Monday, September 29, 2014

Something to Celebrate........?

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
This is the 300th post in the history of Chaotic Kids & Clutter. When I sit down and think about it, it makes me wonder how there could have ever been 300 things in my life that were worth writing about. When I think that thought, I then move on to wonder if maybe there were some things I probably shouldn't have written about. But, I'm not one to brood over negative concepts like that, so instead let's celebrate my compulsion to write, whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. Celebrating is more fun than brooding, I always say.

To get ready for the celebration, we went through every single post we've ever written, looking for the best ten. Our first task was to discard all the fluff and piffle, but then we realized that's all there was. So we dug all the fluff and piffle out of the dumpster, and went through it all to find the fluffiest and piffliest, if that's a word. Here, in absolutely no order, are the top ten posts in the history of Chaotic Kids & Clutter, as judged by me, the person who wrote it all, although you could argue that other posts should have been included instead...Oh well:
  • Anatomically Correct, October 22, 2012 - This post dealt with the delicate situation that arose when the Boy and I were discussing his, um, tiddly bits...It was more than a little awkward.
  • This Post is Icky, March 8, 2013 - The Little One was still the Baby at this time, and she did something in the bathroom that is almost unspeakable. That doesn't mean I didn't want to write about it, though...
  • Hold On To Your Tire Covers, July 15, 2014 - This was a very popular post I wrote about our summer vacation in our brand new very used pop-up camper...
  • Inside a Baby's Head, November 15, 2012 - I may not be a Dr., but I have a good idea on how things work...
  • T.M.I., March 1, 2013 - Believe me, this post really is T.M.I...
  • My Son, the Cow, September 10, 2012 - This is an oldie but a goodie. Thankfully the Boy doesn't still think he's a cow. He's more like a mule now...
  • The Lunker Hunters, May 30-2014 - I just realized I write a lot about fishing. No wonder this blog is so awesome!
That's it, those are the Top Ten posts, as far as this blogger is concerned, as of right now. Perhaps you have other favorites; I would love for you to go back and read through them all, and then let me know which ones you like. Oh, and tell all your friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and mortal enemies to do the same. We can use all the readers we can get. :-)

Thanks for humoring me by reading my silly posts. I invite you to stick around for the next 300! Thanks again!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

An Update on "Kissing Bob"

Last week I wrote about how my dear, sweet, innocent kindergartener, the Girl, was kissed (I believe I used the term defiled, which is probably more accurate) by a conniving, tricky, up-to-no-good boy, whom I called "Bob" (not his real name). I thought I should post an update so everyone can know what's going on with this situation.

I had plans to go and have words with this Bob, and possibly rough him up a little, you know, not in a violent way. Maybe I would steal his favorite Legos, or smush his sandwich before lunch, or something like that, just to let him know that I mean business, and to make him think twice about kissing my daughter again any time soon.

Turns out I didn't have to do anything that drastic. Bob got moved to a different Kindergarten class. I assumed it was because he heard I was gonna come "have words" with him and he begged school officials to let him switch classes. The Wife thinks that he just got switched because the school added another class to ease the overcrowding in the other classes, and every class had to give up a few kids. That sounds pretty fishy if you ask me.

I'm thinking that if Bob knows what's good for him, he'll warn all the other conniving boys who are up to something to stay away from the Girl. If you have a kindergarten-aged boy, I would suggest you do the same...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New House Rules

Things have gotten a bit unruly around our house lately, so I think the only way to combat it is to install a new
house rule. I probably should have instituted this rule even before the Wife and I got married, oh so many years ago. But, there's no sense crying over spilled milk, or anything else that might happen to get spilled during a normal day at our house.

Yes, it's about time for this burly manly man to put his foot down. I don't want my new rule to hinder anyone's creative juices, and I certainly don't want to cramp anyone's personal style, even though I kind of doubt that a 2-, 4-, and 5-year-old actually have their own personal styles yet. They pretty much just do what we tell them or they get a timeout. But that's beside the point...

My new rule will be fair to everyone, and will help to instill a sense of order, harmony, and all-around calm that has been lacking for what seems like several years now. I think many of you will deem my new rule to be ingeniously simple, and you may want to adopt it for your own household. I am cool with that, as long as you refer to it as "Scott's Rule" (Copyright pending) whenever you use it.

