Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Tatooed Tree-killers

The morning started out with an attempt to give the boys their first ever ink poisoning. It ended up with a nice orange tattoo plastered to my forehead that read 'Danger: Pirates'. It might as well have read 'Moron' since that is the predominant look that I received for the rest of the weekend.

I am no stranger to embarrassing marks on my forehead. When I was a kid, I took my baby sister's suction cup rattle, licked it, and stuck it on my forehead. This made Vena laugh, which somehow told my 10-year old brain that I should dance around with it stuck to my head for over an hour. When I finally got bored of making an ass of myself, I discovered that leaving a suctioned device on your body for over an hour is the equivalent of giving yourself a really big hickey.

The next day, as I got on the school bus, all the kids wanted to know what the big round mark on my forehead was. 'Baseball. Came out of nowhere and WHACK! Right smack on the forehead'. Christine, my older sister with the big mouth, felt compelled to explain to the entire bus that it was not anything cool like getting whacked in the head with a baseball. She gleefully shouted out the details of how I managed to give myself a huge hickey on my forehead. Even the bus driver was laughing at me.

After briefly trying to scrub the tattoo off without success, I began to worry about how I would get the damn thing off before going back to work. To take my mind off of this minor problem, I rounded up the boys to go and destroy nature instead.

Sami had a tree on his patio that must have really pissed him off at some point. He called in my boys to back him up and to be honest, the tree never had a chance. As you can imagine, Destructo Dave was completely in his element and was absolutely thrilled to be out destroying anything. Peter had fun, too, until he got tree sap on his hands. I tried to explain that lumberjacks out in the forest don't drop everything and wash their hands every time they get dirty, but Mr. Clean didn't want to hear it. Whatever, neat freak.

After teaching the boys how to take out trees, I thought I would continue with the nature appreciation theme and took the boys to the pet store. Because, hey - where else can you get up-close and personal glimpses of animals locked up in cages the way nature didn't intend?

I picked up some kitty litter and as I paid, the lady at the register started flirting with me. Being a famous and well-known blogger, this is not so unusual for me, so I just played along. It began with a few obvious glances, followed by a smile. Then another smile, followed by some playful giggling. When the giggling turned into outright laughter, I remembered the freakin' tattoo on my forehead. Moron.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we were cutting down trees with Sami.
David: When I have fun from Kakarina and Sami.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: It was nothing that bad today.
David: When Peter made my animal away.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Dalia in the zoo.
David: When I have Sharky tattoos here and here and here and here, too.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Vampires, kisses and hair

Europe is always a little behind on things and apparently Halloween is no different. In Germany, it's called Fasching, which must translate to 'sleep all day, then leave your husband at home with the kids and go party your ass off'.

The day started out early. For me. Since Angie slept all day, it was actually the late afternoon that started out early for her. Why was Angie so tuckered out? Well, thanks for asking. It was because we stayed up the night before until two o'clock in the AM playing poker and celebrating Simone's birthday. Why wasn't I tuckered out? I was, actually. At least it was fun - Happy Birthday, Simonelina!

So, yeah, while Angie snored away breakfast and lunch, I played games with the boys. We didn't actually play any games, but we did pull every single one of them down off of the shelves and opened them up to make sure they had all the pieces. As any moron knows, the only way to check that all the pieces are there is to dump everything on the floor and start kicking the hell out of anything that touches the ground. I know this because Angie woke up from her nappy wappy in the middle of our piece checking and called me a moron.

I left Angie to deal with the aftermath of our playtime hurricane and went to cook dinner. Dalia was coming over and she was bringing her parents with her, so I was cooking for seven. Tom only needs carrots, and since they are microwavable, I left Angie to deal with that, too.

After tuna steaks and pasta, it was time for Eisi to escort the ladies to the Vampire's Ball. Brian and I kissed the vampire groupies ba-bye and sat down for what turned out to be two and half minutes of silence. Tom either hates me or he is really turning into a Mama's boy.

I tried a bottle of warm milk. I tried a bowl of baby apple sauce. I tried heating up some really mushy carrots. In the end, I found something that calmed him down.

Either Tom really digs wigs or he thought a dog was sitting on his head and feared it would wake up if he wasn't quiet. Either way, I did not really care. He was not screaming, which was everything I needed to make me smile.

Tom eventually fell asleep, leaving Brian and me to entertain ourselves.

As Brian and I exchanged what I am sure were extremely intellectual thoughts, my wife was busy kissing a strange woman.

Yes, she is very strange. The fun didn't stop, there, though. Angie partied like a rock star and then kicked me to the sofa so another strange woman could sleep in our bed.

