Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Great Outdoors *or* I am NOT touching that worm!

One of the great pleasures of being a dad, whether you are city folk or live in a place called Bumpass like we do, is taking your kids fishing.

That's right! The great tradition of loading your fishing poles and fully stocked tackle box into the family wagon and heading for the lake! Unless you are in our house, where you grab your fishing pole, a dozen night crawlers, and throw it all into you 1997 Probe for the 2 minute drive 300 feet up the road to the pond.

The pond is a local sensation that thrills child and parent alike. You see, the owner, a very nice old gentleman, not only keeps it fully stocked with tons of fish, but he also has the fix in. Every single day at 6pm, he throws handfuls of fishy food into the pond and it literally comes alive as hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fish have a feeding frenzy. So... if you want to catch a fish, just go to the pond around 5 - 5:30 pm and throw a hook with anything on it in the water. The kids walk away thinking their father knows all about bait and technique, when really I just know about timing.

As you can see, my son brought one in right away. My five-year-old daughter was a different story. She had the following problems, in order:

1. Hot

2. Worm Sympathy (doesn't it hurt the worms to go on the hook, Daddy!?)

3. Cold

4. Tired

5. Bored

6. Bugs! Bugs on the ground Daddy! (Yes - I explained they live there).

7. Bored again (or was it still?)

8. Fish Sympathy (I don't want it to die - I just want to catch it!)

9. Jealousy (Her brother pulled in two in a row and all she got was some stupid weeds and then a tree limb due to no fault of her own - except the part where she wildly flailed around with her pole screaming "Bug on me! Bug on me!")

10. Anxiety Separation (I miss Mommy! - who was home 300 feet away)

The good news is that she finally overcame all of her issues and was able to hold onto a pole I cast out for her long enough for a fish to latch on for the ride. Please note her brother holding the pole with her big catch while she symbolically touches the rod. Right after the photo shutter snapped she ran away screaming not to let the fish get her.
Oh yes... these are the days we will always remember. Next time she wants to wear gloves and full body armor. I say why not.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Our Independence Day Story - Sort Of

There are so many of us who really don't understand our history, including me, so I did some in depth research in order to provide us all with the story of our country's independence.

It all starts with an alien spaceship threatening an ex-stripper, who is saved by Will Smith... er... wait. That's the movie! Duh! Here, in a concise format, is the history of the July 4th Holiday, Independence Day:

Once upon a time, there was group of people who didn't particularly enjoy being British so they decided to face death and cross a gigantic mass of water and land right here in America. Well, they died a lot, but not all of them, and the ones who survived made some colonies. These 13 colonies would one day become the United States as well as have some of the largest real estate taxes ever known to man simply because they were in the North East. Anyway...

There was this dude with the totally unoriginal name of "George III" (come on, like George I and II couldn't say "let's try Tom this time!"?). George was the King of England, where a bunch of people with red coats and guns lived. Well he decided to do two things that really pissed off these new colonist, and, of course, they had to do with taxes. This started the American tradition of "Tax Bitching" that still continues today, but I digress. Here is what he did:

1. Tax the crap out of the 13 Colonies (Yes - He was a Democrat), and

2. Fail to allow the 13 Colonies to be represented in the "English Parliament" (this was the 18th century version of the U. S. Congress with fewer crooks, but only because they had fewer delegates).

Well, this "taxation without representation" (currently modernized to read "we took a screwin' there boys!" here in Bumpass, VA) did not abide. George was getting that itchy feeling you get on the back of your neck, you know, the one where you are about to take a butt whoopin' and you figure you ought to do something. So... he started massing up troops in the 13 colonies from 1774-1775 or so in case the folks there decided to get all hot under the collar and open up a can of whoop ass.

In April of 1775, George through a hissy fit, and against the advice of those around him (nobody listens to their wife anymore!) he sent the troops off after the 13 Colonies to get them under control. Now, this is where it really gets harry.

You see, I always forget if Paul Revere road around shouting "The British Are Coming!" or if it was that Ichabod Crane dude.. but I looked it up on Google today and I'm 100% sure it was Paul Revere because that Ichabod Crane fellow would have had hell in a basket doing any shouting with the whole "headless" thing going on. Anyway...

Paul Revere road all over the place shouting about the British coming, and some other buddy of his had a couple of beers and climbed up in a lighthouse or something like that and the next thing you know: bam! There was that can of whoop butt.

To make a long story short, we declared our independence from England on July 4th, 1776, beat the living daylights out of them, and have been blowing stuff up every 4th of July since then. This signing took place in Philadelphia, the "City of Brotherly Love" and the "Most Viscious Fans Alive," but that would come later.

So, today, celebrate your independence! Happy Birthday America... and F U George.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Age Is Just A Number -or- Happy Poopday!

Age is just a number... Old people always say that. Really, though, my son's 11th Birthday made me think about this for the first time in a while. I mean, if you really think about it, the same central theme surrounds most of our birthdays. Life IS like a box of chocolates after all Forrest!

Someone said, you know you are young when you can still laugh. I don't know who that genius was, but that is my rule of age. When the laughter dies, well... you get the idea. Take for example my five year old daughter and, now, eleven year old son. Stopping them from giggling like a couple of completely insane people is nearly impossible once they get going. It usually starts of with the most basic and simple of statements and then just gets worse (or better, depending on your perspective) from there.

My daughter usually starts it with a statement similar to the following:

"Hey, Jacob!"
"Yes, Emma?"
"Chicken Poop!"

Then they are off to the giggling races. A small giggle the size of, say, a pebble, quickly "snowballs" into a roaring laughter complete with tears as the "Poop" exchange begins. Before long we have, what I affectionately call a "Poop-a-thon" and my wife lovingly refers to as "make them stop it-a-thon" that includes:

Bird Poop, Dog Poop, Harry Poop, Henry Poop, Henry T. Poop, Harry Poop the 3rd etc.

The level of Poop continues to rise, as does my lovely wife's insistence that they stop immediately if not sooner... which I am unable to hear over my own contributions, such as:

Mr. Poopity Pooper, Sir Poops-a-Lot, and (my personal favorite) Poooooo-rific!

There is just something, you see, about the giggle of a five year old girl that ruptures the senses and goes straight to the giggle box of a father. It is, in a word, inexplicable. It is also, to choose another word, awesome. Once I hear that laugh... I am done for.

After some cajoling, and near laughter of her own, my dearest wife finally convinces me that I should put a stop to this as it is getting out of control (Poop is now being added as a prefix to family member names with hilarious results... I mean really - who can resist dear old Grandma Poo?) I must attempt to stop the laughter.

"That's enough!" I say, almost too sternly, adding stupidly, "no more Poop!" Which, for some unknown reason, has the opposite effect. Now Mom has to jump in and put the proverbial foot down with:

"Ok - nobody say "Poop" anymore - that's enough!"

Ultimately, the three children settle down a bit, but then something odd occurs. Mom, having settled the group gets the slightest tickle, followed by the smallest grin, that is caught by the eye of the littlest girl... and we are off again. Boy... there is just something about that little laugh!