Friday, December 27, 2013

Death Star

Boba Hatt
Ed. Note:  Apologies in advance that the next couple of Christmas-related posts are going to be very Finn heavy, because let's be honest, babies are pretty useless at Christmas.  They pull fragile crap off the trees, threaten to ingest electrical lights and are constantly disappearing into the garbage bag full of discarded wrapping paper.  At least when I do that, it's because I've had too much Egg Nog.  Edie doesn't have any excuse.  We'll get back to baby stuff in the new year, I promise.

Finn has been pretty clear about what he expected this Christmas.  Unlike previous years, where we were forced to intuit what he might want based largely on what we want him to want (hello, large art easel which serves no purpose in our house other than to ensure chalk covers everything within a 20-ft radius), he has been adamant for at least three months now that Santa has only one priority:  the Lego Death Star.

This was unfortunate, not because I wouldn't want the Lego Death Star (Have you seen that thing?  It's AMAZING!), but because it is apparently made out of gold, based on its price.   Price was not a negotiating tactic with Finn, however, as he insisted that Santa could make it for free.  I disabused him of that notion with a three-hour lecture on the intellectual property of both Disney/George Lucas and the Lego company and the cost of licensing that would still need to be paid even if Santa did somehow have a way of fabricating the same level of quality brick that Lego does (doubtful) - but he was not dissuaded.  I need to work on that speech.

Terrified of setting this sort of precedent for Santa, we decided to drop to our knees and beg family to help finance this planet-destroying plastic behemoth and luckily family came through.  I wasn't going to make this easy on Finn, however.  You know, on principle.  As we wrapped all of the presents on Christmas Eve, I purposely didn't label the Death Star and tucked it in the back, intending to pull it out only once he had been reduced to tears.  That's a surefire way to make him appreciate his stuff.  Break his heart, then deliver.  I'm a hero to my children.

On Christmas morning, Finn predictably went looking for the Death Star and as he opened present after present, got increasingly confused.  He did ask about the big present in the back, but I told him it wasn't for him.  And he bought it.  Until he was done opening the presents, then he came up and asked where the Death Star was.

"I don't know, dude.  I told you it was expensive and Santa probably couldn't afford it.  Looks like he just couldn't make it happen this year.  I'm sorry buddy, but we don't always get everything we ask for."

He looked up at me, looked over at the big package, looked back at me and stated matter-of-factly, "That's the Death Star, daddy."
"No, buddy, I don't think..."
"That's the Death Star."

*sigh*  Next year, I'm going to need to up the ante if I'm going to break his heart.  I need to leave his prized present in the garage.

But since I wasn't that smart this year, here's what True Love looks like:

Of course, this picture was immediately followed by the stunning realization that the Lego Death Star has nearly four thousand pieces, a 240+ page spiral-bound instruction guide and will take roughly four years to put together.  Finn has already tried to pawn this off, telling me that it would be "OK" if I wanted to put together the whole thing.  Nice try, buddy.

And so it was that I Edie-proofed our entire breakfast nook to act as the Death Star construction zone.  Once that was done and Finn and I decided to get to work, he looked at me and said:  "Daddy, I'm a nervous wreck."

When I was done laughing, I had to admit that I was too.

And that's what Christmas is all about.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Blessings

Christmas is the time of year to enjoy the blessings of family, good food and good health.  To that end, we've already enjoyed several noteworthy blessings this holiday season that we'd like to share with you.

First off, Kitty's mom is visiting and was kind enough to prepare not one, but two enormous pots of chili for us!  This was particularly helpful, given that I smashed a glass vase directly into the first pot just as we were preparing to serve it!  We were then immediately blessed with pizza instead of trips to the Emergency Room.

Secondly, Kitty's sister Nicole and her brood are also visiting, with cousins Leni & Josie joining Finn & Edie in destroying the house like only sugared-up little kids can do on Christmas.  And by that, I mean spending the last 12-hours projectile vomiting all over all of the bedding and towels in the house.  Aunt Nicole was so excited that even she joined in the fun!  The makers of 7th Generation laundry detergent will also clearly be blessed this holiday season.

