Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The one and only one

I love the different looks in this picture. It was Tommy's first birthday, so well let him go first. It's obvious to me that he is pointing out the letter T in the sign above him. This clearly means that he'll be an intellectual prodigy like Papa. That or a future contestant on the Wheel of Fortune.

Mama's hair only looks like she's trying out for Baywatch; she was actually just violently shaking her head 'no' for the fifth time to a question that explains David's look: 'I go open this for Tom, okay?'. Peter's look was probably the most straightforward: 'I wonder if there's money in that card?'

When it's your birthday at the Zoo, you get to be King for the day.

King Tommy's first birthday command was to bring forth the peasants. Not being ones to disobey lawful orders, we ushered Grams and Opa into the royal court.

Instead of the traditional bow and curtsey, these common folk began playing tug-of-Tommy with his royal hineyness. Luckily, they did not draw and quarter the emperor, but their threatening handling of the tiny autocrat did summon the attention of the royal guards.

Lady Karin and Maiden Katherina are both trusted guardians of the inner circle and would certainly defend the leader with their lives if forced to do so against their will. I love how they use cute babies as 'props' to fool the enemy into a false sense of thinking that they were just ordinary 'moms' who were better suited to change diapers than slay dragons with nothing more than a bobby pin and some lipstick. Nice one, ladies.

The king has an attention span that is relational to his height and Napoleanito was soon bellowing for some entertainment.
Luckily, the royal jester lives just down the road from our castle. Her performance was awesome and even the peasants loitering in the courtyard were amused.

Historically, kings either kill their mothers or they love them to a degree that is just sickening.

There were probably plenty of times where my mother wanted to kill me, but this odd looking bunny with a red nose and one blue ear was yet another reason why I love my mom so much. This funny bunny comes with a book that 'Oma' picked using an on-line translation of German children's stories and we all know how wunderbar these translations had sometimes done been. Eben so, she scored big time! Not only do the boys love it, but it is simple enough for even me to understand. Okay, it does have a lot of pictures. But, the boys love it as much as I love my Mom; like I said, sickening.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I played with Tom in his birthday.
David: When Chiara and Alessio play with me.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I couldn't play with my swords.
David: When I can't not my pirate ship down.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: Play with my Legos.
David: To play with Peter dinosaurs.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Double bull, triple shots

In darts, a double bull is justification for a round of shots. For Peter and David, I would have done three rounds of shots if they could just hit the board. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't nail any stray cats or innocent children. Even without that excitement, it was still fun.

I know it was a holiday, but I really don't know what it was for. I don't pay attention to shit like that. I just know there was stand after stand full of beer, sausages and fake shark teeth.

Although most certainly a carnivore, Peter the meat eater skipped the sausage stands, waved to me as he walked past the beer stand and headed straight for the fake jewelry. We bought him a shark tooth necklace that was painted gray and he was completely in his element.

David didn't care much about what anyone else was doing. It was his first parade and he was loving the organized banging.

We watched until the drumming marchers were out of ear shot and I could swear I saw tears in the boy's eyes. Sorry, Davey - Santa has banned drums this year. It turns out, they are made from the skin of baby seals, so maybe you should just wish for a nice puzzle or a ball of yarn.

I really don't know why David is worried about Christmas, though. He should be more concerned about the resell value of coal. It's not enough that his misbehavior irritates the crap out of Angie and me twice daily. He has now moved to the next level, which brings the neighbors into our happy little circle of annoyance.

For a while, the neighbors wondered how their cherry tomato plants could be growing so well, yet yield nothing. I discovered David in the garden with a mouthful of guilt and felt like Scooby-Doo, just without the Mystery Machine. I didn't need it, though. The mystery was solved for me; of course I kept shrugging shoulders at our baffled neighbors.

When I confronted David with his thievery, he informed me that it was the 'weedman' who stole them. He then went on to explain that he was 'saving' the harvest by storing them in his belly so that the 'weedman' couldn't find them.

I thought the boy had completely lost his mind until I saw this dude on the street.

