Not In My Key

One of the traditions of our household is that children can’t ride in the front seat until they turn 10.  Julianna went double digits a couple years ago, and now it is Isabella’s turn.

She got in the Prius, and checked all the mirrors and changed the radio and flipped the air vents.  The sun visor has a mirror!!  And a light?!  What fun!

A couple days later, we had to use the Sienna mini-van after gymnastics.  And, Isabella was perplexed.

Iz:  Daddy, what is that hanging from your wheel thingy?

Me: Steering wheel?

Iz: Yeah, steering whatever.  The thing hanging.

Me: You mean the key chain?

Iz: Is that new?

Me: A key?  No, honey.

Iz: But, where’s the button you push to start?

Me: No button.  There’s a key.  You turn it.  They’ve been doing it for over a hundred years.

Iz: But, if there’s no button, then how do you tell the car to go?

It’s going to be a long ride home.


Right Down Santa Claus Lane

Isabella is 9-years-old with an older sister and wise-beyond-their-years friends.

She knows that the only fat guy putting gifts under the tree this year will be Daddy.  She has actually said that: “fat guy,” “gifts,” “tree,” “Daddy.”  Words in that order.

But still, she can barely contain her excitement for Santa.  For weeks:  We’re 20 days from Christmas!  12 Days from Christmas!  4 Days Away!

She has developed a Classic case of Santasomnia©:  She can’t sleep because of the anticipation of Santa’s gift delivery on Christmas Day.

Tonight, December 21st, at 11:45pm she hijacks a groggy daddy in the kitchen.

Iz: Daddy!  I’m so excited.  It’s almost Christmas!  Snuggle with me!  I can’t sleep.

Me:  Really?  I already did that.  Crap.  Ok.

Into bed we crawl.  She rests her head on my shoulder.  Her eyes are wide open.  If you could, imagine a Norman Rockefeller portrait. With me as the father. (stop laughing.)

Iz: Santa’s coming in a couple of days.  But, really, I know it’s you and Mommy.

Me: I never said that.

Iz:  But, is Santa lactose-intolerant?

Now, there’s a curve I didn’t expect.  Because, clearly it was aimed at Daddy.  It was a question that was partly inquisitive, and vaguely diagnostic.  Almost like a medical commercial (“Have you asked your doctor about LactoXmas?  See what LactoXmas® can do for you.”)

Me:  Um, no.  Honey, I’ve never heard that.  But, we can leave a glass of your special tummy milk out if you’d like.

Iz (sternly):  Ok, good.  I’d like that.  Now, as to the cookies.

Me:  “As to the cookies.”  Shouldn’t I get a lawyer?  How much TV are you watching, Sweetie-Pie?

Iz: As to the cookies:  Shouldn’t we leave out more cookies than he can actually eat so that there will be leftovers?  For, like, in the morning.  Idunno.

Me:  Ok, I should have bought cookie dough at the grocery store.  Your criticism is heard and registered.  You were there.  You maybe should have said something then.  In Aisle 5.  When you mentioned that Santa likes Chocolate Chip…  Oh, wait.  Crap.

Iz:  And how does “Santa” deliver gifts to 100,000 houses every second.  I mean how does he wrap them?  The paper, the tape.  What powers those reindeer?

Me: Your quotation marks on “Santa” are duly noted.  It all happens because of, wait for it…:  Christmas Magic.

I say these things as Isabella is clearly growing weary,  but…

She giggles with me in the most wink-wink way.  And I can’t help but scoop her up and squeeze tight. Because of Christmas Magic.

And, on Cue (and this is absolutely true):

Me: You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.  You make me Happy….

Iz: Like you used to sing.  Zzzzzzz.

Summer Santa

Since November 9th (the day after the election), the radio station has been wall-to-wall Christmas music.  Isabella (she’s 9) is all about the music.  I have been subjected to countless versions of Carol of the Bells (really, David Foster?  Really, Manheim?  Really, Trans-Siberian?  Where the hell is Trans-Siberia?), Multiple versions of Wham’s “Last Christmas.”  Why is that Special?  (Special).  When did that become a classic?  Crappy, crappy song.

