Sunday, December 27, 2009

detective story, maybe

The facts:
At 00:30 on Dec. 26th, a crash awakened Julie (and me, eventually).
Inspection revealed the Christmas Tree had fallen.
We have an annoying cat who doesn't stay away from things and has been batting ornaments ever since we got the tree.
The tree was taller than last year's tree.
It was cheaper than last year's tree, perhaps indicating that it's wood was softer.
The tree stand is (now: was) one year older than it was last year and less maneuverable and still as small.
The tree has been leaning a little more every day.
It fell in the most convenient direction for cleanup, meaning the most accessible direction. This was also the direction where most ornaments were hung, probably because it was the most accessible direction.

Other facts, less relevant to figuring out who did it:
The cleanup took about 45 minutes.
The carpet is finally dry, but still a little warped.
The needles are still everywhere.
We think we got all the ornament shards.
We appreciate that it didn't happen during the previous night.
The tree now resides in the street in front of the building.
The tree stand now resides in the garbage.
The cat still resides with us.

The cat probably did it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the gym

I went to the gym today. Yay, me. Had a brief celebrity sighting, but that's neither here nor there.
There was a guy shaving his entire head when I went to take a shower. When I was done and shaved, too, he put cream all over his head. And he sang Christmas songs in a never ending medley. Well, never ending is exaggerated, since he paused to interject with advice and commentary on life in general. During this I learned that he made $70 singing carols the other day. But he wouldn't divulge where when I asked if I might sing there, too. Also, he implied I didn't have the voice for it. (For what it's worth, he had the showmanship, obviously, but his pitch didn't stay true throughout. Just saying.) Then he pointed out he'd probably make $200 on Christmas.
This was around 1pm. At 5:15pm, when we were there for Madgie's swim class, he was still at the gym.
So, if you're looking for a career choice, you might want to follow this guy around and learn. Among his many gems of wisdom was the observation that singing for money is better than going to jail. Then he said he didn't have the body for jail. Internally, I differed (otherwise how could he be working out for 4 hours), but I didn't think I had the time to actually engage him in a debate on this matter.
Plus, I had to make sure the celebrity was who I think it was.

Monday, December 21, 2009

more snowballs

My back and legs are sore from bending and scooping, but somehow my arms are fine.

This popped into my mind after writing about the snowball fight. Not fully formed, of course. Just the first line, really. But then it wouldn't go away, so I tried to finish it. It helps if you know Goethe's "Wer nie sein Brot mit Traenen ass" from Wilhelm Meister, but you don't need to.

Wer niemals Schnee mit Traenen ass,
Wer nie nach eisigem Gefechte
Auf seinem Schlitten weinend sass,
Der kennt nicht meine vaeterlichen Maechte.

Ich fuehrt' euch in den Schnee hinein,
Ich liess euch kalt und hungrig werden,
Dann schmiss ich Schneebaelle: gemein.
(Denn Papa schaemt sich nicht auf Erden.)

Well, the last verse was a little forced. Oh, well.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


We were outside three or four times today, but never on any errands (except for me - and work for Julie). I mean the kids and I were out. So now there's extra laundry because of the snow soaked pants and gloves. They've gotten progressively better about dealing with frozen faces and fingers - and my aim has gotten better in the sense that I haven't beaned them in the schnozzle for a while. But now I'm exhausted from making snowballs for everyone and then making hot cocoa - and because I hadn't been able to go to the grocery store I didn't have Swiss Miss and had to use the good Dutch Cocoa powder and sugar and milk - Daddy's stash thrown before the masses.

