The Results May Vary

Observations from my Mixed Up World


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The High Price of Fashion

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For the last year or so, Milo has been growing his hair long on the top.  In my mind this is ok since as a child of the 80’s, I always wanted to have my head with shaved sides and long locks on top.  I mean, who didn’t want to look like they were part of the Smiths?  So despite promising never to try and live vicariously through my kids, I am trying out hairdos through Milo that my balding pate won’t support.  The problem with Milo is that he won’t cut any of his hair and so his head starts to look more like a big foam microphone instead of a slick model’s signature style.  It also makes him look even younger than he really is.  So my worldly, 10 year old actor/model looks six.  Not really helping with his self-image.

My wife and I have been pushing him to get more control over his messy microphone head and are constantly showing him different ideas that will make him seem in better control of his hair.  These attempts have been fought off with the enthusiasm and determination of 300 Spartans faced by an army of Greeks.  Why we teach our kids to stand up for themselves and think critically on their own, I’m not sure.  They are only supposed to do that when faced with peer pressure to do drugs or drink and drive.  I never planned for them to resist my sage wisdom.

Enter into the equation my new found enjoyment of watching Marco Reus playing for both Germany and Borussia Dortmund.  Now there is a dude with awesome skills and a wicked haircut.  I may have a bit of a man crush but that may be another post.  So I started in on Milo just before a scheduled hair appointment.  Milo’s love of soccer is only slightly more than his love of hearing me offer my wisdom to him.  So, naturally he attempted to be the philosophical immovable object and I played the irresistible force.  Unfortunately for Milo, I have studied all of the times that I have failed to be immovable in the face of my children and waited for the slightest waver.  When he finally admitted that Marco did indeed have stellar hair, I knew I had him.  I got him to concede that it might be an all right thing to do, sometime, maybe.

The next day, before he was really awake, I’d loaded him into the car and began ignoring his back pedaling pleas.  To ensure my victory, I brought along his IPad complete with all the images of Marco’s fine styling to show our stylist.  Once ensconced in the chair, my delightful offspring offered full arm chair quarterbacking for every snip of the stylist’s scissors.  He glared at me through

Marco Reus

the mirror with a venom that would do Medusa proud.  Normally a reluctant communicator, he mouthed crystal clear comments to me like “I hate you, you bastard!” and “I’m never going to forgive you for ruining my life, career and any chance of ever getting on the Disney channel.”  And then he made his worst mistake, in a fit of disgust he fumed, “Why don’t you just dye it some stupid colour too?”  That was too enticing for the stylist and me.  We had a slather of white blonde dye in his hair faster than he could gasp.  By then he was too flabbergasted to do anything other than moan.  His little head was wrapped up in plastic wrap and he was plunked under the hair dryer.  His sister jumped up and down with glee, pointing out to everyone in the salon that her brother looked just like an old woman sitting there.  Oh, did he fume!

As he later looked at the damage in the mirror, he teared up and refused to speak to me.  He looked about 5 years older, hair tight at the sides and back, long tresses on top and the very front section dyed white blonde.  The best looking kid I’d ever seen, he stormed out of the hair dresser’s and we wandered through the mall.  He did his best to hide it, but I caught him admiring himself in store mirrors and he was finally forced to admit that he did look great but hedged that he still hated me for making him do it.  I savoured my sweet victory for days.  Yay me!

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The Journey… or the near infinite trudge home from the gym yesterday… or walking with kids sucks!

On Wednesdays, the kids have swimming lessons.  In itself, this is not so different than millions of other families in the first world.  We drive the 6 or 7 minute route over to a beautiful gym, have dinner at the cafe and then the kids swim.  But yesterday our lives were apparently shattered and we fell into a dimensional void that shoved us into third world misery.  At least, so I was told.  Over and over again.  But I am getting ahead of the story.

We drove over and had dinner as usual, but this time my wife needed to leave to attend an appointment, leaving the kids and me to walk home.  This was not a surprise but planned and also something that we’ve done before.  Daylight savings time has left the sun still in the sky for our walk home so we shouldn’t even be threatened by zombies or vampires.  I would long for the company of the undead before reaching home, believe me.  The kids were reminded at dinner that we would be walking home and the wheels started to turn in their heads.  The only thing that saved me from a barrage of questions was the arrival of swim lessons.  After the lessons, we stepped out the doors of the gym into a slight west wind.  I’d prepared and told the kids to bring boots, winter coats, gloves etc.  In my rush to get out of the house, I brought none of these.  The complaints began before the end of the parking lot.  “Why didn’t we bring another car, Dad?”  We only have one, if you didn’t notice.  “Why can’t we call a cab, Dad?”  Are you so spoiled that you can’t walk a few blocks?  “This is terrible.  We should have stayed at home.”  Blah blah blah.

