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It’s good to be the kid

Imagine two 10 foot lengths of ½ inch pvc pipe. Add two boys, one 15 mentally 8; one 9, mentally…well, all nine year olds are mental. I look out the window and the nine year old swings his sword, his 10 foot long sword, at the 15 year old then runs down the street and the 15 year old swings his sword, his 10 foot long sword, in circles above his head while chasing his little brother down the street. Each child laughing manically.

So many $10,000 video moments!

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Ugh. Man, the great hunter-gatherer; poor communicator.

Woman sends man on errand while woman stay in cave sweeping and complaining that "no matter how much she scrubs walls, they still look like dirt!" Man to take boy child to warrior training class. After warrior training class Man think it good idea to do hunter-gatherer job and maybe Woman not complain about the unfinished additional to cave for one night.

After warrior training class Man take boy child to market with wise idea to let boy child show Man all foods boy child likes. Boy child only like Brontosaurus burgers, Pterodactyl nuggets, and Wooly Mammoth steaks. Boy child carnivore! Frustrated Man send message to Woman, "boy child not even like sea food" to which Woman reply, "get boy child anything and bring me fish food."

Man turn on great hunter-gatherer skills and look deeply at fish food realising this not best market for fish food. Woman and Man ate recently so must be something light. Soups! Man choose gumbo and wisely decides to give Woman choice so also gets crab soup. Boy child gets Pterodactyl nuggets. Upon returning to cave, Woman look at Man funny and say, "Where’s my Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food?" Man sleep in unfinished part of cave.

Nice reference: Extinct Animal

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Father of the Year

This morning I send Noah to the bus stop in -.5°C weather with no coat. This is not my fault. I provide my 9 year old son with nice, warm coats. He just wants to make sure that if there is a sudden drop in temperature that wherever he is he can quickly put on a coat. So, he makes sure to leave a coat at school, at the grandparents, at a friend’s house and so forth. I just can’t seem to purchase them fast enough so I suppose it is my fault.

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Woof Rough, Start

Our boarder for the week arrived and, to remind us how displeased she was with the service on her last visit, she immediately pooped on the carpet and peed on Tommy‘s bed.

In other news, I got all the kids ready for school and sent 2 of them to their respective bus stops. Noah returns home to tell me that school was cancelled after one of his friends’ mother drove by and told him it was cancelled. I confirmed on WBIR that they are indeed closed. Every now and then Noah shows a little bit of spectrum. His statement this morning was a confused "some woman told me school was cancelled" while Sarah said, "___’s mom told me school was cancelled." There is no snow out and the roads are clear. Good day to cancel!

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Reward Bad Behavior With Food

You may have noticed the older two children were excluded from our Petsmart shenanigans. They were with the grandparents. Since the cupboards are bare, the older two were awol, Cathy and I aren’t masochistic enough, and kids eat free at IHOP, we decided to go out to eat dinner. We have two IHOPs in town; one has good service, the other is close to our house. We chose close.

Molly is remanded to the car where I fully expect her to rip into the unopened bag of dog food. Being attentive pet owners we ran out of dog food so she has not eatten her normal meals today. Noah is sent in to request four and a half seats. We get the pleasure of sitting by the window that the car is parallel parked against just so Molly can go crazy trying to figure out how she can get to her people that she can clearly see 10 feet away.

Along our wall are four booths. The first booth has a single child family. I know its a single child family not because of the one child but because the one child, slightly older than Evan, is wearing a bib and both mom and dad, sitting across from one another, have one butt check hanging off seat so they can best hover over the child. We on the other hand have our infant with no bib, tearing a napkin to shreads, eating the paper and being allowed to eat the eggs his sister keeps slipping him. Mom sits nearest the window away from the infant in that “my nipples are sore just being near your teething mouth! I need a break!” demeanor while Dad, that’s me, sits on the open end of the booth so that I can jump up and get the condiments and refills of drinks that the wait staff is neglecting. Meanwhile our boy is bebopping in his seat, occasionally breaking into song and having a strong urge to wrestle his three year old sister. His sister, by the way, is sprawled out in the seat with her head hanging into the isle examing how the world would appear upside down. Evan flirts with the girl in the high chair from the first booth; she waves back at his winks.

