Sunday, March 29, 2009

Down by the river

Sundays are meant to be silly. If you're a Johnson, that is. If you're Conor, whose last name is not Johnson, you're actually quite normal. The peace sign does lead a tad bit towards the hippy side of life, but hippies are normal, right? Ok, flowered bell-bottoms and butterfly collars look pretty damn silly, so I guess Conor does fit in with the Zoo crew, even without the silly face.

Angie and I were at home trying to enjoy our silly Sunday when we both realized that without a lot of pushups and sit-ups, the boys would not burn off all of the energy they had built up by an energetic morning of washing down chocolate bars with Kool-Aid. Our boys normally want to be carried down the whopping one flight of stairs to the ground floor, so physical concepts like pushups and sit-ups are, well, just silly.

Since I do silly things like working all week, I was volunteered to take the boys out for their 'energy walk'. I was in the Navy for five years, and as every squid knows, Navy actually stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself. Luckily, my gal in this port volunteered me. Luckily for her, we don't make wenches walk the plank anymore.

I started walking with the boys, absolutely unsure of where we were going. Somehow, my in-built navigation system took us to The Brass Monkey, the coolest pub in town. I'm not sure how I ended up there. Oh, right - they have Guinness. Karen and Gill, the owners, also have a young hippy wanna-be named Moonbeam, also known as Conor. Conor is older than Peter, so Peter adores him. I am older than Peter, but I guess this logic has its limitations.

My love of Guinness almost got in my way of my goal, which was to walk the youngins to the point of utter exhaustion. Almost. When we left the Pub, our party of three picked up Gill and Conor.

I chose the river as our playground and thought it would be cool for the boys to toss pebbles into the rapids. On the way, David prematurely thought it would be groovy to pick up boulders bigger than his head and chuck them over the railing. Directly below the railing was the bike path that ran along the river, so I can only hope that he didn't get more than one stone off before I yanked his ear and explained how unsilly that was.

We walked upstream, stopping approximately every twelve seconds so that the Flingstones could send a bunch of innocent rocks to their watery graves. Each stop took approximately fifteen minutes. Our rocky tour went about a mile and a half, so you do the math. I suck at math and hate people that don't suck at it, so if you're a mathematical braniac, go punch yourself.

At one point, I asked Peter to stop being silly and pose for a picture.

He either needs a clearer definition of 'quit being a jackass and smile' or his mother needs to take him back to the ear doctor´s for another round of de-waxing. One thing is for sure - Peter is going to absolutely hate me when he starts getting interested in girls; especially if they have access to the Internet.

After tossing 458 pebbles, rocks, stones, and bricks into the river, we needed a beer. By we, I mean Gill and me, so WE 'convinced' the boys that they needed tall glasses of Sprite and peach juice.

At the pub, Conor was considerate enough to teach our boys the fine art of burping. Not just one 'accidental' burp. No, I mean that Conor was burping the entire freakin' alphabet and our boys were sucking up every belch of it. I guess Conor has earned his ranking with the Zoo crew, since they spent the rest of the night burping and belching like the French. Merci beaucoup, Karen.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we were throwing the big stones in the water with Conor.
David: When we saw Conor and we did wa-kah in the water.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David hit me with the sword in my side.
David: When Dalia come not here.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play football.
David: When I want to cuddle with Peter again.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Playing in deep waters

In many, many ways, David reminds me of the movie 'Apocalypse Now'. Today, David confirmed this yet again by demonstrating to everyone that he loves the taste of chlorine in the morning.

At the pool, David did not quite understand the concept of 'the deep end' and 'the shallow end'. It started out the same each time. David would begin at the point where his feet could actually touch the bottom of the pool. He would then walk out to the middle of the pool where he would eventually drown himself. Luckily, Papa the lifesaver was conveniently nearby to laugh at him and point fingers as he went under.

After watching the human anchor, I moved my attention to the other kids jumping on Brian's back. I can safely say that Brian's back would make a camel jealous. In some countries, that might be considered a compliment. In ours, though, it begs a lot of smartass jokes. Please feel free to comment.

After an hour of Broke-back Brian, we conned the kids out of the water with bribes of ice-cream. Both Peter and David stopped shivering their blue lips long enough to shout yippees of appreciation and we moved on.
Three hundred licks later, we split up. Brian went to go buy 'stuff'. This sounded eerily like what the ladies had told me earlier this morning, so I began to wonder if Brian had caught a contagious case of mamaitis.

