Dad of All Trades, Master of None

Domesticated, Not Demasculinized

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As of today, I am the father of a school-aged child

Posted by doatmon on August 20, 2009

I’m the father of a school-age child.

That’s right, Kristen and others who repeatedly remark on my self-centeredness.  French Fry went to Kindergarten today.  And yet it’s still all about me.

I have a child in school.  I’m not going to lie to cyberspace.  Wasn’t handling it well.

Okay, okay, okay…let me start by saying that she’s fine.  Got it? No problems with her.  She is even more talkative than her father.  As beautiful as her mother.  And as intelligent as the two of us put together.  She was in an all-day preschool last year where she was a “peer model” for children who were developing at a slower rate.  She’s fine.

This is my blog and I’m going to talk about me.

This may shock you, but I’m not exactly an emotional rock.  I know, hard to believe.  But it’s true.  I bawled uncontrollably when Sidney was born.  Most sports movies leave me in a state of allergic agitation somewhere toward the end.  I am also a sucker for milestones.  And cameras.

“Look honey, she just spit out her first spoonful of peas. [snap]”

“Oooh, oooh, I think she just laughed for the first time. [snap]”

“Oops.  Nope.  Not a laugh.  But she just snorkeled for the first time. [snap]”

So if I react that way to those major/minor milestones, you can only imagine that the batteries literally died in the middle of the photo session this morning.

But my issues started well before this morning.  On the first day of daycare, back when I was employed, I remember strapping the little peanut into her car seat and heading the five miles to Enchanted Care.  Approximately 45 minutes later, I had stopped twice to re-adjust her fragile skull to ensure it was safe and twice to unzip her jacket further to ensure she continued to inhale and exhale appropriately.

I cried all the way downtown.

Then there was her acceptance into the preschool.  It was all-day for God’s sake.  Coke got to take her to school every day, but it was my privilege to pick her up every day at 3:30.  I all too often gave in to her wishes of McDonald’s nuggets and sweet teas because that quick drive-thru stop allowed me to pry details of her day while she was sugar-drunk and stuffed.

She was interviewed on Channel 10.  Her name was up in lights.  At the ripe age of four.  To this day, I’ve been only on TV twice.  Once was completely forgetting King and Jackson when interviewed on the names of the “Fab Five” by an Ann Arbor station at the Michigan-OSU game in Lexington.  The other, well, it was closed-circuit television.  And I was giving out handicapping advice.  Not something you want to share with your children.  I was so proud of the little devil I bugged one of my many media friends multiple times a day before she caved and sent me a CD of French Fry’s debut.  Thank you again, Lindsay.

Did you know the child actually had a graduation for pre-school?  There were songs, emotional videos and slideshows.  Processionals and recessionals.  And she tied Coke for most bunches of flowers purchased by me in the year 2009.  Damn that Columbus School for Girls and their budget cutbacks.  There was so much dust in that auditorium, my eyes wouldn’t stop watering.

And that brings us to this week.  I was somewhat prepared for today.  I had gone over it in my mind for weeks.  I had properly ignored her need for a first-day of school outfit.  I had sufficiently put off thinking about the logistics of today.  I had been able to successfully repress any memory of my mom’s opining on what I could expect.  See?  I was dealing well.

This week, I was ambushed by “Meet the Teacher” day.  I was not prepared.  The sickeningly sanitized smell of the school, the prowling PTO Nazis, the loudly, color-emblazoned bulletin boards accosting the eyes, I was overwhelmed.  Yes, she was fine, but remember, this is about me.

Coke, Chicken Nugget and French Fry strolled down the “Green” hallway to her classroom while I stalled, shuffled and stifled a sob.  Okay, there were a few sideways glances at the potential MILPs, I’m man enough to admit it.  But mostly, I was miserable.  Her teacher is brand new.  The school is relatively new.  Can they possibly comprehend the precious person now under their care?  Her old teachers did.  Maybe I could pay them to come be Assistants in this classroom.  I know, I know…stupid.  I’m WAY too broke to afford that.

