos. Of course, the hamburger must be dry and may ONLY have one slice of american cheese. The taco must be just ground beef with no taco seasoning and ONLY one slice of american cheese. I realize that we did this to M somehow, but we sure as hell cannot figure out how to un-do the damage. Hopefully, by the time M is dating (Age 30 if I have a say) her palate will have blossomed so that she might be able to enjoy mac-n-cheese, or a nice hotdog, or slice of pizza. At least she will be a cheap date, right?
To go along with the wardrobe and diet battles, Mrs. Thang has taken a liking to talking back to us and she has the uncanny ability to tune us out when we are telling her to do something that she obviously does not think she needs to do. Of course, this has resulted in M becoming very familiar with the timeout area in our dining room. I recently walked by the timeout area and caught a glimpse of some markings on the wall. Awww, my baby’s first graffiti. This timeout area is starting to look like a well-used prison cell. There are hash marks that track the minutes spent in timeout prison, there are crude drawings of the things from the outside that M does not get to experience while on the inside, such as the park and TV. I almost lulled myself into thinking that maybe we have been to hard on our little princess…until the last couple of weeks at school.
Mrs. Thang has now taken her undisciplined show on the road. Apparently she has been sent to timeout at school on at least three occasions that we know about. (in the past week and a half!) I am fairly certain that there are more times that were conveniently left out of the daily “what did you do at school today” report. As a result of Mrs. Thang’s willingness to take her bad behavior out into public, we are quickly coming to the realization that timeouts are just not cutting it. We need to step up the consequences for crossing over to the dark side. How do you do this, you ask. I imagine each child is different, but what works for M, is to take away things most dear to her, such as Barbie. (On a sad side note, some of you may recall Stripper Barbie (https://genericdad.com/2010/02/07/is-barbie-a-stripper/). Well, she recently met her untimely demise due to a severe hip problem which prevented her from being able to close her legs…ironic, to say the least…a moment of silence please.)
With Stripper Barbie out of the picture, M now has a new favorite Barbie that has similar hooker boots and skanky skirt, PLUS she lights up when you depress her necklace. This is M’s crack right now, and this is what I took from her when she got in trouble (again) at school yesterday. For a brief couple of hours I had my princess back. She snuggled with me while we watched Glee (her favorite show next to Idol) and she was on her best behavior! We have also taken TV and bedtime story privileges and these seem to work, but only for the short-term. Before we know it, she’s in trouble again at school and I am running out of things to take and I can’t bring myself to spank her. Where does this leave us for discipline options? Perhaps this should have been a Dear Abby letter…
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This past weekend was a monumental sports weekend for DFW. On Saturday alone the metroplex hosted 5 NCAA football games as well as the Texas Rangers first home game of the 2010 ALDS playoffs. Sunday was equally busy with game 4 of the Rangers-Rays series as well as the Cowboys playing host to the Tennessee Titans. Needless to say, the sports-packed weekend was busy.
I was fortunate enough to attend two of these events and I fear the recovery process will be long and arduous. We had a couple of buddies fly in from Denver, so we got Cowboys tickets for Sunday and the Denver Boys grabbed Rangers playoff tickets for Saturday. The weekend was setting up nicely to be a festivus of tailgating, professional sports, stadium munchies, and $9 beers.
Saturday afternoon we grabbed the Denver Boys and were off to The Ballpark in Arlington for Game 3 of the Rangers-Rays ALDS playoff series. The Rangers had taken a 2-0 lead in the series and were poised to clinch a spot in the ALCS. This was going to be a huge scene if the Rangers could pull off a win. The sun is beating down, we are cooking in the heat, but the beer man cometh, and he cometh often. Unfortunately, not even the timeliness of the beer man could help the Rangers produce a victory. So, with hopes held high that the Rangers would take the series on Sunday, we all left the stadium in fairly good spirits (thank you beer man!).
Rather than go home, we decided to hit a sports bar near the house to catch the end of the evening college games. Once again, multiple beers were imbibed and some bar fare consumed. It is at this point of the evening that I should have gone home and gone to bed. Instead, we head to a buddy’s place to keep pounding beers and end up breaking out the washer boards to teach the Denver Boys a thing or two about Texas. After only a couple of warm-up rounds, these boys think that they can actually beat us and they want to play for money. Silly Denver Boys…thanks for funding my day of drinking!
I roll into my house at roughly 3:00 AM knowing that I have to get up and do this all again on Sunday for the Cowboys game. Must sleep…but what do I find in my bed? You guessed it, M. is hogging my entire side…(https://genericdad.com/2010/02/05/the-other-woman-in-my-bed/) I was too tired, too beer-logged, and too lazy to move her, so I crashed in her bed, which was quite comfortable actually.
