Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rip-off Artist

I just glanced at an article that was extolling the "genius" of Budweiser's new one-word ad. I'm sure you've seen it. It features a guy who simply says "Dude!" in response to any given situation. Genius? Really? I'm not so sure..... Gibson has been giving me that same one-word answer for a year and a half now, and I don't think I would ever go so far as to call it "genius". In fact, the first time I saw that commercial, I wondered how a Budweiser marketing exec had managed to hide under our kitchen table without me noticing. Wherever he was, under the table, in the closet, behind a door, it certainly seems that he took careful notes.

He captured the excited Gibson:
Mike: "Hey Boys! We're going to go for a hike today!"
Gibson: "DUDE!"

He captured the disappointed Gibson:
Me: "But we're not going anywhere until all your toys are cleaned up..."
Gibson: "Dude..."

He captured the angry Gibson:
Me: "No, you can't have sweet tarts. It's eight o'clock in the morning!"
Gibson: "DUDE!!!"

He captured the dismay Gibson expresses when Landis swipes a favorite toy:

And he captured the sentiment Gibson expresses when he's questioning a decision Mike and I have made:

In fact, that commercial is such a rip-off of the day-to-day communication skills of my 5 year old, that I'm sure we're entitled to some of the profits. Which makes me wonder.......... Does anybody have the number to Budweiser?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The beauty of a pet hamster.......

Guess what I did today?!

I'll give you a hint: It involved numerous plastic bags............

Need another hint? It also involved walking around our yard..........

Still can't get it?
Here's the last clue: We have a very large dog.

Have you guessed yet?

That's right! I went on poop-patrol! Hooray!!! The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and it was a fabulous afternoon -- considerably warmer than they were forecasting. And so, I decided that as long as I was going to be outside anyway, it was probably an ideal time to scoop. It certainly had been a long time coming. It's been so chilly here that I haven't been on patrol for about four weeks. Oh, and did I mention that our dog weighs-in at 100 pounds? Did I also mention that he eats like a horse? Or that he is a very particular pooper? Well, he is. So you can imagine that going on patrol is quite an undertaking. It's almost like a treasure hunt, though clearly I use that word loosely. What we were searching for today certainly wouldn't qualify as "treasure" to anyone but the truly sick and demented. It's just that we have to be on the lookout for clues as to where the numerous trails start, and likewise, where they end. You see, Sammy doesn't like to just go in one place. He prefers to scatter, using the old "walk-while-you-go" method. Personally, I'd think that he'd prefer to confine it to one spot -- especially knowing that we don't have a very large yard. But no. He prefers to cover as much ground as possible.

So there I was, basking in the warm sunshine and slowly scouring the yard for dog-o-matic land-mines. Mike was helping, by the way. I don't want to get in trouble for leaving out his contribution. He's quite a skilled patrolman, and certainly did a bang-up job this afternoon. It took us at least 30 minutes of slow, calculated walking and careful grass scanning, but when we were finished we had 4 plastic grocery bags filled to capacity. (I know, I know, I know....... T.M.I. I'm sure you are completely grossed out that I just included that little detail, but bear with me. If I didn't think it was an important part of the story, I'd have spared you the visual. I swear.) I stood back, surveying our handiwork, and said to Mike "How much poop do you think those bags contain?" I was asking because my last bag in particular had gotten so heavy that my bicep was sore from holding it for such an extended period of time. (And it's not like I'm in bad shape. Certainly not such that hauling around a minimal amount of weight for 30 minutes would affect me.) He shrugged and took a guess. By now though, my curiosity was peaked. How much poop did those bags contain? I couldn't help myself. I had to know. I went into the bathroom and brought out my scale. I weighed myself, and then I weighed myself holding the bags.

21 pounds!!!! Twenty-one freakin' pounds of poop! Out of our yard! And I would be remiss if I didn't also mention that it has rained recently. Rained hard. So you know that plenty of poop had already disintegrated back into the ground. Our dog shits a minimum of 5 pounds a week. That's 250 pounds a year. And I'm not even going to do the math on the amount of poo we will have had to wrangle in Sam's lifetime if he lives to the ripe old age of 12. As it stands now, in order to maintain a modicum of control we have to wander around the yard armed with plastic bags at least once a week. I mean, look what happens when we forgo patrol for an extended period of time! Thank God it's been so cold no one would venture outside to play! So, if you are reading this, and have recently considered getting a dog, (Brooke....listen up.....) I have some words of wisdom that you should take to heart: Teeny-tiny dogs produce turds the size of skittles. Which is an important fact to ponder if you can't seem to get yourself pumped up about scooping exorbitant amounts of poo. My completely unsolicited advice is to go this route:
Or perhaps you could just get your kids a hamster.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Who knew a lap-top could be so much fun?

