Archive for the '“He said what?”' Category


And So A Little Surfer Dude Was Born

When we left California, I pretty much wrote of an experience I had been looking forward to since my first son was born: teaching him to surf.

Yes, you can surf on the east coast and yes, I could still teach them but I was already struggling to find time to go surfing. Add in a two hour or so drive and I was pretty sure I wasn’t getting to the beach for it on a regular basis.

And when it comes to kids, very few want to get up at 5am to make this happen. They’ll happily go to the beach, but try to pry them out of bed that early and they look like this:


And when they get to the beach, more often then not they just want to do their own thing. Which is fine.

Flashforward four years or so to this week when we’re down on the Jersey Shore at this awesome beach house. The kids saw a lot of other kids boogie boarding and wanted their own boards. Luckily for our wallet, the house we rented had boards already.

So this afternoon myself, Alpha Tween and Omega Child now also known as The Professor, headed to the beach with the boards in addition to our usual gear.

Alpha, as is his wont, dove right in and headed out with his board. He tried hard but had a difficult time getting going and even when I gave him a push he missed more waves than he caught.

Omega is another story entirely. He’s not the most confident swimmer. At some point in New York, after doing well in swim lessons back in LA, he was placed in a swim group which used water wings. Ever since then he hasn’t had any confidence no matter how much swimming we do.

This is even more of an issue in the ocean. I have always tried to stress to the boys that while the ocean is wonderful and a lot of fun, it’s also dangerous. You have to be careful about turning your back on it and you have to pay attention.

That cautious reminder has backfired with The Professor as he is now somewhat afraid of the water. He’s afraid of the fish he can’t see, the crabs he can’t see and the waves.

Suffice to say I won’t be showing him Jaws anytime soon.

Flying sharks…..awesome


Yesterday we discovered that the beach we are at has a sandbar about thirty feet or so from the shore. So you can walk, then swim and then stand waist deep. Professor Omega wouldn’t come out at first, then only on my back. He was happy to learn he could stand but said he was definitely going to forget about it and not return to the sandbar again.

My son is a big fan of the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Today he allowed himself to come out in the water with his boogie board (leash firmly attached to his wrist), but not too deep and ONLY if I held onto the board.

We got out to where I was a little deeper than waist deep and I helped him lay on his board (he’s a small guy) and taught him to properly balance himself. Slowly but surely, I held onto the board less and less firmly. Finally he didn’t even notice when I wasn’t holding on.

Then, when he said he was ready, we picked out a wave and when it closed on us I shoved him towards the shore.

It wasn’t a good ride nor a long one. Yet when he turned towards me afterwards his eyes lit up. He was so proud.

Soon, he was running back into the water and jumping over waves with his board. Soon he was kicking himself to catch a wave on his own (mostly – I still gave him a shove most of the time) and pushing himself further and further from shore.

We took a break and almost as soon as he was out of the water he was arguing he had to get back in, shivering lips and all.

When we got back in, I began to tow him out to the sandbar.

Omega: Dad. Dad! DAD!

Me: What?

Omega: I really don’t need you to tow me dad. I can do this myself. I don’t need your help with this.

Well, well, well.

Little Surfer Boy

Little Surfer Boy

And he didn’t (mostly). He even got to the point he could paddle with one or both arms as well as kick with his legs. He caught some waves all on his own.

He even jumped back in to board with me when I grabbed Alpha Tween’s board. He didn’t last long (another first – ab/stomach pain from so much swimming and paddling) but it was great.

We were already planning on bringing my board down here next year (we’re hoping to come back) and now, without a doubt, I know the Professor will be there with me.

The friend who taught me to surf said that for a lot of people, once you get the surfing bug it’s really hard to shake it. It looks like at least one of the kids (eventually both once I get done with the Tween) might have been bit.

Whether that’s the case or not long term, I’m so thankful that I had a chance to fulfill a goal I had given up on seeing happen.

A little surfer dude has been born.

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This might be off topic but the only way I get any more work done today is if I vomit this out.