I hope that everyone else is having just as eventful a holiday season.  Who knows what tonight and tomorrow will bring?  Hopefully the Bumpus' dogs will stop by to join in eating our short rib dinner or perhaps our cat will enjoy a nice snack of Christmas lights under the living room chair.

Even if none of those things happen, it's sure to be a Merry Christmas.  Here's hoping that you and yours are having even half as much fun.

Merry Christmas, from the Ninja & the Rookie.  And everything that formerly occupied their stomachs.

Fa ra ra ra raaaaaaa.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Because I think big thoughts, I spend a lot of time wondering: if our house was the beloved TV show Cheers, which characters would each of us be?  Because I think big thoughts. 

Take me, for example.  The obvious choice would be Woody, but he and I are nothing alike.  He's far smarter than me and has musical chops that I could only dream of.  Kelly, Kelly, Kelly anyone?  The fact that Sam played for the Red Sox and actually has some skill with the ladies immediately rules him out, leaving the only other character that fits: Norm.  Norm actually fits a bit too well to dwell on at the moment, as I begin my fourteenth beer of the day.

Kitty's dark hair and dirty sailor mouth would make her a lock for Carla, however her affinity and devotion to the dramatic arts might actually make her more of a Diane.

Edie would either be Coach, since absolutely nothing she says makes any sense at all, or Paul - secondary character that's round in the middle and has no hair.

Finn - well, Finn's character is easy.  Finn is Cliff Claven reincarnated.  All he's missing is the little postman uniform and that's on order.  You know that if he starts a sentence with "Did you know..." that you're about to get seriously schooled.  And he starts every sentence with "Did you know..."

In roughly a 24-hr period this past week, I learned the following:

  • "Burping" means you have to urinate. 
  • Turquoise is not a color it's a "magnet mix".  I'm still unclear on what a magnet mix is, but apparently it transcends color.
  • There is a type of mountain lion called a "namba cat" that is scared of really tall things.  So if you see a namba cat, put your arms up in the air.
This is just a small sampling, and not even his best work.  My mind is typically so blown after one of these lessons that I forget to write down the details.  My apologies.

Grandpa Finn has a hierarchy for the different levels of BS that one can spout.  It's three levels deep and the third level is reserved for people that are so invested in their own BS, that they're completely convinced that it's true.

Finn has been living in the third level since he was three.  Too bad there's not a spot for that on his report card.

Or maybe there is?  I'll have to ask Cliff Claven.  I'm sure he'll know.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fast Transit

There's really nothing quite like Christmas with little kids.  The anticipation of the Christmas list, the lights & decorations, the bottomless pile of Santa threats to wield.  It's magical.

Tonight we setup the Christmas train in the living room and it was amazing just sitting there, alternately watching Edie try to destroy the entire thing and watching Finn just sit in rapturous joy with the controller in his hands.

Less than two minutes later, those same hands were holding two piles of holiday poop, as he failed to factor in the extra time that getting over the baby gate in the kitchen would add to his toilet commute.  He's not much of a planner when it comes to poop breaks - he'll go running through the kitchen holding his behind at least once a day - and this whole baby gate thing is really throwing a brown wrench into things.

It's worth noting here how much "Daddy, I have poop in my hands!"sounds like "Daddy, I have poop in my pants!"  Having heard the latter many times over the last five years, I must admit, this was a first for the former.

But then an even more amazing thing happened.  I don't know how - it must just be the magic of the season - but even after scrubbing poop out of the kitchen rug, his underpants and the entire lower half of his body & extremities, neither one of us cried or fell into an involuntary lecture-fit about the importance of listening to your body.

It was a Christmas miracle.  We just shared a pretty ridiculous look, a pretty unhinged laugh, and a perfectly lovely bedtime.  While Kitty high-fived herself for drawing the long-straw and putting the baby to bed.

Christmas with little kids is awesome.

