Friday, March 28, 2014


Last post, I wrote about Elijah’s sleep over at cousin Finn’s house.  But as you know, there are two main characters in this highly fictionalized story.  What did Luca do while Eli was out of the house?

Well, I gave him unlimited options.  “We can do whatever you want.  Name it.  Anything.”

“Can we play Xbox?”

“Come on.  Aim higher.  Do you want to go out to a fancy dinner?  Do you want to go to the movies?  Do you want to egg cousin Finn’s house?”

“I want to play Xbox.”

Sheesh.  I managed to convince him to go out to dinner at The Firehouse.  He was happy because it reminded him of a time in his life when he liked things other than Xbox.  I was happy because The Firehouse has beers on tap. 

Our conversation ran the gambit from what games Luca wanted to play on Xbox to how long he’d be able to play Xbox to where he wanted me to set up the Xbox.

I finally relented and drove Luca home to his beloved Xbox.  Luca asked me to play with him as he had gotten stuck on a particularly difficult board in the game.  For those of you who care, it was defeating Emperor Zurg. 

Working together, we actually beat that old nasty Zurg.  Well, truth be told I defeated Zurg.  Luca spent the whole time shooting me in the back, which he thought was hilarious.

But when Zurg digitally met his maker Luca reacted as though he had won the World Series.  He jumped up and down and screamed at the top of his lungs, waking up the poor newborn who lives upstairs. 

I’ll admit I got kinda caught up in the excitement as well.  I hugged Luca and told him I loved him.

At that very moment, Diana came home from work.  Luca came running up to her and screamed, “Mommy!  I beat Zurg!  I beat Zurg!”

“YOU beat Zuerg?  YOU beat Zurg?  Um…I beat Zurg,” I said a little too aggressively.

Diana merely shook her head and made her way to our wine opener.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Elijah got invited to his very first sleepover.  I don’t count the times he’s slept at grandparents or cousins, because the stakes are low.  If you wet the bed at Grandma Connie’s, you get a cookie.  If you wet the bed at a stranger’s, you gain a lifelong nickname like “Soggy Bottom.”

Granted, this sleepover was at cousin Finn’s, but he would be attending with 7 other 9 year old boys, which is the Super Bowl of sleepovers.

In the hours leading up to the event, I went into coaching mode.  We focused on nighttime diapers.  As you recall, Eli has what is known as “Hamann Bladder Syndrome.”  This means you are in a near constant state of needing to leave your status meeting to go to the bathroom.  Or needing to leave your client call to go to the bathroom.  Or needing to leave writing your blog post to go to the bathroom. 

Be right back.

But Eli still wears a diaper to bed.  Granted, it’s a big boy diaper with the very confident, yet soon to be mortified child Model on the packaging. Knowing 9 year olds can be cruel, I wanted to make sure Eli had a plan.

“I’ll just say, ‘Hey everyone.  Don’t make fun of me, but I wear a diaper.’”

“That’s one way to do it, pal.  However, you may want to think of another plan,” I said.

We agreed the best plan was to slip off to the restroom while the other boys were busy with playing jacks or marbles or whatever 9 year olds do and throw on his diaper.

We packed his bag with extra diapers hidden at the bottom underneath his stuffed moosey and we were set.

We drove across Evanston confident he was going to have a great time and not come away from it scarred for life.

We arrived at cousin Finn’s and Eli jumped from the car carrying his sleeping bag, pillow and diaper bag. 

He immediately fell into a massive mud puddle and got completely covered from head to toe.

I hightailed it out of there as fast as I could.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Every night, without fail, Luca asks the same questions.

“Dad?  The day after today, do I have swim class?”

Since I have no idea what his school schedule is, I say, “I have no idea, sweetheart.”

And without fail, he’ll ask, “Do I float?”

And without fail, I’ll say, “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

He will agitatedly say, “Do I float?  Do I float?  When I swim, do I float?”

And I’ll say, “I have no idea, honey.”

