Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stuck in a moment

I'm an ass, I know. But just for the record, I did not take this picture of David getting his head stuck in the booth at the diner - Angie did. I certainly would have, but I was too busy laughing my ass off to hold the camera straight. And when I say 'the' picture, there was only one. David started bawling his eyes out right after this snapshot and I think the other patrons would have called in the animal protective services had Angie zoomed in for another photo op. It's called a memory, you people!

It all started out with Peter's brain, who convinced Papa's jelly belly that it would be a fun-filled family-eating adventure to go to the diner shaped out of an old train.

My brain must completely shut down whenever I get hungry. I mean, come on - it's a freaking train! I rode one of those things to work for years and never thought 'mmm, so hungry - I wish I could eat in one of these things'. Unless sweat and döner kebabs count, I don't remember trains smelling particularly appetizing. I couldn't remember, though, because my brain had shut down. Must. Eat. Now.

Now didn't happen because, like I said, it's a small place and apparently a lot of people get stupid hungry like me. The waitress summed it up nicely when we entered the diner.

'I hope you're not hungry.'

'I am, actually.'
One huff and two puffs later, the hopeless waitress showed us to the waiting bar.

It had swivel chairs. My first thought was 'whoopty do'. The boys were truly impressed, which wasn't that impressive; they also are amazed every time the vacuum cleaner gets turned on. Me, too.

The waitress got visibly upset after the sixth time the boys asked her if our table was ready. Then she glared at me.

'Hey lady, this is only brunch. You've never been on a road trip with them.'

Two glares later, we had our table. Judging by the glares of some of the other waiters, I think impatience actually helped us out. Glares and impatience are so familiar to me, though, that I just smiled at the waiters and thanked our waitress.

When the waitress asked for drinks, both Peter and David shouted 'root beer!'.

Knowing Papa's preferred choice in beverages, I was not that surprised by their selection. I was, however, astonished by some of their reactions.

Peter is a normal kid in so many ways, so it wasn't that amazing that pounding sugar-water made him just plain happy.

David is not a normal kid in so many ways. Liquid sugar somehow convinced his brain that it would be a brilliant idea to see if his head would get stuck if he tried wedging it between a gap in the diner booth. It did.

One problem with David's brain is that it comes up with really dumb ideas sometimes. The other problem is that, because it was his brain's idea, it also commands him to execute on these impulsive orders with prejudice. The lines of comparison to Angie are so straight that at least David will never have to wonder if he was adopted.

Tom's reaction to root beer actually stunned me.

Tom had watched the whole 'stuck head' trick that his idol had demonstrated, so I had fully expected Tom to jump down and wedge his head in the first crevice that he could find. Instead, he slumbered into a disgusting eating scene that would rival David Hasselhoff's 'midnight snack'.

Angie also had a root beer, but apparently it just makes her hungry. At least she didn't do anything goofy.

Thanks to 'pass-out Tom', Angie learned how to eat left-handed. It's not every day that you learn something new. I have a feeling that tomorrow I will be learning what effects publishing a picture of your wife wolfing down a Rueben sandwich has on your sleeping arrangements. But hey, the more you know, right? Thanks, NBC!
Angie and I had our hands full, so I gave Peter the camera. He took this picture and asked if the glass was half empty or half full.

Neither, moron. The glass is one sip away from being a really annoying question. Give me back my camera.

Tom had obviously crashed from his root beer high. David was close. Peter - well, he was still swinging from the 'oh-shit' handles.

On the ride to Grams and Opa's, Peter asked for the camera again. Since we didn't have any contemplatable glasses in the back, I let him have it.

Out of the 800 pictures taken, the close-up of his nose and this sock portrait topped the list. And yes, you can take that as an indication of the quality of the other 798 pictures. Give me back my camera.

At one point, David tried making my ears bleed by screaming that he wanted A PIECE OF CHEWING GUM NOW, PAPA! My ears didn't bleed, but the ringing convinced me to cave in. Directly after Davey placed his 'order', Tom woke up. Surprise, surprise.

