Archive for March, 2009

Corpsman Up!!!!

March 28, 2009

Here’s a fact- little boys get hurt.  I know this because I was once a little boy and I have all of the cool scars to prove it.  Most of my childhood injuries were a result of doing stupid things- they didn’t seem stupid at the time but then again I was the kid who believed new tennis shoes made you run faster and if outfitted in the right pair of under-roos I could achieve flight- I guess stupid is relative.

But this post isn’t about preventing my kids from doing stupid things. I don’t dedicate myself to impossible causes there are too many cards stacked against me- they’re boys, they’re high energy and most importantly they crawled to shore from the Groah family gene pool.  Every male in my family tree has been pieced back together more than once- it’s highly probable that my boys will be no different. 

Some of you may think that I’m being fatalistic but truth be told injuries are a fact of life when you’re a Groah-man.  The flip-side of that is Groah-men down play the extent of their injuries to avoid going to the hospital for emergency care.  So if you’re unfortunate enough to be a Groah-woman you have to be extremely vigilant for the tell tale signs of catastrophic injury.  When I was growing up you knew my Dad was in trouble when he yelled for you to bring him a role of paper towels and a beer.  When this request was levied my Mom would immediately run to the scene to render aid- which my father would most likely refuse.  For instance, I once saw my Dad care for two completely mangled fingers with 6-paper towels and a couple of Pabst Blue Ribbons.  He continued to work on my sisters ’76 Thunderbird (with a claw hammer) even though his hand looked as if it fell into a taffy puller.  You heard me correctly he was working on her car with a claw hammer- but as stated I’m not here to prevent stupid things from happening- my focus is on what to do after the injury has occurred.

My boy’s inherited the Groah family curse and get injured frequently enough to assure me that yes they are my sons.  They haven’t quite developed the injury denile mechanism yet so they don’t feel compelled to mask the extent of their wounds- but I am sure with time that facet of our DNA will blossom as well.  

Now, since I grew up in an enviroment where injuries were common place- combined with the nature of my current profession- I’ve earned the title of resident paramedic.  I don’t think many injuries happened in Connie’s childhood home, they were all to busy studying, playing varsity sports and prepping for college.  So I’m the man when the call for “MEDIC UP!” is sounded.  Here is some advice if you too have been given this prestigious position within your family.  I’ll use last Friday night to help illustrate my points.

The alarm was sounded at 1900 hours (7 pm for you civilian folks).  Mack ran up from the basement with a look of terror on his face and announced “Dad, Cayden’s hurt really bad”.  This is never a good sign.  If the injury is benign Mack doesn’t bother to tell us- he normally cares for his brother on his own.  Granted Macks medical repertoire is mostly comprised of repeated pleas “to be quiet so Mom and Dad don’t punish us”- but Friday night went beyond his medical training so he sought out my services.  I rushed down the basement stairs to survey the damage.  On my way down I listened to the pitch of  Cayden’s screams.  I can tell the difference between tears of anger, frustration, hurt feelings, fear and ER worthy injuries.  By the time I made it down the stairs I knew he was truly hurt.  I got to his side.  Cay was laying on the floor holding the back of his head and I could tell by the amount of blood that he would be needing some stitches. At this point the best thing I could do is calm him down.  So I spoke to him softly and asked him about where it hurt and what happened.  “Well Dad, take a look at where the blood is gushing out of my scalp- that’s a good place to start ass-wipe”.  He didn’t really say that, but judging by the moment of lucidity that I witnessed after I posed the question he was definitely thinking it.  Point being, the last thing my boys need when they’re scared is for me to lose my composure- to do so would send them into utter panic.  I scooped him up and rushed him to the kitchen.  Connie was standing by, with a wash cloth and an ice pack.   I cleaned the area around the cut and continued to talk to Cayden.  At this stage in the care giving process I’ll throw in some jokes to see if I can get the victim to smile- if I can get them to giggle I know that it’s mostly fear causing the tears and not the injury itself.  Within moments Cayden was laughing and asking for his Nintendo.  That’s a good sign.

Some other hints, try to keep them from looking at the blood flow, lots of blood scares the shit out of them so keep it mopped up as best as possible.  It’s also helpful to keep their siblings from offering commentary as you tend the wound.  Mack, likes to say things like “Holy Cow!  Look at all that blood- Dad is Cayden dieing?” this of course sends Cayden’s anxiety level through the roof and all the work I did to calm his ass down is now out the window. 

