Monday, October 31, 2016


Today is Halloween. You would think that, with four young children in our house, my Halloween would probably be extremely busy, walking our kids around the neighborhood, rushing back to the house to get them ready for bed, handing out candy to the hooligans who drop by our house, things like that. But no. I had what turned out to be a very quiet and almost relaxing evening at home with the Boy and the Baby. Well, as relaxing as it could be with a very rambunctious and curious 11-month-old crawling around and getting into everything.

The whole family had gone to a local church's Trunk-Or-Treat event last night, which went fairly well, I thought, except the Baby did not like wearing her enormous, fuzzy ladybug costume AT ALL. The other three kids got a good amount of candy and saw some friends, and had a good time.
Writing about Halloween candy made me realize that I have never once gotten a Whatchamacallit bar, the World's Greatest Candy Bar, for Halloween. And my kids haven't either...We need to fix that next year.

For the Boy, though, that apparently was enough Halloween for this year. Today he decided he would rather stay home and hand out candy instead of putting his costume back on and walking around the neighborhood. I would understand if he had a very complex costume or if it required a lot of makeup or something like that, but his pirate costume is literally comprised of a bandanna and a blue vest, which he could wear over whatever clothes he already happened to be wearing. It is about the easiest and least cumbersome costume in the history of Halloween, yet he chose to not wear it.

Since we already knew the Baby also did not particularly like her costume, I decided to keep her home with me and the Boy while the Wife took the other two kids out to a friend's house, and the three of us had a fun time. We scarfed down some fried chicken, we handed out candy to the few people who showed up, we all yelled at the dogs to try to get them to stop barking whenever the doorbell was a fun night of bonding. Maybe this weird way of not going trick-or-treating will become a new Halloween tradition...Nah, I need them to get me some candy!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Fair, Times 2

I wrote last spring about all the craziness that happened when I volunteered at the Book Fair at the Girl's school. When you pack a bunch of small children into a small area and add in approximately 4 billion books, toys, and other kid-themed paraphernalia, it can get pretty crazy. Despite that craziness, I didn't not have fun at that Book Fair, so I decided to volunteer again this fall. I thought I was ready for whatever those kids could throw at me, and it turned out I was, for the most part.

This year all of the volunteers who were working my shift already had Book Fair experience, meaning we all knew how to run the cash registers, which is the trickiest part of the job. Since I was the last to arrive, and the other two volunteers were already ringing kids up on the two cash registers, I took on the task of roaming around, watching to make sure nothing got pilfered, keeping my eye on all the hooligans, and straightening up the messes after they left. This job made me feel like a tough guy enforcer, which is what I see myself as most of the time any way, so it was fun. I had the chance to work on my glare, which should reap benefits at home. If there are any new dads out there reading this, one of the most important things to learn is how to have a good glare. Your hooligans, I mean kids, will wilt at the first sign of your glare, if you practice it often, and soon they won't even think about being naughty. At least, that's a theory I am working on. Apparently my glare still needs some work...

Back to the Book Fair, things were going quite well, again almost to the point of being fun, and roaming around let me check out more of the books than I was able to last year. There was even a table of books geared towards adults. I can't imagine any of the kids actually thinking about buying their parents a book as a gift, so I can only assume these books were for the teachers to peruse. One thing I noticed amongst these "adult" books (There weren't any of those kind of adult books, you pervert! Get your head out of the gutter!) was that a lot of cookbooks nowadays are shaped like the food that they specialize in. Maybe it's always been this way, but it sure seemed odd to me. There was a chocolate cookbook that was shaped like a bar of chocolate with a bite taken out of one corner; there was a pizza cookbook shaped like a pizza; and there was even a pasta cookbook shaped like a box of angel hair pasta. I don't know if the recipes in these books were any good, but the covers sure made me hungry! Not hungry enough to buy the books, but definitely hungry enough to go out and eat whatever I could get my hands on.

Other than the cookbooks, the most memorable thing about the Book Fair was when a small lad of about 6 or 7 started leafing through the Monster Survival Guide, pictured below. It took him about 10 seconds to find what he needed in it, and then blurt out, not quite at the top of his lungs, "I FINALLY KNOW HOW TO KILL A WEREWOLF!!!" I had no idea that kind of knowledge was so vital for a young boy to have, but he seemed like it completely made his day. Knowing the proper way to kill a pretend creature, like a werewolf, is one thing. But knowing how to defeat a real-life beast, like a tough-guy dad with a mean glare, is another thing altogether! Excuse me while I go practice some more...

Friday, October 14, 2016

That Time of Year

Well, it's that time of year again. The weather is getting colder, the stores are full of Halloween costumes, I am forced to stop wearing shorts and put on some full-length pants much to my chagrin, and the mice are starting to move indoors again.

