Thursday, May 29, 2014

Casey At The Bat

Last night, I came home to a couple of naked boys and a fresh pile of boards and cement that I hope will soon be a new deck off our dinning room. 

Somehow, my interest in the pile of boards made the boys instantly interested as well.  After some of us put on clothes, we all went outside to get yelled at about not touching things.

After it was clear Elijah would not be able to destroy our deck, he asked if we could practice batting.  This was a clear trick to get me to let him stay up past his bedtime.

I told him he could either practice batting or get a bedtime story.  Not both.  He countered by proposing that if he hit three balls, he would get the bonus of getting a bedtime story.  I set the limit at 15 minutes to hit 3 balls and took his place next to the garage.

He did manage to hit two balls pretty easily, but the third gave him fits.  No matter how hard he tried or how easy I threw, he couldn’t connect.  And time was running out.

I told him he could have 10 more tries before the game was up.

Strike 1, strike 2, strike 3.  Elijah got more and more anxious.  “I’m so nervous, Dada.  I’m so nervous.”

“Don’t sweat it.  Just concentrate on the ball.  I’ll throw it nice and easy.”

Six, seven, eight.  And then there were two.  Strike 9 hit the back fence and Eli really started sweating.

I held the last ball out and said, “Ok.  This is it.  Last ball.  Just relax.  Relax.”

Eli scrunched his face up and crouched into his stance.  He took a couple practice swings and got ready.

And then the most evil thought entered my brain.  “You know, Rick.  You can strike him out so, so easily.  And then you won’t have to tell him a story.  Throw it inside, outside, high, low.  Anywhere but the strike zone.  You know he’ll swing at it.  Strike ten.  You’ll be watching “Louie” before you know it.”

I shook the thought out of my head and reminded myself I was here to help my son learn baseball and not improve my ERA.

I held the ball up and said, “Here it comes.”

And some subconscious part of me.  The competitive jerk part, released the ball way too late and the ball sailed low and left.  Elijah swung at it feebly.

I was already running to him before he started crying.  I scooped him up and said, “Bad throw bad throw!”

I carried him inside and told him a bedtime story about how Elijah Hamann won the World Series of Space Baseball in the year 2050. 

Friday, May 23, 2014


As an employee of arguably the greatest comedy publication in the history of the world, I have an appreciation of yuck yucks. 

Despite the fact that I have zero influence on the actual creation of jokes, Elijah and Luca seem to think I’m part of the actual writing staff.  Responsible for such gems as “Child Bankrupts Make-A-Wish Foundation With Wish For Unlimited Wishes.”

They ask me what jokes I wrote during the day and I have to explain to them that my job isn’t writing jokes, it’s destroying everything the joke writers hold dear by polluting their website with ads for Ritz Crackers and Applebees. 

However, my new career has inspired Eli to start writing his own jokes and pitching them to me.  Naked.

The other night, I was eating dinner and Elijah was standing on our couch, nude.  His genitalia was disturbingly close to my pasta as he said, “Hey dad.  What did the egg say to the chef?”

“I don’t know.  What did the egg say to the chef?  Point your wiener someplace else.”

“You crack me up.’”

Even though the joke was most likely stolen from a popsicle and not very good at all, I laughed uproariously.  Way uproariously. 

I laughed to encourage him to keep writing joke.  To keep telling jokes.  And then get a sitcom deal fifteen years from now. 

Encouraging him to tell jokes was way more important than encouraging him to play baseball, do his homework or really anything else at that moment.

In typical HamannEggs style, my over the op encouragement has resulted in zero jokes since the egg one, but I made my point.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What If

When my brother and I were in 2nd or 3rd grade, our mom was late to pick us up from school.  Looking back, I think she was, at most, 30 minutes late.  But to our 8 year old minds she had abandoned us forever, forcing rebuild our lives at the bike rack.

It’s haunted me ever since.  I have never been late to a meeting.  We arrived an hour early to Elijah’s baseball game last Saturday.  Even now, I’m typing this a full half hour before my first meeting of the day.

I’m honored to have passed this nervous tick along to Luca.  And whooboy does he got it bad.

Every night, around bath time, Luca starts with the questions. 

“What happens if Hannah doesn’t pick me up tomorrow?”

Diana always has to field this with, “Then I’ll come pick you up from the store.”

“What happens if you don’t pick me up?”

“Then Lexa will pick you up?”

“What happens if Lexa doesn’t pick me up?”

