Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Isobel meets The Lord...Soup Pot...

      Isobel: "My ear hurts."
      Daddy: "It's from all the swimming you've been doing. It's called swimmers ear."
      Isobel: "I'm a swimmer!?!? Wait,  what, you mean I can't go swimming anymore?"
      Daddy: "Well, you should lay off for awhile, at least going under water."
      Isobel: "That's no fun at all."
      Daddy:(later) "Want to go for a swim, Pick?"
      Isobel: But you said I can't go under the water."
      Daddy: "So go underwater."
      Isobel: "But what about my ear?"
      Daddy: My ear doesn't hurt at all if yours hurts, then don't go under water...it's your choice."
      Isobel: Cool! I'm diving!"

      I guess it's a good thing to let your kids explore the world around them and try new things. Things that their friends do and things that allow them to see how the other half lives. In our case, I think it is the other ninety-eight per cent of the world. There aren't many like us. Today saw Isobel do something I never thought  I would see her do. Isobel went to bible camp.
     I am over forty and I play loud music. Playing even louder music with three and four other very loud musicians while I was younger has left me with questionable hearing at certain time. So when Isobel said that her friend Area 51(one of Isobel's dearest friends) had invited her to 'Bibble' camp and that she wanted to go, I honestly thought I was hearing things.
     Mrs. Narrator had spoken to Area 51's mother and she assured us that it wasn't THAT kind of bible camp. She said that they 'weren't particularly religious' and that Area 51 had a blast there the day before. What the hell (too soon?) I thought. Good to see the other side of the fence once in a while.
      The day started in a typical fashion. We got up later than any of us wanted to and Area 51 and her mother were late picking up Isobel. But get here they did and off went my daughter to bibble camp. Remember not that long ago when we all used to laugh and call her the Princess of Darkness? I'm certain now that shit was all coming home to roost.
      Izzy went out the door just as I got a call from Mrs. Narrator to go to the hardware store and pick up a new air conditioner as our central unit had died the year previous and a window one was better than nothing. It was fast becoming hotter than the hobs of hell in year. Maybe this churchy type stuff wasn't such a bad idea. It was about a quarter past ten and I didn't need to get the P.O.D until eleven thirty. Plenty of time to get the new window ice box, put the bastard up and go save my child from the clutches of frolicking Christians.
     I don't believe...I thought I needed to put that out there, in case there was some doubt. I am not a believer, I have not been born again. The first time was miserable enough. That being said, I was driving past the very same bibble camp that  my progeny was attending. I noticed there were some typical 'Joseph and Mary' looking types and there were also people dressed in togas and wearing oak leaf wreaths on their heads. Christian and Pagan? Unlikely but I distinctly  remember chuckling to myself about the 'not too spiritual' comment of last night and how that was up the pisser just now.
     I was smiling and laughing to myself and then my car died. Just died. No warning, just driving and then no working. Right out front of the church. I asked a big burly fellow out front if he had a car, thinking it might have been my battery. He said that his wife was coming to get him in his car and that he wasn't very mechanically inclined or he would offer more help. I told him he was 'big and looked as though he could push things.' He agreed that he was big and said he would give it a go. We pushed and go it off the road and into the church parking lot.
     "Lloyd is in the office." said the big fellow. "He could maybe give you a hand."
      "Dammit Lloyd," I thought to myself.
      Lloyd was in his office and didn't think he could be of much assistance but was willing to give it a shot. We hooked up the car to the battery cables, still thinking it was the battery. It wasn't.  Lloyd threw up his hands and went back to the air conditioning. I was starting to get the impression that it was love thy neighbour...if you absolutely had to. Do unto others as begrudgingly as possible. Isobel and The Boy would fit into this church like a glove. I wondered aloud if Jesus ever gave up and went swimming when the apostles were being bitchy because the fishing nets were all knotted to hell and gone and it was just so damned hot in Jerusalem these days?
     The time was now about eleven twenty six so I wandered into the church to get Isobel. Just in time to see more ancient Greeks cavorting and singing love love love and looking completely out of place in frot of a cloth draped cross and a giant rendering of the pierced hands of Christ. Somewhere just beyond the stage was one Isobel Baker looking as though she would rather be pulling the legs off of spiders or knitting. Anything but this madness. Finally it was over and out she came to a slightly frazzled,  filthy handed father.
      "Let's get the hell out of here." she said.
      "My sentiments exactly" I thought.
      "How was it?" I asked.
      "REALLY Boring!" she said.  "We talked about god and how god is love and love is god and love is love and blah, blah, blah. I don't want to do that again."
      "OK," I said. "You don't have to. You tried it and you didn't like it. Let's move on."
      "We're not church people anyway, are we?"
      "Nope. Not at all?"
      "Not even Grandpa Ron?"
      "Especially not Grandpa Ron."
      I'm glad she tried something new and I am still stinging at the irony of the heathen mobile breaking down right in front of the church. I think back to last night after she told us she was going to this camp. She walked into the kitchen and calmly (and doing her best Nietzsche impression) announced that "God is dead."
I suggested that she might want to keep that little chestnut to herself until after bibble camp. I'm starting to wonder if she didn't spread it around a little bit. I think I saw a flicker dissent in the eyes of the Greeks...

      We got a pool of sorts. It's one of those store bought deals that is a couple of steps above a kiddie pool. It's a big blue soup pot and over the course of the last two weeks, it has been a godsend. To Izzy and I anyway.
      Isobel has been in the pool before it was hot enough to merit swimming. She was in the pool the day it was officially full. The temperature, though we had no thermometer at the time, I would hazard a guess was somewhere in the neighbourhood of about sixty five.
      A nice bath temperature is about eighty to eighty six. Sixty five degrees and I am bitching about ice cream headaches because my beer is too cold. OK, not really but sixty five degrees is pretty cold. I went swimming the following weekend with Isobel and I will say that it is a good thing I have bred. I don't imagine I will have any viable 'swimmers' after the refreshing dip.
     The pool now is at a balmy eighty six degrees and Izzy and I are in it every opportunity. Even Mrs. Narrator got her hair wet the other day. No really, her hair-WET. The Boy, had no idea we have a pool. But the heat from the computer is helping him to maintain that well sought after sticky complexion. So we got him off the computer for about ten minutes yesterday and led him toward the pool with a trail of promises of more computer time. Now we can't get him out of the pool. At least the internet is free.
      I was not in favour of the pool at first. My biggest complaint was that I would be the one doing most of the pool work. As it turns out, I am the one doing most of the pool work but I am also doing the second most swimming. Maybe that's a fair trade...somehow I think I am getting screwed on the work front. I also just know that I am going to come home to a gaggle of sweaty derby women fouling the waters of our soup pot with victorious sweat.
      It's a good thing that pools make for cooler heads and cooler heads will always prevail. That and the derby women know I like decent scotch.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Electronic Love and Hate...Worried But Not...

      Isobel: "Daddy, when are you going to work?"
      Daddy: "About nine o'clock."
      Isobel: "So you would have time to watch me in the pool?"
      Daddy: "I'm writing. If I get this finished in time then, I will come and watch you."
      Isobel: "So that means never, then."
      Daddy: "If you keep bugging me it does.,"
      Isobel: "I was just saying."
      Daddy: "And I was just saying, every time you stop to ask me if I can watch you swim now, which you                are going to do, then the longer it is going to take me to write.
      Isobel: (Stomping toward the stairs) "I was JUST saying."
      Daddy: "And if you pitch a fit and stomp upstairs, you can forget it altogether."
      Isobel: "Crap...I'm going outside."