Sunday morning comes quickly and harshly. I am greeted by an angry wife and two rambunctious toddlers. I am handed a grocery list and with M clinging to my leg, I am shuttled out the door half hungover and starving…okay, I was fully hungover…
After making it through the grocery store in record time (It’s because M drove the racecar cart), I make it back home just in time to don my Cowboys gear, slam another bottle of water and a handful of aspirin when I hear my ride honking. Here we go again (I hurled a little in my mouth at just the thought of more tailgating). But I am a man, and I do what any many would do…I sleep in the car all the way to the stadium…
Cowboys Stadium, Jerry World, The Death Star…we have arrived! We decide that, in order to get our heads right with tailgating, we need to slam a quick beer at the truck before meeting up with our fellow tailgaters. This process takes about 20 minutes longer than it should have …needless to say, we are all hurting this morning. Finally, with 3 bottles of water, 4 aspirin, and one beer in my system I am ready to meet the day face to face.
We all take it pretty easy during the tailgate because we are all still so messed up from the previous night’s misadventures. However, by game time (roughly 3 hours after we arrive at the stadium) we are all in high spirits and ready for the game. The game is pathetic. The Cowboys are embarrassing and we quickly decide that the only way to salvage the poor playing is to drink more beer…and eat bbq nachos…and drink more beer.
I do not recall much of the ride home from the stadium as I was, again, fast asleep. Before I know it we are in front of my house and I am saying farewell to the Denver Boys as I stumble out the truck still half asleep. I wearily make it up the walk and into my house. I sit with the wife for what seems like an eternity, but was really about a half hour before I throw in the towel. I finally face the facts that I put up a good fight, but the weekend has conquered me. My sweet pillow never felt so good.
I learned a couple of things about myself this weekend that I would like to share with you all:
1) I have the best wife in the world! Thank you for letting me have my sports pouty weekend. I love you!
2) I have lost my ability to binge drink, at least for multiple days in a row…
3) I am a badass washer player~ no matter how much alcohol I have consumed.
4) The Cowboys suck.
In my last post (https://genericdad.com/2010/09/01/cant-we-all-just-get-well/ ) I teased a review of our first family trip to the mountains of New Mexico. 2 kids, 2 frazzled parents and a wagon full of belongings…
My family recently acquired a cabin in the Sierra Bonita mountains of New Mexico. Upon hearing this news we decided that we must get up there and check the place out immediately. The long Labor Day weekend provided just such an opportunity to embark on a most memorable journey.
Based on previous expeditions, we knew that Lil B was not a good passenger and so we decided to hitch up our wagon and ride to Amarillo late Thursday night. The theory behind riding at night is simple. The kids are used to sleeping during this time and they tend to sleep much the same during travel. The first leg of the journey starts flawlessly. We hit our schedule to be on the trail by 7:00pm. The only significant event from this leg of the journey was the awesome Pink Floyd-like lightning show that we were treated to for two hours. The subsequent huge thunderstorm with high winds and torrential rains was not quite as entertaining. Regardless, we pressed on and made it to Amarillo in near record time.
After a brief overnight stay in Amarillo, we hit the trail for leg two of our expedition. This leg of the journey was one of the more difficult to endure for several reasons. The first reason being that we had joined into and official wagon train with my family and being from a small town, they do not like to ride on major trails. This forces the wagon train off the beaten path so-to-speak. In fact, there was a portion of the this leg where the trail degraded from paving-to dirt-to-boulders. Yes, I said boulders…Imagine yourself trying to navigate an unfamiliar trail littered with boulders while the wagon that you are following kicks up so much dust that you cannot see the trail to avoid the larger boulders, so you inevitably hit all of them. Couple that with a one year-old screaming at the top of his lungs because he is being tossed around like my skid-stained undies in the dryer. Regardless, we pressed on and were eventually rewarded with the site of a beautiful log cabin…where our right rear tire immediately deflated due to the boulder gash it received on the way in.
The next 48 hours are almost blissful enough to make one forget about the arduous journey that had just transpired, nor dwell on the one that lie ahead…almost. There is just something about being in the mountains that washes away all of my stress and my problems fade to the back of my mind. I don’t know if it’s a lack of oxygen due to the altitude, or maybe I am just at home in the mountains. I truly hope that I end up living in a mountainous location some day, but I digress. I got to take M fishing for the first time and it was a beating to say the least (could be an entire post of its own). However, she had fun with her cousin of similar age throwing rocks and catching crawfish. She also got to take her first (of many) ride on a 4-wheeler with her Grampy, which she loved. Lil B was happy just to have someone hold him and he even got to taste test many of the indigenous rocks. Grammy saved the day by bringing the girls their own new backpacks crammed with activities. They had a blast.
Of course we knew that the trip had to end, but as we were loading up the wagons I could not help but feel as though we had just gotten there. The third leg of our expedition got off to a rough start. We stopped no less than three times to let Cousin A tinkle, then we made the mistake of stopping for lunch in one of the desolate towns down the mountain. A long hour later we are back in the wagons and headed east to Amarillo. Just as we reach what has to be the absolute middle of nowhere, we see a sign “DWI Checkpoint Ahead”. WTF? That can’t be right, can it? As we top the next hill we are greeted to six NM state troopers at the intersection of state highway X and nowhere road Y. I am sure I was missing something, but there just didn’t seem to be enough traffic on the back roads of eastern NM to warrant a six-vehicle DWI checkpoint…thank God I only do heroin. After the mystery checkpoint we arrive in Amarillo for a brief overnight stay.
