Monday, December 31, 2012

Chili, Fire & Hooch

That's right, baby - we ended the year off proper. I was worried that my old man's recipe for Shit-Hot Chili might not clinch it, so I also boiled up a bunch of eggs and made my own doctored-up version of deviled eggs. Man, next year's gonna stink. 

I spent the morning running around the city buying last minute ingredients. Chili is apparently not native to Germany, so it took quite a few stops at specialty stores to get the good stuff. After almost a decade of marital confinement, I've grown to be a very patient man, so I calmly waited in line at three different stores along with two hundred other idiots who also chose to go shopping just hours before the stores closed for New Year's. What a buncha maroons!

After the last-minute grocery run, I locked myself into the kitchen. Angie chose that point in her universe to announce that she was going clothes shopping with her mom. Rather than bicker with the mother of my children on the timing of her shopping spree, I wished the mother of my wife pleasant spending and racked my brains on how to tame wild ones.

Bingo! Thank you, Nintendo.

Shortly before our chili cook-off, Nicole showed up and took over distraction duty. In addition to Nintendo, David has recently become addicted to Monopoly. We now have the Monopoly Junior, the regular Monopoly, the Star Wars Monopoly and the Monopoly Banker editions. I can only hope that David's fascination with the credit card machine in Monopoly Banker is an indication of a future profession. Make Papa rich, buddy!

Speaking of addictions, Sarah showed Tommy how to cook things with spoons after dinner.

When I questioned Tommy's Godmother as to why she would be teaching my third-born the art of crack cocaine, she got all defensive and claimed that it was just another bizarre German tradition. We go through this exercise every year, but it still ceases to amaze me. Apparently, my wife's people melt hollow chunks of lead and then throw the liquid metal into water. They then analyze the resulting shape, which will supposedly tell your future. I thought it was complete crap, but I tried it and my metal blobby thing looked like a beer bottle. Hey, who am I to argue with fate?

After drinking a beer for the gods, Sarah busted out an equally fun game - Qwirkle. Sebastian was quick to scoff and point out that the game was for ages 6+.

So, yeah - after ten minutes, Sebastian still hadn't gotten the grasp of the game. We sent Peter over to be a special 'advisor' on Sebastian's team. Two minutes later, Sebastian and Peter were winning. Coincidence? I think not. 

I know, I know, Peter is older than 6+. Sorry, but so is Sebastian. 

After hours of fun, we checked the clock. Seven minutes 'til midnight. At that point, Angie and I collectively realized that on average it takes fifteen minutes to get our boys shoed and jacketed, not to mention that we had Chiara and Alessio. Oh, shit.

As the women and children freaked out, I did what any self-loving man would do in a stressful situation and secured the alcohol. Mumms the word.

Peter and David have both had their 'Wow' year when it comes to fireworks. It only happens once in a kid's lifetime. The year prior, they're half asleep and slobbering on your shoulder as the sky explodes. The year after, it's all 'yeah, cool, but I've seen that before'. Last year, Tommy was drooling at midnight and could not be bothered with why his ears were bleeding. This year, he was definitely in 'Wow' mode.

The big boys were also in 'Wow' mode, thanks to Papa buying a shitload of fireworks. My only mistake was allowing Angie to help light them.

So yeah, in addition to dinners, fingers are apparently on Angie's short list of things that she inadvertently sets on fire. At least David reacted when his mother starting screaming like a banshee and waving a flaming digit.

I applauded David's moving display of concern. Even so, I felt that a breathalyzer test was in order to determine the origin of the fire.

'Angie, front and center!'

Amazingly enough, Angie passed with flying papers. Tommy, on the other breath, was running on fumes and starting to get his giddy on. It's hard to believe, but he was giggling more than the adults. Keep winking Angie - you're killin' him!

'Tommy, are you getting tired?'

'No, Papa, you are the tire! Hahahahahahaha...'

