Tag Archives: funny

The Hornet Hunter

Anyone who has spent more than five minutes with me in the spring or summer knows that I am no fan of insects. Maybe bees and dragonflies get a pass, and ladybugs. (But not those ladybug knockoffs.) But beetles, spiders, roaches, silverfish, millepedes, ants, I don’t want them on me or even near me, as impossible as I know that is. We’re very outnumbered by the insect world, and I super don’t enjoy thinking about that reality.

But there is a special level of ugh I hold for stinging insects like wasps and hornets and yellowjackets. I can deal with the fact that honey bees and bumble bees sting because heck, they need some kind of defense for themselves and they only use them as a last resort before dying. But those OTHER stinging insects are like extremist NRA members wearing their Glocks on their hips for a trip to Walmart, ready to shoot anyone around them and then keep on shopping like it’s no biggie. So when I see not one, but two hornets’ nests under construction on my newly acquired car port (otherwise known as the place where I park the family car four times a day), I have to take action. Especially when said construction includes laying the foundation for the next generation of venomous bugs.

A neighbor suggested I go to the hardware store at the eastern edge of Walla Walla, which turned out to be a ranch and home supply store. Here I could get a feed bag for my horse, any kind of Carhart gear my heart desired, or fake eggs to dupe the hens in my coop to lay more eggs. Or a can of thick poison guaranteed to kill on contact. I explained that I had a bee sting allergy thing and that I wanted to make sure the hornets would never get near me once I bamboozled them with my noxious elixir. The small man, his Vietnam Veteran ball cap pulled low over his forehead, squinted at me. Read More…

How Small Children Complicate Life

Ed. Note: I love my kids, truly.

Okay, so yesterday was my birthday, and since I’ve been six years old and learned that I wasn’t allowed to keep the white rabbit the magician at my party pulled out of a dusty top hat, I’ve tried to downplay the importance of the occasion. I’m not the only person around who’s fretted over having a rainstorm cross their special day. Or the birthday breakup unfortunate coincidence. (Or was it really causal?) You know, birthdays aren’t guarantees that the course of the twenty-four hour period will shine with perfection and happiness. Not only does isht happen, but it happens devoid of thoughtful timing.

I would have enjoyed relaxing yesterday, with some kind of nap on the couch in the new living room, but there were several problems with this scenario:

  1. I’m between case managers at the office right now, so I needed to work all day.
  2. There are still 12,287 boxes in our new house that need unpacking.
  3. Lucas doesn’t like any position other than “being held by mommy or daddy,” which is difficult to do whilst lying down on a sofa.

Read More…

It’s Week 22 and I Haven’t Blogged About the Next Offspring

pacifiers with skulls and crossbonesLet me just come right out and say a couple of things: I love you, unborn second child. I know we often refer to you as a parasitic fetus, but we did that during the first pregnancy too, and look, we’re really super nice to Emile, so it is totally not a sign that we’re unexcited about you. But for my second point, I have to say, I’m sorry. I should have plastered your photos from the ultrasounds all over the Internet by now, and I haven’t. I should have written at least nine blog posts wondering what kind of person you’re going to be someday, and here we are, more than halfway through the gestation process, and here is blog post number one.

In my defense, little fetus, I’ve got a lot more confidence this time around, and if you look at the litany of blogging I did before Emile was born, a lot of the content was really about my insecurity. I wasn’t even sure before Emile if I could effectively swaddle a newborn. Boy was that a non-event!

Also, Emile took a lot of doing and a series of rejiggered logistics to get conceived. We racked up the fertility visits, invoices, sperm donors, and awkward conversations with medical personnel in the 18 months it took us from getting started to getting knocked up. You got all zygotey on attempt number one! You didn’t give me any time to sweat about it, fetus. Where’s the drama in getting what you want when you want it? That’s not going to get a lot of blog attention, you know? Read More…

Somnambulism Seems Easier

Emile sitting in a pumpkin patchMy weekday schedule is something of a failed attempt at ye olde work/home life balance:

7AM — wake, shower, dress

7:30AM—head to office (stopping at post office M&Th)

7:45AM–10AM—work

10:20AM–1PM—childcare for Emile/work out/run errands/housekeeping

1PM–3:30PM—work

3:45PM–4:50PM—write (a.k.a. suck down a latte and try to think)

4:55PM—pick up Susanne

5PM—home/make supper/childcare for Emile/pick up 17,238 small toys/crash on couch to a stupid show like House Hunters

If it’s swim class night, spend one full hour packing a diaper bag, wrestling Emile into a swim diaper, heading to gym pool, splashing for 30 minutes with Emile, wrestling Emile out of a wet bathing suit, driving home, getting Emile to bed. If it’s not swim class night, trying to make and eat dinner and clean up while Emile plays, gets a bath, and asks to read 3,844 different books that you’ve already read more than 98,000 times so far (plus or minus 100). Read More…

Conversations with Emile

Emile in cowboy hatThe following are excerpts from actual conversations with my kid.

