Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mystery Baby

We just got the most adorable birth announcement in the mail. The problem is we have nooooo idea who the baby is. The announcement just lists her name and stats, no parents or siblings. We have some friends with that last name, but they're in their 50's and haven't adopted, so it's not them. The postmark is from Virginia. We have 2 sets of friends who live thereabouts, but it's not either of them. We run through the list of people we know who are expecting. Nope, nope, and nope. We scan the Christmas card address list. No bells ringing there. We scrutinize the handwriting. No clues there either. So proud parents, while you may know us well enough to send us notice of this happy occasion, we have no clue who you are. I'm sure when we find out, it'll be one of those "Duh!" moments. In the meantime, we'll just say that the baby is adorable and we're so happy for all of you! Edit: We found out today (4/2) who the baby is: D's cousin's granddaughter, so I guess that makes her a third cousin? And it seems a lot of the family was asking "whose baby is this?" too. Made us feel better.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter how is your wife Mister Easter Bunny how are you doing do you have any children

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What's Your House Rating?

We had a family dinner last weekend. The kids were all playing so nicely. And so quietly. Yeah, you're right, that should have been my first clue.

They had asked if they could do art projects in the family room, which was fine with me so long as it didn't involve paint or playdoh and they cleaned up the mess afterward. They asked if they could make a "cave" which was also fine. I assumed they were doing something with the couch cushions since those items almost never actually reside on the couch. It turns out that they were taping the art work to the walls to make the room look creepy and cave-like. Also ok as I have been known to tape artwork to the walls myself, particularly in the kitchen to hide all the holes and the stripes of potential paint colors.

But I have to draw the line on using a glue stick to put stuff on the wall. How the heck am I going to get that and its bonded orange construction paper off my pale blue wall? Honestly, if they had done it in the kitchen or the playroom (aka what most people use as a living/dining room) or the hallway I would have laughed and moved on. But they picked the family room. The room that we redid last year after removing the ugly 1960's paneling. The room that looks better than the whole rest of the house put together. The room that looks like grownups live here.

That last statement kept repeating in my head all night long. What does it mean to have a house that looks like kids live there? What does it mean to have a house that looks like grownups live there? Can the two exist in the same house at the same time or will that bend the space-time continuum?

I thought of all the houses I've been in lately. There are the houses where you know the instant you get inside, maybe even before, that kids live there. There are pictures on the refrigerator, little shoes littering the hallway, legos strewn around. There are the houses that look a bit neater but kid-evidence is still around in the form of bigger shoes, game systems and the like. There are the houses where you can guess that teens live because there are still bigger shoes, electronic devices, a chest freezer in an obvious place and lots of cars in the driveway.

Then there are the houses that have me totally stumped. I know kids live there because I've met them, spoken to them, maybe even followed them inside. But there is absolutely no evidence of them anywhere. It's like entering an alternate house universe. A house black hole. And the whole time I'm there I'm discreetly searching for the evidence. I'm looking for a fingerprint on the light switch. A cheerio under the couch cushion. A stray sock peeking out from somewhere. Something! Anything! I become this guy. ---> We've got ice creams and lollipops and candies, allllll free today! Where do they keep the kids and all their associated flotsam in these houses? I imagine a set of graduated nesting boxes marked "baby" "toddler" "little boy/girl" "bigger boy/girl" and "teenager". Are the kids just more well behaved and trained in these houses? Are they all neat freaks with touches of OCD? Maybe they have a full-time nanny and a separate wing for her and everyone under 18. And a housekeeper. What? Where? How?

And then I started thinking what if there were a house rating system? How would kids rate houses?

***** totally kid friendly. No holds barred, messes allowed, junk food all the time.

**** kid friendly. Some rules, some messes allowed, good snacks

*** kid acquainted. More rules, few messes allowed, ok snacks

** kids might have lived here once a long time ago. Lots of rules, very few messes allowed, snacks are of the disgustingly healthy variety

* Danger! Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!