I think it's about time to unveil my new rule. Are you ready to be amazed? Are you ready to have your life transformed? Are you ready for order, harmony and calm to take over your house? Me too! So here is Scott's New House Rule:

Everyone in the house has the ability to purchase any fly rod they want, at any time, as long as it costs under $30*. Doesn't that sound like a great rule? And it applies to everyone, so it's as fair as fair can be. Just think, I anyone can continue to expand my their fly rod collection, slowly but surely. Believe me, it's hard to find good fly rods for under $30, so it's not like you would be spending a huge amount of money ever. Plus, I a person can never own enough fly rods - just ask anyone who fly fishes. It's a perfect rule! Why didn't I think of this sooner?!?!

As soon as I implement this new rule, I expect the chaos in our house to dwindle. I will let you know how it goes when I do. Look for my report in a future blog post after all the kids finish college or I win the lottery, whichever happens first...

* Not including tax or shipping charges.

Monday, September 22, 2014

I'm Not Ready For This

I really am not ready for this. My kids are growing up too fast. I want them to be my happy-go-lucky, innocent, sometimes-angelic kids forever. Now I know that's not going to happen...

I have oftentimes kidded with the Wife about how I won't let our two girls, the Girl and the Little One, start dating until they are 30. The Wife usually gives me a polite giggle, but to be honest, I am only half kidding. I know how boys are. I was a boy once, and still act like one often. Boys are, generally speaking, up to something. And I don't want that something to include my sweet little girls.

I seem to have a lot of work to do, though. I realized that last Wednesday. It was my day to be home when the Girl got home from school. She cheerfully got off the bus and ran into my arms to give me a big ol' hug, like she has done a billion times over the past five years. We went inside to drop off her backpack, then quickly went out and got in the car so I could take her to her Grandma & Grandpa's house, where her siblings were already waiting. After dropping her off I was going to head out of town for a couple of days with some friends from church.

I wanted to find out how the Girl's day at kindergarten had been, so I asked a bunch of the normal questions during the short drive to Grandma's house: Who did she sit by on the bus? How was her teacher, Mr. B.? Did she eat her lunch? And so on...

After that I asked if she had played with some of the friends she had told me about in previous conversations...Ethel; Laurie; Kevin. She answered yes to all of them. Then, without any prodding, and without any warning, she matter-of-factly blurted out "I kissed Bob and Bob kissed me." WHAAAAAAAAT?!?!?!?!? I was not ready for that news. It hit me like a ton of bricks. My sweet, little, innocent princess had already been defiled by some......boy?!?!?!?! Just two weeks into kindergarten?!?!?!

It took me a while to compose myself after that one, but finally I was able to mumble out a "Oh, that's nice. Where did you kiss him?"

"In school", she replied, as innocently as could be.

"No, I mean did you kiss him on the..."

"He kissed me on the cheek, and I kissed him on the cheek."

"Oh, OK..." I didn't know what else to say. Thankfully we arrived at Grandma's house, so I shooed her inside and then made my way to meet my friends. I don't really remember the trip out of town. I must have been too worked up to notice anything.

I am definitely not ready for my little girl to grow up. But it looks like I better get myself ready. Apparently there are a lot of five-year-old boys out there that are up to something...
I was not there to see the kiss, so this is an artist's rendering of it. It's probably best that I wasn't there, because I might have smacked that kid...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Our Kids Put the "Clutter" in Chaotic Kids & Clutter

We are trying to figure out how to teach the kids to clean up their toys each night. As you can tell, we have no clue. I was thinking about putting all the toys that didn't get put back on the toy shelf in a bag and not giving them back until the kids can prove they can clean up better. But then they wouldn't have any toys to play with tomorrow... At least this mess is downstairs, behind a closed door, where I can ignore it. I think I will do just that!

The Art of Gluttony

I like to eat. Eating is awesome. There's no other way that I can think of to accurately describe it, so I will stop there.

One of the things I love to eat is seafood. Especially shrimp. Especially shrimp scampi. I love it. So, whenever Red Lobster has their bi-annual Endless Shrimp promotion, the family makes a point of heading over there at least once to endlessly eat as much shrimp as we can. Usually Grandma D pays, which makes the endless eating even that much more fun. Thanks Grandma D!

Over the years, I have made an art out of eating as much shrimp I can. Really I only do it so that Grandma D gets her money's worth. I'm always thinking of others, as you have probably noticed from previous posts. There are several things I do to ensure a good return on her investment. First of all, I try not to eat as much before our trip to Red Lobster as I would on a normal day. A couple of times I made the mistake of not eating at all for several hours before the shrimp fest, but I quickly learned that doesn't work because my stomach shrunk and I didn't have as much room for shrimp. I gotta eat beforehand, just not as much as usual.

