Doing the Dishes

I wasn’t going to put this on the blog, but…

You know how sometimes you do the 250 mile round-trip to your dead brother’s house and the Trust people say “Here”s your last chance.” They are polite and all. Business-like, but polite.

But, still… You take what you can. And, you put his fancy dishes in your dishwasher even though you know they are clean and haven’t been used in years. Since a long ago Christmas. When you were there. With him.

Welcome to my day.

Under Where?

Generally speaking, I don’t care if you wear underwear. That’s usually between you and your dry cleaner.

But, if you do clothe yourself with the skivvies, I don’t want to see them.

My rule:

- If you are sporting a V-neck halter top with an H-back bra: Find another shirt.

- If you are buttoning your pants just North of your knees: Buy another size pants. Or, a longer shirt.

- If you wear red undies but your white sheer skirt is giving away your secret: Save it for the clubs in Hollywood.

- And, if that thong part from your butt makes an appearance…. Um. Ew.

Darren, Fashion Police.

Playlist Mayhem

I’m very proud of the musical playlist that I have put together so that my daughters can earn a respect for classic rock songs from pre-Gaga days. And, I encourage them to talk about these songs.

“Every Breath You Take” comes on.

Julianna: Daddy, what is this song about?

Me: Well, there’s a boy who really likes a girl, and he is basically stalking her.

I have said too much.

J: What’s stalking?

Me: Crap. Well, he wants to watch her all the time. And everything she does.

“Every move you make.
Every breath you take.
I’ll be watching you…”

J: That’s like really creepy

Isabella (she’s 7): Like in the bathroom?

Me: Um…

J: That’s super creepy.

Me: Yeah, well… Maybe we should skip to the next song. [click.]

Iz (again, she’s 7): Daddy, what is a “very kinky girl?”


Iz: And, why would you not take her home to your mother?


I’m rethinking my whole philosophy that Rock and Roll should never be age-appropriate.

Put on Your Shoes

You know how sometimes you suffer through a two-hour tantrum with a seven-year-old. And, you go through every stage of the self-help Parenting Catalog of techniques:

- Caring Dad: Honey what is really bothering you? “AHHHHHHH!”
- Stern Dad: Put on your shoes. Now! “AHHHHHHH!”
- Ignoring Dad: “You’re ignoring me. Why doesn’t anyone LIKE me!!!!!?”
- Earlier Generation Dad: I’ll give you something to cry about. Where’s my belt?
- New Age Dad: Find your Chi, Sweetie. Find your Chi.
- Sports Dad: Oh, look. A beer and a game. And headphones. (muffled “AHHHHHHH!”)
- Married Dad: Your turn.
- Guilting Dad: When I was a kid, we were so poor that we couldn’t afford shoes. And, I bought you this house.
- Deafened Dad: Stop Screaming! “I am not SCREEEEAMMMIIINGGG!”
- Time-out Dad: From the corner “AHHHHHHH!” for an hour. Bullshit.
- In-control Dad: I am in the middle of a sentence. Do NOT interrupt me.
- Most Wanted Dad: Really, Officer? The neighbors are complaining? You see, I have a seven-year-old. She won’t put on her shoes.
- Diplomatic Dad: If you put on your shoes, then maybe we can talk about going to the park.
- Authority Dad: You just lost the park. “AHHHHHHH!”
- Equitable Dad: Look, I made breakfast. I brushed your hair. I did your laundry. I’m willing to go to the park. Just put your shoes on. “AHHHHHHH!”
- Reasonable Dad: If you put on your shoes, I will tie them for you.
- Birds and Bees Dad: You exist because of me. Put on your shoes.
- Blaming Dad: We’re not going to the park. And, it is all your fault.
- Too Literal Dad: Put your shoes on. “I already have one of them on! You said ‘shoes.’ That means more than one. I already have one on. I don’t have three feet. How many more shoes do I have to put on?”
- Absentee Dad: … “AHHHHHHH!”
- Step-Dad: “You’re not my father!”
- Child-Whipped Dad: Put your shoes on and there will be ice cream and unicorns and rainbows. I can make all of that happen.
- Mafia Dad: There are only two ways that this can go… And one does not end well for you.
- Hygiene Dad: You realize that you can’t go outside without shoes. Because of all the germs.
- Higher Authority Dad: Would your teacher let you come to school like that?
- Highest Authority Dad: Because Mommy said so. “AHHHHHHH!”

None of them works. It turns out you’re a shitty, shitty father.

Let Me Help You, Little Lady

When I was younger, I always thought it was the gentlemanly thing to do to open the car door or pull out a chair for a lady. But, people said those types of things were demeaning and sexist. Fair enough, I suppose. I see the point. So I stopped.