      The Boy has an obsession...it is the computer and he is hopelessly obsessed with it. In much the same way that a junkie needs his fix, The Boy needs that box. He has been threatened with losing it...ad nauseum. He has a six hour time limit. He has lost it and gained it back and lost it again and he will continue to lose it and win it back again I am certain. None of it has curbed his enthusiasm or behaviour..
      I'm not sure I see the lure of the games he plays. There are games (some which I play myself) on X-box and Playstation which are like playing a cartoon. The graphics are beyond realistic but he insists on playing games that look like the came out sometime in the mid eighties. Blocky slow moving awkward characters and completely lo res graphics and backgrounds. It's like wandering around in a bad digital photo and he is nuts about them.
      I asked him what was so cool about the games and he answered without really answering; "They're really cool and imaginative and ...really fun." So are jigsaw puzzles but nobody ever got hollered at over them.
      "If you don't put down that god-damned edge piece, you won't see another jigsaw puzzle for two weeks." It even reads ridiculous.
      So it must be something else. I thought back to my own obsessions when I was his age. For the most part it was music and wanting to play it but and it is a gigantic but, I remember running up a healthy phone bill
back in the days of pre-recorded dial a porn, courtesy of my father's dirty magazine collection. I think two or three hundred dollars is a conservative estimate of just how hung up I was on Traci Lords and her ilk. But there isn't anything like that on any of his games and even if there were, eight bit boobies wouldn't be worth the price of admission.
      Still, he is hooked and I needed to know why...
      I don't think I had an aha moment about the whole thing but I think, after listening to a few of his gaming conversations, I got it. The Boy has ADD and one of the results of this condition is that his social skills can be a little behind where many think they should be. I don't intend this to be a debate on the semantics of where a thirteen year old boy's social skills should lie but suffice it to say that we felt they might be a little behind. At any rate, it was when he began playing these games that we noticed a change in him. He started swearing and even dropping the occasional, unintentional F-bomb and laughing and carrying on with the people who were in his headphones. All the things that one figures a budding teen aged boy should be doing-he was now doing. And I think I figured it out.
       There while he was sitting at the computer, was all of the social interaction with his peer group with no repercussions. No
other boys to tell him what he said was stupid to his face and embarrass him in front of has friends. Nobody to gang up on him and maybe pick on him or bully him because they think him different. Why wouldn't he be obsessed with going back to this place? I don't know if it is populated by people like The Boy but I suspect there are more than a couple.
      I think, and I may be stretching a little or maybe not so much, that all of this cyber confidence building has translated into the real world. He has had little or no problems with anyone at school, I don't recall hearing anything about him being picked on this year. Sure he is getting older and hormones will change everything but I'd like to think that this particular rabbit hole he has gone into with so many other kids, has given him an arsenal that he might not other wise have. And that's pretty god damned amazing...as long as he doesn't go over six hours.

      Izzy went back to the doctor today. A follow up to headaches she had been having a while back. As for the headaches, we were mostly in agreement that it likely had more to do with dehydration as anything else. There was however, something a little more shocking. On the first go around, her blood pressure was on the high side. High enough that that they took three more readings
      Now my family has a history of kidney stone making and so urine tests were ordered to rule out any connection between kidneys and blood pressure. (of which there are a fair amount) I wasn't really worried as I figured the doctor would have shown some sense of concern if she thought there were something really amiss.
      I wasn't worried until Mrs. Narrator visited the Google Doctor and came up with a gruesome list of insidious diseases that attack children and cause high blood pressure. I might be a little worried now. I still think that the doctor might have said something like; 'Mr. Baker, I don't want to alarm you but it could be...' right?
      I'm going to be pretty pissed off when it turns out that she had high blood pressure because she was afraid to fart in the doctor's office.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It Pays to go Digging...Isobel's Internal Greenwich Meantime...

So lately it's been a 'big girl, grown up' type thing to get the mail by herself. That is, to walk into the post office while The Boy and I wait in the car. Everyone that works in there knows her by name so I wasn't particularly worried about her going in to get it. Mind you the first time she did it, I waited outside the front door so I could keep an eye on her.

     Isobel: "Daddy, can I get the mail by myself?"
     Daddy: "Yep, I think you can do it."
     Isobel: "Yay. I can get the mai-al, all by my se-elf."
     Daddy: "You're growing up too fast."
     Isobel: "I'm growing uh-up, too fa-ast."
     Daddy: "OK, go get it but be careful."
     Isobel: (after a few minutes) "Daddy, I got one of these."
     Daddy: "You know what to do, take it up to the counter and she'll give you a package for it."
     Isobel: "Really, I can go get it?"
     Daddy: "Yep, go ahead Pick."
     Isobel: "Yay. I'm getting the pack-age."
     Daddy: (after another few minutes) "Where's the package?"
     Isobel: "I'm not that grown up yet."

       Sometimes it rains here at The Blue Chair and sometimes it pours. Sometimes I fret and panic about what to put in this week's column and sometimes it falls in my lap. This was a week of  lap landings. Last week I was nearly overwhelmed with the things that Isobel had given me. So much so, that I had to decide what to print and what not to. So it seems that this week is sort of a continuation of last week but also contains a nice little bonus.
      Isobel had written a project for school which I had always intended to publish. She had put it away so I asked where she had put it. I looked where she told me it was and lo and behold, came across a letter to Santa (the actual jolly elf, not her most trusted lieutenant) that I had somehow missed. So in the midst of a heat wave, let's think of the wintry things that are, really, just around the corner at any given moment...but first.
      Isobel is getting to the age now where homework is starting to take on a degree of logic. I mean it isn't just ABC's and see Clifford, Spot and Dick. Rather they are actual 'projects'. Things that require research of a degree and compilation of seven year old thoughts. So when she brought this home, beaming all the while, I had to be impressed. I think you will be too.
     Behold the steel trap mind of my progeny.


Written By Isobel
(annotations by S. Baker)

Page one) All About Horseis-surgiray tusog (It looks as though she is practicing cursive writing. Did I mention Isobel cannot write cursive? we are all proud of her for this great leap forward.) There is a picture of a hairy sausage leaning off the one end of a chesterfield and a black scarf hanging off the other.

Page two)  Diagram of Animal-Horse (staying the course, good so far and it's only page two) More cursive practice...Isrvedez? The picture is decidedly more horse like with anatomical explanationsall around it; Mane (goes without saying) Witheres ride ewear the back an & ne.( I'm gathering this type of horse may carry sheep about on it's witheres and go 'an & ne') Long tail (Long tail) Long nous suter nex (This either has to do with the horse having a long nose and neck or she wants to hang a horse) There also may or may not be a swastika in the middle of the horse...could be more cursive. either way, I think we should keep an eye on her.

Page three) Habitat-My animal's habitat is; Medows. (I think this is in New Jersey.) There is a picture of a great big blue sky and a bright yellow ground. (This is definitely New Jersey)

Page four) Food: My animal is a Horse. They like to eat; Ants(umm...) Grass (OK) Holy (Sure this could be hay and probably is but it puts a whole new spin religion. Out of the mouths of babes, right?)

Page five) Fun Facts; Horses are fast runners the worlds horse in vedvealold it ifrsitment switolrunine (Horses are fast runners and Isobels get distracted easily)
                 Pepole holve used horsis to care lads (Like that movie War Horse, That horse loved his lad)

                 Horses are cloly reladed to rillsorss and taprds (We couldn't afford horses when I was a boy so
                 we kept a couple of their close relatives, the taprd on a farm we lived on)

                 A Horses brain is nalf as much a humins branie (Horses are stupid nasty beasts)
Page six) Size of the Horse
 Length: 6 incis
Weight: 50 pounds
Height: 12 Height (Must be the new super mini pony I've heard so much about)

Neat facts: Horses eat hay and medow crosses. (Hey Peter, I can see your house from up here) Horses can run very folst.

Page seven) Definition: A horse can run up to ge mlells and jump of medos. ( the whole medos?)
                Habitat; A habitat is a home for an annimill.
                Horse; an animel.

Ah...I can hear Marlin Perkins' voice now..."Whike I stay here in the relative safety of this duck blind, Isobel will attempt to re-enact the crucifixion using this palomino."

      And so, on to the found gold...I leave this one in it's original form.

      Dear Santa,
    I hope your rander are feline. Well. for ther chrismas jerny.
  I bet you are tired daulvering all of thos presits on chrismas. How is Mirs clus in the north poel.
I hope you are warm in the north pole.
I hope you like the ckices I set out for you p.s Do you like Coco becus I do.
   I hope I get a lot of presis for chrismas
   p.s can you tell mis clus to get me some presis.

Love from Isobel.