David threw a coin in his bucket and I screamed 'Stop eating our garden, weed-freak!'. People passing by just stared, but being a blog-celebrity, I am used to this.

When we got home, Tommy Corleone whispered something into David's ear.

'The tomatoes - I know it was you, David. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!'

I don't know where the Godfather was during all of this, but the Godmother was teaching Tommy how to read.

Okay, it was a picture book, so all-in-all...not that impressive. I mean, come on, Barb. I like the comic section, but every now and then, I read the front page.

What was impressive is that Tom can now walk. He started a few days ago and went from zero to one in no time at all.

I will admit that he looks like a drunken pirate when he stumbles about. I will also admit that he looks like a tranquilized monkey seconds before it drops. I will also admit that I have to stop there for a lack of other fitting comparisons.

Our other two drunken pirate monkeys were far from tranquil.

They were high on a treasure-hunt adrenaline rush triggered by the Godfather himself. For some reason, Sami actually wanted our boys to come over to his house and destroy things while looking for his loot. Ask and you shall receive.

It started out with Sami and a simple map.

Sami is excellent with maps, especially after his recent road trip to Austria (inside joke), but driving maps are slightly different than treasure maps.

As Peter and David tried to decipher Sami's crayon scribbles, Tom was busy yanking Lauri around.

Lauri didn't like this one bit and he ordered me to put Tommy in the trash can. After years with Angie, I have given up on disobeying, no matter how silly the request is.

This was hilarious until I overlooked Newton's law of gravity and Tom toppled over. Tom screamed like a kid who had been thrown in a trash can that was then kicked over. Luckily, Tom gets his thick skull from Mama.

The boys eventually found the Finnish jackpot and celebrated by eating chocolate eggs and sugary loot. I was still feeling really bad about dropping Tommy on his head again, so I went to the pub and played darts.

I didn't get a double bull, but I at least hit the board. I also managed to miss all of the stray cats and innocent children hanging out in the pub, so I felt we deserved the triple shot.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I played with Sebastian and Chiara today.
David: When I played with Peter animals.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David hit me on my hand on the side with his fists.
David: When I cried 'cause I wanted that red, but I cannot - really!

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go and get a dinosaur.
David: Play with my pirate ship there up on the blue box.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What a difference a month makes

If you look closely, you are sure to find leg hair. This clearly rules out me as the person holding the goofy-looking kid sporting a bottle-opener and crazy hair. The only hairy-legged creature in the Zoo is ... well, I won't name names, but I think you understand why I make her wear the pants.

Speaking of hairy behinds, there's no way around it - I'm behind with the blog. Big time. At work, we have been experimenting with the concept of 'tacks', probably 'cause some important executive sailor-type needs a third yacht. Doesn't matter - the idea is simple. You take a year-long project and cram it into three-week sprints. Here's mine. And people say I have no tact.

We had Angie's piano delivered on the same day that Lilly had her first sleep over at the Zoo.

Looking at this picture, I have to say that it's a damn good thing Lilly is not allergic to dust. It's good for our boys, too, since I would have either had to leave Angie or put the boys up for adoption a long time ago. Don't get me wrong, Angie does clean; she just understands the whole 'spring cleaning' thing to be a once-a-year ritual that may or may not take place.

The guy that came to tune the piano was not amused, though. He smeared a disapproving finger through the muck as he sat down. When he opened up 'ole Dusty, he almost had a heart attack. I wasn't there, but Angie told me how the guy forced her to come from the other room and pointed at the inside of our new noisemaker.

'Do you see that?!'

'The piano? Yup, there it is.'

'No! There! Right there! Do you see that? Those are MOUSE DROPPINGS!'

I felt bad that the piano dude almost had a coronary over some mouse shit, but I still cracked up. Angie didn't. Instead, she began a cleaning frenzy that ended up with Lilly polishing my shoes. What?

That's right - we showed Lilly the fine art of making shoes shine. She actually quite liked it, so I wanted to see if Lilly wanted to play a game called 'let's build Mama a deck', but Angie was quick to point out that I was a few weeks late on that fun endeavour.