Secondly, I make sure that I always put in my next order of shrimp when they bring a plate out to me. Sitting around, waiting for shrimp to arrive just allows your stomach time to feel full. If you keep shoveling those bad boys in without taking a break, you can get more in there before your stomach has a chance to react.

Thirdly, don't fill up on non-shrimp calories. Sure, the cheesy biscuits are delicious, but would you rather eat one biscuit or 10 extra shrimp? I would choose the shrimp every time. Same goes with french fries or whatever side order I have chosen. As soon as my plate arrives, I take the side order off the plate and give it to the Wife or any other random unsuspecting person within 15 feet of me. I am there to eat shrimp, and shrimp is what I will eat.

All of these rules have made me an Olympic-caliber shrimp eater, if I do say so myself. My record is eating 10 plates of shrimp, which I estimated to be around 200 of the little buggers. I have done that twice in my life. Both times I had some considerable gastrointestinal unease afterwards, but it was totally worth it. Last night I was only able to eat 8-and-a-half plates, which was a little disappointing, but at least I felt fine all night. Kind of makes me think I should have kept eating...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy Middle Child Day

Middle Child Day is a real thing. It's actually on August 12th, and today is September 12th, but middle children always get the shaft anyway, so let's celebrate it a month late, shall we?

Here at Chaotic Kids & Clutter, we celebrated Middle Child Day by finally remembering to take a photo of our middle child, the Boy, before he left for preschool this morning, on his third day of school...Yes, we know that we were supposed to take the photo before his first day of school, but we forgot. I would like to make some elaborate excuse about why we forgot, like that when we stepped out on our stoop to take the photo on Monday, a rabid wolverine jumped out of the bushes and chased us to our minivan, so we just drove to school instead of taking the photo. But somebody would poke holes in that story because we dug all the bushes out of our front yard a few months ago. So, I will just admit that we forgot.

I was going to take the photo on Wednesday before we took him to his second day of school, but I forgot then too. I would have forgotten this morning, as well, but my beautiful and brilliant wife, the Wife, reminded me right before I was about to leave. So, we finally have a photo of the Boy on his third day of preschool this year. Happy Middle Child Day, son! I'm sure it won't be the last important thing we forget...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Regrets, I've Had a Few...

Life is filled with ups and downs. You probably didn't expect such a deep statement to start this particular blog post, since I usually write about poopy diapers and other "joys" of parenthood. I can't always write about silly things like diapers, though. Sometimes I can be pretty philosophical, like when I came up with today's opening line. Yes, life is filled with ups and downs, and there's no getting around that.

Lately I've let myself get a little down because I've been thinking about some of the regrets I've accumulated in my 40 years on God's green earth. I have a few big regrets and a ton of medium and small-sized regrets. The regrets that have been bothering me the most lately all fall into the same category: the regrets of things sold.

It seems like every time I turn around lately, I get reminded of something I used to have, but for one reason or another I decided to sell. Sure, at the time I always thought the small monetary gain was more important than the object sold, but over and over again I start to yearn for whatever the sold object was, making me more and more mad at myself for ever parting with it in the first place.

This happens all the time with music. I'll hear an old song on the radio, a song I haven't heard in years, and I'll remember back to the time when, not only did I own that song, I owned the entire CD it was on, and I could listen to it whenever I wanted to.There's even a certain hard rock/heavy metal CD that I've owned twice, but both times I took it to my local Half Price Book store and sold it for pennies on the dollar, so I can't listen to it, ever. Have I mentioned how I am not good at making fiscal decisions?

Two of my biggest regrets center around my love of fly fishing. I will let you in on a little fly fishing secret: people who fly fish can never own enough rods. There's always a reason to get a new rod, like a different kind of fish to try and catch, or a bigger body of water that requires a longer cast. Or you're bored and you enjoy having large credit card bills... Fly fishers can justify pretty much any reason to get a new rod, and I am no different.

This hilariously combines several of my regrets, if I do say so myself.
At one point, when I was single, I owned 13 fly rods. And I'm not ashamed of that fact. Along the way, though, I came to the faulty conclusion that I needed a quick infusion of cash in my wallet, so I decided to sell my beloved 7-foot-long 5 weight Orvis Superfine Small Stream Special rod, which was the only one like it I had ever seen. I also sold my Hardy Flyweight reel that I special ordered from a fly shop in Canada. Sure, neither of these two items were my go-to rod or reel, but they were really cool, and they would have been awesome things to have, and might have even turned into heirlooms down the road. Not to mention that they would have done nothing but appreciate in value. But no. I had to go and sell them. Now whenever I open up my reel bag or look at my other fly rods leaning in the corner or want to bang my head with some heavy metal for a few minutes, I think about the cool things that used to fill the voids. Having regrets is the worst, isn't it?

