So easy, even a Caveman could do it…

caveWith CareerMom out of town again, it’s just us boys here at the house. Now, when I was single, I was a pretty neat guy. In fact, my condo was usually cleaner than most homes you find today, and I’m still pretty clean, generally speaking. However, I must say that with no estrogen-influence wafting through the house, hygiene and general cleanliness is more of an effort than it normally seems to be.

DIY has a show called, “Man Caves” and it’s basically where a homeowner carves out a spot in the house somewhere, typically a basement, for the man of the house. What the man does down in this area usually revolves around a large-screen television and a wetbar, although I suspect these are just the things publicly disclosed. Well, without CareerMom here, our whole house feels like a Man Cave.

So far, I’ve contemplated not shaving, not brushing my teeth before bed last night and I literally had to drag my butt up today and throw a load of laundry on to wash just so the boys would have some jeans to wear tomorrow should the cool weather hang around. When CareerMom is here, these things aren’t even a conscious decision; I just do them. Without her here, I have to make myself comply. It’s eerie! And this doesn’t even begin to cover how many times someone has said, “I tooted!”
I’m not sayin’ that I said that, just that someone has said it on numerous occasions. If you haven’t noticed yet, fart humor is highly prized by the “Boys under 10” crowd.

Now, in my defense, part of this has to do with the fact that when CareerMom is here, I have help–I’m not doing everything myself. So by the time I have a few minutes to myself–like now–catching up on the household chores is about the last thing on my mind.

Oh, and let me complain for just a second here: CareerMom arranged for her mom to pick up the boys from Daycare tomorrow evening to give me a bit of a break. But the catch is, I have to pick them up by 6:30.


At the risk of sounding ungrateful…um…why bother? That’s like a whole hour later than I’d normally have them home anyway. And I’m betting there will be no free dinner involved either. Wow! What ever will I do with myself for that extra hour?

Probably the dishes.

Forget Waterboarding, Try Childboarding

carseatdanget Never having experienced true torture beyond that which my older brother subjected me to growing up, I can only judge torture by its outcome. In the immortal words of Star Trek’s Spock, I believe that,

“…the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the
few or the one.”

With the exception of maybe paying taxes, I agree with Spock and as such, I’m all for torturing known criminals when the ultimate goal is saving lives. Recently, Waterboarding, an arguable form of torture involving holding a person’s head backwards while pouring water into their breathing passages, has become something of a debate. Some say it IS torture while others say it is not.

I say, “Forget Waterboarding!” I have a much more effective form of torture that is sure to bring a callous, grown man to tears within an hour. Here’s how it works.

Take a small-to-medium-sized pickup truck and clean everything out of the back cab area. Then, take two Graco or Cosco (or really any brand will do) car seats and force the person to install them in the back behind the front seats. Make him or her put them in and tighten them down, then remove them again and start all over. Force them to do this over and over again ’till they break. If you can do it in a hot garage, even better!

It’s that simple, and if you don’t believe that it’ll work, I invite you to come over to my house and try it out.

I know this is torture because I had to do it last night and I have the scraped knuckles and peeled back fingernails to prove it. I just don’t understand why they have to be so friggin’ difficult. I mean, I’m a small man, with fairly small hands and I can just barely get mine in that tiny little tunnel in the back of the carseat where you’re supposed to thread the shoulder belt through. And forget using the latch thingies in the back of a pickup truck because once you get two of these gargantuan seats in there, there’s no room for your hands to go digging down behind the seat in search of the buckle.

Ohmylord! I spent nearly thirty minutes struggling and swearing reasoning with our seats last night before finally coming to the conclusion that you could only do one of the following:

  1. Put one car seat in the back of cab behind the passenger’s seat and another in the front passenger’s seat
  2. Go purchase a “booster seat only” for our four-year old and put that either in the front seat or in the rear behind the driver
  3. Say “screw it” and work from home on Monday so CareerMom could take my truck to the airport, while I took the boys in to daycare. This way, I get to keep the car all week while she’s in San Francisco. (While overall the most attractive option, I hated to do this because I’m already going to work from home most of the week and figure I should at least go in on Monday)

When I bought my truck, a Dodge Dakota with a club cab (not the cab with extra doors), I did so because it was the only medium-sized truck that let you put car seats in the back without having to spend the extra $3K on the quad cab. And at the time, I was only thinking about one car seat, not two. I didn’t consider that when one child was older, and we had another one to contend with, the older child would need not only room for the carseat, but also room for his legs.

Silly me!

Anyway, we chose option # 2 and got a booster-seat-only thing and put it behind the driver’s side. It’ll still be cramped, but at least he won’t be in the front seat (although that would be kinda cool for him!)