Instead, I gave Lilly the chore of building a colossal piece of Lego with David.

Lego must mean never having to say you're sorry. For those not old enough to get the reference, go and rent 'The Love Story'. Unless you have a penis, it was a great flick; just totally unrealistic. I constantly say 'I'm sorry' to Angie, but she still loves me. Check it out.

Either she's got a weird-ass cheek thing going on or she digs me the most. Either way, I'm not sorry.

Speaking of sorry, look at these poor saps. Peter was either about to karate chop David's nose or he is trying out that trick where you rub your belly and pat your head. Doesn't matter - Dalia was impressed. Yeah. Me, too. Wow.

As Dalia was off being swooned by sunglasses and nifty coordination tricks, Tommy was busting out his moves all over Brian's lawn decorations.

'What? Don't look at me that way. I'm not the only one-year old to have a thing for statues, am I?'

Speaking of weird creatures, Angie recently returned to the land of the working. Here is one of the first 'goodbyes' before Tommy quickly realized that waving bye-bye to Mama equalled Mama actually leaving.

At least he was in good hands. I mean, Ute is no statue, but somehow Tom managed to cope.

Being the third kid is always rough. Peter can already whistle and clap. Tom must have felt a little under-impressed and tried showing off.

Peter was the first to point out that whistling with a device DOES NOT COUNT. This strict adherence to the rules of whistling probably stems from me. I'm guessing I should not have laughed at his inept ability to whistle for the last five years. Damn, that was some funny shit, though.

To fill the void, I thought I would crack up by getting Peter to try and build stuff.

As it turns out, Peter is quite skilled in the fine art of IKEA. I can honestly say that this must come from Opa. I changed a light bulb once years ago, but I don't think that contributed to the genetic pool that Peter swam in for nine months.

So, what was Mama doing as Peter helped me decipher Swedish pict-o-instructions?

Cleaning house, of course. Angie style. Hey, whatever pops your bubble. When it comes to bubbly stuff, Peter, David and Dalia know what tickles the nose the best.

I swear to you, Coca Cola should be paying me BIG BUCKS for such well-placed products. But hey - if they don't want to cash in and target both of my readers, it's their loss.

Peter and David were all about losing when it came to a bucket race against Artin. I'm just glad there was no cash or coke involved.

In their defense, I've never practiced racing around in trashcans. I try to teach them sensible things, like how to blow ginormous bubbles.

So far, Tommy can only blow spit bubbles, but he has obviously picked up a few eating tips from Mama.

We were all a little worried that inhaling chocolate would not be enough to guarantee that Tommy's belly would grow to be big and round like Papa's. Opa came to the rescue with a sure-fire substitue that put everyone at ease. Look, Mom - no hands!

Mama babbled something about liver damage and how incredibly sexy I am, but I was only half-listening. I mean, come on! He's got a freakin' bottle opener in his mouth - let the boy use it! Angie then made a few choice remarks that reminded me to buy her a few dresses for Christmas.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When Davey say Shampoo by the Ladder Talk for Sharpur.
David: When we saw Dalia and Artin and Arman and Shayeste and Shampoo.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When Davey is bugging me all the whole day!
David: When I bonked mine, I goed with one to the other one and then went whoosh-aah-bonk and then I cry.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To find a dinosaur in the garden.
David: When we go in the bath and I splash Peter all in the face 'cause he not like that funny.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sink or drown

NOTE TO MY TWO NAGGY READERS: I am aware that, despite the date of this blog, I am further behind than I have ever been with the Zoo's news. Deal with it, I'm a Johnson; keep pissing me off and I'll go dark until Christmas.

You'll hopefully be happy to know that I'm not dead. I was also not off on some exotic six week luxury cruise. Nor was I on one of those green missions to hug trees and save frogs from the rain forest. So, where the hell have you been for the last month and a half, you ask? Well, you know what? You curious types should just go murder a cat and get it over with.

The inconvenient truth is - I've been busy. At work, at home - even the freakin' commute between the two has been unpeaceful. It all started on this day when Angie went back to work. Damn her - why can't she just stay in the kitchen where she....oh, that's right, never mind. Congrats on the whole 're-joining society' thing, sugar plum.