I ignore weird family members on a tri-daily basis, so I walked away from Giggle-boy and One-eye and ventured off to check on Peter and David, who were trying desperately to blow up a park bench. I weighed my parental responsibilities and came damn close to showing them where they would need to place the charges to actually get the bench airborne. Instead, I wondered back over to check on my third-born.

'Hey, buddy - are you sure you're not getting sleepy?'

A picture is worth a thousand winks, so we closed the outdoor events with Zombie-boy's goodnight stare.

When we got back to the house, two interesting things happened. The first is that Sebastian decided to torment our cat with remote-controlled cars that are apparently irresistible to felines.

The second noteworthy event was that Tommy got his second wind. He also donned a pair of sun glasses and announced to parents that didn't care in the least that 'I a cool boy why I these glasses have'.

'Yup. Cooler than a mime. Now go to bed!'

'Okay, g'night!'

I was shocked, but I didn't show it. Don't jinx it man, just walk away.

After letting the kids settle themselves, the adults hunkered down to get our game on. We ruled out Qwirkle, but mainly because Peter wasn't around to 'advise' Sebastian. In the end, we settled for a long morning of me spanking everyone in poker. I know, I know - same shit, different year.
Ladder Talk: [In addition to Papa, the young pups were in no condition to do Ladder Talk]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.............
David: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.............
Tom: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.............

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.............
David: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.............
Tom: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.............

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.............
David: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.............
Tom: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.............

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wild Turkeys

'Tis the season to be insanely ecstatic, I guess. We opened non-Santa gifts last night, though, and Tommy was mega excited over a pack of wrapped batteries, so it obviously doesn't take much. Get you motor running...

Speaking of insane, I want to thank Nicole again for her holiday madness when she went shopping for the boys. Can't buy me love? Bullshit.  

David had so many aneurism-worthy gifts that he almost collapsed. In the end, he decided on a combination of two of his most passionate addictions and settled down for a game of Star Wars Monopoly.

Some of you might ask why he wasn't playing the new Nintendo 3DS XL that he got last night from Grams and Opa. For those of you who might not ask, you're getting the story anyway. Deal with it.

Well, the short answer is that Nintendo sucks. So do the stores that sell Nintendo, but that is beside the point. The long and crushingly funny answer is that the damn thing does not come with a charging adaptor. And you can't just use any adaptor. No, that would be too consumer friendly. Nintendo's brainchild of a sales scam is that you have to go out and purchase a special adaptor from, imagine that, Nintendo. That's like buying a car for ten dollars and then being told that it only works with a custom fitting steering wheel (not included), which costs 20,000 dollars. And now the funny part - the stores are closed for the next two days, so David can only cradle his new game console and cry. Thanks, Nintendo.

Okay, David wasn't really crying. I was, shortly after taking a mental account of all the Lego shit that I would be building for the next month. It was at that point that Peter gave me an unwrapped and unexpected gift.

That's right; Peter is now old enough to build his own freakin' toys. Even cooler than that, his ego is at a massagable stage where I can still get away with tactics like 'Wow! Peter - that is amazing. You're such a good Lego Monster Fighter builder. You're WAY better than I am. Do you think you could build Tom's, too?'

You can think that I'm an ass, but I so totally know that you would try the same. Welcome to my world.

My world revolves around several stabile forces, one of them being lateness. We were supposed to be at Grams and Opa's for turkey dinner and, as per usual, we had a series of malfunctions leaving the house that meant we were a tad late. Angie studied Latin for almost a decade so I'm sure she'd agree with me that 'tad' is just a fancy Latin term for 'really'.

Our only real contribution was to make mashed potatoes. This becomes a bit tricky if you forget the bag of potatoes at home. I blame Angie for this, but I don't really have a reason that would hold up in a court of law. Luckily, Horst and Judy have a nuclear fallout shelter in the basement equipped with a few hundred bottles of wine and, as luck would have it, potatoes.

