Monday, January 30, 2017

Protest Protest

A little over a week ago, Diana and I took a bus to Washington D.C. to take part in the largest single day protest in our nation’s history. The bus ride itself is worthy of its own blog. Look for “This is what democracy smells like” coming soon to Blogspot.

We didn’t bring Elijah and Luca because we were just ever so slightly concerned about their safety. Mostly because this current administration has yet to prove itself to be measured in their response to literally anything. Plus, I knew they would last exactly 45 steps in the march before turning into 16 month olds, raising their little hands in the air shouting, “Uppie!”

Last weekend, our nation received an utterly baffling Presidential Muslim travel ban and friends of ours protested at O’Hare. I sat the boys down and tried to explain what our friend Hassan was doing, stopping to give a civics lesson about the now trampled Constitution and our duty as citizens and what mommy and I believe in. Eli nodded solemnly and said, “Dad, did you see the Bad Lip Reading video with Hilary Clinton?”

On Sunday morning, Diana became the eye of social media mom anger. We could have fried an egg on her phone. But we would never eat it because phones are dis-gus-ting.

Luca and I were on our way out of the house to run an errand when Diana said, “Be sure to be home by 1:30. We’re going to go march in Morton Grove.” Luca and I backed slowly out of the house.

We came home later to observe the aftermath of Diana delivering the same plan to Eli. He was frantically trying to hatch a way to get out of it. “I’m sick! No! Luca is too young. No! I have plans. Wait, I have to go dig a hole in the yard and bury myself in it.”

Around this time, my pal Patrick texted me his son was also currently holding a march not to attend the march.

I sat Eli down and said, “Look at your mother. See that look in her eye? None of us is getting out of this march. I suggest you put on some warm clothes and deal.” He flopped down on our bed and considered throwing a fit. But then saw the look in his mother’s eye.

After much bitching and moaning and a bribe of chips to eat in the car, we arrived at the Muslim center. It was already too crowded for us to hear any of the speeches, but we didn’t have to wait long until the scheduled “walk.” The organizers were careful not to call it a “march.”

Shortly after it began, Eli’s frigid demeanor about the whole thing softened. He enjoyed the comradery and loved the chanting. He especially liked it when I dad-ly messed the chants up. “Build bridges, not walls” turned to “Build bridges plus narwhals.” Patrick’s son also added his own chant, “Forgetaboutit!” which felt perfect.

Luca went nuts when he saw actual news cameras there to record our march. He couldn’t believe our protest would be on the actual TV. We spent a good portion of the evening checking the local broadcasts for our faces. But the local feed was a “Two and a Half Men” rerun.

I told him that “Two and a Half Men” was a special kind of protest.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Mission

Hey gang! I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a little while. I decided to leave America’s Finest News source to take a job back in advertising. For a whole host of reasons that include me just being good at it. When I told Luca, he burst into tears. When I told Elijah, he asked how much I would make.

I promise to post more often than the zero I’ve done over the last couple weeks. But I do have an excuse for last week’s lack of writing: The family and I went to Mexico! I didn’t have a computer, but I did manage to write down a couple notes for potential blog posts that include “boat” and “food.” Look out for those soon.

Our trip to Zuihaten…Zoojatanhe….Mexico overlapped with Diana’s birthday. In the days leading up to our trip, I asked her what she wanted. The response was, “Nothing. Just this trip.” I know better than to fall for a trap like that.

So, I hatched a plan with the boys.

We would select smallish gifts from Diana’s favorite knickknack store and I would smuggle said gifts in my backpack and we would surprise her with them at a dinner on our last night. The boys were totally down for it.

But in the days leading up to the trip, Luca became obsessed with the plan. What are the exact details? What are we going to do every step of the way? What are the contingencies? Do we have cyanide pills in case we’re caught?

I sat him down (it’s important to note Eli could care less about the plan) and outlined the whole thing. We would hide the gifts in our pockets at the hotel. Then walk to a cab. Enter a cab. Ride in the cab to the restaurant. Exit the cab. Walk 12 feet to the restaurant.  You get the idea. Luca wanted deets.

Occasionally, while we were lounging at the pool, Luca would loudly announce, “Dad! Can we go over the plan?” Thankfully, Diana had perfected the art of ignoring all poolside cries from her children that don’t include “Help. I am drowning.”

On the night of the mission, the boys crammed their presents into their pockets and Eli got the idea to throw Diana off his trail by loudly announcing, “Mom! I am going to bring an Uno deck to dinner. That’s why I have a box shape in my shorts.” Perfect.

We arrived at dinner and ordered drinks, which was the big signal. I announced that I had to go pee and asked the boys to join me. They both outrageously winked and theatrically said, “Yes father.”

We caught up with our waiter and explained that we would like her to place three gifts on a plate and bring them to the lady at our table. Our waiter looked at us with complete and utter confusion. You want me to what? When? Are these gifts for me?

The boys and I backed away from the waiter, confident that our plan was completely busted. Luckily, Eli did actually bring that Uno deck.

But suddenly the waiter arrived with the gifts on a nicely decorated plate. Diana was surprised and touched and we all told her the things we loved about her. Number one on our list was her ability to fall for poorly planned surprises.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dead Soon

Elijah and Luca are not very good fighters. When I was young, my older Brother Dave used to mop the floor with me. And Steve and I used to have epic, furious wrestling matches and occasional fist fights.

Eli and Luca are just so sweet, they aren’t built for true brother on brother action. Mostly, they’ll engage in emotional warfare. Lots of “I hate you” and pitting Diana and I against the enemy with a well placed tattle or a frame job.

And very rarely, they’ll actually strike each other with actual physical violence. But it mostly means the occasional pinch or steamroller.

Last Saturday, Eli walloped Luca for real and there tears and sent to your room punishment.

As I was stewing, I remembered an old boss of mine used to say her mom would remind her all she had in life was family in similar situations. So I decided to give the same wisdom to Eli. With a little embellishment so it wouldn’t be total plagiarism.

I peeked into his room and approached the slumped over boy in his bed.

“You know, Eli. Luca is the only person in the world you can count on in this life. Mommy and I aren’t going to live forever. I mean, we’ll be dead at some point. So Luca is all you’ll have.”

I intended the message to be “Love you brother.” But what Eli heard was “Your mommy is going to die soon. Probably today.”

Understandably, Eli burst into tears.

I spent the rest of the day trying to explain that it would be a very long time before mommy or I died (begins to dig hole).  I mean, you can never tell for certain when someone will die (digs larger hole). Heck, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow (leaps into hole and covers self with dirt).

I finally just took him to Chipotle, the solution to all of life’s big problems.

The good news is Eli was a lot nicer to Luca the rest of the weekend.