Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Questions, Volume 2 "The Deuce"

I have a lot of questions. Some make sense, some might only make sense to me. Whatever the case this is the second installment of inquiries I have made here on the ol' blog in the last couple of months. If you have answers for me, that probably proves that you might not be hooked up right. Don't let that stop you from answering, though. I love to hear that there are people like me out there. It doesn't happen too often.

I think up a majority of my questions when I am out doing monotonous yard work. There hasn't been too much of that in the past 9 months, since it's been winter here in the frozen Northland, but recently the temps have gotten above zero, a sure sign of the impending 4 days known as Spring, so I went out to pick up some of the mountains of dog poop that grew during winter, and I came up with some doozies. I mean the doozies were the questions I came up with. Although there were some other doozies out in the yard, too...Without further ado, my latest questions:

  • Are cobwebs just spider webs that have been foreclosed?
  •  Is all the dirt on Earth just decayed dog poop that hasn't been picked up since the dawn of time?
  • Whatever happened to Dido?
  •  Are you supposed to leave a tip at a Chinese buffet? How about when you pick up take-out?
  • Why don't kids come out of the womb with an "inside voice"?
  • Let's say there's a hypothetical family of 5, and one of them, let's say the hypothetical middle child, a cherubic looking boy who nonetheless has a devious side, brings home an ailment which might consist of hypothetical vomiting or hypothetical diarrhea (both of which are almost as bad as the real thing). Why doesn't this hypothetical illness hit everyone in the family at the same time, so we, I mean the hypothetical family, can all hunker down at home together and get over it within a few days? Why must this evil ailment take its sweet time going from family member to family member as slowly as possible so that their combined sick days total approximately 5 months?
  • Why do our kids still not remember to say "Thank you", even though we have been trying to teach them to say it since they were fetuses?
  • Is it "fetuses" or "feti"?
  • Why do all pregnant women react the same way when I ask them how their fetus is doing?
  • Why do I find it so much fun to talk about pregnant women's fetuses even though it's obvious they don't want me to?
  • Why do I continue to root for sports teams when it's become painfully obvious that none of them will ever win a championship?
  • Why do some people like limp bacon? And if they do, is that enough to label them as "psychotic"?
  • Why did people hate disco so much in the 70s? It's got great beats!
    OK, yet again, my questions have started to go off the deep end. What do you expect when I spend several entire days picking up dog poop? I'd like to see you do that and come up with better questions! No really, next time do you want to do it? Please?



Saturday, March 28, 2015


You would think that a title like that would mean this post might be about photos or photos of cute kids with big ol' toothless grins or photos of cute kids with big ol' toothless grins trying to eat corn on the cob. Or something photo related. But not on this blog. Oh no, when I write a title like "Cheese!!!" I really want to write about cheese. You know, the most delicious food on God's Green Earth. Yes, that cheese.

I love me some cheese, I tell you what. Thankfully, I have already passed on that trait to all of my kiddos. We all eat copious amounts of cheese on an almost-every-day basis. I would say that we do eat cheese every day, but I'm sure there has probably been a day at some point in one of our lives that one of us didn't eat cheese, so if I said that I would be lying. And, when I am writing my blog, I am nothing but truthful*.

We are fans of all kinds of cheeses in our household, from muenster to colby jack to provolone to our very favorite, Smoked Gouda. Smoked Gouda gets the distinction of being the very best of all the cheeses, at least according to us, and on this blog, no other opinions count, no offense to you and your jarlsberg. Since Smoked Gouda is the king of all cheese, we must give it the respect it deserves - it's not just little old smoked gouda. Oh no, it's Smoked Gouda, and if you can't tell the difference, you probably have never tasted Smoked Gouda before...

Yes, cheese plays an important role in our house, and it has for a long time, even well before it was our house in a certain suburb, and instead just my apartment in a totally different suburb. Yes, back when I was a helpless bachelor, cheese was a major staple in my diet. Some nights dinner would consist of a bag of sliced pepperoni and a stack of American cheese slices. Oh, and probably a beer, as well, since I still had the occasional drink back then. That is a dinner of champions if I've ever heard of one, am I right? It's a miracle I survived...

Thankfully cheese is really good for us, or at least I don't think it's all that bad for us. For one thing, it is full of calcium, which helps make strong healthy bones, a fact that I can attest to. Just a day or two ago I was at work helping to move things from our old offices to our new offices, which thankfully are just in another suite in the same building. We were moving a very heavy wooden desk that belongs to one of the bigwigs, and it slipped off of the dolly and landed directly on my big toe. Despite the instant shot of painful adrenaline that shot throughout my body and manifested itself as a muffled curse, my toe did not break, and really only hurt for a few hours afterwards. By the next morning, my toe was back to as normal as can be expected since it's part of me, and it is my belief that I have cheese to thank for that. So, if you want to have superhuman bones that can withstand the weight of a 300 pound desk falling on them, be like me and eat as much cheese as you can get your grubby hands on. Maybe you should stay away from bags of pepperoni, though, just to be safe. Unless you're a helpless bachelor, then anything goes.

