The 3 Weirdest Things That Happened This Week

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork
  1. My Pants Don’t Fit Anymore

If it were up to me, everyone would walk around wearing a burlap sack around their body and a paper bag over their head. Then we’d all stop wasting so much time trying to look presentable. Seriously! 99% of the world’s problems would be solved within 2 years if we took the time we waste at the gym or putting on makeup on things like “Science” or “Learning-How-To-Get-Along-With-People-Who-Don’t-Believe-In-Your-God.”

Alas, the “Burlap and Paper Bag” look hasn’t hit just yet, so I am left with my usual baggy hoodie sweatshirt and baseball cap look. I noticed I looked a little puffier in this getup recently, and immediately weighed myself to discover the extent of my new-found largesse. I am 8 % heavier in the US than I was back in France! (8 % isn’t a large number when say, buying some breakfast cereal at the store, but adding that to an already questionable gross tonnage can have noticeably significant ramifications.) I was/am concerned.

Mostly, I was irritated why this was happening. While in France, I ate rich, unadulterated foods that had a way of communicating to my brain to I needed to stop eating. I don’t know how, but portions there are tiny and fabulous, (which is totally what I am going to name my all midget revue dedicated to Barbara Streisand covers.) American Paul AKA, “Fat Paul,” “Tubby P” or Amy’s current fave, “El Lipidor,” eats and drinks way too much, evidently whatever communication happening between my brain and belly in France has been silenced here. Also, I eat way too much of the following items which are more readily part of the American Dad Diet:

– Nachos

– Beer

– Nachos and Beer

Now, my pants don’t fit any more. The good news is that this means I usually don’t need to wear a belt. The bad news is that “El Lipador” will probably get diabetes soon. I gotta either figure out how to live here with some limits or get an extra large burlap sack and hope to change the fashion industry from the outside.

  1. We Bought 27 Bottles Of Wine At A Grocery Store!

I love a good deal. It’s hereditary. The happiest I ever saw my dad is the day that we went to a drug store that was going out of business. While in the store, they announced over the loudspeakers that all greeting cards were free. Not reduced. Not massively reduced, but free. My dad came out of that store with an entire shopping cart of greeting cards and tears in his eyes because he was laughing so hard. We didn’t pay for cards for a whole decade after. Towards the end, people were more likely to receive cards from us that read, “To my nephew on his Bar Mitzvah” than an appropriately worded greeting.

Were stopped at a store the other day to pick up some wine on our way to a friend’s house for dinner. (That apostrophe was intentional, Wolf’s, we only like one of you. You gotta figure out which one!) While at the grocery store, I noticed two shopping carts full of wine deeply discounted to around $8. Armed with a cool wine app called Vivino, I scanned each label in the cart, reviewed the cost of the wine and looked at the reviews to determine whether it was a good deal, and then snagged every single decent wine from those two carts.

Oh, and I went sailing! Look at me, I'm sailing!

Oh, and I went sailing! Look at me, I’m sailing!

While shopping, I had the same look of joy in my eyes as my dad did when when he walked out of that Thrifty store. That look led some other customers, curious as to how we could turn rummaging around in a discount wine cart into a joyous affair, to as us what the scoop was. Mostly, they wanted to know which wines still in the bargain cart were any good. I told them that everything in our cart was good and that nothing in the discount cart was worth it. They were impressed and mad at us all at once. The look, and the fact that we were in the process of buying 27 bottles of wine in the middle of the day at a grocery store, caused Malcolm to ask if he could join someone else’s family, preferably one that wasn’t so embarrassing. Maybe one day he’ll do the same and remember fondly when we turned Lunardi’s into our private wine auction.

  1. I Got A Job!

I like to cook. More specifically, I like to eat (see Weird Thing #1, above, for more details.) Stay-at-home-daddying has given a unique opportunity to learn how to do both, and after 10 years of watching cooking shows, and trying different recipes/techniques, (often turning chicken dinner into chicken shit,) I can confidently stay I am good at it. How good?  My lasagna scored a cameo in the upcoming Star Wars Episode VIII movie. Also, I have it on good authority that a ravioli I once made was being considered for Trumps vice-president. (Sadly, the ravioli was deemed too foreign.)

I recently decided to turn this passion for cooking and eating into an income stream. I am joining forces with a startup company to provide delicious home-cooked meals to friends and neighbors who don’t have the time/energy to do so for themselves. It’s a private supper club for people who like fresh, reasonably healthy food and don’t want to sit across the table from me wondering why I am wearing a burlap sack at the dinner table (again.)

I couldn’t be more excited! I believe in food as a means of expression, and cranking out my favorite meals is a way for me to hug my friends and neighbors in the mouth. (Look how awesome I am at talking about food, and I am just getting started!) I plan on cooking two nights a week, two times a week when I can share what I love doing with those close by. How lucky am I? If you live close by, how lucky are you!

Be on the lookout for more details. If you live in the area, be prepared to pony up to the “El Lipador” Express, because this kid’s going places. As I said, food is a way to express yourself, I have a lot of weird, wonderful things to express. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

One of the French traditions that I am loving the most right now is the Sunday Roast Chicken. (Don’t even think of stealing the name for your bowling team. I got dibs.) Sacrosanct, like scarves or complaining about your landlord, there is nothing finer than sitting around the table on a day of rest, enjoying fresh, uncomplicated food with your people. Based on my recent experiences making this traditional meal, I have prepared a step-by-step guide so that you can do this at home. Here it is:

Step 1- Get a chicken. Why settle for a supermarket chicken? My favorite is to go to our open air market and select one from the many butcher stands there. On Saturday, my favorite butchers had a nice, plump 2.5 kilogram chicken, complete with information about the farm it was raised on. Even without a detailed description of how this bird spent its days, I could tell from the meaty legs that it got a lot of exercise playing games like, “Chicken rugby” or “Holy crap, here comes the dog, run for your lives!” With a bird in the hand, I returned to our house to cook it.

Step 2- Prepare the bird. Some people are overly fussy about their pre-roasting routine, brining, marinating, and/or seasoning under the chicken’s skin. Here, the meat is so wonderfully chicken-y that I just rub a lot of salt and pepper on the outside. This last time, I got ready to do so and discovered this:

IMG_2501

So, yes. I guess on prior trips to the market the butchers took pity on meand removed the head (and feet!) themselves. Perhaps I have begun to fit in a little around here, and this one made it home looking a little less “Marie Antoinette” than I would have hoped. I briefly procrastinated by removing the internal organs before gearing up for the final task. If this happens to you, don’t worry. You have the skills to do this.

Step 3- Cut the head off the chicken. It’s simple really. Even so, when it happened to me, I stared into the dead chicken’s eye for a few minutes and, unable to proceed, I decided to take a quick detour from the task at hand.

Step 4- Open a bottle of wine. Sure, you probably going to drink some with the Sunday Roast Chicken, anyways, but I needed some wine to just get to the point where I could get the stupid thing in the oven. I drank the wine (more like a shot than I would care to admit,) and even forced some down the chicken’s throat. None of the involved parties should be sober when cutting off a chicken’s head.

Step 5- Do it. With my newly found liquid courage, I commenced the beheading. I split the job into 2 steps, since I wanted to keep the neck for use in making chicken stock. First, I severed the head at the top of the neck. It went through surprisingly easily. Then, I rolled back the skin of the neck near the chicken’s body and found a place to hack through with a knife. When I was done, the trachea fell out of the neck, as did the contents of my lunch shortly thereafter.

Step 6- Gross your kids out. Having a newly severed chicken head is a wonderful way to get back at your kids for getting on your nerves. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Step 7- Roast the chicken. I heated up the oven to 190 degrees and then rested the bird on top of a layer of potatoes.

