Chapter 18 part 3: Château sans Gémissement


To my five star love, you wrinkleless beauty…you’ve been away for so so long.  Nobody knows how I’ve missed your embrace of luxe slippers and bamboo terry robes.  The truth is…I’m crazy about you.  Do you understand!?  Allow me to open your blinds; Hawaii, Miami, New York, and Mexico or every other place we go….Do Not Disturb is the language.  So hide the key, Baby.  Because tonight there’s going to be an ice bucket challenge.  Melting.  Down.  Your sides.  It’s hot and you’re dripping wet.  This is room service, and tomorrow…we’ll need extra towels.  No doubt.  I’m going all out.  Because “Yes” is the only answer.  We can take it slow, peek into your cabinets.  Let my appetite do the talking through your expensive fabric.  Knock.  Knock.  Knock.  “Already!?”.  Knock.  Knock.  Knock.  “Damnit.  Did they sprint up here or what?”.  Knock.  Knock.  “Okay.  I’m coming!”.   

Enter Chapter 18 part 3: Château sans Gémissement

Remember the glory days of your hotel visits with your kid-free lover?  The two of you disrespecting the entire suite with your passionate baby making skills.  Knocking over lamps, ripping down the curtains, and laying your naked bodies across the kitchen counters.  Or that one time you spent part of the night pressed against the wall making slow song beats, and your room neighbors kept asking, “Hey!  Is everything okay over there!?” from their side of the partition door.  Well parents, we’re sorry to tell you, that despite how these kid-friendly resorts accommodate for you…those days are long gone!  Staying indoors for 3 days at a time like some sort of sexual vampires is a figment of your imagination.  First of all, the only erecting Dad will be doing is setting up his newborn’s playpen; it’ll take over all the space of your foreplay dance floor.  And secondly, the only people Mom will be servicing are her older kids with cold cut sandwiches; watching her slice salami for lunch will be an erotic fantasy killer.  So, although it’s a hard pill to swallow, what we recommend to do at your next hotel visit is take advantage of the comfortable bed and sleep in it!  Use the couch not as a prop in your sexcapades, but to sit in and watch a movie peacefully as your baby naps or your expert-swimming kids go for a splash down at the resort’s waterpark.  Also don’t waste the expensive mini fridge water to cool your lover’s body down, but instead use it to drink because at the rate that you’ll be shedding tears over your sexual-hotel-lifestyle of yesteryear…your eyes and body will thank you.  Now go!  And enjoy your stay at Château sans Gémissement. 

As soon as I answered the door, “Jesus Carl!  What’s the rush?  You left us down in the lobby with our bags.”, spoke the Queen.  “I was just…just…forget it.  I’ll get the bags.”, I told her.  Both Kingston and Quinn came running in.  One with their iPad blaring and the other wet-faced and sobbing.  And with that, my private moment with our room met reality.  Now, the hotel suite and I were once again as distant as a retired NBA player’s athletic ability and his youthful highlight reel.  So I headed down to the lobby.  Lugged our bags up, and did the only thing left to do…grab a cold beer, sit out on the balcony, and come to terms with reality.  That while traveling with the kids my backboard-breaking-power-dribbling-slam-dunking-trash-talking Shaquille O’Neal sex game is done for. And with the kiddos around, I’m more of the Nickelodeon-Kids-Choice-Award-breakdancing Shaquille.  And somehow I’ve got to learn to be okay with that.

Chapter 22 part 7: Pardon The Oink

I could speak and understand Spanish, Chicano, Ebonics, Ignoranics (all things completely stupid), Beach City English, Corporate English, Valleygirl, and just enough Hipster to order a Korean infused torta from a handlebar-mustachioed-Asian-lunchtruck-chef.  But…at this parent meeting where I’m the only dad, the moms are speaking in a twang that I barely understand, and yet somehow they know everything I’m not saying.  “Maybe if you uncross your arms…take the sunglasses off…blend in or maybe..talk!”, my inner public relations manager encouraged.  Just then, like the first glass of a California Zinfandel after a kid’s birthday party…clarity!  All the stressful information given about deadlines and registration fees left my brain with one simple sentence, “So before we get started, we’re going to need a team mom.”.