Monday, November 25, 2013

King of the Finns

If this isn't love, I don't know what is
Things that I learned from Finn over the weekend, mostly while watching football on TV yesterday:
  1. The most powerful kinds of guns are nuclear steam guns.  These are apparently really, really powerful.  Like one hundred times powerful.
  2. To load a nuclear steam gun, you just grab some atoms and pour them in.  Like in a BB gun.  This is apparently safe and will not result in hand cancer.
  3. Finch (Finn's imaginary nickname) means King of the Finns.  In the same way that Tyrannosaurus Rex means King of the Tyrant Lizards.  I'm no etymology expert, so I'm just going to have to trust him on this one.
  4. You can tell the name of the football team just by looking at the pictures on their helmets.  It never fails; you really can't go wrong.  Finn was most excited by the Magnets v Woodpeckers game on Sunday.
Unfortunately, he nearly lost me before any of this began.  We turned on the TV to figure skating and before I could change the channel (but after I shrieked loudly), Finn informed me that he loves figure skating because it's just like football, only they play it on ice.   Intrigued, I decided to watch for a minute.  Maybe I've been watching it wrong all of these years.

Unfortunately, the 97 lb. Russian girl in the pretty sequined dress never laid a hit on anyone and so we eventually changed the channel so we could watch the Green Footballs take on the Pelicans.

I can't wait until next Sunday. 

Monday, November 18, 2013


I've learned a lot of things as a parent.  I can change a diaper with one hand while setting up a pack & play with the other; I can install a car seat while simultaneously cleaning vomit off of my pants; and I no longer retch if someone defecates directly onto me - provided that someone is one of my children.  One thing I didn't expect to learn was a new language.  But I have.  The language is Martyrese and I'm awesome at it.

It's not a hard language to learn.  You can use all of the words that you already know - you just can't use them to speak to the person with which you are communicating.  Martyrese must be delivered via a third-party to be effective.  It's a finesse language.  Intended to make your spouse feel guilty.  And if done right, extremely angry.

Let's practice.

Situation:  Baby is screaming, on the floor.
English Phrase:  "Dear wife, I would love some assistance with the crying baby."
Martyrese:  Spoken directly to nine-month-old child:  "Oh, I'd love to pick you up sweetie, but Daddy has been so busy doing all of the housework while Mommy sits over there checking her email that I'm not sure when I'll be able to help."

Sounds like English, right?  But it's not.  It's way better.  It's like English on amazing passive-aggressive-steroids.  The emotion that such a simple phrase evokes in Martyrese far exceeds almost anything you could get from a sentence with such few swear words in English.  If your wife doesn't speak to you for an hour, you'll know you've got it right.

I get it right a lot.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to quit blogging so I can go finish up some work stuff.  I want you (dear readers) to know that I would have done it earlier, but I was too busy doing laundry and making sure our family finances don't fall apart while someone sat on the floor playing with our adorable kids that I didn't have time.

I'm so good at this it's scary.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Never mind

Found the other one. She was running an important errand for Daddy.

-- Post From My New (Jail) Cell

The Artist at Work

I'll bet Kitty thinks twice before leaving both kids with me for the day next time!

Wait a minute. I swear there was another kid around here.


-- Post From The Doghouse

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Money Money Money

Kitty and I sat down the other day and had a very frank conversation, in which we decided that we didn't have enough crap in the house. Specifically, we were missing plastic crap and we were most definitely short some broken crap.  We decided to remedy the situation immediately.  We gave Finn an allowance. 

After all, if someone is going to be buying cheap crap that breaks and never gets played with again it might as well be him.  

Despite the fact that it took me nearly 30 years to learn how to manage my money, I assumed that Finn would pick it up immediately.  I was therefore crushed to discover that unlike not-listening-to-me and inability-to-use-table-manners, budgeting is not one of Finn's inherent skills.   Toning down my expectations got easier once I realized that he really has no idea how much different coins/bills are worth and therefore he makes an easy mark for fleecing.  I'm making money on this whole allowance thing.

Now before you judge, let it be known that he forced me to give him $4.50 in exchange for a $5.  I tried to tell him that wasn't to his favor, but he insisted.  Who am I to argue?  Of course, the next day he offered me $20 and when I asked, "Seriously?", he replied, "No, I just wanted to blow your mind."

Mission accomplished, jerk.

For what he lacks in financial skills, he makes up for in bacon wallets.  I needed to ensure that he had a stylish spot to keep his cash and I had an extra bacon wallet laying around that fit that bill nicely.  Who doesn't?  Unfortunately, the cash never really gets a chance to accrue.

This is impressive when you consider that he gets $10 a week in allowance.  Yeah, I'm not good at depriving him.  Have you seen how much Legos cost these days?  It's absurd.

Not like it matters.  Just last week he blew every last penny he had - and even went into debt to me - for a $40 Boba Fett gun for Halloween to accompany that sick costume above.  On the plus side, if you were just a casual observer, you'd think that thing shoots real lasers.  It's amazing.  I can safely say that it's money well spent.

Lesson?  Learned.  Now where's that Lego aisle?

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Someone is happy about her new teeth, just in time for Halloween.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Rules for feeding Edie, or any self-led-weaning child, for that matter:

  • Put down some plastic. If that sounds like too much work already you can probably skip all remaining steps just by getting a dog.
  • If you're too dumb to acquire a dog, start by purchasing saliva & food resistant clothing & strip her down before inserting her into this, as well as several layers of bib and preferably gloves.  And a neck guard.
  • Be prepared to feed her everything that you eat. Otherwise, be prepared to watch her scream - loudly and unintelligibly (psst, she's a baby) - until you figure out exactly which piece of food that you're eating she wants. Then give her that piece of food, you idiot.  Unless it's salty.  Then talk about how you shouldn't be giving her that piece of food before coming to your senses and giving it to her anyway just to stop the screaming.
  • Assuming you survive dinner, note that there are three steps to cleaning up:
    • Step one, sigh pointedly in the direction of the person who read that great book about how awesome baby-led weaning is and who chose this smelly, smelly path for your family
    • Step two, put aside all self respect and begin picking up the largest half-chewed pieces of stewed zucchini, avocado and salmon from the floor, the furniture and your clothes/hair.
    • Step three, alternate crying, throwing up and washing the dishes.
  • Last tip, and definitely the most important:  do not loudly announce, "I'll wash my hands right after I get done undressing your sister" in mixed company. 
  • Otherwise, be prepared to register yourself in all future communities to which you may move.

But doesn't she look sweet?

Don't look under those neck folds.  It's wild down there.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Well, this is embarrassing

I've got a pop quiz for y'all:

The term "Fart Oil & Back Heat" refers to what, exactly:

  1. The two most popular sellers at Spencer Gifts in the mall?
  2. An offbeat TV comedy starring Jack Black and Owen Wilson as his talking-motorcycle sidekick?
  3. What my son informed his mother I leave on my side of the bed when I get up in the morning?
I don't think I need to tell you the answer.  I'd be terribly embarrassed sharing this with you if it wasn't so hilarious.

Extra credit if you guessed that Fart Oil and Back Heat are actually synonyms.  Because, of course they are.

Friday, September 27, 2013


"When I get out of here, you're going to have such a diaper to change, mister."

Begs the question, which one of us is really being contained here?

-- Post From Safety @ the bottom of the stairs

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Finn of Fury

Finn's found a new love:  karate.

Don't worry, he'll only use his fighting skills for good.  And he's not interested in becoming the next Phoenix Jones.  In discussing his new powers, he informed me of the following:

"When I get tired punching and kicking the bad guys, I just rest and call the police."

That's my boy.  No sense working up a sweat.

On the Move

My laziness is well documented.  I have enough of a problem just moving my fingers to type this sentence, to say nothing of the challenges that I have walking up and down stairs.  Unfortunately for me, that ridiculously difficult task has only gotten more challenging as we've re-entered the darkest of days...  the Babygate Era.

Much like her brother before her, Edie has proven to be extremely dissatisfied with sitting in one place and has transitioned quickly into a crawling machine.  She's still struggling to get up on her knees, so they're mostly army-crawls, but they're deceptively quick.   If she's not lying on her stomach, screaming with her arms & legs furiously shaking in the air like an angry beached-whale, or relaxing in repose, as pictured above, she's now flopping around the house like a small-object-hungry baby seal.