      One of the drawbacks of this new job of mine is that to work on the day shift means I have to get up at four a.m. This tends to put a damper on Isobel's crawling in with us. Mostly because the last time she did it, at about one thirty one night, I couldn't get back to sleep and I blew my stack. I'm not proud but I am human.
      She still wakes up in the night and Mrs. Narrator will march her back to bed and stay with her until Izzy falls asleep and then come back to our bed. The last couple of shifts I have noticed that the second I head downstairs, Isobel is heading into our room to take my spot in the bed.
    It's a little bit freaky and I sort of pictured her sitting there with an alarm clock in her room, bleary eyed and frantic. "For christ's sake old man, it's time to go get your shower."
     I know very soon, I'm going to be awakened by a tapping on my forehead and a little girl saying;
     "Daddy, it's time for you to go to work and I need to get some sleep. Can you get out now?"
      My only question, would she take my grave as quick? If it was comfortable enough...I think she probably would....especially if it had skittles in it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Best Father's Day Ever(Again!)...All the Things a Father Should be...

      I think my favourite thing about Father's day...any event type of day really, is that it drives her wild with anticipation. Just the thought of seeing somebody enjoy something she has done makes crazy with excitement.

      Izzy: "Daddy, it's almost father's day!"
      Daddy: "Yep, it's tomorrow. I get to drink beer and eat barbecue!"
     Izzy: "What else?"
     Daddy: "Burp and fart?"
     Izzy: "Daddy!"
     Daddy: "Oh wait, that's right. I get to open the present that you have been tormenting with for the last three days."
     Izzy: "What's tormenting mean?
     Daddy: "Skip it."
     Izzy: "When do you want to open your present?"
     Daddy:" When would you like me to open my present?"
     Izzy: "I don't know if I want you to, it'll ruin the surprise."
    Daddy: "This is what torment is."
    Izzy: "Oh, OK."

      Yes friends, it was Father's day this weekend. At times I still find it a little odd to wear that particular hat, other times I feel it fits like a glove. There are other times still when I should run away for fear of causing the kids any permanent emotional harm but I am here, I stayed when there are far too many men who don't. For good or for ill, grumpy bastard in glasses, warts and all I am a Father...my kids Father.
      Izzy always brings home the best stuff for the parents days. Mrs. Narrator got a lemon hand scrub that the kids made. It has sugar in it which I don't quite understand. How does one go about cleaning one's hands with something that will make them sticky? Am I missing something here? For me, something entirely more practical. A ready made smores kit! Not a gigantic fan of smores but I suspect I won't get to eat them anyway.
      To this day, she gave me the best Father's day gift day I will ever receive. Her class made homemade strawberry jam and canned it up the way I remember my mother and sister doing it so many summers ago. OK so the kids likely had very little to do with the making process and the canning process, I would bet that Mrs. Wilson, Isobel's super kindergarten teacher, did ALL but the fact remains a little jar of jam with my name on it came home that father's day and when she gave it to me for that Father's day I felt a lump in my throat. When she stood there incredulous that I actually ate some of it for my breakfast that morning, the lump turned into water and started to fall out of my eyes. But maybe I'm getting a little maudlin.
      It was a wonderful day and I did all of the Fatherly things that I felt I should do. I ate too much barbecue, I drank too much, I talked too loudly and I burped and farted. For the most part, so did my Father in Law. Ok so he didn't drink too much and I've almost never seen him get loud but he ate as much and me and burped and farted a bunch and made Izzy laugh.
     So the best bit this year was the card. It looks a little like the diamond cutter symbol from DDP yoga. Which has been my obsession of late BUT when you turn it upside down, it makes a heart. Izzy's two little hands making a heart ( another lumpy throat moment) and it reads "I love you more than:( down each finger it reads) crafts; ( I wasn't aware that Isobel did crafts) coloring; ( looking good now) cracrs; (she does enjoy cracrs) Jusie; (She likes jusie especially with ginny) Pizza (who doesn't love pizza?) Popcorn; (another big favourite of hers) Chocolet (Really? more than chocolet?) Chese (she doesn't really like chese so I find this one a little suspect)
      I think I am going to need a box...a big box to keep all the stuff she makes me for Father's day...I couldn't bear the thought of getting rid of any of it.
 Best father's day ever...again!

      The other thing she got me wasn't initially for me but in a moment of gigantic understanding of the world around her, she gave it to me and said it was what all Dads should be. A piece of paper with a hole cut out of the centre of it. A space for a face and written all around it were the words that make a good Father.

Senseabull-You know I am...mostly.
Peacefull- Izzy said I wasn't very peaceful because I wasn't quiet. I explained that (herself included) nobody in this house is quiet.
Tidey- I am the Tidey Nazi
Helthey- I do DDP yoga, how much more Helthey could I get.
Fereless-I am not scared of anything. I am also not made of iron (just in case I misinterpreted)
Helpfull-Like nobody's business
Grate-cheese runs from me...wait I don't think that's right.
Kind- Does that include the cats?
Scut-Not certain about this one. I will say I am over flowing with this but reserve the right to deny at any time.
Playfull- as a Mofo!
Carfle-I haven't burnt anything down in weeks now.
Loud- No problems here
Quiet- Both, really?
Silly-Goose-like, right here.
Brave- I am the remover of spiders for the whole house.
Carless-When it breaks down, yes absolutely.
Enventiv-I haven't envented anything per say but I use enventions. Does that count?
Musicle-Hello...Rock Star here.
Nice- I am the fucking king of nice.
Strong-I can bench both cats at once.
Carfull-If you bring a few friends, I suppose I would be.
Carless (again)- I think we covered this already.
Enoying-I'm sure Mrs. Narrator picked this category.
Thotful-You just watch me go.
Resbonsible-You're still here aren't you?
Respectfull-As the day is long.

      I have to say that she was very excited when I told her I was going to use this in this weeks column. This is the first time she has ever made a knowing, willing contribution to it. A breath of fresh air? Perhaps At any rate I'm glad she decided to share it and I am tickled pink that she thought all of these things applied to me. Best Father's day ever...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It Has Finally Happened...I'm Safe For Now...

   She has taken to spraying the minions with Mrs. Narrator's perfume. I got a whiff of it downstairs and called her on it.
      Daddy: "Izzy, stop spraying perfume."
      Izzy: "I didn't spray any."
      Daddy: ":I could smell it downstairs because you sprayed so much of it. Holy gods it stinks up here."
      Izzy:  "That's because I farted."
      Daddy: "You fart perfume? Stop spraying it and stop lying about it."
      Izzy: "I have the hiccups."
      Daddy: "That's because you lied to me. Baby Jesus is punishing you now."
      Izzy: "My hiccups are making me fart more."
      Daddy: "You are an exceptionally weird little girl."
      Izzy: "What does exceptionally mean?"
      Daddy: "It means you might be the weirdest kid I ever knew."
      Izzy: "I'm not weird, I'm odd and different."

