Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rule Number One

Remember, people, we live in a college town. A fairly liberal and progressive college town, too. So my children occasionally see some things when we are out and about in town.

This morning we went downtwn to the Farmer's Market, to hang with the old hippies. But believe me, we saw nothing out of the ordinary there. Hippies are my people. Especially the ones who shower and shop at urban Farmer's Markets. Nothing that happens there really shocks us.

But driving back across town, we were driving down The Drag when we spotted two frat boys walking down the street. Not an uncommon occurrence around The University of Texas, but I am infinitely less trusting of them than I am the old hippies downtown.

The problem with these two particular fratties? One was wearing nothing but his boxer underwear and a big grin. The other had on a t-shirt with his boxers, (which suspiciously were a matched set for Frat Dude #1's drawers.) And of course, this is a home football game afternoon, so there are huge crowds of fans all over the campus.

The Boss Lady and I took the chance to explain that college is fun, but one should not be a complete dumb ass out in public while in college. That led to a new family mantra: Rule Number One - don't be an idiot.

Rule Number One is the new measure of behavior for our crew. And I think it has some universal appeal. Feel free to make use of Rule Number One in your own dealings with your family or with any herds of free ranging frat boys that you might encounter.

By the time we made it home the kids were singing a song they had made up about Rule Number One. They also asked about the possibility of coming up with another. Rule Number Two, if you will. But I think that is the real beauty of Rule Number One. It pretty much covers every possibility.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The week is off to a good finish!

Sick kid a couple of days.

One day he was actually sick, with a fever. A reaction to his flu vaccine, I think. The second day he probably still had a fever, but AtHomeDaddy, as has been shown here many times over the years, is an idiot. I did not realize that our slick, new temporal "head scan" thermometer had a protective cap on the scanning end. And it turns out that when you scan WITH the cap in place, you get a reading near normal.

So I sent him to school. And probably infected the entire second grade with some mutant pandemic. What else is new?

I kept The Talker home yesterday, though his fever had broken the night before. We ran some errands - chicken feed and haircuts must be obtained, sick kid or not... And we played A LOT of video games. Catching up on homework? Yeah, not really.

Anyways, everyone is at school this morning so life is back to normal.

In a success worthy of front page news coverage, I decided on a whim to run my car to the dealership this morning. I had some radio problems a few weeks back, and a new problem had popped up with the system since then. I kept trying to find a time to get to the shop, but leaving myself without a car is a crap-shoot most days. If I have a car available, I won't need to bail anyone out of jail or make a trip to the Principal's office.

I have bitched and moaned elsewhere about my dislike of the local dealership's service department. But today I have to give them a little pat on the back: I stopped by the dealership without an appointment. I was assuming they would need to order a replacement part and that they would need an hour or so to diagnose the problem and convince themselves of the need for the parts replacement.

After I waited about 30 minutes I decided to just leave the car, catch the customer shuttle to the house and I would come back later. But lo, and behold! My car was finished. It was washed and waiting in the ready line. 45 minutes after I dropped the kids at school, I was back home with my car AND a fully functional stereo system.

I think I will skip the lottery this week. 'Cause all my good luck just got spent at the Saturn dealership.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Boss Lady has wondered how the kid's rooms get so messy...

When I went in to wake the girl a few minutes ago:

"Hey, Baby Girl. Good Morning! It is going to be a great day and look at how clean your room is. That will be awesome when you are playing after school."

She replied "But only if you don't play in here today and mess it all up."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

For a guy with nothing to do
I sure seem to be keeping busy

A sample of my time from this week:

Monday I was supposed to be around the house all day. Doing the usual, catching up on laundry, cleaning the kitchen, hours wasted on Facebook. You know, the essentials. I don't really remember where all of the time went, but the stove is clean and nothing else seemed to get done around here.

There was an incident in the school parking lot. But seeing that I enjoyed it so much, I don't think that is where all of my time went...

Tuesday I was in charge of pulling together a last minute breakfast meet-up for the local Stay at Home Dads who are now without kids during the day, thanks to the start of the new school year. There are about 10 of us who have been friends since out kids were born. Now that our youngest kids have started kindergarten, we should have some free time on our hands, so we get together once a week to chat and eat breakfast.

I thought all of the details for Tuesday breakfast had been settled. According to my brain we were set to meet at a Mexican bakery in east Austin at 9:30. about 9am calls and emails started rolling in, looking for location and meet-up times. Evidently I had never sent a final email out to the guys, with final details. Oops!

A couple of quick calls and emails and my imaginary plan was back on. I rushed over to the restaurant, hoping no one was sitting there waiting for the group to show, I was assuming no one else would make the drive over due to the late notice. We still ended up with 4 guys and we had a good time. Glad it worked out in the end...