Then there were the kids.  Some looked ornery.  Some looked like straight out of “Mean Girls 2020” casting.  One might have been an undercover cop.  I think I saw a beard.  Regardless, all were suspicious.  Judging the teacher, the staff, the kids and still trying to check-out the scrub-clad redhead who looked to have a little one about Chicken Nugget’s age.  If we hadn’t left, hyperventilation was imminent.

Last night, each well-wisher dialing our phone number almost put me over the edge.  I finally had to turn off the ringer in the den and fire up the computer.  I couldn’t deal.  This morning, I begrudgingly got up with Chicken Nugget. She helped make sister pancakes.  Just like my dad did for me.  We were dressed, showered and ready 45 minutes before it was time to walk over.  So we waited.  And we waited.  And I sweat.  And I tapped my foot.  And I bounced my knee.  And I checked Facebook.  And I drank coffee.  And I checked Facebook.

Then something happened I wasn’t even remotely prepared for.  I was at peace.  We walked her over as a family and joked and laughed and beamed at our “little” girl.  Her confidence, willingness and readiness put even a neurotic father on an even-keel.  She disappeared into the school, pink backpack covering everything but her shoes.  I waved goodbye to the backpack, gave Coke a knowing hug and was shocked to realize it was more for her than me.

Yes, this was another milestone.  One which was as visceral and painful as the others.  However, these milestones, they’re not my milestones.  They’re not about me.  They’re her milestones.  And I’m privileged to witness them.  And to share them.

I’m the father of a school-aged child.  I couldn’t be more proud.


Posted in Being a Daddy, Being a Husband | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Guilt…not just for Catholics and Mothers anymore

Posted by doatmon on August 19, 2009

I always thought that the Catholic Church and mothers had a monopoly on guilt.  Rumor has it you can add Jewish women to that last, but seeing as my only real exposure to Jewish culture is that my last name means “Chicken Fat” in Yiddish, I am not going to pass judgment.

My own mother, god bless her, is the queen of guilt: both in terms of lavishing guilt trips and absorbing her own, often ludicrous, guilt.  I have seen bits of this mother-guilt metamorphosis in Coke, but she has managed to keep in under control for the most part.  For now.

What I wasn’t prepared for was inheriting my own complex.  And it has been exacerbated ten-fold since staying home with the kids.  Being a pseudo-geek, I really enjoy a web show called “The Guild.”  It’s freaking hilarious.  And one of my favorite characters is this game-addicted mother who has an entire brood of snotting, pooping, crying children whom she uses doggie gates to pen in the kitchen so she can get her fix of dragons, priests and warlocks.  There are episodes where she is breastfeeding while playing, forgets to feed the kids and others which you can only imagine.

I bring this up because it is hitting a little too close to home these days.

No, I really don’t play Warcraft during the day while I’m watching the two fast foodlings.  But I do check Facebook.  And play Mafia Wars.  And write blogs.  And write magazine pieces I never send anywhere.  And read blogs.  And check Facebook.  You get the picture.  Most of the time this occurs in three-minute increments during which the most trouble they can get into is removing their clothes and dancing on the bed while singing Black Eyed Peas.  But I do that with them at other times so that’s not too bad.

I’ll wait while you stop throwing up.  Okay.  There.

But there are other times where I get lost in a particular well-written blog or I spend just a BIT too long trying to decipher a blurry picture that may or may not be from the Erin Andrews hotel video.  I mean, they’re happy.  They’re watching some stupid cartoon animal doing something ludicrous.  Or they’re playing with one of their infinite plastic abominations.  And they’re happy.  But should I be with them every minute? Should I be playing with them non-stop?  Should I be hovering over them even when they’re sleeping just to ensure they don’t choke on a previously unseen dust-bunny?

What about when bed/pole dancing turns into taking out previously utilized toddler toilets and taking turns using it before dragging it all over the house leaving a trail of tears urine? Or when you give them breakfast and are proud when they deliver mostly empty bowls of blueberries and cheerios.  Only to find out that the 90-pound barn mutt now has explosive diarrhea from an anti-oxidant overload?

