Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can We Keep Him?

I've heard a lot of people say that an animal is most dangerous when it's cornered. This leads me to believe that my son is an animal. And he's told us he's an animal before. He'll make the noises a monkey makes or he'll crawl around the floor like a dog. But we had to corner him the past few days to get some drops in his eyes. And he knew what we were doing. And I'm being completely honest when I say that he scares me a little now.

A few days ago, Andrew started rubbing his eyes. Then he woke up and one of them was swollen almost shut. Children's Claritin didn't really help, so his doctor suggested drops. And she said it's either really bad allergies or pink eye. But after having to use the drops, I'm convinced it's the rage virus.

I was sitting down, holding his arms down and his head up so my wife could administer the drops. I felt like the guy holding the animal when branding cattle. It was almost impossible to hold him down. I think he's been working out while we all sleep at night. Because he was freakishly strong. He was able to use a combination of back-arching and appendage-flailing to free himself a few times before I really buckled down. He could make a name for himself as an escape artist. And then there was the screaming. You would think we had actually branded him with the way he was carrying on.

The weird thing to me is that they don't even hurt. I looked at the bottle and the ingredients don't include alcohol, lemon juice, peroxide, or acid. And as soon as we let him go, he was fine. It was just that cornered animal instinct. It's just a good thing we had him de-clawed.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Penny Saved

I'm trying to raise money for a laptop and it's nigh impossible. It's like trying to catch up with a bus I missed (or more accurately, an ice cream truck I missed). It seems every time I get a little money to put in the virtual piggy bank, something crazy happens. We need a new tire. We have a trip to the ER. My son just has to have his insulin (<-- joke).

We're totally opposed to using credit cards anymore. A stress-free life and the use of credit cards are mutually exclusive in our household. So option A for most Americans buying a laptop is out. And option B is out for us, because I wouldn't make it as a stripper. And when you eliminate all the other options (because they involve stealing, cheating, or selling drugs) that doesn't leave a whole lot of room for saving.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is... does anyone want to buy a 16 year-old trumpet? It's beat up and tarnished, but no one's used it in 14 years. And I'm only asking $900! (<-- also a joke... you can't have my trumpet)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do... Sorta

I always hate feeling like an idiot. But I hate it most when I set myself up for my own failure. When I was in third grade, we moved and I had to switch to a new school. And in my first day of music class, we were singing the English version of "Frère Jacques". And I raised my hand and blurted out, "Hey! I know this song in another language!" My music teacher waved me off and proceeded to lead the group in the second verse, which was actually the French version. Then she turned to me and said, "What were you saying, stupid new kid?" (Or some version of that.) Then I had to explain that I knew the French version that we just sang. So I embarrassed myself horribly on my first day.

And I didn't get any better later on. In high school I took French. (Shut up, it's because my sister took it and I knew she could help me get an A.) And one day, I met a French lady (I could tell because of her beret and her tiny, curled mustache). So I decided it would be good to introduce myself in French! So I said "Hi, my name is Taylor," in my best French. Her response was, "Oh, ll fait beau de rencontrer une personne française. M'appelle Chantille et Windows sept est mon idée!" So I had to backpedal really quickly and take out my translation book so I could figure out how to say "my bad" in French.

And it keeps on happening to me. I told my friend recently that I love playing guitar and that I used to be kinda good, but never an expert. And it's been a few years since I've played but I suggested that we should jam together (and I found out that I'm not cool enough to use the word "jam" in that context). So I went to his house and I could only remember three chords and the intro to one Metallica song. And when I played them, he joined in with an insane solo riff that was at least 100 times better than I've ever been. So I felt like an idiot again.

So I've learned my lesson: If it involves music or French or both, I need to keep my mouth shut.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

My younger sister was in the process of selling her home a few years ago. And she had to be ready to leave her house at a moment's notice if her realtor called to bring over a prospective buyer. Well on one such occasion, my sister was taking a nap on the couch when her realtor called. So she straightened up for a few minutes and then threw some shoes on and left the house. Then she went to a barbeque place to pick up some lunch.

