Saturday, June 9, 2012

Angry Birds

These angry birds were no comparison to Mama bird, who was still vocally unthrilled that I had not managed to re-attach the kitchen shelf to the kitchen wall while she was busy in the States losing cameras and eating pancakes. Welcome back, sunny buns!

I hate incessant nagging and pointless moaning as much as the next husband, but it normally does force my ears to fix the 'whatever'. Quickly. The problem is that my ears play with power tools even less than I do. Besides, I'm metro. I cook. I do the shopping. I leave the drilling and wall bashing to the alpha males. Hey, Sami, what are you doing today?

So, yeah, Sami showed up with a duffel bag full of tools and Angry Bird T-shirts. Before we could even get started, though, this crazed bat swooped down and tried chasing the birds away.

With two older brothers, 'Tommy has learned early on his self-defined concept of acceptable equality. If Peter gets to have two scoops of ice-cream, Tom would rather throw his single-scoop in the trash than to accept anything less. If David gets an Angry Bird T-shirt from his Godfather, well, let me put it this way - allowing Tommy to dress up in a rather warm Batman suite in the middle of summer was the only way to get him to shut up about the damn Angry Bird malfunction.

Watching Tommy and Lauri chase each other around was fun, but I was also watching my nag-o-meter and come on, that shelf wasn't going to hang itself. Sami, it's time.

After laying down newspaper and prepping the work zone, I got a little worried when Sami started by dumping the powdered cement into a plastic bucket he had brought.

'Umm, shouldn't we be measuring this stuff?'

'Nah. You got a spoon?'

'But the directions state the ratio that we need to...'

'Directions, Steve? Seriously?'

'Yes, if we don't use the right...'

'Yeah, yeah, how about that spoon?'

At that point, I left to get the camera.

When I came back, Sami announced to me that the consistency looked okay. I resisted the urge to snatch up the directions and gave in to trusting Sami's gut when it comes to mixing cement. He scooped up a spoonful and filled the hole that was there from the good old days when kitchen shelves hung on walls like they should. The next step was to push in the wall anchor, but in the two seconds it took Sami to put down the spoon and grab the anchor, the cement had hardened.

'Wow! Is it supposed to harden that fast?'

'Hand me the hammer.'

As Sami began beating the shit out of the wall anchor, I picked up the directions and came to the conclusion that we would need a swimming pool to dilute the insane amount of powder that we had used. After adding copious amounts of water to the bucket, we managed to get the remaining holes plugged. At that point, Angie strolled by.

'Is the shelf up yet?'

'Do you see a freakin' shelf on the wall!!??'

Angie was disappointed, but for a change, she stopped talking about it and went into the other room. The problem was, I hadn't yet broken the news to her holy nagginess that the shelf could not go up today because the instant cement we had used needs 24 hours to fully harden. After witnessing how quickly the Sami special version had hardened, I chucklingly contemplated mounting the shelf today. In the end, I decided not to challenge the alpha gods. Instead, I walked into the living room to piss off my bird.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That I played with Tommy with the cars.
David: Cleaning up and playing outside.
Tom: When I was the Bat man and I eating the birds.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I wasn't so good by playing piano.
David: That I was in the living room and Tommy kicked so hard he could in the back.
Tom: When David - he get a shirt, but I no have the angry bird and I cry why that not fair is.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: Play with Arman.
David: I want that my tooth falls down.
Tom: I want a Angry Bird shirt.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

While you were gone...

Davey and Löwie flew to America with Grams and Mama for his BIG TRIP before school starts. Peter had gone to Africa with Opa and Barbara, but Angie and I both agreed that David would have taken one look at an elephant and said 'yeah, they have them at the zoo back home - can we go to the hotel pool?'

David and Peter are different in many ways. For example, if you tell Peter something is spicy, he will not even allow it to touch his plate. David, on the other brain, has voluntarily tasted Wasabi, Tabasco, horseradish, and jalapeños. He's even made the observation that 'they all burn, but different.'

They share the same mental polarization when it comes to anything involving adrenaline or fear. Peter is more the one to look at the side of a cliff and awe at its beauty. David would be the one halfway up, wondering if he could make it to the top without falling.

Needless to write, we needed a 'special' trip for David. I think we nailed it when we decided on Disney World. Hello, Florida.

Grams was thrilled as well. By 'thrilled', I of course mean 'I hope they still serve free drinks on transatlantic flights'.