Not that any of this has happened to me.  I’m just sayin’.

Crap like that can further enhance already-existing guilt.

I can’t possibly watch them every minute can I?  I mean, independent play is good for development right?  I am convinced that’s why my two are so smart.  Right?

Aw, damnit, hold that thought.  They found where I hit the plastic potty.

Posted in Being a Daddy, Being a Writer | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

I’m back…and with minimal Brett Favre references

Posted by doatmon on August 18, 2009

I’m back.

But, no, I will not use the obligatory Brett Favre reference.  I’m above that.

I’m just back.

And suffering from monumental writer’s block.

No, that’s not true.  Not writer’s block as much as writer’s motivation block.  I’m sure someone with a PsyD could explain this to me, but I have a real difficult time getting back into something after taking a little break from it.

I never have a hard time starting something.  And even keeping it going isn’t an issue.  Once I’m in a routine, I can drone on mindlessly with the best of them.  But throw a little break in there, whether it’s vacation or an illness or the release of a new content patch in a video game…and I immediately lose all motivation to go back to my routine.  This is what happens with me when I start a workout regimen, a new “diet” and what inevitably happens when I start a new writing project.

And that brings us to this moment.  I cannot remain focused, put together a coherent sentence without getting distracted or even “SQUIRREL!” make clichéd jokes pertaining to recent animated features.  Okay, maybe I can still do the last one.  So maybe that gives me hope for the previous two.

Let’s give it the old college try.

We returned from North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Sunday after almost 10 days away.  I have been going down there since my hairline was intact and Reagan was in office and it oddly never loses its power over me.  I’m not going to try to do it justice at this time, but trust me.  It is a mesmerizing, inspiring and captivating locale.

A few thoughts from the trip:

  • Coke and I renewed our vows on a dock at sunset with (almost) every immediate family member and it just may have meant more to me than our first wedding with hundreds of guests.  And I KNOW the vows did.  How could they not?
  • Minivans are God’s gift to parents.  Really.  I can no longer pretend to have testosterone-induced issues with this boxy yet utilitarian masterpiece of vehicular engineering.  Remove the backseat, load with 33 tons of beach toys, processed food and sunscreen, insert multiple Madeline DVDs and go.  Instant success.  Now, if I could just figure out how to make the soundproof driver’s bubble thing a reality …
  • I had my first conversation with non-family and friends about my decision to stay home with the kids for the time-being.  My brother’s wife and parents came down with us.   It was wonderful getting to know them and to see them enjoying my kids and undoubtedly projecting images of their own grandchildren.  But across the dinner table, I found myself stammering to explain my decision and qualifying it over and over again.  Perhaps it was their initial reaction.  They skipped right over the parenting and the writing and focused immediately on the real estate.  And for me, that’s third on the agenda right now.  I’m chalking it up to generational.  But I’m a little disappointed in myself.  What’s new?  I take self-flagellation to Opus-Dei levels.
  • Sierra Nevada’s Summerfest is the Nectar of the Gods.
  • It is absolutely incredible how much children grow up over a vacation.  I think both Chicken Nugget and French Fry aged five years while we were gone.  I can only imagine it’s the additional time with parents and grandparents and it helped reinforce my confidence in our decision to have one of us home with them full-time now.
  • I am too fat for MANY types of kayaks.  I am not ready to tell this story yet.  But I assure you, it’s a good one.  It involves me, a lost fishing rod, two-mile walk through a large body of water and a chest-to-crab encounter I wish not to relive.
  • I still can’t tan.  Especially the parts of my head that haven’t seen the sun since birth.
  • I took the week off from writing in the theory that it is sort of my job at the moment and that is what I used to do when previously employed.  And yet, unlike with previous employment, it was hard to NOT write.  And now I CAN’T write (well).  Oh, Alanis Morrisette, explain the irony!
  • Hearing your brother’s Mother-In-Law tell your father that he better do SOMETHING with his peanut is priceless.
  • Seeing a fawn 10 feet away and watching a mother otter swim in a salt pond with her baby otter right next to her makes it difficult to explain to your wife why we SHOULDN’T have another item off the extra value menu.