Monday, September 8, 2014

World's Best Football Picks

Those professional bookies out in Las Vegas have nothing on me. I am one of the top sports prognosticators in the world, whether anybody else realizes it or not. And, I am a very charitable prognosticator, so I am about to give you, free of charge, for a limited time only, my picks for this year's NFL playoff teams. You can do whatever you would like to with this information, but my suggestion would be to go to your bank, take out all your money, fly to Las Vegas, and lay down bets on any and all of these teams. Yes, my prognosticating skills are that good. Of course, myself and Chaotic Kids & Clutter can not be held liable for any losses you may incur. Just thought I better throw that in for fun.

So, here are my 100% non-guaranteed World's Best Football Picks. See how they compare to yours:

NFC North Champ: My beloved Purple & Gold, the Minnesota Vikings. Barooop, baroooop!

NFC West Champ: Seahawks
NFC East Champ: Giants (although every team in this division is going to be awful. I think the Giants will be the least awful.)
NFC South Champ: Falcons
NFC wild card team: 49ers
NFC wild card team: Saints

AFC North Champ: Bengals
AFC West Champ: Broncos
AFC East Champ: Patriots
AFC South Champ: Colts
AFC wild card team: Chargers
AFC wild card team: Jaguars

Yes, I picked the Jaguars, Falcons and Vikings, three of last year's worst teams, to make the playoffs this year. Am I insane? Perhaps. But didn't we all already know that when I agreed to give you my World's Best Football Picks for free? Be sure and let me know if you win millions of dollars in Las Vegas by betting on my teams. I expect to hear that good news from all of you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Big Day in Blogville

Yup, it was a big day around here today. Our firstborn, the Girl, got on the small yellow bus this morning on her way to her first day of kindergarten. It was monumental, and none of us were quite sure we were ready for it. One thing I was sure of was that I was going to ball my eyes out, you know, because I do things like that. And I was sure that the Wife was going to be as steady as a rock. I had no idea how the Girl was going to react, which made the whole morning that much more tense, at least for me.
Here comes the bus to take my little girl away forever...not that I'm overly dramatic about it or anything...

Turns out, I had things all wrong. The Girl, although seeming a little scared, got right on the bus without any hesitation. She would have walked right back to her seat if we hadn't told her to look at us for the 4 billionth photo of the morning. I was too busy filming the whole thing with my camera to get emotional, which might be the biggest surprise in the history of mankind. Except, that is, for the fact that the Wife got a little teary-eyed as the bus pulled away. I know, I can't believe it either!

Another thing happened when that bus pulled away. Apparently the Boy and the Little One thought that without their bossy older sister around, the house had turned into a lawless abyss, where they could do anything and act as mean as they wanted. The Wife told tales of timeout after timeout after timeout. It almost made her wish the Girl was still at home to bring some bossy order to things. It made me glad I had gone into work. Sure was a weird day...

The End of a Beautiful Relationship

Well, it's over. It's been 9 great years, but it's finally come to an end. Sure, there were probably some things I could have done differently, but there's nothing I can do about it now. The time has come to say goodbye, and move on to a new chapter in life. It's sad, but we'll all be better off...

I'm talking, of course, about our split from the greatest camp chair in the history of the Known Universe, the "loveseat" camp chair we got for a wedding present from our good friends Mike and Deb so many years ago. It was the wedding present we used the most, and it started more conversations than all the others put together. People had never seen such a camp chair, and we loved using it every chance we got. I might even say that it helped the Wife and me get through some ups and downs along the way, since it forced us to sit so close, no matter how mad she was at me. That was a good chair.

But, now it's gone. It started to fall apart earlier this summer, and through all of our camping trips this year it's just gotten worse and worse. The canvas was ripping. The poles were coming apart. Things were poking us that never used to. Finally, yesterday, after our last camping trip of the summer, we decided to put an end to it all, and we kicked it to the curb, so to speak. Actually we just threw it in the dumpster at the State Park we had been staying at. Now it's time to move on, and try to find another camp chair to join our family. It's funny how quickly we humans can move on, isn't it? I've already started looking at camp chair matchmaking websites, like Amazon and "Love is fickle and fleeting", they always say. I guess that's true...
This was our beloved "love seat" camp chair, right before we ended the relationship for good. Notice the poles sticking up through the canvas. They aren't supposed to do that. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted...