Sunday, November 28, 2010

Simon says 'Gobble, Gobble'!

It's too bad that Simon can't make up his own commands. If he could, I'm pretty sure that his next would be 'Simon says, go get a haircut, kid.' I mean, come on - look at that boy's head. It looks like a swollen match. If we wait much longer, the barber won't even be able to fit the fashion bowl that we've used to style his noggin for the last two years.

I walked into the bathroom this morning and saw this lovely gem sitting on the counter.

I took this as a sign that Angie had changed her mind about certain things that have annoyed her for years. A few seconds later, Angie walked in and caught wind of my assumptions. Apparently, she only likes 'morning wind' when it comes bottled up in pretty packaging.

On the ride over to Grams and Opa's, Peter and David had an interesting conversation involving Simon, Opa and my manhood.

'Peter, Can I play with Simon?'

'Yes, but don't drop him. If you do, we'll have to ask Opa to fix it because Papa is not so good with tool things.'

Geez, thanks for the vote of confidence, guys. I change the light bulbs when they burn out. What else do you people want from me?

For some strange reason, Germans do not celebrate Thanksgiving. They are weird in so many ways, though, that I tend to ignore their peculiar oddities. It does mean that expats like Grams and I have to wait until the weekend to get our turkey on.

I guess waiting isn't Angie's strong point.

For the first thirty seconds, it was really nice for the boys to see how a normal family can just sit around and hold a nice conversation while patiently waiting for the turkey to be carved. The problem was, Angie and Patience had a falling out a few years ago and, well, let's just say they're not exactly on eating terms yet. Angie won.

Barb, on the other hand, thought it made more sense to start getting everyone liquored up. I normally don't jump on the wine-wagon, but it's not often that Barbara actually makes sense, so I felt compelled to shout 'YES' to her wine-giving. Thanks! At the mention of alcohol, Angie came up for air and realized that the food had not even been served yet. Oh, sorry everyone - mea gulpa!

According to David's brain, the manly thing to do after any feast is to attack one another. In a friendly, thankful kind of way, of course.

Every adult human that has come in contact with a rambunctious child knows this smile. It's typically translated as 'Oh great, everyone is watching this brat trying to strangle me, so now I have to pretend that this is fun, even though I would actually like to drop him to the floor like a sack of potatoes.'

The main difference between the 'smile' approach and the 'mash 'em like taters' method is that grinning just attracts other crazy youths. They smell your indecision from miles away.

As with any frenzied mob, it only takes one crazy punk to chuck a Monchichi before all hell breaks loose.

At that moment, I'm pretty sure that Opa appreciated how Bush felt when he was busy dodging a shoe at Maliki's palace. I never got a chance to laugh at him, though; he suddenly morphed into the role of a secret service agent, charged with protecting mischievous half-pint miscreants from even worse enemies wielding hammers.

From that point, the events unfolded rather quickly. Tom was whisked into protective services with agent Lola who was not so thrilled with her new assignment.

Grams tried to distract the accused until the hearing.

What she didn't realize, though, was that 'hearing', in any grammatical shape or form, is a concept that is completely foreign to animals. They spent approximately ten seconds watching Grams doodle an avocado and then proceeded to fight over and subsequently smash poor Simon.

I looked at the broken plastic bits and mentally added 'Simon II' to the shopping list. I also explained to Peter and David that their toy was dead and that I would have to flush it down the toilet. They ignored me, of course.


It's probably good that Simon can't make up his own commands, I'm pretty sure that after his Thanksgiving fall, it would be 'Simon says, keep me away from those monsters and let me live here with Opa.'
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we ate turkey - yum, yum.
David: We go to Grams and Opa for the thankings.
Tom: When I up-down by Grams and Opa.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That we can't stay more.
David: I don't had a worst thing.
Tom: I made a owa my foot.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: That my tooth hurts.
David: Play with Tommy.
Tom: I want to eat.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mess, trouble and noise

Lately, Tom has been somewhat interested in the toilet. He doesn't actually want to use it, but when I was changing him this morning, he explained perfectly how it would work if he ever decides to stop crapping his pants.

