Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Daughter, the Queen

I wasn't sure whether I should write about this or not. It's exciting, especially for my daughter, the Girl, but I don't want to be labeled as one of those parents who focuses only on physical appearances while ignoring the more important parts of child-rearing. I surely don't want to become one of those insane parents on the TV show Toddlers & Tiaras, not that I've ever watched that show....

We got some fun news on Friday. Apparently there was a great big rally at the Girl's elementary school with lots of excited kids and what I would assume to be agitated teachers. I would have been agitated, any way. I think they were trying to build school spirit and get the kids enthusiastic about the school year. Part of the rally was a type of pageant-type thingy, where they crowned royalty for each grade. Lo and behold, the Girl was crowned Queen of the First Grade! How exciting!

She has taken her newfound label of Queen and run with it. And maybe it's gone to her head a little
bit, too. Her first order of business when she got home was to have her younger siblings "knighted". I don't think any of them knew what that meant, though, because they all just pretended it was nighttime and they went and laid down for a while.

Later the Queen tried to get our two annoying dogs to do some tricks. When they wouldn't, the Queen yelled "Off with their heads!" Even though they are annoying, I didn't want that fate to befall the poor mutts, so I quickly shooed them outside.

This is not the type of Queen I am talking about...
At bedtime the Queen asked how long it would take to build a moat around her bedroom to keep the "hooligans" out. I wasn't exactly sure who she was talking about, but it very well could have been me, so I told her to cool it for a little while, and that maybe she should just go back to being the Girl, and not the Queen. She put down her tea and crumpets, looked up at me with her big blue eyes, and said "Yeah, maybe you're right, Daddy. Being a Queen isn't all it's cracked up to be any way. I think next year I will try to win Prime Minister of the Second Grade..." That's my girl!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Wedding Food Review - The Heights. And Other Stuff...

I haven't written on here in a long time. It might be the longest hiatus I have taken since I started writing the ol' blog. It wasn't a planned hiatus. I guess I just haven't had the inclination to write anything recently. I probably could use the excuse that I've been too busy, but if I feel like writing I always find the time. Like now. Now I feel like writing. So I better get started...

We went to a super fun wedding the other night. It was the wedding of some family friends named Trisha & Max. The wedding was very nice, the bride and groom were filled with bliss, all of our kids had fun dancing, there is a fairly good chance they were exposed to foot-and-mouth disease, and the food was excellent, which of course is what I am going to write about.

The reception was at the famed and historic Murzyn Hall in Columbia Heights, a suburb of Minneapolis. I am not sure if the food was catered by a restaurant or caterer or what, but it was delicious. First up was a yummy salad with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I don't eat raspberry dressing very often, but when I do I always like it... Some roasted red potatoes followed, along with two meat options: pork with a yummy gravy on it, or a lovely chicken breast in some kind of creamy sauce. Some brave souls took some of each option, and let me tell you, they weren't disappointed. Both the pork and chicken was delicious, but I would give a slight nod to the chicken, which some people ate copious amounts of. I have it under good authority that the people who did eat copious amounts left Murzyn Hall very satisfied.

In other news, we are getting some work done on our master bathroom. We had a leak in the shower, so of course we ripped out everything in the whole bathroom and started over. The walls are almost all framed in, some of the concrete board has been installed, and we have picked out some of the fixtures. We hope to have it completed by the time Baby #4 arrives towards the end of November. I think that should happen, no problem.

Speaking of Baby #4, the Wife is doing as well as can be expected being 7 months pregnant. She is suffering from fairly regular heartburn, she can't get comfortable in bed, and she is not quite as nimble as she usually is. One good thing is that we are having fun watching the Baby move around in her tummy most nights. Sometimes the Baby gets herself contorted in a position that seems to cause the Wife to be in a bit of discomfort, but that usually doesn't last too long. One time, when the Wife and I were talking about her abdominal unease, I told her that I knew what she was going through, since I had just eaten an entire can of black beans for lunch. That went over about as well as you would expect.

So anyways, now you're all caught up on our lives. I'll try to update the ol' blog more often from now on. I'm sure you can't wait...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Squeaky The Wonder Cat and her Log

When I was a wee lad we had cats. Sometimes just one, sometimes a whole mess of 'em. The first cat we got was named Squeaky. She joined our family when I was four. She was about 2 at the time, or at least that's what the guy who gave her to us told us. If that was true, and let's assume that it was, that means she lived to a ripe old age of 21. She was a fine cat, that Squeaky, despite the hundreds of times her claws perforated my skin over the years. I can't remember a single scratch I didn't deserve...

Yup, Squeaky was one of the best cats anyone could hope for. Sure, she was aloof, like cats are, but there were signs that she actually liked us, like when she would bring us dead mice or birds or moles. She usually would drop them at the door, after only gnawing on them for a little bit, so we assumed that she was giving them to us as gifts. What a cat! One time, when we were on vacation, she broke out of our basement via a window in one of the window sills, hunted down a robin in the backyard, then climbed back into the basement the way she came, and had the robin at the foot of the basement stairs for us when we came home. Sure, it wasn't the most fun thing to come home to, but it's the thought that counts. Right?

