Friday, June 14, 2013


Being married to me is no picnic, but it's certainly never dull. For a change, I think even Angie would agree with me. So would Melonina, if only our edible daughter could speak.

It all started with a sneaking suspicion that Angie was lying to me. Let me explain my deductive reasoning preceding my wife's deceitful comment.

First of all, it was Friday. This is the day after Thursday, the same day that Angie hosts the Pub Quiz at The Dubliner's. I'm sure it has nothing to do with staying up late the night before, but for some reason, Angie is normally dead to the world by Happy Hour on Fridays.

I came home from work on Friday, happy to find Angie in bed 'reading a book' for the boys.

'Honey, get up!'

'I'm up.'

'Yeah, yeah. Come on, get up!'

Despite all of my assumptions, Angie actually scraped herself out of bed. 

'Okay, what now? What do you want?'

'I'm going shopping, but you're staying awake, right?'

'Yeah, yeah. Of course.'

'So, when I leave, you're not going to try and crawl back into bed?'

'Me? No way. I'm awake, go ahead. Go!'

Before leaving, I took a melon, two cucumbers and two zucchinis and decided to test my wife's credibility. I gently laid Melonina into Angie's side of the bed and pulled the covers over her fruity little head. I then wished Angie a happy time while I went shopping.

When I came home, Angie punched me.

'What the hell? Freaky melon-chick scared the crap out of me!'

'So, what you're telling me is that you did try going to sleep?'

'No. And don't try to change the subject.'

'Actually, that is the subject.'

Being married to Angie is no picnic, but it's certainly never logical. For a change, I decided to ignore the point I was trying to drive home.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That Sebastian played with me. 
David: That the family had a good day.
Tom: That we did play computer.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That I did come too late to school.
David: That I couldn't go to Yuki's.
Tom: That I did not could play autos.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to play with Arman.
David: I want to play with Tommy and Peter.
Tom: Play that with the mouse and the cat and the cheese.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I was on my way back from work when the Creature from the Black Lagoon attacked me. Again.  

'Um, hi Tommy. What do you think you're doing?'

'I gonna eat you!'

'Yeah, that's great. Where's Mama?'

I am the last person to write about addictive behavior, but when Mud Boy freaked on me in my own back yard, I had to draw the line.

'Angie! Tommy just assaulted me in the sandbox and when I asked Dirt-Head where you were, he enlightened me that you were once again playing the bubble game all afternoon.'




And that, my two readers, is the story of how the love of my existence rightfully earned the nickname 'Bubbles'.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That Arman come over and we could play.  
David: Was that I could play with Peter and Sebastian outside football.
Tom: That I was outside.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That Arman needed to go where we wanted to go outside.
David: That an ouchy was hurting the whole time.
Tom: That I could not sleep by Alessio and Chiara.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to play with Arman
David: I want to do something with my key.
Tom: Sleep by Alessio and Chiara.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Act Your Age!

Act your age!

Whether it's my Mom or my wife, that one never gets young. The phrase, of course.

Acting your age is never easy, which is why my philosophy has always been to pucker a funny face at society's mental outlook on life and enjoy. Or not. 

My mental mantra started to leak water earlier this year when David had to switch hockey leagues.

'I don't want to.'

'Too bad!'


'So sad!'


'Don't be mad!'

'Papa! That is not...'

'Just be glad...'

'Stop it, Papa!'

'...that I'm your Dad!'

As luck would have it, David stopped crying at exactly the same time I stopped laughing.

'Davey, come on - what's the problem? You're getting bigger - it's time to move to the big leagues!'

'Yeah, but Papa! I am the best player now. When I go to the big ones, they are, you know, ...too big.'

'You're right - the big ones are probably just gonna squish you like a bug for the first year, but hey! At least you get a kick-ass jersey.'

You might feel compelled to ask why David appears to be eagle-stranded on the sidelines while all of the other slightly taller kids played on the field. I might also feel compelled to ask you to politely silence such compelling questions. Luckily, we managed to keep our compulsions in check long enough for David to get his game one. His two-goal victory face came out on the way home.