At least Angie is related to this weirdo. I may have to revise my translation of Fasching to 'sleep all day, then leave your husband at home with the kids and go party your ass off...and then bring home a blonde sporting nice fangs'.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I am playing cars.
David: Peter and Dalia and Peter and Dalia and Brian and stories.
Dalia: When me and Peter and David start playing Diego and Dora and Alicia have birthday.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David hit me with his hand on my knee.
David: When Peter bonked on the head and he need a krankenhaus.
Dalia: When I wanted to wake up and my mommy and daddy didn't want to wake up.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Dalia.
David: When Peter and Dalia make that noise.
Dalia: You know it's the only thing I want to do - play and eat.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Caretaker Chris

This is Eisi. Also known as Chris. Also known as Peter's Godfather. I won't tell you what his family calls him. Aside from all the nicknames, pet names and references to animal body parts, what Eisi would really like to be called is Caretaker Chris.

Caretaker Chris is the name of his video application for the Best Job in the World contest. The video is pretty cool and not just because The Johnson's are in it, although I am sure we are the defining frame between worthless crap and pretty cool.

This contest has been running for some time and it is now down to the last four days. Eisi has managed to stay in the top ranking, so these last few days of voting will be critical. Because the job is in Australia and I would love to have a fully-paid excuse to go throw another shrimp at anything, I would ask my two readers to cast their votes. If for no other reason, a trip to Australia would make for some kick-ass blogs.

There are only four days left to vote but you can vote once each day, so get started. Feel free to spam the hell out of your friends, family and other people you hate and use intimidation, begging and bribes to get them to get their vote on.

Since I am on a shameless call for votes anyway, I would also like to point out that all you chuckle-heads out there can vote for me, too. I finally got off my ass and added the smiley faces at the bottom of each blog. If you like the blog, if it makes you giggle, if it makes you laugh so hard that you get light-headed and smash your head on your keyboard, let me know. Click on the smiley and vote. Don't get me wrong, I adore all of the fan mail and flowers that get delivered twice daily. I don't mind the autographs, talk shows and screaming fans. Nor do I find the paparazzi to be as intrusive as they are made out to be. It's like I keep telling all those persistent agents - book and movie deals are just not my thing. They can keep their mega-bazillion dollar contracts - I just want the smileys. Eisi is not a smiley kind of guy, though. He would much prefer stars instead. Five of them, to be exact.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I played with David animals.
David: When I Max and Ruby came out.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David put his butt in my face.
David: When Tom need he really loud cry.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play huka paka Peter.
David: When we go in kindergarten.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sneaky Pete and Tommy the Rattle

I now know why I constantly discover toys in the most unusual places. Today I caught Peter hiding his toys behind the book shelf so that 'David keeps his stinkin' hands off of my stuff and stops breaking my toys'. Ah, brotherly hate. How cute.

It does explain how Dora the Explorer ended up in the freezer and why there was a SpongeBob puzzle in the hamper. Our house is slowly turning into the Twilight Zone for toys. The other day, all of the juices from the fridge disappeared. We have yet to find them.

Today's selfishness did not stop with Peter hording his stash; Tom chose today to start voicing his territory as well. Normally, if he is not eating or sleeping, he is chewing on everything all day. When I came home, he was trying to eat a rattle that was four times as big as his head. Silly me thought he might appreciate it if I switched the giant watermelon for a teething ring that would actually fit in his mouth. As is often the case, though, my thinking only led to another human crying.

As I took the rattle away, I was immediately amazed at how purple Tom had suddenly become. Before I could wonder why it looked like he was taking a really deep breath, the scream came. Not a few whimpers that slowly build up to the 'I'm REALLY NOT happy' scream like he normally does. No, this was a zero to sixty, full-on death wail because I took his freakin' rattle away. Oh, grow up.

Angie looked at me like I was Satan and told me to give him back his rattle. I did, and the screaming was immediately replaced with smiling. Rather contently, I might add. I even snapped a shot of Tom playing the innocent victim.

Innocent my ass. He may only be four months old, but I know he was mocking me with that goofy little smirk of his. What he doesn't realize is that I happen to love people with goofy smirks. Sometimes I even marry them.

It was about that point that David walked in. After today's possession proclamations, I was fully expecting him to dive on the nearest pile of toys and start screaming 'MINE!' When I realized that he wasn't on a mission of self-greed like the rest of my boys, I decided to have a little fun.

'Hey David, I got an idea. Go take Tommy's rattle and hide it behind the bookshelf in Peter's room.'
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I go to kindergarten 'cause I like kindergarten.
David: When we came home.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I couldn't go to my group in kindergarten 'cause my group was all dark and I stayed in David's group.
David: When Tom is upwaked.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play huka-puka Peter.
David: When we sleep in bed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Dalia Day!