Not a shocker was that Tom also wanted whatever his idol had just shoved into his mouth. Angie and I exchanged glances as we decided whether or not to give Tom his first piece of chewing gum.

I mistakenly interpreted Angie's 'come on, why not?' look as 'hell no, right?'. She mistakenly interpreted my 'hell no, right?' look as 'come on, why not?'. Before I knew it, Angie had shoved a stick of the sugarless into Tom's gaping sound box.

For the next three minutes, Angie repeated 'ONLY CHEW - DO NOT SWALLOW' over and over again. The sexy driver, who would like to remain nameless, kept repeating 'HE'S GONNA EAT IT' over and over again.

I think I was the only one emotionless when Tom swallowed his first piece of chewing gum.

Tom was sad because his gum was gone.

Peter was said because I had explained the fact that gum doesn't digest; it sticks to your belly until gum trees start to grow and you turn into a Wrigley forest.

David was sad because Tommy had wasted the last piece of his gum.

Mama wasn't exactly sad, but there's not that much difference between an 's' and an 'm', is there?

For some very, very odd reason, we were actually ahead of schedule. Us Johnsons like being normal, though, so Angie hatched a plan to ensure that we would be as late as usual. It involved driving extremely late birthday invitations to a selected few. First on the drive-by hit list - Dalia.

It might strike you as odd that Peter was the one delivering David's birthday party invitations. What should strike you, though, is that we are celebrating David's birthday in August. He was born in May. As I wrote, 'extremely late' is perfectly 'normal' for us Johnsons.

When we got to Grams and Opa's, we (Opa) had enough time to teach David how to play Chinese Checkers.

I couldn't immediately explain why David was falling asleep. Not until I noticed the 'ages 6+' label. Unless it's a puzzle, David has the attention span of '2+'. Besides, he doesn't speak Chinese.

Uno is more David's forte, so when we hit the restaurant, we busted out the cards and let the cheating begin.

Peter was checking out how Mama chalantly checked out David's cards. Grams was busy checking out my right ear, but I can't blame her - it's pretty hot. David was staring off into the distance and probably thinking 'I wonder if I can start a fire in that furnace over there?'.

Luckily, the food saved us all from eternal flames. The restaurant serves several dishes, but if you order anything other than a schnitzel, you're a tourist. For any tourists out there, I'm sorry, but you're hated in these necks of the woods. Eat steak and die.

The place is way out in the boonies, so luckily there were no pesky tourists around to ruin our meal. We chowed down on our delicious fried escalopes coated in breadcrumbs.

As Opa once again refused help with the bill, we chased Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum around the barn. At one point, the gooftards decided to hide and scare Opa.

David's butt was hanging out of the trailer and Peter - come on! What the hell kind of hiding is that? He stood behind a wooden beam. Oooohh, I wonder where Peter Copperfield disappeared to?

Opa came out and began his search for the two lost boys. I must say, I always thought Opa was rather observant. Not tonight. He completely missed David's incessant giggling as he walked past Peter twice! Time to get the prescription checked.

We packed the animals into the paddy wagon and I set the course home. On the way, Peter and David and Tom were cracking up with each other in a way that I have never seen or heard. Oddly enough, the chaos in the back did not bother me in the least. If I had to be stuck in a moment, that would be the one.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I was drinking root beer.
David: That I can play with Grams and Opa - they are the best!

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: Can you put an X by my worst, Papa? Cause I have not a bad moment.
David: That my Indian was gone.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to play with my quiz book.
David: Play with my Indian when you find it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

No water head!

'One less heathen in the world'.

This was Angie's comment as I wondered out loud how I was going to start this blog. Thanks, butter buns!

Before getting baptized, the heathen was loving the brotherly excitement in the air.

Even they didn't know what the hell was going on; they just knew that a lot of dogs and kids were showing up and that there would be a big party after church. Tom was also getting progressively angrier with everyone who kept laughing at him and telling him that he was going to have water poured on his head. 'No water head!' didn't help stifle the chuckling.