Crossing the road into an adjacent parking lot, I start to notice that the slight wind is rather chilly on the ears.  There is only one small parking lot to cross before some wind breaks, I can make this.  The suggestion that one of the kids should carry the swim bag is met with looks of horror.  “Carry the swim bag?  Me?  But it’s soooooo heavy.  How can I hold your hand?  I don’t wannna.”  Halfway across this parking lot, the kids start to list previously unknown injuries that are troubling them.  How can I be so crass as to ignore their suffering?  Have I no heart?  Apparently not, since I keep walking despite the fact that I am accompanied by tragically and mysteriously crippled offspring.  Learning that I am heartless and cruel, my kids attempt a new tactic to express their discontent.  They begin to weave across the sidewalk, cutting in front of each other and then slowing down.  This causes the following child to trip on the feet of the leading child.  This proves to be a great way to irritate each other since they can both be victims at the same time.  “He stepped on me!!!”  “She’s walking too slow.  I hate her!”   They try this on me but I’ve learned how to avoid the cut and stop tactic long ago.  It does not however help me to maintain my cool demeanor.  My own sense of being so far from home, so cold and so alone has been building exponentially.  I’m starting to think that the Donner party didn’t eat the weak but killed the complainers just as a way to stay sane.  If my hands weren’t so numb, I’d be searching for some sort of weapon.  The wind is now cutting through my body and since I am walking north, I’m sure I can feel it going in my left ear and out my right one.  I’m convinced I’m brainless since no one with any intelligence could have thought this walk a good idea.

I hate when I pass my destination and then need to loop back due to roadways so I insist we walk across the local soccer field to keep more of a straight path to the house.  This announcement is met with exclamations that I am not just departing from the side walk but from the proper to the profane.  “What will happen if someone sees us?”  What?  Oh No!  We’re walking in a public place.  How will we ever prove that we’re part of the public?  Oh quick everyone, start to worry.  For God’s sake.  The bizarre act of taking a public path between main roads pushes Milo over the edge.  Complaining of his mysteriously injured ankle and the fact that he is freezing to death, he collapses dramatically on to the sidewalk.  As I step over his prone form, I mutter “Great way to warm up, Stupid.  Lay down on the icy cold cement.  I guess you’ll die.”  Apparently, hypothermia has caused him to forget that I am heartless and cruel so a demonstration was in order.  As we approach the house, the spectre of my wife having beaten us home and sitting in front of a warm fire while we drag our frozen, exhausted, near dead bodies across the suburban tundra gets the kids’ blood up.  They rush the front door, maniacally pounding their mittened fingers into the door bell.  I am completely blocked from unlocking the door.  I don’t care anymore and use my size to thrust through to the front.  I open the door and stumble mercifully into the warm house.  My frostbitten fingers fumble at the kettle in search of boiling water before I’ve even taken off my coat.  The kids race up the stairs to watch TV until their brains are as numb as their bodies.  I fall in to a chair at the counter and bless the universe for my simple cup of tea.


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Whiskey and Boiling Water

It’s finally official.  I’m sick.  I have been avoiding being sick this year in a huge way.  The kids and my wife have schemed to spread their diseases all over the house but hand washing and a steadfast refusal to clean up have kept me healthy to date.

(GROAN)  I can barely think.  My joints ache like rusted linkages in a decrepit machine.  The noise of my children is that of thousands of banshees terrorizing dormitories full of virgins in a lonely nunnery on the moors.  Even the relentless pacing of our cats around my feet is as if squishy, whining traps have been set in motion with the sole goal of having me dash my brains out on the counter.  The burning, scratching in my throat evokes the destruction of volcanoes, sand storms and a nasty loofah sponge.

I can turn to only one thing.  Whiskey and boiling water.  Ratio – 2 parts whiskey to 1 part water.  Repeat as required until you don’t notice anymore.