We have had a mice problem in our house ever since we moved in. Actually, we think it started well before we moved in, but don't tell the previous owners, my in-laws, that. I can't actually remember what kind of evidence first prompted me to think we had mice in our basement, but when we tore down all the walls down there during our renovation about 3 years ago and found 17 dead mice behind the old sheetrock, that pretty much cemented the idea in my brain.

Since then I have killed another 43 mice with my own two hands. Or, to be more precise, with the mouse traps I bought with my own two hands. If you aren't very good with math, I will take out my trusty calculator and tell you that 17 + 43 equals a total of 60 mice we have had in our house in the last 3-and-a-half years. To paraphrase my favorite philosopher Larry the Cable Guy, I don't care who you are, that's a lot of mice.
Just one of sixty.

If you were to inspect every inch of the outside of our house with a magnifying glass or a fine-tooth, mouse-sized comb, like we sort of have, you may think that there is only one place that they could be getting in: a small hole next to the back step that leads from the garage into the backyard. Knowing that, I recently filled the hole with enough steel wool to choke a rabid wolverine, which I am hoping is enough steel wool to keep the mice from getting in.

Proud of my accomplishment, I told the Wife that we probably won't be seeing any more mice any time soon. She didn't seem too certain of that, citing the fact that the pesky critters could already be in the house and we just haven't caught them yet. I know she could be right, and deep down I kind of hope she is. Killing mice is fun! I love this time of year!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Du Liebst Mich! Du Really Liebst Mich!

If you hadn't already noticed, the title of this post is not in English. It is supposed to be in German, or as the German people say, "Deutsch". I still can't figure out why we English speakers call Deutsch "German" when the Deutsch people themselves call it Deutsch. You would think that if a group of peoples wanted their language to be known as "Deutsch", the least we could do would be to call it that. I don't understand the English language sometimes...

I also really don't understand German, despite having taken 3.5 years of German classes during High School. If my teacher for all of those German classes, Frau Peggy (which translates to Mrs. Nancy in English) were to hear me speak German now, she would probably smack me upside the head with a schnitzel. I could always tell that she secretly wanted to do that to me back in high school, but thankfully, in America, we have rules against that. I'm glad I didn't grow up in Deutschland...

I am talking all of this Deutsch gibberish because this blog, Chaotic Kids & Clutter, was recently nominated for the Liebster Award! Woot woot! You may be asking yourself, "Self, what exactly is a Liebster Award?" Don't worry, I asked myself that too. Apparently the Liebster Award is a German blogging award, given out to bloggers across the globe who also don't know exactly what it is. But, really, when it comes down to it, an award is an award, am I right? And we here at Chaotic Kids & Clutter will accept any award they are handing out. Woohoo!!

There are rules that one must follow once one is nominated for the Liebster Award, and I am very good at following rules, as well as making up rules. Just ask my kids. So, here goes:

Rule #1: Thank the person who nominated me.
I was nominated by Jesse Zahrt, from the average jester blog. Jesse is one of my favorite bloggers because he is also from Minnesota, he is also 42 years of age, he also blogs about his children much of the time, and because he has a last name that is fun to say and that sounds German, or possibly Deutsch, depending on where he was born...

Rule #2: Display the Liebster Award logo in my post.

Rule #3: Write 150-300 words about my favorite blog that isn't my own.

I am not much of a word-counter, and I hope you aren't, either... Right now my favorite blog is Eddie Rivard is a fly fisherman like me, he lives in the same city as I do, he writes fun and interesting stories about his fishing exploits, and he fishes a lot because he is single, which is what I used to do when I was single. He helps me to reminisce, even though he isn't trying to. It's kind of a weird vibe we have going, whether he know that or not. I better stop writing before I get all sentimental...

Rule #4: Provide 10 random facts about myself.
I have pretty much already blogged about every single facet of my life, so I won't bore you with anything at this time. This Rule is optional, any way.

Rule #5: Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
As I mentioned in a recent post, I really don't read a lot of other blogs, but I will go ahead and nominate Eddie Rivard and his Eddie Rivard Fly Fishing blog, and my buddy Bryon Tang and his Timber Of Faith blog.

Rule #6: List the Rules in my post.
I'm doing that right now, aren't I?

Rule #7: Let everyone know they've been nominated.
OK, I will.

That's all the rules. I still am fuzzy about how this all works, if you can vote, how they announce the winners, if there even are winners or just a bunch of nominees, and whether the title of my post makes sense grammatically in German/Deutsch. I am very thankful for being nominated, and to all of you, my loyal readers. If it wasn't for you I would be the only one reading this right now. You're the best!