Not the answer I was expecting

After dinner, the 13-year-old threw his juice box in the trash can. We don’t do that in our house. If it can be recycled, it goes in the recycle bin. We’re a responsible family. I have to pay $2.90 for each trash sticker that goes on our trash can. Recycling is free. Plus, something about protecting the Earth. I called him upstairs. I was hoping to subject him to the same speech I was given by our tree council (yes, we have a tree council whose sole responsibility is counting the number of trees in the city) about how we’ll all die if we cut down even mostly dead trees, we will all die.

Me: “What is your juice box made of?”
Him: “Cardboard.”
Me: “What is cardboard made of?”
Him: “Paper.”
Me: “What is paper made of?”
Him: “Trees.”
Me: “And what happens if we cut down all the trees?”
Him: “We’ll have lots of paper.”
Whitney: “We’ve solved the paper shortage crisis!”

I was outwitted by a 13-year-old and a Whitney.

That Awkward Moment

This morning, I was in the shower. The bottle of shower gel was almost empty, so we’ve had it upside down for a while. To be able to get some in a timely manner. Last night, one of the girls showered in our shower and put it right side up. Not feeling like waiting, I decided to use the new bottle that has been sitting there for a few days. Only, the top wouldn’t pop up.

It was then that I realized that it had a plastic seal over the top. With wet hands, I tried in vain to rip it off. Finally, I found the perforated section and began pulling. A small piece came off. I tried again, and again, pulling off several chunks, before eventually getting the whole seal, which, for some reason, extended almost halfway down the bottle. With the wad of plastic in my hand, I reached around the curtain and tossed it, so I could get back to showering. I was planning to clean it up when I got out.

When I got out of the shower, I started gathering the pieces of plastic to throw away. Having the luck I do, the largest piece landed in the toilet, of all places. It was a big enough piece that it could potentially cause problems down the road. I reached in and pulled it out to throw it away. Gross. On to my second shower of the morning.

After getting ready, I was taking the trash out. The neighbor across the street was taking out his trash at the same time. I yelled out, “Good morning!” I’m told this is the polite thing to do when you see your neighbor. Apparently, he has never been told this, as he said nothing. We made our second trips to the curb at the same time. “Morning,” he said. He obviously just hadn’t had his coffee yet. I mumbled back something unintelligibly. Quiet enough that I’m sure he thinks I didn’t respond to him. Now I’m the rude one.

Driving the girls to school, I asked the oldest, in the front seat, if she had her Vaseline with her, for my chapped lips. As she handed it to me, I jokingly said, “Thanks. I need a snack.” The next thing I know, *SMACK*. “SNack! I said sNack!”

And…my coffee tastes like anise for some reason. So I’m sitting here drinking a cup of black licorice.

So my morning is starting off great. How is your day going?

Turn around, bright eyes

lunar eclipse

A little song I wrote standing in my driveway at 6:25 this morning.

Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit lonely when I’m standing outside by myself
Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit tired when I get out of bed so early
Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit nervous when the Earth blocks the light from the sun
Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit terrified when I can’t find the moon in the sky
Turn around bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart
Turn around bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart

lunar eclipseAnd I see no moon tonight
I hope the moon’s not gone forever
And if you help me find the moon
We can have the moon forever

And it’s not like there were clouds
‘Cause we can see the stars together
This kind of thing doesn’t happen every night
Your love is like a shadow on the moon all of the time
I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark
I hoped to see the blood red moon and only see stars
I really need you tonight
No blood moon in the sky tonight

Once upon a time I looked up at the sky
But now I’m only left with the stars
There’s nothing I can see
No total eclipse of the moon

Once upon a time there was light in my night
But now I’m standing in the dark
Nothing I can see
No total eclipse of the moon

I learned nothing

I was doing some online training at work today. There were photos to go along with every slide. Instead of paying attention to the material presented, I was distracted by the images. I was making up dialogue or back stories for each image.

Below is what I learned from my “training.”


“I’m pretty sure one of these guys is going to kill me.” “I’m going to kill that guy.” “Not if I do it first.”


“This is where I’m going to bury that guy. Also, I write everything backwards.”


“Seriously, Paul? Were you checking out my butt? Again?!”


Regulators are responsible for mounting up.


“Why, yes. I am a Wayans. How did you know?”


“Circle. Circle. Square. Circle. Triangle. Square. And this will get me unlimited lives on Contra?”


“Hi. I’m Anna Farris. I’m here today to talk to you about requirements.”


“Don’t look at her breasts. Don’t look at her breasts. Dammit!”


“You remember that first guy? He’s in my trunk right now.”


“So, Paula gets the house, the car, and the motorcycle. Jim, you get the lawn mower and the wagon.”

Lesson learned

I saw it start to fall. My instincts sprung into action. I couldn’t stop myself. With my ninja-like reflexes, my hand sped into its path. Things were now moving in slow motion. I could easily follow its spinning trajectory. There was no way I wasn’t going to catch it. My hand closed as the falling object neared.