This means that I either need to vacuum much more frequently to get all of the fuzz up off the floor or I don't need to vacuum at all, since she'll either gobble it up or Swiffer it in her onesie.   I just need to decide which I value more: her health or my free time.  I'll need to think about it.

It's not just her esophagus at risk, it's also Finn's Lego wonderland.  The southwest corner of our house is still Finn's undisputed territory and while it's elevated above her reach at the moment, that's not going to last.  We're going to need to either move Finn to the basement, which he won't like, or we'll need to find a way to fence him in like a zoo animal, which I'm not sure I'll like.  I predict it will increase whining on all ends by roughly 300%.

Then again, maybe we can make that work.  If I can find a way to install a zip line or giant swing between Edieland and Finnville, then we all win.  Yeah, that's the ticket.  It's just crazy enough to work.

I'll get to that right after I get done building the fort.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Camp Colman 2013


Camp Colman 2013, a set on Flickr.

Pics from the weekend


I thought I knew my son.  I thought I could predict how he would handle almost any situation - when he would dive in (rarely) and when he would sit back (often).

I was wrong.  He proved that this weekend.

Let me set the stage:  Finn and I joined Reid and one of his friends, as well as their dads, for a father son campout at a YMCA camp over on the peninsula Saturday night.  As a lifelong Boy Scout, let me just say, the YMCA camps are WAY nicer than Boy Scout camps.  Beyond the obvious - no basket weaving merit badge test to stress out over - their facilities were nicer, the food was better, and above all, instead of the aforementioned basket weaving and other fun activities such as leather working and Citizenship in the Community, Camp Colman had activities called Life & Death.  And Giant Swing.

We never checked out Life & Death, but Giant Swing is exactly what it sounds like.  A giant swing.  Attached to an enormous cedar tree deep in the woods and suspended on the same kind of cables that catch airplanes on aircraft carriers.

You need to sign up for Giant Swing at check in, so we signed up for the 6:15 pm session.  After a full day of running around like madmen, I was half expecting Finn and his buddies to bail on the giant swing after dinner, but everyone was talking it up and we were game, so we headed over.  The instructors spend the first ten minutes of your time there convincing you how safe Giant Swing is, which should tell you all you need to know about Giant Swing.   This is where it gets interesting.  When they asked who wanted to swing, Finn's hand was the first one in the air.  When they asked who wanted to go first, Finn's was the only hand still in the air.

I would not have predicted this.

In a semi-state of awe, I watched as they strapped him into a harness, put a helmet on his head and walked him down to the platform, from which they would raise him 30+ feet in the air.

Before you go any further, watch this video of the Camp Colman Giant Swing.  This is a must.

Now you see why I was so impressed.  Given that Finn doesn't even like to walk into Jena's house without me holding his hand, I was expecting him to bail when they told him I couldn't go down to the platform.  I was preparing my consolation hug for him, since he was sure to back out at that point when I realized that he was already down at the platform and climbing the ladder.  He never even looked at me, much less asked me to come down there.

I'm now starting to freak out a bit.  I ask them if I can go down closer to take some pictures.  But really I just wanted to be close enough that when I heard him tell the guide that he was too scared, I could rush right in and pick him up.  But he didn't say that.  The guide told him to jump back off the ladder to test his harness.  No way he would do that.  But he did it.  Then he said he was uncomfortable, so I breathed easy as order was restored to the universe and I prepared to get him.

Nope.  The guide adjusted his junk and Finn gave the thumbs up.  The ascent began.  Wow.

At roughly 20 feet, they asked Finn if he wanted to go any higher.  "HIGHER!" he yelled.  He yelled it again when they asked in another 5 feet.  At about 30 feet they made the mistake of asking again and up he went another 5 feet.  He went as high as they could crank him.  I almost threw up.

They gave the command to pull the rip cord, where he would unleash himself, and that was the moment I was sure he'd ask to be let down.  I was so sure that when he pulled the cord, dropped straight down ten feet and then shot about 50 feet over the forest, I forgot to take a picture.  I was trying too hard not to pee my pants.