When we first got Squeaky, our backyard wasn't fenced in, and since Squeaky had been an outside cat at her previous residence, my dad thought we better do something to prevent her from running away. Thus was born what may be the only cat-log in the history of mankind. My dad found a harness that had two straps that went around Squeaky's body, then he stapled the handle end of the leash to a log he found that was about 6 inches in diameter and maybe 15 inches long. We would strap Squeaky to her log and she dragged that thing all around the yard. A couple of time she even climbed a tree with her log in tow, trying to catch birds. I'm not quite sure what our neighbors thought about our cat and her log, but I do remember that kids who came to play at our house were often awe-struck by the whole contraption. I just figured everybody had a cat who dragged logs around. I couldn't figure out what the big deal was.

Eventually my parents fenced in our backyard, so none of our other cats needed to use the log. And, eventually, Squeaky, and all of our other cats, did what every living creature does: they died. I figured my dad had probably unstapled the leash from her log and burned the thing in our wood-burning stove years ago, but we found the crazy old thing in the bowels of my parents' house when we were cleaning it out recently. The log was worn smooth from years of being dragged around, and the old ratty leash was still stapled to it. I don't think anything else we found in the house brought us all as much enjoyment as seeing that old log. Good ol' Squeaky...She was a fine cat, that's for sure.
From left to right: My sister; Squeaky; Me. Furniture wasn't as fashionable, and things weren't quite as politically-correct back then, as witnessed by the fact that we were all dressed as Native Americans. As you can imagine, Squeaky really loved it when we dressed her up. That's where most of my scratches came from...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Run For the Border

It all started exactly seven years ago today. At that point in time our family was just me and the Wife. Oh, and our two annoying dogs. We had recently found out that the Wife was pregnant, so we knew life was going to change, but we didn't realize how much change there would ultimately be over the next seven years. If there's one thing I've learned over and over and over and over again in the last seven years, it's that life is full of change...

So any way, back to the story. Like I said, it was seven years ago. We were gonna have a baby in a few months, and we were as excited as could be. I was probably also a little nervous, you know, since I had never changed a diaper before, but I wouldn't have to confront that fear for a while. I also knew, maybe by instinct, that my pregnant wife should be pampered as much as could be. She was carrying my baby, after all, and my job in the whole process of "creating life" was pretty much done, so the least I could do was try to take some of the burdens off the Wife while our baby developed in her tum-tum. ("Tum-tum" is what all expectant dads call the uterus. Just to be clear...)

One way to do that seemed obvious to me. I needed to keep the Wife fed. Pretty much every TV show I had ever watched that featured a pregnant character taught me that pregnant women can have cravings for any known food at any time of the day or night. The concept of eating copious amounts of food at any time of day seemed natural to me. I had been doing that for as long as I could remember. So I made the Wife an offer I thought she wouldn't be able to refuse. I told her that at any point during her pregnancy, even at 3AM, I would happily go and get the both of us some tacos from our favorite local taco establishment, which rhymes with "Snocko Shell", if she had even just the smallest pangs of a craving. I thought that I was being a real fine husband to offer something like that, and I figured she would probably take me up on it, perhaps that very night.

But, here we are, more than two thirds of the way through our 4th pregnancy, and she still hasn't taken me up on it. Can you believe it?!?! What is going on? She is on her 34th month of being pregnant in the past seven years, and not once in those 34 months has she been craving a taco? I have been craving tacos the entire time...why won't she let me go get me, I mean her, some tacos?!?!

If you are a close personal friend of the Wife, I urge you to send her a note. Tell her to take me up on this amazing offer. Remind her that there is a very good, although probably not 100% chance, knowing us, that she will never be pregnant again. This might be the last couple of months that this offer will ever be on the table. And I really want some tacos! I want to make a run for the border! And I promise I will remember the hot sauce this time...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Time to Hose Off Your Flip-Flops!

I detest twirling, I spaz out at spinning, and I regurgitate at the thought of rotating. Yes, I do not do well at going round-and-round, since I get dizzy just thinking about it. I don't even like to watch other people going round-and-round. When the kids ask me to play Ring Around the Rosy, I get about half way around the circle before I do a preemptive "falling down", thereby keeping myself from getting physically ill all over the kids' flip-flops. For some reason they haven't asked me to play Ring Around the Rosy for a long time...

I am telling you all this to make my actions from the other day seem even more heroic than they really were, which is always a good enough reason as far as I'm concerned. We were at the Great Minnesota Get Together, otherwise known as the State Fair, the biggest conglomeration of weird people in the Upper Midwest, if you don't include the state of Iowa (Just kidding to all my Iowa fans! I only tease you all because I know you can take it! I hope...). We were in the Kidway, which is a small area filled with rides made for young kids, aged 8 and under. Since we had already spent an enormous amount of money on all variations of fried food on a stick, we only bought so many tickets for our kids to use on the rides. Thankfully none of our kids got their dad's queeziness gene, so they all were eager to go.

Then it happened. The Little One wanted to go on the merry-go-round, which has been a staple in all of our kids' lives since they were little. I have never minded, because I always get a front row seat with my butt firmly planted on solid ground while the Wife gets on the merry-go-round with the kids. That was going to be the scenario this time, too, until the ride attendant rudely told the Wife that she was too pregnant to get on. The nerve of some people! The Wife hadn't even told him she was pregnant! Isn't it rude to assume something like that?

Since we were unable to conceal the baby any longer, I decided it was time for me to step up to the plate. Time to strap on my boots and hitch up my britches, if that's a saying. And it was time to find a barf bag, you know, just in case. Because it was time for me to climb aboard that merry-go-round and do what a daddy is supposed to do: whatever it takes to keep my child from throwing a tantrum at the State Fair. It worked.