Archive for July, 2009

July 29, 2009
Me and "the Mack"

Me and "the Mack"

We recently spent an entire day at Hershey park Amusement Park with the boys and several of our friends.  Here are a few of my observations concerning amusement parks:

1.  Wooden roller coasters built in the 60’s are not meant for people over the age of 11.  Reason being- the skeletal structure of an adolescent is capable of absorbing the unnatural impact of a non-ergonomically designed wheeled box hurling itself down a rickety plank of wood at break neck speeds.  The spinal column of an adult on the other hand has long ago lost its elasticity and will revolt at the mere idea of having to endure this type of abuse.  It only took me 1600 mg of Motrin to come to grips with this realization.

2.  In order to lessen the chances of an unruly, druken mob of adults looting the $12 hot dog stands amusement parks limit establishments which serve alcohol.  Furthermore, the location of these establishments is clouded in mystery making it almost impossible for those of us looking to seek refuge in the bottle to find them.

3.  As I near 40 years of age I no longer find adults dressed as giant cartoon characters, chocolate bars or furry woodland creatures even remotely comforting.  In fact, I am quite disturbed by the sight of these creatures and can’t help but wonder how long it’s been since those sweaty costumes have been washed and sterilized.

4.  Any ride which spins around and around and around at the speed of light will make me spew out the $12 hot dog that I grudgingly ate for lunch.

5.  I hate people who decide to have their family reunions at amusement parks.  I hate them even more if they all decide to wear the same neon colored,  “Jones Family” reunion T-shirt.  Does this mean that I’m intolerant?

6.  At the summit of each major roller coaster is a camera  waiting to snap a picture of your “Holy-Shit face”.  By the time you funnel through the exit the picture will be prominently displayed in larger than life color for all to view.  Most amusement park patrons are mildly embarassed  at how they look when potentially plummeting to their death- not Shane.  Shane considers this little extra an opportunity to out-do everyone in the “stupid facial expression” category.  The only trouble is I was the only one really competing- most people who saw my pictures thought I was mentally challenged.

7.  You cannot eat a healthy meal in an amusement park.  The healthiest thing I saw all day was a frozen, chocolate coated bananna dipped in chunks of Butter Finger- it cost $69.00.

8.  There isn’t a single amusement park in America built on flat ground.  Apparently, mountainous terrain is ideally suited for supporting amusement park rides, so be prepared to walk up and down hills for 8-hours straight.

9.  My kids are fearless and want to ride the most dangerous rides available- I am not fearless and would rather staple my tongue to the roof of my mouth than ride anything called “Satan’s Fiery Pit of Annihilation”.

10.  My kid’s smiled all day long- which makes the 9-trips I endured on “Satan’s Fiery Pit of Annihilation” a wise investment.

Thank God this is an annual trip- twice in one year would probably kill me.

My boys amaze me every day.  Here is a short list of random things that I’ve learned by observing them in their natural habitat- I feel like Jim from “Wild Kingdom” where’s my tranquilizer gun?

1.  Children are not born with an innate desire to deposit waste into an approved trash receptacle.  They are hardwired to drop items they’ve lost interest in right where they stand.  Apparently the energy it takes to carry garbage the additional 4-feet to the “shit-can” creates undue stress on their operating systems.

2.  When children spend a week alone with the grandparents they will be perfect angels- they do this to ruin your credibility when you call to complain about what a pain in the ass they were the previous week.

3.  If you ask them if they brushed their teeth the answer will always be “Yes”.

4.  If you find a human poop floating in the toilet alone (i.e. no toilet paper in the bowl) don’t be alarmed.  Kids often measure the necessity to wipe by the consistency of the bowel movement- very eco-friendly if you ask me.

5.  Promises your children make to acquire a trip to Chuck E. Cheese are not valid, and will not be honored, once they turn in their tickets at the prize counter.  If you want results make them pay up before you walk through Chuck’s front door.

6.  The contempt your son’s routinely display towards each other is how male sibliings demonstrate love for each other.

7.  A seven hour road trip with children will make you wonder if this is what Hell is like- suddenly I feel like returrning to church.   

8.  If Tony Hawk ran for President and little boys were of legal age to vote their would be a half pipe on the White House lawn.

9.  Regardless of how large your living room couch is your sons will sit on top of each other and complain about how the other keeps touching them.

10.  You can serve them an old shoe for breakfast and they’ll gladly eat it if you smother it in powered sugar.

11. They’re never so bored that they will willingly do housework or homework.

12.  If you’re ever in need of an additional pound of potting soil simply scrape it from underneath your son’s finger nails.

13.  My son’s hearts are shaped liked chicken nuggets.

14.  A McDonald’s Happy Meal toy has 7-seconds worth of utility, after that it gets deposited between the couch cushions for safe keeping.   BTW, the only chance of said toy regaining a place of prominence within your home is if you get caught trying to throw it away- then all of a sudden it’s the most important thing in your child’s life.

