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?