* Please don't look back at previous blog posts to verify this claim...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

From Ornery to Enjoyable in 12 Short Months

March must be a good time to have babies. Last week we celebrated the Girl's 6th birthday, and today we are celebrating the Little One's 3rd birthday. It seems weird to think that we had all three of our kids in the same time span that it's been since we had our last one, if I can be as confusing as possible. In other words, we had three kids in three years, and now we haven't had a single kid in three years. For some reason I seem to prefer the latter option...or is it the former? I can never remember which is which.

In the past, if I have had the time to slap together a little video montage to celebrate one of the kids' birthdays here for the ol' blog, I have always chosen photos from throughout their lifetime, and the soundtrack, if you can call it that, has been me singing a personalized birthday song that I made up to the tune of some random Beastie Boys song that I used to listen to. I figured you, my loyal readers, are probably tired of that song by now.

So, for this, the Little One's 3rd birthday, I did something different. First of all, I only used photos of her from the past year of her life. If you have been reading this blog all along, you know that the first two years of her life she was by far the orneriest baby in the history of mankind. But then, when she turned two, a miracle occurred, and she gradually started transforming into a sweet, smart little girl who didn't cry and throw tantrums all day, every day. Oh sure, she still has her moments, but who doesn't? I know I sure do! But, in honor of her miraculous transformation from sourpuss to sweetheart over the past 12 months, I only included photos of her from the last year. And, to make things even more interesting, I used a different song for the soundtrack. Don't ask me where this song came from. It's a long story, but knowing that it's kind of a tradition for me to sing it on family members' birthdays should give you a hint as to how insane we all are.

Without further ado, I give you the Little One's 3rd birthday video extravaganza:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Doctor Was In...

I spent no less than 72 hours cleaning carpets today at work, but it seemed much longer than that. We are moving our offices from one end of our building to the other, and our new suite doesn't seem to have been cleaned any time recently. So we rented a Rug Doctor and I spent the day with it. You'd think we would have become good friends after spending so much time together, but I was happy to say goodbye at the end of the day.

Actually I kind of like Rug Doctors. They really work well, getting all sorts of unseen dirt and grime out of your carpet, but the downside is that they get all sorts of unseen dirt and grime out of your carpet. Have you ever seen the dirty water that comes out of one of these things after scrubbing for just a couple of minutes? It is gross! Today I emptied at least a billion buckets of dirty water and each one was just as dirty as the one before it. At the end of the day there was a pile of detritus at the bottom of the bucket that I could have filled the kids' sandbox with. Where does all this dirt come from? How does it hide in the carpet even after vacuuming several times? It boggles my mind.

Before today I think the last time I used a Rug Doctor was back when we bought our first house. It was a foreclosure, and it was obvious that the previous owners hadn't taken very good care of the place before they left. There were two big stains in the carpet in both the bedrooms upstairs. I am not going to accuse anyone of anything, but it was pretty clear in my eyes that these were bloodstains and that multiple murders had taken place in the house. The Wife claims that the stains were probably Coke or some other reddish brown soda. All I know for sure is that I had to work at it for a while, like at least 72 hours that day, but the Rug Doctor finally got enough of the blood stains up that we didn't feel like we needed to wear HAZMAT suits every time we walked in those rooms. I'm glad, because one of those bedrooms was ours, and sleeping in HAZMAT suits is no fun. I never did hear if they caught the killer...   
If I only I had watched CSI before I cleaned up the blood stains, maybe a killer would be behind bars right now... Oh well.

Monday, March 16, 2015

This Post is Exponentially Cool

This post will probably only be enjoyed by about 10% of the people who read it, but really that's only about .6% lower than all my other posts, so I'm cool with that.

I say that only 10% of people will enjoy this because that's about the percentage of anglers in the U.S. who fly fish. I am one of those people, which means that I am super excited that the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo is happening this coming weekend just up the road from me in the city of Blaine, MN.

I have to admit that Blaine is not my favorite town. I lived there for 4 months about 15 years ago. Back then it was a large suburb of Minneapolis that was completely filled with people who wanted to drive the same direction as me every rush hour. It took forever to get anywhere, so I was glad to move out when I did. It seemed like I spent those entire four months in my car...

