Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sandy Max

If you weren't at this weekend's Boscov's Holiday Parade, you missed the Vestal Senior High Marching band's rendition of 'You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch'. You also missed 'Sandy Woo's' premiere as 'Max', the Grinch's un-happy dog.

This is the first year that the Vestal Golden Bears' marching band had a float, a sled, a Grinch, AND a 'Max' (played with much enthusiasm by the afforementioned Sandy Woo, the little rescue dog who wakes me up way too early every morning).

I do have video of this exceptional performance, but haven't tried to upload to YouTube as yet. (Mostly because I haven't ever attempted this.)

In the meantime though, Sandy as 'Max' can be found at the top of this post wearing red antlers (they look a lot like 'horns' from the front), red collar complete with 'jingle bells', and some sort of pink 'serpent' shooting out of her head. The photo was taken just as she decided to 'Woo' (she doesn't actually 'bark') at me.
Welcome to the opening of the first ever Moos of the Day's 'Bossie's Christmas Wonderland'...

Ho, ho, ho!

I Saw What You Did

Yesterday afternoon I stopped by the McDonald's on Vestal Parkway and saw something that I hadn't seen in a while. During the middle of the lunch rush, I walked past a man and woman sitting across from each other on the bench. This by itself isn't anything special, people sit across from each other every day.

The difference is the thing that happened next. The man and woman inclined their heads, reached across the table to touch each other's hand, and said a quiet prayer. In the middle of McDonalds.

I sat at my table and watched this simple act with a sense of awe at their public display of 'Grace'. These folks sat in the middle of the restaurant giving thanks for their meal, which, as far as I could tell, consisted of a couple of those 'wrapped in 47% post-consumer waste' combo meals. Perhaps the prayer was not for meal, but rather for the relationship between the two of them.

The prayer completed, they ate their meals quietly, with just a few quiet words passing between them.

I wanted to take a moment today to thank these folks for the simple act which reminded me that the important things are not the things you have, the cars you drive, the size of your house, or the money you have left in your retirement account. The important things are most often found right there in front of you. Sometimes in a noisy, crowded fast-food restaurant.
As you prepare for Thanksgiving, take a moment to recognize the things which you are most thankful for. It won't be the turkey, the stuffing, or the parades. Most likely it's right there in front of you too.

To the nameless couple at the McDonalds: Thank you.

To the folks who stop by the blog from time to time: Thank you.

To my family: All my love, and all of my thanks...

Finally, to our little rescue dog who woke me up before six o'clock again this morning: Well, three out of four ain't bad.

Drive safely folks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

You Want Flies With That?

I’m a father of three happy, healthy, and ‘relatively’ normal boys. I’ve learned a lot along the path to becoming a ‘real’ parent. Someone once described a ‘real’ parent as having more than two kids – having three, I've been a 'real' parent for years now.

My sons have made comments over the years that I wanted to share with you. Like most embarrassing events the following quotes made in public, almost all of which were said very loudly in restaurants. These establishments were usually full of people, who unfortunately for them; were eating. I’ve never found a parenting book that prepares you for, or provides you with the appropriate response to the following – but read on and you’ll be prepared; maybe…

“I just went Number Two and it was this long!” My youngest held his hands approximately 18 inches apart and had a huge smile on his face. We were unable to verify his claim due to a lack of tape measure and the efficiency of the plumbing system at the facility. However, most of the other people in the restaurant appeared to take his word for it since no one argued with him over their meals.

“He just had a booger, now he doesn’t! And he’s ‘itching’ the inside of his mouth again…” Professional magician? No, professional nose miner.

“No! Dads have a 'peenie' like we do – Moms don’t.” I’m not really sure what brought this up at the Outback Steakhouse, but we left shortly thereafter. Loud comments like this in public places make every car in your rear view window look surprisingly like a Child Welfare surveillance vehicle. How would a four-year old know this? It must be that progressive education system I keep hearing about.

My 2 year-old was in his car seat in the back of the car while I was driving one afternoon and he made a noise that I couldn’t identify. He stretched his hand up to me between the gap in the front seats; his face was twisted in a grimace. I asked him what was up and I passed my open hand back to comfort him. He put his hand in mine and said “Nasty!”. He then dragged his index finger back across my open palm. When he was done, I found a booger the size of a Chevrolet Chevette on my palm. He was right, it was nasty.

“You want flies with that?” Apparently fruit flies are attracted to the corn syrup that accumulates on soda fountain nozzles at fast-food places during warm summer months. We discovered this at a fine dining establishment a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, we didn’t know this until the fruit fly was discovered by my nine-year old at the BOTTOM of his Sprite (that he just drank – yes, all the way to the bottom). We did, however, discover that McDonald’s employees respond quickly to the sound of vomiting in the dining area. The above “You want flies with that?” quote was uttered by my middle son just prior to our test of restaurant’s EVRT (Emergency Vomit Removal Team – pronounced, ‘Eeeeevvrrrrttt!’). In case you’re wondering, they’re pretty good.