Hang on kids, it’s going to be bumpy.

So, being that I can learn shit sometimes I decided that I would write my latest article for one of the websites I work for today so I could have Saturday to proof it.



You know, so it looks all professional and junk.

I also figured if I was done Friday I could spend Saturday drumming up some great pictures and graphs because this publisher loves graphs and shit like that.

Now, the dashboard we use to write in has this……….issue.

And by “issue” I mean “occasionally eats all the work you did over the last three hours for no reason.”

We’re told to write in Word and then cut and paste it in, but it’s a huge pain in the ass and always means you have to go in and re-do a host of things because the format drops randomly.

So I say “screw it” and don’t.

And then we have nights like tonight where three hours and about 1,000 words go KABLAMMO and disappear.

Now, I’m pissed and tired and the last thing I want to do is re-write the whole freaking thing because “screw you internet, I want to go to bed.” Plus I have a video to shoot, my mother in law is coming tomorrow night and I have a 40th birthday party to go to.

So I don’t want to be messing with this all night.

Omega Child came into the office while I was sharpening a knife for the inevitable seppuku because my brain can’t deal with this garbage tonight.

Him: What’s going on Daddy, you look upset.

Me: Well, the program we use to write for the site ate all the work I did today because I didn’t back it up.


And then he hugged me.

So I’m still pissed, tired and stressed out.

But I’ll tell you what—sometimes this dad gig is pretty damned awesome.

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I’m Roughy

Omega Child had a great day today.

First day of camp, a lot of new friends and one swim in the pool interrupted by some errant vomit.

Not his, mind you. But it did put the kibosh on his swimming.

Anyway, if you’re a parent you know that after a day of camp your kid is in terrible need of a bath or shower.

Oh lord, do they need a shower.

He’s no tween but man he stinks like one.

So off he goes for his evening shower. After which he came downstairs half dried and in his underwear with his hair in a million different directions.

Which then led to this conversation:

Wife: Honey you’re head is a mess?

Omega: What do you mean?

Wife: Your hair is all crazy.

Omega: Oh no. It’s roughy.

Wife: What?

Omega: It’s roughy. I’m a roughy, I’m tough.

Since then I’ve been wondering what that means. I suppose that’s grist for the blog mill later this week.

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I Want to Know What Love is-OW OW OW NOT THAT

We are back from the lake and our family outing.

As always, the Wife hit the nail on the head with our destination.

Of course, after a day in a lake, we were all wiped out upon our return to the homestead and needed to wash the lake slime off.

I went last (as you can recall, we have two bathrooms but the boys insist on just using OURS) after having walked Dog.

I took my shower, got dressed again and headed into the living room.

Alpha Tween was lying on the floor with Dog, holding Roadkill (you remember Roadkill the tug toy, right?) in front of Dog, who was tranfixed.


Me: Yes?

AT: Watch THIS.

And then Alpha Tween (using Roadkill as a puppet) busted into a stirring rendition of Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is”….but with a twist.


At that point Dog snapped and attacked Roadkill.


I love that kid.

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Oh and in case you need it – who doesn’t, really? – the actual non-Tween rendition.



Last week, I was sitting at the dining room table, minding my own business and tapping away at my laptop when the Alpha Tween walked into the room.


Alpha Tween stopped and turned towards me.

He then raised his arms and FLEXED.

“THIS. IS. SPARTA!” he exclaimed.

And then he left.

I had NO idea how he even knew that phrase. He sure as heck hasn’t seen it though he is aware of the movie 300 because I complain I wrote a better story about Thermopylae than that thing.

I’m not bitter at my immense lack of screenwriting success for which I only have myself to blame, not at all.

He did mention later that someone in class had said it and he knew the line.

He did not say whether his classmate had kicked someone down a well when yelling it.

Bonus points to Alpha Tween for deciding to do it shirtless.

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Nothing Kicks More Ass Than a Seahorse Tattoo

This one will amuse my old friend Paul for reasons which will become evident to him midway through the piece if he reads it.