So, while Goofy & Co. were bagging pretzels and annoying flight attendants, what were the animals left behind doing? Well, thanks for asking.

Our first day was jam-packed with excitement as Papa repeatedly beat the crap out of our broken vacuum cleaner and clogged our sink with all of the disgusting shit that Angie had sucked up shortly before flying off to amusement.

As the dust settled, we were wondering what David was up to. First on their trip was Sea World, where Turtle Boy apparently lost his right arm in the shark petting tank.

Meanwhile, back at the Zoo, Papa was going through a rather lengthy grocery list of chores left by Master.

Yes, that's right - at the top of the list were door knobs for the closet I bought months ago. They look like these, which are attached to Angie's closet. See, I can reach the top of my closet and open the door that way. Like her tolerance level, Angie is quite short and needs to get a ladder every time she wants to put away laundry. My comment that this only happens twice a year is probably what pushed this baby to the top of my TODO list. Go to IKEA and buy the damn door knobs!

Don't get excited, Angie - I didn't actually put them on. Mounting them would have involved drilling and I've sworn off power tools ever since our kitchen shelf fell off the wall. I did buy the door knobs, though, which technically was the action item. Ka-check!

Since we only had one item to purchase, we decided to use IKEA's dead-simple self check-out line. Peter insisted on doing it and I quickly realized that the boy has unfortunately inherited Angie's technology gene.

This was pretty much the vacant gaze that Peter held for ten minutes until a friendly staff member came over and pointed at the big green flashing button on the screen that said 'checkout now'.

As we continued with our clerk-assisted self checkout, David was busy growing facial cream.

It's nice that David was having such a great time, but we were also having fun. Kinda.

This game was called 'Move David and Tom's room into the hallway'. It was a fun game with a simple and easy goal - to move their bunk bed from one side of the room to the other. The problem was that to do that, every single piece of furniture had to first be removed, the carpet had to be ripped up, and the floor had to be scrubbed. At least Peter and Tom helped for the first 24 seconds, so it wasn't only me. Thanks, guys.

Five hours and two buckets of sweat later, I was ready for a break. Apparently, David Johnsonhoff was also trying to cool things down.

I didn't drool over too many episodes of Baywatch, but I'm pretty sure that Mitch Buchannon never impressed scantily clad beach hotties by picking up seashells and snorting them. Still, better than a drunken cheeseburger frenzy.

In keeping with the fun tradition of being left alone to my own devices, I decided to grab a machete and attack our patio jungle. It started with a trip to the garden store to get a machete. The lady there informed me that they didn't sell machetes. Instead, she offered me some weed-remover-tool-thingy that looked like David could break it by looking at it. I almost screamed at the woman to stop pushing the toys and fork over a manly weapon, but then I realized that she was obviously flirting with me. Fine, I'll take it!

I should point out some bullets:
  • Our balcony was covered from one end to the other with weeds, moss, broken pots and a dead BBQ grill that Angie has been nagging about since before it rusted over
  • Our balcony is like Mars; not a single living plant existed in the few pots that were still intact
  • Our balcony gets direct radiation from sunup to sundown
  • It was not cloudy on the day I went insane
So, yeah. I started at about 10 o'clock in the morning and it took about four and a half hours to deforest the balcony. Plus two hours to de-warm the beer.

At least I wasn't the only one fighting in the jungle.

G.I. Dave apparently spent a lot of time fighting with troops at Hollywood Studios.

While Commando-Dave was getting his head shrunk, I was heading to the Home Improvement store, where I tackled a manly-looking guy near aisle five and pleaded for help on remounting a kitchen shelf that had ripped itself out of a sandstone wall. Oddly enough, he knew exactly what I needed and I was home in time to catch up on some laundry.

Don't get excited, Angie - I didn't fold the clothes; I only shrunk them and magically made white things pink. I also didn't hang the shelf, but I think I've already covered my aversion to things that go bang-crash-bonk in the kitchen. She didn't care - she was busy on the streets of San Francisco looking for flowers for her hair.

She didn't leave her heart in San Francisco, but she did leave her mind. Then she went to IHOP and mindlessly left the camera behind. That in itself wouldn't have been noteworthy had they noticed it before they got to Disney World. That's right - David had travelled halfway across the globe to visit Disney World and Angie had somehow managed to lose the camera on the big day. The next day, they went back to IHOP and luckily recovered the camera. I only point this out 1) to explain how it is that I could still have pictures of their trip and 2) to explain why there are none of the typical Mickey Mouse pictures that one (namely my wallet) might expect from a very expensive trip to a park. It was amusing, though.