We had been talking about Valentine's Day for the past week so that the boys would get excited about it. This morning, we asked the boys if they remembered what today was. It's Dalia Day!! Aside from Dalia being their obvious choice for their sweetheart, it was also her Birthday party. And, I have to admit, it was one kick-ass party - beheadings, fire and jell-o shots were just part of the fun organized by Brian and Clarice. Hurray for Dalia Day!

The theme for Dalia's little bash was Dora the Explorer. After being subjected to countless episodes over the years, I have often wanted to whack her with a stick. I just somehow always assumed that this would make the kids cry. Brian and Clarice managed to figure out a way to turn this into a fun event for everyone. Man, I love piñatas.

After the kids took their turns, the adults joined in a therapeutic attempt to rid themselves of built-up cartoon hatred and aggression. Luckily, I was able to duck as Dora's torso came flying across the room. Man, I freakin' LOVE piñatas.

After any good beating, nothing hits the spot better than a good old-fashioned fire.

It is a damn good thing that there was a rocket launcher on Dalia's cake, though. It took everyone's attention away from the fact that there were only three candles on the cake. I am no mathamagician, but four plus one aint three.

In the flaming picture above, you will also see a tray of jell-o shots. After downing six or seven of them, Clarice informed me that they were for the kids. What do you mean by 'there's no Vodka in them'? Who the hell taught you how to make jell-o shots?

The kids then disappeared upstairs to get their faces painted. The adults drank coffee and glared at Clarice for her lack of proper jell-o making skills. After a two cup break, the boys made their way back down to show off their new faces.

Peter looked so proud that I could not bring myself to tell him that he looked like a zombie football player who cut himself shaving. Who knows, though, maybe he actually was going for that 'dead sportsman' look.

David was a little easier to tell. I knew when he raced off to get painted that he would either come back completed covered in red paint, or choose to be a lion. Luckily for Brian and Clarice's new sofa, David chose to be the jungle king.

As the party started to wind down, Clarice completely lost her mind and asked Angie for cooking advice. This, for some strange reason, caused Angie to giggle uncontrollably for ten minutes.

When the snorting and howling stopped, Clarice gave up and asked me. As I explained how to not burn down the kitchen, I heard Angie scream. I turned in time to see one of the kids jumping off of the top of the sofa and landing on Tom, who was asleep on the cushions. Not surprisingly, this woke Tom up, who was not so happy about being jumped on. For the next five minutes, Tom continued to demonstrate that his lungs worked. In the end, he was grumpy, but fine. If anything, he got his first dose of what is sure to come with two bigger brothers in the house.

Having your baby crushed is always a good point to leave a party. Peter and David were spending the night, so we tried to say goodbye. They were too busy shoving handfuls of candy into their mouth. If they would have been coming home, I would have stopped the sugar intake. Instead, I chuckled to myself and wished Brian and Clarice luck. Not good luck, just luck.

We got home just as Sami and Kika arrived. They had volunteered to babysit Tom in our first attempt in over a year to go out without any kids. Since Kika is currently pregnafied, we thought it would be good practice.

We stopped in our local Irish pub for a quick drink and to watch Wales spank England in the Six Nations rugby cup. We organized this win as a birthday gift for Welsh Rob - Happy Birthday! We finished our pint and headed towards the restaurant. As it turns out, the pint saved us being in the middle of eating when we got The Call. I guess Tom is somewhat of a Mama's baby. To make a long evening short, we made our way back home and ordered pizzas.

Even though we stumbled slightly on our first 'baby steps to feeling human again', we had a great time. Even when we came home, Tom stopped crying and went to sleep, allowing Angie and me to have a few moments to ourselves. There was no fire, no beheadings, and certainly no jell-o shots without Vodka, but it was still a lot of fun.
Ladder Talk:
Brian claims he did Ladder Talk, so I will add this as soon as the bum gets off his and sends it.

1) What was the best part of your day?

2) What was the worst part of your day?

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The hamper monster

Angie has long been frightened of the bottom of the hamper. Today, I think I discovered why. Check out the details.

Dinner's ready!

I love Angie. You should see her prepare a meal fit for kings. The way she picks up the phone, the way she slowly dials the number - the way she says 'Johnson's...the' It's amazing. Check out the full story.

The hamper ate my Papa

Before going to work this morning, I thought I´d drop a subtle, yet humorous, hint for Angie that I needed my jeans washed. Not surprisingly, Peter and David got up before Mama and discovered the jeans. To put it calmly, they freaked out. What you see here is post-spas when they finally accepted that the hamper monster had not ripped off Papa's torso for breakfast.

