The Last Word by the First Light

A clearly annoyed Isabella (she’s 10) on the drive in to school this morning:

Iz:  Look what time it is!  I’m gonna be late.  They’re gonna yell at me.

Me (also visibly annoyed):  And, do you know why you are going to be late?

Iz: It’s because you need to wake me up earlier than you do.

Me [with a little upward inflection]: Nooo. I woke you up plenty early enough.

Iz: Yeah.  Because you know I like to stay in bed after you wake me up.  And, sometimes I fall back asleep.  So, you should wake me up earlier.

Me: Let me get this straight.  I’m supposed to wake up even earlier so that you can fall back asleep.

Iz: Yeah, that seems fair.

Me [a rage is building]:  How is that fair?! Maybe you should get your butt out of bed, get dressed, not yell at me for 10 minutes because you can’t find your jacket that you left somewhere, make your own breakfast, make your own lunch, find your own missing library book, pack your own book bag and walk yourself the 14 miles to school!  Wouldn’t that be more fair?!

We finally arrive at the drop-off line, the girls gather their stuff.  Isabella has been quiet.  I think I got through to her.  Yelled some sense into her.

They get out of the car, Isabella looks at me through the window and says:

“No, that wouldn’t be more fair.  Bye.”

Here’s my 550th post: Tree Limb

Due to a clerical error, I mis-reported an earlier post as my 550th post.   This is my actually It.  (And, you really, really don’t want to see my rough drafts…)

Gotta love the government:

Sunday morning. We heard a crash outside. Did you hear that? Sounded like a tree.

We poke our heads outside…

A monster tree branch fell across the street, blocking the road.

Wife: Someone will call.

Me: For once in my life, I will be that someone. (Movies will be made. I will be a Hero!)

So, I call the police station a half mile away. I explain what happened.

The dispatcher says: Let me patch you through to Street Services.

I wait a minute or so and explain the situation to that dispatcher. She says, and I am not kidding,

“Let me patch you through to Street Services.”

Then, their phone rings, and I hear the message: “Thank you for calling Street Services. Our office is currently closed. Please call back during regular business hours: Monday through Friday, 7am to 3:55pm”

3:55? Really? 3:55.

Now, I am one of those Big Government liberals you hear about (what with the health care and the roads and the schools). But, Jesus. 3:55? I thought my taxes could get us to at least 4:00.

Meanwhile, because it is Sunday, I try the Internet: the Street Services website wants me to Create an Account. (I don’t want to do that. Social Security Number. Credit Card. Mother’s Maiden Name?… No, unless you are a Nigerian Prince?)

And, “Is this a Tree Emergency. If anyone is injured, call 911.”

Hmmm. Is this an emergency?

No, it is just a 1200 pound tree branch that is blocking the road. No one was hurt, no cars crushed. Traffic is blocked, though.

“This voice mail message does not receive incoming messages.”

You’re kidding. Isn’t that the whole point of voice mail?

“Para informacíon en español, oprima el número dos.”


It Is a Far, Far Better Thing

On Tuesdays, I have a 45-minute gap between picking up Daughter One and Daughter Two from school.  This is a period during which I and ‘Daughter the First’ (the pre-teen) family-bond (a.k.a: kill time) by grabbing a pretzel at the mall, getting a dozen eggs, or (sometimes) settling up debts with my bookie.

Family time.

Today, we wasted/cherished that time at the Eagle Rock Library.

After perusing the aisles, Julianna (she’s 12) pulls Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities off of the shelf.

I do a double-take.

Of the two books I actually read in high school, this one was my favorite. (I still hate Thomas Hardy, scarred by the moors and the heaths and the sorrow.)

Julianna: I actually want to read this book.  Over Spring Break.  A Tale of Two Cities.

So, today is clearly the Best of Times. Quite, literally. (God, that’s funny…. Anyone? Literature fans? Best? Times? Crickets? No one?)

She’ll read it over Spring Break!

Bookie: You, wanna bet?

Saturday Is Milk Duds Day

My wife is out town dealing with Family Issues.  Big time stuff.

So, at home…   It is by definition: Daddy/Daughter Fun Time.

I forgot to un-set my alarm on Saturday.  So, Yay! It’s 6:00 a.m.  On Saturday.  I’m awake and UP for no damn reason.

