Don't Hate Hubby

Monday, October 10, 2011

Taking My Boy to Disney World Was Way Down the To-Do List

I need a vacation from that vacation. That's right, I just paid a big chunk of change to fight crowds, get a sunburn, walk many miles with a 40-pound kid on my shoulders, and catch some hideous cold from no telling what country. Toss in some horrible food, several downpours, too many foreign men in small bathing suits, thousands of crying kids, and well, that was my recent vacation. Sounds fun, huh?

Okay, okay, so that's not exactly how it went. That's just how I thought it was gonna go. You see, I had been dreading that Disney vacation since the day Jack was born. It just always sounded overpriced and over-hyped. Of course, I knew the time would come...I could only hide from Orlando for so long. Right around last March, my wife uttered those six dreaded words. "I think Jack's ready for Disney." I attempted to put up a fight, but my position that "he didn't care about Mickey and those other goofy characters" didn't stick. Nope, there wasn't enough pixy-dust to sprinkle on that lame argument.

Even though foreign men do need to rethink their swim-wear and I did catch a horrible cold, Walt Disney World was quite magical. I even got sucked into the excitement. Before long, I was hunting down Disney characters and racing for rides. Words can't describe the look on Jack's face as he jumped  for Mickey, Pluto, or one of the way-too-many princesses. I gotta admit, I was just as bright-eyed behind the camera when he was posing with Cinderella, Ariel, Rapunzel, or Belle. And right after that, "Captain Jack" was stabbing at the air and doing his best pirate impersonation. And right after that, he was chomping on popcorn, guzzling a Coke, and dripping ice-cream all over his shirt. This was his moment, and I was along for the ride.

It was just one of those trips when the rules were bent and the boundaries were broken. We were in Jack's world. Some parents adapted better than others. Those larger families looked a bit more tired, sweaty, and grouchy. I'll never forget hearing a wife lecture her husband because he needed to "learn his princesses." Of course, when you're surrounded by giant teacups and flying elephants, it's hard to take yourself too serious. Not to mention, everyone is do dang nice. It really is a magical place.

While I'm not about to book another Disney trip any time soon, it was definitely a vacation to remember. Kids are in our world every day, so it's only fair we enter theirs from time to time. Even though I needed ibuprofen and hot showers to get through it, I'll never forget my boy's magic with Mickey. With all that said, I do need a vacation from that vacation.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Just Don't Let Dad Dress the Baby Boy...Just Don't (another old column post)

 I can't believe it happened again. You would've thought I'd learned something a year ago. The sad thing is, my son is the victim, yet again. Let's get a quick recap of what happened last year as I attempted to dress Jack for an important event. Here's what I wrote in the '07 column:

The St. Richard's Easter Egg Hunt was about to begin and I was responsible for dressing my son in one of those "rich baby" outfits. This thing was tricky...a lot of snaps, buttons and things I wasn't use to. Not to mention, it didn't really fit. I was beginning to panic because the "nice outfit" section in Jack's closest was foreign to me. There was no way I could find a replacement. With that said, it was time for one of those emergency calls to the wife. Luckily, Sandy was near the house on a late lunch run for the nurse unit.
A few minutes later, my wife swooped in, ready to rescue her son. Poor Jack, he was a mess. First of all, I didn't know what a "knee-high" sock was, so I had those folded over and pushed down. Second, the outfit was much tighter than I lead to believe. Every time Jack moved, something unsnapped or popped off. He sounded like a walking firework, which was the very reason for the emergency, mother mission.
Naturally, Sandy saved the situation. Within 35 seconds, she found another outfit, made sure it fit, pulled up his "knee high" socks, and had the boy looking like a little stud. Sandy even managed to touchup a stain with whiteout. She was in and out in seconds. The ultimate problem solver. Very impressive.