At about that time, I was reviewing the fun shopping list of chores I had planned for the day when Tommy turned on me. He didn't really make much sense, but, like Angie, he hardly ever does. I interpreted his spastic babbling as follows.

'Listen up, Papa! David has been having fun EVERY day and what do we get? Weeds, laundry and DOOR KNOBS??!! If you don't do something kid-fun, I am going to freak out on you!'

Apparently, I was too late.

To calm down psycho boy, I took the abandoned animals to the swimming shelter. Peter did disgusting things with ice-cream to show how much he missed David.

Tommy can't swim, so I let him ride motorcycles instead. Right on, right on!

It was also the first time ever that Peter has shrugged away a merry-go-round ride. He nonchalantly announced to Opa and me that he was too old for baby rides. Of course he then giddily raced around like a kid in a candy store until he found the perfect ride that Tommy should get on. Yeah, Tommy should; that's it.

I asked Big Pete what manly-man thing would be fun for his ripe old age. He timidly whispered to me that bowling might be fun. I then did the manly-man thing and told him that I couldn't hear him. After several iterations, he was finally growling at me to take him [Switch to pre-adolescent voice trying to sound manly] BOWLING!

I dumped the Kind in Kindergarten and hit the lanes with Big Boy Lebowski. He kept celebrating that he did not have a single gutter ball and I kept reminding him that the lane had bumper bars that made it impossible to....oh whatever. What do you want to do now, old timer?

That's right, barkeep - a Coke, straight up with a twist. Aaahhh, they start so young. I mean OLD, of course. Because Peter is so OLD now. And BIG - he's HUGE. At least my premature adult hadn't outgrown playing trains with Tommy.

Playing trains together actually turned out to be a BIG part of their week without David. They sat literally for hours building train stations, cities and something call trainpolines that Peter invented and Tommy loved. I guess I hadn't realized how little Peter and Tom actually play with each other until we removed the David factor. Tom and David hang out all the time, but when Peter and David hang out, Tom is the odd one out. With David gone, Tom was still odd, but at least he was in.

On the last day, I made Tommy cry and Peter pout. Actually this is pretty much a daily routine, but it normally does not have anything to do with me mopping the floor; probably because I just don't do that shit unless Angie has been gone for a week.

This tear-worthy event meant that Trainopolis had to be destroyed. At least all the bawling and snot-moaning tuckered them out.

This is actually another new tradition that started as soon as Angie left. Normally, even though I consider it to be anything but, I have to stay with Tommy until he falls asleep. To be more specific, he needs my arm to cuddle. Until recently, this was okay, since he would be out like a light within five minutes. In recent months, though, he has quite often gotten his second wind after dinner and it has sometimes taken an hour of an impatient father waiting for him to get sleepy enough to conk out.

Over the last few weeks, I have tried explaining to buzz-boy that if I left the room, he could whisper with David for ten or fifteen minutes and even lightly goof around, but he didn't budge. I tried it anyway a couple times and he would just start screaming his head off like a Mama's boy and Angie would come to the rescue. But guess what? Mama's not here now, is she?

That's right - I used David's vacation and Mama's absence as a perfectly timed excuse for breaking that horse. It was easier and quieter than I thought. Peter of course helped by explaining to him how much crazy stuff they could do as long as they keep it quiet enough for Papa to not hear them from the living room. I heard them for hours; I just didn't give a shit. Did I mention that Mama wasn't there?

As Peter and Tom giggled away the midnight oil, David was on a homebound plane with a mission. Shortly before landing, the nine and a half hours of wiggling paid off and David's first tooth yanked open the emergency hatch and escaped.

Angie gave me a proper welcome home. After kisses (for me) and gifts (for Peter and Tom), she noticed at the floor.

'There are streak marks!'

'We missed you, too!'

After grabbing the mop and redoing the floor, she noticed David and Tom's new room.

'Uh, no. That doesn't work for me.'

'And what would work for you, honey?'

Instead of answering, she spent the next twenty minutes rearranging all of the furniture. After that she verbally noticed the unfolded laundry on the sofa, the closet doors without knobs and the naked kitchen wall.

'What did you do while we were gone?!'
Ladder Talk: [This blog spanned over a week; David's journal, including his sketches, will follow]
1) What was the best part of your day?

2) What was the worst part of your day?

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?