Once home, there wasn't a whole lot of time to celebrate. Angie was hyperventilating something about being late to a party.

'Party? What party?'

Oh, that's right. Sami gained a gray one today and for some reason, his birthday wish was to have the Zoo Crew teach Lauri and Matti how to go even wilder.

On the way over, Tommy proved that he is a new dog that can still learn tricks. Thanks, Davey.

Most people, when invited to a friend's birthday bash, will at least wish the old bastard a happy wrinkle before settling down. Angie proved again today that she is not a normal human. 

'Hi, Angie, thanks for...'

'Yeah, yeah, WHERE'S THE BABY?!' 

I left Angie to breathe in that lovely 'new baby' smell and meandered over to check on spastic jumpers.

The sequence of note-worthy events that followed can be acutely summed up with these lovely gerunds: jumping-laughing-hopping-jabbing-screaming-leaping-giggling-poking-shouting-ignoring-shouting-ignoring-shouting-ignoring-punching-smacking-kicking-sobbing-chuckling.

Okay, the last one might have been me, but in my defense, it was pretty damn funny. Not so amusing was the major meltdown that pursued, telling a certain chisel-chested blogger with hairy feet that it was time to take worn out kids back to the ranch. Right, move out!

On the way home, Peter scored the equivalent of a brotherly canine hat trick.

'Oh, come on, Peter - act your age!'
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we was by Sami and Katherina.
David: That I got two goals by hockey.
Tom: That I jump with Lauri the whole time.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When Davey kicked me in the eye.
David: When Tommy hit me in the head with his elbow.
Tom: Why I get an owa on my knee.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to play with my friends.
David: To sleep with Tom in my bed.
Tom: Play dragons with Chiara and Alessio.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Are you tired?

I saw this lovely gem for a fitness studio on my way back from my day shift. Maybe I just think too much, unless you ask Angie, but if I'm fat and ugly, do I really want to go to a gym that is jam-packed with a bunch of sweaty fuglies?

The whole thing did make me acknowledge that I need to go on a diet, so I picked up the phone and called my older half.

'Hey, Butter-buns, I was thinking about going on a diet. Could you cook dinner tonight?'

'What is that supposed to mean?'

'Um, nothing. Don't forget that Veris and Lena are coming over tonight. Gotta go, ba-bye.'

As it turned out, Angie did cook, but I don't think she was trying to help me kick off Operation Jelly Belly.

That's right - when we have guests over, we only serve them the finest pizzas that the Berg has to offer. At some point during Angie's one-course meal, Tommy made the mistake of going out on the balcony. His faux pas majeur was that David was inside. Oh, no you didn't! 

As Tommy tested our double pane windows with brotherly threats that involved David's cranium, Peter began stabbing holes in Veris' pizza box with his pencil. Chiara and Alessio were spending the night and when they started racing laps around the dinner table, I realized that it was time to start distracting.

Distracting is a parental methodology that Angie and I adopted when Destructo Dave was three. It started with a simple puzzle that we gave him to keep him from painting the walls red with Crayola. He immediately plopped down and two hours later, *TA-DA* - distracting was born and we've been perfecting it ever since.

Veris wasn't exactly nerving us, but we decided to go with him first. Angie gave him one of the kids' magnetic Erector Sets and *TA-DA*.

When something works like a charm, you tend to stick to the patterns that work. For us, the common link was obvious, so we tossed Lena a string of magnetic balls and *TA-DA*.

With Angie, it was either the kitchen or an Etch-a-Sketch. Since it didn't end with 'Holy shit! How did you set THAT on fire?', I guess you can imagine which option I opted for. *TA-DA*

I was about to task Peter with some mindless task that would surely distract the boy beyond human comprehension when Lena beat me to it. See, while she was supposed to be playing with a magnetic necklace, she was actually making a Möbius strip.

'A what?!'