      See that picture over there? That's me in New York about a million and three quarter years ago. I used to be that guy. I was single for the most part and carefree and young and wild and everything that a budding rock god should be. I smoked, snorted, screwed or drank anything that was in front of me more than a couple of minutes and I loved every minute of it.
      I can honestly say I didn't give a shit about anything but me and where my next dose of pleasure was coming from...regardless of what it was or who I had to bowl over to get it. I was a selfish bastard...I was a Rock and Roll star. I don't know if I was particularly good at it but I felt like I was. I felt like I was the cat's ass and the best bass player you've ever seen. Self confidence can get you a whole pile of stuff in the music game. And it did.
     We toured a pile and had no small amount of success. (Alas, very little of it financial) There were always the freebies. When you're on the top of your game, everybody wants to be your friend and they will pay for the privilege of doing so. Booze, drugs, women, farm animals, tutu wearing auto parts salesmen from Boise, whatever your particular bent was, people would bend over backwards to get it for you if they thought it would get them even an inch closer to your inner circle.
     But there were the downsides of it all too. I guess I wasn't a calloused as I let on I was. I ruined a handful of relationships and felt crappy about all of them and I wrote several letters to hotels and motels and people we stayed with, apologizing for my downright rockstarness. Maybe that was the soil into which the seeds of this week's column were sown.
      What is the point of all this? Yes Sid, what is the point to all this?
        So there I was, sitting in the pissing down rain, watching Isobel play soccer, thinking how right it all felt. To be sitting there getting soaked watching her getting soaked and waving at me every time she caught my eye. I thought how good it was to see my kid enjoy something so much. And I also thought about how far away I was from that guy in the picture. (I couldn't fit into those pants again at gun point.)
      I don't know why I didn't get into it as much when The Boy played soccer but I didn't. Maybe it was because I was new to the whole parenting thing and I didn't have much of an emotional investment in any of them at that point. What the hell did I know or care about somebody playing soccer. I don't recall my parents coming to see me play hockey as a kid so I guess I maintained a healthy emotional distance from all of The Boy's activities. I think if he were doing something now, things would be different. It's a little difficult to cheer at wins on a computer game.
      But I sat there in the rain and I cheered and hollered and willed her to do the right thing along with a bunch of other sopping parents who were doing the very same and I was loving it...getting into it. It was a nail biter of a game. I remember watching Rangers vs Invercali and not getting this excited.
      I promised her another treat if she scored another goal but alas there were no trips to the concession stand for her. Her team lost a hard fought battle one-nil and so we packed up and headed for home but not before getting a jumbo freezie from one of the mothers and a photo form from her coach.
      I told her how proud I was of her, even though she didn't score and her team lost. I tucked her in and kissed her forehead and went back downstairs to surf the Internet. I reveled in the warm glow of a pretty cool father daughter kind of bonding moment and smiled to myself.
      I was reading an interesting article on NSA whistle blowers who use asparagus root to ward off cancer in lab rats (or something to that effect)when it finally hit me like a kick in the stones from a size four suede slipper.
    That guy in the leather trousers with the smarmy look died that day. Out there in the rain, huddled on a ratty folding chair with an umbrella bent against the wind, he turned into this guy.
Maybe all that cool got washed away somewhere on that field, watching the weirdest girl in the world chase a ball across a muddy field.
       "Aww fuck." I said quietly to myself.  "I'm a soccer mom."
      All that is missing now is a bad sub-urban haircut and pleated jeans...OK, pleated jeans anyway.

         I was dropping her off at school and we both noticed somebody had spray painted something on the electrical shed for the school.
      "Daddy," she said. "Somebody painted something on that building."
      "I just noticed that." I agreed.
       "What does it say?"
       "It says Question Authority." I said.
        I'm all for lashing out at 'The Man' but I'm thinking the power shed of the local primary school might be shouting on deaf ears just a tad.
       "Who would do that?' she asked.
       "Probably stupid teenagers." I answered.
       "I'm never going to do stupid things like that, I hate teenagers."
       "Well Pick," I began. "You don't have much choice about being a teenager and you probably will do stupid things. Most teenagers do."
        "I won't, I'll be too busy vomiting to do stupid things."
         "Wait, what?" I asked.
         "I'll be busy vomiting. I vomit you know."
         "And you think you'll be vomiting through your teenage years?" I asked
         "Most of them. " she said matter of factly.
        "I guess I don't have to worry about boys kissing you, then?"
        "Eww, nobody wants to kiss vomit breath. Not even boys."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pleasant Little Surprises...You'll Never Use Math Anyway...

      You could put an exact replica of Isobel in front of me and I would know it wasn't my kid. She could look the same, have the same speech and mannerisms. She could walk, talk and even smell the same (though her particular bouquet might be hard to reproduce) and I would know. Right down to the placements of all her moles and birthmarks, from her crooked teeth to her crushing stubbornness and I would still know it wasn't my Isobel. How?
      Isobel: "Daddy!"
      Daddy: "Yes?"
      Isobel: "Come here!"
      Daddy: "You sounded just like me."
      Isobel:  "Daddy...come here!"
      Daddy:  "Yup?"
      Isobel: "You have no respect for pizza!"

      I spend a lot of time (probably an inordinate amount of time) wondering if my kid will turn out like me. I mean I know from a biological standpoint that she is mine....have you met Isobel? Jesus, who else's kid could she be? I worry though that she won't pick anything up from me that's..me, you know?
     Because it is inevitable, that we become distilled versions of our parents and I just hope that Izzy ends up with some of the better parts of my personality. I think I may have ended up with
most of the worst qualities of my folks but there are a few things that I am proud of and I hope that is what she gets from me.
     Anyway I came across one of her seven hundred and fifty one notebooks this week and it made me smile and let me know that she had at least picked up one thing from me. This foolishness-this pouring out of thoughts and words regardless of who will see or read them
    I always wrote, for as long as I can remember. Sometimes it was stories, sometimes it was just thoughts, sometimes it was just words that didn't mean anything to anyone but me in that very moment they were put on the page. It took me a long time before I let anyone see them and I was always worried what they thought when I did. -Still do.
     Izzy has taken it upon herself to carry the torch...

      Day1: Today I wentto Mexico!.
      I went into the Villae
     and its in Paradis Villiee.
     Its relly fun in Mexico
     Thar is so meny new
     pepolle you met at Mexico.

     Today we are stayine at the
      bech untill sunset. it will
      be Happy Howre. that is
     How loe we'll stay for.
     I will ortr Lemonad
     Oma will have Lemonold
     Wint boz in it.
     That's all. bye!

     today I went boge bordine
     it was fun! BUT thay wert good wavse. still fun!
     I LOVED it. I LOVE the
     bech it is fun and its so hot Im
     swetine. no litrley Im swetine.
     Love Isobel.

     Gus waht    I can do a back
     flip underwatre! TOWE

     Toda Im not in
     Mexico eny mare.
     Im sad but it's
     all so werm her!
     I still like it!
     Its Eun here7
     I lave it but I wate
     Like to gobak to


   Mark my words, you will see more from her...I'm sure Woodward and Bernstein started this way...

      I suck at math...always have. I am far too right brained for that. apparently so is Isobel.
     I came home and found a piece of paper stuck to the window in the living room. She had clearly been practicing math...she had clearly bitten off more than she could chew...

   1.  2+2 = 4

   2. 4+4  = 8
   3. 8 1/ Jc 'cd scribble, scribble, scribble.

     Strictly speaking, math isn't super important beyond the basics...I suppose she could just ask people how much things cost and hope for the best, right?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Thrill of Victory...In One End...

     We were walking down the lane way to the school, it was wet and miserable and she was wearing shorts.

      Daddy: "Aren't you cold?"
      Isobel: "Nope. Are you?"
      Daddy: "Yeah, I am. It's because it's damp and I always get cold in weather like this."
      Isobel: "And because you're old."
      Daddy: "Yep, that too."
      Isobel: "I'm not cold at all."
      Daddy: "Well, you're much tougher than I am."
      Isobel: "How am I tough?"
      Daddy: "You closed your fingers in my car door and you opened the door and took your hand out, then you closed the car door. You did all of that and THEN you started crying. That's pretty tough if you ask me.
      Isobel: "That's not tough, that's just the smart thing to do."

      I wasn't particularly good at sports as a kid. Shocking, right? I played hockey and though I enjoyed it a great deal, my skills left a god deal to be desired. I was a leg breaker-in the eight to thirteen year old sense. I was fat and not particularly fast but I was solid. If there were a particularly troublesome player on the opposite team, it was my duty to take him out. I became adept at tripping, low elbowing and flattening against the boards and spent a gigantic amount of time in the penalty box for it. I could have played for the Flyers in their heyday.
     I think then, that when Isobel wanted to sign up for soccer, I just assumed that she would be more interested in running around around, maybe picking some dandelions and spinning. Endlessly spinning around the soccer pitch. Anything but actually playing. To my surprise, I couldn't have been more wrong. She jumped right into the thick of things and mixed it up with the best of them.
     Now I don't think Real Madrid is going to come calling anytime soon she had a light in her eyes that I don't think I ever saw before. A light you can't get from barking at the minions. It's the light that comes from the thrill of playing on a team and pitting yourself against your peers. The light of competition.
      I have to interject a couple of things here; firstly under eight soccer is not so much about the skills and positions of the game so much as it is about running back and forth ad nauseum. (which is kind of the game anyway, right?) It's like something from an our gang movie, a lone ball rolls down field followed by a gaggle of screaming, thronging arms and legs all trying to capture it with little or no discernible ability to do so.
      Secondly, after only two regulation games and not a single practice I might add, that if the object of the game was to hurtle down the field and then kick the ball at a perfect right angle away from the goal, my daughter would be champion of the world. She can face the goal head on and boot the ball but it always ends up near the feet of the opposing team's coach. Remarkable really.
      It was the same with The Boy for the most part. He was bored and probably better than most on his team. He was certainly faster than most on his team,though you wouldn't know it because they kept sticking him in goal. Not a position to put a wiry kid with ADD. Goal is a position for fat kids with decent reflexes. Did I mention I played goal quite a bit? The Boy, to his credit stuck it out much longer than I thought he would. I think he kept hanging on thinking if he could just go one more year, it would get better but they didn't separate his teams by skill level as they did as much as they did age. He was stuck playing goal on a team rife with flower pickers and cloud busters.Good on him for making it as long as he did. 
      This year they seem to be more concerned with the teams being more evenly stacked so, though there are a couple of ringers on some of the teams (Izzy's included as far as I'm concerned) every body is at about the same level. It's nice to see fewer break-aways   from the 'really' good kids and more of everyone   laughing and chasing an unbelievably elusive ball. I think the best part of all of this is the absolute break in the chain of thought between running with the ball and shooting the ball. All of the kids, mine included, will run full tilt with the ball and then come to a full stop, position themselves just so and have a good hoof at the ball. Mostly to little effect. This alone is worth the price of the uniform.
      But I'm wandering away from the tour...On this particular occasion Izzy was raring to go as soon as we got there.There was no childish hand holding, I would have to sit by myself as she ran off to be with her team. She practiced a little bit and did some routine stretches and then it was go time. Naturally she sat by the sidelines, completely uninterested in the goings on of her team.
      "Isobel," her coached shouted. "You're on."
      She dashed to her position and as the whistle blew, she made a bee line for the ball. Unfortunately, so did every other child on the field. Some of whom were not playing soccer on this field. She touched the ball at one point with her foot, which is about as close as I figured she was going to get to any real action. Some time during the second half hour of this back and forth and back and forth and nobody really touching the ball except that blond haired kid who'd managed four goals on his own already, the ball came toward Isobel. She ran for about three feet, stopped dead and kicked the ball as hard as she might. They say in tense moments like this, it seems as though time stood still. Time did not stand still however, the ball damn near did. I'm not convinced that it wasn't the wind rather than the force of her kick, that sent the ball toward the net. Nevertheless, toward the net it did slowly and determinedly roll and the goalie, seized by some rare and twisted form bowel distress squatted as though he might relieve himself there in the crease and the ball leisurely strolled by him.
      I don't think it registered with her that she had scored until the coach shouted at her.
      "Way to go Isobel, I told you that was your ball."
     Izzy looked at me, beaming and gave me a gigantic thumbs up. I returned it, beaming myself and so proud of her for this accomplishment. After the game, she downplayed her pride at her goal. The mark of a true champion. I promised her something special for her first goal and she settled for a bag of jumbo sour gumballs, most of which were in her mouth before we got home.
      I don't know that she will continue with sports, I hope she does. She has the drive to succeed in anything she sets her mind to and the optimism to not be afraid to try anything. If I wish any quality about her to remain, it's this one. Too many of us, myself included, are jaded by what others think and what others say. We end up afraid of the unknown as a result. Izzy is fearless...and tougher than I'll ever be. If she ever figures that out, I'm screwed.  

    The gum after Izzy's amazing goal got me to thinking about The Boy. Four or five years ago we had bought him a pack of gum and, like all kids who find something they enjoy, ate virtually all the pieces at one go. I'm certain we told him not to...or maybe we didn't. At any rate, he ate all twelve or twenty four pieces of sugarless gum and off he went to bed.
      "Mummy," he moaned at about three in the morning. "My belly hurts."
      "Like you're going to throw up?" Mrs. Narrator asked.
      "No, like my belly hurts, like I don't know what I want to do." The Boy said in that broken sickly voice that only a kid has.
      "Maybe you need to go to the bathroom," she said. "Sit down on the toilet and maybe you'll feel better."
      He did as he was told and thank Christ for that, the flood gates burst open. I am amazed that he didn't come off the toilet with the force of the jet stream leaving his body. He sat awhile until he was convinced it was all OK and then quietly went back to bed. We heard no  ore of it that night nor the next day and just figured it was some weird sort of stomach thing.
     A couple of days later Mrs. Narrator and I were watching one of favourite programs at the time, House. Long story short some one came in complaining of chronic diarrhea. The diagnosis? Too much aspartame from the sugarless gum he was always chewing. Who knew that aspartame in large amount was a laxative?
     The Boy sure as hell did...funny, he doesn't chew a lot of gum anymore.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Anguish In Her Voice...Sometimes You're Just The One...

She walked over to me tonight and asked me a question with a defeated look on her face.
      Isobel: "Daddy?"
      Daddy: "Yep?"
      Isobel: "Can I just ask you something?"
      Daddy: "You can always ASK anything."
      Isobel: "Can we go to the playground after supper?"
      Daddy: "We'll see."
      Isobel: "So probably no?"
      Daddy: "No, probably yes."
      Isobel: "Really!?!?!"
      Daddy: "Sure."

         Not the usual intro I know, but this has not bee the usual week. I am a health care worker. I have seen all the bodily fluids of all colours and descriptions and I have managed to keep a cool head through all manner of crises regardless of what they may be. None of them however, involved my children. I have to admit that where my children are involved, all senses of rationality go out the window and I become singular of purpose  and motivation and if you happen to be in the way when the situation occurs, be helpful or be elsewhere.
     Monday, I was looking very forward to seeing my daughter play in her first official soccer game. She was outside skipping and playing in my car and I opened the door to call her in for supper. She couldn't see me for the reflection on the car windshield so I went closer to the car to get her attention. She acknowledged that I was there and I motioned for her to come in. She got of the car and time stopped.
       I was about fifteen feet away from her and I could tell by the look on her face that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong. I knew from my own experience that one or several of her fingers were now in the closed door of my car and I felt the sickness gurgle around my stomach and rise in my throat.
    Now Mrs. narrator and I (along with I'm certain a bazillion others) have been down this same path. I was being dropped off back at school after lunch and had a hockey stick and skates in one hand and not a lot of attention was being paid the the safest mechanics of closing a door. My thumb entered the door and the fear and the pain ripped it right back out. Mrs. Narrator has a similar history. I lost Thumbnail, a pair of ugly home made mittens and got a week off school. By comparison, I am a weakling. My daughter is no weakling...not by a damn stretch.
     I said before, once she had closed her finger in the door, we both knew instantly what she had done. Here is how tough my daughter is. She had the forethought to actually open the door, extricate her trapped thumb and then close the door properly. If i live to be a hundred and seven, I will never be that tough.
      After she freed herself, the panic set in...for both of us. I went into a flat out run trying to close the distance between us as quickly as I could. I picked her up and held her tight and turned to face the house, seemingly in one motion. I ran as hard as I could. It is only about fifty feet to the porch and the front door from where my car was parked but it may as well have been fifty miles. And here is the thing that killed me...still is killing me.
     By the time I picked her up, the initial shock had worn off and now the pain was coming on hog wild. Oh the terrible throbbing that just won't stop no matter what you do. She was in such agony that she just started screaming 'Daddy, Daddy. Daddy, Daddy...' over and over. My heart broke a little right there. I didn't know what to do but hold her and run for the house. I asked her about that when we went to the playground and she said it hurt so bad, that was all she could think to say, nothing else was making sense in her head.
      I barreled through the door and barked at Mrs. Narrator to get out of the way. I threw open the freezer door and started grasping at anything cold enough to put on her thumb... Thankfully Mrs. Narrator remained calm enough to actually find something frozen and useful. Note to self, while frozen dinners may be an outstanding taste treat, they are entirely useless as a first aid device.
      She was miserable for longer than I have seen her in a while and she absolutely did not want me to leave her side. I mentioned that I would go to the soccer field and get her uniform and then it was OK if I went for a while. By the time I got back, she was eating a little and already in better spirits. She ate mostly sweet junk but it all helped her feel better and what parent won't indulge a sweet tooth when a, decently serious, injury has occurred.? She was OK to go to school but was disappointed that she probably wouldn't be able to write.
      That night I didn't sleep well and I could hear her voice echoing in my ears, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy." I woke more than a few times expecting her to be standing at the foot of the bed, in some catastrophic condition. She wasn't but the message was firmly in place...I see now why Mothers become Smothers in a heart beat...hell, I was afraid to let Isobel get into the car by herself after school.