I think Peter was feeling a little left out of the whole 'attention' that he wasn't getting. To feel a little left in, he tried showing everyone his amazing shoe-tying trick that he learned only yesterday.

'Yeah, wow, Peter - amazing. Have you seen Tommy's shoes?'

Even more amazing is that Angie let Peter wear his Converse shoes to church. For his record, they are the only pair of shoes that he owns that do not have velcro straps. For her record, I think that had Peter not been able to wear them, Tommy might have been ended up face-down in the water. For my record, I would have cracked up for the rest of the service had Peter holy dunked Tom.

A certain realization crossed Tom's face as he watched the reverend prepare his head bath.

It was a mix between curiosity, fear and anger. In the end, Angie's side of the genes kicked in.

'No water head!'

'There's nothing to be worried about, it's only a little...'

'No water head!'

There was a brief awkward pause before the reverend decided to just go for it.


After Tommy's outburst, I was praying that he would not start growling 'eeeeevil!' at the poor woman. In the end, it was Church Lady 1, Waterboy 0. Yes water head!

After our entourage and the other five churchgoers stopped laughing, the service continued on. Tom was too busy scowling at the reverend to focus on the story about Bartimaeus. I couldn't really chastise him, though - there's only so much preaching in a foreign language that I can tolerate. My focus drifted from Bartimaeus to the Simpsons before discovering a wine crate by the altar with the German inscription 'Wine gives happiness'. Yes, it does. So does beer.

The fact that the church was using empty crates of alcohol to store their candles somehow amused me. I know, I know - I married Angie; I am easily amused. Still, made me giggle.

When we got back to the ranch, the cowboys were prodding the cattle into two herds.

One herd was keeping dry on a patio with a bunch of umbrellas; the other was roughing the storm in our party tent, which I spent all of yesterday building so that people would not have to huddle on the patio. Needless to say, I was not hanging out with the huddlers. Sugar may melt, but I'm no sweetie.

After hours of not contributing, Angie finally helped out by finding a four-leaf clover.

Suddenly, the clouds parted and luck started shining down on us.

It actually reminded me of a phrase - 'even the sun shines on a dog's...' Before I could finish my witty proverb, Tom ran up to show me his food.

'Wow, Tom. That's uh, great. You go have fun eating, now.'

Actually, I was little worried that Tom was eating too much, since he had come running up to me about ten times in the last hour asking for food. Pretzels, cheese, ham - you name it, he was walking away with it. I ignored 'the signs' though and convinced myself that baptized people probably just eat more. It wasn't until I saw this lovely image that I realized where all the food was going.

'Tommy - have you been throwing all the food down there?'

'Papa - look!'

He was so utterly tickled pink that he had filled the ceramic vase with table scraps that I couldn't even get mad. Actually, I could have, but I decided to go watch the soccer game instead. On my way over, I stopped by and told Angie to go feed Tom. He looks really hungry.

Soccer was hmmm...well....entertaining. David was the kicker and Peter was the goalie. So, everything was going great until David actually scored a goal. Within a split second, Peter turned into Hulk Hogan and initiated Petermania all over David's face.

I would've said 'ah, poor innocent Dave', but I know two things. First of all, David is never, ever completely innocent. Second, I've seen David in action and I was quite sure that he could hold his own in the ring. He did. Peter cried. Game over, man. Game over.

The next fun-filled attraction was witnessing Tommy take his first solo flight.

Opa would be the more experienced pilot calmly observing from the tarmac. Heidi would be the co-pilot in training that spiral-rolled Tommy into dizziness. I was more the petrified passenger asking for two double straight Bourbons and a bag of peanuts.

After spinning around 500 times, the worst thing one can do is try and walk. This was funny for about 2 seconds. After picking Tom up, he then tried to drive, which is the next worst thing one can do.

Tommy didn't grasp the whole 'pedal' thingy, but that did not slow him down. Oh, wait, actually it did. He just kept flooring it and making race-car noises and getting really annoyed that he wasn't moving and that Papa was laughing at him. Again.