I really wanted to make this post about the simple, wonderful tradition of a family meal together. But seriously. I had a chicken head! What was I supposed to do, pretend it wasn’t there? Not me. You all know how to roast a chicken, it’s not rocket science. What you probably don’t know is what to do with a chicken head and some free time. I got you covered. Without further ado, here is how the chicken head and I spent the rest of the day.

First, I introduced my friend to my fantasy football team. He said I should have drafted Andrew Cluck.

First, I introduced my friend to my fantasy football team. He said I should have drafted Andrew Cluck.

 

Then, we re-enacted some famous scenes from movies. If I was a famous movie producer, I sure wouldn't want to wake up with this in my bed!

Then, we re-enacted some famous scenes from movies. Don’t mess with those Corleones!

 

Next, we had some philosophical debates. He got his feathers in a bunch over it though.

Next, we had some philosophical debates.

 

Next, we chilled out and watched some TV. I thought he'd only be into animal planet, but it turns out he's into the period dramas.

After, we chilled out and watched some TV. I thought he’d only be into animal planet, but it turns out he’s into the period dramas. Who knew!

 

Alas, only so much time could pass before he wanted to see some more of Paris. He wanted to go up it, but the lines were too long.

Alas, only so much time could pass before he wanted to see some more of Paris. What a beautiful day on the Seine for me and my chicken head!

 

Finally, our time together came to an end. (He started to smell something awful.) His final resting place befitted his status as "Something extra on our dinner that I never really wanted." That's him next to the soda can at the bottom.

Finally, our time together came to an end. (He started to smell something awful.) His final resting place befitted his status as “Something extra on our dinner that I never really wanted.” That’s him next to the water bottle at the bottom.

 

Chicken head, I will always remember our special day together. You taught me a lot, and made me constantly dry heave. Cue the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing.

Chicken head, I will always remember our special day together. You taught me a lot, and made me constantly dry heave. Cue the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing.

Two Cupcake Limit: How Sugar Is Booze For Kids

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

It’s a fact: five-year-olds should not be drinking alcohol. Sure some chains like Olive Garden and Applebees think it’s cute to slip mickies to youngsters, but I firmly believe you should not be abusing alcohol until you have emotional problems that only hooch will wipe away (and no, Billy’s refusal to share the ball with you at the park does not justify a a few shots of Cuervo in your sippy cup.)

Interestingly, I have the same look on my face when a waitress drops off a pitcher of beer.

Watching Malcolm enjoy sweets lately I have made an interesting observation: he acts the same way on sugar that I act on alcohol. This actually makes more sense the more you think about it as the sugar in candy has many of the same effects on the body as the sugar in alcohol has. OK, that last part is mostly made up, but it can seem more scientifically-based if you picture me saying it while wearing glasses and a lab coat. Here’s how Malcolm’s sugar intake and my alcohol intake match up.

One Drink/Cupcake: Malcolm and I are social beings. We smile and talk to the other people at the party (even the ones we don’t know or don’t like.) There’s something inherently fun about getting together with others and enjoying a special treat. For me, it means wooing the affections of others and telling funny stories. For Malcolm, it primarily means giggling and generous hugging.

Two Drinks/Cupcakes: Things are still pretty good, although sometimes boundaries are crossed. My stories, which had previously involved topics such as “a funny thing happened when Malcolm and I were at the pool” inevitably move towards my crotch, as in “Dontcha just hate it when the gruff Chinese guy at the acupuncturist accidentally touches your penis?” Malcolm’s hugs get a little longer; sometimes they involved toppling over to the floor, and at this point in the festivities he may try to forcibly kiss other kids. You can hear both of us say things like, “It feels so good when it touches the lips!”

Five Drinks/Cupcakes: Usually the consumption of these items is done in some dark corner so that Amy can’t really tell how much we’ve had. Our speech is begninnning to ssslurrrr and for some reason we both like to sing a lot. We have a hard time actually peeing in the toilet, me because I am swaying pretty noticeably and Malcolm because he is so amped up. Glassy eyed, we both really enjoy telling people just how much we love the Giants.

Ten. Stay out of our way. Short, rapid breaths pretty much eliminate the ability for each of us to communicate clearly. When we can actually talk, we tend to tell people exactly what we think about them and there’s a pretty good chance both of us will be getting at least partially naked. We dance for no reason and mistake tackling for hugging. When we don’t get what we want, we get mad, then we cry. For obvious reasons, Amy wants no part of either of us. Luckily, I have the luxury of not remembering things the next day. Malcolm often wakes up with stuffed animals in his bed that he has no intention of sleeping with ever again.

You can use this to help decide both whether you should have another drink or, conversely, whether you should allow your kid that extra piece of cake. A good rule of thumb is to just make sure that there is someone else at the party that has had more than you or child. Trust me, you don’t want your kid or you to be “That Guy.” We’ve been “That Guy” too many times already.

Four Things That Are Annoying Me Right Now

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

Our car window. Our Honda Accord is almost ten years old, and it is starting to show signs of wear, most notably the fact that the driver’s side window is broken. Whenever I need to roll down the window and talk to someone on the street, I instinctively push the button to make the window go down before realizing that I now drive a hooptie and am one step away from having a car whose door handle is an old piece of rope. If you think it easy communicating with a parking lot attendant through a tiny crack in an open door it’s not. It’s embarrassing, and makes me mad. Sure, I could spend the small fortune it would take to fix the stupid thing, but if I did, the terrorists would win. Surely.

Pretend baseball. Everyone’s kid does something all the time that at first is kinda cute, but then starts to annoy you to the point where you wish you never stopped contracepting. For us, that is now pretend baseball. About thirty times a day, Malcolm asks who we are rooting for, and then names two teams (the most popular being the Floridelphia Marlins and the Cinfernatti Reds.) He then proceeds to run around the house pretending he is playing and then invariably tells you that the team you were “rooting” for lost by some large margin (last night the Giants lost to the Dodgers 130 to 0 and I am still pissed about it.) Eventually, he suckers you into playing catch and then actually playing the game itself, where you have to be the catcher, the umpire, and all of the other team. About the time you realize you are doing most of the work, you tell Malcolm you don’t want to play anymore, which leads him to start whining and forces you to look into a full time nanny.

The stuff in our house. Our house is in a state of disarray which leads guests to the conclusion that we are about to be featured on an episode of Cops. There are piles of shit everywhere and I fear there may be small rodents lurking about in them. I would get rid of the piles except for the fact that I have no idea where to put anything. So, most of the stuff in our house eventually makes its way to our office, which has the same role as the dead pile on a farm. Every year or so, I clean the office and promise that it will never get that bad, making Amy roll her eyes before turning her head at the rustling from the pile of papers in the corner. Most of the time, she utters, “Damn Varmints!”, and I am not sure if she is referring to the rodents or me.

I can't even see my feet anymore!

My boobs. I have the boobs of a perky high school freshman and if I don’t make any changes soon, I will one day be the prom queen. (I should also be quite upset at my muffin top of a belly that allows entire knit sweaters to lurk in my belly button instead of mere clumps of lint, but I can’t get past looking at my rack in the mirror. Yowza!) There are some people who “work out” by going to a place called a “gym,” but those are the kind of people who having working car windows, love playing with their kid, and don’t live in mortal fear of the accumulated stuff in their house. I am not that kind of person, but one day I hope to be. Until then, when you see me constantly moving so that you never get a profile shot of  my “Heavage,” you’ll know why.

What’s annoying you?

There Is No “I” In Yosemite

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Travel Stories

Actually, having read that I change my mind. There is an “I” in Yosemite. There is also a “me,” (spelled backwards) which means that you won’t be hearing about all the natural beauty of Yosemite on our recent trip there. No, you’re going to hear all about me and the wonderful choices I make in life.