As I triaged the wound Connie went to retrieve our meager stock of medical supplies.  I asked her for gause and a bandage to hold it in place for the trip to the ER.  She produced the gause but no joy on the bandage.  I had to improvise so I asked Connie for an old pair of pantie hoes- strange look, but she ran to get me a pair.  When she returned I had her cut off one of the legs.  I placed the gauze on the wound and then slid the pantie hoe over Cayden’s head to hold it in place.  This worked extremely well- so if you don’t have an Ace Bandage handy keep it in mind.  Cayden was pleased with the head gear- he said it made him look like a ninja, especially when he pulled it down to his lips.

Wound tended, I broke the news to Cayden that we would have to go to the hospital- instant fear.  First question, “am I getting shots?”.  Always answer “NO” to this question- even if you know you’re seven years behind on the kid’s immunizations and it’s likely that they are going to get every shot in the inventory.  If you tell your kids that shots are even a remote possibility you’ll add an additional 30 minutes to your hospital commute- all of which will be spent begging and pleading for them to get in the car.  In  cases involving emergency care little white lies are sometimes necessary.

So I managed to get the boys to the ER.  Mack wanted to go with to provide moral support and I didn’t have the heart to tell him no.  So the three Groah men hung out at the emergency room watching Sponge Bob Square Pants from the comfort of an automated hospital gurney for the remainder of our exciting Friday evening.  I wonder how many generations of Groah’s have done the exact same thing over the years?  My guess is I am not the first.

BTW- Cayden toughed out the three stitches like a true hard-ass.  Not a single tear while the sewed him back up- the kid is John Wayne incarnate, I’m so proud.

One last bit of  advice.  Purchase a nice sharp pair of cuticle scissors and a good pair of tweezers and keep them with your medical stuff.  It’s a lot more convenient to pluck the stitches out yourself than having to sit in a waiting room for hours to have your doctor do it.  I’m Hella proficient at this- must be all the practice I get.

Final note- In the time it took me to write this post Mack had his own accident requiring ER care, I’ll blog about that later- pretty funny stuff- no stitches this time they used glue.

Baseball season has started again and if you’re the parent of young children you know what this means. If you’re not a parent, or you’re the parent of children to young to benefit from the positive influence of organized group activities, let me explain.
Baseball season means that you’ll have to drive your child to practice a minimum of three times per week and that you’ll spend a large portion of your weekend sitting in a folding camp chair. Baseball season means that you’ll be forced to interface with that nutty father of the kid down the street who loves the National Past Time so much that he actually ordered his own baseball uniform in a XXXL so that he can live vicariously through his son’s Little League experience. This guy’s easy to spot- he’ll be the one screaming repeatedly at his kid to pay attention as little Johnny picks dandelions in center field. Let’s see, what else does it mean?  Oh yeah, you get to participate in the collective angry sigh of the sideline parents (minus the guy in uniform) when the coach announces that the kids could really use an additional 15-minutes of practice- as dinner chills on the table and the homework gets farther and farther from being completed. Have you ever been on the sidelines when this happens- Holy shit, talk about hostility.

Our league goes above and beyond in the pain department- they actually bully parents into working the concession stand during the games. No shit, if you don’t volunteer for a couple of days of making snow cones and hot dogs they slap an additional $50 fee on you- that’s on top of the $200 I paid to sign the boys up in the first place. I think Connie threw me under the bus on this one but I’m not sure- if she didn’t then I can’t come up with a logical explanation for the hair net and apron I found in my closet. The whole thing seems shady to me, I’m already signed up to bring the entire team snacks every other week why the hell do they need a concession stand in the first place?

Did I mention baseball equipment? Then let me do so now. Every year I trudge to the sporting good store to buy brand new baseball cleats in the spring and soccer shoes in the fall. I have to do this because my kids feet grow overnight. Now, since the boys are two years apart, I should be able to recycle the barely used footwear, but I can’t because their feet refuse to grow in any logical sequence. Mack’s feet grow two sizes at a time- it’s the size that he skips that fit Cayden‘s feet- every friggin’ time, it’s a creepy parenting phenomenon. So at the end of the day I have a massive pile of almost new sports shoes sitting next to the giant-sized pile of shin guards which are cattycorner to the humongous pile of discarded team jersey’s- none of which fit but all in such great shape that I refuse to throw them away. This year Mack’s lobbying for his first cup and jock strap combo set. I’m expecting a giant sized pile of those next- won’t that be a lovely addition to the sports themed mountain range sprawling through my garage?