She went to the counter and ordered a sandwich. But when she went into her purse to find her debit card, she found that she'd forgotten her wallet. So she offered to write a check for the sandwich. At this point, she also noticed she was wearing one brown shoe and one blue shoe. And her hair was messed up because she'd been asleep on a couch. And all these things were not lost on the nice older man behind her. Because he saw a frazzled looking woman, wearing unmatched shoes, trying to write a check for a three-dollar sandwich. So he offered to pay for her meal (obviously assuming she was crazy, semi-homeless, or both). And since the place didn't take checks anyway, she got a free sandwich.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fighting The Urge

I have to fight my instincts a lot. It's not really fair because I think I'm a good person. But the urge to laugh at the wrong time or to say something offensive is always around the corner for me. For example, my older brother knew I was taking care of business in a public bathroom last week, so he walked in and stomped around the bathroom and whispered "bye-bye!" as he walked out. And I had to hold back my laughter until my next-stall neighbor left the bathroom. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do... until last night.

We went to Benihana for the first time in my life. And I've always wanted to go. I've heard great things about it, I've seen it on an episode of The Office, and I just love saying the name of the restaurant really fast ("Benihana!"). So we went last night and our genuine Japanese hibachi grill instructor was really cool. And really fast. And really funny. But he had a really thick Japanese accent. And the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life is sit through a meal with him talking to us without yelling, "HADOUKEN!" at the top of my lungs. It was almost unbearable. I was fidgety, I felt like I was sweating. It was like trying to hold in a sneeze. But I made it through the whole meal without offending anyone.

However, I can't say the same for my son. It was also his first experience at Benihana. And his first experience face-to-face with someone with a Japanese accent. And when the guy was talking really fast, my wife and I caught our son whispering, "Ah-ta-ta-ta-ta." And we were horrified. (And for the record, this was not a learned behavior. He came up with that himself.) So we had to discreetly tell him to stop without drawing attention to him. Luckily he stopped without anyone else noticing. But this just proves that he's as advanced as we think he is. I mean, he's practicing racism on a fifth grade level!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't Mispronounciate

Unintentional humor is some of the best kind of humor. Watching someone mispronounce a word repeatedly when they think they're an expert on something is the funniest thing in the world. Especially when it's your older brother contemplating becoming a "beegan" because it's healthier not to eat meat.

So here's my quick unintentional humor story about my son. Yesterday, he got in trouble for doing something to his sister. This happens a lot because little boys are programmed to push their sisters. And my son knows that he gets in trouble when he's "disobeyed." The problem is that "disobeyed" is a fairly new word for him. So last night, he pushed his sister, and got punished for it. And when I asked him if he knew why he was in trouble, he nodded. Then, in all earnest, he said, "Because I disappeared." So I hugged him because that was adorable.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Idiocy On Demand

I was showing my older brother how easy it is to order a movie on demand from I logged in and selected the first one that popped up, Ninja Assassin. And I figured that Amazon would ask me to verify my order before charging my account. I figured incorrectly. So I spent four dollars from my Amazon balance for a movie I have no interest in seeing whatsoever.

And this was one of those moments when I feel the most stupid. Because I should know better. I could have at least picked a movie I wanted to see. Or I could have done it without logging in. Or I could have just let him figure it out on his own instead of acting like I knew what I was talking about. So now I just feel like an idiot.

I sent an email to Amazon, asking them to refund me and take the movie out of my queue, but they didn't respond. I'm thinking they're too busy laughing at me to do anything about it. And my older brother is rooting for them to ignore me. Because he actually wants to see Ninja Assassin. So if they don't refund me, he's gonna watch the stupid movie. And it's not like I can ask him for four dollars. He's not stupid enough to pay that for a movie rental.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hear No Evil

I'm not a violent person, in general. I don't hit people. I sucked at football. I don't even give exuberant high fives. But there are some things that push me close to my limit. And unnecessarily obnoxious loudness is one of them. In fact, I think if you were to look back, you'd find that the year noise-canceling headphones were invented was probably the same year there was a noticeable drop in workplace violence. My pair has become my best friend at work.

Because there are these two ladies who work one row over from me who can't even say "Hello" without hitting 80 decibels. And if they get worked up about something, the floor shakes. I must assume they have some kind of combined hearing loss and each is trying to compensate for it. The only thing I can use to illustrate it is to take two cell phones and call one from the other. Then (in the same room) put them both on speakerphone mode. Then move them towards each other. At first you just get an echo. Then it builds to something louder. Then everyone in the room begs you to stop because it hurts their ears so much. That's what these ladies are like.