EMILE: I having a baby.

ME: You are? You’ll be a big brother and a daddy?

EMILE: No dad, I be a big brudder, a daddy AND a mommy.

#

“Daddy?”
“Yeah, buddy?”
“I saw a horse.”
“You saw a horse today? What else did you see?”
“Tennis. And a horse.”
“You did, yes. Did you see a cow?”
“Uhh, no.”
“You didn’t see a cow? Did you see a sheep?”
“Uhh, no. No sheep.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah.”
“I’m pretty sure we saw horses, and cows, and sheep, and goats. What sound did the sheep make?”
“Oink.”
“Come on, the sheep said ‘oink’?”
“No. Emile funny.”

#

EMILE: (after waking up an hour beyond bedtime and looking outside) It’s dark outside.

ME: Yes, the sun went down.

EMILE: Is bedtime outside.

ME: Yes. And it’s bedtime inside, too.

EMILE: Daddy, why so dark outside?

ME: (I grab a piece of cereal and hold it up close to the dining room overhead light) We are on a planet out in space, and we move around the sun, but we also rotate, so sometimes the bright light is on the other side of us. (I move the cereal around deftly, rotating and revolving at the same time) When it’s on the other side, we are in nighttime and it is dark outside.

EMILE: That’s a Cheerio.

ME: Yes. It’s a Cheerio. It’s a metaphor.

EMILE: Emile have it?

ME: It’s stale.

EMILE: Emile want it, daddy. Daddy please.

#

[LATER THAT EVENING]

ME: Okay, it’s time for bed.

EMILE: I want some milk and cracker. I want some milk and cracker, Daddy.

ME: Okay, I’ll get some for you.

EMILE: Daddy be right back.

ME: Yes. (exits to kitchen, returns with a fresh bottle of milk and one round cracker. hands them to EMILE.)

EMILE: Thank you, Daddy.

ME: You’re welcome, buddy.

EMILE: I eat in crib.

ME: Okay.

EMILE: Daddy sit in chair.

ME: You want me to sit in the chair?

EMILE: Daddy rock.

ME: You want me to rock myself in the chair?

EMILE: Yes.

ME: Okay. (starts rocking)

EMILE: I lost the binky.

ME: It’s right next to you.

EMILE: Where binky go? Where binky at?

ME: (stands up, goes to crib) Emile, it’s right here. (picks up binky and hands it to EMILE.)

EMILE: Thank you, Daddy.

ME: (sitting back down) Okay, buddy. Drink your milk.

EMILE: I lost the cracker. Where cracker go?

ME: You cannot have lost the cracker. You just had the cracker.

EMILE: Where cracker go?

ME: Emile, I am not going to hunt for things all night.

EMILE: It’s a game, Daddy.

ME: Oh (laughs)

Susanne tells me I have made a very cute monster.

The Very Incomplete Life Tips of Everett D. Maroon

At long last, Twitter has a feature for downloading one’s entire tweet history. As I have more than 27,000 tweets out there (think of all the wasted time, people), this took a little while to get on my machine. But I’ve been wanting to grab my tweets for a few years now because I wanted to see what the full list of “life tips” that I’ve written looks like.

Indeed, it borders on pithy, even if a lot of these aren’t useful to people. Here is the full list:

Life tip No. 4: People who like to tell you what’s morally pure usually aren’t.

Life Tip No. 9: No matter how appealing, never try to catch a falling knife.

Life Tip No. 10: Avoid thunking your infant’s head into the overhead compartment for a smoother travel experience.

Life Tip No. 19: Never rub your eyes after eating buffalo wings. Ditto for picking your nose.

Life Tip No. 20: If you have six chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, prepare for a mid-morning snack of heartburn.

Life Tip No.22: When everything and everyone around you suddenly start annoying you, consider that it might just BE you.