And, even Sir Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”  Good god!  It’s so awful that exactly no one has ever covered that song.  (And, I love Paul!  But, it’s crap.)

Julianna (she’s 12):  This song sounds like summer.

Me:  Because that is the Beach Boys.  Little Saint Nick.

J:  But why does it sound like summer?

Me: It’s the Beach Boys.  Think about it:  Beach.

J:  But they sing: Christmas comes each time this year.  Can’t Christmas come in the summer?  Like July the 4th?

(I sense you can tell I am annoyed.)

Me: Honey, you were born in Los Angeles, at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.  Where all the famous people go to die.  We dip our toes in the Pacific every year.  You absolutely need to know the Beach Boys.  They were America’s last gasp against the tide of British Invasion bands.  Who poisoned our ears with crap like “Wonderful Christmastime.”

She, like you, is tuning me out.

Me:  The Beach Boys sound like summer because they are summer.  Even at Christmas.

Iz (from the back seat):  Last Christmas, I gave you my heart.  The very next day you gave it away.

Me: British!

Iz:  Special….  Special.




Let me go ahead and copyright © the terms “troll-cast” and “trollcast”  (similar to broadcast) to mean any Internet misinformation, abuse, or hate-speech that is promoted immediately or within a limited time frame in a wide variety of contexts to impugn, denigrate, or cause emotional distress, without relevant evidence, to a subject or subjects, their posts, or their persona via media or social media contexts.. ® coming soon.  But, I’ll need some lawyers.

Meet George Jetson

On the drive in to gymnastics, 9-year-old Isabella is philosophizing.

Iz:  Daddy, are there ever going to be flying cars?

Me:  Someday, I hope.  There used to be a cartoon, that…

Iz: Because, they would be very useful.

Me:  I suppose they woul…

Iz: Because, then you could fly straight to where you want to go.

Me: Without all the stopli…

Iz: They already have cars that drive themselves now.

Me: Ye…

Iz: But I think they are probably pretty dangerous.

(She ruminates.  I get a word in.)

Me:  Oh, I don’t know.  They’re probably better at driving than that idiot. (I point.)

Iz: Yeah, but there’s an idiot in the front seat of this car.

Me: I’m a good driver.

Iz: I didn’t say anything about your driving.

I look in the rear view mirror and see that she has that “I’m evil funny” smile slowly grow across her face.

Me: Hey, that’s not ni….

Iz: We’re there, Daddy.  Bye.  Drive safe.

Me: “Safely.”  Not “saf…”  (Slam.)

Clown Town

There’s a reason I keep floating this anemically followed blogspeck on the Internet.  It’s not for you.  And, it’s not for me.  It’s for my daughters.  If you find something worthwhile in this pile of posts, great.  But someone is writing about the years before my girls could see themselves   Unfortunately for them, that someone is me.  Daddy.

Here’s a post.  You’ll be entertained.

Middle of the night, I hear pitter-pat of little feet.

Isabella (she’s 9):  Mommy, mommy.  I had a nightmare.

Me: Daddy here.  Climb up, Honey.  What’s wrong, Sweetie?

Iz:  There was a clown.

Me: You can stop right there.  Nightmare enough.

Iz:  But he had a knife.  And he cut me!

She nestles closer and closer to me, Daddy.

Me: Don’t worry, Pumpkin.  There aren’t any clowns here, and I’ll protect you if one shows up.

Now, I am known as the snuggler of the family.  Got a hand that needs rubbing?  Gimme.  Feet?  I’ve got a rub two, get one free deal.  Finger tips, you have no idea…  And, those shoulders, Miss Gymnastics. Toes.  Famous for my toes.  (Totally wholesome, btw).

So, between my 20 minute bursts of sleep, there’s rubbing or scratching or massaging. For hours.