The problem is summed up rather nicely on his shirt: 'Like to make mess, trouble and noise'. Tom obviously inherited some of Mama's genes, so the messy part is regrettable, but somehow understandable. What I don't get, though, is who the hell is teaching the boy to enjoy getting into trouble and being loud?

Before I could dwell on that puzzler any longer, the door bell rang. Sami, Kika, and Lauri showed up and we hit the streets to the Christmas Market.

The Christmas Market is a tradition in Germany that starts about four weeks before Christmas. In Heidelberg the University square and the Market square are converted into stands and booths that offer anything from sausages and warm wine to hand-made necklaces made from precious plastic. Our boys tore down arts & crafts alley and headed straight for the motherload.

One ride is never enough, but I can tell by the package 'deals' that they offer that we are not the only family spending hours on a big wheel that goes round and round.

They have these insane deals, like 'buy 20 rides and get one ride for half-price'. They might as well name it 'we've got your little ones hooked, so just fork over the cash and we'll play along with you when you tell the little ankle-biters that there is a limit to how many rides they are allowed to go on.'

Okay, that name probably wouldn't fit on the sign, but it was still the thought running through my brain as the smug bastard handed over the ride tokens.

In this picture, I could see David as Donald Trump, just without a half-destroyed mop on top of his head. I imagine Donald staring at a wad of fifties much in the same way that David is lovingly eye-balling his ride tokens. Tom would be Waldo, age two; before he switched to red stripes and went into hiding. Lauri would be Gary Coleman, doing his classic 'whatcha talkin' 'bout, Willis' stare that Waldo is so totally ignoring.

We held out until Tommy's lips turned blue and even then he didn't want to get off. It was probably because his fingers were frozen to the metal wheel, but Tommy decided to throw a freak-fit, so we'll never know for sure. At least his tears froze quickly, sealing his eyes shut for what turned out to be a rather short nap.

He awoke again in the warmth of our apartment to find Katherina entertaining Angie with his puppet book.

It doesn't take much to amuse Angie unless you're me, but I was still surprised that Tom wasn't more possessive about his book. With two older brothers, Tom has gotten quite good at announcing what it MINE! and what is NOT YOU! Let me just say, the moment of self-restraint was brief. Tom was only ignoring the whole 'hey that's my book' thing because he was too busy staring into the empty cookie tray.

'MINE cookie, Mama! You NO EAT!'

It was at that point that he finally noticed Kika goofing around with his book. For Katherina's sake, I intervened.

'Just put the book down gently and slowly walk away. Whatever you do, don't make eye contact. That just makes him really....'

'Hey! MINE book! MINE, NOT YOU!'

Meanwhile, the alpha males were taking an intellectual break from chest-beating.

Okay, Peter skipped the brainiac part and opted instead to wiggle his wiggly tooth for an hour. At one point, Mama meandered over and asked Peter if he needed any help with his tooth.


Short, but sweet. And sincere. And a bit worried. Okay, let's be honest - Peter was petrified shitless and came running into my arms as if the Predator herself was chasing him down. I assured 'Dutch' that I would mask his body heat signature with mud and not allow bipedal aliens to rip his tooth out. When this didn't work, I turned on a movie and made some popcorn.

The cool thing about lazy kids is that they are reliable. Throw on a flick and you're guaranteed at least 20 minutes of silence. Unless you're Tom, who got quite vocal when I stood between him and his precious TV. True to his shirt, he then threw his bowl of popcorn at me, making a huge mess and getting himself into trouble.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That I could play with David a game from Star Wars.
David: That I play my game that I got a car with the pistol in the car.
Tom: David do a wagon.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That Tommy was just trying to jump on my head the whole time.
David: That I can't play the Hotwheels so cool with Tommy.
Tom: It was dark like the hippo.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Arman.
David: Play with Tom and Peter - and maybe even you Papa - the car game.
Tom: Watch a show with a monkey.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Exhibit B

'You are hereby charged with the supervision of two mischevious minors. How do you plead?'