Now, I am glad to be heading back to Blaine, not only because I will most likely be heading in the opposite direction as all that traffic, but also because I will be one of the fly tyers making up "Tyer's Row" at the Expo. People enjoying the Expo can mosey by and watch me tie up some of my signature flies, and I might even give out free tying tips if they're nice to me. Plus there will be all sorts of other fly fishing things to see, buy, and learn about. And as many flannel shirts as you will ever see in one location now that the grunge rock movement is done. If you're interested, and who wouldn't be after the sales job I just laid on you, check out the Expo website at http://www.greatwatersflyfishingexpo.com/. Hope to see you there this weekend!

Friday, March 13, 2015

How About 6? 6 Is Good...Whaddya Got a Problem With 6?

The Girl turned 6 today. Since starting this blog I have made it a point to try to embarrass all of my kids, and probably myself too, as much as is humanly possible by putting together a photo slideshow of them aging throughout the years, accompanied by a soundtrack of my singing. Somehow, the Girl had gotten through life without being the subject of one of these "performances", up until now. Today is the day. Too bad it's so late in the day that she's already gone to bed. I will just have to show it to her tomorrow - I think during the middle of her very first "friends" birthday party will be a good time to do it...

Every time I make one of these videos, if you can call them that, I sing a birthday song that I made up, sung to the tune of some random Beastie Boys song that I haven't actually listened to in more than 10 years. If any of the living Beasties are reading this, consider this an apology for butchering your song. Please don't sue me.

When making these videos I also get to go through all of our old photos to find some good and embarrassing ones to include in the slide show. I realized today that the task of finding good photos is much easier when the subject is the Girl, who just happened to be our firstborn, meaning that there are approximately 5 billion pictures of her on our hard drive, compared to the several hundred of the Boy and seven of the Little One. The Little One's birthday is in exactly six days from now...I better start snapping some pictures!

Well, enough of all this hoopla. Let's watch the video, shall we? Maybe you should turn the volume down on your device before you hit play... Don't say I didn't warn you!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

6 Years Ago...

Today is Thursday, March 12th, 2015. Exactly six years ago it was Thursday, March 12th, 2009. I know this because on that day I was exactly one day from becoming a father, a fact I was unaware of at the time. Oh, I knew I was going to be a father, but I didn't think it would happen for at least another week or so. The Wife was very pregnant, that much was obvious, even to me, but she kept telling me that she felt good and there were no other signs pointing to the fact that fatherhood was extremely imminent.

In fact, our due date wasn't for another nine days. Although, to be honest, that was probably the most inaccurate "due date" in the history of obstetrics, a topic in which I am well-versed, as you can probably imagine. Why was it so inaccurate, you might be asking yourself. Well, if you would ask me instead of asking yourself I would tell you that it's because the Wife and I picked our due date ourselves. We had always thought that the Ob/Gyn or the ultrasound technician would tell us when our baby was going to be due, but they couldn't pinpoint anything, so they let us pick the date. We both are fans of the start of Spring, so we picked that as the official unofficial due date for our firstborn. Turns out we were way off.

Really, I didn't care when the fetus that would soon be known as the Girl made his or her grand entrance into the world. Except, I wasn't real excited about having a baby born on Friday, March 13th. It's not that I'm superstitious or anything, although maybe I am a little bit...Mostly I wasn't super excited about that birth date because it would be the same as someone from my past, and I didn't especially want that yearly reminder. But, God has different plans than I do, and sure enough, the Wife started having contractions the evening of the 12th, we hightailed it to the hospital around midnight, and the Girl made her triumphant entry in the wee hours of Friday, March 13th, 2009. I call them the wee hours because we all went "WEEEE!!!" when she was born. Actually The Wife might have said a few other things as well, she didn't get any pain meds before the whole thing went down...

So, my beautiful daughter will be 6 tomorrow. Nothing bad has come from her being born on Friday the 13th, even though there were a few months there, when she was around 1, that we thought she might be psychotic. Turned out she was just a normal baby. Who knew? And the yearly reminder of my past is not a bad thing either. You can't run from your past, so you might as well embrace it. My past helped make me who I am today. Whether my past is proud of that fact or not is another story all together...

Friday, March 6, 2015

Leftover Bacon?!?!?!?

I've been trying to wrap my head around something the Wife said last Sunday morning. I know that my head has a tendency to bounce around from subject to subject a lot, and therefore it can be difficult to get it wrapped around any one particular topic, but I would think that after five days, I would have been able to make some sense of it. But no. Perhaps you, my loyal readers, can help me out...

I don't usually like to throw the Wife under the bus for things she says, you know, because she's my wife and I love her and all, and because out of the two of us I say about a billion silly things to every one of her silly statements, but this one she said is so silly it's almost unbelievable. I think it might rank up there as one of the silliest things in the history of the world. The very thought of it makes me shake my head almost to the point of making myself sick. It's just so crazy I wish I had it on video, just to be sure she actually said it. If it was on video, I probably would have broken the rewind button from playing it over and over again. If you know the Wife I am pretty sure you will not believe that such silliness came out of her mouth. You'll all just have to take my word on it...

