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...