Knowing all of this ahead of time begs the question “why we do this to ourselves year in and year out?” The answer is simple. Last spring I witnessed Mack hit his first homerun and it was simply amazing. When he crossed home plate he was mobbed by his teammates in a flurry of little boy embraces. As I proudly watched my son bask in his first moment of sports glory I realized that the only thing on those kids’ minds at that very moment was how great it was to be a part of a team. That moment of clarity made all of the other inconveniences seem pretty manageable- even the wacky Dad in the full sized little league uniform who clutched me in an awkward embrace when Mack rounded third base- that dude is a strange ranger for sure.

I returned home from work last Friday and was greeted at the door by an extremely red faced 8-year old. At first glance it appeared that Mack had contracted some strange rash which covered both cheeks, his chin and his temples. Connie told me that Mack had been into some wild berries in the woods behind our home- and his red swollen face was the result. Our first concern was that if the berries were all over his face then it was likely they got there as he shoveled them into his gaping maw. But Mack was adamant that he hadn’t eaten any. Connie and I were perplexed so we made Mack explain what had happened.

According to Mack while he was working on his god-awful empire (the eyesore of a fort that he is building) he stepped on some wild berries and they exploded upward spraying his face with berry innards. Because he is so conscientious about his appearance and overall hygiene he felt propelled to immediately jump in the tub and scour his face until all of the offending substance, to include several layers of skin, was removed. The red swollen splotches covering my boy’s face were the fruit of his efforts. It honestly looked like he used an SOS pad in lieu of a wash cloth.

Strange things happen in the Groah household- weird, mystical things that defy logic, but Mack’s explanation went beyond the Bermuda Triangle type shit that Connie and I have come to accept as the norm. Here are a few clues that brought Mack‘s story into question.

I’ve been a Marine for 21-years and have blown up many, many things but I have yet to come in contact with an exploding piece of vegetation. That being said without the benefit of explosives it would take considerable force to validate Mack‘s claims. By my calculations for Mack’s account to be even remotely accurate he would have had to fall from the height of a medium sized sky scraper landing directly on a pile of ripe berries roughly the size of a Volkswagen. Clue number two, Mack voluntarily took a bath. This is more unlikely than exploding fruit. I argue every night to get him in the shower- to think that he would stop destroying stuff on his own accord and bathe is inconceivable. I knew when he delivered this piece of his intricate tale that he was full of shit- exploding fruit maybe- Mack washing without having to be dragged to the bathroom, ha! never gonna happen. The third and final clue- Mack avoided eye contact and when pressed for details he answered with outlandish claims. It was obvious that his plan depended upon us falling for it hook, line and sinker- he never put any thought into what he should say if we expressed doubt. For instance when Connie asked Mack why he didn’t come to us so we could help him with the mess he said “Oh I didn’t want to bother you- you were busy so I figured I would do it on my own.” Mack not wanting to bother us? Whoa! the shit is getting deep in our living room- the kid lives for the opportunity to make us do stuff. That confirmed our suspicions- Connie and I knew that we were being fibbed to.

Most times when I catch Mack in one of his fibs I end up pulling him to the side so we can discuss what really happened. I like to give my boys an opportunity to come clean (irony) on their own, without having their mother standing over them. She uses the same tactic. I guess it‘s a “good cop bad cop” thing, but it works. For the guys it’s easier to unravel a fib when only having to face one of us. If both of us approach the offending party at the same time they’ll clam up and it may take hours to finally get to the truth. I think this is a very important thing to consider. In my experience little boy fibs can be dangerous or benign- you just really never know until you get to the bottom of it. For instance, Mack could have eaten a handful of berries and decided that if he told us he would get in trouble- I like to refer to lies told to avoid punishment as self preservation fibs. In cases such as these, time could be of the essence- poison control takes a while to make house calls. Fibs can also be used to deflect discussions on other issues like school, failing relationships, friends who want to hurt themselves, etcetera. At eight Mack doesn’t have the tools to deal with serious issues- nor the rationale to know when mom and dad should be brought into the picture, so we try not to dismiss his claims, instead we investigate. Punishment for lying comes after we’ve had an opportunity to praise them for coming clean. We want them to learn that maintaining one’s integrity is more valuable than avoiding whatever punishment may await them- preach on my brother- soar to the heavens on the wings of a dove my son for the truth will set you free!

