Sunday, November 30, 2008

Drizzling Homework

JP has a book report due tomorrow. Not just a synopsis of a book he's read, no. He is required to read a book about a famous American and then write about, make a poster display on and dress up like that person.

Who assigns a project deadline the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend? Sure, it was probably assigned a month ago, with plenty of time to get it done in the weeks before Thanksgiving. But in true Urf! fashion, it was put off until the last minute.

I'm not sure why I'm complaining, though. I had nothing to do with it. Kristy is the Homework Parent around here, especially when it comes to big projects like this. As a child, I always waited until the 11th hour, and at the thought of a school project being assigned, even now, my throat starts to close up, I break out in a sweat and I begin calculating the number of hours before bedtime of the night before that homework is due.

When everyone left for the library this afternoon, there was talk of the American subject being Daniel Boone or Abraham Lincoln. It turns out JP wanted that American to be Leonardo DaVinci, which isn't possible, so he settled on an American artist. He chose Jackson Pollock, which, really, is probably the perfect artist for a seven-year-old.

He checked out a book, read it and wrote a report that doesn't even mention booze or underage women. He made an authentic-looking Pollock painting and, as a costume, he and C covered a T-shirt in paint, which he will slip over his uniform for his presentation tomorrow.

It's a pretty good package he's put together. I'm sure it will garner an A tomorrow ... and then $28.4 million in 60 years.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We at Urf! wish all of you and your families a happy and safe Thanksgiving. After the turkey and dressing and the cranberry and the ravioli and the desserts, you can read just what it is I'm thankful for over at The Commercial Appeal.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


GK says hello to her cousin Harper down in the swamps of Southern Florida.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Daddy's Great

That's right, I feed my kids chocolate for breakfast. So what?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Candy Pain

More than a day on the calendar, more than any bird roasting in the oven and more than any parade, the holiday season is marked around here with the first bag of Christmas M&Ms bought.

And that time was last weekend. I made a trip to Sam's and came across a three-pound bag of the festive treats and couldn't resist. I brought them home and put them into the Christmas tin we've had for years. Merry Christmas to all.

Last night, as dinner was being prepared, GK sat on the counter playing with that tin. The lid is tight enough that even I have trouble getting the damn thing off when it's time for a snack. But GK sat there and shook it up like a chocolate maraca.

And then it opened.

M&Ms rained down on the linoleum like milk chocolate hail, like a pugilist forfeiting his red and green teeth, like a Rankin/Bass retch. About two pounds of candy made a racket that was almost deafening. We all just stood still and watched until the bouncing and the clattering stopped, and then GK said, "One fell." All anyone in the room could do was to look away, trying with everything we had not to laugh at her understatement.

It's difficult to be angry when your youngest is so funny, but I'm sitting here now wishing I had some M&Ms and suddenly it's not so funny. A little sad, actually. I might have to make a special trip to the store to get some more candy, and a new musical treat for GK.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Because I Said So

There are many times when GK is picked up from school looking cuter than when I dropped her off. I'm not the most adept at dressing a two-year-old, partly because I have no idea if pink matches blue or red or purple, but also because she's two and I just don't think it really matters what she looks like. Who is she trying to impress?

I wrote about it for The Commercial Appeal today, so check that out.

Yesterday was one of those days she ended up better looking than she started. This is how her hair looked when I picked her up.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Politics of Puke

I spent eight hours at about 10 different polling stations yesterday working on small stories for The Commercial Appeal's website. I interviewed democrats, republicans and independents. I interviewed black and white and east, north and south Memphians. I talked to old - very old - poll workers.

Last night I sat up listening to two very good, very gracious speeches. But this morning I'm just sick to my stomach. Literally. I had an episode of illness this morning that was violent. That's the only way I can describe it. When the bad stuff wants out, boy, does it want out!

I'm here today to talk about someone who makes a difference more than any one man in Washington ever could. That someone is my 10-year-old son, C. I know I just wrote about him not long ago and how disgustingly good he can be, and that no one wants to read repeatedly how much better someone's kid is than their own kid. But he really is better than your kid. Sorry.

Kristy goes in to work an hour before the kids and I need to leave the house in the mornings and I spend that hour fixing lunches and breakfasts and making sure everyone is dressed for school. Kristy was good enough to make lunches since I was too nauseous to stand, and then C spent the morning making breakfasts and tending to GK when she woke up and prodding the other kids to get dressed for school.

During all of this is when my violent episode hit. The kids must have heard it and must have been afraid for their Daddy's life. Maybe. Maybe not. But I was.

There was no way I could spend a half hour in the car getting these kids to school, so I was just going to have them stay home. My concern was that I would lose consciousness at some point and my kids would be the only people there to help. Or to not help, as the case may be. And they know where I keep my wallet.

I let Kristy know that I thought it was a good idea if she came home, which she did and took the kids to school. That was life saving because it allowed me to just lie in bed all day feeling like my head was in a vise.

I'm feeling about 30% better now. Thank you Kristy and thank you, C, especially. Now that is a ticket I could vote for!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Vote for Pepsi

We went to the RiverArtsFest downtown yesterday and had a great time. C spent the night before with a friend and then had to go to another friend's house yesterday to work on a school project, so he didn't join us. JP was very upset about this, he missed his brother.

However, he perked up nicely and worked on some sidewalk art in front of the Folk Alliance headquarters.

Here, JP illustrates his love of Pepsi. You can see the little symbol there above the "Pepsi." I'm trying to work this one into a pay check with the ad placement.

In this one, he's written "Vote Joshua." Not a bad idea, I'm actually leaning toward a write-in tomorrow.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

None of Your Business

With the election only a couple of days away, it seems there's just no getting away from it. Trust me, I've tried. So, I decided to ask the one person whose opinion I trust, my two-year-old daughter, who she is voting for this time around. It went like this:

Me: So, who are you voting for in the presidential election?
GK: None of your business.

Short and sweet, and spoken with all the passion of someone not yet old enough to vote. And so very true. As a kid, I'd ask my parents that very question and I always got a very similar answer . I'm not sure when it became okay to ask someone who they're voting for, but it ranks right up there in impoliteness, for me, with asking someone how much money they make.

And, I believe, it's the height of arrogance to think that anyone would care who you're voting for. Or that you could possibly change someone's ideology simply because you watched an extra half hour of Fox News or took one more directive from The Oprah.

Having said that, I spent most of last week trying to get people to talk to me about the election for a story that should run in tomorrow's Commercial Appeal. And on Election Tuesday, I'll spend the entire day at as many polling places as possible to ask people who they're voting for and why, so if you see me, say hello and tell me why you feel compelled to stand in line for so long. These little stories will be found updated all day on the CA's website.

So it seems that I don't care who you're voting for unless I'm paid to care, which may be indicative of a particular party or ideology, but who's to say which one?