In the booth between the two families, sit three college students. I know they are suffering but I feel no pity. True college students go to IHOP at 3am! Around the corner another family with child in high chair.

Let the games begin! Before we were seated, Cathy took Amy to the bathroom. Now it is my turn. To get to the bathrooms we walk through the smoking section. Someone has smoked something sweet. I look down when I hear Amy coughing to see her pinching her nose (cute!). I move her hand away and warn her not to say it but she blurts out, “something stinks!” We get to the bathrooms. They are one seaters with one lady’s room and one men’s room. I assume the lady’s room is a single. We get in the men’s room and Amy gruffly states, “I don’t want this one. I want the other one.” She crosses her arms and wrinkles her face then loudly says, “this one smells worse than the other one. I want the other one!” I try to explain that we can’t do the other one. As she breaks into outright shouting and screams I feel the urge to spank coming on but I know that won’t help. Instead, I ask, “Do you really have to go?” She nods but won’t use this bathroom. We exit…the building. I go to our car but our family misses the opportunity to be greatly confused. I sit her on the bumper of the car and explain that men cannot go into women’s restrooms. Finally she breaks. We return inside. She sits on the potty and with all her might squeezes out two drops of urine. I was screamed at for two drops!

Now recall that Noah shoved his face full of Oreos then lied about it. Surprisingly he eats a good meal. Of all things, a cheese omelette which is remarkable because if cheese even brushes his hamburger he will turn it away. It was another great adventure. As we leave the hazmat team arrives to bus our table.

By the way, Free Pancake Day is coming:

On February 28, 2006 from 7 AM to 2 PM IHOPs across the country will celebrate National Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday) by offering our guests a free short stack of pancakes*. This is going to be our biggest one day celebration in our history.

National Pancake Day has a rich history that stretches back centuries and has always been a time of celebration. National Pancake Day always falls on Fat Tuesday and this year it will be a celebration at IHOP.

So gather your friends, family and neighbors and come to your local IHOP and enjoy a short stack of pancakes on us. All we ask is that you consider making a donation to a great charity like First Book or other local, worthy cause. Where else would you celebrate National Pancake Day than IHOP? See you there.

* Limit one free short stack per guest. Valid for dine-in only, no to go orders. Not valid with any other offer, special, coupon, or discount. Valid at participating restaurants only, while supplies last.

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Proud Man

I love Molly! Growing up I always wanted a dog. Dad would explain that we “move too much” or “don’t have enough land” and I’d care for the neighbors’ dogs and the strays. My sister is 17 years younger than me and got a dog. I complained to Dad that I spent my whole childhood asking for a dog and didn’t get one. He explained to me that I asked the wrong question. Kelly asked for a sister.

I love Molly! I love my kids! Molly is still a playful pup of 1.5 but so calm and gentle around other people. I attribute it to the dog school we attended around 6 months old. My children receive frequent compliments on their manners and behavior. I also attribute that to dog school because, well, raising children and dogs isn’t altogether that different. I should probably attribute it to lots of yelling because in dog school we learn to reward good behaviors with treats and when I yell, well, I don’t get treated.

I love Molly! I love my kids! I love my wife! She is such a patient woman and has such great ideas like taking the children and Molly on outings to Petsmart. Molly loves Petsmart and Agrifeed and anywhere we take her. She loves to get out. We all enjoy petting the dogs and visiting the other animals at Petsmart. Amy particularly enjoys the fish.

Tonight Molly figured out where we were going before we ever got there. A 41 kilogram all black, purebred german shepherd on a mission and being held back only by a thin, retractible leash and a 77 kilogram man look a bit like a monster truck chained to pine tree. She is a beautiful dog with a shiny black coat, a long nose, sharp eyes, white teeth, and large ears that stand up. Only tonight she is long over-due for a bath, has mud on her collar, her nose is brown from rooting, and that crusty fungus the doctor said grows in the yard somewhere has returned to her ear tips and she has chewed off a bunch of hair on her legs giving a cute, mange-like quality to an otherwise beautiful creature.

I hold Molly back. She is a few feet in front of me with her feet doing that circular, spinning in place number that I thought was only possible in cartoons. I half walk and half slide through the parking lot to the entrance of Petsmart in a move that vaguely resembles water skiing only on land while somewhere I hear my wife telling the children not to worry about daddy and just to hurry up to the store.