Okay, so that's a tidbit of what I wrote in the '07 column. Now, let's move on to the 2008 St. Richard's Easter Egg Hunt. Just like last year, my wife had to work the weekend and would try to meet us there. The night before, Sandy assured me that Jack's "rich baby" outfit wasn't too small. She even had the boy model the thing. She spoon-fed me with what to do and how to do it. No way would I repeat the horrible panic from a year ago.
So the next day arrived and it was time to dress my boy. Everything was moving right on schedule. The outfit went on with problem. As I began pushing up his knee-high socks, I thought they looked a little wrinkly. Why not go the extra mile and run an iron over them, get 'em nice and crisp? As I laid the socks across the board, a little voice in my head was saying, "No!" As I debated that in my mind, I grabbed the iron and flipped it on a "delicate" setting. As I began moving back and forth across the socks, nothing was happening. They wouldn't de-wrinkle. I got a little more aggressive...this wasn't making sense. Right about that very moment, before I could get another thought in, I slung brown, rusty water all over both socks. Oops. At this point, I remembered Sandy reminding me to be careful because that was his only pair. I began to panic. I grabbed some sorta stain stuff and started spraying and ironing, spraying and ironing, spraying and ironing. I was doing everything in my power to remove the rusty streaks from the clean, white socks. As soon as it became obvious that I was starting a fire, I realized that I would need to get creative...and get creative quick. Time was the enemy.
I ran across the house to Jack's room and began riffling through his sock drawer. Stuff was flying all over the place. I was hunting for the highest pair. I finally found something workable, grabbed Jack like a football, raced across the house, and plopped him on the kitchen bar. I spastically tugged on two completely different socks and attempted to get creative. I managed to stretch one near his knee and the other close enough. I folded each one down about an inch from the top, attempting to give it the nice, knee-high look. I grabbed Jack, stood him up to admire my creativity. Not good. I quickly realized that Jack looked like he was about to play soccer in a "rich baby" outfit. He looked ridiculous, but I was clearly out of time and ideas.
As we began our drive towards the Easter egg hunt, I visualized everyone pointing and laughing at my son. I could see his mom, with her arms crossed, giving me "the look." I desperately wanted to turn around, but couldn't because my wife wasn't answering her cellphone and Jack was in the back pumping his hands in the air yelling "Easter Eggs." I could never disappoint him like that, no matter how ridiculous his athletic, non-matching, knee-high socks looked. Finally, the phone rang. Sandy was on the other end telling me she had to go to a sudden delivery and would be stuck at the hospital. "Oh, don't worry about're not gonna miss much," I responded (with a grin). As soon as my disappointed wife hung up the phone, I called my parents and asked them to quickly hide some eggs in the backyard, we were on our way. Hey, what can I say? It was a win/win. Jack goes on his Easter hunt and I stay out of trouble.
In conclusion to this column, I have some good news to report. This will be the last time you'll read about Jack's wardrobe malfunction. Yep, my wife just began a nursing career at St. Dominic and will no longer be working on weekends. In other words, I can take "knee-high socks" and "rich baby" outfits completely out of my vocabulary.  Life is good.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Year of Three Has Been Very Chatty (old column)

"JACK, SLOW DOWN!" "JACK, PLEASE STOP!"  "NOOOOOOOOO JACK!" "JACK, DON'T TOUCH THAT!" It's about mid-morning and I've already said that name 432 times. I guess I'm thankful it's such a simple name to say. I'm also quite thankful I just "holed" myself in the computer room to write you a column. I needed a cave.

About this time last year, I opined about the "terrible twos" not being so terrible. As Jack sprints towards his fourth birthday, all I have to say is WHO-AH! The year of three has been quite adventurous. Don't read me wrong, he's not a bad kid at all, he can just be way too wiggly. If I took 10% of his energy, I could have already run two marathons this morning. 