But, to this day, I still put the toilet seat down. And, I have yet to hear one woman complain.

Chivalry is not yet dead.


This morning I invented a new competition for my daughters: The Daddy Massage Open. Because, I believe that a little sibling rivalry is a good thing. It builds character. And, if my shoulders have to serve as judges, so be it. I am willing to suffer. The things I do for my children.

Coming into this morning’s competition, Julianna (she’s 9) is the presumptive favorite, having dominated the last two battles in a row: “Where’s My Phone” and “Get Me a Beer.” So, she is poised for a trifecta.

She begins her routine. And, while she she shows a deft touch, she certainly has left the door open for the competition.

Isabella (7) digs in, and her grip is so tight that I whip around expecting to find a small Chinese man, well-schooled in the Ancient Art of the Massage. Instead, it’s just Isabella smiling with the last three teeth still in her mouth.

Me: Dang, Honey. That’s some good stuff. Where’d you learn that? I don’t care. Keep going!

She squeezes again, then (and I don’t know where she got this idea) she started to lightly scratch my back.


This competition is over. There is a new Champion!

I knew those hours of gymnastics lessons (with the hanging from the bars and all) would eventually pay off. For me.


On the way home from piano lessons…

Isabella (she’s 7): Daddy, there’s a kid in my class who wasn’t born in America.

Me (attempting to be interested): Really… Where was he born.

Iz: In a country that begins with an “I.” Guess which one.

Me: Ok. Iguanastan.

Iz: Daddy, that not a country.

Me: No?

Iz: Ingland!!!

Me: Well, actually it’s “England,” and it begins with an “E.”

Iz: Whatever… Do you know what language they speak there?

Me: You’re asking me what language they speak in England? Honey, I’m dying… Please tell me.

Iz: British!

(long pause)

Me: Hmm. Uh… You know that that’s same as English, right?

Iz: No, Daddy. It’s English, only (finger pointing dramatically). With an Accent!!

Songs They Should Know

So, I have this can fully filled with worms, and I am about to open it….

As you probably know, my lovely and talented wife is Lynn Kowal ( She has a Rhapsody playlist filled with new music, what the kids are listening to. Modern stuff. It’s all great music. Imagine Dragons. Lorde. There’s both a Daft and a Punk involved. There’s a Muse. Pharrell and his hat. I don’t know. When she takes the kids to school, this is what they listen to.

And, I applaud. It’s all great stuff. I’m sure.

But, I’m old school. When I drive, we jam to classics. Because, I won’t get fooled again. (non-sequiter.)

Here’s where you come in. Also, coming into focus is the can containing the aforementioned worms.

What are the 200 MOST essential songs a child of the 20′teens needs to know? You, my dear blogger friends, are the most knowledgeable and physically attractive group of people I know.

For the record, I’m not looking for Cole Porter or Oscar Hammerstein. (They are more than worthy, but, let’s keep to the rock and/or roll.)

I’m up for anything from Black Flag to Elvis Costello to Lou Reed to Joni Mitchell. Also, to anyone who actually has songs on the radio.

Inundate me. Be gentle. Essential.

The Space Aliens

Ok. Everyone wants to hear the “Space Aliens” story. Part of the Non-Fiction Fiction series. (Totally Fiction, by the way.)

These are stories I tell my daughters on the way school. I have a half-hour, and I don’t have an editor, so I don’t know where this is going.

So… I’m on top of Mount Everest. And, I’m hunting Grizzly Bears. With an axe. Because that’s what you do on Mount Everest. You hunt. With an axe. I guess. (Work with me. I’m making it up as I go.)

Suddenly, out of the sky a space craft appears.

Me: Must be aliens. I hope they don’t abduct me.

Bam! I am abducted.

They want to know what what we eat.

Seriously? Not our history? Not our accomplishments? Not out climate?…. Really? Food?

Me: Pizza.

They order Dominoes. Because, their cell phones are much better than Verizon. From space!

30 minutes or less? 19 minutes!

So, I head out in a space suit to get the pizza, but I have trouble with the whole life-support system. You know, oxygen and carbon dioxide. Stuff like that.

I tip the guy 10 percent. (Am I too cheap? You know, outer space. Shoulda been 20)

I am totally making this up on the fly. On the way to school. And I bang my head on the side of the capsule.

Then I realize… No one fed the Grizzly Bear…

No one fed the bear!!

Crap! He’s hungry!


Did I tell you about the time I wrestled a grizzly bear?…

Ok… so the bear was hungry….. And, then…

Sorry girls. Drop off time.

(I know, I’m a bad Daddy.)