I freaked out and thought I might be contaminated, but since I had no signs of nagging and no burning desire to tell Brian how much I paid for my shoes, I assumed I was in the clear. Brian had no signs of credit fatigue, either, so I released him from quarantine and took the boys plus Dalia on a strategic puddle avoidance course on the way home. Let me just clearly state that kids under the age of five suck at avoiding puddles. Really, really, really suck.

You might wonder where the motherly figures were hiding all this time. My wallet can now confirm that the Mama's of the wild blue here were off shopping for fleas at some market. Angie didn't find any fleas, but she did manage to browbeat some poor teenager into forking over his entire childhood Batman collection.

I can picture the whole conversation...

'How much for the batman car?'

'That's five and I can throw in the action figures for two each and the cave is ten...'

'How about I give you fifteen and take everything you've got and if you so much as twitch at this offer, I will beat you to a pulp and spread you on a piece of toast for breakfast'


Angie waited until the boys were in bed to show me her prized possessions. Peter's birthday is next week, so she has been "collecting" and "bullying" to get those hard-to-find gifts. After almost an hour, though, I had to scold Angie and tell her to put her toys away. Scolding Angie on anything can certainly be described as playing in the deep end, but, in addition to chlorine, I do not like the taste of Angie's boot.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: To go to the swimming pool with David and Dalia.
David: When we go with Brian and me and Dalia and you and Peter to swimming pool.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David bonked me on the head with his head.
David: When I make 'hiya-ka' on Peter head and my head hurt me.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with my cars with mommy.
David: When Dalia come here for me tomorrow.


If Angie continues to piss me off, which is not too far of a stretch for my imagination, I might just contact the dealer to have this lovely extra added. It would certainly thrill Peter, who would love nothing more than to believe that our family wagon has a built-in ejection button. Check out the full story.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gumby goes to church

This is Peter, moments before his big singing debut at a local church. Apparently Peter has been in a choir at school for weeks; an interesting fact that we somehow did not know about until Peter informed us yesterday that he needed to be somewhere at sometime this morning. Thanks, Mr. Vague. This certainly explains why Peter has been singing like a little choir boy for the last few weeks. I was glad to discover that his group performance is much better than his solo renditions on the toilet.

If you look closely in this picture, you will see that Peter has a big wad of gum in his mouth. If you could have looked closely at Peter as he climbed up on stage to sing, you would have seen the same big wad of gum. I can't believe Angie forgot to take his gum out. Yes, it's her fault. Why? Because it is my blog.

Angie and I waved at Peter as he chomped away. For some reason, he chose that moment to try and learn how to blow bubbles. Let me just say that he is closer to whistling than to blowing bubbles and unless he has made any leaps and bounds in the last day or so, he still cannot whistle.

After waving for ten minutes, he finally glanced over and waved back at us. I exaggerated and pointed at my own mouth and pretended to take gum out of my mouth. Nothing. He shrugged his shoulders and looked at me like I was a complete moron. Anyway, after the first song ended, Angie raced out in front of the entire church to have Peter spit his gum into her hand. She also inadvertently won the Most Embarrassing Mom award.

Speaking of embarrassing things in church, I had a little religious Faux pas myself. The ceremony was in German, so my thoughts drifted. Ok, it was more than a drift; my mind went on a three-hour cruise. I was awoken from my island when the lady in front of me whipped around and shook my hand.

'Friede sei mit dir'

My gut reaction was to point to my wedding ring and remind Frieda that we were in a church. Instead, I decided to be polite and return what I thought was just a rather poorly timed introduction.


She gave me a bizarre look and then shook the hand of the guy standing next to me. I then noticed that the entire church was shaking hands with everyone else. It was at that point that I realized that 'Friede sei mit dir' means 'peace be with you'. I can't believe Angie let me do that. Yes, it's her fault.

After Peter's bubble-popping performance, we hit the road to Stuttgart. It was a two-hour ride, which allowed Angie an hour and half to laugh at me before catching a 30 minutes power nap. Between her snoring and cackling, I prefer the snoring.

The Johnson's Zoo arrived safely at their destination: The Stuttgart Zoo

The zoo was very pretty, but all the 'cool' animals that we don't have at our zoo were taken somewhere else for the winter. It's ok, though. We did manage to see one of the rare animals that we came to visit. It's called the 'Blond Tina' and they are renowned for having no fear of baby-toting moms who snicker at their husbands and snore loudly. Sometimes, they even approach these strange humans and rest their head on their shoulder.