Omega Child and I were driving back from gymnastics recently when he announced that he had decided what one of his tattoos was going to be.

Yes, he’s going to have tattoos and yes he has thought about what they will be.


A little backstory:

When the Wife and I went to New Orleans back in January of 2011, I finally got around to getting a tattoo, something I had wanted to do for a long time but never got around to.

130701-195630I used to surf when we lived in California and while I had done it very rarely in the last few years we lived there as a family it meant home to me and I wanted to keep that part of my past with me, especially after having moved 3,000 miles away. Some might think there are easier or better ways that don’t involve needles and ink, but I always had wanted a tattoo.

We went to the well known and highly respected Electric Ladyland Tattoo parlor and the artist there designed a chain of sharks in a tribal design.

I’m very happy with it and one day I’ll get some additional work done as well.

Anyway the moment we got back from New Orleans, the kids went nuts over the ink (my wife got some work done as well). They began planning their own work right then and it continues to this day.

I don’t much care if they get tattoos when they hit 18 (in some places, 21) and my thoughts on tats in general will be for another column.


Omega Child announced that he was most definitely going to get a tattoo of a seahorse on his arm.

Hopefully this is the one he gets...

Hopefully this is the one he gets…

I asked, “why a seahorse?”

He replied, “Well because they’re cool!”

Really, how can you argue with that?

Then—and this is for you Paulie—he announced that his first tattoo was going to be a snake wrapping itself around his knee and going down his leg.

I admit that it’s not quite the same as my friend’s desire to have an octopus wrapped around his knee back in New Orleans when he was in college (which they wouldn’t do because of the Hurricanes. Not Katrina, the alcoholic drink).

But it was what I immediately thought of.

So, a seahorse and a snake.

I’m waiting for a theme to develop.

Or his interest to wain.

With this kid though, it’s likely neither thing will happen.

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DOMA arrigato, Mr (and Mrs) Supreme Courto

I will probably lose some of you with the very next sentence, and I’m fine with that.

Today the US Supreme Court, after scaring the crap out of me with their Voter’s Rights ruling on Tuesday, slapped down DOMA and California’s Prop 8 and like many, I couldn’t be happier.


If that upsets you, please come back later. Or read on, but be forewarned, my happiness at the decision isn’t likely to decrease during this column.

On a smaller scale, the decision gave me a moment to consider not just the family and friends who are one step closer to being recognized as full people by the law, but how this sort of thing impacts my kids.

After “Hi Dad” the very first thing Alpha Tween said to me when I got home from one of the more frustrating days I have had in a long time (and day three of no sugar) was “The Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage!”

He said it with an interesting combination of excitement and “well what did you expect” in his voice that brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

On the one hand, he realizes this is monumental for human rights. He gets that this is a big deal, that as a nation we’re that much closer to the ideals this country was founded on so long ago, that people are people and liberty is deserved by all.

The kids don't quite get the disconnect. Human beings = equal rights, right?

The kids don’t quite get the disconnect. Human beings = equal rights, right?

On the other hand, he doesn’t get the fuss about two people of the same sex, who are adults and in love, being married.

That I have had to explain it to him more than once and he still is frustrated by the explanation, can’t wrap his noggin about it……

Excuse me, it’s a bit dusty in here.

There are days when, I’ll be honest, I don’t know if anyone in my house hears what I’m saying. There are times when I wonder if what I tell the boys resonates at all or if they are just politely nodding at the old man while wondering when they can get back to Harry Potter.

And then there are moments where I hear them say something simple, but profound and I realize that all I and the Wife have been striving for – to raise a pair of loving, kind and thoughtful boys who can go into the world and make a difference just by existing – it’s happening.

I’ve battled my own prejudices. I’ve held hate in my heart, even when I didn’t think I did and it was hard to open my eyes to it.

That my kids aren’t battling that makes me so happy I could fly. That I (we, really, I couldn’t do it without my wife) are able to have helped these boys build their character to a place where they truly (to paraphrase the great Doctor King) judge folks on the content of their character, not the color of their skin, their preference of partners, religion or any other surface trait.