Enter Chapter 22 part 7: Pardon The Oink

Oh, what a fascinating era in which to be a stay-at-home father.  Men have seen and supported women as they’ve earned the right to call themselves commanders of state police, coal miners, coaches of a men’s sports teams, CEOs, marines, and almost president of the United States.  They’ve even entertained the idea that Ronda Rousey could ‘mop up’ Floyd Mayweather!  It all has been very progressive.  Yet, despite all the advancements in gender equality, there are still stay-at-home mothers that continue to ask their counterparts, “Do you dress them and comb their hair every morning too?”.  Or even worse assume it’s a “no-rules-fun-day” outing with dad.  THIS…combined with the continuous compliment of “You’re doing such a great job!” for performing minuscule parenting tasks makes a stay-at-home father cringe.  It’s irritating having to explain that not only do they dress and comb, but they cook, clean, iron, and run a tight ship.  And they don’t need compliments for any of it.  But because sexism is alive and well, these types of comments will spew from men and even some of the most liberal women out there.  So, to our dear stay-at-home dads, we apologize and also thank you for your patience as you deal with the prejudices.  And if ever you might feel tired of bearing and/or battling the weight of socially prescribed gender roles…let it go!  Yes, let it fall by the wayside in the name of rest and recuperation.  When terms like “team mom”, “room mom”, “mommy and me”, or playing the role of a “momager” are asked of fathers…feel free to kindly decline or avoid participating all together.  There are more battles to come for at-home dads to face in this world of sexism so don’t feel compelled to fight each and every one.

Two mothers slide their sunglasses back on, another starts digging through her purse.  One walks away, and a couple more play with their phones.  Things are getting awkward between the girls.  “Who’s going to volunteer?”, I wonder.  Watching them avoid the responsibility is riveting.  The lead lioness continues on with the meeting, and then sings out, “So if anyone would like to hhhellllp…we need a team mommm.”.  None of the ladies look at me.  It would be a noble thing for me to do, but they’re asking for a team mom not a team dad nor a team parent.  So I’m out!  “Let them figure it out.  I ain’t no mommy.”, I proclaimed.  Soon someone, as always, decided to step up.

I love a team mom.  They’re always patient, upbeat, and willing to answer my questions no matter how many times I ask.  On Monday it’s, “Hey ‘Lindsay’, when did you say we need league fees?”.  For Wednesday it’s, “Did you say to meet at the park?”.  And on Friday I’ll ask, “What color jerseys are we wearing?”.  I dare anyone to try that for two weeks straight with someone who isn’t a team mom; blood will flow from rolled back eyeballs as they shout, “I’ve told you that already!”.  Believe me, I’m the type to turn poltergeist on someone such as myself.  This, including holding the title that clearly calls for a woman, are reasons enough for me to always turn down the responsibility.  Plus, nobody wants to deal with a dad (me) for a team mom whose answer to every question would be slices of oranges.  So girls, have at it…because it’s all yours.

Chapter 777 part 2: Dr. HopeFateLuckGod

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Sometimes I just want to jump down their throats.  Be the liquid Benadryl.  Soothing every inch of their insides like an after-hour neat vodka.  Why can’t it all be so simple?  Slap my hands together, and “Mr. Miyagi” their pain away.  Band-Aide it all with a forehead kiss.  I need these powers.  Especially right now, when a bumpy red rash continues to grow on Kingston.  “Dad, if you were in my body you would itch so so bad!”.  My little gila monster of a son, scratches at his skin so tough he could start a campfire on his arm.

Enter Chapter 777 part 2: Dr. HopeFateLuckGod

“I should’ve done this.”, “Maybe I could’ve tried that.”, and “They told me it’d be 4 to 6 days and it’d be all gone.”.  Oh!  How the doubt creeps, and how the guilt seeps when all we’re left with is the doctor’s prognosis.  And although we’ve medicated our tykes, all we can do now is cross our fingers on the tightrope of health; simmer in the fustration of helplessness, and hope fate brings us a little luck.  In other words, we as parents, have got to sit back and watch the consequences of our care taking play out.  But…in doing so, let’s us also evoke the power of prayer.  Because the practice will always be there for “…those who seek.  And those that do, will find their answers.” as told in Chapter 777 part 1: Holy Higgs Boson.