So my brother-in-law came over to our house the other day. He lives in Western NC, and works for a residential summer camp over in the mountains. Every January he does slide shows in Charlotte for families who are interested in learning more about the camp. And every January he stays at our house. And when he does, we always have loads of fun. This particular visit was no different. On this particular visit he'd brought with him a new toy. It was a mac lap-top with a built-in camera. The lap-top came equipped with a program called "photo booth", and with it you could do all kinds of things to your photos. It was especially hilarious when it came to distorting faces.

Here are 2 examples:

For more hilarious and slightly disturbing shots, see the side-bar.

I think my kids are related to mockingbirds.......

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Alone in the bathroom

What do you get when your 3 year old is left unsupervised in your bathroom for a few minutes? You get High-Endurance-Carmex-head. Curious to know what High Endurance-Carmex-head is? Well, let me explain.........

It started mid-afternoon when Landis announced, "Mommy!! I hafta' go PEE-PEE!!!" His announcement didn't come as a suprise, since for the previous 5 minutes I'd been watching him do the squirmy, shifty, pee-pee dance, that I think is universal to all little kids. "Well then go" I told him.

He's perfectly capable of going to the potty by himself, but we never fail to have that little exchange first. It's our routine. He holds it as long as he possibly can, does the dance, makes the announcement, and then I tell him to go ahead and go. Yesterday was no different.

So, he went. But he was gone for an unusually long time. Longer than it takes him on a regular basis. So I went to check on him, thinking maybe he got in there and realized he had more business to take care of than he originally thought. (Though I do have to admit that that scenario would be uncommon. If the status of what he has to do changes, he usually comes out and tells me. Gives me an update, if you will. Because like I said before, he enjoys the routine.)

I got into the bathroom and there he stood -- looking into the mirror at my sink.
"Landis, are you done?" I asked.
"Yep." he replied.
"Did you flush?" I asked.
"Yep." he replied.
"Did you wash your hands?" I asked.
"Yep." he replied.

And then I caught a faint whiff. A whiff of something I couldn't quite put my finger on. I got closer to him. The smell got stronger. And then I saw the small jar of Carmex sitting on my counter. So that was it...... The slightly medicinal smell of Carmex.

"Landis, did you put some Carmex on your lips?" I asked him.
"No," he replied. "I put it in my hair!"

I stood over him so I could have a good look. And there it was -- an unmistakable grease-spot of Carmex all over the top of his head. But there was something else too..... He was even more fragrant close up. I gave him a good sniff, and then I realized what it was.

"Landis, did you put daddy's deodorant in your hair too?"
"Yes!" he exclaimed. He was quite proud of himself.
"Why in the world did you put that stuff in your hair?" I asked him.
"I'm making it pretty!!" he replied. "Don't I look pretty?!"
"You look beautiful" I reassured him, as I ushered him out of the bathroom, "but how 'bout we don't put anymore Carmex or deodorant in the hair, OK?"

He agreed to stop using either as a hair product, and we jumped into the car to go pick up his brother from Kindergarten. And even though he reeked of Old Spice High Endurance, there was nothing I could do about it. Because as luck would have it, due to our time-constraints a good hair washing was completely out of the question. Which I have to say was pretty darn unfortunate. Because, aside from the fact that continuously sniffing an exorbitant amount of Old Spice in a small enclosed space can make one a tad nauseous, there is also something downright disturbing about a 3 year old who smells like a 36 year old man.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bootie Smackin'

Do you have kids? If you do, does naked-dancing-butt-smacking happen in your house too? (By your kids, I mean. I'm not interested what you and your significant other do in your spare time.....) It happens in our house on a regular basis, and I think it might be my fault. You see, I used to pat the boys on their naked little booties all the time, because they were just so incredibly cute. I couldn't help it. In that nutty little jigsaw puzzle of genetics, they both ended up with a Kafsky bootie. Mine was never very prominent. Even as I get older, it doesn't get "bigger", just flatter and wider. The boys' backsides, by contrast, were (and are still) these super-cute perfectly round little booties that just begged for a little pat. And now I think I've unleashed a monster. It would seem that I have, unwittingly, raised a 5 and 3 year old who absolutely and unequivocally LOVE to smack their own naked butts. Especially Landis, who gets out of the tub every night without fail, and dances his own special naked bootie smacking jig around the bedroom for at least ten minutes, laughing and singing all the while.

