Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Vast Difference

I love my children, I really do. All of them. But, seriously, four is enough and has been for quite a while. So tomorrow I take a stab, so to speak, at being sterile.

This little procedure (less than 30 minutes!) goes against everything I've ever held dear. From the very first I can remember, every waking moment has been spent keeping sharp, pointy objects away from the area above my knees and below my navel. It's been my raison d'etre. It's become a way of life, a creed, almost like a sixth sense.

And, yet, tomorrow I am actually paying someone - someone I have never met, mind you - to snip some wiring underneath there as though I were a faulty dashboard on an 18-year-old Volvo wagon.

Ouch! That's my blinker!

And then I will recuperate. Ohhhh will I recuperate. I plan to lie in one spot for as long as I can possibly get away with. I'll read books and watch movies and play on my laptop ... well, maybe not that. At some point I know I'll have to get up and become productive (though not reproductive!) again. There's only so long a woman who has been through labor four times is going to walk into the bedroom to see me lying prone with a bag of frozen peas on my pods.

I'm still not sure how to explain my prolonged convalescence to The Quartet, other than "It's Saturday, I'll get out of bed by dinner." Because it will be Friday ... and then, eventually, Sunday. I've had The Talk with C, but I haven't had The V Talk with him. There's no need to scare the boy just yet. I suppose I'll tell the kids that I just don't feel well.

Because I won't.

In fact, I'm not feeling so good now just thinking about it. A little nauseous, in fact. I think my vas deferens are twitching. I'd better go lie down ... just to get used to it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

An Open Letter to The Quartet

President Barack Obama recently wrote an open letter to his daughters for Parade magazine because that is the publication his 10- and 7-year-olds read regularly, so he knew they'd see it there.

I have no idea what kind of president Mr. Obama will be, but he seems to be a pretty good father. I was inspired by his letter and wrote one of my own to my children. Parade magazine declined to publish it, which is fine, as my kids have no idea what that is anyway. For them to see this letter, I'd have to have Homer Simpson read it on air. So, for now, I'll let you read it.

Dear C and JP and S and GK,

I would like to address you at this time as we embark on a new chapter of our nation's history.

I ask you today to think of things larger than yourself. As President Obama recently asked of his own daughters, I encourage you to hitch your wagon to causes greater than the individual. But first I ask you to pick your socks up off the floor and take your dishes to the sink. Wipe up that spill, please.

This isn't The White House. No one here is scurrying around to assure that your taxpayer-funded home is kept pristine.

I hope you children have taken from this last presidential campaign, and recent inauguration, that even you, too, can one day be the President of the United States. Or, at least, a voter.

Until then, however, I am the president of this house, and my vision is clutter-free. There is no spilled milk here, it is a land with no half-eaten Pop-Tarts left on a chair.

And as much as I want you to hitch your wagon of promise to great dreams, I also want you to promise me you will pull that wagon out of the front yard and to the back at the end of the day, because it looks tacky; and also because this is Memphis and someone will surely steal that wagon of hope if it's left out.

In these heady days of change, regardless of your politics, kids, embrace Barack Obama as your new commander in chief, but remember, always, that I am your commander in this house. Now, please, bring me my drink.

Love, Dad

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


We went to the bookstore the other day and JP found these glasses for sale. He had his own money, so the decision was up to him. $5.45 in quarters later, and he was the spitting image of Harry Potter. Or George Burns.

He hasn't taken them off since.

He puts these up as soon as he wakes up in the morning, as though he needs them to see Curious George. He doesn't wear them to school, yet puts them on as soon as he gets home, as though he needs them to see Homer Simpson.

They're also his reading glasses, he's wearing them to help him read the first Harry Potter novel.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Because I Said So and More

The Commercial Appeal handed their M section over to me today and I ran with it. I ran like a Mario Brother.

Read the column here. Read about a triathlete and her students here.

The new Edible Memphis magazine is out, too, and I have a piece in there on making the Zanone family ravioli. Here's a picture of us all making the ravioli, but you'll have to pick up a copy of the magazine to read all about it.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Who Is That?

I had a friend, once, who at the very beginning of any movie, when the first actor appeared on screen, would whisper, "Who's he?"

This evening we were watching a PBS presentation of Cyrano because we realize that our purpose as parents is to fill our children's heads with culture and art and the beauty of stage and screen. And because I couldn't find the remote or convince any of my kids to get off the couch for fear of someone taking their spot.

GK, at the start, asked, "Who's that?" With some authority, I said, "That is Cyrano de Bergerac."

And then she said, "Who is that?" Cyrano was the only name I knew, but I had to answer, so I said, "That is Darth Sidious." And then she asked who that was and I told her it was Julius Erving.

Who is that? Winston Churchill.
Who is that? Paul Simon.
Who is that? Oprah Winfrey.
Who is that? Kramer.

And on and on it went. She got her answers, so I see no problem, because my job as a parent is to nurture these children and fill them with some sort of knowledge to hopefully make their way in life; to teach them of philosophy, economics, civics, trivia and history. 

And to always, no matter what, appear smart to my offspring. Even if they end up thinking that Dean Martin shot Abraham Lincoln in a Ford dealership, thus beginning The War of the Worlds ... starring Woody Allen.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Staying At Home

There is an experiment afoot here at the castilo. Kristy and I have decided to send GK to school only three days a week to save a little money and today is Day One.

What we aim to learn this week is how she copes with that. Okay, just kidding. What we really hope to learn is how I cope with it. Stay at home dad? Me? Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed being a stay at home dad since switching careers back in October, but so far the kids have been in school five days a week. Staying at home with no kids has suited me just fine.

So far today has gone pretty well. We took the older kids to school this morning, and I kept GK in her pajamas. When we got home we watched Sesame Street and Sid the Science Kid. We ate sandwiches on the couch. I read. We cleaned up the living room, did dishes and laundry. I tried to teach her the names of the members of U2 and she fell asleep.

I think I may look forward to our two days together. I've never had this before.

It will be interesting, anyway, to see which of us cracks first. Who begs the other to just let her go to school five days a week. Either way, I plan on continuing to watch Sesame Street and eat on the couch on a regular basis.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

My Server Ate It

C informed us tonight that, for his CLUE class tomorrow, he has to have some photos of things that define him. I stomped around here wondering what kind of teacher assigns a project to be done over the Christmas break and cursing that very teacher.

[editor's note: please understand, if that teacher is reading this, that I didn't really question or curse you and that this is all just for effect.]

It was finally mentioned by C that the project was actually due the Monday they got out early from school due to the threat of ice just before Christmas break, and that he didn't have it for that day, either. So it isn't really due tomorrow, it was due a couple of weeks ago ... but I digress.

He laid out some things that are typical C and I took the photos and then I e-mailed them to him. Now, this was the first I've ever heard that he has his own Gmail address. Apparently they set them up in computer club. Therefore, it's also the first time I've e-mailed his homework to him.

It struck me that it would have been a wonderful thing, when I was in fifth grade, to be able to e-mail homework to myself at school. Because, I can tell you this, there would have been untold number of technical difficulties with my e-mail. "My homework? Well, I e-mailed it to myself, but it didn't come through for some reason."

The "faulty" e-mail would have freed up my evenings and taken a large amount of blame off of my obviously underfed dog.

For some reason, a die defines C. Probably has something to do with the family from which he comes.