In the event that you need to spend time with your children in public there are basic rules that must be followed (write these down):

  1. If you dine in a fine restaurant (you should NEVER, EVER do this), select seats as far away from other diners as possible – most of the finest restaurants offer curbside, or drive-through dining. Utilize these options whenever possible.
  2. Huddle your family around you so you do not lose, or inadvertently add to, your family’s headcount. If you find you have one more person than you came with, return immediately to wherever you were and tell the child (preferably the one that doesn’t look like you) to, “Stay here and wait for someone that looks vaguely familiar to walk by and follow them…”
  3. Have your children order from the ‘kids menu’ at ANY restaurant you visit until they’ve grown more facial hair than Jeff Bridges as featured in that Iron Man movie. Sure, the folks who own the place won’t be happy with you, but the people at the counter will usually just smile because they do the same thing at the competitor’s place down the street
  4. Avoid restaurants that offer table-service. I’ve heard ‘rumors’ that ‘servers’ expect something called ‘tips’ in exchange for delivering the food to your table. Instead, choose a restaurant that allows your entire family into the kitchen and lets you bring your food to the table yourself. It’s much ‘funnier’, ‘cheaper’ and greatly narrows down your dining options. Also, it's better than tossing someone not related to you 12 - 15% of the value of your meal for about 3 minute’s work. If you have to utilize table-service remember to have your kids spill at least one drink each to justify the tip (don’t worry, the kids will do this for you anyway).

Oh, and one last thought… The next time you hit the self-serve drink dispenser, make sure you give it a quick tap in advance of filling YOUR cup to discharge any gnatty little ‘hangers-on’ that may be waiting there just for you.

Bon appetite’!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Would Have Offered Her a Twenty

Some people say that kids today are 'out of control'. They "don't respect their elders" and they've never learned "basic social skills".

I must respectfully disagree. I believe that the bottom-line issue that's wrong with kids today is that they do not understand the value of a dollar.

I offer the following as a recent example:

Dateline: November 12, 2008, Fort Pierce, Florida
On November 12th an eleven year old boy argued with his mother over taking 'his medication'. (For the sake of argument, let's just assume that he was hesitant to take Tylenol for back strain (after helping his father work in the garden). Then assume that he sprouted wings, flew over the garden and spit seeds from his mouth into the freshly plowed rows from an altitude of 3,200 feet. Either scenario is as likely as the other.)

Okay, so Mom tries to get Junior to take his medication, Junior is 'resistant' and leaves his Mom to go to a neighbor's house. The neighbor's tree is a little 'too thick' so Junior begins to hit the tree with a 'saw' (I, personally, would have used an axe, but this is 'Junior's story' isn't it?). Mom does not understand WHY the tree needs to be 'struck' with the edge of a saw and asks for Junior to put the saw down, and return home (lest we forget the thing that started it all...) to take his medication. Junior considers his options. He looks at the tree, looks at the saw, looks up at his Mom and then hits her across the side of her head with the edge of the saw blade.

Here's where it gets weird(er)... Junior, seeing that his mother is bleeding from the laceration on the side of her head, does what any of us would do in his position; he pleads for forgiveness; and then he offers his Mom $5.00 to NOT tell anyone. (For $5 YOU TOO can have your stupidity posted by a news service on the Internet -- that's a great value!)

Oh sure, there are some cynics among us who would say that "This child needs professional psychiatric help" (um, remember the 'medication' above? I'm pretty sure Mom has already travelled this particular route). And they'll say, that "He just needs understanding from his mother..."

No way! What Junior needs is a few semesters of Economics 101! EVERYONE who is anyone in the world of Economics KNOWS that a facial laceration caused by a saw is AT MINIMUM, a $20 bribe. If Junior had swung and MISSED -- this could have been a $5 offense. However, with actual 'facial contact', you've pretty much committed yourself to the full $20 bribe 'schedule'.
For future reference (assuming you haven't taken Econ 101 yourself) please keep the following handy in case you need to take a swipe at someone (with a saw, or other prescribed object):

  • And just in case you were wondering about other rates (you WERE weren't you?):
  • HEAD STRIKE WITH A 'CARP' OR OTHER LARGE FISH $ 0 (Because you're not telling ANYONE that you were hit about the head with a 'fish'. It is much better to tell them that you 'fell down the stairs into a large aquarium and YOU struck the fish with YOUR head' rather than to admitting that YOU were struck by the fish...)

The more time I spend on the Internet, the more wonderful MY family becomes. I'll just need to keep the kids away from the yard tools this year... Just in case.

Now if I could just get them to 'fly' and seed the garden... Hmm...
Here's the article if you'd like to read it (although I really wouldn't recommend it as it will only make you sad...)

Boy allegedly hits mom with saw, offers her $5
Nov 14, 9:06 PM (ET)
FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) – Authorities say an 11-year-old boy hit his mother in the head with a saw and then offered her $5 not to call police. The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office reported that the boy and his 41-year-old mother got into an argument Wednesday when she was trying to get him to take his medication.

The boy left and went to another home, where he began hitting a tree with a saw. When the mother finally caught up with the boy, authorities say he hit her in the head with the saw, causing a minor laceration. A sheriff’s report said that’s when the boy began pleading with his mother not to call police and offered her a $5 bill.

The boy is facing an aggravated battery charge.