“Don’t scratch it Kingston!”, I beg.  I’m irrationally irritated that the doctor’s prescribed medicines aren’t working at a much needed superhero speed.  “What more can I do?”, I ponder.  I don’t want to overmedicate him, and end up in an orange jumpsuit; crying on national news like one of those buffoon fathers who leaves his kids to die in a hot car.  I could see it now, “It was an accident! Sob sniff.  Sniff sob.  I was just trying to heal him.  Waaa!”, balling my eyes out as I get ushered to prison to meet my cell-raping-daddies.  And then, as if the fear of being anally raped conjures up brilliant ideas, I remembered!  “Yes!  We have calamine!”.  An itch reliever that we had bought a year ago for some forgotten reason.  “Kingston, stop scratching and get over here!  I’ve got it!”, I called.  Now, if only I knew how many of these 6 fluid ounce bottles of Calamine Plus would it take to fill the tub…I could just have him soak in it!  I was on a roll.  And with that I began my prayer.  Hymning my own remixed rendition of Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade”…“Itchy, Itchy, No More, Dada!” as I slathered calamine all over Kingston’s bumpy red rash.  Within a day and a half, I saw his beautiful buttery brown skin heal itself.  Hallelujah!

Endless Preface

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Summer break is here, and this kindergarten-bound kid will soon learn that Daddy isn’t the brightest crayon in the box.  Kingston’s fall curriculum of reading, writing, and math will scramble my brain…with cheese.  My homeschooling skills are impatiently weak.  But, on the other hand, my chore giving tactics, slap boxing combos, and tea party manners with Barbie, Quinn and I are all life lessons these kids seem to take up quite well.  Of course, Kingston knows his alphabet, and how to count to annoying heights.  But in my mind, he’s a crossword puzzle or two behind.  Which concerns me because I’m certain that somewhere out there is a newborn reading “Goodnight Moon“, and using it’s umbilical cord as a bookmark.  So for now, a LeapReader pen robotically reads to Kingston.  “Casey”, the pen pronounces as he touches the word from the page. “Casey”, my studious little man replies. It goes on like this throughout the book, “Casey the Cat has a hat”.

“Is he really learning?”, I wondered.  “Kingston, what are you reading?”, I asked.  “Casey the Cat has a hat.”, he responded with the confidence of a literate person.  “What’s this word?”, I asked pointing at “Cat”.  “Cat”, he said.  “No way.  I mean, Yes!  You’re right!”.  I couldn’t believe it was working so well in such a short period of time.  Kingston kept on with the LeapReader; dinner’s aroma wafted throughout the house.  Minutes had passed, and I figured it was time for another test.  “Kingston.  What’s this word?”, I asked to which he answered, “Casey”.  Right again.  “What about this one?  What word is this?”, I questioned pointing at ‘the’.  “Uhhh, I don’t know.”, he said.  I borrowed the LeapReader.  “The”, it read back as I touched the word.  “Okay, now you know.  So what’s this word again?”, I quizzed.  “Uhhh, I don’t know.”, he said with a mischievous grin.  I knew where this was headed; Kingston was playing a dangerous mind game with my impatient-inner-city-substitute-teacher.  “Kingston (rubbing my temples) I know that you know this word.  So tell me.  You’re a smart kid.  Just tell me.  What.  This.  Word.  Is.”, I asked of him as the LeapReader continuously read “the”.  Now, there was a classic western standoff; we traded stares (cue a dramatic trumpet solo from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.).  “Uhhhhhh…I don’t know!”, Kingston fired off.  SLAP!, I retaliated; smacking “Casey the Cat has a hat” and it’s pages out of his hands.  The book crashed into the blinds, and Black Hawk Down’d into the kitchen sink.  Shocked and scared he cried.  “Go to your room!  You’re done here.”, I shouted.

