Monday, March 31, 2008


It was two years ago today that I latched onto the teat of the internet. Today is Urf!'s birthday and I feel I've nurtured it into the drooling, babbling, fit-throwing, high-maintenance toddler you know and love. I hope you'll continue to read and be a part of my family; there are a lot of exciting things happening, some of which you'll hear about in the next week or so.

Urf! by the numbers:

Years: 2
Posts: 410
Hits: 40,399
Children: 4
Bathrooms: 1

Friday, March 21, 2008

Flight of the C

I've heard friends talk about it for a while now, I've read bloggers' writings on it, yet I never understood just what it was. It was hilarious, though, friends and bloggers alike agree on that. So last night Elizabeth brought season one of Flight of the Conchords over for us to borrow. And ... it's funny, with the one guy and his Jagger-like mouth and the other guy and his hair helmet. But you know who really enjoyed it? C. Perhaps it's geared to a 10-year-old's sense of humor with its songs of robots and the one about crying. I'm assuming this show is kid-friendly. I know it's HBO, but I didn't see or hear too much that's offensive, other than the New Zealand accent. However, I did fall asleep during the last half of the second episode, so if there was any gratuitous sex or violence, then please let me know, because I don't think C would, such is his new-found love for Flight of the Chonchords.

Upon Returning Home From Work Yesterday Evening ...

GK: Mayor Herenton announced his resignation today, effective July 31.

Me: Wow. I guess the celebration has begun already.

GK: What's to celebrate? He wasn't defeated, he wasn't scandalized like John Ford, he's going out on his own terms after a 16-year run as mayor. He's imposed his will and his cronies on this city and, as a result, Memphis is a crime-ridden, downtrodden village. We're more racially and economically divided than ever and Herenton is just walking away from it. It makes me sad, it makes me sick every morning when I sit down with my espresso and bagel, trying to stomach the newspaper. What is there, really, that's worth celebrating?

Me: You make a good point for a 26-month-old.

GK: 21-month-old.

Me: Whatever. So who's the next mayor?

GK: I believe it will come down to a special election this November.

Me: Hey, maybe I'll run for mayor!

GK: Your fly is open.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Close Call

Let me tell you what almost happened.

Today marks the start of The Quartet's and Big Mama's spring break, which is why you saw me drive directly to work from home this morning without making all sorts of turns and stops to drop these kids off at their various destinations. I was talking to my Mom on the phone last night and she reminded me that Favorite Aunt Carol is flying down to the swamps of southern Florida today for a visit. When I told Kristy of this after I got off the phone she said, "You and GK should go down there." Yes! We should! It is spring break and GK does love her Jello shooters. Just for laughs I Googled up some airline flights and found that the flight to Ft. Lauderdale today or tomorrow is surprisingly affordable. But it's awfully soon. It all seemed too spontaneous, especially with work and various other responsibilities.

So we're still in Memphis, where it's not 85 degrees. Taking the trip was still on my mind this morning as I lay in bed thinking, and I started wondering if I could even do that. I've never been alone with GK for that length of time. Would I know how to take care of her? It would also be the longest she's gone without the possibility of nursing. Would South Florida be ready for Hurricane GK? What entertains a 21-month-old? I work six days a week and on the seventh I'm usually doing chores around the house or running errands (I know, I know, it's for the Parent of the Year panel to decide now ... or Harry Chapin to sing about ). Then I began thinking more specifically of the flight. She'd be on my lap for two hours, though she wouldn't want to stay there. She'd want to walk this way and that, possibly see what happens when you pull this latch. She's not at the age where I can read to her and she'll sit and listen, or sit quietly and color or play with a doll. She likes to go, go, go. When she's not nursing, that is, which is just out of the question. And what about the bathroom? What if I had to go? Those bathrooms are literal water closets and wouldn't fit both of us. Can I ask the stewardess to watch her? And, possibly, nurse her? And then I thought about sleeping. I get pretty tired after my second airplane bottle of scotch. Would that same stewardess be willing to watch GK during my nap? I'd slip her $10, of course, I don't expect her to take on that extra responsibility for free. I wonder just how friendly the skies would be after two hours of a cranky little, cooped-up girl?

I suppose it's good I didn't spontaneously book that flight because I really need to sit and stew on the idea for a while. By the time GK is eight or nine I should be ready to travel alone with her. By then she'll be able to sit quietly and read or color (I hope), and she'll be able to potty on her own (I hope), though it will be difficult to pass her off as under-two so I don't have to pay for an extra seat. But it will be nice to have someone so small to travel with whose tiny little hands can get the caps off those tiny little bottles for me.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pick a Card

The school-age kids are involved in something called Accelerated Reader, or AR, at school. They read books at home, or get help reading books, and then amass points for each book read. They then use these points to redeem cash and prizes ... or something, I don't really know all the ins and outs of AR and its convoluted system of words and numbers.