Life Tip No. 23: Whenever someone introduces their remarks as “Straight Talk,” know that it’s going to be bullshit. Read More…

Lowering the Bar Mitzvah

Detroit Airport

I’m in airports a lot these days. A lot a lot. Getting anywhere from Eastern Washington, in the age of regional carriers means lots of legs to get to my final destination, making air travel something of an airport crawl without the really good beer. I’ve been stuck in Salt Lake Airport on Christmas, stranded in Minneapolis multiple times due to weather or mechanical trouble, on the tarmac in Spokane waiting for an overbooked deicer to get to our plane, and of course there was that time in San Francisco when we were told we’d missed our flight even though it was an hour until takeoff. I continue to stand by my United boycott after that bull hockey. Still, as the 14-hour drive home from SFO pointed out, flying is faster than ground travel. And because I often have faraway places to go (I mean, seriously, everything is far from Walla Walla), I wind up spending copious hours of time in airports. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that the more time I spend in airports, the greater the opportunity for unusual things to happen to me while I’m there. Read More…

Parental Skill Sets: Action Interpretation

Our 17-month-old has been babbling since before his first birthday, with the initial declaration of “Hi!” one day when I went to greet him in the morning, the both of us freshly awake. He’d been standing in the corner of his crib, and he gave me a wave as he said it, which made me think that I know plenty of 30-somethings who never achieve the synchronicity of those two actions, and here he’s doing it at ten months.

Emile touching a playground bouncy horse

Since then his verbiage has unleashed on us like a wide pipe, flowing out during nearly ever waking moment. Often the words are garbled or an approximation of the words adults use — his tongue and mouth have some more forming to do, so things like Ss, the “th” sound in English, and words that end in “age” or “ege” are his biggest challenges. One of Emile’s favorite objects is a black spatula, which he pronounces as “zhezhi,” and the only reason I know zhezhi means “spatula” is because he’ll hold up the object and say the word, and point. Yes, I’ve tried repeating the word “spatula” to him, but he has yet to get that enunciation under his belt. Read More…

Lighting the Uh-Oh

Emile has lived through a holiday season once before, but last go around, he didn’t notice much of it. Holding up a 14-month-old to a Christmas tree bursting with colored lights is a bit like holding a moth up to the sun, except for the lack of fluttering. For me it just isn’t December if there’s not a tree bedecked with garland and sentimental ornaments, but we worried about setting anything up in the same space as our new walker of the household. I hatched a plan to hide the tree behind our click-clack futon so that until Emile learns to climb, direct access would be prevented. This also means that the lowest third of the tree is obscured by black vinyl, but whatever, for the wee one this Kmart brand 6.5-foot tree is like an amazing magical fortress.

Now then, for the sake of context, let me point out that for a 14-month-old, Emile is quite verbal. His vocabulary now includes the following:

  • Ow
  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • Woof (usually said to dogs or puppies)
  • Meow (usually said to cats or dogs)
  • Hi (his actual first word)
  • ‘Lo (short for hello, usually said to anything resembling an electronic device, always positioned in his hand at the back of his skull where naturally these devices reside)
  • Uncle
  • Apple (used for apples but also oranges and pears)
  • ‘Nana (for bananas, not grandmothers)
  • Bye-bye
  • Mwah (said in conjunction with a blown kiss)
  • No, or no-no-no (said with increasing frequency)
  • Yesh (often said with a nod that makes my heart explode because cynics like me can’t handle the cute)
  • Uh-oh Read More…

Explosion in the Produce Aisle

Several scientist type people insist that between our first and second years, humans set up their palates for the rest of their lives. Give your toddler too much sugary stuff and it’s all she’ll eat later on. Lean toward too many processed foods and you’ll have trouble getting him to eat macrobiotic, more nutritious food when he’s entering grade school. Nothing beats the tension of worrying that during those exhausting days after the infant stage you’re merely preparing for culinary disaster. Thus I attempt to balance the following when figuring out not only each and every meal for the baby, but my overall nutritional and taste goals for Emile:

  • Include whole grain and fiber, protein, vegetables, and fruit
  • Put out a melange of shapes and colors, some finger foods that he can wrestle on his own, and some spoon-fed
  • Keep everything in rotation so he doesn’t get bored by the same stuff
  • Make each piece of food easy to swallow so he doesn’t die
  • Ensure only organic, homemade, or all-natural food passes his tender lips

Above all else, however, is this:

Show no stress about trying to remember all of the above rules. Read More…

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