The Results May Vary

Observations from my Mixed Up World


The On-Ramp for the Road to Fame??

Oh God!  How quickly the righteous fall.  I can’t believe that I got talked into it but I was.  Yesterday, we took Milo to an open call for a modeling agency.  Yup.  I can’t believe it either.

It all began a few weeks back when a colourful add in our very local newspaper asked the fatal question “Do people ever say that your kids should be on TV?”  Now, when I read it, I recoiled from the ad as if I’d found maggots in the garbage.  My next instinct was to hide the ad under the maggots in the garbage because I knew that I’d get no rest if it was found.  So I slid the paper into a pile of recycling and hoped for the best.  Just the fact that I am writing this post shows that I’d done the equivalent of smearing it in bacon grease and peanut butter,  hoping that the dog would ignore it.  It was found in seconds.

I hummed and hawed during the intervening weeks, all the while knowing that the lobby for the advancement of Milo’s fame was going to win out.  I had visions of mobs of child beauty pageant promoters and other less savory elements checking out my kids.  I was pretty certain that there’d be clusters of perverts just looking for a chance to ship my son off to a Thai brothel on the promise of a great working vacation.  And everywhere hordes of screaming hockey-mom equivalents flogging their kid’s merits and shattering the self-esteem of rival kids out of the sides of their mouths. Oh the humanity!

So we dressed Milo carefully and for the twenty minute trip to the event, I reiterated the stern warning that we were only going for information.  Nothing else.  We would sign nothing, be separated for no reason and certainly, no one was to say anything that might be construed a binding contract.  The contravention of any of these rules would be strictly punished and the transgressor would wish they’d been shipped to a Thai brothel! (and not one of the nice ones!)

It was almost a let down to end up in room with only a few other families to hear a very established modeling agency discuss some opportunities that may be possible, to hear some of the challenges faced by families with high hopes and to have no hard sell at all.  I was pretty relieved but that secret part of me that watches Jerry Springer from time to time was disappointed.

So we got exactly what I’d demanded.  Some info and no promises were made.  This thing may work out, I just don’t know.  But enjoy your existing photos of Milo because all future pictures will have royalties attached.

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Why I get more sex

So last Saturday my kids had their final fight of the day and were both sent to their rooms at 5:30pm.  No chance of parole until Sunday morning and no appeals.  Maya put herself to bed and Milo played quietly until 9pm.  My wife took the opportunity to have a long bath and went to bed at 8pm.  This provided me with a wonderful evening to myself.  I watched George Carlin do stand up and then hunkered down to do some reading.

Don’t be afraid.  I am not about to launch into sordid details of what I did to myself for amusement.  I didn’t and that all I need to say.  But I did chance to read the two parenting magazines that decorate the table in my loft.  I’m sure that all of us have them.  They show the world that we are modern and responsible people who do research into what our parents and grandparents had to learn by doing.  I was amused to read the articles that provide advice to parents who just aren’t getting enough sex.

I really enjoyed the article that suggested that parents don’t understand how to manage their time and that sex can be had in between 7 and 20 minutes. That’s just awesome advice.  If they could get it down to 2.5 minutes then I wouldn’t miss any of my TV show and we could finally use the commercial break for something other than refilling our drinks.  But honestly, who could ever suggest that a 7 minute sex-capade is going to save the intimacy in a marriage.  The article contained lots of real reader comments, all from women, despite the title which claimed “couples talk about it”.  Their input really came down to a single thread.  “I’m so damned tired that sex is the last thing I give a shit about!”

I get it.  I have actually turned down offers of sex from my wife so that I could sleep.  Believe me I get it.  But I am also getting lots of it.  So I don’t panic if I really am tired and need a break.  I know that the fountain won’t dry up.  And I am going to share my secret with all of you tonight.

Men, stop wondering why your wife won’t help you out with this one small thing.  Do something about it.  She’s tired for God’s sake.  Provide some rest.  The ultimate aphrodisiac is laundry.  Do the fucking laundry and don’t be a martyr about it.  Do it right.  Don’t bleach the colours or throw her unmentionables in the dryer.  Do the wash and do it correctly.  If you are truly too stupid to do laundry, I am sure that you can get lessons on YouTube.  And doing the laundry is not just getting it into the machine and then into the dryer.  I am talking full blown hamper to hanger service.

But wait… there’s more.  You need to forget about all the things that used to get you laid.  Flowers.  Not so great if you can’t keep your eyes open to admire them.  Candy, chocolates.  Right.  If you paid any attention to things at all, you’d likely find that she’d on a diet, plans to diet, just fell off a diet or bought them for herself to compensate for the fact that she’s too tired to have sex.  You must give the gift of rest.

I’m a morning person.  My kids by their natures are morning people only on weekends.  Yes weekend mornings,  the time that other, childless people are sleeping in after ecstasy filled nights.  I’ve learned that I can combine jobs that I need to do anyways with giving the gift of rest.  So at 7:30am on Sunday morning, instead of watching Disney XD with the kids, I hustle them into clothes and out the door.  A stop at Starbucks and then to buy groceries at all of the stores that open at 8am.  We never get back before 10am and always stop at Starbucks again for that sweet Cinnamon dolce latte that puts the smile on a late sleeper’s face.  Usually, this provides me with a smile on my face as I drift off to sleep that night.