In an homage to Madeline and her inane DVDs, for the moment, “That’s all there is, and there isn’t any more.”

Perhaps we should send a copy of one of those DVDs to Mr. Favre.

You didn’t REALLY think I was above that, did you?

Posted in Being a Daddy, Being a Husband, Being a Writer | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

A few random thoughts

Posted by doatmon on August 6, 2009

What? You expected all the posts to be funny and well thought-out?  Please.  Lower your expectations.  This ain’t Mssinglemama here.  It’s not even Postcards from Yo Mama.  And that’s saying something.

Been an interesting couple days with Coke partying working up in Put-In-Bay.  It’s weird to have the girls by myself over night and weird to have her come back.  I was prepared for the issues with the kids following this decision, but I wasn’t prepared for issues with ADULTS.  It’s hard being with the kids almost 24/7 and still relating on an adult level.  No offense to my beautiful daughters, but I expected to REALLY need some “daddy time,” (no, not a euphamism).  Instead, I find myself almost running back to them after Coke gets home.  I’ll write more about this another time, but it’s odd and out-of-the-blue for me.

I locked myself and the kids out of the house today.  Great dad, eh?

French Fry added another slang term into the ever-growing dictionary.  She has deemed a certain often loud, often offensive to the olafactories, get ready, snorkling.  Sadly, it’s almost always preceded by “Daddy snorkled.”  Clearly, that’s never the case and the child has a wild imagination.  Do they still do shock therapy?

In case you haven’t read the story, a woman beat a fawn to death with a shovel in her front yard.  And the public outcry is being derided by the NAACP as racism against the woman.  This world is a truly frightening place.

I am feeling an indescribable urge to start fishing.  A lot.

I am feeling an indescribable urge to get in the freaking car and head to the beach.  Thankfully, I am.  Tomorrow.  And you’re not.

It’s weird being in a Starbucks when it’s dark out.  Think about it.

People are making a big deal out of the people-watching at the Ohio State Fair.  It’s true.  But, people, go to the zoo.  It’s like a fair that never ends.

Funnel cakes are the work of Satan or a benevolent God.  Discuss until I get back next week.

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My apologies to Michael Keaton…Or, my first professional event without a profession

Posted by doatmon on August 3, 2009

Good lord, I procrastinate even better when I DON’T work than I did when I DID work.  We are heading to my favorite place on the planet, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, in a matter of days and I can barely function.  Between reading fishing message boards, checking menus of restaurants I’ve already been to 20 times and trying to find houses within a three-hour drive of the OBX in the off-chance someone knocks on my door offering a job down there, I barely have time to write run-on sentences like this one.

But, my one job at the moment is to write in this blog (oh and raise two intelligent, strong-willed daughters and convince them that pre-marital sex only happens in commercials and Daddy’s special magazines).  I suppose I should post an entry.

Friday was an odd night for me.  It was my first professional event as a non-professional.  The funny thing is that it never even struck me until I went to get dressed.  Let me back up.

An agricultural-advocacy organization here in Ohio foolishly sponsored me to be a part of their inaugural leadership class.  Something tells me I got yanked right out of that brochure.  “We make stay-at-home dads…”

Their second class of suckers leaders started their education last week and as part of the first session, they set-up a meet and greet for former participants.  I agreed to go to impart my witty banter upon some more entirely unimpressed individuals.  I’m gracious like that.

But as I stood in my closet reaching for the net shorts and t-shirts that have become my wardrobe these past few weeks, I realized I might actually have to plug in an iron.  Oh, the horror.

It was at that moment, long-buried memories of networking, professional chit-chats and Gin and Tonics watered down with ice melted by boredom.  I hadn’t been to one of these in at least, well, two weeks.  Thankfully, one thing upon which I can always rely is the laid-back nature of agricultural events.  I pulled on some jeans and a Dry-Fit polo shirt (the lazy-man’s Tuxedo) and hopped in the car.