'I plead insanity, your honor.'

The day in question started out like any other - dark and loud. The boys screamed us awake at a time that is or should be illegal in most countries. By 'us' I of course mean 'me' and it didn't help that 'me' was screaming back at the miscreants.

'Rock-thingy-up-go? What the hell are you talking about?'

In my defense, I had completely forgotten that I had been volunteered to take the boys wall climbing. They have driven me up the walls for years, so I seriously doubted that they needed a guide, but Angie's logic had an alibi. When I asked what it was, I was told to go climb up a wall. Fine. Bye.

You'll notice that one of the alleged victims was clearly not under duress; he was freakin' whistling the entire time, for Peter's sake!

Meanwhile, David was supposed to be towing the line, which he did for all of two minutes. After that, he got bored and decided to play tug-of-war with Peter, who was dangling from a man-made cliff close to the ceiling.

After several warnings to stop trying to kill his brother, David lost his turn and earned the not-so-coveted spot by the backpacks, also known as 'time-out' central.

When we returned home, Peter made the mistake of mentioning to Mama that his front tooth was 'a little wiggly'. Angie immediately grabbed him by the jaw and started swinging him around the room. I intervened and politely thanked Angie for what is certain to be one of Peter's early childhood 'memories' but suggested that maybe we should wait a week or so before we start punching his teeth out. Peter nodded rather energetically and then gave me the bird.

'Your honor, I'd like to get a restraining order.'

Angie somehow convinced the judge that he was just showing us his 'wiggly' tooth. Whatever. I'd still like the restraining order.

After getting the kids to bed, Angie decided that it was exactly the right time to start bitching that I have not yet taken the old TV down to the cellar. It's been exactly a week since I bought the new TV; I haven't even figured out how to program the damn thing yet, but this did not faze Charlie Brown's teacher.

'I've nagged you at least nag times to bring the nagging nag down to the nag! Do I have to nag everynag around nag?'

'Your honor, the defendant is clearly insane; she claims mental anguish because I have neglected to remove a television set that has been sitting in the hallway for seven days. Seven days, your honor. In my defense, I would like to submit into evidence Exhibit A'

'Exhibit A is a birthday pendant that the plaintiff has left hanging on the wall since David's birthday in May of this year. To put it into perspective, your honor, this banner has been there for 179 days longer than it needed to be. I'd like to now submit into evidence Exhibit B.'

'Exhibit B is actually our hamper. In June of this year, the plaintiff discovered a few innocent buggies that were chowing down on the wicker fibers and irrationally decided that the best course of action would simply be to move said hamper to our balcony. The hamper is still full; she neglected to remove any clothes and opted instead for a plan that involved buying a new wardrobe. For herself. I am still missing a pair of jeans and my favorite shirt, but that is beside the point. Exhibit B should have been removed in June. It is now covered in snow. I rest my case, your honor.'
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we saw my tooth and rock climbing.
David: That I climb up on the wall, okay?
Tom: I was outside with Mommy, too.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That I couldn't be last by Ladder Talk.
David: That I can't not play more with Tommy ginger.
Tom: I was fall down there.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: Play with Papa and maybe David a game.
David: Play with Peter Hotwheels.
Tom: I want in to bed with Mommy and Papa he sleep in my bed.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Brothers in leather

Speaking of sickening, I can't wait to see the search hits that come from naming this one "Brothers in leather". [For those freakos expecting something else, go wash your brain out with soap.]

On the weekend, I normally try and plan something fun for the boys. Not today, though. Tommy was sick and my creativity meter hit snooze until Mama smashed it with her cleaning hammer.

'Get out.'

'Oh, see - I actually had a different plan. I thought I would just hang out on the sofa with Tommy and maybe watch a...'

'Get out.'

I still don't understand the logic behind cleaning a house that houses three boys and me, but logic and I haven't been on speaking terms for ten years. Now, some of you math types with your fancy calcumalators might bring up that Angie and I have only been married for seven years. To that, I would remind you that Angie and I dated for three years. Now do the math.

My brain had only had one cup of coffee before Mr. Clean's number one fan decided that running the vacuum while tending to a sick two-year old was somehow a fair trade for dumping an aesthetically pleasing and hairy-chested man-hunk with two rather loud and energetic boys, so I decided to impress Peter and David with what only seems like a run-on sentence. When this didn't work, I resorted to letting them ride the escalator.

They weren't being lazy; there are just so many hours that you can spend on an escalator before you need to sit down and take a break. They are lazy, though.

Next on Papa's fun-filled plan of action was a little thing I like to call 'eating'.

The boys were intrigued. It was a relatively new concept for them, so I tried my best to explain what 'eating' entailed. I would have probably done better to go through what doesn't constitute 'eating'. Gulping down your Coke and burping the alphabet, for example, doesn't. But kudos for making it to V, Davey.

All burping aside, the boys seemed genuinely interested in learning more about this whole 'eating' thing that Papa was raving about. Halfway though my explanation, though, the boys donned their coats and went outside, apparently to practice for the next auditioning of 'Jackass'.

This baffled me, since it had nothing at all to do with eating. It actually had the opposite effect for me, so I pushed my plate away and decided to stick to moving staircases.

On the way home, we passed by a Lion's Club stand. The only thing that could have been cooler for David would be if the lion had been red. He overlooked this, though and demanded a hug.

Luckily, I am secure enough in my fatherhood that I was not jealous at all. [Note to self: buy an oversized lion outfit - a red one.]

When we got home, Peter started rubbing it in that he was going to spend the night at Artin's and how much fun he was going to have while Davey was stuck at home doing nothing with nobody. I gave Peter several warnings to knock it off, but he must get his listening skills from his mother.

In the end, Peter was being such a horrible little shit to Davey that I finally had to come to his rescue. I explained to Peter that we were converting the living room into a movie theater, making pop-corn and renting Toy Story 2, which Peter has been dying to see.

In the end, I actually did manage to plan something fun for the boys to do on the weekend. Just not Peter.
Ladder Talk:
[Peter was too busy missing out on a kick-ass movie to do Ladder Talk.]
1) What was the best part of your day?
David: That I can watch the movie and Peter not.
Tom: That I a boat, Papa.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
David: That Tommy is sick.
Tom: When I want the whale and whoosh, bam, owa and I cry like this - boo hoo.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
David: To go climbing on the wind.
Tom: I want twick-o-tweet.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Herbie goes bananas!

This hot mama was photographed seconds after we realized that our front row concert tickets had one minor setback. My ticket said row 1, seat 1. Groovy! Angie's ticket said row 1, seat 2. Dig it! Then came the catch - Angie's ticket had 'balcony' next to the seating; mine didn't. Bummer!

At least the day didn't start out with any unexpected surprises. Oh wait, yes it did. Two of them, actually.

The first one came at 7:45 when Angie's personal waker-upper (me) had failed to resist the snooze button. She was supposed to teach at 8:00, so you can imagine her reaction when she awoke from her well-needed beauty slumber. After a few minutes, I pointed to the clock and questioned whether it really made sense to be wasting time on coming up with such colorful and creative names. And bonus points for being so descriptive!

The second surprise came at 7:46, when Opa opened the front door. Angie freaked out and ran down the hall to the bathroom making a rather interesting noise. It was a strange mix of growling and cursing. I wasn't sure if crying was included, but my brain told me it wasn't the right time to ask. Instead, I turned to Opa.

'Good morning.'

'You're late.'

Angie had just darted to the bathroom muttering 'shit, shit, shit' and I was standing in my boxers, so it wasn't exactly the mind-boggling deduction of the year. I ignored this and tried to be witty instead.

'You're early.'

Angie's schedule had recently changed and he was not supposed to come until 8:15. I agreed with Opa that it would have been nice had Angie mentioned this little tid-bit of information earlier, but I also tried my best to convince him that it was probably not the optimal moment to bring that point up.

As I got the boys dressed and ready for school, Tommy cat-growled at me. I don't know who taught him this (probably David), but it's his new thing. It's hard to explain, but it's a very angry 'meeow' bark that he delivers whenever he doesn't like what you're telling him. This morning, it was the fact that he could not use apple juice instead of milk for his cereal. It didn't help that David thought it was a brilliant idea and wanted to try it as well.

On the way into work, it dawned on me that, for a change, I had been chastised and growled at before reaching the office. Not bad for a Thursday.

After work, Angie asked me to tell her more about Rocky, who has left several comments on the blog (unlike my other two readers). She's an ex-Navy friend of mine who was witness to some of the wilder times of my squid years. We've recently reunited, thanks to CrackBook, and so far, she's been kind enough not to publish any of the 'sloppy' pictures. She's also a blogger like me, just without the hairy chest (I hope) and biceps that can crack open walnuts.

Anywho, her site is called The Shark Tank, which cracked up Angie for some odd reason. It probably had to do with me getting bitten in the chest by a shark when I was a kid and needing multiple years of reconstructive surgery, but I'll save that emotional flash back for another time.

Anywhy, Angie then plastered an honorary shark sticker on our computer desk. David had found it in Mama's hair a few weeks ago after a long day at work. Angie wasn't content enough with just the sticker, though; she also decided that Rocky would be mega-impressed with her crappy impersonation of a shark. Thank God it wasn't a scratch and sniff.

Angie probably didn't fathom at the time that I might actually publish these pictures, but by the time she reads this, I'm fairly sure she'll come to some level of realization. Hi sofa, it's been a while - how's the family?

After 'funny-face' hour, I sent Angie off to go get pretty. Lena showed up at 7:30, ready to sit on our children. Not surprisingly, Tommy wasn't liking the idea of Mama and Papa leaving him home alone. The cool thing is, at that age, the most aggressive protest they can conjure up is to go and hide in a box.

'Okay, weird one. You have fun; we're leaving you now.'

Angie gave me a puzzled look, but I told her that I would explain later. For a change, we actually made it somewhere on time. Admittedly - the concert hall is at most a two minute walk from our place, but still - admirable. Right?

It didn't take long after entering the hall to sort out the seating SNAFU. We had just figured out how to handle it when Judy arrived.

She seemed genuinely concerned about the seating malfunction.

'Oh, how terrible. I guess you'll have to sit upstairs, then.'

Guess again, Grams. I mean, come on - it's Herbie Hancock - LIVE , row 1! Hello? Plus, I already had a date with the sofa later, so I had no qualms about letting Angie volunteer for the nose bleed.

Herbie, or as I like to call him - Herb, was awesome.

At several points during the concert, I seriously got worried that he had slipped into the Clonic phase of a grand mal seizure. He would close his eyes and just let it rip. Arms, legs, neck - hell, his whole body would just start twitching about; it was musical ecstasy and you could tell that he enjoyed every second of it. I was absolutely fascinated that he could thrash about like that and still hold a tune. And WHAT a tune!

After three or four spasmastical encores, we eventually made our way home. Since it was already 11:30 in the PM, we naively assumed that Tommy would be asleep. Angie opened the door quietly, whispering and tip-toeing so as not to wake up....

'Maaaammaaaaaaaa! Paaaaaaapppppppaaaa!'
Shortly after Lena left, I laid down the law.

'Tommy, look - it's super late and I really need you off of the sofa. Don't ask why - just understand, it's time for bed.'

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That I not more be sick.
David: That I can play with Tommy my game 'Playmotapagenten'

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That I needed to sit on the toilet.
David: That I can't not play more with Tommy.
3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play Playmobil with Arman.
David: To play with Tommy my new game Kaboomba!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Papa needs a new watch

Yesterday started out with a search party to find Papa a new watch courtesy of the Zeit magazine. They are sponsoring a scavenger hunt where 21 watches were hidden in 21 different literary locations throughout Germany. They published photographic clues and one of them happened to be a picture of the Old Bridge in Heidelberg. I've been known to frequent The Brass Monkey on occasion and the pub is located by the Old Bridge, so I somewhat fuzzily recognized the location.