By daybreak, I have protected her from that evil clown.  And given her a $200 Vegas massage.  Plus tip.  And yet.  She’s asleep.  Won’t wake uo.  (Man, I’m good).  I guess, no tip.

Me:  Honey.  Sweetie.  Got to get up and get ready for school.


Mommy:  Let’s get going.

Iz pulls up the covers.  “Nooo.”

Me (a bit more stern):  Isabella, time for breakfast. What do you want?


Now, I have taken some liberties with the narrative here, but this is typical of every morning.


Me: Where?


As I said, typical.

Me:  Totally different.  When you figure it out, let me know.  We need to leave in 30 minutes.



Part II.  (Yeah, there’s a Part II, Baby)

Somehow, we manage to get in the car for school. (And, the “somehow” involves a combination of threats, rewards, and get your-ass-in-the-cars.  Did I mention threats?)

We’re late.  Big Fat Friggin’ Surprise.

How’s everybody’s blood pressure doing?  Mine is rising just proof-reading this.  (It has a happy ending, don’t worry.)

Meanwhile, on the way to school:

Julianna (she’s 12): I want to pick the song!

Iz: No, I want to pick it!

In my day, the DJ picked the song.  That was how you learned about awesome music, like The Who, or shitty music like A-Ha.  You learned it and lived it. 3 minutes at a time.  Plus commercials.

Iz:  Fine!  I didn’t sleep well.  And I have a headache.  And my stomach hurts, too.

We eventually make it to school, a 30 minute drive (There’s no such thing as a school bus for a charter school.)

About an hour after drop-off, my phone rings.

Iz:  Daddy, my head hurts.  And my tummy hurts.

Me: Ok.  Do you want me to get you?  Or can you stay?

Iz (in the most pathetic voice):  Get me.

Daddies have three modes:  Because I said so.  I’ll never do that again.  and, Get Out of My Way.

Pick 3 wins.

I race to get her (did you notice my cape flapping out of the car door?)

I Sign her out, put my arm on her shoulder, and lead her to the car.

Me: Honey, what’s wrong?

Iz: I just feel sick.

We get home, she snuggles with Mommy, and I begin writing this post.

The bedroom door opens.

Mommy:  She wants you.

Me:  Me?

Mommy:  I dunno.

I snuggle up.  She falls asleep.  And whispers:

“No clowns.”

We snuggle.  She sleeps.  Eventually…

Iz: I want Mommy.  Clown.  Zzzzz….

Veterans Day

It’s Veterans Day.  Salute to the Women and Men of our Armed Forces, protecting this land of opportunity.
Speaking of opportunity, my (occasionally) delightful daughter Isabella (she’s 9) has a special Holiday schedule gymnastics workout this morning. At 9:30.   On her day off from school.
She’s being a Grumpenstein. Her hip hurts, her knees hurt, her shoulders hurt. Deal with it. I say, welcome to life. There’s no real injury.  And, admittedly, bullying is wrong. But, Jesus, grow up. Life, honey, Life… (Is that my out loud voice?) Shit.
You have no idea what it takes to defend our country.  People die.  Lots of people die.  So, we honor the people who protect your right to go to gymnastics on a beautiful Friday morning in November.
Isabella:  Can I have Lucky Charms?
Me:  You’ve had them every single day since you were born.  And today, we honor them.

Online Polls

A friend of mine recently posted a nonsense Facebook poll of the yes/no variety. And, you can bet that Facebook is parsing the answers to target you with their advertisements. Here’s me:

Tattoos: 0
Reason: Perspective. My lower back is too fat for my favorite butterfly, the monarch. Also, I’m not 20. And, I’m not stupid.

Piercings: My current Headache. I have kids. So, piercing.  From the top of my head, through my skull. Like a dagger. Screw Tylenol. Bullshit.

Marriage: 1

Children: 2, that I know of.

Surgeries: 2, that I know of.

Hobos: 1 buried in the garden.

Skipped school: Actually, I never did.