I will be the first person to admit that when Angie told me she was going back to teaching - I was tickled fuchsia. There are several reasons for this, which I will send to you, bullet-style:
  • More money. Lot's of it. We're re-yach, bitch!

  • Less gossip. Somehow, I pictured having fewer coffee mugs and cake crumbs to clean up if Gossip Central lost their beautiful host.

  • More dialogue. I was so ready to get rid of the nightly updates like 'Tommy said 'jasdhfljkas' today - doesn't that sound soooo much like 'Mama'? No, actually. Next time, just say 'God bless you' like normal humans.

Reality must be Murphy's bitchy little sister. At least she has a sense of humor; she laughed her ass off at my list and came up with her own:

  • More money. Ah, Stephen, Stephen, Stephen. You really do know how to make me laugh. Have you ever actually sat down and gone through your finances? Apparently not. Had you done so, you would have certainly realized that Angie's fifteen hours a week almost brings in enough to cover babysitting.

  • Less gossip. Stephen, you dim-witted nimrod. Lady chats are like bills - they won't go away, no matter how wishful your thinking is.

  • More dialogue. Wow, you really are a feebleminded idiot. Did you perhaps forget that she is teaching LITTLE KIDS? You're still going to get the endless spatter of disgustingly cute things the children did that day, only now the minute-by-minute recounts will be about kids that you have never even seen. Bravo.
Anywho, back to Angie's first day. Because we are the Johnson's, we of course had no babysitters lined up for Angie's big day. We did, of course, know it was coming; we just chose to ignore the fact that someone might actually need to watch Tom as Angie was bashing kids with Nerf balls or whatever the hell it is she does at these places they call 'school'.

I love being the last pick, especially if it's for a suicide mission. After striking out with three sitters who, surprise-surprise, could not sit on Tom with only 24 hours notice, I was volunteered to take vacation to resolve the dilemma. I can dishonestly say that I'm really glad that I was able to use these so-called 'vacation' days doing something fun, relaxing, and stress-free like babysitting Tom. You know, 'me time'.

To add misery to fun, Peter was sick, so he stayed home with me. I am quite sure that I was his last pick for people to watch over him while he was ill, but I showed no signs of actually giving a shit. Instead, I told him that we were going to do a science experiment as soon as Tom took his nap.

'Wooooaaaahhh! Yeaaaaahh! An askpearament! Should I get my goggles?'

'It's called an
'experiment' and you need to stop screaming. I'm trying to get Tom to go to sleep.'


'First of all, shut up; Tom is almost asleep. Second, we are not blowing up anything - Mama yelled at me BIG TIME the last time we tried that. We are going to throw a bunch of stuff into water and see if it floats or sinks.'

Tom eventually fell asleep and the 'askpearament' went great. Peter learned that apples, peppers, bananas and cucumbers all float. Limes, potatoes, raisins, and Tom do not. Man, I should be a teacher.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we do that askpearament with the fruit.
David: I go by Grams and Opa and stayed there for sleep.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When Davey was by Grams and Opa and not more here.
David: When I cried for the green frog.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: When I'm going to play with you something.
David: When I every time go to kindergarten.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Generation Smackdown

Nothing like a headbutt from Tommy to start your Sunday. At least Opa seemed to enjoy his; I didn't. But then again, mine came at four o'clock in the morning by a weird looking kid with only six teeth who thoroughly enjoyed the 'surprised-angry' faces that Papa was making. Even Mama woke up long enough to laugh at me before both her and Zidane Jr. fell asleep again, leaving me to seriously reconsider our sleeping arrangements as I ice-packed my nose.

At least Peter and David sleep in every now and then. Okay, bullshit. David doesn't; he still gets up at dawn-thirty. The scary thing is - he's very quiet. After following the trail of candy wrappers littering the hallway and finding a kid that looked like he had french-kissed a tin of shoe-polish, it became clear.