Okay, I'm hoping that I'm not the only biped that has never heard of a Möbius strip. Angie babbles crap all the time that nobody in the family has ever heard of, but most of the time, we don't want to. For a change, I was actually curious to know what the hell a Möbius strip is. Peter one-upped me and asked Lena to show him how to make one.

As much as I love other people teaching my offspring things that I still don't grasp, I thought we should check back in with Angie. I mean, come on, it's been more than two hours. I'm sure she's come up with something cooler than a Möbius strip. A what?!

'Hey, that's, uh... mmmhh. Really? You drew a box house?'

Peter had just finished his lesson with Lady Lena and apparently did not appreciate my witty review of Mama's Etch-a-House. Neither did Angie, but she was busy drawing a chimney.

After being crowned with discarded science scraps, I decided it was time to kick the control group to bed and let the Alpha-dults get their party on.

I saw this lovely gem for adult fun on my way back from my night shift. Maybe I just think too much, unless you ask sketchy blonde chicks, but if I'm an adult ready to rock it like Plymouth, do I really want to play a game that is jam-packed with a bunch of puzzling tiles that just puzzle me? Hell, yeah!
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That it was so hot today.
David: That we could lay and hear a story in school.
Tom: That we was outside.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That I have a headache.
David: I didn't have one.
Tom: That I could have no pineapple.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: Buy mangos.
David: I want to be good in hockey.
Tom: I gonna play good with Elia.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Too Cool for School

This is Tommy, age four. With a father that can bench-press his own son's weight, it's no surprise that his coolness curve spiked prematurely; I just thought we had a few more years.

The boys went back to school after two weeks off and at some point during the vacation, Tommy discovered style. His apparently consists of a sun hat, sunglasses, and a leather coat. He'll probably ditch his winter jacket when he discovers that sweat is not cool. I hope.

Angie also had two weeks off and being away for so long built-up a lot of teaching to do. When she came home from work, it was clear she hadn't gotten it out of her system.

'Boys, come here! I want to show you an experiment.'

Angie then tied two balloons to a ruler with ribbon and stood back to admire her amazing contraption.

As David skeptically studied Mama's curious sculpture, Angie loudly tried to teach Tommy that whacking balloons with his super-secret ninja laser sword is not cool. Patience, grasshopper.

'Okay, so, the two balloons are the same size and balance. If I pop the red one, will the blue one go up or down?'

David was the first to respond. 

'Nooo!!! Not the red one! Pop the blue one!'

Tommy was the next to break the non-existent silence.

'Pop 'em both, Mama!'

Peter yawned and tried his damndest to look cool.

'The blue one will go down.'

My brain then convinced me that it was my turn.

'Nothing will happen.'

Angie cast me a satisfyingly annoyed look before popping the red balloon. After several seconds, David was again the first one to break the awkward silence.

'Hey, Papa...You were right.'

That's right - I am the modern day Nostradamus. When Angie cooks, I can normally predict the outcome, so I don't see why anyone was really that surprised. As it turns out, Angie wasn't surprised; she was mad. Big surprise. 

'Damn it!'

'Ah, that's sweet. Is that what you teach your students?'

When Angie's temper boils, she tends to ignore wisecracks from seductive man-nuggets, so I predicted that she would just continue babbling.

'I don't get it! This worked at school!'

'Hmm. Just curious, but at school, did you use an oversized ruler and wrapping paper ribbon?'


I chose life over responding and started rounding up the boys for bed. I launched this fun exercise with a typical routine, which is to sing my patented version of 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat'.

Brush, brush, brush your teeth,
Gently on the gums.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Brushing your teeth is fun.

Yeah, bullshit. I might have been able to make brushing your teeth fun when the boys were still teething, but pretty much since then, the nightly routine could be more aptly described as 'herding cats' Tommy ran off one way, giggling something about giving Lukie a 'power hug'. David took off down the hallway dancing and Peter put on his headphones and ignored my screaming for 'everyone to stop what they are doing and pay wrath to me now!'