And I don't know who these women are. I've never met them. I haven't even seen them. But I imagine them to be giant fat people, stuffing their faces as they speak, with bits of kolache flying from their mouths with every ridiculous shout. (Sidenote: they always bring kolaches, and I can smell them.) Imagine Roseanne and Harry Potter's Aunt Marge in a screaming match while eating kolaches.

And remember Will Ferrell's character on SNL that had Voice Immodulation? They make that guy seem like a deaf-mute. So my only defense is to put on my noise-canceling headphones and blast some music that will drown out their booming voices. Which I'm doing right now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Don't Let Your Dreams Get In The Way

I thought of something super funny to blog about last night before bed. And I argued with myself about whether or not to write it down. Because if I write it down, then I'm trying to be a writer. But, if I don't write it down, then I'm still just trying to be a blogger. I'm okay with being a mediocre blogger, but I can't handle being a crappy writer. So I didn't write it down.

Then, I had the most intense dream about becoming a sniper who shot aliens. (There was one that kept spinning and I couldn't get a headshot on him.) So that drove whatever it was right out of my mind. And for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. And the reason I dreamt so intensely is because I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning again playing video games (which, oddly enough, involved snipers). So the reason I'm having an old person forgetfulness moment is because I'm clinging so desperately to my youth as it slips away.

So if I think of whatever it was, you'll know. Because it will be much funnier than this post.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spite For Sore Eyes

I have this condition. It doesn't have a name yet. They'll probably name it after me. Basically, it's a condition that causes the bags under my eyes to darken and inflate given certain conditions. Usually it's because of tiredness. I get a lot of "Dude, are you okay?" and "You look like a zombie." And those kinds of comments don't hurt my feelings because I've seen the evidence.

But occasionally, I'll hit the perfect storm of eye-puffiness. Like this morning. You just have to add the lack of sleep from last night, the lack of coffee/caffeine this morning, the fact that I'm feeling slightly under the weather, and that ridiculously stupid Daylight Savings Time. So now I look like I got punched in the face... twice.

And I'm not exaggerating about that. I honestly look like I was hit by someone. Strangers are giving me looks of pity and co-workers are asking me what happened. And if I weren't so out of it, I'd come up with something witty to say back. Probably something involving Mike Tyson or some hurried, nervous mumble about how "I fell. That's all. I just fell."

Friday, March 12, 2010

We Aim To Please

Well, I can check off another thing from my "Things-people-don't-warn-you-about-before-you-have-any-kids" list. Apparently, after potty training is finished, there are all sorts of new challenges that arise regarding pottying. I was under the somewhat foolish impression that the end of potty training would be the beginning of a new era of adult-like bathroom procedure. How very wrong I was.

Last night, within 5 minutes of leaving somewhere, my son said very suddenly and loudly, "I gotta go tee-tee!" And we understand (after some "oops-too-late" moments) that this declaration essentially starts a 60-second countdown to a wet pair of pants. So if we're in the car, we have to either find a bathroom or (more likely) find a cup from a previous fast food trip. I've even learned to purposely leave empty paper cups in the car for just such occasions.

So last night, I pulled into a parking lot and told my son to unbuckle and come to the front. Then I told him he was going to potty into the cup. What I know now is that I should have been more specific in my instructions. Apparently, I should have said, "You're going to potty in this cup, but please wait until I move it close to you." Because my son thought I meant he needed to make a carnival game out of it. So he started peeing from two feet away, aiming for the cup I had placed in the cupholder.

Screaming and laughing ensued. I screamed and my wife laughed. Because I was in the line of fire and she was safe in the passenger seat. So I spent the next few minutes attempting to get little kid urine off my hands using hand sanitizer and baby wipes. And let me tell you, that will ruin an otherwise good evening. So please learn from my mistakes.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Financial Advice From A Toddler

I found out two things about my family yesterday. One about my wife and one about my son. Apparently, my wife was watching Oprah with my son and Oprah was listing all the must-haves for the coming season. And she was going through all the types of shoes you need and stuff like that. And my son said, "You gotta have money first!"

So I learned that my son is going to be way smarter than me (and 90% of Americans). Because I don't recall saying that recently. Nor does my wife. So my son heard it from someone and knew the correct context to use it. I'm so proud.