Enter Endless Preface:

Hello there parents!  Welcome to (as we are so commonly known) The Most Challenging Job In The World Incorporated.  There aren’t any company breaks here.  No beignets nor Keurigs will be found in the lunchroom.  Simply because there isn’t a lunchroom.  Sick days are to be used for children and spouses only; catching a cold or a flu shall not hinder an employee.  Furthermore, the only 401k available is the daily 40.1k that we accrue pushing strollers, chasing skateboards, and extinguishing fights, tantrums, and floods throughout the house.  If one dares to bat an eye he/she can lose their job, and/or a life.  Understand that the pressure to produce good quality humans is a heavy one.  And nothing short of excellence will be tolerated.  Upon doing so, employees are expected to feel elated, proud, confident, nervous, insecure, confused, inadequate, horrified, suspicious, worthless, forgiving, and loving all before noon.  Also, here at The Most Challenging Job In The World Incorporated, keeping our cool is the mandatory code of conduct.  Exercising self-control is key to having magnificent company picnics (aka Mother’s and Father’s Day).  And although we understand that problematic issues can have us lashing out like silverbacked gorillas in the bush…the corporation will not condone losing one’s temper.  Now, with all this being said and with whatever “me” time you think you’re having…it’s time to turn off Judge Judy, change out of your house robe, stuff your face with cold tater tot leftovers, and get to work! 

“Damn it.”, the book spreads across wet dishes.  It didn’t have to get to this point.  Especially because I knew it was coming.  “I should’ve taken a break, or walked away.”, but it was too late for that I thought.  I managed to frighten them both.  Dinner was done, but appetites were ruined.  Now, I was staring at a campaign that could’ve been hashtagged SiblingsAgainstDaddysTyranny.  An apology was needed, and so here goes nothing.  “Kingston!”, I called him back downstairs.  Timidly he came.  “It’s ‘the‘, it’s ‘the’ Dad.”, he pleaded sniffling out the final answer.  “Yeah, you’re right smart guy.  But how about we forget reading for now, because Dad has something to tell you guys (I corralled them in for a group hug)…I’m sorry I lost my patience.”.  Kingston smiled and “I farted!”, shouted Quinn.  Laughter and food proceeded.  We were back on track.

Chapter 6 part 2: Booga T. Wipington

 

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“Damn.  Her ass…”, I’m thinking to myself.  We’ve become 5-minute-friends, and I could tell she’s doing all the parenting she can.  Her chipped black nail polish, fading lipstick, and 90’s tribal tattoo tell of a time when she used to be cool.  Now, she chases after her stampeding wildebeest children with blue gum stuck on her yoga panted butt.

Enter Chapter 6 part 2: Booga T. Wipington

Boogers hang from nose hairs like spinach grins between teeth.  An unzipped fly, and a skirt tucked into knickers reveals what’s underneath.  What kind of friend are we, when another parent is in need?  Do we save them from the embarrassment, or go on like we didn’t see?  As awkward as it seems, lend a baby wipe, a handkerchief, or tell them to “XYZ” their button fly jeans.  eXamine Your Zipper.  Because everyone knows, that with a subtle tip to wipe one’s nose…gratitude will be shown and a friendship could be grown. 

“Should I tell her?  We’ve just met, and already I’m going to mention her ass.  Nah, just ignore it.”, I decide.  Because I don’t remember her name she was “Razzy” (the blue raspberry bubblegum).  She came over and sat on the ground next to Quinn and I. “I’m sorry.  Were you saying something?  My kids are…”, but Razzy was off again; interrupted by her herd.  She didn’t have any time for herself much less a conversation.  “Maybe she knows, but doesn’t care.”, I thought.  Everywhere Razzy went the gum collected samples of the surrounding area.  Sand, grass, dirt, pet hair.  If she sat down on it she was sure to pick it up.  It was hard not to look.  “Man, someone should tell her.  This is getting weird.”, I said to myself staring, and looking away.  Staring, and looking away.  “I’m going to tell her.  And get out of here.”, I planned.  It was going to be a hit and run.  And with one big whoosh Quinn and backpack were in my arms.  “Hey, are you leaving?”, Razzy called out.  “Yeah, we’ve got to run.  But hey listen, I think you sat on somebody’s candy back there.”, I told her.  With a confused face she looked back at it.  Quinn now rested on my shoulders.  We hotfooted away.  “Oh my goodness. Thank you!”, I heard.  We were long gone.