After the GO-not-KART race, I turned to watch Barbara eat. She's not quite as messy as the boys, but it's almost as fascinating. We didn't have a trashcan in the yard, so Barb was forced to eat the food from the table like normal humans.

Instead of fixing a plate, though, she spent 25 minutes shooing away wasps and shouting 'agh, wasps'. I almost came to her rescue, but wasp stings hurt. Opa mosied over to see what all the screaming was about and it suddenly became clear to me what side of the family donated the fearless gene to David.

This is Opa's patented 'wasp-bash' move. For the record, it works. That is, of course, if your goal is to really piss off a bunch of hungry wasps. Next, Opa tried the 'wasp-flick', an interesting finger maneuver that launches wasps in the direction of the camera man. This works as well, by the way.

As one of the flicked wasps went whizzing by my ear, I decided to move out of Opa's firing range. He looked like he had things under control, so I moved on to check on the recently baptized.

I found him sitting at the gift table with Grams. He opened this gift and immediately turned it upside down and tried figuring out the quickest way to break it. It wasn't loud and didn't have a bazillion moving pieces, so I knew right away it came from someone with kids who was rightfully fearful of retaliation. Thanks, Clarice - I'll return the drum set that I had picked out for Dalia for Christmas.

Tommy still naps once a day, but there was simply too much going on. It was during his lolli break with Opa that the signs of fatigue really started to show.

When Tom started head bobbing and almost fell asleep with a sugar stick in his mouth, I decided to take him in the stroller for a short walk to Napville. I tried to exchange his lollipop for a pacifier and a complete freak-a-thon followed. In the end, you could only really make out one word in all of his blubbering and sniveling. 'Blada guna flaba meno LOLLI!'

I dumped the screaming kid in the stroller and waved to all of our friends and family who were now watching our convoy of embarrassment depart. I was told later that they could still hear shouts of 'LOLLI' for another three minutes as I pushed some distance between sleepy Tom and his coveted sucker. Actually, his screaming fit lasted a tad bit longer than three minutes; I thank the thick buildings and brick walls that sadly did very little to muffle my ears. Holy gaping chasm of suck.

It took longer than I thought, but Lollitom finally crashed. Big time. Unfortunately, he missed all of the entertainment.

I don't know what was funnier - that Sami could not work a diabolo to save his life, or this lovely shot.

They say that sometimes dogs and their owners start to assimilate after years of being together. I'm seriously thinking about striking it rich with a book about how Godfathers also start to assume the personality and behavior patterns of their Godchildren.

Eisi does not know it, but there is a secret Godfather rivalry going on. It's actually Eisi's fault, since he is cradling Sami's Godchild. Goofing around while trying to snap a family picture smells so much like David, though, that I can't even blame Sami. As per usual, it's David's fault. If he weren't so assimilatable, I'm pretty sure Sami would have acted like a normal Godfather.

Not normal were Peter and David's British cousins.

They didn't stay long, though. They crammed their greedy mouths full of candy and disappeared again. At least they were quiet, but even this worried me. Slightly.

I grabbed a beer and soon forgot my worries about what might be burning, broken, destroyed, or bleeding. Just then, the hostess with the mostess showed up with coffee, but no cake. Hmm, some hostess.

Armin doesn't do fake smiles well, as is clearly evident here. Oddly enough, I think he flashed me the same smile when I told him he was in charge of the boys while I took Tommy on his power nap.

As Tom continued napping with power, Davey seized the moment and started to hoard all of Tommy's presents. The first on his list was a book on identifying things.

It made me a little concerned that he could point out the thief and the policeman straight away, but before I could dwell on the implications, Tommy broke the sound barrier.

I shit you not, the boy woke up groggy, took one look at me trying to pick him up and scowled.


I guess persistence does pay off, since Mama eventually caved in and gave him his half-eaten lollipop back. He even had the guts to flaunt this fact to me, who had somehow now become the eeeeevil father who steals candy from almost innocent children.

I hope he enjoyed his moment in the spotlight because as soon as the hostess ran upstairs to make more coffee, I threw the little braggart in jail.