Angie ran up to me immediately, of course, and asked me what favor she could possibly do to please me. I dismissed her with a wave of my bicep and honed in on Tommy instead. He was 'hiding' under the sofa. I write 'hiding' because in my book, twitching like a flipped beetle and giggling like a hyena does not constitute hiding. Hmmm, where could Tommy be?

I took Tommy to the bathroom, ankles first. When I finally got him to stop squirming, I had to distract him.

'Hey, Tommy, do you know what color Peter's eyes are?'

'Yeah, blue-green-gray.'

'Right, kinda. What about David's?


'Great, two-for-Tuesday. What about your eyes?'


'Nope. Guess again.'


Rather than getting into a screaming match with my third born, I not so kindly suggested to the color-blind kid that he find a mirror and confirm that his dad is not a liar.

My reputation was restored with a single syllable.

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That I could play with Arman in school.
David: School was very good.
Tom: That we could have treats.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That Arman could not come over to play after school.
David: Peter scaring me every time.
Tom: That I can not spend the night by me friend.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want that Arman comes over.
David: I want to play a little bit on the computer.
Tom: Play computer, watch TV and I wanna play the Cat in the Hat.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bridge over Flooded Waters

This is a view from the Old Bridge in downtown Heidelberg. 'But hey, don't you live in downtown Heidelberg?' you ask. Yes, we do, but fortunately, unless you ask the boys, the rising waters did not turn our street into a 'super-duper river-pool'.

At first, the boys could not really grasp that downtown Heidelberg was under water. They know what a flood is, but they couldn't believe that it could happen just a few streets away. Are you calling me a liar?

And that's how we ended up on a flood watch on the last day of the boys' two-week school vacation. On the way down, I checked out the river levels by our street and was a bit surprised to discover that we were only four inches away from having a watery basement. The boys were impressed, but not for long. Surprise, surprise.

We circumvented the flood and headed to the Schnitzel House, where David and Tommy burst into a variation of a new game that I regret inventing the other day. Mine was actually just a spin-off of 'tag' that I called 'Foots-it', which is what I would shout as I stomped on their toes and run off giggling. David, being the bright boy he is, came up with his own game called 'Butts-it'

Tommy, along with a bunch of Asian tourists, absolutely loved that David was racing around the plaza butt first. It was around this point that Angie decided to walk up to the flimsy aluminum flood gate and just, you know, stare.

At one point, I meandered over to Angie and asked her if maybe she wanted to take a turn watching the boys butt-tag each other. It wasn't so much an answer as it was a giggle that ended with 'no'.

Eventually our food arrived and as we stuffed ourselves, the boys noticed the stuffed boar's head hanging over our table.

'Ah, Mama, look - that's so sad.'

'You do realize that you are eating a pork schnitzel, right?'

'Yeah, it's yummy. Why?'

Angie gave me her 'should I?' look, to which I responded with my 'hell no, change the subject' look.

'Who wants strawberry cake?'

Oddly enough, only Peter wanted dessert. Tommy and David were holding out for ice-cream, which we had promised them for the way home.

After giving my wallet a tip to stop eating out, we moved on. We passed an ice-cream shop that was not our 'regular' parlor. Tommy didn't give two scoops, though.

'I want ice-cream.'

'Yeah, buddy. I kinda figured that one out when you raced in here and started beating on the counter, but we're going to Gelato Go. It's right around the...'

'I want ice-cream.'

'Tommy, listen, that's what I was just trying to...'

'I want ice-cream.'

I motioned to Angie to move on with the big ones and stayed behind with broken-record boy.

'Tell you what, buddy - you can have an ice-cream from this shop, but that means you're not going to have one from Gelato Go. Deal?'

'I want ice-cream.'

The guy behind the counter was starting to get impatient.

'Just give him a scoop of whatever the hell he starts frantically pointing at and throw some sprinkles on it.'

As we walked to catch up with the others, Tommy totally devoured his cone. After his ice-frenzy, he turned to me, burped and screamed that he had a 'brain cold'.

'Ha, ha. I think what you mean is...'

Before I could respond, he giggled 'BYE-BYE' at me and suddenly *POOF* - Tommy was gone. Finally. 

