The New York Times Effect on Man

On the ride in to school today, Julianna (she’s 10) has control of the radio.

Alt Rock: Commercial. Click.
Classic Rock: Commercial. Click.
Morning Zoo: Have you been hit in the balls? Click.
Oldies: Bee Gees. Click
Adult Contemporary: Commercial.

Me: Wait. Go back to the Bee Gees.

Words I never thought I’d say.

Stayin’ Alive. Now, the questions…

Julianna: Dad, what’s a woman’s man? And, how do you walk like that?
Me: Swagger.
Isabella (she’s 8): Are those boy singers or girls? They sound like girls?
Me: Boys. Falsetto.
J: What kind of music is this?
Me: Disco. Sucks.
Iz: Then why are you sticking your finger in the air?
Me: Stretching.
J: Was this from a movie?
Me: Yes. Saturday Night Fever.
J: Because “Stayin’ Alive” would be a good title for a movie.
Me: It was. Travolta. Not good.

“I’m stayin’ aliiiiive.”

Iz: Wow, that’s a high note. Daddy, you can’t sing.
Me: I know. Thanks.
J: Also, you walk stiff.
Iz: Yeah, no swagger.

Babysitters

Here’s the real reason my darling wife and I don’t get out much: Babysitters.

The truth is we have to spend hours and hours(!) cleaning up before they show up. No one wants to see the squalor that we actually live in. Shoes and socks. Plates and cups. Last night’s blanket fort. And all the pillows. Something sticky.

But tonight is special. Lynn bought tickets to Louis CK’s show at the LA Forum (Merry Christmas to me!).

I’ll even take out the trash.

Slumming in Hollywood

From time to time, the Hollywood thing pays off. Lynn (Daddy/Daughter’s Mommy) and I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with some of America’s greatest songwriters of the past 50 years.

Here’s Lynn with the incomparable Mike Stoller (Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Yackety Yak, Stand By Me, and many others.)

Lynn, Mike Stoller, and songwriter Danielle Brisebois  (who may very well walk home with an Oscar for her work on this year's  Begin Again.)

Lynn, Mike Stoller, and songwriter Danielle Brisebois (who may very well walk home with an Oscar for her work on this year’s Begin Again.)

Oh, and did I mention the we had an extensive conversation with Disney Legend Richard Sherman, who wrote almost every single beloved Disney song from my childhood.

Lynn, Richard, and me.

Lynn, Richard, and me.

Apparently, Richard and I thumb-wrestled.  He won.

Apparently, Richard and I thumb-wrestled. He won.

The Fat Man

Before Christmas gets too far past us, somewhere over the Christmas season, Isabella (she’s 7, beyond her years) has crossed the line of whether or not Santa is real. Going in, she was all: I need to send Santa a letter by Thursday or it won’t get there in time.

Now she’s like: You bought that at Target.

But, I tried to keep the illusion alive as long as possible.

Iz: Daddy, did you or Mommy order the X-Box from Amazon?

Me: Honey, Santa brought it.

Iz: No… Mommy said we could take it back. Back to the North Pole? I don’t think so.

Me: Look, Bubbles, Santa lets us take things back to stores if they don’t work or don’t fit.

Iz: No. You bought this on the computer. That’s why the guy came to the door the other day. That’s why we have same the same gift wrapping in in the closet.

Me: All I know, Sweetie, is that there was a fat guy putting gifts around the tree.

Isabella looks at me and gets a “Duh” look on her face. She flings her hands up to her shoulders. Her eyes say everything. “You.”

Sometimes I set my up for the degradations.

Guilty.

(Don’t tell your sister…)

Scooch

Ok, there’s a reason that I keep posting these silly little blog posts. Daddy/Daughter and all.

Last night, the family had a late-running holiday-season party. When we got home, Mommy snuggled with Isabella (she’s 7) and I hunkered down with Julianna (10).

We tickled and giggled and told stories. But, then it was bedtime. Sleepytime.

Mommy slipped away. And, I tried to follow. But, Isabella caught me…

Iz: Daddy. Snuggle. Please?

Me: Mommy snuggled with you already.

Iz: But, I want you.

Me: I’m all snuggled out.

Iz: Yeah, but I want to snuggle with you… Daddy.

NOTE: How does ANYBODY say No to such a request?

Me: Ok, Honey. Scooch over.

Iz: Yay.

Stone Cold Truth

Here’s something new I did in the shower…

(No. Nothing good ever began with that sentence. You are warned.)

I grabbed my wife’s pumice stone and started filing away at the dead skin of my toes and heels. And, Man!, if that dry, dead skin didn’t just wash away.