Shit.   Crap.  Saturday.

And, I have no one to yell at.  They’re all still asleep. Even, the damn dogs are still sleeping.

So, I’ll stare at my screen.  “O, Internet bring me wisdom.”  (Internet:  Ha!  You’re kidding, right?).

Eventually, the first child wakes:

Me: What do you want for breakfast?

Child One:  Stop Yelling at Me!!

Yell?  (hint, she’s 10)

She plops on the sofa, covering her head with a blanket.

Child One:  Daddy!  I’m hungry!

Because 90 seconds is a long dang time.

Then the other child crawls out of her pre-teen soup:

Me:  Hello.

Child Two:  I hate you.

I am paraphrasing all of this, of course.  Lots of words are said.  But, these are the things I hear.

Me:  Honey…  You are here because of me…

(Also, Mommy. Largely Mommy.  Me too, though:  Please don’t think biology.  Because, you know, oftentimes Dads get shorted.)

Hang on…   Child One is chewing something.

Me:  What are you eating?

Child One:  Milk Duds.

Me: “Milk” chocolate is not milk. I’m a Good Father!  (say the voices in my head.)

Child Two:  Why does she get candy when I don’t?!  That’s not fair!

Crap…  9:00 am

The day is young.

Heather Chandler (Bing!)

I’m heading home from the grocery store with Julianna (she’s 12) when we cross Chandler Blvd.

J: Every time we cross that street, I think of Heathers, The Musical.  I saw some of the songs on You Tube.

Me:  Really?  I think of Chandler from Friends.  You see, there was a TV show…

J: Dad stop. I hate when you take over the conversation.

Me:  Bygones.  (from Ally McBeal)…

J: Hrmmm!  Stop!  There’s a musical called Heathers.  The most popular girl was named Heather Chandler.  There were other girls named Heather, too.  They were all popular.  And, they were all kinda mean.

Me: Oh, yeah. Wasn’t there some movie?

J:  Yeah, there was a really old movie from the 1900s or something.

Me: I vaguely remember the 1900s.  I think it’s from the 1980s.

J: I saw part of that movie on You Tube.  It did not look good.

Me: Well, a 10th generation VHS dub that gets digitized countless times is going to look bad.  (Daddysplaining: It’s what I do.)

J:  Dad!  No!  Stop!…  It’s because cameras were new back then.

Me: In the ’80s?  The 1880s or the 1980s?  I think they knew about cameras in the 1980s.

J: I’m talking about color movie cameras. They didn’t understand how it worked, just yet.  So, the movies looked bad.  Don’t you remember that far back?

Me: Maybe not.  It was a long, long time ago.


J: I don’t think I’m a Heather.

Me: No, Honey.  You’re not.

J: Daaad!  Stop!  Now I want to be one!

Me: No you don’t.  Because, you’re not one.  And, you know it.

J:  Hrrmmmmmmmmm!


The Tutor Queen

Julianna (she’s 12):  Daddy, the school sent me to help a 3rd grader in math.

Me: That’s great, Honey.  You’re a Tutor.

J: A “what” now?

(Sub-story follows)


J: And, that’s how you get the answer.  X minus Y.

3rd Grader:  Wow!  That was so easy!

J: Yeah, when you know how to do it, it’s not that hard.  Carry the one…

3rd Grader: Thanks.  You must be so popular.

J (aww shucks):  No, not really.

3rd Grader:  Oh, that’s right.

Continuing:  You can’t be popular AND smart.


I must interject:

Me:  Nooooo!  That is absolutely NOT true.

J: Yeah, kinda it is.  It’s on TV.  The Popular People are dumb, and the Smart People are unpopular.

My blood literally boils (Obviously, it does not boil because I understand the meaning of the word “literally.”  Because I am smart.  Coincidentally, unpopular)

Me: Look, Honey…  Mommy is extremely smart and everyone loves her.  I mean, come on!

J:  Yeah but, you have no friends.

Me:  That’s not entirely true.

J: And, you’re not smart at all.

Me:  How did I become a subject of this…?

Isabella (she’s 10, from the back seat):  And, also.  You’re fat.


J:  Good one.

Me: No.  Not.  Fat people can be smart.