The first wonderful choice I made was to skip buying gas outside the park. I am not a brave man, and can easily see myself wetting my pants in the face of real danger, but for some reason, I love to test the limits of a tank of gas. Besides my love of fried food, binge drinking and the occasional murder of a postal delivery worker, it is my only vice. It also explains why we have run out of gas as often as we do (no fewer than three times in the last two years!)  Our trip to Yosemite was no different, and although I had ample opportunities to stock up on gas prior to heading into the wilderness area, we found our arrival at our Yosemite cabin greeted by the “You’re out of gas” beep from the car and no way to make it to the nearest gas station. We called AAA, and had to pay nine dollars a gallon to partially fill up the tank, but honestly, I haven’t learned my lesson. I will test the gas tank again someday…

The next wonderful choice I made was to not have an 18 month-old baby. There were a number of toddlers with us at the cabin, and holy cannoli, they suck! People say that Malcolm was once that age and I have a number of pictures of Malcolm documenting it, but I must have blocked it all out of my memory. For good reason, too, as they are constantly stumbling around trying to either kill themselves by falling down stairs or eating something terribly dangerous. Of course, if you have the temerity to thwart their destructive plans, you are congratulated for your efforts by loud shrieks or even a spoon in the eye. I could have been more helpful to the toddler parents in attendance, but honestly I couldn’t think of a way to placate the little monsters. I don’t know how we survived toddlerhood, but I am glad we never, ever have to go back.

The last choice I made was, indeed, a good one. At the last minute, while packing the car, I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if we brought our bikes and went on a bike ride together? I did some quick research on the internet and found that biking in Yosemite is a easy/fun thing to do and, even though we hadn’t really ever travelled with our bikes before, we loaded them on the back of the car and set out.

Which is larger, El Capitan, or my backside. You be the judge!

When we go to the park, we took two rides and had a fantastic time. Malcolm isn’t riding a bike yet, but we attached a jump bike to the back of mine, and we rode around seeing the sights of Yosemite, getting to see places we never would have got to if we had to walk. The really good thing is that Malcolm totally enjoyed himself and even got the hang of working the pedals. I know that this was only one event, but we all liked it so much that I think we are going to be bike vacationers going forward. Of course that will require us finding a toddler free vacation spot and actually having enough gas to get there, but at least we have plans. Big ones.

How I Roll

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork, Uncategorized

I went biking again today. Between the holidays and all the rain in the past few weeks, I haven’t been able to head out for a while. Determined to not the mistakes I have made in the past, I set out for some fun in the sun. My plans were almost shanghaied when my bike had two flat tires and I couldn’t find the tire pump. I knew it was in the garage but our garage looks like the inside of my colon, except with more spiderwebs. After poking around for 45 minutes, I found the pump, pumped up the tires, and decided that cleaning our garage was way overdue. (I remain blissfully ignorant about the ramifications of my colon being in its current shape.)

I started in a bit of a deficit when I noticed that I had grabbed Amy’s biking gloves for my outing. Since they are only partially frilly, I didn’t care all that much. I did feel just a tad extra pretty knowing that I was wearing ladies accessories. When I finally got out there, I had a great time!

An otherwise nice day

An otherwise nice day

My Ipod expertly selected my favorite songs  (which sadly include selections from Twisted Sister, 2 Live Crew, and Erasure) while I nimbly navigated between the hordes of walkers that were enjoying the nice morning. I got a great workout, and knew so because I, for some reason, feel like I need to spit when working hard, and I spit many times during the ride. I also didn’t have to get off the bike and walk up any hills, so the outing was almost a complete success.

Almost is a pretty big word though for me, and I had another one of my moments. Blazing away around a turn singing (out loud) Weird Al’s opus to Star Wars, I encountered two women walking in the path. I announced my intention to pass on the left, but for some reason one of the women hopped right in front of me. Being a bit rusty, I jammed on the front brake. This had the foreseeable consequence of causing me to do a reverse wheelie and ended up ejecting me over the handle bars. I landed with the soft thud a pork shoulder makes when thrown onto the scale at the butcher, but managed to avoid any serious injury. Anxious to prove that I wasn’t hurt, I hopped right back up, looking at my legs to see if there was any residual damage. At precisely this moment, I realized that my fly was down (as it oft is) and immediately took corrective action. I also noticed the numerous trails of spit that had been collecting on my shoulder. I looked at them, they looked at me, and one of them asked if I was alright. I quickly hopped back on my bike, apologized for some reason, and then sped off. I was a tad irked afterwards, but smiled when I considered the story the two women would be relating to their friends:

A chubby cross dresser came barreling around a corner singing about Queen Amidala, screamed, “ON YOUR LEFT!” and then jumped over his handlebars. Then, he stood up looking like a confused monkey, zipped his fly, wiped his mouth on his shirt, grunted, “I’m sorry” and sped away. It was honestly the first time it had ever happened to me.

I think I am going to choose a new path next time I ride. Or maybe I’ll just find something to do that is less embarrassing.

Our Bedroom Takes A Turn For The Worse

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

Don’t worry, there isn’t anything weird in this post, I just thought I would relate the somewhat comical night that Amy and I had the other night. One night last week, I got home late and found Amy asleep already. Our sheets evidently never made it out of the laundry that day, so Amy was sound asleep atop the comforter with the guest bedroom comforter on top acting as her blanket. Amy took the good spare, so I was left to fend for myself. I ended up using a thin, cheap blanket the quality of which you’d find in a crappy motel. It wasn’t much better than a beach towel, but it was late and I really wanted to go to sleep.

After crawling into bed, Amy said hello to me and then announced that her body was a rope and that she could feel the connections all up and down her body. “Oh,” I said. “That’s nice,” not really knowing how to respond to such an announcement. This was not the first strange conversation Amy and I have had in the middle of the night, as Amy has bountiful history of sleep talking. Once, she screamed at the cat, “What do you think you are, some kinda chicken?” and after poking me in the ribs at 3am once and asking whether I was asleep, she smiled at me and just said, “Ha!”

While soaking up the connections in my wife that would lead her to believe that she was a rope, I noticed the smell of jasmine. IMG_2686Some might be comforted by such a smell, but to me it served as a reminder that I am a lazy homeowner. Over the summer, we left our bedroom windows open all the time. While open, our neighbor’s night blooming jasmine plant started growing towards our bedroom. When we finally tried closing the window, the plant got stuck. The plant is now trapped on the inside of the window, sealed between the window and the screen. It has become part of our bedroom. It wouldn’t be so bad, except that since the plant blooms at night when the weather is warm, it has mistaken our warm bedroom for a nice summer night and floods the room with its jasmine scent. Nice smell for some, but I can’t get it out of my head that we have plants overgrowing our room. I am also somewhat afraid that it is going to try and kill us while we sleep.

I was quickly snapped from killer vine fantasy by Amy starting up another conversation. “Nurse Nancy needs nets,” she exclaimed to my surprise. My mom, Nancy, is a nurse, and I found it odd that Amy would be alliterating about her in the middle of the night. I looked at her quizzically, and she continued. “Nurse Nancy needles noses. Naps. Necks. Nights.” I started giggling and Amy turned over and promptly returned to a peaceful slumber. I didn’t get much sleep that night, and it is not hard to see why. I was freezing, the room was overrun with potentially homicidal weeds, and I couldn’t figure out what the fuck my wife was dreaming about.

So, there you have it. Nothing weird about this post eh?

Give Til It Hurts (Somebody’s Feelings)

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

We adopted a family this year, and this means I have been out shopping for them this week.  I say this, not to brag about what a great person I am, but to explain what I was doing in the little girls bra and panties section in Target, in case any of you saw me there. Armed with a wish list, a credit card that was declined not once, but twice due to the flurry of activity and holiday good cheer, I set out to make someone’s Christmas just a wee bit better.