After breakfast I headed across town to My So Called Aunt's house to help out with some home repairs. I planned to hang a couple of ceiling fans and start on installing some new trim and baseboards in her recently water-damaged kitchen.

Installing ceiling fans is something I can do in my sleep. It usually takes me 20 or 30 minutes to take down an old fan and have the new one up and running. But I was adding a remote control unit to this fan and it turned out to be a big hassle. After trying several times to get the remote receiver installed properly I returned it to Home Depot and grabbed one of a different brand. It fit and works like a dream. After all that it only took me about 5 minutes to get the remote installed and everything buttoned up. But the one fan had taken me about 4 hours to install. :(

I couldn't sleep worth a darn after I got home from the world's longest meeting on Tuesday night. My legs were killing me from standing on the ladder for several hours.

Wednesday morning I dropped the kids and headed back out to My So Called Aunt's house. I got the second ceiling fan installed in about 25 minutes. Then I knocked out the kitchen repairs in a couple of hours. Made it back home by 1:30 which was a long enough break that I fell asleep on the couch and almost missed the school bus.

Thursday I am scheduled to be on campus with the kids again. Evidently this whole Dad of the Day thing is a sham award given to dads suckers who are gullible enough to show up for all day volunteering. Actually, I had a good time last week and I am going to continue until we think that The Princess is successfully settled into Kindergarten.

Friday is supposed to be my day at home. The only problem is that everything will need to be done at once. Laundry, yard work and cleaning have all piled up this week. So no matter how much I want to, I guess playing Wii Sports Tennis for hours on end will have to wait until next week.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dad of the Day!

The kids school has a pseudo-honorary position for qualified parents, the "Dad of the Day (DotD)". Let's just get it out in the open, NO! I do not know if there is a "Mom of the Day" program and I don't really care to find out. Anyways, after The Princess had a rough couple of days in Kindergarten, I decided to ask about the Dad of the Day program. Turns out I am perfectly qualified.

First, I am a dad of students at the school. Second, I have loads of availability during school hours. Thirdly, I was knuckle-headed enough to take on the momentous responsibilities associated with the DotD position. And most importantly, I know how to use a copy machine and a die cut machine.

When I walked in as DotD I had delusions of patrolling the halls for scofflaw second graders abusing library books. But I ended up working a lot more directly with the kids than I had imagined.

I helped kindergartners with a science experiment (Yellow + Blue = Green). I read stories. I ate lunch with The Princess and her friends. I ate a second lunch about 20 minutes later with The Talker and his friends. I played on the playground with the kindergarten classes. I went to PE class with The Talker's class and I helped the teacher manage the herd during some relay races. After that I played with the second graders out on the playground.

At that point I think The Talker's teacher sent me to the office. I had spent enough time in there during the week prior, so I knew the way. I made hundreds of die-cut daisies and I prepped some supplies for an activity for the following day.

When the day ended I was out helping to make sure the kids got on the proper bus for the ride home. They wanted to ride home with their friends on the bus, so as soon as the bus pulled away I dashed for home. I hopped out of the car and met the school bus at the curb. My 8 hour adventure at the school had come to an end. Except for the part where I fell asleep at 7:3o. Right after I asked The Boss Lady how she and her cohorts do it every day of the school year.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I don't believe that man has ever been to medical school

I love eaves dropping on the kids when they are thick into playing together. Just now I was in the back of the house and kids were playing in the rain, in the backyard with their favorite dolls. Yes, the boy still has a doll, Phillip. But if you ask, he is just holding Phillip for his sister, OK? Anyways, I overheard the following exchange:

The Princess/Mommy: Doctor, what is wrong with Baby Emma?

The Talker/Doctor: Don't worry, lady. I know what is wrong. She has her feet stuck in her ears!

So there you go, a quick diagnosis, with no co-pays or insurance hassles. I wish I could get that kind of service from my doctor's office.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

14 years

People have done less time for murder. Of course, I live in Texas. Around here, people have probably been executed for forging their parent's names to elementary school field trip permission slips. So maybe the criminal justice system does not make for the best analogy.

Anyways, 14 years ago she said I do. And I immediately yelled "No take backs. I call it on the bouquet." Then I shot breath freshener up my nose... The rest of that story some other time.

Anyways, Wednesday is our 14th wedding anniversary. It hasn't exactly been June and Ward Cleaver. It has been messy. It has been fun. And if nothing else, it has been us, doing things our way. Together.

Thanks, Boss Lady.


Toilet! (Tipped Over!)

Fair Warning Notice: FOF, this post is about a potty.
Proceed with caution!

There is a new neighborhood under construction near our house. The builder is cramming about 20, 600K 2 story homes into a piece of property that is something less than 4 acres. There used to only be 2 houses with huge yards on the property, but progress dictates that people want huge houses with yards that can be mowed with a pair of scissors. I digress.