Boiling the potatoes was not difficult, but since we started later than planned, I also delayed dinner. The tricky part of mashed potatoes is actually the mashing. My potato masher was in the bag with the potatoes that Angie forgot to bring, so I used an electric vegetable chopper.

The handheld blender might be great for making a kickass carrot salad, but it immediately mashed the potatoes way behind recognition. I give Angie enough shit when she burns dinner, so I have to be fair - I served up a big-ass bowl of glue. And it was my ONLY contribution!

David is a potato freak and still ate two helpings. I served up Peter a 'plop' of stickiness that I thought for sure would break the plate. I'm fairly certain that most other servings will break Judy's dishwasher in the next run. Just use a chisel.

 Despite the starchy faux pas, dinner was excellent!

Judy tends to cook meat longer than any recipe suggests. This year, she explained that she cooked the turkey for less time and on a lower heat. I took my first bite and thought 'Wow, this is the juiciest turkey I've ever had.' Judy took her first bite and had a different review. 'It's not done - the turkey's not done.'

The turkey was done and tasted great, as did everything else, except the side dish of glue. After dinner, the boys started to wind up. Shortly after, they started to wind down. It was not surprising, considering that they woke up at 4:00 A.M. I'm sorry; let me change that last sentence slightly. It was not surprising, considering that WE woke up at 4:00 in the freakin' morning.

On that note, goodnight and have a pleasant Boxing Day. I'm sure our boys will celebrate this in their own special way.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we got even more presents.
David: That I won two times against you in Monopoly.
Tom: That we did have ice-cream.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That we didn't take the other Lego pieces that I needed to have to build more.
David: That I couldn't play Nintendo.
Tom: That we could play not computer.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to make more of my Lego Monster Fighters.
David: Play some more Monopoly.
Tom: Play that with the slide.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Scissors and Carrots

It's okay, people - letting our children balance themselves on the radiator with a pair of scissors is all part of the Christmas fun. It was also the last day of Advent and David has been bugging the shit out of me to let him cut down his own Advent gift bag for the past 23 days. Go for it, buddy!

After breakfast, Angie called Peter over and announced that he was getting an early Christmas gift.

Holy mother of hell, are you kidding me?

'Um, Angie, darling, love of my life - why on Earth did you give Peter an alarm clock?'

'Because he asked for one.'

Great, lovely - thanks for explaining that to the minority faction of my family that thinks quite strongly that the last thing any of my children need is a device to wake them up even earlier.

Apparently, Peter wants to surprise us by hiding his gift for us under the tree before we wake up. Again, it's obvious that Angie's faulty logic gene has unfortunately not skipped generations. Even on workdays, the animals are up before us, so why did Angie succumb to insanity? Because he asked for one.

Grams, Opa, Barb and Leif showed up at happy hour and shortly after dinner, they initiated the first wave of gift frenzy. Line up, boys!

Peter was the first to open THE BIG ONE, which for him was a scooter. Why? Because he asked for one.

It looks identical to the one he had stolen during Easter break, but hiking it to school since then has hopefully taught him to remember to lock this one up. Thanks Grams, thanks Opa!

David's BIG ONE was no surprise, he's only been yapping away about it since he was old enough to beg. That's right; he got the Nintendo 3DS XL. Thanks Grams, thanks Opa!

I still have my doubts as to whether or not we should be giving the game addict of the family a portable game console, but I'm a fan of social experiments, so let's watch this one together.

Tommy's BIG ONE was... well, actually, he didn't have one. He was racing all around the tree and screaming wildly at everything and anything that had his name on it.

At one point he opened a rather small package and came damn near to losing it.


It was at this point that I went to say hi to Barb.

'Man! You always catch me with a bottle of wine.'

'It's that or the lamp shade - take your pick.'

The boys then split into groups to play with their new toys. This one, to be honest, was a little awkward.