Before the animal rights freakos start banging on my front door, I should clearly state that Tom's frustration depicted here was of his own doing. For some reason, he was fascinated with the gate to our garden. By fascinated, I mean that he walked out of the garden, shut the gate and then freaked out every time when Papa started laughing at the goofy baptized kid who couldn't open it again.

Angie eventually wandered over to see why Tom was crying. She darted me the sofa look and trust me, there was nothing sexy about it. She picked up the weeping criminal and whisked him off to break some more presents. Next on the list was a fire truck.

Okay, it did have a rather loud siren, but I was willing to overlook this minor fault in light of the fact that he was so freakin' infatuated with it. It was red and loud, so David's admiration was easily and understandably won. You could also fill it with water, which for some reason totally amazed Peter. Any gift that warrants jealous envy from both of your older brothers is something to covet for a lifetime.

David was particularly hurt and reverted back to one of 'his' games.

I say 'his', because 'Sleeping Queens' actually belonged to Zack and Owen, until they made the colossal mistake of lending it to Peter. Shortly after, David quite aggressively declared the game his and ignored the returning part of the gerund 'to lend'. Daniel filled in as honorary Godfather and taught David how to lose. I eventually jumped in to teach the boy how to cheat.

Peter tends to whistle when he is nervous or when he's losing. Don't ask me why, but yeah - he wasn't nervous.

As exciting as 'Sleeping Queens' was, some of the other guests decided to bolt. David threw on his crown and took on the role of Royal Departer.

He did an excellent job of monotoning 'ba-bye' until it came to some guests parting ways with the party pole.

I finally loosened Elina's death grip by offering her a lollipop. Tom witnessed the whole ordeal, though, and immediately renewed his incessant screeching. LOLLI, Papa, LOLLI!

Quite honestly, I had enough for one day. I went to go check on Sebastian and as it turns out, he had had enough shit as well.

I can confirm that three dogs in the yard can certainly create a lot of land mines. I can also confirm that Sebastian has never been through a 'mine detection' course. I have.

After thanking all the guests and kicking their asses to the curb, I fired up the grill and thoroughly enjoyed beer #2.

The night was not over, but at least my thirst was quenched. Okay, not really. But after #3, I was ready to deal with reality again. Reality turned out to be three mega muscular boys with hairy chests that closely resemble their father and desperately needed sleep.

Back when he was still a heathen, Tommy used to fight going to sleep. Not much has changed, except tonight, for some reason, Tom was very adamant about wanting to do Ladder Talk. He has listened to his brothers intently over the last few weeks while they recant their day and tonight he decided to break his self-induced silent treatment.

After finally getting the boys settled, I reflected on Tommy's Godparents over beer #4.

Barbara: you have been the token Godmother with our other two heathens, so everyone assumed it was a given from the get-go. It wasn't. Had you not been such an awesome Godmother so far with Peter and David, I would have so totally fired your ass and told Angie to get another sister. I'm actually really glad that Angie and I never had to have that conversation. For that and so many other reasons - thanks, Barb!

Armin: I have to be honest with you - we just like hanging out with you. You drink beer and we have a fridge. You're crap at poker and we can use the money. Besides, we really needed someone without red hair to balance out the mix. Thanks, Armin!

Sarah: there aren't many people who can put up with Angie AND the kids, let alone me. You're a great friend, a great mom, and I am certain that you will be a great Godmother. Thanks, Sarah!

Götz: part of being a Godfather is being able to protect your Godchild. Who else would be better suited for the role than a cop? I know, I know - you deny being associated with law enforcement every time we meet, but I get it, okay - wink, wink. Thanks, Officer Götz!
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That I could play by the party.
David: The party in the garden for Tommy where me and all was.
Tom: The show Mamau and Opa.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: There wasn't - it was a perfect day.
David: That I can't play no more with Chiara and Alessio.
Tom: Lolli, you, Papa.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to play with Paul.
David: I want to stay here and no go in kindergarten.
Tom: Andamorrow, Rina and Sami.