On the way over, I tried to reconcile my recent decision.  It is best for my mental state, for our daughters and our family.  I’m not taking myself off the grid entirely.   I am writing.  Getting my real estate license.  And I USED to have a role in this world of agricultural advocacy.  I can’t have become completely irrelevant in a fortnight, could I?  Certainly not while still being able to summon words like fortnight.

Alas, I arrived and my pep-talk dissipated as quickly as oxygen at a lobbyist conference.  I was talking to several very nice people involved in aquaculture and goat-processing respectively.  They handed me business cards.  I fished in my pocket and handed them a used wet-wipe.  Wait, must be the other pocket.  Empty Goldfish wrapper.  DAMNIT.  I don’t have a card any more.  And I certainly wasn’t going to give them my “Break for MILP emergencies” cards.  Please.

So now mortified, card-less and pissed the goldfish wrapper was EMPTY, I sat down to listen to the “program.”  First up was introduction of invited guests.  Oh, crap.  This was worse than the lack of business cards for two individuals.  This was an acknowledgement before the entire assembled group that I no longer had a title.  Or a job.  Or really a reason to be there.  It was a Cash Bar, after all.

I’d like to say that my fears were not justified, but the only thing worse than introducing me as a free-loading “kept husband” is the inevitable dubbing of Brock as “Mr. Mom.”  The sad thing is, I really don’t even mind the moniker.  But can’t we do better than a Michael Keaton movie that debuted on Beta?  I’m so irrelevant I don’t even deserve a reference from the 21st century.

Oh well, I suppose it could be worse.

I stood, doffed my implied cap and sat back down to cheers and jeers.

“That poor schmuck.”

“Well, somebody has to do it.  You poor schmuck.”

“The poor wife of that poor schmuck.”

Okay, maybe I made those up.  But I swear, I heard…

“Just like Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Daddy Day Camp.”

My apologies to Michael Keaton.  It turns out, it can be worse.

Posted in Being a Daddy | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Pass the Salt

Posted by doatmon on July 30, 2009

So, I have this problem.

No, not that one.  That’s gross.

Different problem.  But an important one.  It involves fast food.  Sort of.

Let’s say I choose to go to Wendy’s.  I am very happy with a Coke, French fries and chicken nuggets.  I mean, who wouldn’t be?  They go together like, well, Coke, French fries and chicken nuggets.  But always hanging out there is the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger.

While a Coke, French Fries and chicken nuggets are a wonderful and satisfying meal that would make anyone happy, there are many that would argue the former just aren’t a complete meal without the latter.

To someone who cares about his, um, food as much as I do and thinks about his food with such obsessive intensity, there’s more to it though than simply whether I would LIKE a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger.  Who wouldn’t?  And it doesn’t have anything to do with simply adding another food item.  Sure, two may fit on one tray with the Coke while a triumvirate of tasty morsels might require a second tray.  And cost?  Sure, that’s a factor in this economy.  But who really cares about such logistics when putting together something as important and lasting as a meal?

No, to me, it’s more about what will happen with the existing meal as a whole and to each individual part of the meal.  The two fried foods pair so nicely and have grown together, almost as an unbreakable unit, in my mind.  French Fries and Chicken Nuggets.  Perfect combination.  What would throwing in a meaty addition do to their chemistry?

And what about the Coke?  Right now it’s just big enough to wash down and take care of the salty fried foods.  Would there be enough left to satisfy the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger as well?

And yet, despite that, I can’t help but feel like every time I take a long, refreshing sip of that Coke, it’s telling me it can handle more.  It’s telling me that carbonated creations such as itself are designed to handle more than simply two servings of deep-fried goodness.  And who am I to upset something as venerable and enjoyable as Coke?  I mean, for God’s sake, where would this meal be without the Coke?  I would quite simply be parched and unable to eat anything.