After he had about two swings in, they told me I could grab a helmet and run down to take pictures at the bottom.  I quickly did so, certain that I'd hear him crying and begging to be let down as the swing slowed down.  Instead I heard this:


After we unbuckled him, and after I regained my composure, I gave him the biggest high-five my weak arms could muster.  As we climbed the hill back up to the group, the entire hill erupted in cheers of "FINN!  FINN!  FINN!"

It was amazing.  He was smiling ear to ear and begging to go again.  The grown-ups who had previously volunteered to go next, on the other hand, were looking a little queasy.  I couldn't blame them.  After promising him that we'd come back in the morning, he ran off to play with his friends.

It's worth noting that I never rode the swing.  I was lost after that performance.  Stunned.  And so it was that later, as the kids got even more tired and started in with the inevitable hitting & pushing, I was in a bit of quandary.

After all, who am I to yell at the maniac that conquered the Giant Swing while I stood idly by fretting with a dry mouth?

I'm that maniac's dad, that's who.  And I couldn't be prouder.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Wish

One of the many fantastic things about having a friend like Jena to hang out with Finn is that in addition to being able to regularly pawn off the boy so that I can do important things like drink and watch baseball, she also represents one of the few channels through which we are able to extract any real information from him via the regular Q&A sessions through which she puts the kids.

Here's the latest, which she was nice enough to package for me as a ready-made blog post.

On the topic of things that he would wish for, Finn provided the following gems:
I would wish for sugar to not be bad for you. My mom wishes dairy was not bad for her so she could eat it, and sugar too. I wish for my dad that he was my teacher. And I wish my mom was my teacher. I wish we could fly. I'd fly to my house first and do nothing. Actually, I would fly to Key West. I wish my sister could crawl. I wish she could never cry again, like if she touched something she would stop crying... Like a water bottle cap. I wish Grandma Parker's area where she lives didn't have any hurricanes. I wish it would be snowing right now. I wish it would snow all year long. I wish I never got bloody. I wish Myla never called my sister "Itty" cause its not telling the truth. I wish my dad told the truth. He doesn't tell the truth that much. He said my elbow was my armpit. The last thing I wish for is a pet dolphin and a baby nurse shark.... They are not harmless. They don't harm anything.
Kitty thinks I should take that second-to-last comment as a sign that I should stop teasing and/or lying to him.  I think exactly the opposite is true.  I take great pride in the fact that my son can see through my BS.  

After all, he's going to need that skill if he's ever going to survive in this family.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Great Grandma Parker

Grandma and me, June 1973
Tomorrow is Finn's first day of kindergarten, and while that is bound to be an emotional day in the
Parker household, I'm going to defer getting into that so I can cover another emotional topic:  the passing of Finn & Edie's great-grandma Parker this weekend.

She picked an auspicious day to leave us - her 99th birthday.  I think she was embarrassed by the thought of Willard Scott reading her name on live TV and opted out a year early.

Meeting of the Edies, Summer 2013
Not surprising for someone who came from a time in which it was proper for an expectant couple to push the car out of the driveway on your way to the hospital before starting it so as not to raise a fuss with the neighbors with so indelicate a topic.

Alex, Finn & Grandma, Summer 2011
So here's to the Original Edie Parker, whose culinary mastery introduced the world to the now iconic dish of French Toast and Hotdogs (served mixed together in bite sized pieces) and who loved nothing more than to have her grandkids laying on the floor, watching the Boss Hogg show on TV (Boss being the real hero of Hazzard County on accounta sharing her maternal last name).

I hope that in Heaven, no one says that they hate anything - they merely "don't prefer it" - and that MTV is nowhere on the channel listings.

Rest in Peace, Grandma.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Baby led weaning?  Where's my baby led CLEANING?


For the record, avocado is best served squished up in a tiny hand and then thrown onto the kitchen floor.