    After she mashed her thumb, she didn't want me to let her go. Even after Mrs. Narrator made several offers of cuddles and even the offer to feed her her favourite food, she wanted to stay with me. I wasn't complaining but you know me, I was curious. I asked her why she wanted to stay with me after all that good stuff was going to come her way. She thought about it for a bit and said;
      "Your lap is more comfortable that Mummy's and sometimes you're just the one I need."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

On Unfamiliar Ground...Ummm...what now?...

   We were doing her homework, plurals when she wrote down a word that I began to erase.
      Isobel: "Hey, what's wrong with that?"
      Daddy: "You can't use that word, you can't."
      Isobel: "Why not, it's OK."
      Daddy: "It's not right. What word are you trying to write?"
      Isobel: "Foxes."
      Daddy: "And how is that spelled?"
      Isobel: "F-O-X-S."
      Daddy: "ES."
      Isobel: "ES."
      Daddy: "And what did you write?"
      Isobel: "F-U-X-S."
      Daddy: "Sound it out."
      Isobel: "...gasp! I'd get kicked out of class."

       I find it a touch ironic that in there last couple of weeks this column has become a little bit more about me and what is happening in my life and just little snippets of what is happening with our Isobel...but I think it was always as much about my growing as it was her.
     So here I am a college man and I figured I would have an easier time finding a job of some permanence with my new skill set...when it rains it pours. I was hired by one place more or less before I had even graduated  another interview followed soon after that and another after that. I am in a place where I have never been before...I am the popular choice of employees, they want me as much as I want them and that truly is uncharted territory for me.
      It is an odd thing to be able to sit through an interview and actually answer the questions they asked you with absolute certainty and a measure of intelligence that just doesn't happen in any of the factory jobs I've ever interviewed for. George Carlin had  it right, they want you just smart enough to run the machines and just dumb enough not to question the shitty situation you have found yourself in. I've worked a lot of factory jobs and I was either handed them or bullshit my way into them or a little of both...but no more.
      One of the interviews I had, was a series of questions ranging from conflict management to witnessing of abuse concluding with a question I have never been asked in a job interview. 'If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?'
     I was taken rather aback; "I wouldn't wear glasses anymore." I blurted out followed by a short chuckle. I went quiet after that, intrigued by the question and actually trying to come up with some kind of intelligent answer. The interviewer looked at me uncomfortably when she saw I wasn't going anywhere beyond this question until I had said my piece.
      I took what seemed to me to be an unusually long breath and said; "I don't think I would change anything. I am pretty OK with who I am. It's taken me a very long time to get here but I kinda like who I am now."
      And I think do...mostly. There are always going to be things I could point out as needing changing, like I wish I had less grey hair and fewer wrinkles, , I could use a moderately thinner waistline and more time to tend to the lawn but these are things that don't keep me up at night wondering if I am a good person. I think maybe I holler at the kids too much when I get frustrated but this career seems to make all the little things I used to holler about seem really insignificant.
     I used to think that maybe I was selling out in a way...trading my Rock and Roll credibility for something else entirely. Maybe there are a few people who think that way too...maybe I'm paranoid or just thinking too much. It's the change, the change of the routine that terrifies me and makes people edgy and angry. I felt so out of place and frightened those first few days of school. I'm certain I was just as grey and ashen looking as Isobel was on her first day of kindergarten. And then all of it changed. School's out and it's on to the working world but how do I feel about it?
      I have a close friend, like an older brother who has a a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system and should the need arise, I am completely capable of taking care of him. My parents, most of your parents, all of our parents are getting older and who is there to take care of them as they become frail? Well OK, it likely won't be me but it will be someone like me hopefully.
      So what would I change about myself? Contrary to popular belief, I wouldn't change a thing. Do I think I sold out? Sold my Rock and Roll soul but gained the world... I think I bought in.

      So Izzy came downstairs with the belt of a smoking jacket wrapped around her hand and wrist.
      "Are you going to box somebody?" I asked.
      "No," she said "I have a broken hand from a fisting accident."
      Stunned silence is the best way to describe what followed as that particular phrase left my daughter's lips.
       "Ummm...what now?" I asked cautiously.
       "A fisting accident. Isn't that what you call it when you hit somebody with your fist, fisting?"
      "That is exactly what it is called."
     Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Standing in an Open Doorway...The Minions...

      We were walking up to bed, reminiscing about the other night when the power went out.
      Isobel: "Daddy, you're really lucky to have an Ipod."
      Daddy: "Well, you'll get one too. You're just a little too young yet."
      Isobel:  "Chase is lucky to have one too."
      Daddy: "You'll get one too Pick, you're just..."
      Isobel: "And Mummy is lucky to have her Iphone."
      Daddy: "I..."
      Isobel: "You all have something for when the power goes out. You all have something to do. I don't have anything to do."
      Daddy: "Well you'll..."
      Isobel: "No, I don't have anything to do except sleep. Which sucks but is very good for you. It makes your bones and hair grow."

      So here it is. At 44 years of age, I am a college grad...Holy shit. I always thought that as a musician, there was a certain cool factor involved when your kids tell their friends what you do...and there is. Same thing for a writer I guess but here's the rub Are your kids ever proud of what you do when it's all flashy and rock star? Do they look at you and say 'My Dad makes me proud' when you write a work of fiction? (or a weekly column) Maybe...I don't know.
      What I do know is that the profession dare I say it, the career that I have chosen has made me something I didn't think possible...it has made me want to be a better person. I don't mean that I am a great person beyond reproach or improvement, just the opposite in fact. What I mean is that I have been a cocksure bass player and a half-assed writer but mostly a carbon blob working in sector 7g for most of my adult life and I have been resigned to being one of the bungled and botched. Teased by glimpses of greatness that were always just out of reach.
      I have changed the briefs of the incontinent, I have held the hands of the lonely and the dying. I have fed the disabled and I have wiped away the tears of the demented and I have loved every minute of it. Somewhere in the midst of all of the bodily fluids and out and out weirdness, I found me...My first day of my first placement, Mrs. Narrator asked me what I thought of it and I told her I didn't know yet, ask me at the end of the week. Inside I had asked myself just 'what the fuck had I gotten myself into?'
     It had sunk in, exactly what it was this job had entailed and I didn't know if I was capable of doing it, any of it. Learning about health care in a text book and putting them into taxes are two completely different things but the first resident I was given was a man I had known in my past and in his way he had remembered our meeting. I washed him I changed him, I held his hand when he was frightened, I laughed with him when he was funny and I sat with him in comfortable silence when his condition made it difficult for him to speak.
      By the end of that first day, I was picked by the woman across the hall from my first resident. She said I had a kind face and she thought there should be more people sticking up for the people that can't do it for themselves anymore. I don't know if I am any kind of advocate for the elderly but it was nice to be thought of in that capacity.
     By the end of that first week, Mrs. Narrator asked me again what I thought of it. I sat for a minute and collected all of the information that was racing around inside my head.
      I said "It feels like this is what I am supposed to be doing."
     I have never worked in any sort of job where the smallest action, seemingly insignificant, can make a enormous difference in the well being of another person. Even in a band, though the folks were entertained, the day after they were on to the next thrill coming to town. In a factory, they only give a shit when you aren't there and even then not really.I went home every day from that first placement (and all the others afterward) knowing I had made a difference in people's life and they in mine. It was and is overwhelming. Things might have been very different had it not been for my first four-the first four reasons why I know that I made the right decision.
      Ah but it is bittersweet...I met and befriended some amazing people along the way, classmates I will likely never see again and the saddest of all, the harsh reality of this career. All of the first four have since passed on. I am not sad though. I am happy for them that their struggles are over and I am honoured beyond words that I got to know them as well as I did and they have all taught me that the worst thing you can do is allow another person to struggle if you have the power to prevent it.
      So sitting here on a Tuesday night, listening to Rain Dogs and wondering if my kids will be proud of me for what I've done I think they will one of these days...hell, I'm proud of me

     Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to finally clear the air. I have been the perpetrator of a terrible lie. For many years now, I have been telling you of Isobel and her beloved minions. I have even gone so far as to describe the minions to you as small yellow goggle eyed fellows who bow to Izzy's every whim. I also mentioned that i felt the minions were now turn of the century Russian peasants moaning and wailing at Isobel's commands But I have been set straight by the mighty dictator herself.
      This past weekend, I was helping Isobel to dust her room. (if you listen close enough, you can hear my Mother howling with laughter at the prospect of me dusting anything) We had moved all of her trinkets and statues off of her bed shelves and sprayed down the Pledge. She gave it a generous wiping and I was getting ready to put the things back on the shelf when she interrupted me.
      "Daddy, I need to put the minions back in the right order. I'll do it."
      And she did. The minions were nothing as I had pictured them to be but this is straight from the little tyrant's mouth. These are the minions. Four terracotta warriors, a bust of FDR that looks like Mortimer Snerd and a small statue of a highlander that bears an uncanny resemblance to christ. Without further ado I give you the Minions...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Wicked What Now?...Minions Grow In the Sun...