Shopping is challenging for me because I am alone.  While it is nice to have fellow holiday shoppers out there with me, they tend to smell of beef log and don’t seem to care all that much about my fantasy football team, both of which make them undesirable to talk to (or even stand next to in line.)  To mitigate my feelings of loneliness, I found myself having an internal dialogue with the people I was out shopping for.  The conversations were interesting because I have never met them and know little of them except for their wish list.  Of course, since they weren’t actually present for the conversation, I felt free to be as mean and condescending as I possible.  Here are a few excerpts:

“Wow, the only sweatshirt they have in XXL, Michael, is black.  It’s too bad, because the other [smaller] sweatshirts are way cooler.  Maybe if you didn’t eat at McDonald’s so much you wouldn’t be so fat and you could look cooler.”

“Chris Brown, Esmerelda. Really?  He beat up his girlfriend!  Why not listen to someone a little more wholesome?  Paul Simon.  There you go, I think he is battery-free! Oh, this is going to a very special Christmas indeed!”

“Darryl, you asked for a XBox 360?  I don’t even have one!  Next year set your sights on something more realistic.  This year, to punish you, I buying you a My Little Pony.”

“Sorry, Daniel, I just can’t buy underpants for another man.  I don’t want you thinking of me every time you put them on.  Please enjoy this modest gift card.”

“You’re a 5T at one year old?  God I hope your mom filled out the form wrong, because if not, you are the be the biggest baby in the whole wide world.  Somebody call the Today Show!”

And so it went, me walking around the store shopping for toys for boys and girls, tool sets for dad, and trying to find clothes for the infant version of King Kong Bundy.  It was a long day, but enjoyable nonetheless.  I even brought Malcolm along for 3 hours of shopping to teach him the true meaning of the holidays. To his credit, he learned to not give people what they want, but rather what you think the should want.  He learned to accept people for who they are, but criticize them endlessly when they are not around.  Perhaps the most important lesson of all, he learned to avoid people who smell like beef log.  And that, my friends, is what the holidays are all about.

Another Art Project Bites The Dust

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Daddy Stories

It was a simple task, really.  For each child at Malcolm’s preschool’s birthday, the child’s parents are supposed to put together a collage of photos to tell a story about how the child has spent the past year.  I did the collage last year, and while it wasn’t necessarily a thing of beauty, it got the job done.  This year, like so many other things that I have set my mind to recently, it was a bit of a disaster.  Here is what Malcolm’s friends at school got to see:  collage

I think Malcolm may be on the lookout for a brand new daddy for his birthday.

The first problem with the collage o’ crap was that the pictures were terrible, in almost every way.  I realized last night that our printer was out of ink, so I had to rush out this morning to the office store to buy new cartridges.  Why I chose this occasion to purchase cheap ink made by Office Max and not Canon for the first time, I do not know, but I certainly regretted the decision as soon as I started printing out the pictures.  The pictures were the wrong color and had stripes in them.  Malcolm’s skin and hair are really not carrot colored, but you wouldn’t know that looking at the collage. They ended up turning out looking like they were taken by a surveillance camera and printed out on slides from the 1970’s.  The colors on each side of the pictures are also different, which forced me to crop the pictures using our kitchen shears (evidently the only scissors we own now.)  I don’t know how to cut straight, so it looks like Malcolm did the chopping himself, after a night of drinking whiskey.  To cap it all off, I didn’t even want to use most of these pictures, but most of the pictures we have taken this year are on a flash memory card which is now hiding somewhere in the house where I cannot find them. Maybe the scissors and the memory card are silently laughing at me somewhere underneath the couch, but rest assured I am blaming them for the poor picture quality in the collage.

The second thing wrong with the collage is that it has my writing on them.  My handwriting normally looks as if it were done by an irate chicken dipping its talons in ink.  When I have left myself a grand total of 15 minutes to get the whole collage done, it looks as if the chicken is irate, a little bit typsy herself, and an old doctor.  Taking a closer look, you’ll see that my handiwork is done in two different inks, the result of me deciding that I wasn’t able to space the words well with a black Sharpie, and switching to the only pen I could find in our house (a blue one.) The other pens that we own must be really having a good time with the scissors and the memory card.  I was really crushing it while wrapping up the “project” so you will notice the many mistakes I made while writing and the almost total lack of punctuation.  Having satisfied myself that the kids aren’t able to read yet anyways, I flew off to school, where I arrived late, and had to endure the scowls of the teachers who were filling time waiting for me.  When I arrived, they looked at me as if to say, “This is it? This is how you are honoring your son?”  I didn’t have the heart to tell them that Malcolm was going to have four or five other birthday celebrations this year and that I didn’t really care about this one.

As I skulked off into the corner, I decided to check out the other collages that parents had put together for the November birthdays at Malcolm’s school.  It was precisely then that I realized my third mistake.  My job was not to chronicle what Malcolm had done during his third year, but rather detail the milestones that he had reached on each of his birthdays.  I basically needed to present a photo growth chart of Malcolm, and I, in my ultimate wisdom decided to present them with striped pictures in odd hues of Malcolm eating smores and riding in a tractor. I was supposed to stick around and watch the circle time presentation forMalcolm’s birthday, but I was so humiliated by my own ineptitude that I just bolted for the door without saying goodbye.  Honestly, I think I would have been better off if I would have just wiped a bunch of cat shit on a piece of paper and then typed the words, “This is my life” underneath.  Sorry Malcolm, you’re stuck with a pretty bad dad.

Whoops, Sorry I Ruined Christmas (And Catholicism)

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

New Year 016I often say the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Usually, I blame this on booze, but my lack of an appropriate filter extends also to saying things in front of kids that I should not.  I am sure that you all have done this too, but Tuesday, I laid a pretty nice whopper.

I was hanging out with a few of my fellow stay at home parents the other night.  We began talking about religion and the extent to which we grew up religious versus what we are teaching our kids.  With the kids sitting around us at the dinner table, I recounted a story about a friend of mine who has put his kid in a religious preschool, but then told the kid, “You know that Jesus is made up just like Santa Claus, right?”  The eyes of both of my friends bulged out immediately and I thought, “Wow, they are really freaking out about my friend.”  When one of the moms said, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” it downed on me that I had just told the kids that Jesus and Santa Claus were make believe. Shit!  I had no idea why I thought it was OK to tell this story in front of the kids, but there my story sat, like a giant matza ball, creating a black hole in the room.  I quickly looked around the table and saw that the kids were pretty into their dinner, and suavely changed the subject to something way less damaging, (something about the abortion amendment in the new health care bill.)  I am going to have to start watching what I say more.

Am I Literarial, Or What?

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Miscellaneous Waste of Time

I visited my friends Tunzel and Matt this past weekend.  They took me to Matt’s parents’ house in Maine and we had a splendid time.  Mostly, we ate and talked about where we were going to eat next.  They are truly good friends, as they put up with my whining about how cold it was and listened to me drone on and on about how much I know about everything.  They also politely ignored all the bad advice I dispensed about how they should lead their lives, not a difficult task considering I mistook hand saniti

zer for soap while in the shower and liberally applied a gob on my head.  (I could detail why I was using hand soap in lieu of shampoo in the first place, but it wouldn’t really help my cause out that much.) At least my hair is now sanitized, which is nice.

Tunzel gave me some feedback that the lame clip art that I use as eye candy for my blog is tired, and I need to use more pics of Malcolm and I.  Since they are both talented writers, they also told me that I needed to have a presentable “author photo” to use to show off my literary side.  I thought, “Better my literary side than my back side, so, without further adieu: My Author Photos.

#1 - Writers write books.  Maybe I wrote all those books behind me.  Maybe I read them all.  Either way, I'm pretty literate.

#1 – Writers read and write.  Maybe I wrote all those books behind me.  Maybe I read them all.  Either way, I’m pretty literate.

#2 - It is a well known fact that serious authors have menacing cats.  Tunzel and Matt told me so!  Such a pretty kitty. Such a serious author.