I rather enjoyed the rest of the walk to Gelato Go. That is, of course, until I saw Tommy emerging from the shop, prouder than a peacock and gripping another ice-cream cone. I turned my disbelief on Angie.

'I can't believe that you bought Tommy a second cone!'

'What do you mean 'second'?'

Angie and I were heatedly discussing the protocol governing the purchase of ice-cream for children when Tommy raced over screeching like a stuck owl.

'I have again a brain cold!'

At that point, Angie gave me her 'should I tell him it's called a 'brain freeze'?' look, to which I responded with my 'hell no, let dessert boy suffer' look and changed the subject.

'So, boys, who's ready to go back to school?'

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we could go in the Schnitzel House.  
David: That we go'ed to the Schnitzel House and that Alessio and Chiara was here.
Tom: That we was by the Schnitzel House.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That we couldn't come with the bikes to the Schnitzel House.
David: That Arman couldn't go with to eat schnitzels.
Tom: That we was not by ga-ga-mitchy.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to play with Arman 'Kaka Vögel'.
David: I want to learn much in school.
Tom: Go to Africa.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Alright, let's move out!

Today's mission was to drop off Peter's broken scooter to get it fixed. It all started with what I thought would be a stroll up the pedestrian zone. Notice that I didn't write 'nice stroll'; the weather has been absolute crap lately, so Mother Nature kissed any chance of positive adjectives away several days ago. I also didn't write 'quiet stroll'; we had Tommy with us. Alright, let's move out!

I did write 'stroll' and kinda stupidly thought that we would actually be moving in a forward-like strolling motion. About halfway through our nondescript tramp, Angie whipped around.

At first, I thought her 'you're in deep shit, buddy' look was aimed at me. I was actually getting ready to dive into a nearby garbage bin and scream for help when she pushed me aside.

'Peter! Where's your scooter?'

Peter's face turned even paler and contorted into a blubbery mass of fear that I know only too well. I narrowly resisted the urge to poke a finger in his face and shout 'Ha, ha! Busted!'. Instead, I maturely side-scooched out of Angie's wrath-path and settled in for the show. Man, where's a big bag of popcorn when you need one?

'Peter! I asked you a question. Where is your scooter!?'

'At the house.'

'What do you mean "at the house"?'

'It's in the hallway.'

'What do you mean "in the hallway"?'


'What do you mean "sorry"?

Peter finally figured out the right male-response and just hung his head low. I was so proud.

'Why did you do that?'

'I don't know.'

'What do you mean "I don't know"?'

'Should I go get it?'

'No, that's okay. We'll just go to the repair shop and ask them to imagine fixing your scooter. Can't wait for the bill on that one.'

Awkward pause as Peter tried his damndest to understand hostile sarcasm from parental figures.

'Yes, Peter! Of course you need to go and get your scooter! Go! We'll wait here.'

Oddly enough, Peter didn't wait around for any more of the lovely 'Mama-Peter' chit-chat; he whipped around and damn-near trampled an old lady as he raced away from 'us'.

David looked sad, but only for a moment. As luck would have it, a Hari Krishna parade came by. It was as if David had found his calling in life. He raced out to the front of the procession and began shouting his version of their chant as he danced his version of their dance.

I kid you not, within two minutes, my middle buddy was engulfed in a circle of colorful robes that literally stopped their city parade. David recently self-taught himself the joys of beat-boxing, which up until now basically involves him spitting in your face, so I got a little concerned when the crowd started clapping.

Luckily, an out-of-breath Peter showed up carrying a broken 'anything' that we could go fix. Alright, let's move out!
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I am so funny with David that I make him laugh so much.
David: That everyone had very much fun.
Tom: That I did play with the guys.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That Davey was mean to me 'cause I had something and he was like "ugh, give it to me!" and that I don't like.
David: That I can't play hockey.
Tom: That Torumba-chi-chi did come in the room.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to be funny with David.
David: To play hockey.
Tom: Gonna play I computer.