The other thing I learned is that my wife watches Oprah with my son. Which is a problem. Because no matter how much potential he has to be intelligent, that will beat the smarts right out of him. Oprah is kryptonite for males. It's like burping contests for girls. It just ruins them. So I'm gonna have to put a stop to that.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why You Shouldn't Use Coke As A Reward

I've learned a lot about kids in recent years. Having two of them will do that to you. I've learned that my kids will repeat anything you say. And they'll learn the context if you use the same phrase twice. I've also learned that they are conditioned fairly early on how to respond to certain phrases. That's why my 1 year old daughter will say "Yessir" from the next room if I ask my son "Do you understand me?" It also means that they try to use my phrases against me.

So, here's a good example of these things. Yesterday, I told my son that he could have a Coke if he was good at the grocery store. So on the way home from the grocery store, I informed him that he was very well-behaved and had earned the promised Coke. Then I told him that he could have it with dinner as soon as he finished his bath.

His response was, "Um, how 'bout NO?"

And I know where he got that from. It was me. I say that to him when he suggests something ridiculous ("Daddy, how 'bout we paint the wall red?") So I guess he was just trying out my phrase. And I wanted to make sure he knew that he couldn't use that with us. My wife didn't help, though. Being the responsible adult that she is, she crumbled into fits of laughter. I, on the other hand, turned my rearview mirror to an angle that faced my son. Then I raised my eyebrows and said in my most serious voice, "Excuse me?"

And my son knows what that means. If I say "Excuse me?" then he is supposed to rethink what he just said and rephrase it in a kind way or by adding "sir" to the end of it. So I witnessed his tiny little eyes widen in horror as he realized what he'd said. Then I could almost see him back-pedaling in his mind (or maybe looking for an emergency exit).

So he gathered his thoughts and said sheepishly, "I mean... how 'bout okay... sir?"

That's when I crumbled into fits of laughter. He's a good kid. He tries hard.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Let's Call It "Counting My Blessings"

Our new HD camcorder finally arrived at our house yesterday. We ordered it a good two months ago. And I did the two things that I always do when I get a new toy. I started figuring out all the cool new things I could do with it... and I tried to think of the next new toy I wanted. Because every time I get a new toy, I want another one. And I usually find a way to get it. Which made me realize something. I'm a superficial, materialistic (expialidocious) jerk. But then I recanted that assessment (that means I took it back, Landry). Because I reflected back on all my toy-related acquirements (that means I thought about when I got all that stuff, Landry). And while I do have a wide array of gadgets and the latest technologies, I've spent next to nothing on them.

I got my refurbished Blu-ray player with gift cards and by selling stuff on eBay. I got the new HD camcorder with money earned from online surveys. I got my Xbox 360 as a gift. I bought my wife's Nintendo DSi with gift cards and eBay money. And every other gadget or electronic product or awesome macho toy was purchased highly discounted, if not free of charge.

So I stopped feeling like a jerk. A sense of pride and accomplishment crept into my heart. I have earned these things! I shouldn't be embarrassed that I saved money! I should be as unashamed of these things as I am of using a stack of coupons at the grocery store. Bud Light should do one of those "Real Men of Genius" commercials for me. ("Today, we salute you, Mr. Too-Stingy-To-Pay-Full-Price-For-Anything Man.")

So anyway, I didn't feel so bad. And now I have to contemplate my next purchase (that means I have to think about what I'm gonna buy next, Landry).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Just Some Stuff I've Been Thinking

-I think I'll start referring to blankets as "sleeveless Snuggies."

-I'm proud that my son recognizes Michael Jackson songs based solely on the voice.

-I'm scared that my son recognizes Lady GaGa songs based solely on the voice.

-My older brother always gets a balloon at the restaurant we go to. Then he draws a vampire face on it and refers to it as "Steve, the vampire" the rest of the day.

-When my nephew was in the hospital, one of the monitoring machines started beeping. But it was more of a "Ding!" So I said, "You are now free to move about the country." Everyone laughed.

-I'm pretty sure if my son got in a fist fight with another three year-old, I'd let it go a for a few moments too long before breaking up just to see if my kid is a good fighter.

-My mother pronounces "Mandarin" as "Mandarian." She thinks my kids love Mandarian oranges.