Childboarding may not be true torture by some folks’ reckoning, but you put a clean, calm, grown man in that situation and he’ll come out a different person altogether. And maybe he’ll be ready to talk too. I sure was. Of course, what I was saying wasn’t exactly fit for a child’s ears.

I never saw an "over-30" Barbie

sunbathingSavvy men know that there are certain boundaries one is not allowed to cross–wait, make that should never cross–with women. One of those is giving your best friend’s hot wife a kiss, even if it’s one of those wannabe European dual-cheek kisses. Another is anything to do with a woman’s weight, and most especially, if you’re married to her, or you are otherwise enjoying a FWB kinda relationship.

Just recently, a very attractive lady at my office openly wore a maternity shirt for the first time since she got pregnant. I had first noticed that she might be pregnant a couple of months ago, but having been through two pregnancies with my wife, and having listened to her come home and complain every day about the many unsavory comments she received, I kept my mouth shut until I was certain this lady was pregnant and even when I did acknowledge it, I did so with a hearty congratulations and some joke about how I thought she was pregnant but how I wasn’t going to stick my foot in my mouth until I was sure. I thought I was very clever and witty–she probably thought that I thought I was very clever and witty–but really wasn’t.

But we men have realized that simply knowing when to play dumb is not enough. See, women test us from time to time and we men have to be ready–constantly on guard.

Just this morning I fixed myself and CareerMom a faux-egg McMuffin and it was one of those rare occasions where we both get to eat breakfast together. I sat down with my egg McFaux and the latest full-color Burpee catalog; she sat down with her breakfast and the latest Lands End swimsuit catalog.

The Lands End swimsuit catalog is not for teens or for supermodels. Nossir, it’s for normal women. Women who perhaps, have had children and who aren’t quite bold enough to go sunbathing in Brazil. So the entire catalog is full of swimsuits with catchy slogans like, “Minimizes those problem areas” and “Strut your stuff without showing too much.”

Problem areas? Stuff? I guess a problem area for a woman is like my love handles. They’re there and nothing short of going all bulimic on it is going to make it go away. So I avoid tight-waisted clothes so as to minimize the muffin-top effect.

Anyway, I’m sitting there drooling over the shiny, waxed peppers in my catalog when CareerMom reads from hers:

“OK honey, do I need a swimsuit that:
A. Minimizes my shoulders and bust?
B. Slims my tummy and waist
C. Minimizes my hips and thighs?”

Dude, I froze. Time stood still. The sandwich in my mouth just sat there collecting drool while my mind feverishly searched for the right answer. The two sides of my brain warred with each other; the right side pleading for me to say something clever and funny in an attempt at diffusing the situation; the left side begging for some semblance of sanity while also reminding me that CareerMom was going out of town next week and that I’d probably want to be in my wife’s good graces this weekend.

Probably two or three seconds went by and finally, the perfect response won out and I said,

“I’m not touching that with a ten foot pole. How stupid
do you think I am anyway?”

CareerMom just smiled and nodded her head. I finished my breakfast, got up from the table and as I was putting my dishes in the dishwasher, right brain won out and I blurted,

“Do they have one that maximizes your breasts
and shoulders?”

Damn…I couldn’t just let it go could I?

Count your blessings, name them one by one…

Yesterday was one of those picture-perfect weather days here in Atlanta. The weather was in the cool 60s with very little hint of humidity. We spent the better part of the afternoon outdoors to maximize the “happy time” we get from the boys being entertained, which few things does better than being outside.

What gets me though, is how few other people do the same. Our neighborhood is about a mile long and there are a couple hundred houses here. We also have a neighborhood playground and nine out of ten times we’re the only family out walking or at the playground. We’ve been trying to hook up with other families that have kids the same age as ours and it’s darn-near impossible to do when you never see anyone else.

owlAfter the kids went to bed, I fired up the outdoor speakers and turned on some new agey/classical music and then CareerMom and I sat on the back porch in the glider and enjoyed a glass of Shiraz while watching the bats scarf up what few bugs are out this time of year. Just before it got dark, I got a shot of this fella (I do believe it’s a Spotted Owl)  perched on a tree branch over the creek waiting on some tasty night critter to come out. He’s bigger than he looks. He was about the size of a large hawk. Pretty cool huh?

Anyway, it was good to sit back and enjoy the weather. Sometimes in the hullabaloo that is life, it’s easy to forget what’s right outside your door. It’s also easy to lose sight of what’s right inside your door too.

I’ve got the best of both worlds. I’m pretty blessed.