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.


Classical Music

On the drive home from school.  The radio plays Adele and Katy Perry…

Julianna (she 12):  Dad, can’t we listen to something else?

Me:  Like what?

J: The Classical station.  Because, If I have to play the violin, I should listen that music.

I flip the station.

J:  Is that Beethoven?

Me:  No, Bach.

J: Sounds the same to me.

Me:  Oh, Honey.  I vastly different.

J: Wait, that’s a harpsichord!

There’s a tear in my eye.

Vegas Mega Meet

It’s gymnastics competition time of year, again.  So, let me open my wallet.

The first big meet is in Las Vegas.  They call it a MEGA Meet because there will be hundreds of competitors. Dozens of teams.  And many, many gymnastics Moms.  I will be one of them.  (In spirit, at least.)

Isabella (she’s 10) is excited, but the scheduling just sucks.  It happens over the weekend that Daddy/Daughter Fun Time’s mother is organizing the Academy Awards annual reception co-sponsored by the Society of Composers and Lyricists.  (You know, with Sting and Lin-Manuel Miranda and others…)

Also:  Isabella will need to miss a day and-a-half of school.

Iz:  Daddy, I just want you to know that I am Ok with missing school.

Me:  Really?  Shocking.  Let Mommy and me talk about it.

Iz:  Ok, but just so you know, I’m totally fine with missing school.  We’re just, like, learning stuff.

Now, long-time readers of this blog know that Isabella is quite accomplished as a gymnast.  And, they keep moving her up the competitive food chain.  Her coaches warn:  “Don’t expect to score high this time because everything is tougher now.”

So, Mommy and I discuss the logistics, the travel, the expense, the injuries, the threat of disappointment shown on a 10-year-old’s face.

Sounds like fun.  We’re in!

Iz:  Yay!  But, I’ll have to miss a day of my dear, dear school.

Me:  Oh?…  Or, we can also not go.

Iz: Well, when you put it like that…  Yay!  Vegas!

Crocodile tears.

So, Thursday mid-after school, Daddy/Daughter Fun Time rolls with Isabella and Daddy (Me!) in tow.  Mommy holds down the Oscars fort, and swings us incredibly cheap hotel accommodations at Circus Circus (Isabella’s favorite Vegas place.  Me, not so much.  But it’s her weekend.)

Friday morning, Isabella is nervous. She’s now competing on a bigger stage, against seasoned competitors, in a new class.

First up:  Floor exercise.  9.500. Gold.  Vault: 8.900.  Gold.  Bars: 9.750. Silver.  Beam. 9.025. Gold.

All-Around: 36.175. (You guessed it):  Gold.

Her coaches tell/threaten/challenge her, if you break 36.0 again, you’ll have to move up another level.

Mommy and I couldn’t be more proud of her.  Her 12-year-old sister: “Whatever.”

The drive home was mostly uneventful.  In fact, we got home before Mommy did.

And then the Oscars happened, and we didn’t know what to believe.


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.)