March 29, 2014

Stop Hitting Yourself Again!

I’ve gradually come to the conclusion that being a parent is 99 percent making it up as you go along. The remaining one percent is sleep, if you’re incredibly lucky. If not, that one percent is insomnia.

My children—a son and daughter—are four and three years old, so they’re at that precious threshold when they don’t care if Dad loses his mind, so long as they get their way.

I have particularly defiant children—said every parent throughout human history—and my children simply won’t follow instructions. They exhibit the following characteristics:

n My son hates when people sing.
n My daughter hates, well, everything.

Those characteristics can present challenges enough just on the home front, but when we take our children out in public, those characteristics can be downright mortifying.

My wife and I recently tried enrolling both our children in the same pre-school class. It’s not an intense learning class, but there are occasional intervals when the children are asked to sit in a circle, with a parent, and sing little learning songs. And I believe I mentioned my son hates when people sing, and my daughter hates, well, everything.

My wife insisted I take the children to class the second week, and the look on her face said “you’re in for a real treat!”

One of the first things I noticed when I entered the classroom was that I was the only father present. One of the other things I noticed was that none of the mothers had more than one child present. This should have tipped me off right away.

The first half hour of “class,” basically consisted of the children playing with whatever toys or project caught their attention, and if there’s one thing my kids love it’s being able to do whatever they want, so that first half hour went brilliantly.

And then. . . it was time to sit in a circle and sing. I later referred to this transition as “The Happening.”

My son, sensing singing was imminent, ran out of the classroom and was halfway down the hall before I had even stood up. To prevent that from happening again, one of the teachers closed the door, which prompted my son to duck into a small, plastic toy house, where he repeatedly slammed the door shut over and over while yelling “STOP IT!” to the kids singing in the circle.

My daughter, on the other hand, simply refused to sit in the circle, and instead was intent on playing with a little race track toy that had her completely enthralled. When I attempted to pry the toy from her and sit her in the circle with me, she started to throw such an epic tantrum, all other tantrums look to that tantrum for inspiration. Among other things, she started slapping herself in the face and yelling “OUCH!”

So, there was the scene. The lone father, trying to wrestle with his tiny daughter, who kept wriggling her hands free so she could slap herself and yell “OUCH!” Meanwhile, across the room, my boy was sequestered in a plastic toy house, slamming the door and yelling “STOP IT!”

I swear I could actually feel all the mothers—with their single, angelic children—vigorously passing damning judgment on my complete apparent lack of parenting skills.

Thankfully, the next day I witnessed a mortified mother swoop after her son to stop him from urinating in a drinking fountain.

So, that made me feel a little bit better.

Posted by Ryan at 09:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 07, 2014

Antiquity Furniture

Posted by Ryan at 04:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 05, 2014

Phoning it In

I often hear it stated that we’re lucky to live in an age where technology makes our lives so much easier and that staying in touch with friends and loved ones is now just a screen swipe, mouse click or speed dial away.

I suppose there’s some truth to all that, but all it takes to nullify those perceived benefits is to accidentally run your cell phone through a washing machine.

Yes, yes, I did exactly that.

It was just one of those stupid things that happens. I was wearing carpenter jeans with all the extra little pockets, and I had stowed my cell phone in one of those said pouches. It was a long day, and my jeans ended up getting particularly dirty, so I just threw them in the washing machine when I got home. When I went to put my clothes in the dryer, I felt the familiar block of plastic sliding along the bottom of the washing machine.

It was odd, because I knew in my sinking heart that the phone would never sing a ringtone ever again, but then again it just looked so undamaged and, well. . . CLEAN. So, naturally, I tried to turn it on, thinking “maybe, just maybe, it survived its trip through Maytag’s cyclone.”

Of course, it didn’t. My cell phone was dead. Clean, but dead. It even smelled fresh, like Tide, but it was still definitely dead.

I stood there for a few seconds, with one question going through my head: “What is my wife going to say?”

Putting my cell phone through the washing machine is just one of those things I don’t particularly want to tell my wife. Even though my cell phone wasn’t an expensive, uber-smartphone capable of driving a car, it was still something that I have to replace, and I’m almost certain the memory card also didn’t survive the washing machine, so there’s going to be some inconvenience involved, and I don’t like to tell my wife about impending inconveniences. I prefer complete domestic tranquility instead.

But she’s going to figure it out eventually—probably when she reads this, I’m betting. So, maybe I should be more proactive about breaking the news.

WIFE: Why didn’t you answer your phone today?

ME: Oh, that’s right, I forgot to tell you: my phone stopped working.

WIFE: What? When did it stop working?

ME: Well, that’s hard to say, although I’m betting it happened somewhere between the agitator starting and the spin cycle.

WIFE: What is that supposed to mean?

ME: Oh, oh nothing. Hey, look at my new phone!

WIFE: Why do you have a new phone?

ME: No reason.

WIFE: You’re not making any sense!

So, in closing, I think I’ve proven that technology actually makes communicating with friends and family much more difficult.

Posted by Ryan at 05:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 04, 2014

Putin Stresses Strategic Importance of Crimea

Russian President Tells Obama: Crimea River

MOSCOW (Rhodes Media Services) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin took time today to respond to President Obama's repeated claims that the Russian invasion of the Crimea region of Ukraine would result in serious consequences.

"Russia is on the wrong side of history," said Obama, before listing several obscure steps that may or may not be taken. "What we are also indicating to the Russians is that if, in fact, they continue on the current trajectory that they're on, that we are examining a whole series of steps -- economic, diplomatic -- that will isolate Russia."

Putin responded, saying Russia is already pretty much isolated, and that it couldn't care less if economic or diplomatic steps, or any series of steps, were being examined, looked at, scrutinized or appreciated from a distance.

He then went on to stress that Crimea represented a very real strategic geography due to its position on the Black Sea, due to sea ports and economic trade that he said must be protected.

"To Russia, it's the Crimea Peninsula that's important," said Putin. "But, I want Mr. Obama to realize how important it is for him to Crimea River."

While acknowledging there is actually a Crimea River in Crimea, and that it serves some mild economic advantage, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Mr. Putin's remarks were probably poorly translated.

"Quite frankly, Putin's comments made no sense as they were delivered," said Carney. "I think they accurately reflect German Chancellor Angela Merkel's belief that Putin is 'out of touch with reality.' For example, Mr. Putin also said--while laughing so insanely hard he had to drop to his knees, I might add--Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in Kiev, could 'Crimea Lake' before Mr. Putin rolled over on his back in hysterics and said 'no, no, he can CRIMEAN OCEAN!'"

Carney then went on to insist there was no such thing as a Crimean Ocean. He didn't think. He had to check with the President.

Posted by Ryan at 10:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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