Angie and Tina have been close friends since Madonna was a virgin. Since then, Angie has married the man of her dreams and had three boys. Tina also married and has a boy named Fredrick, who apparently likes to stand at military attention when in the presence of peacocks.
After looking at a few too many empty cages, we decided to hit a cafe for a slight break. We also stupidly decided to follow the zoo signs, which kept directing us to cafes that, like many of the animal exhibits, were closed in the winter. Thanks, Stuttgart zoo! Maybe next time, we'll stop by the donkeys to say 'thanks, jackasses'.

After coffee and no cake, we marched on. Our last stop - the tapir exhibit. Don't ask me why, but the tapir is Peter's absolute most favorite animal next to Mama. We used to have one at our zoo, but it was traded. We made sure to ask at the cafe if the tapirs were actually there during winter before announcing to Peter that we were going to see them. He became as happy as that time we went to the circus. Oddly enough, it almost ended in the same level of disappointment.

What we failed to ask at the cafe was exactly what time the tapir exhibit shut down. As it turned out, it was about five minutes after they confirmed that the zoo actually had tapirs. What didn't turn out was that it was a ten minute walk. We arrived and stared blankly at the empty tapir exhibit. I wanted to laugh, but I realized this would be cruel and unusual punishment that would only come back to haunt me when I am older and Peter is stronger. Still, it was pretty damn funny.

Before Peter's lip could quiver, Angie had jumped into full-combat Commando Mom, leaping over the fence and tackling some poor zoo keeper who was cleaning up poop or doing some other typical 'zoo job'. After yanking his ear and screaming at him to 'take me to your tapir', he grudgingly opened the cages and let the tapir race around a bit more so that Peter could laugh and clap. I told Angie that she might have been a little rough on the poor guy. Angie told me that I exaggerate, which I have never done. Ever.

After Chasing Tapirs, we decided it would be wise to head home. We said goodbye and hit the road. Tom, who had been asleep during Peter's gum caroling, during the entire ride down, and during most of our zoo adventure, was oddly awake. Very awake, to be less vague. Screaming his head off like a little baby, to be less dishonest.

Angie's brilliant solution was to stop the car and kick Peter up to the front seat so she could sit next to Tom. Peter's response to this idea was shouted with a mixture of excitement and fear.

'You mean you want me to drive?!'

'No, genius. If I wanted to take the sidewalks home, I'd let Mama drive. You're riding shotgun.'

'You have a gun?!'

'No, but I'm now thinking of having one installed.'

Peter spent the next hour pushing every button that he shouldn't, including mine. At one point, I reached my limit. I explained to Peter that I had secretly installed an ejection button in case Mama ever pissed me off while driving and that if he kept fooling around with the dashboard, he might accidentally eject himself out the roof.

This solved the immediate problem of button jabbing, but inadvertently resulted in a thirty minute Q & A session with Peter without a lot of A.

'Can you really shoot people out of the car?'
'How does it work, does the roof open?'
'Does it shoot the car seat, too?'
'Is there a parachute in the seat?'
'Can I put my helmet on?'

By the time we made it home, I really wished that I had installed such a device. I also decided that my plans to 'discuss' the trap door in the living room that opens up to the pit of hungry alligators for any young boys that do not eat their veggies will most likely not take place this year. I don't know why our boys are so gullible, but I blame Angie. Why? Because it is my blog.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I could be in the front car and when I saw the tapir.
David: When Peter tickled me.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When Tom was crying so loudly in the car.
David: When I cry 'cause Grams and Opa here not.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play monsters with you and Mommy and David and Tom.
David: When I make a sticker 'cause I pee-pee like a big boy.

See related cartoon

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A birds-eye view

Today was the first BBQ of the season. Trust me, neighbors, it won't be the last. For lunch, we went traditional American BBQ style - burgers, silly faces and flipping the bird. The BIRD?!! Ok, that's it! No more T.V. for Peter! Oh, that's right. Mama already took care of that and broke our T.V. In all fairness, Peter claims that he was only adjusting his glasses. I try the same excuse with Angie all the time, but I guess it only works if you're pint-size. I don't know why, though; he doesn't even wear glasses.