So I’m sure there is at least one reader interested in finding out what happened to Mack’s face so in a few words or less here it is. Mack’s an inquisitive dude and on that particular day he was interested in determining how a spray paint can functions. He examined the can and was dismayed when he discovered that the top doesn’t screw off revealing the guts that lie within. So being more caveman than technician he decided to beat the can vigorously with a large rock until it submitted. The result being a blast of red paint straight to the face. Luckily Mack didn’t blow up. We did explain the theory of pressurized air and how potential for serious injury exist- hopefully he was listening.

Well that’s it for now, I gotta run Mack is hanging around the grill checking out the propane tank. Holy shit, Connie have you seen my hammer?



March 15, 2009

 I took some liberties and decided to add my own commentary to some pictures of the boys.  They didn’t necessarily say these things but  in some instances I am willing to bet they were thinking them.

 “And God, I know I haven’t always been good and I’m aware that you know all of the misdeeds that I’ve committed and then blamed on my brother- but if you could just get me off this damn swing and stop the world from spinning so violently I promise to be good from here on out.”

 “Wow, I never thought of it that way- your thoughts concerning the economic stimulus plan are very insightful are you sure you’re only 2 1/2?”

“Mom, I got dressed for school just like you asked.”

“Hey Mack let that fool know what’s up and who we represent- West sideeeeeeee!” 

“Oh these? These aren’t ears- these are sophisticated ice cream truck sonars, they don’t pick up parental frequencies that’s why I can’t hear a word you’re saying.”

 “Thank God I’m six- if I was Dad’s age I would have been in the hospital by the time I reached the sea shell.”

“Dad I know you and Mom spent like a ga-zillion dollars on this whole indoor waterpark thing but I was wondering when we get home can I have a play date?”


“Eureka, the answer is electrical tape- and a lot of it.  If I had enough electrical tape I could make that homemade crossbow work like a charm- can we hit True Value on the way home from this hella-expensive indoor water park?”


“You’re full of shit Dad, alarms don’t go off when you pee in the pool.”


“Dad, Cayden gave me this booger and my swim suit doesnt have any pockets will you hold it while I go down the lazy river.”

The Groah’s have been sick a lot this winter. If my calculations are correct atleast one of us has been sick for the past 9 weeks. I was the most recent victim of the funk, starting last Friday. I’m happy to report that a week later I‘m finally starting to get over it. It’s times like these I feel really fortunate to be a Marine. Little known fact, Marines get sick- they’re just not allowed to act sick. It’s a really strange cultural norm. Even though it defies all logic getting sick does not earn you a single ounce of empathy in my line of work. So what ever you do, don‘t tell anyone- just go to work and act as if you feel fantastic. Your fellow Marines don’t care that you just brought a horrendous case of pink eye, influenza or black plague to work. What they’re more concerned with is that you demonstrated enough intestinal fortitude to walk through the door in the first place. Who cares if just infected every person in a 20-square mile radius- it only matters that you made the effort to do so.

This philosophy may be confusing to those of you who have never been in the Marine Corps but it makes perfect sense to those of us who have. Here is why- when you’re deployed to a foreign land and expected to interact with the indigenous population (who most likely harbor serious resentment towards you) it doesn‘t matter how you‘re feeling that day. Just like “no crying in baseball“- there are no sick days when you’re deployed, so you drive on. This attitude becomes so ingrained that it’s almost impossible to shut it off, and the next thing you know your pulling out your own I.V. so you won’t be late to work. For instance I recall one time when I was pretending not to have a god-awful case of exploding buttocks (that’s what Connie and I call diarrhea) and had to get to work. Work is a good hour and change away and when I timed how often my butt “blew-up” I knew it would be a hazardous commute. But I also knew that the Marine Corps probably wouldn’t survive if the “Shane” didn’t make it into work that day. So I sucked it up (not literally that would be friggin gross) and drove on. When I got home from work and Connie asked me why I risked it I told her- “Well, I figured if I shit my pants on the way to work then that’s the Marine Corps telling me to stay home- but I didn’t so obviously the Corps must have needed me today“. She says that‘s stupid- I call it MOTIVATED.