As the sugar buzz gripped hold of him, stealthy Dave wasn't so silent anymore. Peter snored his ass off as David began dancing on his bed and wailing like a banshee. Aw, isn't that cute? Peter must take after Mama.

It doesn't take much to wake a hibernating bear if you know the right technique. After cohabitating with a grizzly woman for almost ten winters, I'm like freakin' Dan Haggerty, just without the disgusting beard that a flock of birds could nest in.

Like some Indian snake charmer in reverse, I awoke Peter with a single word: Carnival.

Carnival can mean a lot of things to different weirdos. For me, it means having carny folk with less teeth than Tommy charge me 10 bucks for blowing up a balloon that I could normally buy for 10 cents. For Peter and David, it means 'The Swing Ride'.

As David was preparing for what would surely be the biggest high of his day since raiding the candy bowl while Mama and Papa snoozed away the sunrise, Peter was getting a little nervous about the safety of his ride.

'Papa, look! This bar can go up.'

'Yeah, please don't show David that.'

'But what if I fly out?'

'Well, if you do, make sure and land in those bushes over there.'


'Sorry, buddy - the ride's starting. My advice....don't lift the bar.'

You might wonder where Mama was during all this fatherly chit-chat with Mr. Safety. Strangely enough, Peter kept asking the same question. Well, she was busy having a cup of gossip with Barbara. The good news is - Peter did not fly to his death from 'The Swing Ride'.

Peter the Brave was on such an adrenaline roll after surviving 'The Death Swing' that he chose the 'Dragon of Terror' as his next ride. It was a roller coaster that David loved because it was red. And it was a dragon.

David was not so happy that it went slightly faster than a snail being chased by a caterpillar, but Peter somehow managed to still have fun. At least David got to pick the next ride.

I was a little surprised to see David riding in the front. Somehow, I have always pictured him riding in the back of a paddy wagon. His fascination with the police probably has to do with him wanting to carry a nightstick, which ain't gonna happen under this roof.

Speaking of rooves, check out where David's 10-dollar SpongeBob balloon ended up after a whopping four minutes of telling him to hold onto the damn thing.

I laughed. He cried. Peter freaked out and ran inside to announce to Grams and Opa, along with half of the restaurant, that David's balloon was stuck in the gutter. Thanks, Dan Rathers - now back to Jane for the weather.

The weather was slightly overcast with a slight chance of Angie freaking out on her Dad because he commented that Tom had dropped a spoon and she was starting her new job the next day. You don't need to tell me that this makes no sense at all; I live with her. Welcome to my world. Okay, to be fair to Angie the stickler, it was David, not Tom, who dropped the spoon. But thanks for ignoring the black clouds, Opa.

If there was a black cloud over David's brain, it would have read: 'Dude, where's my balloon?'

I could tell you, but it's probably easier if you just look at the picture before last. Peter was very sympathetic, though, which I initially thought was rather mature of him.

'Dude, check out my new transformer car! It's almost as cool as your SpongeBob balloon... hey, where is that again? Oh, that's right - you lost it. Too bad. I tied my Spiderman balloon to the stroller, so I still have mine. You can smell it if you want.'

Tommy also felt really bad. So bad, in fact, that he had Barb help him write a 'Dude, don't feel so bad about your balloon' card.

It read:

'Dude, I'm actually not sorry about your balloon. I know I probably should be, but you see - the last time you sat on my head - that time when you were laughing like a freakin' lunatic - I think you may have inadvertently damaged my 'I-give-a-shit' brain cells. I'm sure this was not intentional and that you would probably be sorry about that if it weren't for the fact that Peter sat on your head when you were young and full of 'I-give-a-shit' brain cells like me before you sat on me. Opa taught me a little trick, though, and Dude - if you come near me again, I am going to headbutt you into next Sunday.'
Ladder Talk:
[No ladder talk for Davey - he spent the night with Grams and Opa for some one-on-one headbutting lessons]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I get a balloon from Spiderman.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I couldn't play Spiderman with David 'cause he is sleeping by Grams and Opa.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to play with you an experiment to see what floats and what not floats.