The kids and I were just about to sit down to breakfast, which was our Sunday usual: the Wife's Delicious Scrambled Eggs and a side of bacon. I noticed the plate of bacon was especially tall, even for our house, which has seen its fair share of bacon being consumed, not to mention several other houses' fair shares as well. I made a comment to the Wife about the impressive height of the bacon, and that's when she said it.

"I thought that I would make a lot and then I will use the extra in some soup I am going to make."


Extra bacon? There is no such thing as extra bacon. Is there? Never in my entire life have I seen any extra bacon laying around after my family has finished the meal. Even if we all had completely stuffed ourselves with eggs, pancakes, waffles and french toast, if there was a single piece of bacon left on the table, we would fight each other for it. We've even fought over the last tiny bacon schnibble that was left behind from the last piece of bacon. Extra bacon?!? This was the first and only time I had any suspicion that the Wife might have a drug problem...

It was a weird morning, that's for sure. But, I am happy to say that the kids and I finished off every last piece of bacon without any trouble. I think we could have eaten a couple more pounds, if we had to. Or, however much the Wife cooked. I wonder if she'll ever get that soup made...
I am not suggesting you go out and do this, but if you google the word "bacon", a whole lot of weird images show up. This was one of my favorites: a bust of actor Kevin Bacon made out of bacon. What a waste of good bacon!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Just like TMZ...

Have you ever wondered what Chaotic Kids & Clutter, TMZ, Occupy Wall Street, BibleGateway, Perez Hilton, and Humans of New York have in common? Yeah, me neither. But it turns out they do have something in common: these are all blogs that are finalists at the 2015 Bloggie Awards! Woohoo!
I would guess that the people at TMZ don't even realize they are up for the Best Entertainment Blog award, but for the rest of us (or at least for me), being a finalist is a pretty big deal. Yes, Chaotic Kids & Clutter is once again a finalist in the Best Kept Secret Blog category. If you were living under a rock for the past year, you may not realize that Chaotic Kids & Clutter actually won the Bloggie for Best Kept Secret Blog last year. I am not sure if I should be proud of the fact that we are still considered a secret or not...Then again, why not? An award is an award, am I right?

If you feel the need, I mean, when you feel the need to vote for Chaotic Kids & Clutter, it's real easy. Just head over to the Bloggie Awards website at http://2015.bloggi.es/, scroll down towards the bottom of the page where the Best Kept Secret category is, and vote. I suppose you could vote in other categories, too, if you want. What you do on your own time is none of my concern. Just remember that when you are voting for the Best Kept Secret Blog, you are on my time, so you better vote correctly. Got it? OK, have a great rest of your day! :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Fine Art of Leaving

If you have ever tried to leave somewhere quickly with three or more small children, you know that it is impossible to do. The fastest we as a family have ever been able to leave somewhere is approximately 34 minutes. The longest it's taken is about 17 days. Or at least that's what it feels like to me, the Dad, who, if by myself, can go from sound asleep to out the door in 2.6 seconds, if need be. Thankfully that need has never arisen, but if it does, I know I can do it. I might have my pants over my head and my shirt on my feet, but at least I will be out the door.
I googled "leaving the house", and this was the first cartoon that popped up. I think I chose it because on several occasions, while trying to leave our house in a timely fashion, I have stepped on the kids' Smurf figurines. I hate those little blue buggers.

Most weekday mornings the five of us go at least four different directions, at different times, so the chaos of trying to leave is somewhat staggered. Actually it seems like the five of us are oftentimes going about 25 different directions, but some know-it-all physicist assured me that that is physically impossible. My question to him was "Who asked you, any way?" He gave me some witty physicist retort that I thankfully didn't understand. Physicists who stick their noses in to my business are the worst!

Sunday mornings are far more hectic than weekdays for our family. Our goal is for all of us to leave at a certain time, 9:30 AM to be precise, and head off to church, with stops at the local coffee shop and to pick up our friend, Al, on the way. 9:30 is actually quite a bit later than we ever leave during the week, yet for some reason it seems to sneak up on us faster than other days.

In order to get everyone ready to leave on a given Sunday morning, the Wife and I need to start yelling commands at the kids pretty much the instant we wake up:

"Time to eat!"
"Time to get dressed!"
"It's NOT time to play!"
"I said go get dressed!"
"Put down that Barbie!"
"Would you please get dressed?!?!"
"Now put on your socks and shoes!"
"No, not those shoes!"
"Take that underwear off your head!" (they are my kids, after all...)
And so on and so on...

Really, it's amazing we can get to church before the closing hymn, but somehow we always get there at least close to on time. It might be God working a very small weekly miracle in our lives, maybe because He knows how much we all need to get to church and repent our sins... Wearing underwear on your head isn't actually a sin though, is it?