They think naked butts are hilarious; specifically their own. Is this universal to little boys, or is it mine in particular? Just yesterday I had to utter a sentence that I couldn't believe was actually coming out of my mouth. Do you know what I had to say? I had to tell Gibson to "get his butt back in his pants" or I was going to send Alex home and he'd spend the afternoon sitting on his bed. And just in case you're wondering what prompted that little statement, I'd caught him mooning the neighbor boy. All of them were laughing hysterically. Well........ let me re-phrase that. Gibson and Landis were laughing hysterically. The neighbor boy was laughing, but in a way that made me think he was wondering what he did to deserve a mooning. Seriously, I didn't think I'd have to utter a phrase like that for at least 12 more years. And even then I figured it would happen more in the context of me appearing unexpectedly in the family room while he and a girlfriend were getting too cozy on the couch.

And it'd be one thing if they confined their obsession with their own butts to our home. But they do it in public too. Not the naked part - thank God - but the smacking-dancing part. It can happen without warning, anywhere, anytime, and for any random reason. For instance, they were thrilled with my choice of cereal on a random trip to the grocery store. (Cereal, mind you.) As I tossed the bag into the cart, they began their bootie-smacking dance of glee, up and down the isle. "Yee-ha!!" they shouted, as they galloped, jumped and smacked, galloped, jumped and smacked. Some shoppers were bemused. Perhaps they had small boys at home too. Or maybe they were dancing-bootie-smackers themselves, and pleased to see the boys proudly and publicly carrying on a tradition.

Who knows? I certainly don't. I have no idea what goes on in those little minds, or what makes naked-dancing-butt-smacking so hilarious in the first place. Does everyone get it but me? I hope not. Because you know what they say...... If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

It's that time of year again. Time for the big list. So get out your pens and papers ladies and gentlemen, and go and scrutinize yourselves in the mirror. Let's get to listing out all the things wrong with ourselves, our bodies, our lives, and what we'd like to change.

OK. I'm just kidding here -- sort of. I'm all for self-improvement. In fact I'm completely on board with taking the steps necessary to improve ourselves, our bodies, and our lives. It's healthy to have enough self-awareness to recognize the areas of our lives that need a little changing. I'm just not that into scrutinizing oneself in the mirror, dwelling on faults, and being critical in the way of "I wish I were taller, or thinner, or smaller..... I wish I was richer, or younger, or prettier.... I wish I had a smaller nose, a bigger nose, a straighter nose, skinny hips, bigger lips, wider eyes, a smaller butt, longer calves, a shrinking gut, leaner thighs...........I wish I had a nicer car, larger house, expensive wardrobe........more channels, more shoes, the newest phone, a faster computer, a bigger TV.......If only I had this, then I could be that.... etc....etc... and etc...."

In truth, I've never even made any resolutions. And as I sit and reflect on it, I guess I don't know precisely why. I just don't do it. I've never felt compelled to. And I've never really given it much thought. Another year passes, and I continue on, seemingly more than content to travel on the life-path I am carving out for myself. But this not this year. This year, for the very first time, I think I'll get out my pen and paper. And maybe what I'll write will not exactly be "New Year's Resolutions", but more like a "To-Do" list for my life. Is there a difference between a To-Do List and a Resolution? Maybe not. I just know that I am pretty good at crossing things off the To-Do lists I make on a day-to-day basis. Not to mention that the list in itself, is a concrete thing I can carry around with me, pull out, look at. And if you know me at all, you know that I need something concrete to look at. Out of sight, out of mind? That's me. For better or worse, that's how I operate.

I don't truly know what makes this year different from any other, or what is driving my motivation....... I just know that it is. Maybe it's because for the first time in almost 6 years I'm about to hang up my "apron" as a stay-at-home-mommy. Not immediately, and certainly not completely, but without a doubt, the "apron" will spend more time on it's hook. You see, next year my youngest will be off to pre-school. And that being the case, I think I am beginning see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel; Flickering ever so faintly, but there all the same. Is that faint flicker of light the reason that deep down, I can feel the sprouting seeds of a driving need to reinvent myself? Or does it have more to do with the fact that now, in my mid-thirties, I'm coming to the realization that the current path I've been skipping down could be nearing a crossroad of sorts? Perhaps everyone, at some point in their thirties, goes through this. This transition. This need for a big transformation.

I guess I don't really know. But what I do know is that I'm antsy. I know I'm getting restless. I know that I'm so hungry for change I can't seem to stop cutting or coloring my hair. (Which I'm guessing is because my hair seems to be the easiest thing to make major modifications to right now.) So, before my hair gets so short, or so red, that I actually have to go Brittney-Spears-Style and shave my head bald, I'll get started on my New Year's Resolutions. I'll reflect, re-evaluate, contemplate. I'll probe the corners of my brain and dig into the depths of my heart. I'll take a good, hard look at the options layed out along my path, and I'll get started on my list.