       She came home with a book from the school library, she hurriedly dug it out and proudly showed me the title.
      Isobel: "Daddy look what I got!"
      Daddy: "What have you got?"
      Isobel: "A book from the library."
      Daddy: "Oh yeah?"
      Isobel: "It's called Werewolf attack, isn't it cool?"
      Daddy: "It is. I can't help but notice you've been getting some interesting books out of the library. Monsters and werewolves and natural disasters."  
      Isobel: "Yep."
      Daddy: So...?"
      Isobel: "That's all that I want to read about  now, tears and death and fire."

      Nearly May and the warm weather seems as though it is finally here to stay and Izzy has been soaking it up from the second the snow began to melt. She has also been playing with Mrs. Narrator's roller derby whistle. The minions now have audible clues (beyond Isobel screaming at them) to be absolutely certain her will is obeyed.
      I was eavesdropping on her as she was out playing tonight. You can't make this stuff up.
      "Phweep!" went the whistle. "You there!" she bellowed at a minion. "You! What are you doing?"
      She waited for a response that she clearly did not like.
      "Phweep!" went the whistle. "Nope, nope. Not like that at all. That's six laps!"
      "Phweep!" went the whistle.
     At this point, I could picture the minions cringing as that damn whistle blew and blew ...and blew. I used to think that the minions looked kind of like the little yellow guys from Despicable me and I confess that it was after seeing this movie that I started calling her imaginary friends that. It seemed appropriate then and more so now. Now however, I picture them as something more akin to turn of the century Russian peasants under the yoke of her oppression.
"Phweep!" went the whistle." Dang it Carl!"
     Wait, what?!?! a name? The minions had never had a name before, they were always the faceless nameless masses. This could be good. (potentially, I may have misheard what she said but I am going to stick with Carl)
      "Phweep!" went the whistle. "Six laps. No, no there's no use...NO! SIX...LAPS!"
      There was silence for an unnatural amount of time. I looked out and saw she was down on one knee talking to the downed minion. (Who the worse? The kid who has imaginary underlings or the father that refers to them as though they were real entities?)
      "Are you OK?" she asked. "You went down hard. OK? Good. That was funny. I don't care who you are, that was funny."
      It could be worse, she could have no imagination at all...

      Mrs. Narrator was off to the wilds of Michigan this past weekend and Izzy was supposed to have a movie type play date. She was unceremoniously stood up and so Mrs. Narrator suggested that perhaps I could take her. I jumped at the chance. Off to see the wizard we went.
      Oz the Great and Powerful was neither. I am not a huge fan of James Franco, just saying. It's not going to chase any Oscars anytime soon but Isobel loved it. The problem with movies like that (where you are familiar with the story and the general outcome) is there is never enough witch time on screen.
      "Daddy, when is the witch coming?"
      "Soon, baby."
      But it's never soon enough.
     "Holy crap, that guy just tripped and dumped all of his popcorn on the stairs." I'd like to say that she whispered this but that wouldn't quite be the honest truth. I'm certain the guy was embarrassed already but that's the beauty of being a kid, brutal honesty without reproach.
      Finally the witch was about to arrive.
      "Daddy why are her tears burning her face?"
      I have to admit I was stymied by that one.
      "Um...not sure. Maybe the badness in her heart?" I bluffed.
      "No, that's me." she said.
      Soon it was green skin and pointy hats and cackling laughter and one happy little girl on the way out of the theatre.
      "Did you like the movie?" I asked her.
      "Yep!" she beamed.
      "Were you scared?" I asked again.
       "Phfft, no!" she said.
       "No way, that witch wasn't so scary. I would have shot fireballs at everybody, even the munchkins and then burnt them all up. Who would be there to stop me then? Nobody."
      I mentioned to Izzy that for many years when I was a kid, I was afraid of the Wicked Witch of the West.
      "Really?" she asked in an almost mocking tone.
      "Yep." I said.
      I am not afraid of the Wicked Witch of the West anymore...I may just be afraid of the seven year old dictator of the backyard, though...even if she doesn't have a pointy hat.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Littlest Gonzo...

      So the WereWoof has been howling a bit this week and is apt to be for a little bit longer. (4 A.M. is not a time that anyone should be getting up going to work) So Isobel suggested that she should write the column this week...I was far too tired to argue. So what follows then, will be entirely her own. My only contribution this week will be this; I have recently discovered how difficult it is to explain to a seven year old girl that a baby carrot shaped like a penis is funny, without revealing that the baby carrot is shaped like a penis. Take it away Isobel.

      2013 MY DAY
 Today was good I had a tuft Bieinne But the rest of the Day was OK. You know you mlet have some tubel at frest But tron the wrest of the Day it ees Beter. Today we lernd abat symatrys it was fun! Today wors asam!

     Noveber 10 2012
remeber iasdoly mackesus solde. remeber insdory is suppos to be sold.

Ill, will die.Ill die
inside melt it bruns whoooo
I willserwe I will stay Alive
Pepole Don't understand That I am me.
I am who I am me,

    2013 MY DAY
Today was Asome I finnish all my work I've done a lot of work today. Today was full of work. But sins I did all the work I eot a Gele ben. It was good. I loved it it was cinahol likedmint Gele-ben it was good. How els pot a Gele-ben foru BePei eat eeyenben. I had a grat day. Today was Asome. Hoeweig had a grat day? girls ix pepell had a grat day.

I can loc you up
in my closit wen no wars arown
I can pot your hede in my pooct
Be sac youn ou tou
I can do anething
Becas yar so good to me
baby baby

I'll die if I haffle to insiad me
thars a fier. that burns
Whoo my life begans and
ends without the fath that
we lern save me from the
Darkidd places save me from
myself Im a loaded eun a
anlc son But Im nobodys
Hero Iv comeundun Im on
the run Blecy Im nobodys hero
nobodey hero to hely your
scars I'll Will give you dvretine
I can. Thiss war of herts
We will riz and tack a stand
I can led to sowth
ashin I am just a main
I'm a loded eun an oly
son whoo I come undud
I'm on the run yeah Im
nobodys hero nobodys hero
nobodys hero this moders
cros is to have ta lesist
and we fell the lost of
livs I left oisck
Im a loded eun an only
son but Im nobodys hero
I'v come undon Imon the
run Yehe Im nobodys heros
I loded eun an only son
and Im nobodey herg
Iv come undon Imon
the run hehe Im nodods
Hero Im no bodeys hero
Im nododeys hero

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Heart and Soul of the Blog...Mrs. Narrator Cries Big Sloppy Tears at the loss of her Youth...

      She was sitting on the counter, 'helping me' make the lunches and espousing about the evils of the world.

      Isobel: "Daddy, do you know that if you stay on the computer too long you can die?"
      Daddy: "Sorry?"
      Isobel: "If you stay on the computer too long it can kill you. There are these things called viruses."
      Daddy: "Those are a different kind of virus, honey. They don't make you sick, they make your computer sick."
      Isobel: "No, our teacher said that too much time on the computer wasn't good for you and there are bad things with computers called viruses and you always talk about getting viruses too."
      Daddy: "Well that is true but I didn't..."
      Isobel: "And viruses are bad, right?"
      Daddy: "Well yes but..."
      Isobel: "So my teacher was right, too much time on the computer will give you a virus and you can die."