Chapter 27: Pep It Up

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“Aw Dad!”, Kingston whined.  “But my school is doing it!”, he said to my shrugging shoulders.  “It’s.  Pajama.  Day!”, he protested while stomping out his words on our hardwood floors.  “Go.  Change.  NOW!  Before you learn what real stomping is.”, I mockingly threatened.

Earlier in the morning, I made the mistake of allowing him to think he was participating in today’s school festivities.  I was onboard with it at 6am, but now at 8:10am…I realized that his attire was throwing off my rhythm, and making me late for the drop off.  My mind bumbled around like a Three Stooges episode .  “Do I fix his hair?  What shoes does a pajama clad person wear in public?  Surely he has to brush his teeth, but does he stay in the same underwear all in the name of Pajama Day?  No, wait…get him a fresh pair then have him slide back into last night’s PJ’s? Or dress him in clean PJ’s but keep the same underwear? Am I doing this right? What about those goofy looking Spongebob socks? They’re so long, and…”. Now we’re late.

Enter Chapter 27: Pep It Up

Hooray!  It’s that time of the month!  When a motley crew of “Crazy Hair Day” toddlers mohawk their way into class.  And on “Grunge Rock Day”, our nirvanic children recess at a school that tomorrow…will resemble a 1930s municipal orphanage for “Pajama Day”.  Yes!  All of it will be done in the name of school spirit.  So, let’s celebrate their pride.   Go, Little Rascal Elementary!  Go!  But let it also be known, that amidst the hubbub, there will be families whose “Homey, don’t play that.” values will figuratively smack the silliness out of whatever “Day” it is.  Which is perfectly okay!   Just as long as we keep living in color.  Together.  Toward a harmonious graduation.

Finally, we’re on school grounds.  Quinn’s face (due to her breakfast-on-the-go) is a complete waffle.  Kingston’s?  Long and sullen.   He’s upset with me because I dressed him in summer weight chinos, and bow tie so to selfishly coordinate with a new neck tie of mine.  “Kingston, will you hurry up please!?”, he trudged into the building.  “Dad.  It’s Pajama Day.”, he pleaded at the point of no return.   I dropped to eye level, “Hey, listen.  Mr. Sour Patch Kid.  It’s only Pajama Day for some hours.  I’ve got things to do.   And people to see after school.  Looking like a home-schooled-latchkey-kid ain’t part of the deal.  Get it?”.  He stared at me with a “What the hell does that mean?” face.  “Kingston.  Go to class.  Kiss.  Kiss.  (Messing up his styled hair) See you later.”, was the last thing he heard from me as I signed him in.

Pick up time, on the other hand, was magical and almost opposite of this morning.  “Dad!”, he came rushing out of his classroom wrapping his little spaghetti arms around my legs.  I signed him out and we went on about our day.  Pajama Day was history.  And my little guy was back to his normal cheerful self.

Chapter 5 part 6: Wicked

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Look at the carnage…it’s astonishing!  And they keep coming.  One.  Two.  Three crashing into each other.  Limbs dangle over the twisty slide the way carne asada hangs between a fire grill.  A lone Croc sandal goes flopping away like a Death Valley tumbleweed.  “Go, go, go!”, I egg them on.  Wailing among the pile up, a young toddler shakes with tears.  Kingston is enjoying the chaotic play and Quinn is at my knees begging to be picked up.  This is the highlight of my afternoon, and I want more.  “Get up there kid, hurry! Hurry!”, I point the heavy rascal toward the top of the slide.  More boys charge up it’s winding slope like a swarm of giggling army ants.  My excitement grows with the anticipation of a spectacular collision.  “Kingston get up there. He’s coming down!”, we’re mere seconds away from the proverbial runaway boulder scene in Indiana Jones and The Raiders of The Lost Ark.  All I had to do now was prepare my Oscar winning speech.  Best Independent-Playground-Action-Horror-Director.  But, like Taylor Swift…I got Kanye’d.  “Oh my God!  Axel! There’s no climbing up the slide.  Axel, down!”.