This goes on and on until Diana has exhausted every single person we know, imagining stranger and stranger coincidences for he or she not to be able to pick him up.  Car crashes.  Cell phone explosions.  Alien abductions.

It usually ends up with an exasperated Diana saying Luca will have to live at the YMCA for the rest of his life.  It makes my bowls drop whenever she says it.

And this usually calms him down for 2, maybe 3 minutes before he starts up again.

“Mom?  What happens if Hannah doesn’t pick me up tomorrow…”

“Then I’ll come pick you up from the store.”

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


This week in baseball news:  With one full week of practicing batting, Elijah got an unassisted hit.  Which resulted in an immediate trip to the toy store and an immediate rejection of all additional practice.  Because he already knows how to hit now.

In non baseball news, Eli got devoured by a bug.  His back, butt, legs and feet were covered in red welts.  Hundreds of them.  Enough that he convinced Diana to stay home from school.

When I got home later that evening, Diana uttered the worst word in the world: BEDBUGS.  I turned on my heel and walked out of the house, never to return again.  But then I realized I loved my family and agreed to return so long as I got to wear my Reynolds Wrap suit 24 hours a day.

Diana scheduled some eco friendly Bedbug company to do an inspection.  Eco friendly?  How does that work?  Do they make the bugs feel bad?  Do they use emotional abuse?  Feel free to think of me delivering that paragraph with a sport coast and microphone in front of a brick background.

Anyway, the bug guy showed up at Saturday just when we got back from baseball.  I found him spraying stinky liquid all over the house.  I said, “Oh.  You found bedbugs, huh?  I have to move away, now?”

“Oh no.  I didn’t find bedbugs.”

“Then…what are you doing?”  I asked, becoming more and more suspicious of this guy randomly spraying poison in my house.

“Spraying for bedbugs.”

“Uh huh,” I said, reaching for Eli’s baseball bat.

“Your wife said to spray for them anyway.”

“Oh.  That makes sense if you know her.  Does that spray kill anything besides bedbugs?”

He peered into the hose.  “Not really.  Maybe a spider.”

But this stuff that kills bedbugs and not much else apparently kills humans and dogs because the man said we would all be better off if we stayed away for the next three hours.  After I paid him.

Three hours is a very long time when you have two exhausted children and no sunscreen. 

We ended up leaving Grover with the neighbors and I took the boys to The Firehouse bar.  Where I drank two pints of poison.

Friday, May 9, 2014


This story is a bit light on Elijah and Luca, and is really a story about me.  But aren’t all HamannEggs stories really just about me?

I was on airplanes and in airplane parking lots most of the day yesterday.  I didn’t get home until almost midnight and fell into bed with the kind of gusto that drinking three airport Sam Adams provides.

I felt like I had my eyes closed for exactly one second when I shot out of bed in terror.  Something had crashed loudly in our house.  I was immediately convinced we were being robbed. 

I ran out of our room, with the plan of racing headlong into the home thieves.  That way, I’d give Diana and the boys the chance to escape while I got dismembered by the bad guys clad in black stocking caps and striped shirts.  It didn’t occur to me to wake Diana and tell her this plan.  Or the boys.  But I figured the sound of my violent death would be loud enough.

I ran down the hall and into our dining room.  Under my feet I felt rocks and rubble.  Did the thieves steal our hardwood floor?

I turned on the dining room light.  Our floor was covered in plaster.

A ten foot chunk of our ceiling had collapsed and crashed to the floor.  There were plaster chunks and wood and nails and dust covering every inch of the dining room.  I was impressed with the mess, quite frankly.

I was also incredibly thankful this massive chunk of heavy vintage plaster hadn’t fallen on any children or dogs or wives.

Diana stumbled into the room and silently nodded.  She too seemed impressed by the disaster.  I looked at her and said, “Manana.”

And we went to bed.

I woke up early this morning and got to work.  I collected bag after bag of demolition and did my best to sweep up.  I threw everything into a corner and planned to drag it to the garbage cans after a quick shower.

When I dried off, Luca was standing, diaper-clad, in front of the mess.

“What’s this interesting stuff here, Wick?” he asked.

“Look up, homie,” I said.

I saw the gaping hole in our ceiling and began whisper-shouting, “Our roof fell in!  Our roof fell in!  I have to tell Eli!”

I had to physically restrain him from waking up his brother and assured him Eli would surely notice in time.

I then instructed him to get into bed with his mom.  He obeyed and I noticed as he slid under the sheets that his feet were covered in plaster dust. 

I look forward to that tonight.