It was probably best that I barely missed it. As the knife clinked on the hard wood floor, a single drop of blood splashed on the ground half a second later.

And that is why, when you knock a serrated steak knife off the kitchen counter, you should never try to catch it. Let it fall. Grab a clean knife.

The aftermath

The aftermath

What seems to be the problem here?

Today at work we had a problem solving meeting. To demonstrate the approach we should take, the following example was used:

It was noticed that the marble at the Jefferson Memorial was deteriorating much faster than expected. When they looked into it, it was determined that it was because it was being cleaned so often.

Why was it being cleaned so often? Because pigeons apparently think very little of Jefferson. To show their “appreciation” for our forefather, they were literally pooping on his memorial.

Why were the pigeons gathering on the memorial? Aside from their disdain for our democracy, it was because there were large populations of spiders on the monument.

Why were there large populations of spiders at the monument? It is a little known fact that Jefferson was the “Pied Piper” of spiders. Also, there was a large population of moths near the monument.

Why were there a lot of moths at the monument? When I said Jefferson was the Pied Piper of spiders, I meant moths.

This got me thinking. What do spiders do all day? Aside from making webs for me to walk into as penance for posting a picture of a guy with a hipster Jason Voorhees tattoo, that is. I mean, what do they do to pass the time? Go to work? Read Twitter? Watch The Bachelor? Are they just sitting around for a bug (or human) to walk into their web?

And when do spiders sleep? If they sleep at night, when bugs seem to be the most active, do they get annoyed when a moth gets tangled in the middle of the night? “Ugh. Don’t those idiots realize it’s 2:00 am? I guess I’ll put some pants on and head out to get it. It’s not like I have a lot to do tomorrow…” The spider begrudgingly puts on his pants…one leg at a time, like the rest of us. Only it takes him 4 times as long.

If they sleep during the day, every a person walks into the web, well, I can see why they would make themselves as terrifying as possible. I’m sure it’s as annoying for them as it is for me to walk into a web.

It has to suck being a spider.

*i know you’re all wondering the cause. The lights at the memorial were turned on at dusk. Moths typically swarm right at dusk. attracting insects like moths to a…light at a monument. They solved the problem by turning the lights on an hour later.

Next problem solving case: More people are walking into the pillars at the Jefferson Memorial.

Some light dinner conversation

The kids were sitting at the dinner table talking about who knows what. By the time I got my food and made it downstairs, they were talking about Hitler. For some reason. I really have no idea. Joining in the conversation, I added, “You have to think, though. As bad as Hitler was, he did kill Hitler.” (Thanks, Twitter for being so timely with this earlier today.)

The conversation continued about Hitler and the holocaust. Which turned to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. The book. Not the movie. Maggi mentioned that she read the book in seventh grade. I have only seen part of the movie and wanted to ask Maggi about the end. I didn’t, however, want to spoil the end of the book for the two seventh graders sitting at the table. Knowing that Maggi had taken Spanish, but knowing at the same time that there was no chance she would understand what I was saying, I asked, “¿Se mató?” [He was killed?] To which she replied, “My toe.” Laughing, I said, “No. ¿Se…mató?” Again, she said, “My toe?” The more I repeated my question, the more confused she got. [Thinking I was saying, “Say ‘my toe.'”] I gave up.

I mentioned that Hitler went to art school. Maggi said she was going to follow in his footsteps. After some probing, she said she just meant she wanted to go to art school. Not all the genocide stuff. (Whew!)

Eventually, the conversation moved on to other, non-Hitler topics. As I was cleaning up my dishes, ready to head upstairs, Maggi mentioned that she was tired. She also said she had too much coffee the day before. I told her she shouldn’t be drinking coffee at her age.

Me: “You know what would do an even better job of making you not tired than coff…”

Her (interrupting me in that parent-mocking voice): “I know. Sleep.”

We discussed that she should go to bed at a reasonable hour, which I said was earlier than her proclaimed “reasonable” 11:00.

Her: “You should take a poll of all the kids at my school and see what time they all go to bed.”

Then I turned into everyone’s dad.

Me: “I don’t care about all the other kids at your school. If I took a poll of all the kids at your school and they all said they were going to jump off a bridge, would you do it?”

Her answer: “Are all the kids going to do it? Then, yes. If that’s what everyone is going to do.”

Me: “And that is how the Nazis came to power!”

Boom! That, my friends, is how you bring a conversation full circle, win an argument, and dad.

* Footnote: I just found out they are learning about Hitler and World War II in History.

Time Travel Obsession


The other day, I heard the song “Obsession.” I think it was playing on the “oldies” station. While listening to the song, I had a flashback. I was in 4th grade. I can vividly remember the house we lived in at the time, despite the fact that we only lived there for a year. I was lying on my bed, looking out the window. I remember that, while I would sing along, I didn’t quite get the song. But it was on the radio all the time. And it had a catchy beat. I believe I was thinking about how I didn’t quite get the song.