#2 – I have it on good authority that serious authors have menacing cats.  Tunzel and Matt told me so!  Such a pretty kitty. Such a serious author.

#3 - All that reading and writing causes good authors to need glasses.  Sometimes good authors think about things.  I am thinking these glasses don't taste very good.

#3 – All that reading and writing causes good authors to need glasses.  Sometimes good authors think about things while gnawing on their glasses.  I am thinking these glasses don’t taste very good.

Good authors usually write indoors, causing their skin to become a sad pale hue.  So, your pictures must be in black and white.  I am really hitting my stride here.

#4 – Good authors usually write indoors, causing their skin to become a sad pale hue.  So, your pictures must be shot in black and white.  Plus, check out the bitchin’ wildlife art in the background.  I am really hitting my stride here.

#5 - I got to thinking, if good authors need glasses because they read and write so much, then really good writers must need twice as many glasses.  Plus, I get to look down my nose at you, you with your shocking grammer. Don't dangle your prepositions here!

#5 – I got to thinking, if good authors need glasses because they read and write so much, then really good writers must need twice as many glasses.  Plus, I get to look down my nose at you, you with your shocking grammar. Don’t dangle your prepositions here!

#6 - I want people to think that I am so prolific that I have four hands to write with.  This really has it all, I am pale, blind as a bat and thoughtful.  Who wouldn't want to read my writing?

#6 – If I need twice as many glasses to do all that reading and writing, surely, I must need twice as many hands to be as prolific as I am.  I really got it all, I am pale, blind as a bat and prolific.  Who wouldn’t want to read my writing?

Which do you like best? Vote in the poll!

Don’t Ever Do This With A Habanero

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

I love hot sauce.  My favorite food in the whole wide world is a taco from a taco truck in Bakersfield, drenched in amazing “shit fire” sauce.  I have been working towards coming up with my own version of the hot sauce for a while, but today, that search ended.

I roasted some tomatillos, onions and a lone habanero under the broiler for a few moments to try today’s recipe.  In order to get them ready, I cut sliced the tomatillos and onion, and cut open the habanero to remove the seeds.  This, of course, required me to touch the habanero with my fingers.  I dropped the ingredients off into the oven, and then went to go use the bathroom.  Afterwards, as I was washing my hands, 30 seconds late, in retrospect, I began to feel a very painful burning sensation in my neenee.  (I get a lot of visitors on my blog looking for adult content given that my title contains the words “Big Daddy,” so I will tell this story using children’s names for the male reproductive organ.  That way, no perverts will stumble their way on to my site accidentally.  I want the perverts here for the content on purpose!)

So, my neenee was burning.  Before you jump to conclusions that my extramarital affairs have somehow left me with nasty diseases, this burning sensation occurred AFTER I zipped up.  The sensation was painful and abrupt, like I had just fallen down naked in a campfire.  I finally realized what had happened (I got habanero juice on my peenee) and the burning was so strong I needed to extinguish it immediately. I dropped trou and got on Malcolm ‘s stepstool to lift myself into position over the sink and then flooded the area with the water from the faucet.  Thank god for pullout sprayers!  As I stood with my pants down and my business at eye level for my neighbor’s window and still in pain, I decided that I needed a new approach.

As it now felt like I had glued hot charcoals to my winky, I sprinted upstairs and attempted to use some lotion to extinguish the pain.  This didn’t work, and I kept hopping around the house muffling my screams.  I rifled through the medicine cabinet and found some medicated menthol powder, which I liberally applied to the affected area.  This seemed to make things worse, and my weewee tried to recoil in agony back into my body cavity; the powder caked thing looked like  a sad little gnocchi.

I finally removed the remainder of my clothes hopped into the shower, and then screamed loudly when hot water touched the burn zone.  I am not sure hot water made things worse, but at the very least it gave the gnocchi some form again, like re-hydrating some mushrooms.  I applied soap liberally with cold water and that seemed to stem the tide, although I could still feel the effects an hour later.  I took some ibuprofen, and I am thinking about a shot or two of Jaeger to deal with the after effects.  Needless to say, everything in the oven was burned to a crisp.

People, if you work with habaneros, please use gloves.  If you don’t use gloves, carefully wash you hands after touching the peppers.  I won’t worry about this stuff, because I will never, ever use habaneros again.  There is a good chance I won’t ever use my neenee again, but I’m hoping that time heals all.

Oh Balloon Boy’s Daddy, You Did It All So Wrong

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Miscellaneous Waste of Time

Balloon boy’s daddy appears to be headed to jail for a while.  Of course, as a parent, I revel in delight at others’ misfortune.  Everything bad that happens to somebody else is something bad that is not happening to me.  At the very least, I take the opportunity for it to be a teaching lesson, things that the rest of us can do to avoid looking this bad.

Do Want Your Kid to End Up Like This?

First, don’t name your kid Falcon.  For that matter, don’t name your kid after anything in the bird species.  I know that certain baseball fans out there will think I am crazy, but bird names are creepy.  There absolutely needs to be a person on the other side of that conversation, being the voice of reason, “I want to name our kid Falcon. No!!! Kids named after birds hide in boxes in the attic! What about  Jimmy, or Steve?”  If you must name your kid after an animal, at least make it a horse.  Ponyboy or Clyde(sdale) are much better.

Second, never conspire to commit a felony with a 7 year old.  I got this one from Randi Rhodes.  Seven year-olds will generally not withstand the scrutiny of intense questioning, so if you are going to try and perpetrate a fraud, don’t team up with someone who will give you up for a candy bar.   I have a time coming up with things I can do to commit crimes, but, being a dad, if I did come up with a Jim-dandy of a plot, I can guarantee that it would absolutely do not involve my son.  Kids are young minds to mold into greatness, not accomplices.  If you are looking to exploit your kid, have them work in a coal mine like the good ole days.

Lastly, never, ever try to put yourself in the limelight.  It will never work out.  Most of the time, the public will seize on something that you do, like hide your kid in a box in the attic, and use it to make you look bad.  I myself have many things that I don’t want the public to find out about.  I collect ice cream men.  You know the creepy guys who go around selling ice cream in weird vans? I have about a dozen of them locked up in our crawl space.  Seems rather innocuous to me, but I could see how a news story about me might portray us in an unflattering light.

So, I should be just fine. My kid’s name is Malcolm, and not Pigeon, and I do not use him to outsmart the authorities. We are not going to be famous, and the bevy of weirdos will forever remain hidden in our crawlspace.  Yep, everything is fine in the Wilson-Schwartz household.

The Pickle in the Jar of Pearl Onions

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

I am going to Reno this weekend.  My friend, Derek, is an avid University of Missouri fan, and I, along with some of his other friends, are going up to watch the Tigers play the University of Nevada, Reno at football.  This sounds like a perfect opportunity to blow off steam with a weekend with the boys, but I am a bit worried.

The guys I am going with are quite successful in the business world.  They are all upper level executives at successful companies, with nice houses and cars that probably don’t smell like old sandwiches.  They wear clean clothes, shower every day, and are polite to one another.  That is what has me worried. 
When I go to Reno with my normal crew, I tend to get just a tad out of control.  When there, you will normally find me with a beer in my dirty little hands, a cigarette dangling out of my mouth, and I am constantly making up reasons to take the next shot.  And that is all before breakfast.  I like to yell at the dealers, do squats around the tables, and if you see me order food that doesn’t start with “chicken fried” then something is wrong.  One time, I got an entire blackjack table to rub their nipples every time the dealer busted.  I am concerned that I will not be able to control the beast within, and the others will have to ask Derek, “Why is your friend doing shots at the bar with that old Chinese woman?”  It’s gonna be tough.

