Sunday, May 4, 2014

May the 4th Be With You

'These are not the weirdos you would like to have sleeping in your house.'

'Yes they are.'

'These are not the weirdos you would like to have sleeping in your house.'

'Um, yes. They are.'

I'm either crap at Jedi mind tricks or Nicole really did want our little Stormtroopers to destroy her new place.

The last time we visited Nicole, she was living above a comic book store and her secret loft had a set of steps that you could raise and lower with a string, so the boys were eager to see how her new place matched up.

After dropping our bags, the boys disappeared to discover cool things, like graffiti on the shed door and garden wall that perfectly matched their personalities.

'Hey, wait a minute. What are you two doing there? You guys should be in front of the goofy looking elephant. Where's Peter?'

After putting hippie-boy in his proper place, we decided to move on with our real mission, which was a two-day 'Star Trek' marathon showing the first six episodes.

'Our mission' did not include Tommy, because he is not quite old enough to watch 12 hours of, well, anything. 'Our mission' also excluded me, because leaving Tommy to his own devices for 12 hours didn't smell like a good idea. Besides, I was still against the idea of a movie where the main hero is running around the whole time trying to kill his father.

Speaking of people that might want to kill me after this weekend, I do realize that it was a 'Star Wars' movie marathon. See, Nicole works at the movie theater and has spilled blood, sweat and tears to plan and organize the entire event.  I only wrote 'Star Trek' above because it cracks me up to imagine her face when she reads this for the first time. It's okay; she knows I'm an ass.

Tommy might not have been able to watch the movies, but he wasted no time in picking sides. Dark, please.

So, while Momma got her Jedi on, Tommy and I watched 'The Lego Movie'. In case his face doesn't give it away, his shirt pretty much sums it up.   

Two years ago, I gave Peter the 'father-son' talk on a beach in Kos. I assumed that David would be next in line and that the talk would be happening sometime this year and Tommy two years after that. Shortly after the movie, though, I caught Tommy busting a move on Wyldstyle.

I broke up Lover Boy and told him that we had to talk.

'About what?'

'Ice-cream. What else?'

After a lengthy discussion that thankfully had to do with whether mint chocolate chip tastes better than chocolate chip, we walked around town.

Our first stop was Nicole's old stomping grounds, where Tommy flashed me his gang sign. Man, that is one bad-ass five-year-old.

After letting him intimidate a group of tourists, we moved on. Having no other mission than just killing time apparently irritates five-year-olds.

'But, Papa, where are we going now?'

'I told you, we are just walking around. Your brothers won't be finished for another three hours.'

'But, Papa, where are we going now?'

'Right now, we are walking to that bridge over there.'

'And after that?'

'It depends on what we see from the bridge.'

'But what if we see another bridge.'

'Then we'll visit two bridges today.'

'My legs hurt.'

Something tells me that Tommy will never grow up to be a tour guide.

Instead of continuing our Walk of Repeating Questions, we sat down at an outdoor cafe and knocked back a few rounds of hot chocolate and coffee.

When the sugar and caffeine had just started kicking in, Angie called to let me know that she was now officially a Trekkie. Just kidding Nicole.

After three back-to-back movies, nothing hits the spot like a pizza. Or five. 

Nicole ordered enough pizzas to choke the entire Johnson's Zoo, her work colleagues, her friends, and a mid-size marching band that sadly never showed up. Then we carried the healthy little snack down to the river to test my nerves and patience. I may be married to a teacher, but I hate tests. With a passion. 

'Peter! You almost shoved your brother into the river! And I really don't care if he poured apple juice on your pizza. You shouldn't have burped in his ear!' 

'David! Stop trying to kick the ducks! And I really don't care if they were attacking your feet. You shouldn't have tried petting their babies with a fork in your hand!' 

'Tommy! Stop throwing your pizza bones at your brother! And I really don't care if he threw salad in your hair. You shouldn't have eaten his last tomato!'

So yeah, The Boardwalk Empire version of dinner was definitely entertaining, but after the third time that Tommy tried throwing himself into the river, we decided to head back to the ranch while all of the animals were still dry.

Putting the animals to bed was easy. Too easy, to be honest. If they had been playing soccer for six hours, I would have simply cracked open a bottle of anything and celebrated the lack of noise.

Knowing all too well the effects that three back-to-back movies with Cokes and sugar-coated popcorn tend to have on my children, it was no surprise when Peter came out to the living room shortly after cracking open the first bottle of wine. Yeah, I wrote first.

'Peter, why are you up? Did you have a nightmare?'

'No, but the Pig Guards of Jabba the Hut are taking over world domination.'

Angie and I exchanged the 'you or me?' look. By my judge of Angie's glare, we were about to have a paper-scissors-rock showdown. Old school style.

Before we could even haggle, Nicole had scooped up Peter. Like Santa, she promised him a bunch of things that were totally never going to happen. Like watching the next three episodes.

David was still in denial the next day when we explained for the fourteenth time that he would not be watching the next three episodes.

'You are not the parents that can tell me what to do.'

'Yes, we are.'

'You are not the parents that can tell me what to do.'

'Um, yes. We are. And if you don't stop shoving that laser in my face, I'm going to melt it down and make plastic earplugs that I will wear until you turn 18.'

'Can we watch The Lego Movie, then?'

And that is how I ended up on Day Two of the Papa-Tom bonding marathon. Twist my arm.

Two bridges and fourteen questions later, Angie called and we decided to meet up at the market square. David and Tommy spotted a bouncy pad and took off running.

'Peter, don't you want to go to?'

Peter didn't verbally answer, but his revolted look and nonchalant shrug indicated that he has now surpassed the age when you can be publicly caught on a bouncy pad. Instead he wanted Angie's iPhone so that he could digitally capture the essence of man.

After a manly Latte, we rounded up the muppets and headed off to watch, surprise surprise, 'The Muppets'. After the movie, it was getting late, so we thanked Nicole again for an absolutely awesome weekend and got on the road.

On the way home, we stopped for dinner and Tommy asked Mama how to tie his shoes. His interest in shoe-tying is not new, but for the past year, he has refused to allow anyone to help him with his shoes.

'I do it by me self!'

The problem is that being stubborn does not mean that you can suddenly tie your shoes. So, for the past year, the simple task of putting on one's shoes has more times than not resulted in teary frustration, followed by Tommy storming off in a huff with his shoe laces trailing behind.

Today, Tommy tried a different approach and actually asked Mama to show him how to tie a shoe.

After a two-minute explanation, he nailed it. I, for one, am going to miss his watery meltdowns, but Angie was rather pleased with herself. Oh shut up, you're a teacher. 

On the way out, we saw a World Cup sticker book lying on the table with various magazines and coloring books. Angie looked left. Angie looked right. Then she shoved the book in her purse.

'This book does not belong here.'

'Yes, it does.'

'This book does not belong here.'

'Um, yes it does.' 
Klepto-mom justified herself by explaining to me that it must have been a mistake that someone left the collector book. Without the sticker cards, it was worthless and everyone knows that taking something that has no worth is, technically, not stealing.

It was hard to argue with Angie's Jedi logic. She had just finished watching the first three Star Trek episodes, though, so she did have an unfair advantage. 
Ladder Talk:  [From the first night]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we watched three Star Wars movies with Nicole. 
David: The Star Wars movies.
Tom: Lego film.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That I couldn't watch the Lego movie.
David: Nothing - it was so cool today.
Tom: That I did have it hurting on my side.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to watch the other three Star Wars movies.
David: I want to watch some more movies.
Tom: To have a good day.

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