I read somewhere that when you remember something, you’re not actually remembering the event. You’re remembering the last time you remembered the event. I don’t quite get that either. It has to do with the way the brain forms, reforms, and changes the connections between the synapses. Each time you “remember” something, you are making a new connection to the place where that memory is stored. Each time you “remember” something, it is going through this new connection, which allows for new triggers to the memory.

I decided I would try an experiment. I forced myself to have vivid visions about the future while listening to the song. Not anything exciting, like when I finally get my superpowers or anything useful like that. Realistic visions. Like when the kids are old and grown and stuff like that. Normal, every day, boring stuff.

Since I was doing this while Obsession was playing, when I remember myself remembering the last time I remembered listening to Obsession, it will be going through these new synaptic connections of me having my future visions. Which, by then, will be real-time visions. That I remember from my past. That I forced myself to have. It will be taking déjà vu to the next level.

My mind is going to be so blown in like 30 years.


By the power of Hair Clog…

He Man ooze

Due to the previous owner of our home, we have redone just about every room in our house. Most just involved new paint. Some more extensive. In fact, some rooms have recently received a second updating. Most of these were due to “updates” the previous owner had made. Some of his fantastic updates including wallpapering over a ceiling, due to it being completely water damaged, to the point of being mushy. Or painting the old appliances white. Or painting the grout between the tiles on the kitchen floor grey. Or painting the grout in the family between the tiles on the family room floor grey. You get the idea.

The one room that we have yet to touch is the bathroom in the master bedroom. It will entail ripping the room down to the studs and joists and, essentially, rebuilding the bathroom from scratch. Most importantly, I will have to find a way to extract what has become a “writing wall,” where we have scrawled notes to each other over the past 5 years. The plan is to save this for posterity. Or something. It’s a journal of our lives in the house. I don’t have the energy to tackle this project yet. The only thing that has been done to this bathroom is to replace the toilet. (The “author’s chair” for the writing wall, if you will.) Everything else in the bathroom is original.

Living with a bunch of females, you get a lot of hair in the drain. (If you share a bathroom with females, you know what I’m talking about.) I don’t know how they shed so much. But they do. And when it gets in your sink, it can completely clog it up. Such was the case in our master bathroom.

It had been slow for a while. It became almost completely clogged the other day. Due to other projects I had been working on, I had not yet gotten around to taking care of this issue. With a lull in the action, it was now time.

I poured the clumpy remains of an old drain cleaner bottle into the sink. The hair clog simply laughed at the impotent liquid. After this defeat, I removed the remaining clumps, presumably, the active ingredient, and went to bed.

Yesterday after work, I decided to finally take care of the issue. I dismantled the drain under the sink. I pulled a small amount of hair from the drain. Much less than expected. Nonetheless, it produced the same gagging, near vomiting experience one has with a large clump of hair in the drain. I wasn’t sure how this small amount of hair was causing such a problem. I put everything back together and turned on the water. The sink filled up. “You win this battle,” I said to the clog. “But you will not win the war.”

He Man oozeLast night, I went to the store to properly arm myself. Liquid Plumr Hair Clog Eliminator. (They save money on packaging by not paying to properly spell “plumber.”) The battle begins. I poured the contents of the bottle into the sink. Do you remember the He-Man slime playset thing? It was a little stone looking toy, with a skull at the top. You would put the slime in the skull and pour it down on He-Man. Or Skeletor. Or just squish it and marvel at its wonderful aroma. That is the consistency of this stuff.

The bottle said to wait 15 minutes for it to work. I didn’t know if that was from the time you started pouring or from the time the last of it finally made its way down the drain. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. I hadn’t stood around to watch the slime slowly ooze into the drain, so I gave it about 20 minutes.

I turned on the hot water and let it run, as per the directions. Success! The water did not back up in the sink. Instead, if flowed quickly down the drain. I yelled to my wife in the other room:

“I have some good news. Some bad news. And some worse news. The good news is the sink works. The bad news is the idiot painted the sink. The worse news is the Liquid Plumr ate away some of the paint.”

Now I am stuck with a dilemma. Do I pour the hair clog remover over the whole sink and let it eat the rest of the paint off? Do I use a more appropriate method to remove the paint? Do I finally replace the vanity? If so, do I bite the bullet and redo the whole bathroom? Do I leave it as is for now?

I think we all know which option I’m choosing.

Why, how do you do it?


My 14-year-old daughter got some new nail polish a while ago. She said it smells like pineapple when it dries. I asked if it was only when it was dry. She said yeah, only when it’s dry. I guess when it is still wet, it smells like nail polish. Which, I guess, makes sense. In some weird universe. I don’t know. Kids are weird these days.

Anyway, I had completely forgotten about this conversation.

We were in the car tonight. Out of nowhere, she says, “Smell my thumb?”

Me: “No. Why?”
Her: “Just smell it!”
Me: “Ummm. No.”
Her: “It smells like pineapple.”
Me: “All I smell is thumb.”
Her: “How?”
Me: “With my nose.”
Her: “I…shut up.”