15.  Boys will learn how to spell the words Fart, Poop and Butt before learning how to spell their own last names.

16.  Kids are more capable than we think.

17.  Beware of what they are searching on Google- my boys learned how to start a fire with a D-cell battery and a wad of steel wool.

18.  Invest in band-aids.

19.  Boys go hunting for lost money.  They will look on top of the washer, between the cushions, inside old coat pockets and in your wallet- what ever they find they believe belongs to them.

20.  Little boys can catch squirrels with their bare hands- squirrels do not appreciate the attention.


When the boys were super young I couldn’t wait for them to learn how to use the toilet. But simply using the toilet wasn’t enough- I also wanted them to wipe, flush and replace the roll after they depleted the last sheet. The point is I found myself wishing away periods of my kid’s lives in the hopes that it would get easier just around the bend, but the thing is “right around the bend” isn’t easier- it’s just different.

For example when you first bring your kids home from the hospital their needs are very rudimentary. Babies need to eat, sleep remain warm and on occasion have their butts slathered in ointment- that my friends is simplicity. I can’t believe I used to complain about that. At what point in my life have I ever faced a challenge with such clear and easy answers? It’s like putting together a four-piece jigsaw puzzle- if the first piece doesn’t fit, grab the next- you only have a couple of options available to you. As your kids age this simple formula changes dramatically and what used to be a four-piece puzzle transforms into a series of mutated differential equations.

Lets take crying for instance:

When a Newborn is crying it probably means one of the following things-

I am wet

I am cold

I am hungry

I am tired

(I’m not going to include illnesses and injuries)

Here is a short list of possible causes for uncontrollable sobbing emanating from a 6-8 year old boy:

I am wet, cold, hungry, tired (we all try the simple stuff first, but older kids have all ready learned to fix these issues so your efforts will be in vain).

I lost my gum, eraser, dollar, tooth, WII controller, brother, ice cream samiche (sic), bike, mind, car keys (I always wondered who lost my car keys, now I know).

I have no one to play with.

I have someone to play with who I don’t want to play with.

I’m playing with someone that I want to play with but they are not playing what I want to play.

The person I didn’t want to play with that played the thing I didn’t want to play had to go home.

My brother is- touching me, pinching me, smiling at me, mocking me, throwing me the finger.

My brother just grabbed- my hair, my lips, my gonuts, my lunch, “my” remote.

I want a- puppy, pony, gorilla, pair of bunny slippers, third eye, Mom’s lip gloss, hand grenade, shoe lace from the Jonas Brothers converse high tops, a rubber chicken, Fart Machine, glass of wine (sorry that was me projecting).

Dad won’t- buy me a trampoline, take me duck hunting, let me drive, get a vasectomy (one more boy and I may reconsider), stand still while I hurl authentic Cherokee tomahawks at him, do the robot, recite the Koran in Mandarin, let me join the Verizon network.

It’s raining.

It’s sunny.

It’s snowing.

It’s Monday (you can probably guess that the other days of the week may cause uncontrollable fits of sobbing as well))

I don’t want to go to school.

I want to see all of my school friends.

To reiterate I don’t want to go to school.

I don’t want to cut my hair, my nails, the grass, to the chase or the cheese.

My brother called me a- chicken, poop nugget, butt-dimple, snot bubble, ninny, loser, urinal cake, fart vapor, nipple tassel (I really need to cancel Cinemax)

I’m- scared, angry, bored, flatulent, constipated, confused, anxious, nervous, lonely, sweaty, clammy, sensitive, indifferent, difficult, republican, pro-choice.

I just broke something expensive while doing something irresponsible that you told me multiple times never to do and you’re going to be super pissed off.

So you see in the old days life was pretty simple. A quick four-point inspection to determine the source of the angst and then rapidly execute a simple solution. With older kids plan on spending an inordinate amount of time trying to pinpoint the cause. Once that’s achieved be prepared to execute a complex, multi-faceted solution that will likely result in at best a melancholy half smile.

Point being, it’s not going to get easier, only different.





Some of you may be aware that two days after his birthday Mack’s brand new custom skateboard was stolen from our front yard.  Mack swears he put it in the garage but both Connie and I are  having a hard time believing that someone broke into our locked garage and took the skateboard and nothing else.  Regardless, Mack starts skateboard camp this week and he couldn’t show up with nothing to ride so we slapped a board together and took it out for a test ride yesterday afternoon. 

We scraped and painted an old deck added new trucks, wheels and bearings and the thing works like a champ.  When I do the monetary math (to include the stolen custom skateboard)-I’m about 3-bills into plywood and rubber wheels.  I’m not positive that this is the wisest investment that I’ve ever made, but it sure seems to make Mack smile.

Just a few shots of the future of skateboarding to prove that yes you can rebound from a catastrophic theft.




Oh BTW, to the little hooligan that took my son’s board, enjoy it while you can- just know that I’m scouring the neighborhood looking for you and don’t plan on giving up any time soon.  I’m really looking forward to meeting you- sleep tight.