-The butter knife that was stuck in a pine tree at the park when I was in elementary school is still there. I showed my son. And maybe he'll show his son.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Questions, Questions

My older brother asks some pretty dumb questions sometimes. Some of them are just weird ("Do you think mermaids have to wait an hour after eating before they can swim?") And some of them are just stupid ("So is it butter with the brand name 'I Can't Believe It's Not' or is it really something besides butter, and they couldn't think of a name?") And I think the main problem is that he doesn't think stuff through before he asks a question. Like the time we were at a restaurant and he asked why the salad bar had "local" ranch. And I had to explain to him that he was misreading the abbreviation they were using for the "Low Calorie" ranch dressing.

So what I'm wondering is at what point in life did he stop thinking stuff through before asking a question. Because my three-year old son asks questions all the time, and you can tell he's really thought them through. Because he never asks a dumb question. Just last week, we were cleaning up in his room and he asked me, "Can we just do this later? I want to play cars downstairs." And I didn't have a good reason to tell him no. I felt like he was suddenly my peer and we were discussing our plans for the afternoon. And it was actually a pretty reasonable request and playing cars downstairs seems like a great reason to stop cleaning.

But what worries me about that is that if I'm stumped on the why-do-we-have-to-do-this line of questioning, I'm really gonna be in trouble when he asks some serious questions. I'm gonna be ill-prepared for the "Where do babies come from?" and the "What is murder?" and "Why don't we have more channels on our TV?" I figure I'll just always have the same response: "Good question... go ask Mommy. And let me know what she says."

And why don't we have more channels on our TV?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

There's No Time!

I've got a lot of work to do today. So I can't spend a lot of time thinking of something to blog about. So I'll just leave you with a couple of random thoughts I've had recently.

Do you think Edward Scissorhands was ever allowed to run?


Do you think they let diabetic children watch Mary Poppins? Because if so, that seems pretty irresponsible. ("Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.")

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More Money, More Problems

Selfish people always talk about all the fun things they'd do if they were rich. And nice people always talk about all the good things they'd do if they were rich. So I'm thinking I must not be selfish or nice. I guess I'm somewhere in between, because I can only ever think of elaborate pranks and stuff like that.

So if I'm ever rich, I'm gonna get a plastic grocery sack and put $50,000 cash in it. Then I'm gonna leave it on the street corner. And I'm gonna record the person who picks it up as they decide whether or not to keep it. And if they turn it in, I'm gonna tell police to wait 30 days and give it back to them. So either way, they end up with fifty grand to spend however they want. Then I'm gonna follow them with a camera as they spend the money. Then I'll sell the rights to the documentary to a major television network and I'll be rich! Wait... I was already rich in this example. I guess I didn't think this one all the way through. Okay, so there's not really a point to that one. But I'd still do it out of curiosity to see what the average person would do with the money.

Here's a better one. I'd make sure none of my family knew I was rich. Then I'd take it in turns to wreck each of their cars when they let me drive them. I'd start with my parents because they're the most trusting. And then when they took them to get them fixed, I'd go in and pay for the damages. Then I'd do the same to my older brother's truck. The one that he hates letting people drive. I'd beg and beg and beg for him to let me drive it and convince him that the last two wrecks were flukes. Then I'd back it into his basketball goal and then Dodge Ram it into a tree. And I'd make sure he was in the truck with me so I could see his face. And I'd make it totally obvious that it wasn't an accident. And I'd laugh maniacally. Then I'd go straight to the car dealership (after I got out of my fist-induced coma) and buy new cars for everyone. Maybe if I call MTV or General Motors, they'll sponsor me. Because now I really want to do that.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Young(?) And The Restless

I'm confused about my age again. You're only supposed to be as old as you feel. But that seems to always depend on my current activity. And that just gets me more confused.

Because Friday I got really excited about the new vacuum cleaner that finally got delivered to our house (old). But I also drank an energy drink that day (young). And I stayed up late that night playing Xbox (young). But then I went to bed at 10 on Saturday (old). And we got an iPhone last week with our AT&T upgrade (young). But I only use it to check the weather and play Scrabble with people (old!).

Then we watched reality TV last night (old). But we streamed it online for free (young). But we did so legally (middle-aged?). I'm so confused!

Okay, I have to go do something young. Maybe I'll develop an unfounded sense of entitlement. Or maybe I'll under-appreciate all the things my parents have done for me. Or maybe I'll get a tattoo that I'll regret later in life.

Oh man! I just used the words "entitlement" and "under-appreciate" in the same paragraph! I guess I'm doomed. I give up. I'm gonna go take a nap, then complain about how cold it is while I watch reruns of Matlock and Murder, She Wrote.