Ah Petsmart! The store were crazy people bring their dogs on the premise that the dogs like shopping but in reality they are behaving like new mothers with their babies at the mall holding them high to say, “look! Mine’s cuter than yours!” while praying the creature doesn’t urinate or defecate at an inopportune time. My huge, scary looking dog is gentle and socialable and listens to sit, stay and heal.

Enter Dick Van Dyke Doug. Did I mention I’m still wearing my dress shoes, slacks, and button down shirt from my business meeting? Walking through the sliding doors we hit the linoleum and, like a greyhound at the racetrack, Molly decides she is going to find Cathy and the children. My arm is stretching and I’m barking commands at the dog on a mission to no avail so I set in with my patent pending boat anchor move which puts Molly into that Scoobyesque running in place motion right in front of the dog training class.

For those of you without dogs, a trained, well behaved animal is supposed to be on your left side, calm, and stop with you when you stop, without the aid of a verbal command. If you start walking on your left foot they are to heal and walk with you but never in front of you. If you start on your right foot, they stay in place so that you can face them. My dog was about three feet in front of me working her feet into a Roadrunner circular spin as good as the one in the parking lot. It didn’t take long before “Pthfth!” appeared in the air, the dog took off, the leash stretched to a twangy noise added in by some unseen foley artist, then with my dwingy noise I launch through the air somehow bending around the 90 degree turn of the training area.

I try hard to ignore all the people in the training class. I know they are all staring, mouths agape. I can imagine the absolute stunned look on the trainer’s face because, over dinner, my wife explained it to me in excruciating detail amidst her cackles of laughter. I know the trainer will use me as an example of how not to handle your dog. None-the-less, I saved a few people some money tonight because a handful will walk out knowing their dogs will “never be that bad” thinking they don’t need training.

I love my children! Did I mention they don’t have volume controls? They are either too soft or too loud. Tonight they chose loud. So did I. As I converge with the pack, I declare, “do you see what shoes I’m wearing?” so that the entire class knows I cannot control my dog because I am wearing ice skates. I try to save face and make Molly sit. Then we do our show-off gag where I set the leash down and she does not move while I place the dog food into the cart. Only this time the class is staring and Molly tries to bolt.

Molly and I decide to interact with another dog. When we catch up to Cathy and Evan, I notice Amy and Noah are gone. So I do the logical thing as ask, “Where are Noah and Amy?” to which Cathy replies, “I don’t know.” I look up just in time to see Noah streaking across the store as a blur in red shirt and as he approaches the dog training area he locks his feet side by side leaning back slightly and does an impressive slide for about 10 feet ending with huge circling arms and a backwards fall onto his buttocks. Tim Allen or Jerry Lewis couldn’t have done a better fall.

Noah comes over as I continue to make Molly heal and sit every five feet just to show the class that I can. I can’t help myself. The words pour off my tongue not with fear, not with anger, but with absolute amusement in the continuing comedy of errors, “Noah, where is Amy?” Noah replies, “Oh, I just came over to tell you that Amy is watching the fish.” Amy is three years old.

You know, there are certain times that you see a parent pause and go silent. You have to respect the great self control the parent has in not lashing out at the child that may have done something less than intelligent. What is really happening is all brain processing is being used to cycle through every possible scenerio. Amy reaching into the Piranha tank. Amy giggling as she releases all the crickets into the store. Amy going out the door and taking a car for a joy ride. Amy going to Borders because she wanted to read a book about fish. Amy swimming in the goldfish tank.

So we get over to the fish and Amy is fine. At this point I notice chocolate all over Noah’s face. Maybe I’m predictable but I asked, “Noah. What have you been eating?” He replies, “Nothing.” I say, “Noah there is chocolate on your face. What have you been eating?” “Nothing.” I take a picture with the camera phone but before I can show him the photographic evidence mom is grilling him and soon he caves. I have to hand it to the kid. He can lie with the straightest face!

Yes, we were ripe for prime time comedy tonight. Noah got the closing punch line. As we approach the checkouts, 27 kilogram Noah asks, “Can I walk Molly?”