Monday, July 28, 2014


I arrived home the other night with grand plans for a quiet night of not screaming.  Luca and Elijah had other plans.  Before I got my shoes off I was bombarded.

“Dad.  Dad.  We’re going to play knights and you are going to be the big dumb giant name Rock who fights with a big ax.”

Luca handed me a spatula. 

Eli was busy creating a paper quiver for the little plastic bow and arrow set Grandma Connie gave him.  Luca sharpened the wooden sword we bought him at the Evanston street fair.

I tried to get into character?  Who was Rock?  What was his motivation?  What did he love?  What did he fear?  I decided Rock was deathly afraid of the spaceship our team road around in looking for dragons to kill.  Yes, we flew around in a spaceship.  You’re going to start looking for logic now?

Luca squashed my plot device.  And all other character traits I suggested.  All he wanted Rock to do was smash things.  And even though he was at least twice the size of Luca and Eli, Rock was the only one who seemed to get injured by our dragon foes.

“Rock!  The dragon just killed you.  Fall down.” 

And then Luca would use his magic sword to bring me back to life.  I tried to make things more interesting by making Rock not just dumb, but dangerously stupid.

“Luca.  Rock not understand how pants work.  How Rock keep pants on?”

“Dada.  Stop that.  It’s irritating.  Just fall down and die.”

And die I did.  Over and over.  And occasionally ride in our magic space ship.  Only to be killed by the next dragon.

Friday, July 25, 2014


My brothers and I went through the bittersweet task of going through my mother’s condo last weekend.  We all collected a few mementos from her house.  A TV here, a table there. I grabbed a box of our old G.I. Joe action figures.

I asked for, and got permission from my brothers to take my mom’s horse skull.  We aren’t sure where she acquired it.  Possibly from her previous husband, the science professor.  Or she may have found it by an old desert road.  But this semi-toothless, scary thing followed my mom around for decades.  Usually kept in basements or garages.  There was a family rumor that one of our kittens crawled into its skull to dine on its old rotten brain. 

The thing always represented my mom to me.  A little scary.  A little confusing.  Beautiful in its own way.  It is as close to an heirloom as our family has.  I wanted to have it, to pass down to my boys.  We don’t have land.  We don’t have Tiffany diamonds.  But we have an old horse skull.

I put it into the back of the car and thought of a little speech for the boys.  Not to be scared by it.  Not to be freaked out by it.  But to embrace this little bit of weirdness as an heirloom.  What’s an heirloom?  Oh, it’s a thing you pass down from mom to son and from dad to son.  This skull will be yours some day, boys. 

We drove back to Connie’s house, where the boys were screaming with their four other cousins.  Connie was counting down the minutes to when it was socially acceptable to have a drink.

I took Luca outside and said, “I have something special to show you.” 

I lifted him into the car and pointed to the horse skull.  Luca immediately latched onto the box of old G.I. Joe toys.

“What’s this, Daddy?”

“It’s old army guys.  But this is a horse skull.”

“Ooh.  Army guys.  Can I play with them?”

“Well, let’s talk about this skull for a second.”

Luca ignored the skull and started digging into the box.  He examined every plastic battle ready Cold War hero like it was gold. 

I sat down next to him and said, “This box of army guys is called an heirloom.  An heirloom is a…”

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Luca has the best imagination on the face of the planet.  He does that thing where he puts his eyeball down on the ground, right next to whatever robot or fire truck he’s playing with so he can be extra close to the action.  And he gets so into his imagination that his body literally shakes when something imaginarily blows up.

As such, I love playing with him.  He has such great storytelling instincts.  The only bummer is trying to find an ending to his adventures.

The other night, I put some dinner in the oven and Luca asked me to play Transformers.  Sure, I said.  But I made it clear I had only a few minutes.

“Oh no!  There’s a flood in town?  What do we do?”  Luca and I crawled around on his blue rug, digging a pretend drain for all the pretend water.