Enter Chapter 5 part 6: Wicked

They love princesses and Spider Man.  You love Maleficent and The Joker.  They like beautiful hues of pinks and blues.  You like Gargamel’s black.  They laugh, and you miss the punchline.  They also cheer for the grand prize while you root for “zonks” and Family Fued failures.  Truth be told, you have a mean streak.  And admist all the positive reinforcements your children are supposed to get, it’s difficult to keep up that plastic smile and jaunty way of life.  Because they’ve been terrorizing your attention span with long winded gibberish, throwing spaghetti, and making you cringe with every, “No! I don’t want to!”. It’s days like these that call for a little mean spirited payback.  So in the name of “That’s what you deserve”…start a bed-jumping-head-whomping-pillow fight or take them to a trampoline park where you can unleash a fury of dodgeballs at their tiny jumping legs.  Whatever game you choose, remember to be relatively safe, and release that mean streak before it comes to a head.

A mother happened to pry her eyes away from her phone, just in time to save her precious kid from my private hilarity.  “Cut!  Cut!  Cut!”, I said to myself as I guided Axel off the slide.  The mother bear’s concern shocked the boys stiff; ruining my scene.  But as soon as the coast was clear, “Action!  Go!”, I called.  The heavy kid slid straight down the chute with the same force of William Perry on the two yard line.  Most of the boys jumped over the side.  “Kingston.  Look out.”, I said halfheartedly as I remembered his ill tempered shenanigans from earlier before.  Crash!  The heavy little kid bowled over Kingston.  “Ahh!”, he shouted.  Kingston looked like a upside turtle.  At the bottom of the slide his little face looked around for a comforting, “Are you okay?”.  But instead he saw me with a sinister smile.  “What? I said look out.”, I told him.   And off he went continuing to play like his wipeout never happened.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 777 part 1: Holy Higgs Boson

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“Ready?  Position one! (two hands on the racket)…Good!  Two! (open stance; arms extended)…Nice!  Three! (shuffle up into the rings as the ball comes forward)…Swing! Aaand four! (hold the follow through)”.  The tennis ball bounced off the ground.  And pitifully dribbled down underneath his huge forehand swing.  “Okay again.  Ready?  One…nice!  Two…good!  Three…aaand four!”, another swing and a miss.  “Okay, no biggie.  Just remember to follow through.  You know?  Like hold position four okay?”, I advised the way his tennis coach expects.  “Again.  Ready?  One…that’s right.  Two…that’s what I’m talking about.  Three (swing) aaand four!”, I called.  But it was another tremendous miss.  I felt the urge to heave his racket like an Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary.  “Why.  Is.  It.  So.  Freakin’ hard!?”, I muttered and swore underneath my cheerful spirit.  Things like this always came easy for me growing up.  We’ve been out here for an hour.   He’s had at least 20 something tries at it, and all have been gigantic misses or dismal hits.  “Just stay cool.  Your not mad.  Blame it on Robbie Gould’s missed field goals and our 6-10 season.”, I lied to myself.  Yet, here I am running around after tennis balls, correcting his stance, and his grip.  I’m sweaty.  The kid, already a few weeks into his lessons, can not get a flush hit on the ball.  And it seemed like it was all for naught.  Nevertheless, stubbornly and focused we continued.  “Let’s do this Kingston!  Ready? (He nodded) One…good!  Two…nice!  Three (swing)…”.

Enter Chapter 777 part 1: Holy Higgs Boson

The G-O-D.  The Almighty.  The Creator of heaven and earth.  Whatever we wish to call Her, Him, It, or absolutely nothing at all…it all boils down to having some type of faith.  And acknowledging, that with it, comes the power of prayer.  Whether it looks like bowed heads and shut eyes; jubilant dancing or a whiskey held straight up toward the sky…prayers help those who seek.  And those who do, will find their answers.  Be it by reciting 2pac lyrics, or peering into interstellar telescopes.  Reading scripture, shouting “Let’s Go (Team)!”, or unloading a .357 Magnum.  One would be foolish to stand in the way of another’s devotion.  So let them pray.  Young and old.  Let them pray.