the boys

Here's a conversation Coco and I had at bedtime.
Coco: What did Mommy say?
Me: She said I should knock before I come in the bedroom.
C: Why?
M: I think she's wrapping a present she doesn't want me to see.
C: I think you're probably in trouble.
M: What, you think I'm going to have spend a long time talking tonight?
C: Yeah.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Some parenting difficulties are almost too weird to explain.
It snowed today, yippee! I love snow. Always have, especially because I've always had a warm-ish place to come home to. We're a little stingy in the heating department, but the near frostbite of being outside too long makes you appreciate a lukewarm apartment.
My problem is this. The kids want to have snowball fights, but, understandably, they don't want to get hit in the face. Not really a problem; I aim at their bellies and below.
But kids are short. And though they've been informed that I'm not aiming at their heads, they duck. And ducking is, by definition, a downward movement.
Not only that, out of twenty snowballs thrown, a few go off target; and when I miss, I tend to land a bullseye - or kidseye, as it were.
So tonight I made both kids cry in the snow. Pitiful, sobby, spittle-ridden, drooly WAAAAHs.
Because I whopped them both in the face with a ball that was packed harder than they can pack so I can aim better to miss them in the first place.

full picture

This morning we had the Mahalia Jackson Christmas Album playing, and in the middle of "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" I heard, "awooawla-awooawla-awawawaaawla" and thought, "why are the kids making fun of Mahalia Jackson?" But then the "pth-pkpth-pkk-pkpthlawworp" told me the rest of the story and it turned out the cat had been nibbling too many pine needles off the tree and left me a trail throughout the apartment to clean up.
Here's the song. Hope it's not ruined for you. I still like it.

Friday, December 11, 2009


This week, the gym and I didn't have too great a relationship. Either I've been too busy running errands or I've forgotten my lock or my goggles. Not for my welding class, but for swimming.
And now that gifting season is among us, my phone kept singing at me from the locker as I as shaving or dressing or undressing or whatever happened in-between. The downside of having a ringtone song you like is letting the phone ring a trifle too long because you want to hear it all.
The other downside is that the mood of the song affects how I answer the phone.
So, ironically, when Julie calls I always answer in a goofy, giggly way because the Eroica symphony's funeral march is such a gas. No it's Spongebob singing "Best Day Ever."
I think it's backfiring, though. Tonight she called to say her flight's delayed and I may have sounded a bit too happy.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

fell asleep too soon

Sorry I didn't update last night, but for some reason I fell asleep with the kids.
The kids had swim class which drags on through the whole afternoon because the only scheduling I could get was both kids on the same day but 45 minutes apart.
And Coco has two kids in his group who are pains in the rear. So much so, he doesn't want to do the class anymore because of them - and because they make the teacher shout. I've told the teacher and she's sweet about it and said he could join the neighboring class - but it's a lower level, so he doesn't want to. Yesterday seems to have gone better. I did talk to the two troublemakers before class.
I'm conflicted about it. On the one hand, I just want Coco to deal with it, but on the other hand I'm not willing to accept his way of dealing with it - namely, not going to class anymore. So who knows, it may have helped. They MIGHT not have known that they're ruining it for everyone rather than just "having fun" by riling up the teacher. ("I didn't do it." "Oops, I fell in the water." "Oops, I splashed the others." ...)

Last night we wrote letters to Santa. Madge isn't done yet. This year, though, we have the advantage that they wanted to write them on the computer and print them out, so there's a saved version and I don't need to be as attentive as to what goes into the rapidly sealed envelope.

And now it's raining rather than snowing, because New York just doesn't seem to like to mix freezing temperatures with precipitation.

Monday, December 07, 2009

colder here

Sheesh, and I neglected to turn on the heat while the kids were at school because I kept thinking I'd leave the apartment. I finally did, once I found out when a certain store opened, but it opened later than I expected.
At this special kind of year, with the kids as internet-savvy as they are, all I can say is that I went to a place to do something - nudge, nudge - and now I still need to do something else somehow but I'm not sure what. And the something is somewhere now.
But I think I've already given away too much. I'll change topics.
Coco is missing Julie a lot this time around. It's manifesting itself by him missing me while he's at school, but when I asked him about missing mommy it all came out. This is meant to make you feel missed and loved, not guilty, Julie. Fine line, I know. Psych majors, have at it.
There were play dates this afternoon, but they weren't long. No TV, but mostly because they're both obsessed with a friend's DS cartridge.
It belongs to Coco's friend, but Madge just asked him today if she could borrow it and he said yes.
Maybe related: we watched "Yes Man" with Jim Carrey last night. He's in the movie; he didn't come over. Sundays are bad for him; he's coming for lunch tomorrow. (Bwah-BWAAH)
I think Madge may be taking some of the message of the movie to heart. Who knows? I am, but now - just in order to make the checkout person laugh - I'm stuck with a red pepper that was left behind and not reshelved by the previous shopper. How this piece of life-affirmation with play out, I'm not sure. Probably in a salad. But I might have to say "Yes" to some lunch specials first.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