'Peter, it's great that you love your scooter, but do you really need to hug it while you play with your new games?'

'Papa! You're not going to put this in your blog-thingy, are you?'

'No, of course not and as long as you're on that course of belief, can you put out cookies for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer?'

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we got really good presents.
David: Christmas Eve and the Nintendo DS.
Tom: That I did get the Spiderman car-slide.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: I didn't have one.
David: That I couldn't play much on there.
Tom: Was that we could play not computer.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To see all that Santa bring me and my brothers.
David: Open some presents from Santa Clause.
Tom: Open the gifts from the Christmas Man.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

T-minus Two

If you're one of the few people that got a Christmas card from us this year, you'll notice a scribble mark at the bottom that looks pretty much like T-O-M. Unlike previous years when Angie 'signed' for Tom, he actually did stamp his mark. The picture is just in case you think I'm full of it. Join the club.

The day started out grumpy, even though Peter, David, Tom and Angie were in a relatively good mood. I won't name names, but I will say that I made Angie two eggs, toast, and bacon. I then made a really freakin' BIG cup of coffee for someone that I won't name.

I left caffeine to do its mojo and wandered off to the living room where TJZ Smackdown 2012 was about to break out. I broke up the screaming and fighting and finally understood that they were all fighting over who would get to build the SpongeBob puzzle. I took a shot in the dark.

'Guys, why don't you just build it together?'

'Hey, that's a good idea - thanks, Papa!'

Yeah, they don't call me 'Papa' for nothing. 

The main mission for today was to trim the tree. The secondary mission was to freak out because we are having guests tomorrow and we don't have a maid. This mission wasn't really announced, but I knew it was there just ready to pounce when you least expected it. I gave it the name Operation S.P.A.Z.

Before Operation S.P.A.Z. was launched, we rounded up the troops and launched Operation Ball Breaker. I put Angie in charge of this mission and ran off to make more coffee.

Amazingly enough, not a single Christmas ball was broken by the time I returned with a warm cup of nerve juice.  

'Angie you're fired! Oh, wait, hold on - looks like we might have a winner...'

David jackassed with this bulb for damn near ten minutes, but didn't manage to smash it to tiny pieces.

'All right, Angie, I even gave you an extra ten minutes of Destructo Dave juggling fragile glass. You've had your chance, but you're fired.'

'Uh-huh, didn't you say you were making me a coffee?'

As I brought master her mother's milk, David was busy getting addicted to a new game.

This one is called 'Roll-A-Rod' and has been sitting on the shelf since last Christmas. We had tried it out once, but it was way beyond their motor skill capability. Mine as well, but I might have been overdoing the eggnog.

You basically have a rolling pin with two kite strings and you have to balance a log on the strings as it rolls down without having the log fall off. I tried it again this year for ten minutes and gave up. I'm not a Patient Parent. 

David tends to get mega-focused on games. Last month, he played Monopoly more often than Peter cursed, which has been disturbingly often lately. 

After two tries on the 'Roll-A-Rod', David nailed it and continued playing it for the next three hours. He counted each time he had a successful run and then braggingly gave us score-by-score updates. At one point, Angie and I were in separate rooms, but both of us responded to his hundred-mark run with the same statement. 

'David, you've done that 100 times - that's great, but you need to stop playing.'

At that point, Peter became interested in the game. He tried for ten minutes without nailing a centennial and tossed the game aside. He's not a Patient Peter.  
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we decorate the Christmas tree.
David: That I did the tree.
Tom: That we did could watch TV.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: Nothing.
David: That I couldn't play computer.
Tom: That we could play not on the iPhone.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to open the presents.
David: Open some presents.
Tom: Gonna play I computer.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peter Bunyan

In my book, lumberjacks are supposed to wear red and black checkered flannel, but I guess Peter Bunyan didn't get the memo. Doesn't matter - he was the only of my three sons who screamed 'ME!' when I rounded up the troops this morning and screamed 'Yeah, buddies - it's time to go tree hunting - who's with me?'.