Watched someone give birth: Twice, that I know of.

Buried a Hobo in the Garden: See above. Once.

Are you sure: Yes.

Yes, you are sure. Or, yes you’ve been profiled: Let me check my notes.

Been to Canada: Where do you think I got my accent. Think aboot it. Eh?

Been to Williamsburg, VA: Birthplace of America, yes.

Been to Washington D.C.: Cemetery of America, yes.

Been to Mexico: What the hell is with this damn wall?

Grabbed a woman by the Trump: Consensually? Two times, that I know of.

Stop and Frisk: Only the ladies. You know what I’m sayin’. Yeah, Boy!

You know Facebook reads this: Only my friends.

And the NSA: Am I being punk’d? Then, no.  But, my hands are yuge.

Ridden in an Ambulance: Does car jacking count? Then, yes.

Been reprimanded by HR: See above… Not the previous above, but higher.

Escorted Out by Security: Does Sheriff’s Deputy count?

Gone zip lining: No

Visited Europe: No.

Eaten goat cheese: It tastes like you are eating the farm. So, no.

Have a chihuahua: No.

Have two chihuahuas: Yes

Met Elvis: Last week at the 7-Eleven. No.

Does Earth revolve around the sun: Well, I’m not a scientist.

Been to Hawaii: I have eaten pineapple. Does that count?

A Nigerian Prince needs help: Credit Card Number. PIN. And that stupid 3-digit “security” code.

El Niño: Good luck with that, Mr. Drought.  ¿How “hot” is La Niña?  I’d hit that.

Kardashians: Spell check actually just corrected me. Vomit likely. Really? Spellcheck?

What the hell: Your guess (I admit) is better than mine.


I am somewhat known for my eyebrows.  Thick, but not conjoined. I won’t say, exactly, that they are celebrated, but people seem to enjoy them.  (Maybe “enjoy” is too strong a word.)  They make me, me.  Now, there’s some grey.  Crap.  Because I am old.

And, my forehead seems to be creeping ever higher.  The grey used to be an awesome ebony.  Trust me.

The hair is much more grey than the eyebrows.  Also, my forehead is not the big.  Kids these days and their cameras.

The hair is much more grey than the eyebrows. Also, my forehead is not this big. Kids these days and their cameras.

Drive Time Music Lesson

On the drive in to school (about 30 minutes) Julianna (12) and Isabella (9) commandeer my Playlist.  And they insist on what the kids listen to these days.

Julianna: Dad, I hate Rock and Roll.


J: I just want to listen to music that kids like.

Me: You know, once upon a time, kids went to jail for listening to Rock and Roll…

I exaggerate. Slightly.

J: But you’re old.

Smacked down by a 7th grader.  So, we listen to a bunch of songs “kids like.”  Then, there’s a grown-up song that they like.

Me: Wait, that’s an actual grown-up song.

“If I Die Young,” by The Band Perry.

Isabella:  Why is that a grown-up song.

Me: Lots of reasons. First, she’s not singing about makeup and high-heels like Demi Lovato.  It’s a Country song.  The music of your people.

Iz: I thought that was salsa.

Me: That too.

J: What makes it Country?  I love Country.

Me: Lots of things. They way she sings, more nasal.  The harmonies.  The fiddle and banjo.  The sentimentality. The pickup truck.

Iz:  Santa what?

Me: Sentimentality.  Really emotional words.

“If I die young, bury me in Satin.  Lay me down on a bed of roses.”

Me: Yeah, that qualifies as sentimental.

J: So, kids shouldn’t listen to this?

Me:  Um, no. I would prefer that you listen to this over, say, Ariana Grande.

J: But I love Ariana Grande!

Me: I know Sweetie, and you’ll grow out of it.

J: Daaaad!  Stop!

Iz: Daddy, isn’t salsa a tomato sauce stuff that you dip your chips in.

Me: That too.  And music.  Oh, look, we’re at school.  Get out. Quickly.