Kids Say The Darndest Things

“Oh, and guess what your son said at school today?”

That can’t be good. This has been an odd week at the Franzone house. Our children attend a private Christian academy here in Pensacola, FL and my wife on very rare occasion will substitute teach. I say very rare because we have a baby at home and I work. So if my wife is working… you got it; I’m watching the baby. Well, for some very unusual circumstances my wife has been teaching for almost a week now. 😐

I digress. So I take my eleven month old daughter outside for a bit today to walk around and try to keep her awake a little longer before her afternoon nap. Well it starts raining a little so we jump into the truck. Why didn’t we just go into the house you ask? Well… I don’t know! Stop asking. Anyway, I look over and there was my cell phone which I had misplaced and not even known it. And oh what timing, because it was just ringing at that very moment. What luck! After talking to mommy for a bit we arrive at the question which began this blog entry.

“No, dear, what did he say?” Well, my son has a little miniature Robosapien Robot that he took to school. Apparently he told one of his friends that he had named his robot “biatch”. “Nice!” I replied, tears welling up in my eyes. You make me proud boy! Oh… woops… wrong audience… what I meant to say was ummm.

Seriously, though it’s every parent’s worst nightmare. Your child picks up the one word in a movie that you do NOT want them to repeat and they say it in the one place on Earth that you do NOT want them to repeat it. He learned this beautiful piece of urban language from the “kids” movie Zathura. Granted it is rated PG but come on… the language was really unnecessary. The clip he got it from is when the two boys are playing the game. The older boy, Walter gets a robot and the robot turns out to be 3 inches tall. So Walter commands the robot, “Get me a juice box, biatch!” Here is a YouTube clip of the scene if you want to watch it (looks like someone recorded it with their camcorder pointed at the TV – LOL. Go old school baby!). Here is a review of the movie by Plugged In Online, a company owned by Focus on the Family. There is another scene in the beginning of the movie where Walter calls his brother a Richard… well… the nickname for the Richard. 😉 So we never let the kids watch the movie from the beginning; we just start it at around chapter four.

So, it has become clear to me today that children are like little oil filters. They pick up all of the crap from the world that you don’t really want in your house or your TV or your computer and then it oozes out all over the place and makes a big mess. Oh well, what can you do. Well, you can…

Just keep on smilin’
Keep on smilin’ thru the rain
Laughin’ at the pain
Just flowin’ with the changes
Till the sun comes out again
Wet Willie – Keep on Smilin’

Gone Fishin’

5:00 AM Saturday morning the alarm clock goes off. My hand starts instinctively slapping at buttons, “Make it stop! Make it stop!” Just as I start to drift back into the depths of some remote dreamworld I am once again disturbed, only this time my brain is wondering, “What is that noise!?… Oh yeah. Geez. I must be out of my damn mind.” This time I’m awake enough to remember that I’ve agreed to go fishing with my dad today. Great.

I stumble out of bed, get dressed and get the all important coffee brewing. After that I have a couple bowls of Frosted Flakes (Public, NYSE:K) and my first cup of coffee. The baby wakes up during this time so I get to change her diaper and love on her a bit. I then take her to her mother and kiss them both goodbye. I fix a large coffee in a to-go cup and look out the window just in time to see my dad pull up.

I climb into my dad’s old Dodge Ram pickup truck and we’re off to Chumuckla, FL to a fishing lake. Where’s that you ask? Thought you’d never ask. Just check it out on Google Maps. It’s one of those “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” little towns. Here’s a link to their town website if you wanted to get a sense for the place. If it’s any indication of the content you’ll find there they have links to Redneck Parade Links, The Farmer’s Opry, The Chumuckla Goat Farm and Coon Hill Cemetery right on the front page. Seriously folks, you can’t make this up. Not only that, but the website is optimized for dial-up connections. 🙂 Oh goody.

Well, my dad and I both live in Pensacola, FL and it’s about an hour drive to Chumuckla so we had some pretty decent conversation on the way there. When we were getting into the town we actually passed The Farmer’s Opry and my dad commented, “I’ve heard they have a pretty good crowd there on some Friday nights. They sing and have dinner and whatnot.” After a few minutes of reflection I responded, “Well I hear the KKK have a pretty good crowd on some Friday nights too, but that doesn’t make it a good thing.” We both had a good laugh. My dad has always liked my sense of humor… even if he doesn’t necessarily like or approve I think he loves me enough to laugh anyway.

We pass through the center of town, which consisted of a country store, a Tom Thumb gas station, a church and a school then we were on to some farmlands. We drove through some back roads and then my dad cut through the side of what looked like some guys yard. We proceeded down a “path.” It wasn’t really a dirt road. That would imply a well-defined “road.” This was just a beaten path where you could see vehicles had passed before time after time, but weeds and grass still grew up in the center. Trees, vines and weeds grew up around us as we drove through some woods and past a trailer. After several turns and bumps we approached what looked like a hunting lodge of sorts by a lake and were greeted by two yellow labs barking at the tires. We just drove on past them and on down to the lake, finding our way to an overturned metal boat on the opposite side.