I tell you all of that to get to the point of how this mentality screws with my family (non-Marines). When they are sick or hurt they have no obligation to pretend that they’re feeling well. My boys let us know of every ache and pain, real or imagined, in amazingly vivid detail. Furthermore, if Mack or Cayden become ill they want the drugs that correspond to the affliction. They got this from Connie. One of the amazing things that Connie brought to our marriage was her extensive knowledge of over the counter medications. Until our union I had no idea that different medicines were designed to treat different symptoms- expectorants, decongestants, etcetera. There is even a medicine which helps reduce flatulence- I think it’s called “Beano” or “Gas-X“. Regardless of the name I don’t think the kids are taking it- they love every noise emanating from their butts and would never agree to willingly silence it. The point being, who would have thought that every thing that ailed you had a corresponding magic pill? When I was growing up you had two possible treatment plans when you didn‘t feel well. First and foremost my Mom would demand that you accomplish a bowel movement- until that magic happened you didn’t get any other type of medical care. For instance, when I was 13 I broke my arm and she made me poop before going to the emergency room- do you know how hard it is to wipe your ass with a broken arm? If you accomplished step one and were not completely cured she would break out the Tylenol (the only medication in my childhood home). But the thing is step one usually worked (except for broken bones) amazingly well- so when my boys complain about not feeling well they go straight to the crapper.

Back to how my mentality screws up my family. Since I’ve been groomed to act well even on my death bed my family has no idea when I’m ill and potentially contagious with some exotic funk. I’m basically a 200 pound germ meandering through our home infecting all who have the misfortune of coming in contact with me. I don’t mean any harm. I am not purposefully trying to spread whatever I have contracted it’s just that after 21-years of pretending that I’m not sick I’ve kind of come to believe it. Connie and the boys, however are not Marines and thus fallible to all those illnesses which I pretend bounce right off my impenetrable Marine immune system. So at the end of the day I’m probably the reason that my family has gone through almost three consecutive months of feeling like shit.

The way I look at it I can either admit my weaknesses and allow myself to act sick when in fact I am- thus providing a red flag to not to kiss Dad or drink from his water glass. Or, the rest of the family can enlist and earn their impenetrability the hard way. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

Cayden has been feeling a bit under the weather lately.  He was well enough to go to school the other morning but Connie did receive a call from the school nurse saying that our little man was complaining of a sore belly.  Now to keep it context- something on Cayden is always in pain, so it’s really hard to know when the pain is legitimate (classic boy who cried wolf syndrome).

Tonight’s pain was legit.  He tossed cookies in the middle of his Kid Cuisine- nothing says “I feel like shit” like having a chicken nugget shoot out of your nasal passage.  So we bathed and jammied the dude and got him to bed.

Laying in bed with Cayden discussing immediate actions should the desire to vomit return was very interesting.  After we rehearsed the route to the bathroom and strategically placed an emergency throw-up bucket he told me what he learned at school that day.  It seems that prior to being sent to the nurse’s office his teacher told him that he was turning a sickly shade of green.  Most of us understand that this means we appear ill- we don’t take it literally.  Cayden on the other hand took it as just that- his teacher told him he was turning green so that is exactly what was happening.

As I snuggled with him he made me promise that if the urge to vomit returned and he began to turn green that I wake him so he can check it out for himself.  He then went on to tell me just how green he would become.  Cayden is convinced that when he feels the need to vomit his cheeks will inflate and turn the same shade of green as the common tree frog- he even demonstrated by filling his cheeks full of air for me.

So began the all night vigil to capture a glimpse of the amazing “frog boy”- a mission I was hoping resulted in complete and utter failure.

Oh, as an aside Cayden also let me know that “Turnips taste like ear wax”.  I can’t remember if this bit of wisdom came before or after the frog demo, but it was thrown in there somewhere.  I didn’t give it a second thought until later that night when I had to question how Cayden knew what ear wax tasted like and where he found a turnip- not real common in our home, hmmm- strange kid.

That guy on the train…

March 8, 2009
On the way home yesterday I found myself standing across from a father and his baby son. I enjoy watching the little ones interact with Dad- it never fails to take me back to when my boys were strapped in a stroller and had yet to master the art of sassiness. So I was pretty content to watch this unknown Dad do his best to keep his son happy on the long ride home.