The year of three has been very chatty. This is a good thing, but it can be an obstacle. Forget that certain letters sound nothing like they're suppose to, because you've gotta pick-up what he's saying, and quick. When "tire" means "fire" and "loger" means "yogurt," you've gotta be sharp minded. It's like playing a game of beat-the-clock, because if you don't quickly comprehend, a meltdown is very possible. 
Over the past year, repeating myself has become a second hobby. I can be three feet away and Jack hears nothing. I can holler his name fifty times and get no response. Of course, if I whispered the word "cookie," he'd come flying around the corner, open-mouthed. Not to mention, Jack hears everything at night. If there's a thunderstorm in Seattle, he'll let you know...and let you know with a very serious look.
On a more innocent note, Jack had his first huge crush over the past year. You might be thinking it was a classmate, a teacher, or maybe even a babysitter. Nope. My son is head-over-heels for Daisy Duck. I'm serious, the boy is smitten over a cartoon character. Of course, like a friend recently pointed out, better Daisy Duck than Daisy Duke. That's when you've got trouble.

Speaking of "trouble," while writing this column, I've heard several smashes, crashes, thuds, and yells. I've heard a lot of fast-moving footsteps. And, of course, I've heard the word "Jack" another 432 times. As you can imagine, it's been very relaxing being holed-up in the computer room writing you a column. I'm sorta scared to finish it. I've enjoyed my cave.
Whenever I vent to my mom about how wild Jack can be, she just smiles and says, "That boy is mild compared to you." I'm sure there where many moments when my mother wanted to crawl in her bed and get in the fetal position. Who could blame her, I did have the nickname, "Bad News."
The more I think about it, the more I realize how easy I have it. I wouldn't trade a thing for these busy-body years. For every "fetal position" thought, there's about 22 heart melting moments. Trust me, I thank God every day for my little boy. I'm blessed, and that will never be taken for granted. I love the word "Jack."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Son is Not a Fan of Sunday Service

"Please, please, please, don't make me go to church!" "It's so boring." "I don't wanna go, Daddy, I don't wanna go!" Toss in some crying and you've got my son's new obstacle in life. The boy can certainly be dramatic. You'd think I was dragging him to the doctors office for a round of shots. I say that with sarcasm, but he really might pick the needle. 

You wanna hear some more drama samples? Sure you do. A few Sundays ago, I was concerned 'cause Jack was still in his bed at 8:30. This dude wakes up EARLY, so this was way out of the norm. Finally, I went over to his bed, bent down, and stared at him to make sure everything was okay. Right about that time, his eyes opened and he said, "Daddy, what time is it?" I replied, "I don't know, maybe around 8:30." He then made a classic Jack response, "You can go on now, Daddy, I'm gonna sleep through church." If I didn't drag him out of bed, I think he would've stayed there.

He's not only pleading his case to me, he's taking it straight to the priest. No joke. Recently, about 10 seconds before mass started, my boy walked up to Fr. Mike and asked for a favor. "Would you please shorten's just way too long?" The priest responded, "Well, how would you have me do that?" Jack quickly added, "You can get rid of the communion part and maybe some singing." Fr. Mike laughed, but didn't take his advice. 

Okay, so lets be honest, what kid loves church? I would probably be concerned if he was excited about sitting still for an hour. And "sitting still" is not the easiest thing for Jack. The boy isn't bad, he's just busy, especially with his mouth. Everyone who knows him, knows that. He's a communicator and certainly loves to have conversations during church. There's no telling how many times I hear, "Is it almost over?" He'll even shed a few tears asking his favorite question. 

As you can imagine, 60 minutes of a Sunday service can turn into a tense experience. I can't tell you when the last time I was able to pay attention to an entire mass. I gotta be honest, these days church can be quite exhausting. After admitting that, I just may need to schedule a confession. Pray for me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Ladies Have a Gift to Gab.

When I look up "communication" in the dictionary, it reads..."The successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings." Okay, I'm having a problem with the word "share." I'm pretty sure a woman dominates the dialogue. So here's my definition of communication..."the unsuccessful conveying of ideas and feelings that usually leave a man glazed-over and a woman irritated." Does that sounds about right?