FLASHBACK…. Go back in time about 15 years ago. I was just a teenager then. It was the last time my dad and I went fishing. Yeah, you get the picture now. I’m not a fisher. I’m a programmer. Anyway, my dad told me the last time we went fishing it was at a lake much like this one up here in Chumuckla. Interesting. FASTFORWARD.

The day went good or bad… depending on what you were looking for. The weather was an absolute joy. It was chilly in the morning. The sky was crystal blue and the sun was shining. There was a mist floating over the top of the lake. It was a beautiful site… really. It warmed up as the day went on and stayed just as beautiful. What’s that you ask? We’re supposed to be fishing? Yeah, we cast out our lines. And reeled them in. And cast them out. And reeled them in again. I guess it wasn’t really a great day for catching fish. In fact it turned out to be much like that last time we came up here together and went fishing. We did… well I did… catch one fish. It was a one pound bass. I was so excited when I hooked it I thought I was going to yank the poor things head off. Anyway, my dad was very proud of me and I could tell that he just wanted me to catch some more.

The thing I loved about that Saturday was spending the day with my dad. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. When I lived at home we used to spend time in the back yard in our hot tub after a long day and talk for an hour or two about life or things that were bothering us. Or whenever we’d drive somewhere together we’d have a chance to talk about things. Even if we weren’t talking we were spending time together. It was a time for father and son to bond and really build our relationship. We don’t get that much anymore since I’ve grown up and become a father myself. I miss it and am glad I got to experience it again.

Now as exciting as catching that one fish was I’m still not hooked on fishing altogether. I’d much rather be blogging and scrobbling from the comfort of my office chair. On the return trip my dad asked me, “You care anything about fishing on the river.” To which I answered, “You bet!”

Easter Nap

So, what did you do for Easter? My ten month old daughter and I eased on back on my mother’s sofa for a nice afternoon nap. Of course my wife could not pass up the opportunity to capture the moment, which also coincidentally provides proof of my snoring, on video. Here for your viewing pleasure is my debut performance on YouTube. Click the picture below to be taken to the video, which is outside this site.
EasterNap

Mr. Mom Goes To The Soccer Game

Monday night my oldest daughter, Ragan had a soccer game. Now usually this would be a family affair, unless of course I was at home in bed with a migraine. Then my wife would faithfully haul all three kids out to the park for the event herself. Well she had some prior engagements so the duty fell upon my shoulders this time and I willingly accepted.

I work from home and some days for one reason or another it’s just hard to get anything accomplished. Monday seemed to be one of those days. Not only was it one of those days, but two of my employers were asking for deliverables on that morning so by the time Monday evening rolled around I was not in the most patient of moods. My daughter was in her usual… shall I say… “chatty” mode. I think God designed her with a particle accelerator about 2 inches behind her lips. She was asked to get a Gatorade (Public, NYSE: PEP) from the pantry for the game. Of course the drink was not cold, which she pointed out so it was suggested that I put some from the refrigerator that I had premixed into a container for her. I found a suitable thermos, but she wanted to use the large plastic mug that I had pulled out while searching. I was trying to patient so I figured, why not (foreshadowing).

This game was not at the usual location, which is 10 minutes from where we live. It is half an hour (without traffic) on the other side of town. I’ve never been there so I call the coach who also happens to be very close friends with us and secure directions to my destination. So I’m on the way to the game with all three kids, a seven year old girl, a four year old boy and a 10 month old itty bitty whittle girl (who also has Daddy wrapped around her whittle finger). The interstate is the best route initially as there are no turns for a while, which is good because as it happens there is no place to put the mug full of Gatorade which we’ve brought along for the ride. I’ve got it on the floor of the minivan right beside me with my hand rested on top of it to steady it. The kids are great. They are laughing and not fighting or bickering. The baby is playing with a toy and looking out the window. This isn’t so bad.

We get off the interstate and start towards the soccer field which is in the not so nice part of our town. This is also rush hour so traffic is terrible. Ok, still not too bad. I left 45 minutes before the game starts. That’s 30 minutes travel time to be there in time for the 15 minute pre-game warm-up. We should be fine. Suddenly I’m startled by a strange sound. What’s that dinging noise. There it is again. I still haven’t figured out my wife’s new minivan so during the next halt in traffic movement I survey the dashboard to see what is the matter. Hmmmm. No gas. I mean none. Zilch. Nada. Great.