This happens every night.  Every.  Night.  This all comes form Luca’s intense fear of the water.  As regular readers recall, Luca has two states in the water:

1)   Digging his fingernails into whoever is unlucky enough to be holding him in near or in the pool.
2)   Catatonic paralysis while being dragged through the water.

We are trying to shake him out of this.  Mostly because we’re heading on vacation in a few weeks and I don’t want to spend my whole time in Costa Rica being impaled by my son’s fingers.

So last weekend I demanded we all head to the YMCA for some swim fear therapy.  Luca was surprisingly into it.  Maybe because his brain had been fried by 14 straight hours of Xbox. 

We arrived, suited up, ignored the “please take a shower before entering the pool” sign and went to the shallow end.  I jumped in and turned around to wait for my little scaredy cat.

Luca was already in the water, happily splashing.  He had constructed an elaborate raft out of those foam noodle things.  I’m sure the kid had forty of them sticking out from every angle.  He looked like a rambutan fruit (look it up, jerks).

I’m not actually sure any part of his body was touching the water, but I was still happy.  I was free to chase Elijah, splash that weird looking kid and push around the SS Luca. 

So yes, Luca. To answer your question.  You do float.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Roller Derby

When I was young, there were two kinds of kids at the roller rink.  Those who skated, and those who stood awkwardly by the air hockey game.

Luckily, I fell into the former group.  I was semi famous for finding girls who could actually skate backwards during the slow songs.  I had at least three intense hand holding romances per Friday night.

So imagine my enthusiasm when I learned Elijah and Luca had been invited to a roller skating birthday party last weekend.  I imagined doing the limbo and the hokey pokey and doing that move where you skate crouched down low with one leg sticking out.

When we arrived, Eli immediately grabbed a pair of skates and ran to the rink without any need to, say, know how to skate or anything.  I approached the skate giver outer guy and help out two fingers and noticed Luca slowly shaking his head.



“Not even for a minute?”


So Luca and I were thrust into awkward air hockey status.  The roller skating rink was actually a converted basketball gym, so we sat in the corner of the bleachers in what I can only assume was the marching band section.

We watched Eli flail around the three point line, very occasionally getting to his feet.  Thank goodness the kid is limber.  My legs do not go that way.

I began feeling very bored and very uncool in the clarinet section, so I begged Luca to go skating.


I asked him if I could wear skates and he could just walk around the rink with me.


I then asked if he’d allow us both just to walk around the rink.  No skates on either of us.


So Luca and I walked around the rink in our matching sneakers, while I help up a flailing Eli with my other arm.

Much cooler than sitting in the bleachers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dudes Weekend

Last weekend, Diana flew to France to hang out with her two sisters.  Rather than feel guilty about the eventual breakdown of society within our walls, I embraced it.  I declared it “Dudes Weekend.”

“What’s the first rule of Dudes Weekend?” I’d shout?

“There are no rules!”  They’d shout back. 

As we repeated this over and over, Diana backed out of the house with her luggage, looking around as if it was the last time she’d see it undestroyed again.

I sat Elijah and Luca down and explained, “Look, this weekend we can do whatever we want.  Anything.  You name it.”

“Can we watch TV?” Elijah asked.

“Well, yes.  But you do that every day.  Think bigger.”

“Can we watch a movie?”  Elijah asked.

“Well, yes of course.  I don’t think really understand the concept of ‘Dudes Weekend.’  Remember, the first rule of ‘Dudes Weekend?’”

“Can we poop on the computer?” Luca piped up.

“Okay.  Well that is definitely on the other end of the spectrum.  Let’s dial it back a bit.”

We went back and forth for a while and landed on a trip to McDonalds followed by a sleep over with their cousins and permission to watch “Family Guy Star Wars with the bad words” and “Bob’s Burgers.”

They also played enough Xbox to guarantee they’ll go to state school for college and ate not a vegetable.

In the end, giving freedom to people who have everything they could ever want is a wasted effort.

Oh!  I totally forgot.  I quit my big advertising job and took another advertising job.  But this time at America’s Finest News Source, The Onion.  Yes, it is my dream job. 

More on that later.