Did I mention that Angie broke our T.V.? If not, I should probably mention that Angie BROKE OUR FREAKIN' T.V.!!. At least it explains where Destructo Dave gets his 'gift'. In all fairness, the T.V. simply broke, but I still have my doubts as to whether Angie, with all of her soaps and suds, did not somehow contribute to the T.V. simply self-destructing.

In addition to rendering the television non-functional, Angie also managed to have her phone stolen while shopping by 'that cashier with the nose ring - I know it was her'. It's been an expensive week, to say the least. To say the most, I guess I would have to be glad that I did not let Angie cook this week. I mean, come on. A new T.V. and a new cell phone are already expensive enough; burning down the entire building would put a slight dent in my mood. Not to mention my wallet.

After flipping burgers (yes, pun intended), Sami took David down for a little one-on-one swinging.

I think David won, but in all fairness, Sami was not being pushed by an incredibly sexy blogger with a chest of hair and muscles that could crush a coconut. In all fairness, I should also state that Angie did find her phone. It was not stolen by some tattooed hellcat at the local grocery store. I found it in the car when I hit the brakes and it came sliding up under my foot.

For a change, it was not dark around dinner. Now, as every self-respecting blogger with a hairy six-pack knows, meals prepared before dark should be flame-broiled. Not being one to disappoint, I fired up the grill again and began preparing supper. This time, though, Peter gave me a thumbs up.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we was playing hide-n-seek and I tickled with David and he was laughing every time.
David: When Peter tickled me.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When we couldn't don't to Dalia's.
David: When Dalia not come.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Dalia.
David: When I play with Tom babies.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kiss me, my Papa drinks Irish beer

I love my kids. I love Irish beer. By simple association, my kids are drunken Irishmen. Not sure where their love of funny green hats comes into play, but they are obviously so hammered that it really doesn't matter. It's great, actually. I have often wondered how I would have to start funding the little shitters when they get out of diapers. Now I know. Bar tabs.

St. Paddy's was great. In the words of Caesar, I came (home from work), I saw (my wife and kids for two hours), and I conquered (the Irish Pub O'Reilly's). You might ask me to define how one would go about conquering an Irish pub. To that, I would tell you to ask my liver.

If you follow my family heritage far enough back, I am half Irish, half German. That actually explains a lot. First of all, why the hell I love Angie so much. But more importantly, my love of beer. Somehow, the two might be related, but if I dwell on that for too long, I will certainly end up on the sofa.

Angie is no stranger to drunken adventures on St. Patrick's day, and I feel that it is my duty to make sure that these stories do not go untold. Do you smell a flashback? The year was 2000...

Angie and I were devouring a pizza. Yes, even back then she did not cook. We tossed the empty pizza box on the stack against the wall that clearly indicated that I was not cooking either. It is not because I did not want to, but we were living in a closet at that time and cooking in a closet was hazardous to our coats.

We took off early to the bars to watch a soccer game that was on. We met Sebastian at our local pub (Napper Tandy's) and Angie discovered that there was a prize to be won for drinking mass amounts of alcohol. This turned into what I can only describe as a frenzy of guzzling drinks. For a beer, you got one ticket that was thrown into a big raffle bucket. For a mixed drink, you got two tickets. Angie went for broke and started downing long island ice-teas for three tickets a pop.

At one point, Sebastian and I looked over at Angie, who was at the bar, and realized that Angie and gravity were not playing well with each other. I decided that that would be a good time to ask Angie what it actually was that she might win.

Blank look.


Angry look.


Confused look.


I chose the low road and decided to ask the bartender instead.

'A bicycle', he explained to me.

I tried to rationalize with Angie that we already had three bicycles and that, despite many provocative suggestions, there was only two of us.

Confused look.


It was at this point that Sebastian and I realized that if we were to have any fun that night, we would have to ditch the drunk chick.

I gave Angie the keys to our apartment and pointed her in the right direction. After making sure that she rounded the corner, I turned to Sebastian. After several high-fives, we began to get our party on.

Five or six or maybe even seven hours later, Sebastian and I decided to head home. I naively chose my home to head home to. I say naive because I simply assumed that Angie, who at this point had my keys, would wake her ass up long enough to let me into my own house. Oh, you stupid, silly person named Steve...