At night, after I fell asleep, I had an itch on my left ankle which I would normally scratch with my right toe. That didn’t work. Too smooth. Then I tried scratching with my right heel. Also no. It was like silk…

Holy crap! I had to actually wake up and scratch it with my finger nails. Now I’m going to be up all night.

Don’t ever let me touch my wife’s shower stuff again!

Color Commentary

Flipping past the NFL games… Philadelphia vs. Washington

Julianna (she’s 10): Ooo, Daddy, which team do we want?

Me: I really don’t care, but I generally root against the Redskins.

J: That’s because it’s racist!

Me: Well, I was going to say that I prefer Baltimore. But, yes, some people think the name is racist. Not the people.

Isabella (she’s 7): Daddy? What’s “racist?”

Me: Man, I was just trying to find snowboarding or something.

J (teaching her little sister a valuable life lesson): Isabella, it’s when some people don’t like other people because of their skin color.

Iz: Well… That’s stupid. Why does that matter? Because, most of the players have black skin anyway. So, who cares about skin color?

Planet Dracula

Julianna (she’s 10): Daddy, have people been to other galaxies?

Me: No.

J: Is that because it is too far?

Me: Yes, Honey. It would take millions of years for us to get to another galaxy.

J: But, people can’t live that long.

Me: Right.

J: Unless they are vampires! They can live for ever!

Problem solved.

[Attention Hollywood types, especially Mel Brooks. I have copyrighted and trademarked this idea. But, wouldn't that be a great movie?! Call me.]

Ad Nauseam

Julianna, the fifth-grader (she’s 10), and her class are embarking on Ancient Latin and Greek terminology. photo, therm, et cetera, etc. (You see what I did there…)

Julianna is perplexed by the phrase ad nauseam.

J: Daddy, what is “ad naudsumum…” Do I have to get sick? I have to write a sentence with it.

Me: ad nauseam is, like, when your teacher keeps teaching and teaching and teaching until you feel sick! You don’t actually get sick, but you feel like you might.

J: Oh!

Julianna lights up and begins to write something. But, she is covering up with her left hand so that I can’t see. Obviously, she is writing about me because I talk, talk, talk.

Then, Isabella (she’s 7) looks at me, gets a devilish look, and whispers to Julianna.

Girls: Teeheeheehee.

Isabella: Daddy, Julianna finished her assignment!

(She can barely contain herself.)

Julianna (laughing through it all): “My dad farts on and on and on ad nauseam.”

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

(breath)

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

Me: Ok, Honey. Fart. Ha.

Girls: Hahaha, he said “Fart!” Hahahahaha!

Me: Sweetie, because this is actual homework for your teacher(!), can you please change the word “farts” to something else, like “sings.”

J: But “farts” is funnier.

Me: Yes, I know it is, I know. But, please. For your teacher.

Iz: Because you can’t sing either!! Hahaha!

Me: Thank you.

Iz: Also, you’re fat.

[Editor's note: To be fair, if I had this homework assignment when I was 10, my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Ramsay would right now be staring down the barrel of an essay on farts. But, I've raised a slightly-better class of child. Haven't I?]

Here’s the evidence. Note the erasure marks around the “sanitized” version…

Please, don't throw up.

Please, don’t throw up.

Power Outage

Just as the various members of the family stagger out of bed this morning around 8am, we hear a popping noise outside. No one thinks much of it (in Hollywood, the things we hear outside…)

Then…

Julianna (she’s 10): Dad, the lights aren’t working and the TV shut off.

Me: Who said you could put the TV on? What do you mean it shut off?

J: Off.

Me: I guess we blew a circuit.

Isabella (she’s 7): Daddy, the lights in the bathroom won’t come on.

Me: Ok, let me check.

I put my shoes on to go check the circuit panel outside (in LA they are outside in the backyard.)

Girls: Can I have a waffle?
Me: Nope.
Girls: Can I have an egg?
Me: Nope. Trying to check on things.
Girls: Can we watch Netflix?
Me: Nope. Router down.
Girls: Can we have some cereal?
Me: Nope, don’t want to open the fridge.
Girls: Can we go the bathroom?
Me: Yes, thankfully.
Girls: Can we call grandma?
Me: Nope. Phone dead.
Girls: Will we starve?
Me: Nope. Well, probably not.

Girls: What can we do? We are soooo bored!
Me: Girls, it’s been 4 minutes! Read a book! Eat an apple! Enjoy the morning! You know, there was a time when people didn’t have…

–click–

Girls: Yay! The lights just came back on!

Daddy’s lecture on the need for self-sufficiency was thwarted by the very power he was railing against.

After only 4 minutes, I was kind of relieved knowing that I was mere hours away from making the choice over which child I’d eat first.