The first few gas stations I drive past look really run down; especially scary. Furthermore I don’t see any pay at the pump signs, so I continue on and hope that the fumes in the tank will somehow propel us further. We do make it to a BP (Public, NYSE: BP) at the next traffic light and I pull in. I step out and start filling the tank as quickly as possible. Of course Avery (the baby) starts crying even though I’m right on the other side of the glass from her making as many funny and ridiculous faces as I can. I finish up, put the gas cap back on and answer “Yes” to the pumps question, “Would you like a receipt?” But guess what. No receipt. Of course. Isn’t that always the case. I just pray that there’s a pen in the minivan. After searching the glove compartment and the diaper bag I find a pen and scribble the pertinent facts about the transaction (I maintain our money records if you couldn’t have guessed) and jump back in the driver’s seat. I’m so aggravated. The baby is crying now. The kids are now asking me a zillion questions about when we are going to get there and what are we going to eat for dinner and blah blah blah. “Are you guys buckled up!?… Good.” I zip around the gas station and pull back out onto the main highway to get back on track to our destination. My right hand gravitates back down to where it previously rested atop the drink and… umm… awe man! I look down and the mug is not upright. Noooo! It’s lying flat on the floor. I quickly pick it up in the futile hopes that it somehow just happened, but of course it didn’t and the mug is a LOT lighter than it previously was. Well, no sense crying over spilled… Gatorade.

In rush hour traffic there are a lot more cars on the road. Duh. You need a lot more forewarning about things ahead. If you have a two-lane highway that empties into a one-lane road it’d be nice to know that ahead of time. Also if you happen to be in the lane that’s the “must turn right” lane it’d be nice to know about that two blocks ahead. But of course I’ve never been to this particular field so I didn’t realize this. I had to try and beg people to let me into the extremely long line of cars full of people that did know this. I know they were all thinking, “Why didn’t you get in line waaaay back there like the rest of us, you jerk!” Because, sir, I’m a jerk and well… I didn’t know.” Anyway, a nice Asian person let me in and we were finally almost there. All I had to do was find 57th Ave. Ok, there’s 52nd Ave. Almost there. There’s 58th Ave. Huh? There’s 60th Ave. Obviously I’ve missed it. I turned off on 61st Ave and turn around in some persons driveway. I head back and find a road that I suspect may be 57th Avenue. It is. Only someone has knocked down the street sign. Nice. Just about a half mile down the unmarked road and we are at the Y.M.C.A.

I get the kids out of the minivan and get the stroller out of the back and get the diaper bag, all the while the baby is screaming to be let out. I get the now empty mug and put it in the back of the minivan to my daughter’s dismay and inform her that, yes, Daddy spilled the drink and we don’t have anything to replace it with. I go around and unbuckle the baby and lift her out of the car seat and… woe-nelly! What’s that smell?! Great, a poopy diaper. With the baby securely fastened into the stroller and the older kids holding onto the sides we make our way onto the field. We are still about five minutes before the game, so not too bad. Ragan runs ahead to warm up with her teammates and Gavin takes off behind her. I make it to the sidelines where the other moms are sitting and where Gavin has made his way to greet his teacher, who’s daughter plays on Ragan’s team. I ask Gavin’s teacher to watch out for him so I can change the baby’s diaper.

She kindly obliges and I head off with baby in one arm, diaper and wipes in the other hand. I get to the building with the restrooms and walk inside the mens room. Of course I knew better, but I figured I’d check it out just for giggles. Yuck. To the minivan! My little princess and I make the trek to the minivan and I get the nice automated sliding side door open and lay her on the floor. I get the new diaper open and ready for a quick swap-in. Then I open the pack of wipes to be ready for the cleanup. Nice. I’ve got one crinkled up, slightly moist wipe. This should get really interesting. I open up “the package” to survey the damage and Thank You Jesus it wasn’t a nuclear disaster. It was mostly solid and well formed with a slightly piquant odor, for you dookie connoisseurs. I made the most of it with my rations. I was using the edges of the soiled diaper that weren’t so soiled. I’ve never been so creative in soiled diaper cleaning in all my life. Anyway, as any good dad would do I got the job done and got back to the game, depositing the battle debris in a dumpster along the way.

I don’t really recall much of the game as I didn’t get to watch that much of it. My time was spent watching my son kick a soccer ball around the sidelines and keeping my daughter from getting completely filthy while chasing him around. Yes, she is walking at 10 months old. 🙂 At the end of each quarter I felt the failure of fatherhood as I watched the sweat drip down Ragan’s forehead. She smiled up at me and listened attentively to her coach, not complaining that we didn’t have anything for her to drink. I can’t express how bad that hurt me.

The game ended and the snacks came out, which was a huge relief to me. Ragan got a drink and something to snack on. They had some extras so Gavin got some as well. By this time Avery was tired and pulling my hair out while trying to either eat the right side of my neck or knock herself unconscious on my shoulder. While the kids snacked I relayed the story of the spilled drink to a couple of the moms and how bad I felt about it. I got the baby into her stroller and she calmed down thankfully, almost as to say, “Yes, I’m ready to go home father.”

We started to head for the minivan and Ragan, my seven year old daughter who had been listening to my conversation earlier asks me, “Daddy? You spilled my Gatorade in mommy’s van?” I reply, “Yes.” She says simply, “Mommy is going to kill you.” …

“I know.”