I had honestly expected a trio of shouts followed by a scrambling to get shoes on. I don't blame Nicole, but it's still her fault. She stayed over last night and 2 out of 3 mini-Johnsons chose a warm house and Monopoly over bonding. Thanks, Nicole.

Five minutes into our search for the perfect tree, two things happened. First, Peter dismissed every single tree in the lot as not meeting his standards. Second, his bladder screamed at me that he urgently had to pee. So here we were in the middle of nowhere in a big field with tree after tree after tree after tree. Hmmm, where could Peter possibly go?

'No way, Papa!'

'What? Why not? Come on, just go.'

'PAPA!! I am not going to know. There are PEOPLE here!!'

'Your call, buddy, but those same PEOPLE will probably point and giggle at 8-year-olds who wet their pants.'

After christening a tree that I was considering up until that point, we continued our search. We left the lot with the 'pre-cut' trees and moved to the adjacent forest, where the trees were still as Mother Earth intended. As we entered the lot, there was a rack of saws. I've never cut my own tree down, so it seemed like a cool thing to try. Notice the word 'seemed'.

Peter finally found a tree that spoke to him. Great, lovely, give me the saw.

Twenty minutes later, I was covered in mud, out of breath, and really freakin' tired of Peter's helpful comments like 'are you done yet?' and 'man, I should have stayed with Nicole'.

I bit my tongue and went back to work on the tree. After another ten minutes, I needed to take a break. I stood up and noticed a man running around with a chainsaw. WTF!

I dropped my hand saw and ran up to him.

'Hey, can you cut a tree down for me?'

'Of course, that's what I'm here for. I hope you weren't trying to do it with the hand saw.'

'No, of course not. What kind of moron do you take me for?'

So yeah, the rack of handsaws is apparently more for nostalgic types that actually like a muddy workout. I don't, and almost hugged the guy with the power tools that saved me another hour of crawling around in the mud. See, Sarah also wanted a tree and doesn't have a car.

'No problem, I'll pick one up for you.'

'Thanks, Steve. You're...'

'Cooler than pickles - I know, tell Angie.'

Needless to say, I am damn glad that I didn't have to manually chop down two trees. Chainsaw Guy took care of Sarah's tree in three and a half seconds. Man, I love this guy!

After dropping our tree off at home, I hand-delivered Sarah's tree to her door. I rang the doorbell. Nothing. I rang again. Nothing. I don't have Sarah's cell phone number, so I called Angie to have her call Sarah and figure out where the hell she was.

While Angie was calling Sarah, I got impatient. I know, I know - that's normally Angie's forté, but I've also been known to burn a dish every now and then. Instead of waiting for Angie to call in Sarah's coordinates, I rang the neighbor that lives above her.


'Hi, this is the Christmas Tree delivery service, I have a tree for Sarah, but she's not here. Can you let me in so I can drop it off by her door?'


The door clicked open and I dumped Sarah's early Christmas gift off. As I left the building, Sarah came running up out of breath.

'Steve, I told you I had to work and to just leave the tree in your car!'

'Yeah, right. Sorry. In my defense, though, I rarely listen to women.'

Speaking of man-types that don't listen to people they love, Tommy earned a big fat FAIL when it came to dinner.

Okay, Lauri might have had something to do with it, but if I'm completely honest, I think Tommy was taking the lead in disruptive mealtime behavior.

After dinner, I realized something that forced me to whip out the man-saw again. See, when I was manually sawing our tree down, I actually managed to make it halfway through the stump. When chainsaw dude came by, he cut the tree, but he did so lower that where I was cutting. This left us with a tree with a stump that was already cut halfway through. I reluctantly admitted that I needed to finish the job. Peter then jumped in and saved me. Kinda.