SMASH! “HO-LY HELL!”, I shouted in shock.  Kingston connected, and it was a soaring beauty of a hit.  The ball traveled high above my head and ever so lightly bounced off our neighbor’s roof.  “Roofy!  Roofy!  Roofy!”, Kingston danced and declared.  “Yeah! Roofy baby!”, I copied excitedly.  Laughter filled the air.  “Dad, do you know why I hit the ball?”, he asked.  And before I could respond, “I prayed to God…to help me.”, he said.  I wanted to correct him, “You mean, because you turned your hips, and kept your racket face vertical like I showed you, right?”.  But now was not the time, he was returning the ball, and that’s all that mattered.  “Okay well, keep praying little man.”.  Again, SMASH! And again SMASH!  We spent the last 20 minutes of sunlight going through his progressions.  Kingston finished on a roll.  He was proud of himself.  It was a good practice.  He showered, ate dinner, and I put him to bed.  “Dad wait!”, he whispered.  “Roofy!”, he said.  “Roofy baby! Roofy…goodnight son.”.

 

Chapter 10 part 4: In C minor

NYCquinny

We’re in the city that never sleeps.  And well…it looks like it.  Everywhere I look I see the glitz and glamor of Grace Kelly’s strawberry blonde hair turn into a greying-red-cigarette-yellow-tinted beard.  With Quinn in my left arm, and Kingston on my right hand, their facial expressions said it all, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”.  This is New York City.

“Okay down we go guys.”, the three of us squeeze through the gates of hell (aka turnstiles) and head down into the swampy humid heat.  “Welcome to the subway my little demons.  Welcome to the land of the traveling sneeze, warm ass s(n)eats, and guys who preach.”, I tried to rhyme.  “What dad?”,  Kingston asked.  “Nothing.  Just sit down and hang on.”, I told him.  We trembled to the right, and rumbled to the left.  “Whoa!”, said Quinn.  A man’s crotch stared us down; it was crowded.  “My thoughts exactly .”, I told her as we zoomed along inside the metal centipede.  We exited and mooed around a cardboard mattress, inhaled a big whiff of piss, and then arrived up on the surface streets like good cattle.

My arms grew tired.  Quinn, and her flopping fish routine began to slip from my grasp.  Hundreds of black, blue, and brown jacketed people rushed passed.  Restrooms were for customers only.  And there was more scaffolding outlining gothic buildings than there was around Patrick Ewing’s knees.  “Look!  A concrete park.”, I scoffed.  “Run free my fawns.”, I released them into a gated area with patches of foliage protected by an even smaller gate that read “Keep off grass”.  “Man…this city is old, cold, and just…(a weathered cello player serenaded the wet-looking pigeons pecking at his egg foo young.)…nasty.”, I thought to myself.

Enter Chapter 10 part 4: In C minor

They’ve packed concert halls, wore powder white wigs, and had their inspirational compositions transformed into cartoons.  Yet, there’s nothing cool about these musical all-stars.  Bach, Chopin, and Beethoven have never composed music that made people want to dab, nae nae, twerk, or even bounce walk into splits.  But they have been known to heighten IQs, induce creativity, and help us relax.  And that’s always helpful when we’ve misplaced our youngest on the roof of the car while buckling a bag of groceries into a car seat.  So let’s open our ears to the high pitched pretentious and harmonious sounds that is classical music and allow it to alter our daily perspectives.

Not since an off road surf/fishing/firework exploding/check point haggling/margurita sippin/propane tank mattress/hurricane surviving/Louis & Clark expedition through Baja has it felt THIS good to be home.  Back in paradise.  Back in the land of “Dude..no worries bro.”, sweet smiles, and generous offerings: “Water?  Wheatgrass?  Champagne?  Botox?  Valium anyone?”.  The Queen melted into the couch sharing stories of our east coast vacation.  Although the best part about it was visiting our friends and living their Pennslyvania lifestyle…it was the sensory overload of New York City that rang loud in my mind.  There was just so much to take in at one time.  Yet, despite all the commotion, it was the cello player back at the “concrete park” that I remember so vividly.  His tattered jeans. The worn in boots.  All gave way to his peaceful face and Jay Cutler-like head ticks.  His passion for classical music transcended far beyond the rat birds and city life, and intrigued me enough to play it here in my very own New York City (aka the inside of our house).  Because alas, the kids were back on a tear; running and yelling about.  And instead of parenting, I sat back and watched the beauty of Kingston and Quinn terrorizing the castle to the soundtrack of violins and flutes.  It was then I realized, “Okay so, I’ve got to give NYC another try…and next time bring this Amadeus guy.”.