But what rights do I have in putting together this meal?  I know that there are many others that think the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger would fit perfectly.  I know what the Coke thinks.  But I also know my own fears of upsetting the balance of this gastronomic delight.  I know the fears others have when gazing upon my meal.  Is there room for another?  Why is this man allowing a Coke to even have a say for God’s sake?  How can this man AFFORD another?

But, I know damn well it’s none of their business.  You can’t look across the restaurant at someone else’s meal and know how it tastes to them.  Meals are so individualized.  For God’s sake, some people enjoy two drinks at the same time.  I was always intrigued at how THAT works.  But who am I to judge?

I just so desperately want the perfect meal, in perfect harmony.  And I want to be able to enjoy this meal for YEARS to come without even thinking the words fear or regret…angst or overwhelmed…destitute or disconnected.

Is it too late to become a Vegan?

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A turning point in my daughters’ lives and an ode to Cousin Eddie

Posted by doatmon on July 28, 2009

I have a perfectly good excuse for this, the most egregious of blogging abominations: the re-post.

I am re-posting a blog I wrote earlier this year at a former location as I am currently in the throes of a shower that ‘didn’t take’ following a grueling 25-minute inglorious return to the pick-up basketball courts of Columbus.  My hands are shakign (sic) as I’m typing this and I think I might need one of them to reach for the defibrillator … so let me make this brief.

French Fry smacked my “buddha” today and exalted, “Your belly jiggles more than your butt-butt.” Yeah, time to hit the court.  Or another plate of chili-cheese fries and give up on life.  I chose the former. First.

Okay…I’m seeing stars and feeling as if I just sucked the helium out of five Dora the Explorer balloons.  Allegedly.  So enough of the set-up.  I wrote this after French Fry and Chicken Nugget experienced a buffet for the first time earlier this year.


I can barely type this through my tears of joy.

Sunday was an enormous day in my daughters’ lives.  No, not their first Pro Bowl.  They have been around for previous incarnations of that orgy of pointless exhibitions and, well, orgies.  No, it was something infinitely more important.

It was their first trip to a Sunday buffet.

Before we go any further, let’s ensure we’re singing from the same hymnal here.  That’s buffet.  Pronounced “Boo-fey” … Not “Buh-fey” or worse yet, “Buff-ette.”  Something as bacchanalian as a Sunday buffet deserves the emphasis on the FIRST syllable.

Back to the turning point in my girls’ lives.  Sunday we were taking the girls to the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Hockey Fest.  But we wanted to do something fun for lunch.  And I was feeling flush with cash after fleecing some fine, upstanding gentlemen from a whopping $40 the night before.  I was wracking my brain to come up with a dining experience that didn’t involve a clown or excessive amounts of processed cheddar and oyster crackers.

As a plane flew overheard, it hit me.  Not the plane, the perfect lunch destination.  One of the highlights of my childhood was cramming in the family’s Ford Taurus/Tempo/LTD and heading to the place where culinary and kitsch meet in a chorus of consumption: the 94th Aero Squadron.

Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar, this was a chain of restaurants that were around almost every airport in the United States at one time.  They are built in a WWI motif from the “Checkpoint Charlie” gate in the parking lot to the sandbags lining the walls of the entry-way.  It is the ultimate theme restaurant.  Most of these glorious establishments have long-since closed.  But the one in Columbus goes on and on.  For one reason and one reason only: the Sunday buffet.

All of this reminiscing only served to strengthen my convictions.  I turned onto Hamilton Rd. and drowned out the ear-splitting protests of my wife and headed for this Sunday tradition.

It was exactly as I remembered it.  It seemingly contained miles and miles of moderately warm food, some of it prepared to order by completely uninterested college students still shaking off the cobwebs of the Mad-Dog and White Castle binge from the night before.  It was beautiful.  And then there was the 80 ft. long table of the finest pastries Sam’s Club has to offer.  Pure bliss.