This is not to say that the kids are perfect. Good Lord no. Not close. But it’s a sign of progress.

Which brings us back to the ruling. While I’m ecstatic about it, it almost feels like the SCOTUS knocked DOMA down on a technicality in some ways. On top of that, the explanation of the dissenters in the verdict continue the same theme we’ve heard before which seems fear based.

Here’s what I think: the only way gay marriage is hurting my marriage is…um…wait………….I got nothing.

There is no way gay marriage hurts marriage of any other kind. Nobody is going to force your church, synagogue, temple or any other house of worship to marry two men if they don’t want to. Frankly, John Barrowman of Torchwood and Doctor Who said it best – and I’m paraphrasing here because I can’t find the quote –  why would I aspire to be part of something which doesn’t want me?

There’s your geek/nerd moment for the column.

It doesn’t mean people don’t want to be married, just that if they know you disapprove, why do you think they’ll come to your place of worship to get married?

Marriage, by the way, predates your notion of marriage. And I’m talking to everyone, even my atheist and agnostic friends. Marriage has been around since before monotheistic religions. It’s not a Jewish thing, nor a Christian thing, nor a Muslim thing – it’s a people thing.

It’s morphed over the lifetime of our world, it’s morphing now and will again. It’s a way for two consenting adults to join together in love. Isn’t there little enough of that as it is?

Once it was wrong for people of opposite skin color or religion to marry. Then we realized how barbaric it was and that changed. Welcome to marriage alterations part two.

Some of you will say “but Civil Unions are the same!” They aren’t. They don’t hold the same rights and privileges and you only need to Google a bit to find things which should make anyone with a soul reconsider their stance on the subject.

I get some of you will still disagree with this. I’m not going to judge or berate you. I won’t call you names or unfriend you. I hope that one day you’ll come around, as so many who were against desegregation and other Civil Rights causes came around (most of the time).

I’ll be here waiting. So will my family and we’ll keep fighting for those who lack the same rights we are lucky enough to have.

To my many gay friends, congratulations. May your love grow ever deeper each day.

In celebration here’s a link to Same Love by Macklemore. I’d post the video here, but I don’t seem to be able to get an embed code today.


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He’s devious, that Alpha Tween

Have you guys seen the Dikembe Mutumbo commercial for Geico? The one where he wanders from scene to scene deflecting anything airborne?

If not, check out the video below, then proceed with this story.

So this past weekend I’m sitting on the floor playing with Dog, because she demands my attention whenever I need to do work. (Right now, The Wife is home sick and entertaining her so I actually get work done.)

Internet, meet Roadkill. Roadkill already mt the road.

Internet, meet Roadkill. Roadkill already mt the road.

Anyway, I’m sitting on the dining room floor tossing one of Dog’s toys (a squirrel we call roadkill because, well, roadkill) when Alpha Tween comes by and sits down on the floor off to the side, sort of in the flight path of the roadkill tossing, but sort of not.

He strikes up a conversation about something (I can’t remember, I’m off sugar, brain no like work anymore no how) and we chat, all while I’m tossing the squirrel to Dog.  Dog is  is happily sprinting after it, leaping over the edge of the carpet (I don’t know why, maybe the pet equivalent of ‘step on a crack, break your mama’s back) and the three of us are all having a great time.

When all of the sudden, I toss the roadkill in the air and Alpha Tween reaches up and absolutely slaps it out of the air.

Dog and I both stare after the squirrel for a second, then, almost as one, turn to the kid.

Alpha Tween smiles, raises his hand and waggles his finger at me.

“No, No, No, not in my house.”

He then got up smiling and left.

I’m not even sure how the hell he saw that commercial.

All I know is the Dog is still offended.

No apparently, yes, in my house

No apparently, yes, in my house

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Bas doing the Geico no no no Dikembe Mutumbo commercial on me when I was throwing the dog toy.

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What I’m Into:

Reading: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher Listening to: The Heist, Macklemore Watching: Damages