Okay, he didn't really help, but it was oddly amusing to see him grunting and trying to use a saw. Plus, it made me look like a rock star when I finished the job in less than ninety seconds. I am Papa, hear me roar!

After getting the kids to bed, Angie and I raised the tree. Surprise, surprise, Angie was the first one to raise a gripe.

'It's not straight!'

'It's not falling over, either - are you sure you want to wake sleeping dogs?'


Let me just state that once a tree is in the stand, it is a royal pain in the ass to change its vertical angle. I managed to do just that, though. Afterwards, my expected 'thank you, Steve - you are the hottest guy to ever verticalize timber' was replaced with 'I don't like the sofa there'.

To make a very frustrating story short, Angie had the sudden urgent need to rearrange our house. To make matters worse, moving furniture revealed dirt, dust bunnies, and molding edibles that apparently needed to be cleaned up immediately.

As Angie became borderline catatonic with her cleaning frenzy, I popped open a beer and admired our Christmas tree.

If you think it's crooked, feel free to leave a comment, but please include your address so that I can hunt you down and deliver your Christmas gift personally.
Ladder Talk: [Tommy fell asleep before jumping on the ladder]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we could get the Christmas tree.
David: That Nicole was still here.
Tom: ZZZZzzzzz.....

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That we buy something today for Arman and Mom already has his gift.
David: That I couldn't eat my sweets.
Tom: ZZZZzzzzz.....

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to decorate the Christmas tree.
David: I want to play computer...and decorate the tree.
Tom: ZZZZzzzzz.....

Friday, December 21, 2012

Okay, fine - November did happen

I might not have had the chance to write a post in November, but there certainly was enough blog-worthy material. Like when Elton Jon stopped by our house to play with our remote-controlled monster trucks.

For those of you that like more photos and less text, I suspect you'll enjoy the missing November files.

Opa wanted to plan a boys' day out and suggested going to a cave. Peter immediately curled up into a ball and started sucking his thumb. I guess our last manly cave adventure has left a lasting impression on Peter.

It took me a while, but I finally explained to my petrified spelunker that this cave was lighted, included a tour guide, and assured him that we would not be repeating the 'mud slide of death'.

David was disappointed that none of us were bitten by bats, but otherwise, it was a really cool trip. After the tour, I bought the boys necklaces in the gift shop to remember the memory.

I shit you not, Tommy broke his on the drive home and David managed to lose his on the walk from the garage back to the house. Peter absolutely loved this tragic development and to this day continues to point out that he still has HIS necklace. Thanks, buddy.

In November, Angie finally had her big theatrical breakthrough. She was asked to be a tree at the kids' Christmas play.

The picture might be a tad blurry, but I can totally confirm that Angie was a kick-ass tree. Trust me, I've seen a lot of timber in my life, but Angie was by far the best tree I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Wow! Just great! Amazing! I even tried convincing Angie to give up her day job and just, you know, be a tree until I retire. Unless a rabbit punch to the ribs is a new form of confirmation, I don't think Angie will be switching careers any time soon. 

David mistakenly announced that he had a wiggly tooth, prompting Angie to throw his head on the kitchen counter and go to work.

My general philosophy with most events is to photograph first, rescue later. After getting the winning shot, I saved a very unhappy Davey by telling Angie that there were fresh-cut cucumbers in the dining room. *POOF*

Peter has had real problems getting his homework done lately. He is constantly coming up with insanely bizarre excuses, like 'The cat is sitting on my homework'.

Okay, he got away with this one.

With three boys, it's sometimes hard to 'share the love' in a balanced way. I felt like I was missing some 'Tommy-Papa' time, so I dumped Peter and David with Angie and had a Tommy Day. It started with a very chocolaty hot chocolate.

If I were forced to do a postmortem of Tommy Day, my Lessons Learned would be that giving four-year old kids a cup of liquid chocolate is a very, very bad idea.