Around the time that Sebastian and I made it back to MY house, it began to rain. Heavily. Let me also say that we had no umbrellas and we were drunk. I rang our doorbell. Nothing. I used Sebastian's cell to call Angie's cell. Nothing. I used Sebastian's cell to call MY home number. Nothing. I noticed that MY bedroom window was open. I tried screaming, yelling, shouting...nothing. I then tried chucking tiny stones into the window, hoping to peg Angie in the head and wake her from her coma. Nothing. I then picked out bigger stones...nothing. In the end, I went home with Sebastian and crashed on the sofa at his fraternity house.

Now, flash forward to the next morning. Ok, let's be honest. At that time, we had no kids, so it was most likely afternoon. Ok, let's be really honest - I got the call at 3:30 PM from a very angry and hung-over Angie demanding to know where the hell I was and wanting to know where the hell I had spent the night.

It did not take much for me to get out of that little predicament. I simply asked her to search the bedroom for any mid-sized to very large stones that were certainly scattered throughout our bed. She admitted that she had thought the stone collection was odd and had wondered about the 'sore points' on her forehead.

My, how things have changed with kids. Tonight, I went to the Irish pub. I had a few beers with my dart team. I came home, but - surprise, surprise - Angie had not locked me out. That's good, since Sebastian now lives two hours away. What is also good is that we did not wake up a 3:30 PM. Trust me, our kids would have still woken up at 06:30 AM and would have loved it if we had left them to their own devices for several hours. They might have even found a way to rack up some of those bar tabs that I am dreading, but which will surely come one day. That's ok - bar tabs I can handle; I just hope our kids don't start pelting large stones at me one day while I am sleeping.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I played with David Spiderman.
David: When I want to play with mommy.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David did poopy in his underwear.
David: When I want to make Rob a ghost book.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Arman pirates.
David: When I want to play Hippo Flip.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Jokers, Smokers and PC Junkies

If anyone in our family is destined to be an ice-skating, stick-swinging, puck-flinging, wannabe-Canadian with missing teeth and a dented forehead, it's gotta be Destructo Dave. Somehow, I don't think his nickname will be 'Joker', though.

Sami once again began 'teaching' our boys new tricks that will surely continue to please Mama and Papa for months to come. Among the latest talents, the boys learned how to belly-bump one another. In case you are wondering, this fun little game involves the boys running full speed into each other while thrusting out their belly buttons.

Belly-bumping was pretty damn funny to watch when Peter and David were bonking each other. When they moved on to Mama, it became outright hilarious. When it was my turn, though, I have to say - I didn't find it so funny. Not at all. Game over.

As with any good round of belly-bumping, the next logical thing for Sami to do was to go into the basement and dredge up all of his childhood hockey equipment. The boys are at that age where they love stinky things and Sami's 20-year old jersey was certainly, hmmm, intriguing? At least it guaranteed them a dunk in the bath later on.

In the boys' minds, putting on hockey helmets and pads meant that they could go absolutely freakin' nuts and start beating the shit out of each other. With helmets and pads on, Papa also thought that this was acceptable. Mama apparently doesn't have the same understanding of hockey, but I read somewhere that this has to do with the fact that she comes from Venus. I still think that men should be the ones from Venus, but I guess it has nothing to do with rhyming.

When the smoke cleared from our little hockey arena scuffle, we took the boys onto the balcony for a smoke of another kind. Sami has spent the last several weekends murdering his trees and today he showed the boys how to set these victims on fire, another great lesson.

The wood had not dried out enough to really catch, though. After ten minutes, Sami and I gave up on our little bonfire. I should also state that the boys had given up after only two minutes and had spent the remaining eight minutes making faces in the window and blow fishing the patio door.

After the nice fire that Sami built without the whole 'fire' part, we decided to move to coffee and computer games. By coffee, I mean me, since Sami is a freak and does not partake in the glorious brown powder. To make him feel better, I drank two cups. By computer games, I mean my little jokers, who used a joy stick for the first time and thought it was more hilarious than me.

Ok, they also found belly-bumping to be hilarious, so it obviously does not take much, but I have to say that playing video games was a lot of fun. Who wouldn't enjoy controlling a flying penguin down an icy gorge and trying to get it to smash into dead fish? Besides ice-skating, stick-swinging, puck-flinging, wannabe-Canadians with missing teeth and dented foreheads, of course.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I play dinosaurs and jaguars with Sami and Katherina.
David: When the big Bastian come here.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When we was doing some bad stuff like kidding and sitting on the stool and stuff like that.
David: When I want something from my backpack but you say no 'cause you so mean, Papa.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with David animals.
David: When I get my pirate ship down.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Katherina, what the hell are you doing?