Chapter 2 part 1: Clothes Case

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“Sooo, put this geometric pattern…aaaand that braille texture together?”, I ask Quinn.  We’re clothes shopping for the Queen while Kingston is at school.  “We carry that in different colors too.”, says the helpful trendy retail girl.  “Quinn, which one?”, I ask.  “Deesh.”, she picks.  Now we’re color blocking white, peach, and navy.  “Okay take it easy, Quinny.  We’re making Mom look like a blind geometry professor.”.  Style-wise, we’re sort of on to something here.  I suggest a chunky necklace to which Quinn again responds with “Deesh!”.  And with that, “Bam! Our Queen flyer than a frequent flier, right Quinn!?”, I critique.  Between the two of us, Quinn and I are styling away like a pair of Joan Rivers groupies raiding her deceased closet.

Enter Chapter 2 part 1: Clothes Case

It seems like only yesterday that they were “5-teen” years old; running around sporting the latest Digimon or Ninja Turtle t-shirt like the two-legged commercials that they were.  They wanted it so we bought it.  No conversation was needed plus the style was age appropiate, and even more satisfying…there wasn’t any whinning when it came to getting dressed at a moments notice.  But as time passes, our care-free-sweat-wearing “5-teens” transform into fashion conscious “teen-wenty” year olds looking to fit in amongst their peers.  And as long as we parents continue down the path of keeping mum about their changing wardrobe choices, it’ll be the contemporary-talentless celebrity that will be shaping our kids attire.  These “famous for being famous” ordinary celebrities with their sponsored looks and overt sexuality have become icons that lay the foundation for today’s styles.  That’s not to say that there won’t be any Anna Piaggi or Freddie Mercury inspired youngsters, but for the most part, our kids will be influenced by those whom have stylist; making for a culture of uninteresting fashionistas.  So in order to steer our kids toward building their own sense of taste, let us talk about their clothing choices while we shop, eat, or sit in traffic so that together…we can help them shape the answers to what human dignity, fashion and real style are all about. 

But now, with the outfit complete…the hard part begins; finding the right fit.  “Just pick the smallest number or whatever has the letter S on it.”, the simpleton in me advices.  The retail girl approaches again, “How is everything going?  Can I help you guys with anything else?”, she asks.  Although her body type is much like our Queen’s, she’s definitely much taller.  “Which size here would you get for yourself?”, I ask.  She hands me an S for the blouse, and a 2 for a pant.  I take an XS and zero for a top and bottom instead; that’s one whole size smaller from what was suggested. “Thank you for your help.”, we praised. “Did I do good Quinn?”. She shook her head. “No!”, she replied.  But because Kingston was almost out of school, Quinn’s opinion at this point was like listening to a bathrobed man explain why Snape killed Dumbledore; I just didn’t care.  And so we paid the cashier, and off we went.

With the three of us back at our slightly burnt-squash-caramelized-onion and  over-cooked-steak smelling house, we waited for the Queen to arrive.  And as soon as she did, we presented her with our wonderful gift of garbs.  “Carl! What the!? You can’t be serious!?”, the Queen remarked.  “It’s that good huh? You like it?”,  I excitedly asked.  “Carl! Look! (she hissed her teeth.) Look at how small this is!  Take it back!”, she demanded.  “Wait, so you dont…at least try it on.”, I suggested.  She mumbled something in patois underneath her breath.  “Carl, you carry and push out two babies, and then see if you can fit into your “smedium” suit.  Unbelivable!  Take it back.  What are you trying to say? Lose weight?  Take it back!”,  she said.  “Okay okay, I will. Just chill out…at least I could fit into my smedium.”, I thought I whispered to myself.  “CARL!”, the Queen gave me a look only a Mortal Kombat warrior could give.  I looked down at Quinn’s “I told you so.” face.  “So young, yet so smart”, I thought to myself.  Well, I suppose in the near future I’ll be having more wardrobe conversations with both my girls.