And my girls dove right in with reckless abandon.  They each of course had their favorites.  Chicken Nugget ate two tons of “Belgian” waffle with whipped cream and oreo pieces. French Fry was fond of the boxed mashed potatoes and the sodium-saturated ham.  But what brought me endless joy was watching them run around, touching everything with the hands that had been playing in mud puddles only minutes before and piling their plates with items they won’t eat until they can legally drive.

Of course, bringing me down from this euphoric state of mind was my lovely wife.  Twelve years we have been together.  We will have been married ten years in November.  And buffets just aren’t her thing.  She would go up, wander amongst the aisles of food, lift the cover off of some food and I would watch her eyes roll back into her head as she slammed the lid back down in disgust.  She would wander over to the vegetable tray, remember she hates vegetables and stand there, stunned for minutes at a time.  Eventually, she would head back to the breakfast zip code and pluck a bagel, a piece of melon and a few grains of Uncle Ben’s finest.  She would then begin the dangerous journey back to the table playing “Frogger” with rotund individuals planning the items for their last meal until mid-week all while trying to avoid the mass of humanity making the pilgrimage from the thawed crab legs to the vat of melted butter-substance.

I truly felt bad for her.

But it was all worthwhile when my four-year-old leaned over, hugged me and said “I love you daddy…and I love buffets.”  I am getting choked up about it just typing these words.

It was a scene expertly captured by the cinematic achievement that was “Vegas Vacation.”  As the socially challenged cousin Eddie takes Clark W. Griswold to his favorite Vegas establishment, he walks up to the man behind the sneeze-guard, points to a colored, gelatinous mass and says these immortal words: “Give me some of the yellow…and don’t get cheap on me.”

Indeed, Cousin Eddie.  Indeed.

Posted in Being a Daddy, From Prior Blogs | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

With all due respect to Mr. T…introducing the “Pity Da Fool”

Posted by doatmon on July 27, 2009

Well, it’s Monday.

As recently as a week ago, Monday meant the start of a hectic and uneventful work-week.  It meant taking French Fry to pre-school, Chicken Nugget to Daycare.  It meant returning phone calls and e-mails.  It meant updating web sites and scouring the weekend’s news for stories I might have missed pertaining to my clients.

This week, it’s Monday.  And that means, well, it means it’s Monday.  Oddly freeing and yet suffocating.

About the only other thing I can say is that Monday also means that the play-yard at one of our local malls is inhabitable again for the first time in three days.  The bullies, teenagers reliving their terrible twos and princesses screaming about their nails getting chipped have mostly all returned to their respective residences.

And of course, that’s where my two rugrats want to go on our first Monday together.  The play-yard.  The most dangerous Petri Dish in Columbus.  Where Jimmy Hoffa, little Timmy and parental sanity are all buried, never to be seen again.

But it also means a few moments of physical activity for my daughters, in air conditioning as mother nature intended.  It means a few minutes to catch-up on podcasts from the weekends.  And the always remote and outside chance of meeting a MILP.  Not MILF.  MILP.  To me, at this stage in my life, the MILP is infinitely more important than the MILF.  You know, MILP.  Mom-I’d-Liketo-Playdate.

Sadly, no MILP’s today.  But plenty of moms.  Plenty of SAHers.  Plenty of opinions as to what the overweight, balding father with one ear-bud might be doing desecrating their diseased play space.  In a relatively short period of time, I feel I have learned to decipher the myriad of looks I receive whether at play-yards, playgrounds or “mommy and me” time at the local library.

There are almost as many stares and glares as there are Wiggles songs that make me want to commit Hara-Kiri.  Just to be clear, that’s a lot.

I plan to enumerate the various looks in future blogs, but I thought I would start with the one most prevalent today: The “Pity Da Fool.”

The “Pity Da Fool” is a mother (I have yet to run into a PDF dad) who is clearly a SAHer and a veteran one at that.  This ain’t her first pediatric rodeo.  She deftly maneuvers strollers through malls, is confident in her ability to sit on a bench at the playground and maintain order amongst the masses and is most likely a member of at least one play-group and one book club.  A regular Bunko night is optional, but routinely present as well.

