Thursday, May 27, 2010


Several people have informed me over the past week or two that they have been disappointed in my blogging output since losing my job. I appreciate that my friends and family have appropriately prioritized their concerns for us, and I apologize for the dearth of posts.

What I've discovered is that I've actually been far busier these last few weeks than I was in the past few months of full employment. My job had been winding down for a little while, giving me ample time to share my thoughts regarding global issues such as uncomfortable restroom interactions and which of my kids is the most brain damaged.

But now that I'm in a place of needing to find someone willing to provide me with enough of a paycheck to maintain Grant's steady supply of plastic armaments, I've found that the pursuit requires a great deal of time and energy, leaving little time for blogging. Additionally, we're steadily gearing up for our big trip in June, which has also required a bit of planning.

In the mean time, I went to Walmart the other day and saw one of the products I formerly managed sitting on the shelf with a clearance tag. I considered standing in front of it while wearing a sandwich board featuring my resume, but in the end, I simply purchased a few supplies to repair our gas grill and a rubber shark to keep Grant happy.

Hopefully I'll get more time to post next week. In the mean time, Grace just pooped all over her sheets.

Mr. Mom.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mouth Cuts

You know, there’s really nothing worse than having a cut…in your mouth.  Everything you drink stings for no explicable reason, and if you’re a fan of Sichuan style Chinese food, you might as well have paper cuts between your toes.

Every spoon that our family possesses has little nicks in the metal, all around the eating portion of the utensil,  little burrs protruding all around the portion of the spoon that will soon be positioned against the most tender portions of my lips and mouth.

I pour a nice bowl of cereal, grab a spoon…instant lip cut.  I put a handful of ice cream in a bowl, I take my first bite – a mild abrasion.

For you see, every single, solitary, spoon in our household has spent some portion of its lifetime spinning in the garbage disposal.  For whatever inexplicable reason, nobody else here seems to mind the grinding of gears and shearing of metal created by turning on the disposal with a spoon lodged deep in its bowels.

Occasionally I’ll even say, “Gee, how can you see if there’s something stuck in the disposal when there’s so much stuff piled in the sink,” but my warning goes unheeded.  Instead, I’m made to continue living with small cuts on my lips -- a constant reminder that a) I’m the only person in this place that cares about our flatware and b) I really need to lay off the Tabasco.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Drowning Avoidance

Well, today was my last official day of employment. I didn't actually report for duty today, since I'd already turned in my keys and gone through my exit interview. It's a weird feeling, knowing that all of the "stuff" you've cared about for 16 years doesn't matter anymore. But the prospect of learning new "stuff" (hopefully sooner than later) makes it feel OK.

I've been doing some phone interviews, which I pretty much detest. I understand their purpose, but I really dislike talking on the phone...for anything. The added stress of having it be the gateway to future employment makes it even more intolerable.

My prior employer has provided me access to a "career counselor" of sorts as part of my parting gift. He suggested last week that you don't want to say anything to give the potential employer the "creepy factor" over the phone. I suggested that perhaps I should no longer use "Gee, I rarely talk to someone on the phone for free while sitting at home in my underpants" as my opener. He didn't know how to respond.

Between watching the "Price Is Right" and "Regis & The Wirey Blond Chick" in my down time, I've been taking Grant to swim lessons at the local high school. We're going to the beach in a few weeks, and we wanted to make sure Grant had some basic skills in the water. We really weren't concerned about the lessons, in part because Grant has been exposed to the pool quite a bit already. He swims with us on every vacation, and he's always been a trooper in the bath tub. Boy, did we misjudge this.

On the first day, Grant spent most of the time in the pool screaming, "Get me out of this pool!" and "I want my mommy!" (Daddy never seems to get any love in these situations...of course, it's hard to hear him when you're on the ground laughing.) The picture at the top of the post was taken on Day One, albeit from a distance. As a parent, you have to let your kid learn to face these fears alone. At least that's what my dad told me as he watched me bubble under in the pool where he coached swimming.

Here are a few videos from the early days of swim lessons. In the first one, you can watch as the toddlers recreate the Bataan Death March into the pool. My favorite part is when, disgusted, Grant spots me shooting the video.

At the suggestion of another parent, we decided that bribery was the only way Grant would conquer his fears. The parent with the questionable judgment who made this suggestion stated that his daughter preferred ice cream. We knew that food wasn't the way to Grant's heart, but weaponry from the Dollar Tree probably was instead.

Part of the deal was that if Grant didn't cry during swim lessons, he'd get some new ammo or a new "gat" from the dollar store. In an effort to fully comply, Grant would turn around occasionally and make sure we saw him smiling from ear to ear. Even if he cried, he'd break for long enough to turn around. I caught a couple of examples below.

(You can see Grant's wonderful swim instructor in this photo, giving the camera a suspicious "Dateline Special" look as a very white dude shoots her picture in the pool, not knowing that Grant is, indeed, adopted.)

In the end, Grant has enjoyed the swimming lessons, and at least now we know he can scream at the top of his lungs if something were to happen on vacation. Additionally, we now have the world's most complete arsenal of plastic dollar store weaponry, all made in China. For me, it's a misty eyed reminder of my days of employment past and nights spent at the Holiday Inn Donghua. Farewell, old friend...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tip Jars

One of the values held dear by my lovely wife is that of generosity, and I must admit that this is one of the many facets of my personality that has improved with our marriage. (Another might be the ability to eat dinner without engaging in a play-by-play style discussion of the path the meal is taking through my digestive tract.)

Early in our marriage, I would have to be revived if Erin managed to get our restaurant bill before I did, for I knew that the tip would probably be nearly equal to our original bill. We have managed to merge in the middle, and now we agree to tip well without trying to single handedly make a rent or mortgage payment for our server.

The one facet of tipping that still annoys me is the tip jar at the Starbucks drive thru. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the willingness of my window-based barista to pour me a "tall, black coffee" -- my signature drink at Starbucks. But I don't really feel like there's anything about my order that warrants a tip. I just find that the jar annoys me.

The other thing that bothers me about the tip jar in this location is that I eat at other fast food establishments, and the fine employees of those restaurants don't get tips, and in many cases they've had to do far more work for me. The woman who dresses my Whopper (something hard to say without snickering) and the man who salts my fries (not nearly as double entendre friendly) arguably work harder than someone who pours me a cup of coffee, yet they make no effort to receive a tip. They simply man their post and provide the requested service.

Perhaps the answer here, at least in my wife's eyes, is to start offering a tip to the fine folks who serve me at fast food places other than Starbucks. Or better yet, maybe I just need to lay off the cheeseburgers and coffee.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Oh, Grant...

Grant started swim lessons this week, but I'll let Bret blog about that craziness. Let's just say that there's always one child screaming his head off. This week--that's my boy! We have pictures and such, so more to come.

But for now, here is a video of Grant talking about one of his favorite topics: dinosaurs. Grant loves dinosaurs, Star Wars, and Batman, but I think dinos (he makes me say dinosaur; he doesn't like abbreviated words [same with mayo]) are the current favorite.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Your Husband Has Too Much...

time on his hands when he asks you (you, who is still working) if you "happened to catch Regis and Kelly this morning." No, no, I did not.