The task was simple enough; go to the photographed spot at 10:00 on November 13th and search for a watch. They also planted an email address somewhere in the vicinity for creatures like us who show up late to everything. You could email the answer to their riddle and still win a consolation prize. They 'claimed' that the clue with the email address would be there for three days. Too much foreshadowing?

Right, enough background details. The picture above was taken shortly before it dawned on Tommy that he wasn't coming with us. Let me just say, I had never heard a pirate scream like a little girl before.

David would have so been on the search team, but he was sicker than a Marilyn Manson fan club, so we left him behind to stare at the CD player. We didn't actually put batteries in it, but I'm pretty sure that just staring at it helped him somehow.

Peter promised David that if we found the watch, he could have it. It was so brotherly-love like that I almost lost my breakfast. I didn't explain to Peter that there was no way in hell the watch wasn't mine when we found it; mainly because my ears couldn't take two wailing pirates.

Along the way, we did draw a few looks.

It was mostly hot women who wanted to touch my biceps, but a few of them actually noticed Peter and chuckled. Yeah, laugh now ladies - we'll see who's giggling later when my new watch tells you what time it is.

When we finally arrived at the search site, Peter busted out his liar skills and informed me that the castle behind him was his. That's great, son, but first of all, that's not a castle; secondly, you might want to go jump in the river; I think your pants are on fire.

The location was completely desolate, but the lack of humans did not deter us; we got our search on. We searched, and searched, and searched. After a while, I starting cursing between searches and eventually, when I was damn close to punching pedestrians for asking why we were dressed up like pirates, I admitted that it was time to walk the long plank home.

Thanks a lot, Zeit magazine. I hope you're happy with yourself.

To avoid a complete meltdown, I took my clueless pirate to his sports class. Along the way, Peter showed me his creative version of 'Think no weird, see no weird, speak no weird'. My favorite was the last one.

'Super - now go do some sports.'

Instead of sports, Peter decided to jump up and down on a ball that he had cleverly nicknamed 'Treasure Watch'.

Clue? What clue? Oh yeah, there it isn't! Maybe it's there! Or maybe there! How do like them watches, huh?

After a rather therapeutic hour of imaginary watch bashing, the inner voices in Peter's head were back to whistling Dixie.

Between renditions, I explained to Peter Piper that I needed to go to the electronic store and then to the grocery store.

'Don't worry, though - I'll take you with me to the electronic store and drop you off at home before I go grocery shopping.'

'I don't want to go to the ektronik store. I want to go grocery shopping.'

'It's electronic, not ektronik, and please don't tell any of my work friends about this conversation.'


After dumping grocery boy off with his Mama, I went to the electronics store to buy an external hard drive so that I could finally back up all of our digital pictures. Along the way, I got a little distracted.

I'm pretty much impulsive anything, so if you combine shopping at an electronics shop without a marital chaperone, it should be no major surprise. Apparently, it was a minor surprise to Angie.

'You bought a WHAT?!'

'It was on sale. I love you.'

'My birthday was THREE weeks ago and you haven't managed to pick up my birthday gift but you bought a TV?!'

I wasn't quite sure if her last babble was a question or a statement. Doesn't matter. I know it does not happen very often, but Angie actually had a point. Her birthday was three weeks ago and her gift was still waiting in another city for me to pick it up, but come on - it was a Samsung flat screen and it was ON SALE! Hello? Clearly not my fault.

The rest of my night was evenly divided between studying the new TV manual, taking care of sick-o Davey, defending my purchasing strategy to people who should not be bitching to me about spending money, and staring at my naked wrist. Thanks again, Zeit!

Day two of our watch-hunt began with David trying to convince me that he was feeling better.

'I go with, Papa, 'cause I are all better now?'

'Nice try, buddy. You're still on sick-duty, but we'll keep you updated if we find any clues this time.'

I wasn't overly optimistic that Zeit would deliver, but we donned the pirate gear and embarked on our second journey to put some bling on my wrist. Come on, Zeit - Papa needs a new watch!