It's time to toss out an example of a typical man/woman conversation. The man says, "Hey, where's the mustard." The woman replies, "Speaking of mustard, I was in McDonald's today, because I didn't wanna go to Wendy's, anyway, I grabbed a packet of mustard, remember I'm watching my weight so no mayo, anyway, um, where was I....oh yeah, and across from me was a girl I hadn't seen since my high-school cheerleading days and she was telling me about this teacher we had that always.................(I'm glazed over at this point)..........yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda. 

How is a man supposed to follow that? We went from mustard to cheerleading in a matter of seconds. I just wanted something to squirt on my hamburger. I was starving and wanted to stare at the wall and eat. I didn't really want to run down memory lane and follow a story that had about 15 side-stories.

I can't tell you how many times I have a woman shaking her finger at me, telling me I'm just like every other guy. That every time they get a little wordy, I look like a clueless caveman. Of course, "wordy" may be the understatement of the year. Woman get paragraphy. Hey, what can I say, I like to get to the point, not avoid it.

Of course, you really have to admire a woman's gift to gab. Life would be boring without it. And I love the ladies in my life, no doubt. However, there needs to be a compromise in the conversing. I'll work harder at following your side-stories, if you work harder at getting to the point. If we can accomplish that, men might just have more to say.

Enough said.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Wife Gets All the Space and Life is Good.

It's a good thing I'm a simple man, especially when it comes to needing space. I remember when I first got married and we had to share a tiny bathroom. About 3 days into that, I took my stuff to the kitchen sink. There was only so many times I could maneuver around 56 womanly things to get to a stick of deodorant. I say this with absolute sincerity, my wife's beauty supplies outnumber my bathroom stuff by about 445 to 4. You give me a toothbrush, some paste for that, a razor, some deodorant, and I'm good to go.

You think I would have learned as a young dude. I shared a house overflowing with womanly things and womanly moods. Between my mom and two older sisters, I was taught what to say and when to get the hell out of the way. Knowing certain days of the month was marked on my calendar (as if I needed a reminder). I was well trained, to say the least.

However, I never had to share a bathroom with my sisters. Of course, I was quickly taught the toilet seat rule, but I wasn't quite prepped for the hundreds of beauty supplies. I mean really, you ladies get a little extreme with the cream. There must be a lotion for every portion of your body. And don't get me started with the spray. Or the cotton products. Or the gadgets that get hot. Or the things that pull, pluck, and powder. I mean, really?

After 9 years of marriage, maybe the most important thing I've learned is to have your own space. I will NEVER share another bathroom or closet with my wife. EVER! I love her more than anything, but I don't love that look she gives when I'm invading her "getting ready"space. 

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Something Slithered Towards the Wife.

Since I'm now the proud owner of a 1000 worms (see previous post), I've been reminded of a Saturday not too long ago. You wanna read about it? What? Of course you do.

It was one of those rare Saturdays when none of us had a single plan. Nothing. It was awesome. My wife decided she wanted to test-out her "green thumb." Not me. I was gonna "test-out" the couch. I was in "no go" mode. I was gonna sit on my butt, drink some beers, eat a steak, and drool at the TV. I was gonna make Al Bundy proud.

About 10 minutes after sinking into la-la land, I heard an ear-piercing scream. That was quickly followed by a body (arms flapping with pruning shears in hand) running light-speed for the backdoor. There stood my wife, breathing heavy and looking pale. She finally managed to get a few words out...well, sorta. " in my face." My very insensitive response went something like this..."What Sweetie, a little grass-critter got you all jittery?" After she impersonated the thing a few times and swore how big it was, she even had me a little jittery. Next thing you know, I'm tiptoeing in the backyard with a shovel cocked and ready. Just behind me is my wife, with knee-high boots, clawing into my back. If only the neighbors could have seen this snake-slaying duo.  

Of course, after several laps around the yard, the HUGE snake was never found. Following an investigation via Google, my wife swears it was a copperhead. And the legend lives. My wife's a bit animated. Every time the tale is retold, that copperhead gets much bigger and this husband get much lazier.

In other words, I'm a lazy husband and we have an anaconda (with babies) nesting in the backyard.