I was quite happy that the kids would have shown some concern had I actually been gobbled up by the laundry reaper. The whole ordeal, though, made me wonder if Angie had ever had a bad childhood experience involving a hamper? It would at least explain her fear of them. I'll have to ask her one day - just not this year.

At work, Angie called with the lovely news that Peter had been sick all afternoon. I left an hour early to take him to the doctor's, only to find out that they would not see him until tomorrow morning. Thanks, Doc.

We gave Peter some fever medicine and in about ten minutes he went from Sicko the Slug to Peter the ping-pong. I let him bounce around the walls for a little while and then put the boys to bed. As I tucked Peter in, he announced that he wanted to have a sister and asked how long it would take. I laughed and tried to explain the concept of hell and things freezing over, but he had already switched subjects and was telling me how glad he was that the hamper monster had not eaten me. Me, too,, too.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we did this by yours the animal center in your room.
David: When we go home in our house.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I was sick all day.
David: When we go to Dalia's not.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play Peter the Hunchback.
David: When we go to Dalia's house.

see related cartoon

Wake me up when I'm bald

Note to David: Never, ever, EVER fall asleep with a stranger who has a shaver. I found this out the hard way at a party back in my Navy days.

Toasted Sister

On my sister's last day, she tried becoming a statistic. On average, 15 people a year kill themselves by sticking a knife or fork in the toaster. For Christine, it was a fork.

I came back from picking up the car to take her to the airport and found that all of the lights in our apartment were off. Before I could begin troubleshooting, Chris spoke out from the dark.

'Steve, I did something really stupid...'

Yes, you did. And hopefully this will blog home the point.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Warning: Objects may actually be more disgusting than they appear.

I came home from work late because of a phone conference with the very inconsiderate Canadians and their damn time difference. Eh? As I walked in, I was shocked to discover two new developments. The first was that Angie apparently lets Tom head butt pumpkins while I am at work. I congratulated her on this unique feeding technique, but she was too busy interrupting me with the second big surprise. Eh?

'They're carrots, moron. Anyway, guess what? Dinner is ready!'

With Angie, cooking normally means one of three things:

a) take-out food
b) microwave
c) fire

I could deduce from the lack of smoke and acrid stench that our kitchen was safe. I made a couple innocent comments about meals that go ding! and suddenly defensive Angie was trying to explain to me that it was a home cooked meal. It just wasn't cooked in our home. Eh?

The pizza from casa de Liberty's was excellent. Angie had been feeling like shit all day, but I think the grease pie helped. That and when I came home, of course. My keen sense of feelings is so in touch with its feminine side that it told Angie to sit down and relax. Then some other voice in my head told me to have all three boys jump up and down on Angie's lap. Eh?

Warning: Objects with fake smiles may actually be more pissed at you than they appear.

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I played with you Memory.
David: When Peter sleep with mommy in bed.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When Mama is sick.
David: When Tom's crying.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play Peter the Hunchback.
David: When Mama came.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The bridge to appeasement

I woke up to the smell of anger and disappointment. Someone was pounding on the door and the phones were ringing off the hook. As I made my way to the front entrance, I heard shouting and yelling. I nervously opened the door and was confronted by a mob of angry fans.

'What the hell do you think you are doing?'

'Three weeks?! You skipped three weeks?'

'How dare you?! What kind of zoo are you running?!'

'We want those blogs. You OWE us those blogs!'

Ok, maybe it was not exactly a mob. To be honest, it was only two people and one of them was my wife. But the point is, I can not let down my three readers. As a compromise, I offered to bridge those missing three weeks with the following snipits of blogs that would have been, had I actually found the time to write them.

This was David, getting a kick out of getting kicked out of kindergarten for the first time. I would like to think it will be the last time, but I am a realist. Sorry to all those lame-ass pluralists out there. David felt so bad that he went inside, stole Tom's pacifier and tried flushing it down the toilet. Yes, you guessed - he laughed at that as well.

Peter proclaimed himself King of the Zoo. After covering the table with animals, he refused to remove them to eat. Who can argue with the King? I can. And with only one swoop of my hand and minimal crying.

Tom figured how to be both cute and disgusting within the span of 20 seconds. This picture would be the cute part. The bubbles that shortly followed this lovely snapshot would be the disgusting bit.

In Peter and David's version of The Lion and the Dragon, the lion is apparently not so happy about his role and the dragon thinks he is an iguana.

Peter is smiling here because he thinks he has found the key to never going to the ear doctor's again.

This is Tom, moments after we have broken the news to him that we are, in fact, related.