The other potential pratfall will be the blackjack tables.  The tables, along with AC Transit buses, are one of the last few places where you can see democracy in action.  When sitting at the tables for hours with random strangers, you tend to talk about who you are and what you do.  I can foresee going around the table with everyone else talking about their impressive responsibilities and the movers and shakers they have in their contact list.  And then all eyes will fall on me.  Being a stay at home dad is great, but it is not the kind of awe inspiring profession that lends itself to impressing the general public.  In anticipation of the blank stares that I normally get, I will tell people, “I’m in derivatives.”  If forced to, I will eventually disclose that this means that I wipe Malcolm’s constantly running nose and that I sponge off of my wife, but I am hoping that I won’t have to.

I am going to approach the weekend like this: I am going to ignore my initial inclination.  I will not be going to the strip club with a bag of cocaine and $1,000.  I will think about it more closely and go to dinner with the boys.  My pants and shirt will stay on at all times in the casino.  I will channel my proclivity for taking off my clothes by simply leaving my fly unzipped.  If someone makes fun of me for being a stay at home parent, I will buy them a drink instead of spilling one on them.  It’s gonna be hard, because when I start drinking, it takes me approximately 1 second between when I think of something and when I start doing it.  Wich me luck!

Parking Ticket

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

Oakland is a strange and wonderful place. The city has found itself in the embarrassing position of not having any more money and, to try and make some, they are going crazy with the parking tickets.  We have received three in the past month, and I had to go to city hall today to demonstrate that my front license plate had been replaced.  Yes, I got a $80 parking ticket for not having my front license plate. Seriously. Those of you who wonder where the license plate went should ask Amy how closely she pays attention to the car in front of her when she is getting on the freeway.

So, with a shiny new license plate and a signature from a cop who swears that the license plate was there, I headed into downtown Oakland to prove that I had fixed my ticket and, in the process, saved $70 off the tab.  I noticed that I take a couple of shortcuts in life when I was walking to city hall.  The first thing I noticed was the carrying vessel I used for my coffee.  Unable to locate my state-of-the-art thermal coffee mug (in the last month) I have resorted to using Malkie’s sippy cup to schlep my coffee around.  I also noticed that I took the shortcuts of not combing my hair and not zipping my fly. So, today, the residents of downtown Oakland were treated to the sight of a messy haired man with an unzipped fly taking hits off of a bright orange sippy cup.  I was, for all intents and purposed, a very large child walking around without parent. Of course, I didn’t notice any of the above until I walked past some people whereby I realized how much I have let myself go.  I need to make some major life changes.

My sense of innocent ignorance stayed with me when I reached the parking office.  When I arrived, there was a group of people sitting in the chairs waiting for their turn.  I walked in and wanted to say, “Hi there everybody!  It’s real nice to meet ya!”, but the angry look in their eyes told me that their response would have been for me to “Shut the fuck up!”  One woman seemed greatly displeased at having received a ticket, and was yelling at the poor counter worker.  At one point she slammed her fist against the counter to show her rage against the injustice, and when that failed to elicit the dismissal she desired, she stormed out of the room.  I secretly believed that she was going to lose, as anyone dumb enough to yell at the counter person at a city office is probably parking in the wrong spot.

I sat their listening to everyone’s sad stories about emergency trips to the store, out of control employees and children who had stolen the car. Over and over I heard the pleas for mercy, and when none came, outrage and defiance.  I wanted to get worked up, but I was beating my phone at scrabble, so I was in a pretty good mood.  When my number got called, I fixed my ticket and walked out of there with a clean parking bill of health.  Now, I just need to work on my appearance.

Road Trip!

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Travel Stories

Amy is San Diego hanging out with her college gal pals this weekend.  If you don’t already know this, Amy had a 10 bedroom apartment her senior year, and most of them get together once a year to celebrate the fact that they still talk to each other.  That meant I was fully responsible for Malcolm for the extended weekend, and since he had no school this week, I punted.  I decided to bring him to Bakersfield to visit my parents.  They have wanted to show Malcolm around to their friends, and I decided that I would be the bad son no more and offered to bring the child to their doorstep.

We had to get there though.  Malcolm is in the annoying phase of childhood where he is either asking, “why?” or is asking when we are going to get there.  I could not handle this for the 4+ hour trip down there, so I did some strategizing.  I decided to use the airplane trick and brought his portable DVD player.  Having him watch a movie would not only give him something to do besides get on my nerves, it would also allow me to listen to a book on tape.  So, just prior to hitting the road, we headed over to the library to pick him out a movie, and grab a book on tape for me.  He immediately chose “Castle in the Sky” which was done by Hayao Miyazaki, the man behind Ponyo and the Curious George movie. I felt a little strange showing him a movie that I had never seen before, but I figure there was no way in hell the guy who made Ponyo would make a slasher movie with lots of naked chicks in it.  For me, I got a John Grisham novel, which is a little on the fluffy side, but not too bad considering my only other option was from a russian novelist who had more syllables in his name than the book had words.

I loaded up the movie, put in the CD, and we hit the road.  Everything was going swimmingly until I started to notice that something wasn’t quite right.  Malcolm kept saying, “This isn’t my movie!”  I thought the comment strange, but he kept watching it, so I figured it was no big deal.  We stopped for lunch and he seemed to be enjoying the movie.  By the way, if you are ever on I-5 and need to stop for a meal, never, ever eat a place called the Apricot Tree.  The food there sucked, more reminiscent of “weird things you find on the side of the road” than “restaurant food.”

When we got back into the car, I put Malcolm’s movie back on, and noticed that I couldn’t really understand what the characters were talking about.  Upon closer examination I realized that it was because the movie was in Japanese.  Although the movie did have english subtitles, apparently Malcolm couldn’t read them and he did not understand a single word that had been said in the 1.5 hours that he had watched it.  I suddenly realized why he said that it wasn’t “his” movie.  I changed the options and when the characters started speaking in English, Malcolm excitedly asked to watch the whole thing again.  I had recently done the same thing for Amy for a few episodes of “The Wire” so I let him begin anew.

We finished the trip with him happily watching the Japanese subtitles which, for some reason, began to appear on the screen.  I happily learned about the intrigue of a billionaire screwing his entire family out of their inheritance and giving his whole estate to a unknown missionary in the rain forest.  Things got a little dicey when I started to get a little tired and began chewing sunflower seeds to stay awake.  I didn’t have anything to spit them in, so I took off my hat and began spitting the seeds straight into it. Every now and again, Malcolm would ask if we were there yet, but he didn’t listen to my answer and his heart really wasn’t into it.  We arrived in Bakersfield in pretty good shape, and since we were both involved in story telling of some sort, the trip went pretty quickly.  In case you were wondering, I was even able to remember to dump out my hat before putting back on my head!

Why Is This Man Rubbing My Butt?

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

Lying face down at the acupuncturist’s office the other day, I lamented the sad status of my massage life.  Henry, the massage therapist, was aggressively rubbing my butt up and down, and, although it felt nice, the fact that he was a man was not unnoticed.  (Sadly, this is not the first time I have mentioned rubbing my butt aggressively in this blog.)  You see, I really like getting massaged, but when the massage is performed by a man, I like it less.  I am not against men rubbing each other, and I wish I could be OK  being massaged by another man, but I just get a little tense when another man is digging around my twig and berries.  Call me unenlightened, but I am just more comfortable with a female masseuse, much in the same way many women prefer female gynecologists or the way Malcolm prefers to have his dinner covered in chocolate. But, I digress.   

I began my long journey of loving massages in Thailand.  There, you can get an hour long massage for around eight dollars.  (For an extra eight dollars, you can effectively end your marriage!) We got massaged, almost every day, by tiny Thai women with incredibly strong hands.  It was paradise, and I thought getting massages would always be like that.  Sadly, it was not the case.