I stood up and brushed off my hands.  “Done and done.”

Luca leapt up, “Oh no!  There’s an avalanche!  Rocks are falling on our town now!”

I sat back down and got back to work saving the morons who live in a town that suffers from both floods and rockslides.  I could hear timer ding on the oven.  But I couldn’t abandon these people.

With the help of the Rescue Bots, we held back the disaster.  The townspeople didn’t even say thank you.

“Okay.  Whew.  That was a close one, now off to eat my cooling dinner…”

“Oh no!  An asteroid is flying at the town!  What will we do?”

I looked up wearily.  “Is it the apocalypse?  Maybe The Rescue Bots should spend this opportunity praying to not be Left Behind.”

With the help of a giant laser, we exploded the meteor. 

“Yay!” I said, “Now good night Rescue Bots.”

“Oh no!  A fire!”

Eventually, I left the citizens of Luca’s town to die from whatever it is the vengeful god dropped down on him and went to eat my cold dinner.

It was a disaster.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Just the other day, I was worried I’d never be able to write another blog post about my offspring whizzing on the floor.  But why would I worry about that when I have Luca Hamann in my life?

I got home from work and the boys were kind of being jerks.  Diana had a look on her face that indicated I would be officially taking over as caregiver and she would be leaving to ride the rails to the old west.

Luca ran past me, nude (of course) and was screaming at the top of his lungs.  Diana exasperatedly told him we do, in fact, have live human neighbors and they prefer to have intact eardrums.

He said in a silly voice, “Ok.  Then I’ll just pee on the floor!”

Diana sarcastically said, “Fine.  Go ahead.”

Luca looked like it was Christmas morning.  “Okay!”

“No no no no no no no no no!” I shouted.

Luca, wiener in hand, said, “Mom said it was ok.”

“She was being sarcastic.  Don’t point that thing at me.”

“No.  Mom said it was ok. What’s sarcastic?”

I said, “It means she didn’t really mean what she said.  She does not want you to pee on the floor.”

“But she said I could,” Luca said, cocking his head.

I walked into our room, where Diana was laying, rubbing her temples.  I was about to ask her to please explain to her son that Hamann are not a peeing on the floor kind of family, at least those of north of the Mason Dixon line.

But then I heard the telltale sound of Châteaux De Peepee hitting the floor.

Without a word, I guided him into his room and shut the door for punishment.  His cries of anger and feeling unjustly banished could be heard down the street.

Formula 409 in hand, I cleaned up the mess.  Elijah walked by and said, “How are you?”

“Fantastic,” I said sarcastically.

“Great!” he chirped back.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Block Party

I looked out onto the Maple Avenue block party.  I looked out onto the bouncy house and the face painting and the sidewalk chalk and the Talking Heads song “Once In A Lifetime” popped into my head.

“…you may find yourself in a beautiful house…with a beautiful wife…and you may ask yourself…well, how did I get here?”

Not in a “Boo hoo I used to go to punk shows and get tattoos and wore a fur coat un-ironically” kind of way.  But more in a “Well, how did I get here” kind of way. 

I hesitated on the curb.  Was I able to jump in with both feet?  Was I able to fully embrace my suburban dad-ness?  I liked pretending I was a cool guy who just happened to have two kids.  I wasn’t one of THESE people.  Or was I?

Just then, Luca grabbed my hand and informed me there was a fire truck coming and we’d get to look inside and they’d shoot water at the kids.  And I decided to not just jump in, but cannon ball into dad-ness.

I ran round with the boys.  I talked to Dads.  I talked to Moms.  I double-fisted pink lemonade and painted both Luca’s face and the sidewalk he stood on.  We looked into the fire truck. 

I kissed Elijah’s boo boo and ate boy discarded pizza crusts and half hot dog after half hot dog. 

It was glorious.

And if I was ever worried that my punk rock roots were gone forever, someone pooped in the bouncy house.