Baby showers are not really that well known in Germany, so you really gotta explain that it involves more than just a big belly and a garden hose. Check out the full story.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ice-cream for theater

I scream, you scream, we all eat ice-cream and then listen to Peter screaming his head off in the middle of Eisi's theater scene. More on that fun highlight later.

Tom woke up hacking like a 5-month old smoker, so we had to shuffle our plans. Shuffling plans is just a sugar-coated way of explaining to David that he was no longer going on the fun trip to Eisi's. David was so happy about this that he began screaming with joy until tears came out of his eyes.

I am not sure if it was joy or not, but the screaming and tears were definitely real. Peter helped by explaining five times as we got his coat and shoes on that he was going to Eisi's with the big boys and that David would be staying home. Thanks, ass.

Our original plan before getting shuffled was to drive to Eisi's together and either Angie or I would take Peter to watch Eisi's theater group, knowing full well that David and Tom would need to be left out of that part. With Tom sick, that took Angie and David out of the picture, leaving 'just the big boys'.

The drive to Eisi's took two hours. If anyone wants to know, that leaves enough time for approximately 187 questions. Not that anyone cares, but I answered two of them.

We picked up Eisi and shortly after we picked up a short woman who turned out to be Eisi's mom. Peter fell in love with Angelika around the time that she told the man behind the counter 'two scoops'.

We dropped off Eisi at the theater two hours early so he could get primped and prepped. To be honest, I thought three hours might have served him better, but their make-up guys must use big paint brushes with rollers, so in the end it worked out just fine.

Peter took Angelika and me through a lovely tour of Eisi's city. He had absolutely no idea where he was going, but he obviously wanted to get there fast. After about an hour of chasing Peter, we found a post office, where I finally mailed off my book to the publishers. I have been working on the damn thing for seven years, so it was a nice feeling to finally let it go. The clock is still ticking, but at least it is no longer waiting on me.

On the way back to the theater, I thought that I should explain to Peter what to expect. I learned this lesson the very first time I took Peter to a movie to see 'Happy Feet', a cute animated movie about penguins. I forgot to explain that a) the movie theater will be dark b) the movie theater will be VERY loud and c) when we walk into the movie theater, it could be that there is a trailer on for a new movie coming that features roaring dinosaurs running away from an erupting volcano. My failure to explain the ABC's of movie going resulted in tears and an irrational fear of dark places and popcorn.

This time I was prepared. I explained to Peter that we would not be watching a screen; that real people would be acting right in front of us. I also explained that unlike any other minute of his wakeful existence, he is not allowed to talk, shout, scream, yell, or make any bodily noises other than clapping. Feeling proud of my fatherly advice, we entered the theater.

The play was awesome! It was broken into 15 mini-scenes that took the audience on a theatrical tour to a different room for each scene. After the first one, Peter stood up for a rather aggressive clapping and then raced ahead of everyone to be the first one in the next room. It kinda freaked me out because I lost Peter in the crowd and you know how freaky theater-folk can be.

One of Eisi's scenes even took us outside.

The picture here illustrated Peter's inability to allow pictures to be taken without posing. I tried snapping this one of Eisi in the act of juggling and Mr. Face kept poking his mug into the frame. You'll notice a big orange tattoo on Peter's nose that reads 'Danger: Pirates!'. I don't know where this boy gets his crazy ideas. Like father, like weirdo, I guess.

A few scenes after this one, the real world slapped Peter in the face. Hard. Eisi had a small scene where he had to argue with his wife and throw her to the ground. Peter freaked out. 'THAT'S NOT NICE, PAPA! I DON'T LIKE THIS'. I use capital letters to indicate a certain tone of panic, but also to try and describe how loudly these two sentences were shouted. It's not often that actors stop in mid-scene and stare at the disappointed kid in the front row who had been giving standing ovations up until that point. At least I know that if I ever decide to scream at Angie and kick her to the ground, I better make sure I convince Peter that it's just 'theater'.

I laughed, the audience laughed, even the actors laughed after the scene. Peter ran outside and sat on a stone in the middle of a small pond and did not laugh.

Luckily, the next scene was outside, where Eisi played a silly farmer. Not that all farmers are silly - just those that feed slop to pigs. Peter was soon laughing again as Eisi fed slop to his make-believe pig. After the play, Eisi invited us pigs to feed on some slop with the rest of his theater group. We chowed down on potatoes and then headed home.