Ute turned 21 again and invited a bunch of hairy-chested man-hunks over to celebrate. I asked her if Angie could join and she reluctantly agreed. They then spent hours watching videos of me in a Speedo juggling baby kittens.

Angie tried convincing me later that it was just an innocent video of the boys singing happy birthday to Ute. Yeah, whatever - Ute dug it.

I took Tommy to Toys-R-Loud to prep my wallet for this year's Christmas list. The first of many wishes was a race car. 

On a visit to Grams and Opa, Tommy learned how to play table tennis. Kinda. He at least learned the joys of whacking a sibling in the eye with a ping-pong ball.

After Tommy's giggling fit passed, we left David to ice-pack his eye and headed to the playground.

It also snowed in November. Man, snow bunnies never get old. 

When Tommy realized what David was doing, he weighed his options for a response.

Luckily, I saw what he was doing and convinced him to zoom in on the not so innocent bystanders instead.

'Aw, does Angie have a pain in the neck?'

Speaking of pain in the necks, I took Peter and David ice-skating. Peter knows how, David doesn't. Ice hurts.

One weekend, we met Horst and Judy in Ladenburg at a pizza parlor called DaVINCI. It became famous last year when the Swedish King Carl Gustav XVI ate there after being turned away from another restaurant around the corner.

The place might have been fit for a king, but I'm pretty sure we were given the table reserved for jesters.

After the feast we drove to the Carl Benz museum. Man, check out those old-timers!

November was also the month that Peter turned into a bookworm. Esther, you would be so proud.

That pretty much wraps up November. Since I'm in still in catch-up mode, I'll throw in one from December.

It all started earlier this week, with what I now lovingly call 'Drop-kick Your Waitress Tuesday'. The boys had Christmas singing at school. It ran a bit late so I decided to let Angie cook.

So, yeah - Pizza Hut was a bit packed when we arrived. As we were waiting to be seated, a blonde waitress came barreling into Sara and ran off without saying anything. Strike 1.

After getting seated, our waitress came by to take our order. She had blonde hair and looked vaguely familiar. Angie went first.

'My son would like this pizza with mushrooms.'

I should point out that Angie was pointing to a picture of a pepperoni pizza. I should also point out that this woman was huffing and puffing and rolling her eyes the whole time. Strike 2.

After taking the orders, Blondie did a recap. Again, Angie was first.

'Okay, you wanted a pizza with mushrooms.'

'No, I wanted the pepperoni pizza with mushrooms.'

'Well, then you should have said "additionally with mushrooms".'

With strike 3, Angie went ballistic. To my delight, Blondie did, too. 

The screaming match was hot, for sure, but eventually Angie got tired of yelling at morons. That never happens at home.

'Can I talk to your manager?'

'No, that won't be needed.'

'Listen lady, that only sounded like a question. Get me your manager now!'

The manager came over and the waitress had the lack of brains to stay. The manager told her to walk away and she actually refused at first. At this point, it was clear that the woman was having a bad day, but trust me - getting fired from Pizza Hut will top whatever bad shit you've got going on. Eventually, Blondie stormed off and fumed at us from the kitchen. No tip for you-ooh.

The manager was extremely nice and even gave the boys big pizzas instead of the kid-size pizzas. Nice gesture, but they don't normally finish the pint versions, so we had a lot of leftovers.

Speaking of leftovers, we also had Thanksgiving in November, but somehow not any pictures. In any case, it was great and I'm looking forward to the second turkey of the year next week. 
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That I could play with Arman a new game that we maked up.
David: Was that I played a game.
Tom: That I can sleep in the t-shirt and long undy-wear.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That Mama was hurt Davey when she cleaned his fingers.
David: That Mama hurt me 'cause she ripped my nail.
Tom: That the pillow in my eye did Arman from David's bed.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to buy an alarm clock.
David: I want to play on the computer.
Tom: Play computer and watch TV and play Angry Birds.