The “Pity Da Fool” isn’t angered or threatened by the presence of DOATMON, but rather has sorrow and, well, pity, in her immaculately primped and plucked eyes.  There is a palpable sense of the real possibility of The “Pity Da Fool” patting DOATMON on the head and saying, “There, there…everything will be okay.”

Should there be a physical, verbal or tearful confrontation between the kids of a PDF and DOATMON, the PDF will shepherd her children away and explain the virtues of being kind to those “less fortunate.”  Should a Starbucks be spilled, a diaper be defiled or a tumble take place, the PDF is one of the first on the scene to “assist” DOATMON and offer her condolences and her advice.

This is not to say that the PDF is rude or intentionally condescending. Rather, it just never occurred to her that a dad would either be capable or interested in staying at home with the kids.  The “Pity Da Fool” is often easily converted into a friend and could, down the road, potentially become a MILP.

Anyone know any PDFs?

No, geeks, not Adobe PDFs.  I know it’s hard for you nerds to exist in our society.

“There, there…everything will be okay.”

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It’s a Bee’s Life

Posted by doatmon on July 24, 2009

I had an entire blog in my head for today that centered around Michael Jackson, gas prices, staycations, health care reform, professors arrested in their own homes and this weekend’s Jazz and Rib Fest.  Sadly, these grossly under-reported events will have to live on in other forms of media.

Chicken Nugget got stung by a bee.


I feel it’s important to lay blame prior to any sort of constructive dissection of the event.  It was on Coke’s watch, not mine.  She took them to their second-to-last day of Friday playdate/daycare with a family friend.  So it was her fault.

There.  That’s out of the way.

I was starting my kid-free morning the way most SAHers do, I’m sure…checking facebook, twitter, playing Mafia Wars and ogling Natalie Morales and Amy Robach.  Then the phone rang.  It was Coke to fill me in on the catastrophe.  Her voice was riddled with guilt and abject fear.

Apparently between the car and the house, a bee had stealthily slid between Chicken Nugget’s shirt and her porcelain skin.  By the time shoes had been removed and goodbyes said, the poor little one was in tears.

The little bastard (the bee, not Coke or Chicken Nugget) had gotten her twice in its last ditch effort for suicide stinging martyrdom.  And Coke was telling me that it was, get this, “red.” A sure-fire harbinger of impending doom, the color red is feared by parents everywhere.  Red eyes, red skin, red butts, red Kool-Aid…nothing good can come from the color red.

Time to panic, right?

I attempted to allow cooler heads (mine) to prevail and did what any other logical father would do…I went to my bookmarked WebMD page.  I could sense the nerves in Coke’s tone so I tried to suppress years of my mom’s pseudo Munchausen’s indoctrination.  I quickly ruled out the possibility of Ebola.  That’s ridiculous, right?  It took me a little longer to eliminate Bubonic plague.  But that’s only because I was distracted by a pop-up ad for a new nasal strip.

Ah, bee stings.  There we go.

Coke, is she short of breath?”

“No, she’s running around singing along with Paw Pilot on Special Agent Oso.”

“Okay, how about hives?  Is she breaking out in hives?”

“Let me look.  Yes, oh my God, wait, no, that’s just cinnamon roll.  No hives.”

Phew.  Another disaster avoided.  One daughter NOT allergic to bees. “Then I think she’s good,” I exhaled.

Silence. Pause.

“Should I still call the Doctor or go get a vat of Benadryl?”

The good news is that we’re second-time parents with no kids under 2.  We’re veterans.

For God’s sake, a first-time parent would have spent at least another 20 seconds ruling out the Ebola.


What’s on the IPod: Ansley Lister “Need her so bad”

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My response to the guest post

Posted by doatmon on July 23, 2009

It’s a freaking MINIVAN…she can keep it.  It doesn’t even have a hook-up for my IPod.

I mean, well, her blog was so heart-felt and she’s right, it is probably best for the kids if I drive it around.  I think she should drive my “snappy, almost new Jetta.”  I’m that kind of husband and father.

Besides, it’s missing a hubcap. 😉

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