Anyways, a random old toilet showed up on the property while one of the houses was under construction. We see the toilet every time we drive into our neighborhood and the kids started laughing about the randomness of the potty sitting out in the middle of the new development.

For weeks it was a race, to see who could spot the potty and yell out "Toilet!" each time we passed (pun fully intentional - I work hard for this blog, don'tcha know?) by.

Then one day the abandoned throne was knocked over on it's side. And there it has stayed for a month or more.

Now, with each drive by, someone in the car yells out "Toilet! Tipped Over!" As far as I can tell, the only real rule to the game is that whoever yells last loses.

Someday I guess our magical, mysterious potty will end up in a dumpster. Until then, keep a sharp eye out. You never know when a potty might appear out of nowhere.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Parent of the Year? Maybe not?

This morning The Boss Lady and the kids were still snoozing. I couldn't sleep and had been up since about 4. Once it was light enough outside for me to get moving, I prepped to go out for a nice, quiet walk and hike on the nearby trails.

Of course, as I was walking out the front door, The Princess appeared. I was going to just skip the walk and hang out at the house so The Boss Lady could sleep. But I had already stepped outside and I knew I could not resist the 70 degree temps.

So I tried to make everyone happy. I turned on the TV, opened a new box of pop tarts, poured some milk for the kids and I hit the road. I felt (a little bit) guilty about sabotaging the The Boss' extra sleep (for about 2 minutes). But it was soooooooooooo cool and quiet out there.

I walked my usual "Cigar Walk Loop", about 2 miles, with about 75% of that on the trails. Funny thing, it is a lot quicker to make this walk without trying to keep a cigar going the whole way. I usually spend about 90 minutes making the loop. This morning I was home in less than 45 minutes.

Bonus points that the kids fell for it! They ate the pop tarts and watched the TV. The Boss Lady was still in be when I got home and only The Princess knew that I had even left the house.

Friday, September 04, 2009

2 years and 10 days

We made it through 2 years and 10 days of elementary school education without anyone needing to make a trip to the Principal's office. OK, technically, we made it 2 years, 9 days and ALMOST to the end of lunchtime.

That is right, boys and girls, AtHomeDaddy has spent the afternoon sitting in the Principal's office. My lovely little Princess was the culprit. Or at least an accomplice.

The hard lesson of the day is this: IF your friend decides to leave the cafeteria to go home for some more lunch, AND you are busily trying to keep that friend from going out of the front doors of the school because you know it is not a good idea, THEN do not follow your friend outside of the building and towards the parking lot. Seems pretty logical, no?

Heck it even seems to make sense to The Princess. Now.

It think it started making sense to the girl right about the time a parent found the kids standing on the sidewalk, beside the parking lot. Thankfully the mom took the girls directly to the office and everything was sorted out quickly. The adventurers were returned to their classes with an adult escort and the obligatory calls were made to the parents of the Wandering Duo.

I decided to visit the girl at school to hopefully make a strong impression about how dangerous her actions were. And after we walked around and chatted at length about making better choices to help friends and the impenetrable fortress that is the school's front doors, I think a decent impression was made. If not, then a 3 day weekend with some extra chores might serve as a decent reminder...

An Addendum:
I know I am making light of what could have turned out to be a much more serious problem. Thankfully it did not and we can laugh about it a little. I have been on the other side of this type of mess when a boy walked away from my recreation center and we had to involve search dogs and helicopters to find him. 3 hours later. Yeah, not fun.

Luckily nothing more serious occurred today. I am thanking God that the other parent was at the right place at the right time to see what was going on and to bring the girls back in to the school.

Besides all that though, I never thought we would go more than 2 years without The Talker making a trip to the Principal's office. After all, I was sent to Mr. Spurling's office on my FIRST day of Kindergarten. And I learned one thing way back then: It does not matter if the Principal is your dad's friend, he really will not like to answer to a Kindergartner who addresses him by his first name. "Hello, Terry" really did not work out too well for me way back then.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Randomness from the homefront

The Talker thought the BIG bowl of cantaloupe at
breakfast was a pretty good way to start the day!

Golden Diamond, the Buff Cochin and Unnamed Bird, the Ameracuna
cruising the backyard this morning.

Then there was this:

Sometimes you have to show them who is the boss.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A nice, smooth start to the school year

We are almost 10 days into the school year and it has been an uneventful trip so far. The Princess 's Kinder and The Talker is having a blast in second grade.

It is a big bonus that the kids are still not used to the early morning wake-ups and our house is quiet by 7:45 every school night.

Now, if only The Boss Lady and I could figure out some way to use up all of that free time at night...