On last word of advice.  Don’t thing that the message is do something nice for her.  She may appreciate that you spend 5 hours on changing the brake pads on her car.  But, I doubt she was losing sleep over them.  Even if she was, and I doubt it, you didn’t expect her to change the pads herself did you?  Give the gift of rest.

If you don’t believe me… well, you’ve been keeping yourself company for awhile now… keep on keeping on.


What I learned about myself after being locked in the basement

On Sunday, my son Milo and I were off to Costco to share the manly experience of buying things in large quantities.  After a few minutes of driving in silence, Milo turned to me and announced that when he gets older he plans to be famous.  Since I am paying a small fortune every year for art, piano, voice and drama lessons, I was heartened to hear that with the right motivation, he may be able to support me in a pretty fantastic lifestyle.  Here I thought was a great opportunity to pass on some fatherly advice about setting goals and achieving what you both want and need to accomplish.

Now my insight on this topic all began when I was about ten years old.  I was extremely proud of the Swiss Army knife that I’d received for my birthday.  Nothing fancy.  Just a knife, corkscrew and a saw.  For reasons I can’t explain and that my father forgets, he decided that I should use the saw to cut a piece of 2X4 in half.  I can only guess that it was to show me just how dangerous that saw really was or some other noble ideal.  In reality what began was a 5 hour power struggle with me refusing to cut the board and him refusing to let me out of the basement until the job was done.  That was parenting 1980’s style I guess.  What I clearly remember was the pure anguish and unfairness of the whole exercise.  I ranted and raved and cut and quit cutting and ranted and raved some more.  I can still feel the hate crystallizing in my heart and it was lucky for my dad that the Menendez boys hadn’t come to imfamy just yet.  In the end, I was released after cutting the damn wood in half and I suspect I’d still be there now if I hadn’t.

It didn’t occur to me until I was almost 20, and the Army had taught me a lot more about doing things I’d prefer not too,  that I recognized the lesson Dad tried to teach me that day.  It’s actually easier to just get a shitty job done than it is to rant, rave and scheme up ways to avoid the hard work!  I’ve been trying to figure out how to impart that lesson to Milo when I don’t have a woodshop in the basement, have a pathological hatred of 2X4’s and there is no way clutzy Milo is getting a knife!  As I approach 40 and look back on this formative event in my life, I also see another lesson.  You will never realize what you can achieve through hard work if you never push yourself past whatever limits you think you have.

It’s too damn easy to quit things today.  If it’s too hard to diet, then get your stomach stapled.  If it’s too hard to write an essay, hey that why they invented the internet.  If your marriage is rocky, well there’s divorce,  pornography and anonymous hookups on craigslist.  Really, why put in the effort?

So back to Milo’s bid to become famous.  I launched an oratory about the virtue of hard work and how his mother and I will support him if he really wants to be an actor or singer.  I suggested ways he could begin working on his goal by setting smaller, shorter term milestones.  And he listened patiently, smiled and said “Dad, can’t we just talk about what a great house I’m going to have?”

I am currently headed to the lumber yard.  Anyone got a small saw I can borrow?

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Trip to Nanny’s over… no one left at the side of the road.

Well, the holiday season has come and past and I am proud to say that I didn’t abandon my kids at the side of the road even once!  It amazes me.  No, it stuns me that I have two kids that can’t enter a vehicle without starting to bicker.  How can two kids that play Barbies together, coach each other on iPod games and that never, ever have a problem at daycare turn around and have a fight before the garage door goes up?  It defies explanation.

This is not just a holiday phenomenon but the fighting is especially grating since it takes 5 hours to drive to my parents house.  I’m pretty good at ignoring the kids when I’m driving but my wife gets driven nuts quickly.  Her, I can’t ignore so successfully.  When driving with three disgruntled passengers I start to get pretty testy.  My daughter Maya is usually the instigator but somehow I end up yelling at my son.  Here’s a kid that cannot ignore anything.  Unless the TV is on and then the house could burn down and he wouldn’t notice… that’s another post.  So I end up driving up Hwy 11, screeching over my shoulder  wisdom such as “I don’t care if she called you an idiot.  You must be an idiot if you can’t ignore her.  No, wait… you’re not an idiot.  I’m sorry…”  Guilt ridden for even suggesting that he might be an idiot, I try to reason… “Look.  You are going to be a huge delight to the first bully that comes along if you can’t ignore some name calling.  God… even I want to bully you!   Aaaggh!  I don’t mean that…”  I am just too frustrated to be supportive.  I descend into grunts of “Shut up.  Both of you.  or I’ll kill you”  Sigh.

I think that the problem is that the kids just can’t stand that anything, even arriving alive, that takes my attention away from them.  God forbid that one child speaks uninterrupted.  The other must comment or preferably in a louder voice begin another completely different conversation.  Even the poor cats in the car are pawns in the struggle for domination.  “It’s not fair… I don’t want the ass end.  You have the ass end of the cat.”  Nice.   Classy even.

Oh well… it’s several more months before we go up for a week in the summer.  Maybe by then I’ll go deaf.