I came home to find Angie roaming the halls again. Unlike my cousin Itt, I am actually married to this one.
Jen and Doyle say ba-bye to Deutschland with a kick-ass party. Since Angie was weighted down with an anchor wrapped in diapers, I volunteered to attend in her absence. She was not as grateful as I would have expected, but I wisely chose to just let that one go.

Sami taught the boys how to play memory. I can't remember who won, though.

Tom had his first meal. In addition to gagging himself with a silver spoon, he also smeared food in his hair, on the rug and somehow managed to fling some on the cat. At least it answers one question - when it comes to eating, it looks like he will take after David and not Peter.

Before leaving the country for good, Jen and Doyle stopped by for an entertaining variation of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. In addition to lemons and humor, they also brought 8 weeks worth of homemade Mexican food. Gracias!

Instead of driving us up the walls, Peter somehow confused the instructions from his mother ship and began climbing Eisi's radiator.

Eisi presented Peter with a walking stick that was his when he was Peter's age. We then spent the rest of the afternoon explaining to people that Peter was not blind.

So there, I hope my three readers are happy now. What about Ladder Talk? you might ask. For that, I can save a lot of time and boil it down to the following generic Ladder Talk that pretty much covers the entire period.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I play with Dalia.
David: When I play with Dalia.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David hit me on the [insert body part here] and it hurt.
David: When Gizma scratch me and I cry.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To see Dalia.
David: To see Dalia.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Look at that tootsie roll

I was in the other room when Angie started freaking out. She screamed like I had not heard her scream since that time when she found out she was pregnant with Peter. Do you sense a flashback coming?

It was the first night back from our honeymoon. I should say up front that our honeymoon was not directly after our marriage for you nosey types with your fancy calculators. This was during the B.C. years (before children), when partying was a nightly ritual and having breakfast for lunch was considered early.

We got in from the airport and dumped our bags. The plan was to go out and meet friends for what would surely end up at 3 o'clock in the morning with a bottle of champagne and the brilliant idea of swimming across the river to climb what, at the time, looked to be an uninhabited boat. That is another flash of my back altogether, though.

Anyway, Angie needed five minutes to get pretty. It only took me only two seconds and a mirror to confirm that I was ready to go. As I waited for Angie's beautiformation, I reflected on our honeymoon. It was a great time - I can highly recommend Mauritius to anyone. Towards the end of our trip, though, I noticed certain changes. Angie started having mood swings and I don't mean the fun kind they have at playgrounds. Suddenly, our plans to go water skiing, bungee jumping and parasailing were all deemed stupid and reckless, which were exactly the reasons why those things had appealed to us in the first place.

A toe curling scream from the bathroom brought me back from my thoughts. I grabbed a shoe and raced into the bathroom, certain that I would find my new wife cowering in the opposite corner of the spider that had surely frightened her. Instead, Angie was holding what looked to be a thermometer. 'I'm pregnant'.

My mind blocked out this declaration and I frantically began looking for a spider. I was convinced that if I could just find some bug to squash, we could go on as if that whole 'I'm pregnant' comment had never been made. Eventually, I had to face the scary truth - there were no spiders in our bathroom. Shit.

Today, almost five years later, Angie screamed that scream again. I raced into the living room, not knowing whether I would find a spider or the need to move again. Instead, Angie was crouched down on the floor next to Tom.

'You gotta see this - watch!! Tom just rolled over!!'

After my heart went back down my throat, I put my shoe back on and watched Tom as he rolled over from his belly to his back. I was ecstatic as well, but it may have had more to do with my hatred of spiders and moving than him being able to roll. I mean, come one - what's the big deal? If I roll more than once at night, I get Angie's elbow in my ribs. Can he whistle?

Angie spent the rest of the night calling everyone who has ever unwittingly given us their phone number to announce the earth-shattering, ground-breaking news that Tom could now roll. Somehow I could not hear all of the 'yipeees' that were surely being shouted over the phone, but I was sitting on the other side of the room.

I was not jumping on the bandwagon of crazy people who were somehow excited that our tiny ankle-biter is now one step closer to being mobile. I actually quite enjoy that he is stationary. See, it all starts with a little roll. Then it's crawling, then comes walking and the next thing you know, they're jumping out of closets and drop-kicking you in the head. And it's all because you could not find one measly spider. You're pathetic.

Ladder Talk:
[Beating Peter with a sword completely exhausted David, who fell asleep before Ladder Talk]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we play with Dalia to play cheetah and lion and unicorn.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David hit me, when he hit it almost in my eye but just in my eye with a sword.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Dalia this book because it is so funny.