Kids on a metro are very similar to kids on an airplane- you may be able to keep them happy for a few minutes but eventually the boredom will overtake them and they will resort back to their primal roots. This is exactly what happened to the father and son team I was observing. Five minutes into the ride the little boy decided that he had enough and was ready to depart the train. He let his father, and everyone else on the train for that matter, know this by bellowing at the top his lungs and crying uncontrollably. This is when the real entertainment began- as the Dad started to panic I couldn‘t help by smile. It wasn’t too long ago I was “that” guy attempting to maintain my dignity in front of the much to judgmental public as my boys spiraled out of control. I may have been the only person on the train that found the humor in this.

Lifting my gaze from the father and son I realized that somehow I had boarded the wrong train. Unknowingly I had jumped on the “Non-parent I hate children with every ounce of my being- express”. The first clue, I was the only one smiling at this new Dad’s predicament. Every other person on the train was glaring at this poor guy as he gave it his best shot to soothe his angry toddler. Then I remembered that a lot of people believe that “if you can’t control your kids you shouldn’t leave your home.” If you’re a parent this should sound familiar- but even if you’ve never heard these words my guess is you can at least recall the non-verbal’s that basically said the exact same thing.

I remember when Connie and I first ventured into public with our new born baby Mack. He was a tough and hyper kid from the word go so for us to willingly take him out in public was a conscious choice. Our logic was simple- if we didn’t try to socialize him early he would never learn how to behave when away from our home and we grudgingly stood by this logic through thick and thin.

It was never easy. If we wanted to take him into a restaurant we picked one’s which were loud and supposedly “Kid Friendly”. “Kid Friendly” is a bullshit claim. Most restaurants and their patrons are only kid friendly if your kids are mannequins incapable of generating noise and or movement. For all of us with living, breathing, potentially angry children there is no such thing as a kid friendly restaurant. Some of you will argue that Chuck E. Cheese’s is a good alternative but I’ve tried their food and I don’t consider Chuck’s place a restaurant.

We also tried to time our outings to coincide with Mack’s nap schedule. We would get him to sleep in his car seat, rush into the restaurant order our drinks and before the first beer/ margarita was consumed Mack would be wide awake and loud as hell- then came the stares and the whispered remarks. We were probably overly self conscious about the situation but we were first time parents and we wanted to be considerate to others. Combine this with the fact that when we were a childless couple we probably felt the same way on occasion. How quickly the tables turn when it’s your kid and you’re the one receiving the stink eye for their perceived misbehavior. I wonder how many meals Connie and I left unfinished or how many miles we logged walking around restaurants trying to calm our little bundle of joy down?

So as I watched my fellow passengers “hating” on this poor guy I completely understood what he was going through. But I didn’t pity him, every parent has to go through this right of passage so that they can hopefully reach the second level of parental enlightenment. Once you reach level two you really couldn’t give two shits that the 20-something couple sitting next to you at IHOP is disturbed by the lip-popping noise that your oldest son makes every 3-seconds just for fun. You’re fine with the angry glares in the movie theater when your kids loudly jockey for control of the popcorn bucket. And if your kids want to sing “Wiggles” tunes coast to coast on board American Airlines flight 677 good on them, let them sing. You are at peace. You’ve stopped caring about the stranger to your left and right- people who have zero impact or influence on your life- and you’ve refocused on your own survival.

Just to clarify enlightenment doesn’t mean your okay with you kids running amuck- you’re not down with “lord of the flies type shit” going on in your living room. Enlightenment is just the ability to filter out all of the extraneous stuff (like bitter people you don’t know) and focus on the stuff that is important- like the development of your own kids.

Not everyone will reach this stage. As I looked around the train that afternoon I would bet money that at least half of the passengers were parents themselves- and they were sporting some pretty heinous looks of disgust. This tells me one of three things. One, all of their kids were, or are, perfectly well behaved (bull shit, no such thing). Two, they never reached level two enlightenment- this is possible, especially if they weren‘t real involved with raising their kids. Or three, enlightenment fades over time. I think option three is probably the most accurate.

How soon we forget what it was like to be “that guy on the train“.