Trouble first arose on a trip Amy and I took to Greece.  We signed up for a multi-day spa package that had us running off for treatment several times each day.  I knew things were going downhill when I found myself naked, standing spread eagle against a wall.  They called it an exfoliating, toning rinse, but really they just pointed a high powered hose at me as if I was an inmate suspected of bringing lice into County.  Then, it happened. My massage therapist walked in and he was a hairy German man, who breathed his smelly, smoky breath on me for the entire rub.  I spent the entire time trying to think of Amy giving me the massage, only to become terrified that I would achieve an erection and really get myself into a bind.  Needless to say, it was not relaxing.

Last year, in Turkey, it almost happened twice.  I got a Thai massage from a hairy Turkish man, and dealt with it by promptly falling asleep the whole time.  I guess it was relaxing, but I could have stayed in the room and took a nap for a fraction of the cost.  Later in the trip, Amy and I signed up for a Turkish Hamam, which I thought could be something like this:

Unfortunately for me, it turned out to be more like this:

Do you see how nervous this guy looks?  I definitely didn’t want to be him.  When we arrived at the treatment room, the hairy Turkish guy (who spoke no English) seemed to indicate that he would do us both at the same time.  I wanted no part of this, so I ran away very quickly, opting instead to take a cooking class. I was definitely more relaxed:

IMG_1816 

When I found out that our acupuncturist has a masseuse on staff I was extremely excited, until I saw Henry walk in.  The first time he worked on my shoulder, he gave out a long, slow burp that had the force of air escaping from a popped blister. He then kinda blew it in my face.  Since then, I have come to respect Henry because he fixed my shoulder problem so that I can now play softball without pain again, although it would be much better if he were a Henrietta. At least he is not hairy.

So there I was, face down on the table, with Henry aggressively rubbing my butt and wondering how I should feel about it. I decided not to feel anything about it just lie there.  That only lasted for a few moments, when I fell into a deep relaxing sleep.  Denial has its benefits.

The Straight Poop

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Malcolm Stories

We have a bunch of new babies in our lives. Seeing what life is like with a newborn makes me think of when we were new parents, and what life was like back then. I remember we had our friends Austin and KC over for dinner as our first night of socializing, and after dinner, I suddenly burst out, “Oh my gosh, can we just talk about Malcolm’s poop for a little bit? I really got to get some stuff off my chest!” I have no idea what it is about being a parent makes you so obsessed about your kids poop, but I had it bad. Now, Malcolm is obsessed with poop (his poop, your poop, the dog’s poop, the cat’s poop, the zoo animals poop, horse poop, fly poop, bird poop, and the list goes on and on) and I know where he gets it from: us! With so much poop on the brain, I give you my favorite Malcolm poop stories. Enjoy!

First poop on the potty

Malcolm was rocketing up the potty training charts, when one day he decided to take a poop on the potty. Amy said that he seemed genuinely proud of his accomplishment until he looked down and recoiled in terror. He completely freaked out at the size of the object that had just came out of his body, much in the same way that I freaked out when Malcolm popped out of Amy’s lady business. He erupted into tears and wouldn’t go near the toilet for months. Eventually, he accepted jelly bean bribes to start using the toilet again, and now diapers are happily a thing of the past.

I have had it with these motherfucking poops on this motherfucking plane

On a plane ride to Florida, Malcolm once pooped seven times. Seven times!!! We had packed six diapers thinking that should be plenty for the four and a half hour flight. The first couple of poops we thought, “Strange, he usually only poops once a day at home.” Then we started rooting for more, thinking we might back door our way into the Guiness Book of Records (Get it? Back door!). When we had finally put on the last diaper, we turned towards each other with concerned looks on our face, not having to say, “what do we do if he does it again?” Then, he did it again.

I got some pretty strange looks on the way up the aisle to the bathroom for the seventh time that day, and people seemed question what the hell we were up to. Once inside the bathroom, I had to do one of the grosser things I have done as a parent: I scooped poop out of malcolm’s diaper, scoured the diaper with a wipe, and then put the diaper (still stained with the remnants of yesterday’s lunch) back on Malcolm. I returned to the seat with him, and Amy wrinkled her nose at me and then wouldn’t make eye contact again until we had landed and were able to access our auxiliary diaper supply. I called Guiness, they hung up on me.

I’m Proud, he’s a comedian

The first time that Malcolm pooped in a public place was a proud moment for me. We were at a pizza place for lunch with my dad’s group when Malcolm said that he had to go poop. I brought him into the bathroom, and without incident, he pooped in the potty. I was exhilarated as I had heard it can be quite traumatic for kids to go in public. We wiped, I flushed and then took a turn going pee in the crowded bathroom. When I started to pee Malcolm shouted, “My neenee is bigger than yours. Daddy has a small neenee!!!” Needless to say, I waited for the room to clear before heading back out, no sense in showing your face to the world when such things have been said.

The grossest 5 minutes ever

I went to an Oakland A’s game with some friends of mine once. Malcolm was about eight months old, and made a very large, very stinky deposit into his diaper. None of my friends offered to change Malcolm, so I went to the men’s room to do it. At first, I was outraged at the fact that they had no changing tables to work with. Then I realized that the members of the Raider nation would probably have used a changing table to pass out on, so I got over it. There being nowhere else to clean him up, I had to make the change on the floor. I threw up in my mouth a little when I got down on the floor and the floor smelled worse than Malcolm’s diaper did! I threw up a little more when I visualized the things that had to be done to the floor to get it to smell that way. I then took Malcolm out in the hallway and changed him there, amongst the hustle and bustle of the ballpark crowd. Next time you are at a sporting event, compare the smell of the bathroom to the smell of the hallway. You’ll see why I did what I did.

Peanut Poop

This one is my favorite. We were in France several years ago. While there, we went to a steakhouse with our friends and Amy’s parents. Malcolm was a bit fussy and needed quite a bit of attention. This was similar to the night before, in which we solved the dilemma by feeding Malcolm a constant stream of peanuts, a few at a time. That allowed us to enjoy ourselves at dinner, and gave Malcolm a wholly unbalanced meal. Well, those peanuts eventually worked their way through malcolm’s body and needed to be freed. Malcolm started to grunt. His eyes turned red and watered. He moaned. This continued for close to ten minutes, with Malcolm eventually grunting loud enough for others in the restaurant to hear. We, of course, let this go on and actually enjoyed ourselves a little, because he wasn’t crying when he was grunting. Malcolm finally won the battle and passed 50 or so peanuts, in different stages of digestion, into his diaper. Yes, that’s right, some of them were whole. His diaper looked like a Planters Candy Bar. We toyed with the idea of washing some of the more presentable peanuts and giving them to our neighbors (sort of a “Ta-Da!” moment) but in the end, just threw out the diaper. At least, on this night, we had a spare.

Care to share any poop stories of your own?

A weekend in the country

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork, Travel Stories

 


 

We have rancher friends.That’s right, there are people in this world who don’t have strip malls, traffic woes, or neighbors that aren’t relatives. My high school friend, Regina, and her husband Judd, live on a ranch, complete with cows, horses, tractors and lots and lots of alfalfa.They met in college, and after a stint traveling the world, they settled in to work the land on Judd’s family farm.Now, they are raising a family in the country and seem as happy as two squirrels in a gunny sack.I’m not sure that the squirrel/gunny sack reference is used properly, but I have heard them use the expression and wanted to repeat it here.

We visited Judd, Regina, their daughter Dylan and the unborn fetus that is expected to arrive sometime in July.In addition to the humans, the Hannas are also made up of 5 dogs, 16 or 17 orange cats, a bunch of horses and the countless number of deers and squirrels that run around their farm eating their crops.(More on the squirrels later.)

For the past two Memorial days, the Hannas have graciously invited us up to the ranch for what Regina has called, my “Mancation.”You see, as a stay at home parent, and self proclaimed liberal wacko, I have become somewhat of a candy-ass.Going to the ranch, allows me to get in touch with my inner macho stud, and I spent the weekend doing manly things.I’m not sure Amy liked what she saw, as she likes her little sissy husband, but it’s definitely good for me to get out there and live it up.