The fourth and final leg of the journey was a blur because I had to find a happy place within. Somewhere between Vernon and Wichita Falls I am contemplating those skiddy drawers again. Only this time I am thinking of using them to gag my screaming son. Poor little guy is just not built for the road. On the bright side I think he may have a future in opera. At one point of the final leg my 3 year-old had to intervene and put a stop to bickering going on in the front seat. It is at this point that I check out for the rest of the way home. The wagon and horses were on cruise control…and so was I.
We Shall Return
We will be going back to NM for sure. However, our wagon training days are officially over. I love you, Southwest Airlines…and I love your free drink tickets.
In order for you all to experience what it has been like at my house for the past couple of weeks, I need to take you on a cinematic trip down memory lane. Picture little Gordie LaChance sitting around the campfire regaling his pals with the “Barf-o-rama” story in the classic film, Stand By Me. “Lardass! Lardass, Lardass”, the crowd chants as David “Lardass” Hogan eats his way to victory in a pie-eating contest. Then it hits…the castor oil and raw egg make their comeback . “Slowly a sound started to build in Lardass’ stomach. A strange and scary sound like a log-truck coming at you at a hundred miles an hour. Suddenly, Lardass opened his mouth. And before Bill Travis knew it, he was covered with five pies worth of used blueberries. The women in the audience screamed. Bossman Bob Cormier took one look at Bill Travis and barfed on Principal Wiggins. Principal Wiggins barfed on the lumberjack that was sitting next to him. Mayor Grundy barfed on his wife’s tits. But when the smell hit the crowd, that’s when Lardass’ plan really started to work. Girlfriends barfed on boyfriends. Kids barfed on their parents. A fat lady barfed in her purse. The Donnelly-twins barfed on each other. And the women’s auxiliary barfed all over the Benevolent Order of Antelopes. And Lardass just sat back and enjoyed what he created. A complete and total Barf-A-Rama.”
Of course, this is a slight embellishment with regard to what has recently transpired in my house. We may not have had the Benevolent Order of Antelopes, but we had two toddlers and a mommy doing there best impressions of this classic movie scene. Part of me wishes that we had all concrete floors so that I could bring the hose in like they do at the zoo in the elephant cage. As it stands right now, I feel like I am constantly wading in vomit and feces remnants and it’s quite disgusting. I see little food items on the floor and I don’t know if they came from my toddlers dropping them, or projectile spewing them. I do know this: small trash cans make good barf buckets and baby diapers cannot hold back the full fury of an infant’s diarrhea bomb.
On a lighter note, I think that everyone is feeling much better. We rung in Lil B’s 1st birthday last weekend, and we are taking our first trip as a family unit this coming holiday weekend. We are headed to the mountains of New Mexico for some family time, fishing, and relaxation. I will post a mountain trip review upon our return…if we actually make it back. I encourage any of you to stop by our house and disinfect the dump while we are gone. I will understand if you have to chalk up a total loss and just set the place on fire. Until our return, I bid you all a happy Labor Day.
I fear that my baby girl may be growing up too fast. I first began to notice this a few months ago and the evidence continues to accumulate. I can trace this all back to the beginning of summer when we pulled M out of her regular daycare facility and enrolled her in private “insert religion here” school. Lower your eyebrows and wipe that sarcastic “Ooh La La” look off of your face and let me explain.
M changed schools for a couple of reasons really. We were becoming more and more irritated that her original daycare kept putting her with the younger kids each afternoon in an effort to combine children. They do this so that they can release teachers as the parents trickle in throughout the day to pick up their spawn. M is also now in her Pre K years and we feel that she should be getting a head start on her education. These things considered, it was also less costly to send M to the private school with an actual educational curriculum than it was to keep her at the daycare where she played with two-year-olds and hand-me-down toys. So, you could say that we were motivated by finances as much as the desire for our daughter to get edumacated. If she’s not educated, how is she going to support me in my golden years?
Back to my theory on M’s recent maturity spurt. Since she started the private school, I have noticed my three-year-old daughter having in-depth conversations with her new friends about fashion, of all things. We sat at her recent open house and witnessed our toddler daughter having a conversation with her 4-year-old friend. Their conversation ranged from shoes; to what accessories each had on; to sharing a delicious snack. This is nuts…I have seen high school girls have this same conversation! Gone are the days of Dora and Wonder Pets. She is almost exclusive to DVD’s such as Toy Story and her crazy-ass Barbie movies. (Have you seen any of these? They are creepy)At this rate she will be animation free by Christmas! Her choice in bedtime stories had transitioned out of Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Fancy Nancy into all the Judy Blume she can get her grubby little paws on. I think I even caught her looking at the stock tickers in the Wall Street Journal the other day. To say the least, my baby is growing up, and way too fast…and I don’t like it one bit.
Where is my little snuggler? Where is the girl who wants Daddy to help her do everything? It used to be, “Daddy, will you snuggle me?” Now it’s more like, “Bio-Father, would you mind so much as to pass me the Grey Poupon? And while you are out running my errands, pick up my dry cleaning. I have an event with the girls from the club and I need my Minnie Mouse skort.”