Dear Electric Company…

March 2, 2009

Good afternoon helpful Baltimore Gas and Electric customer service representative,

I hope you enjoyed the first big snow storm of the season as much as we did.  I would be remiss if I didn’t drop a quick note of thanks for helping us really understand just how miserable the cave people must have been when that nasty “ice-age” thing hit them.  I wonder what would have happened if their electric company- which probably consisted of a couple of dudes with some flint and kindling- failed to produce just as the storm really got kicking?  I bet that whole lack of heat and light thing would have really pissed them off as they attempted to entertain their hyper active cave-children without the aid of all the comforts they had come to rely on.  Of course, I can only guess how the whole scenario may have unfolded.  It’s not like I just spent the last 15 frigging hours trying to entertain my kids in a three thousand square foot colonial that felt as welcoming as a meat locker.

The thing that really warms my heart (which is the only piece of my body currently experiencing any warmth) is that I only have to spend about $600 a month to enjoy this thrill ride.  You folks should be charging way more, maybe even venture into some reality television-  I’ve seen “Man Versus  Wild” on the discovery channel it’s not too far of a reach.  In fact, I bet that punk would run and hide if he was faced with entertaining my two jokers for an afternoon without the aid of electronic stimuli.

But Connie and I did just fine.  Whenever we wanted to warm the boys up we simply sent them outside to stand in the drive way.  Let’s see what else did we do…hmmmm.  We played Yahtzee, Mack made a shotgun out of scraps of PVC pipe, Cayden played Nintendo DS (thanks Con for charging that thing), I bundled and unbundled the boys 17-times, we shoveled, we slid, we talked about how much it sucked to have no power.  To be honest, that whole bitching about not having power was how we spent the majority of our 15-hour caveman experience- all the other stuff took up about 45 minutes, do the math- a lot of bitching took place. 

Oh, and here is another thing that you may not be aware of- when you fail to provide me with the electricity that I spend gobs of money on every month, I can’t run water.  No big deal in terms of hydration-I have a 50-gallon drum of Carlo in my garage and if need be I’ll share with family and friends, but I can’t flush my toilets with Carlo.  That’s right we have a well, a pump and a water softener and all those devices run on the power you provide or (on occasion, like when we really need it) that you don’t provide.  The best part is that nothing gets my kids’ digestive juices flowing like the knowledge of knowing that the toilets can’t be flushed.  Within 20 minutes of the power going out, Mack had dropped a deuce in all three of the crappers in my house- we’re talking to the brim.  I had no idea the kid was capable of producing something so foul and in such great quantities.  The only thing that kept the smell from affixiating the rest of the family was that our home had dipped below freezing. 

So thank you for the experience- nothing brings a family closer than being brought to the brink of freezing to death in their own home.  I’ll cherish these 15 hours for the rest of my life and completely agree with you hiking up your rates last summer- for thrills like these I would willingly pay much more.

The best to you and yours.  A completely satisfied and content customer.

Cayden’s at his funniest when he’s attempting to be serious- take this short dialog between Cayden and his mother as evidence.

Cayden:  “Mom, I have something to tell you- today in school I  farted and everybody laughed at me.”

Mom- “Oh, were you embarrassed?”

Cayden- (angry voice) “No, I was really mad!”

Mom- “Well, what do you think you should do next time to avoid that?”

Cayden- (still angry) “Next time I fart in class and they laugh I’M GONNA KICK ALL THEIR HEADS OFF!”

Mom- “That’s not really where I was going with this Cayden- maybe next time you can go to the bathroom if you feel like your going to pass gas.”

Cayden-(pause)  “Naw, I’ll just kick their heads off.”

Before any one’s panties get all bunched up over Cayden’s threat of violence it should be known that I’ve never seen him kick the head off of anything- he’s actually a pretty gentle guy.  Furthermore, even though I’m a Marine I do not condone nor do I encourage my boys to engage in random acts of violence.  So when he announced his preferred course of action I turned my head so that he wouldn’t see me snickering.  You have to admit the fact that he finds it easier to kick the heads off his classmates as opposed to leaving the room to toot is pretty damn funny- or maybe I’m warped.   

I’m still not sure why this struck such a chord with him.  This is the same guy who used to tell people that he could “Fart his A,B,C’s”.  I thought little boys enjoyed being gross- that whole frogs and snails and puppy dog tails thing.  I mean come on, Cayden once told his teacher that instead of taking the bus to school he flushed himself down the toilet and swam the sewer to get to homeroom- pretty damn clever and yes equally gross.  Now all of a sudden he gets embarrassed when he drops a bomb in front of his schoolmates.  I think my little guy is starting to grow up- much to soon if you ask me.