Peter's homecoming was similar to his farewell. 'Hi David, how was it staying at home while the big boys were away doing big boy things while you were not there because you didn't go with the big boys and just stayed here?'. David's response was eerily similar to Peter's reaction to the Ike and Tina show: 'THAT'S NOT NICE, PAPA! I DON'T LIKE THIS'.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I played with Eisi.
David: When I played like this - ready, set, go!

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David hit me with his hand on my knees.
David: When I cry 'cause Eisi not here.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go to play with Eisi cars.
David: When I make a tumble.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hopping, with a chance of showers

The only thing I love more than getting kicked out of my own house is when I return to a gaggle of Angie's lady friends in full gossip mode. Today, I got the package deal.

I woke up feeling like I had overslept at Motel 6. Angie was the angry maid shaking me and telling me to get out. I tried complaining that there had been no chocolate on my pillow, but she just turned on the vacuum cleaner and pointed angrily towards the door.

For a change, I was not getting kicked out due to any perceived wrong-doing on my part. Angie was hosting Kika's baby shower, which naturally equated to a six hour cleaning frenzy. I questioned the logic of cleaning every square inch of the place so that a group of women could sit in the living room and drink coffee, but logic and Angie had never been good friends.

Cleaning, like cursing, is apparently something that Angie only does if the kids are gone. This certainly explains the condition of our house on most weeknights. I got the boys dressed, including Tom, and left Angie to her vulgar dusting and mopping.

We walked around town until Tom finally racked out and then we hit the playground. David had a ball dumping sand down Peter's shirt for almost an hour. Coincidentally, an hour is about when Peter reaches his limit as the human sand bucket and starts to beat David with a shovel. As amusing as that scene was to watch, I had to whip out plan B.

Plan B was hopscotch. Normally, I find the game to be incredibly boring to watch. That is because up until today, I have always watched kids that can actually hop. David fell over twice, which prompted me to laugh and point fingers at him. Soon after, he gave up on the game and wondered away with a bucket of sand in the direction of a new kid just arriving at the playground.

Peter was even more hilarious, since he was convinced that he was actually hopping. He looked more like a drunken kangaroo with a broken leg and who the hell wouldn't find that funny? Well, Peter for one. But he didn't give up. After 30 minutes or so, Roo had sobered up a little and was doing a pretty good job. Yeah, great - but can you whistle?

After a two-hour power nap, Tom woke up hungry. Since I was fresh out of boobs, we headed home and dropped Tom off for his feeding. It was like driving up to a drop-off, though. Peter, David and I were not even allowed to come in, since we might contaminate the sterility of the clean zone.

Next on my agenda of killing time before I could be allowed back into my own house was to take the boys to the zoo. Brian met us there with Dalia and we exchanged an understanding look that told me that he had also been kicked out. No words were spoken as we silently made our way to the beer tent.

The beer tent at the zoo is one of the best business ideas ever. It is right next to a huge playground so it makes for the perfect father-son outing. As we rounded the corner, though, Brian and I stopped in our tracks as we saw the sign. The beer tent was being renovated. Shit.

Brian and I cried for a few minutes and then went on the usual beer-donkey-goat-beer-monkey-camel-ice cream-lion-elephant-beer route that we normally take, just without the beer. Somehow, the animals just weren't that funny this time.

At least the kids had a ball, although it had nothing to do with being at the zoo. They played with each other and paid absolutely no attention to any of the animals. We could probably save a lot of money and just bring a six-pack to an abandoned parking lot and let the kids go nuts.

After the zoo closed, I felt we had earned the right to return home. We walked in on a group of women surrounding Kika and rubbing her belly. Had she not been pregnant, that would've looked mighty weird.

The baby shower was just coming to an end as we came home. This was good, since Peter and David took approximately three minutes to completely trash the place. Based on Angie's cleaning fury, her girlfriends obviously demand a high level of cleanliness. I wasn't worried, though. If we had gotten kicked out again, I would have simply taken the boys to Motel 6 and fed them the chocolate off of the pillows.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we go to the zoo.
David: When we go to the zoo with Dalia.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I couldn't read the book 'Waldo'
David: When I go not on the kiddie board.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play the beast. Dalia can be the beauty. David's going to be the man that's trying to make the beast dead.
David: When Peter make ga-gu-ka-ku.

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