more updates

Yep, Julie's out of town, which means there will be more kid news here.
She flew out early this morning.
Usually, I'm a big fan of pacing myself, having learned some sort of lesson about planning for bedtime while making breakfast. (Pancake sugar high must be balanced by exercise to be brought down by screen time which can buy some grocery shopping ennui to be traded for another sugar high and activity followed by an explosive fight and more food and a bath - you get the drift.)
But today I was going at it like a divorced man with monthly weekend privileges.
We started out the day with pancakes, grabbed the DS games and headed on the subway for Macy's where we stood in line - or on line, since we're becoming more NooYoawkified - for the length of a Lord of the Rings movie and saw Santa. Coco wants a skateboard - no news - and Madge wants a computer - not really news though the Christmas focus of said desire is hair-raising. Then lunch at the Macy's buffet in the basement, followed by new shoes for Coco at the Skechers store (he tried on three pair, what a big boy) and a failed attempt to get him a new winter coat to match Madge's new one and, finally, on the way home, I figured why not and we stopped at Union Square to see whatever played first, Mr. Fox or Planet 51. Mr. Fox was sold out so went all out and splurged for tub -yes, a TUB - of popcorn and had a fairly pleasant nap until Madge woke me and told me I can't sleep during a movie. hmph.
Then home and noodles and some TV and flossandbrushandbed. Boom.
And tomorrow they get their regular dad back. I won't shave so I'll seem extra mean.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

our modern age

I'm not sure how to write this up, but Julie and I had an insight the other night. I would have marked the date because of its momentousness, but we were too exhausted from all the thinking and mental assembling we did.
Coco saw his music teacher and told in an odd tone - a tone of marvel and mystery - that his music teacher's name is Mr. McG- and that he is married and that his wife's name is - at this point he looked around furtively - Mrs. McG-.
Julie and I were wondering why he thought this was important and secretive to point out when we realized-
-He thinks there's something incestuous about a husband and wife having the same last name.
Of course, in today's time, when his own parents and most of his friends' parents have different last names, the only way a married couple would share a name after saying "I do" was if they already had the same name beforehand.
Blows your mind, doesn't it?
I wonder what he's been thinking about all his grandparents all this time. But he probably doesn't know that they even have last names.

Friday, December 04, 2009

one step forward, two back

Or the other way around? I don't know.
At the beginning of the week Coco was gung-ho about wanting a sleep-over. This meant that he was willing to try and fall asleep on his own. And he did so, even though it prolonged his bedtime substantially.
As a result, though, he's been having major separation issues the following days and said, among other things,
"Daddy, I missed you so much, before the door opened at school, I cried off my a**."
Yes, he inverts the position of the preposition to the derriere, and no, he does not speak in asterisks.

He also said, "Guess how much I missed you? So much. No. More. More than the biggest building."
No guilt, though.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I'm biased, but I think it's amazing

This needs a little explanation, but not much. Madge and Julie were shopping for new clothes. Madge was in the dressing room, trying on the new items while Julie was out looking for more. Julie left her private cell phone with Madge and kept her work phone so they could get in touch if they needed.
So Madge sent this picture and this message: Nothing wrong.What do u think?

Amazing, is what I think (but you knew that). How does a girl do this? Not only is she rationally trying on clothes before buying them (and trust me, she routinely discards them - Thank you, Clinton and Stacey from What Not To Wear), but she was sensitive enough to alert Julie that there's no emergency.
What a kid.