Peter whistled about halfway there before asking if we could take the car. I explained that it would actually take longer to walk back and get the car and that he should just pop his snot bubble and march on. Lazy-bones then demanded that he be carried. I immediately frisked the boy for the drugs that he had obviously been smoking, but I came up empty. I guess his class has already covered the chapter on concealment.

When we got to ground zero-clues, we met a nice couple.

'Are you here for the scavenger hunt?'

'Jeez, lady, was it the eye patch or the skull cap? Come on, what gave it away?'

It was at this point that the woman stopped speaking to me. I did notice that the man was blushing slightly and staring at his shuffling feet.

'Yeah, see - I was here yesterday as well. When I found the clue with the email address on it, I got so excited that I snatched it up and ran home to claim the prize. I didn't notice the inscription until late last night.'

It was in German, but it went something like this:

[Please do NOT take this home with you - write down the email address and leave this where you found it so that you don't inadvertently break the hearts of small children and hairy-chested bloggers]

The poor guy looked so worried that I started cracking my ass up. This obviously puzzled him, but I'm used to that. Luckily, Peter broke up our awkward stare-down with a simple question followed by a tiny lip quiver.

'So, where is it?'

At least the considerate clue thieves had returned the evidence to the scene of the crime; they even pointed Peter in the right direction.

Peter grinned like the village pirate and even danced a jig for the clue snatchers. He then wanted to race to the post office to claim our prize. I tried to explain the difference between mail and e-mail, but he had already moved on and was babbling something about the soccer game.

Yes, today was Peter's first live soccer game. He grabbed his vuvuzela that has been in time-out since the World Cup and we picked up Opa. The skies were blue, the sun was shining and, for a change, we weren't late. That's not to say that I don't need a watch, though.

I was worried that Peter might blow his damn horn for 90 minutes and annoy the crap the poor lady in front of us, so I laid down the Vuvuzela Decree.

1. You can only blow the horn if there is a goal, a player gets a red card, or someone streaks across the field.
2. Lift the vuvuzela up in the air so you don't make that woman's ears bleed.
3. Make sure that you....hey, what is Opa doing?

I thanked Opa for breaking rules 1 and 2 so that Peter had the visual on what he wasn't supposed to do. The lady in front whipped around rubbing her ear and asked if there had been a goal.

'Nope. Streaker. You just missed it.'

'Huh? What did you say?'

I gave the lady the universal circle sign for 'turn around' and continued to watch Hoffenheim dominate Freiburg.

Peter was quite impressed with everything, but after 40 minutes without a goal, he started to get bored. At halftime, we hit the bathroom and he actually admitted to me that waiting in the long line for the toilets was more fun than parts of the game. Okay, weirdo.

The second half wasn't as exciting as the urinals, but at least a goal was scored. It was in the last ten seconds of overtime, so it was quite unexpected. Unfortunately, it was Freiburg and not Hoffenheim. Peter didn't care, though. He nearly blew the head off of the woman in front of us and began screaming like a madkid. 'Gooooooaaaaalll!!'

The man next to me asked if I was aware that we were in the Hoffenheim section. For those non-soccer fans, let me translate that question for you: 'If you don't shut your kid up right now, that yellow horn-thingy is going to make it hard for you to walk properly'.

The message was understood, loud and clear. Even Opa thought it was time to go.

'Oh, it's time to go already? I'm sorry, it's just - you know, I don't have a watch, so I wasn't sure if it was time to go or not. It sure would be nice if I had a watch so I could tell when it's time to save my first born from getting beaten up by angry fans. I just hope that Zeit isn't the type of magazine that would idly stand by and allow the beating of innocent kids simply because I don't have a watch.'
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When that man he show me the watch clue.
David: As I stay in pajamas the whole day.
Tom: I sleep in the car.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When Davey was coughing on my head and laughing.
David: When my eyes they hurt when they are closed.
Tom: That was a big fire owa.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To watch the new TV.
David: Papa, you know it already - the new TV.
Tom: I watchy snakes.