Monday, August 19, 2013


Cucumbers are best savored
I'm currently away on my first business trip since Edie was born.  Hello from sunny San Diego.  If you're a crook watching my house, don't bother robbing us tonight.  Tango & Cash, the cats, will scratch the #$@% out of you before peeing on you and pooping in your shoes.  Seriously.

Now that that's settled...

One of the things that I realized as I was booking this trip was that the longest that either Kitty or I had previously been forced to single parent both of these children was 6-hours, which I did while Kitty was out drinking bon-bons and talking about corsets, or whatever it is that women do these days.  Of course, we made my mom watch our kids completely unattended for roughly 50+ hours, but that was for Phish.  So this was a big deal.

If there ever was a "right" time to run away, it is now, since we've decided to take a different approach with Edie than we took with Finn when it comes to feeding.  This time around, we're jumping on the "baby led weaning" bandwagon.  It's a thing.  Look it up.

So far, we've let Edie lead on cucumbers and salmon.  Turns out that baby-led-weaning actually means, baby-puts-food-in-mouth-then-throws-behind-seat/couch/table.

I have to admit that as a neat freak, this terrifies me.  I'm not sure I'm strong enough to let the baby lead the weaning.  Then again, the mess from making all of those artisinal baby purees that we made for Finn was pretty extensive.  Maybe it's a wash?  Until you get to blueberries.  Word on the street is that blueberries are the worst.  I'll just need to accept that for the next several months, it's going to be messy.

Hopefully in the end, this is going to result in a child that will eat more than just peanut butter & honey sandwiches and doesn't end every bite asking whether he's now eaten enough to have dessert.

I think I need to go ruminate over these things at a Padres game.  With beer.

Absentee parenting is hard.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Remember when I said that I was going to build a fort for Finn? Boy, was that a dumb thing to say. Once I walked away from the graph paper mock-ups that we had created and actually thought about it, realizing that anything I would build would most likely collapse on his head and/or significantly decrease not just my own property value, but also the property values of the entire city of Seattle, I panicked. That's a lot of pressure.

To buy myself some time, I've been creating construction delays like a good little general contractor.  Initially it was going to be a treehouse, so I explained that I'd need to contact the city to discuss permitting for a treehouse in the city limits. Rather than call or stop by the permitting office, I really tried to screw myself by emailing them. I thought that would save me the rest of the summer, but the stupid over-performing city permit office got back to me immediately and said that a treehouse was fine.


But then they mentioned that there were some trees that I couldn't build in and lo and behold, the tree in our backyard was one of them. Thank you, "Exceptional Tree" status!

This didn't dissuade Finn, however. Perhaps we shouldn't have had such a successful brainstorming session when planning his fort, because he decided he was fine if the fort was on the ground and only  wanted to know when his fort - complete with refrigerator, rocket launcher, fireplace and race car garage - was going to be completed. 

This has been a very quick, and likely expensive, lesson in child-expectation-management.

Fixing this the only way I know how, with money, I recommended that we head down to the Rainbow Playsets outlet and pick out an awesome playset with a slide, swings and a fine cedar finish that would weather the Seattle winter well and not require any additional maintenance that I'm unlikely to perform. Finn jumped at the opportunity, so I excitedly loaded the family in the car and headed down south to the land of the magical playsets. When we got there, the friendly gentleman instructed us that Finn could play on anything on the lot while he explained to me how many mortgages we would need to take out for just a basic sandbox. And I was fine with that. Finn immediately took off running, swinging & sliding.

After scoping out which ridiculously colorful monstrosity would fit in our yard, I hunkered down in one of the luxury-sedan-priced models with a little fort in the base to ask him which one he wanted most for home.

"I don't want any of these. I want the fort that we talked about."
"What?  Why? These are AWESOME! Check out the slides! Check out the swings! Our fort won't be able to have those things. Don't you want those things?  And it's even got this cool fort in the bottom!"
"No. I want my refrigerator. This fort is too small for my refrigerator."

Double dang.

I'm pretty sure Zillow is going to devalue my house just based on this blog post, but it looks like we're building a fort. If anyone has a line on a good fort refrigerator, let me know. Looks like I'm in the market.