I think our house would rate 4 stars. Possibly 5 stars on some occasions. For the most part I don't mind being the kid friendly house in the family and possibly the neighborhood later on. You've got to be a grownup for an awfully long time so why not let the kids enjoy being kids for as long as possible? This is not to say that I'm going to abandon attempts to make my boys eat veggies, make sure they say please and thank you (even to the brother who's sitting on their head), tidy up and all that other good stuff. But I'm not going to let a spill or some paper scraps on the floor ruin our day. I'll figure out a way to get glue stick off the grownup wall. Because when all is said and done, I'd rather have a 4 star house than a 1 star house.

I'll just have to wait to have totally grownup house until the boys leave home. I'll be around 65 by then. I can live with that. I can enjoy it until whenever grandkids hopefully arrive and then I'm sure we'll be back to paper scraps and spills.

But I'm definitely going to hide all the glue sticks.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The UPS Man Thinks I'm Psychic

A few months ago I pre-ordered this book, mostly so I wouldn't have to try and remember it later when it was actually ready to ship. Today I realized that it should be arriving soon. While I was standing in the driveway waiting for P.'s bus to arrive, the UPS truck came rumbling down the street. "Oh" I thought "here comes the UPS man now to bring me my new book." And wouldn't you know it, that is exactly what he was doing! He was a little freaked out that I was standing in the driveway though.

So if anybody would like me to predict their future, the sex of their unborn baby or what stock is going to hit it big next -- you know where to find me :-D

Monday, March 10, 2008

Birthday Party Realities II

  1. If you are going to plan a birthday party, if at all possible try to stay away from the one weekend of the winter when a major storm hits. Using the excuse of it being March does not cut it here in WNY.
  2. If that's not possible, just reschedule and move on.

  3. At least the extra time gives you more time to clean the house.
  4. Which can be a bad thing. All children at the party fall on your kitchen floor about 10 times. This has nothing to do with the fact that they are playing chase, because they do that every day. It is because the floor is way too clean -- there is no dirt to keep them stuck down.

  5. So in the interest of safety, you have to invoke rule #1 from here and spill heavy whipping cream all over said floor. Naturally, in full view of all the guests. Try to swear quietly.
  6. Thank goodness you have another pint hidden in the back of the fridge because the birthday boy likes to put the heavy cream in his cereal and to hell with being lactose intolerant! but send said birthday boy to the store for 2 cans of "fake" whipped cream just in case. Now you have 2 full cans of fake whipped cream just hanging around because there is no more dessert to eat them with.

  7. And speaking of dessert, if one cake is good, then 2 are better. And a pie, and banana bread, and what the heck, put some cookies out too. And some berries for the cheesecake. And the whipped cream. Worry that you are an overachiever or channeling your mother who had to feed 12 people 3x a day. But notice that there were very few leftovers so either you are a perfect party planner or your guests are all just sugar addicts and will be buzzing around at 3 a.m. cursing you. At least the coffee was decaf.
  8. If you are going to put 51 candles (because you need 1 extra for good luck) on a small cake, you had better be sure the birthday boy is in the room and the guests are ready to sing right then. The flames from 51 candles get pretty high! The children will be highly entertained by this and want to know if the smoke alarm will go off and if it does will everyone have to go outside and stand in the snow? The heat from all those flames will also make the wax candles melt extremely fast. The cute cake will not be so cute anymore after you pick all the wax from its icing, but it will still taste good.
  9. If you think chocolate is a good gift for the birthday boy, everyone else will too. Fortunately, in this case he does not mind duplicates at all.
  10. If you make a cute "50 Things We Love About You" book for the birthday boy, realize that all the party guests will read it before he gets a chance to. Which ended up being ok too.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

50 Years Ago Today

They couldn't have known it then, but 50 years ago today, these two wonderful people gave me the very best gift ever.

Happy Birthday Honey! I love you!