      So it was that time of the decade and I ventured out to clean my car. Izzy was eager to help and that was a very good thing because ninety percent of the god-damned mess was hers anyway. So there we were, garbage bags and cleaning rags in hand and gas masks firmly in place, when lo and behold what should Izzy find but the jolly elf himself.
      "Santa!" Izzy squealed and I knew in an instant that St. Nick had just robed me of my helper. Off she went to sit on the porch and catch up with an old friend.
       I should state here that Santa has been in my car almost literally since the last time I wrote about him-forgotten and filthy. His youth seemingly returning as his white beard became brown with mud and his once proud, welcoming arms now twisted and floppy after months of being stomped on by a little girl too busy to pay him any mind.
      "Daddy can we put new batteries in Santa?" she asked.
      "Well," I said in a totally non-committal kind of way. "Geez, I don't know if he'll still work. He's been in the back of my car and under your feet for along time. I think he might be broken fore good."
      "We could try anyway." she said with a tone of pleading in her voice.
      "We can try." I agreed.
      So we did. We put fresh batteries in the fat man and Izzy pushed the button...well half of a Santa dance is better than no Santa dance, right?
      "Daddy!" she screamed with delight. "The switch is on demo, that's why Santa only goes half way!"
     She moved the switch over and sure enough Santa gave us the full dance. Izzy was beside herself with joy. She has been making him dance almost non stop since we brought him back to life. She has even made him an accomplice in her latest game called 'Bad Cat.' This involves imprisoning one of the cats in the overturned laundry basket while Santa perches on top and sings his Christmas hip hop song. It's good to see the littlest dictator and her chief lieutenant together again.
      I started to see parallels between Santa and this blog...I would see Santa every day, every time I would take the kids to school or drive somewhere, there would be a flash of red in my line of sight. Nothing so obvious as 'Oh, there's Santa' but just the same knowing it was him and how important a role he played for Izzy. This blog is the same way I think. It's not always uppermost in my mind (or any body's for that matter) but it's always there just below the surface occupying a place of some measure of importance...and just when I think it might be time to throw it away, a new dose of batteries get put into it and away we go again.
      So I guess as long as Santa can stick around and provide fun and enjoyment just by doing his thing, we should too. So thanks to you all and...Merry Christmas?

      The world we live in now is very different from the world I grew up in. I don't remember the first time my attentions turned to the fairer gender but I do remember I was completely uninformed about the entire topic. Now if I had grown up in the world my children are growing up in, things might have been entirely different. The Internet is a wondrous tool with vast resources and all of the knowledge of the world at your fingertips.
      To that end, I don't think we can call him The Boy anymore. Not to put too fine of a point on it but calling him The Boy just doesn't seem to cut it anymore. Children grow and I am starting to understand that it is harder on the parents than it is on the children. Children want to grow up...and why not. Being a kid sucks if you're a kid. Go to bed when they tell you, get up when they tell you, clean your room, eat your vegetables get off the god-damned computer- when I grow up, I am not going to do any of that crap. But for the parents, watching your babies grow up and leave the nest is to be faced with the fact that while they are growing up, we are growing older.
     Ah so many things change and continue to change until the house is empty and you're left with your memories and visits during the holidays...next time you see Mrs. Narrator, buy her a drink or some hair dye...I think she might need it. The Boy ain't a Boy anymore...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Serenity NOW...Spring Has Sprung...

      She was lying in bed...trying to avoid bed time...
      Isobel:" "Daddy my nose hurts."
      Daddy: "Go to sleep, Izzy."
      Isobel: "No really, my nose hurts. I hit it on the bathroom stall door."
      Daddy: "Wait, what? How did you hit your nose on the stall door?"
      Isobel: "I was turning around and when I turned back I wasn't looking and I hit my nose across the door."
      Daddy: "I guess that'll teach you to keep your nose out of other people's business."
      Isobel: "Wait, what? Daddy, that doesn't even make sense when you are trying to do something. You are  smelling someone else's business."
      Daddy: "Wait, what?"
      Isobel: "And that's just gross."

      I have been in the parenting game precisely seven years. Coincidentally that is the same amount of bad luck one gets from breaking a mirror...So what I am seeing now is a side of my daughter that I frankly, don't much care for. The attitude that comes from this kid is staggering and I guess my question -is this kind of thing normal? Is it a little girl thing? Is it a thing for her age? Am I wrong to want to chain her to a pipe in the basement until it all goes away?
      It really wasn't that long ago when I was the world to my little girl. I still am but lately I am a source of disappointment and contempt for her. It's not an occasional thing either, it is all the time.
     "I am full." she'll say.
     "How can you be full, you've had no snacks and you ate two bites of your food?"
     "I don't like it."
     "I don't care, this isn't a restaurant." I have waited years to fling this chestnut at my child...it is the birthright of all parents to state the painfully obvious to their children. My problem is the inner child that is so firmly rooted beside the writing desk in my mind always answers for Izzy; 'You're damn right this isn't a restaurant, if it was, I wouldn't have ordered this shit.'
      I suppose she comes by it honestly. Mules will run away from her mother after she's made her mind up about something and I am about as dark and moody as it gets. I don't shout for long but I stew forever. I can remember my mother making me sit at the table until all my peas were gone. In childhood terms, this meant I had to sit at the table until the dog or I or both of us vomited whole peas. The whole while, grumbling under my breath that she'd get hers...somehow. Either way, I figured I didn't really have to do as she told me. That dog had a cast iron constitution but between me and my sister having to sit at the table, it had developed a pathological fear of peas.
      It isn't always about food, though that is a gigantic source of friction. Her inability to pick up after herself is also one of the bones of contention that litter this house like the Paris catacombs. My ex-wife used to jokingly call me 'Pig-Pen' and say a little cloud of dust followed me wherever I went. She probably wasn't too far off the mark and again...my progeny has only just dropped from the tree. She can take the living room from neat and tidy to ground zero in about three seconds. She's a passionate and inventive player. Didn't they call it the Passion when Jesus died?
     I think the worst is the out and out defiance. She did something...probably a great many things over the course of the day that culminated in pin point accuracy of the final act of ghastly indignation-sitting on the counter and I had just had enough.
       "Go to your room, now!"
     She did not. She went to the living room, sat down and began watching T.V.
      "I thought I said go to your room?" I asked incredulously.
      "I don't want to." she said.
   I suddenly understood why we got hit with wooden spoons, spatulas, Hot Wheels tracks, hands, the cat, really anything within arms reach.
      I don't want to...if I had told either of my parent I didn't want to do something I was told to do, I would still be walking with a limp.
      But what could I do...I can't hit her, even writing it seems stupid and ignorant. We are a lot of things around this place but ignorant and violent isn't one of them. No, I'm afraid the answer is simple and staring me right in the face and also scaring the living shit out of me. The only real answer is to hold on and weather the storm...keep steering her in the right direction and hope she doesn't insist on making too many really bad decisions like I did...just the same, I better be ready when she does.

     It has been a long cold winter and it seems spring has finally arrived. As far as Isobel is concerned it has.
        "Can I go outside in just a hoodie?" she asked.
       "I guess," I said. "Will you be warm enough? It's not that warm out."
      "I'll be OK." she said.
      I didn't pay much attention to it. I looked out the window sometime later and she was in her usual summer position-sitting on the hood of my car barking at the minions wearing just a t-shirt.
      I called her to the door.
      "It is not warm enough for just a t-shirt. You need to wear more than that.Put your sweater on and do it up." I said using the Father voice.
      "Daddy," she began.
      "No," I said. "Look at your arms, they are beet red."
      "What does that mean?" she asked.
      "It means you are getting to cold, the blood is rushing around your body trying to keep you warm. If you don't put on something warm
 all the blood will move from your skin and start surrounding your insides, trying to keep them warm. Then your skin will go blue."
      "Blue?" she asked.
      "Yes, blue." I said. "And then in a little while from that, you would die from hypothermia."
      Gigantically dramatic but she really did need a sweater."
      "Would I come back as a zombie?"
      "Oh forget it, put a damn sweater on, will ya."