The other night S brought home one of the Clifford books (one of the Clifford books that involves guns, surprisingly) and I was going to help her read it. Turns out she can't read a lick. Not a sentence. But then last night she picked up a card that was lying about and said, "Is this a one-eyed Jack?" And it was. So at least she's gaining some sort of education, somewhere. Although later she said, "What are those little green things that hide treasure at the end of rainbows called?" So I guess her education level fluctuates.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Kristy and I moved into our house almost 11 years ago; she was pregnant with C at the time. The neighbor to the north of us was Pete, and he's been there ever since. However, he's talked since the first day we met him about selling his house and moving out of town. Every time we'd run across each other outside, working in the yard, taking out the trash or passing each other on our way to or from work, he would mention thinking about selling his house and moving out of town. And now he is. He leaves today for Denver, a new job, and endless hours of trail riding and running.

The Quartet has grown up knowing Pete and they have come to think of his front yard as their own (sorry about all the Big Wheels, balls and various toys, Pete!). He's been a good neighbor and he'll be missed on our street.

Good luck, neighbor!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Big Help

The funniest thing to me going on in our house right now is GK helping me to put the clean silverware away when I'm doing dishes. She can barely reach the drawer, so she just throws them in haphazardly. I don't correct her or tell her she's doing it wrong, I just clap and then, when she's finished, we both jump around the kitchen as a kind of victory dance.

The second funniest thing to me going on in our house right now is Big Mama opening that same silverware drawer and seeing the pile of utensils. Because, see, I don't go back and straighten the mess, either, and it drives Kristy crazy.

[This is where the photo of the silverware
drawer would go if I had a camera.]

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What's Broken Wednesday?

You know what, you guys guess what it is this time. What is it around Castilo Urf! that is broken this time? And, since things break in threes for me, you get bonus points if you guess the next two items to break, in order of course. For an extra bonus, if anyone would like to replace what broke tonight, then I will rename this blog after you.

[Happy Birthday, Papa Steve!]

Clap, Stomp, Beep, Chew ... Chew ... Chew ...

As both of you know, I don't like to speak ill of my children in print. Or on the interweb. However, there are three things on the list of things that are beginning to annoy the hell out of me that I just can't ignore any longer.

The first is JP and the incessant beat he seems to have going on in his head. He claps his hands and stomps his foot to a rhythm only he can hear. It's like living with an overgrown Chick Webb or a STOMP understudy, or like driving around town with Shane B. and a Big Gulp. I've actually let this go for a while because the boy obviously has the music in him, and I don't want to discourage his natural ability. So I would just ask him to stop at the dinner table, but allow him to drum and clap at will the rest of the time. But I just can't take it any more because he's also got the OCD in him and I think now that this is what's driving his patter.

The second is the chewing. I can't seem to get these kids to chew their food with their mouths closed. It's like eating dinner with someone treading water in a vat of macaroni & cheese right next to me. In the 1950s, NASA taught a monkey to pilot a rocket into space, but I can't teach three humans to masticate quietly.

The last one is C and this calculator/calendar contraption he got from school last week. He carries this thing around and shows it more affection than Kristy and I have shown any of our offspring. I don't know what else this thing does, but he flips it open and stares at it for hours on end. Occasionally it beeps at him and he laughs. I'm not so sure this is as much annoyance as it is fear. I worry that he may be planning something, or he may feel responsible for punching in a sequence of numbers every so often.

I suppose all I can do is try to maintain patience as The Quartet grows and learns. I can nudge them in the direction I think they need to go in order to become productive and caring citizens one day. And I can talk to them, talk until I'm blue in the face and then just sit back and shake my head as JP claps his hands twice, stomps his foot once, and then heads into the kitchen to chew a Pop-Tart.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Best?

While flipping through the 11 channels of our substandard cable package last night, I passed - and then paused on - a reality game show crap program called My Dad is Better Than Your Dad. The Quartet was immediately entranced by the old men running and huffing around a soundstage while their offspring screamed encouragement at them, so I asked them all whose dad is best. "Who's the best dad?" I said, "WHO IS THE BEST DAD?!" Until finally they each relented and answered that I am, in fact, the best dad.

And then I changed the channel.

The Quartet complained and bellowed, as they were by now wrapped up in the competition. But I was having none of it, so they all left the room, leaving the Best Dad in the House in blissful peace.

This peace lasted about seven minutes before S came back into the room to tell me everything I'd missed on the show in the last seven minutes, and that it wasn't on now because there was a news break. The special news bulletin was to inform everyone of the six people, including two kids, found shot in Binghamton, not too terribly far from us.

The Best Dad tried to shield his kids from horrible television, yet failed to shield them from the horribleness of life.