We arrived at the ranch on Friday night, and were treated to hamburgers, in what was the first course of our red meat orgy that lasted the whole weekend.I knew we had arrived in Etna when the people we passed on the road to the Hanna’s house all waved to us, even though they had no idea who we were.In the country, you wave to everyone you pass on the road, as if to say, “Hey there pardner, welcome to paradise.”Wanting to seem like a local, I waved back at everyone.I reckoned I was beginning to fit in.

Our first full day on the ranch began with venison sausages (a result of one of Judd’s hunting trips) and Regina’s homemade scones.We then went outside to check out the new baby horse, Sugar.Sugar was only a few weeks old and was easily the youngest horse we had ever seen.Malcolm had a great time watching and attempting to feed hay to the horses, but became concerned when we wouldn’t let him ride the still-way-to-skittish foal.To rectify this, we saddled up one of the older horses and lead the kids around the yard on a leash.Malcolm had a great time, and, considering he was deathly afraid of riding the horses last year, he showed a lot of guts riding by himself.

When the kids went down for a nap, Judd forever changed my life by introducing me to the greatest thing ever: shooting squirrels.Squirrels are a scourge to ranchers.They dig lots and lots of holes in the ground, and this presents a hazard, as the cattle will often fall into the holes and hurt themselves.Injured cattle are impossible to deal with as they way 14 million pounds each, and moving a cow with a broken leg is about as hard as getting me to go to church.In case you are still outraged that I would go squirrel hunting you can pretend that we out to protect ourselves from these:

To remove the scourge, ranchers have developed a unique method of reducing the squirrel population: they shoot them.Ordinarily, I eschew gun violence as a mortal sin, but since I was on a mancation, I happily obliged Judd.

We started out behind the Hanna’s house, outfitted with a .22 rifle with a bitchin’ scope on top. Judd, of course, laughed at me because I shoot lefthanded for some reason.I think he was a little impressed, though, when I actually got one, and soon all the squirrels in the yard were either dead or hiding.From there, things got interesting.Judd took me in his 4 wheel drive truck and we roamed the nearby pastures looking for miniature game.Whenever either of us saw a squirrel, Judd stopped, and if it was on my side, I took the gun, balanced it against the window frame, and fired.If the squirrel was on Judd’s side, he would do the same.We had a great time stalking our prey, laughing and telling stories, although I felt like in some respects like Sarah Palin hunting moose from a helicopter. Our helicopter was little more country, though, as Judd’s ranch truck is completely covered in trash, spent .22 casings, and mud. This is how I imagined we looked:

After our bountiful excursion, we returned to the house, where Judd and Regina had arranged for a babysitter to come and look after the kids while we went out eat at the Etna brew pub.That’s right, we actually got a night out drinking good beer and enjoying each other’s company.I tell you, as far as hosts go, Regina and Judd are the bomb.We returned to a quiet house to drink premium bourbon and hear more stories about life on the ranch.

The next day, Judd and I went to move pipe.A little known fact about a
lfalfa is that is doesn’t grow without water.Well, most people know that, but I didn’t.To water the acres and acres of the stuff, they employ a system of huge pipes attached to large wheels.The pipes needed to be moved twice a day, and we would head out there, disconnect the water supply, move the wheels forward 30-40 feet, and then reconnect them. Moving the pipes during the day isn’t all that fun, but getting there sure was.To get to the fields, we rode 4 wheelers, and I had a great time buzzing around in the fields, pretending I was racing ATV’s.Judd must have thought I was pretending to help him move the pipes because it took twice as long for him to get everything done with me there.

We took Judd’s truck to the barn where the ATV’s are stored, and Judd laughed at me because I instinctively reached to put on the seatbelt each time we got in the truck.I put on the seatbelt the first time I got in, but I decided that since I was on mancation, seatbelts were for sissies.I have never felt so alive.

We arrived back at the ranch to witness Judd’s little cousin beginning the process of breaking a cow for the big 4-h show later in the summer.Cows don’t really like being broken, and it takes a lot of work to get the cow comfortable around humans and a harness.Malkie was intrigued by the whole thing only because of the sheer volume of cow shit he witnessed coming out of the cow’s ass.

Later in the morning, we saddled up the horses and all went out for a ride together.Dylan rode on Judd’s lap, Malcolm rode on Amy’s lap, and I cried all the time without a lap to ride on, as I am not very good at riding horses.The only thing that made it cool for me was that I had not packed any long pants, and got to borrow a pair of Judd’s Wranglers for the ride.Yep, I wore Wranglers.Mancation indeed!The ride went well, except for the fact that my horse was a complete asshole and kept walking right under trees, subjecting me to the scrapes and scratches of the branches hanging down.I am pretty sure my horse smiled every time he walked under some branches.

Judd and I went squirrel huntin’ again during nap time, and Amy I and also went out for some off-roading in the 4 wheelers.During our little jaunt, we saw the ranch’s “dead pile” where they drag all the cows that die in the fields.While staring at the remains of a two day old carcass, we saw a small black bear running away.He have been sampling the steak tartar before we got there, as bear sightings are rare there. We also saw some wild turkeys, but they weren’t in season so I couldn’t shoot at them from Judd’s truck.

On the way back, we stopped at Judd’s nephew’s birthday party.Judd, his two brothers, and his parents all live next to each other, so going anywhere usually involves stopping at someone’s house and seeing what they are up to.The birthday party had begun to quiet down, so we sat in the yard drinking shitty beer and watching the kids jump around on a trampoline.Everyone in the country has a trampoline, and Amy, Malcolm and I even took turns showing our poor coordination.I was beginning to get the hang of it, but left the trampoline in shame when, on one of my jumps, the trampoline bowed so low that my butt actually touched the ground.

We capped off the evening with some steak, watermelon and a nice little tantrum by Malcolm.Malcolm was pretty well behaved for the weekend, so the fact that he only had one meltdown was pretty acceptable to us.Earlier in the day, however, Malcolm was on my lap on the couch when, for no apparent reason and no real notice, he threw up on my and the couch.I’m still not really sure why he did this, maybe it was his body reacting to the steady diet of red meat.

The next morning, we packed up the car, got a quick chicken fried steak and eggs from the local breakfast haunt, and said our goodbyes.Regina and Judd were great hosts, talented cooks, and nice friends to spend a weekend with.There was talk that the previously once a year event, “Etnapalooza” may be reincarnated, and if they do, I suggest that you try and make the trip and join us.Of course, you must be man enough to want to.

Tofutti, it's what's for dinner?

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Cooking and Eating

I don’t know where you were today, but me, I was at a vegan cooking class. In a Presbyterian church. Now those of you who know me understand that me heading to a church for some vegan cooking lessons is tantamount to Dracula strapping a garlicky crucifix to his neck and heading to the beach for the day. Amy’s mom, Jean bought me some cooking classes for Christmas and the first one that I wanted to go to was today: Hearty Italian Cooking. (I opted to skip the first two classes: I passed on the vegan baking class on recommendations from vegetarian friends who warned me that vegans hate to eat dessert and the “demystifying tofu” class just sounded silly).

So there I was, ready to learn about how to cook Italian food without meat or animal byproducts, when the instructor had us go around the room to introduce ourselves and state why we were there. I said my name and told everyone there that I was a stay at home dad and did all the cooking. That was fine enough, the hard part came when it I had to talk about why I was there. I went the honest route, which turned out to be a huge mistake. I said that my mother-in-law had bought me some gift certificates for Christmas and that I thought she was crazy for suggesting that I learn to cook without meat. After I said this, I heard a gasp, and all of the air got sucked out of the room. I looked around and the granola-ey people who were smiling earlier, now recoiled and looked at me like I had just called them a bunch of idiots, which, I guess, I just had. It didn’t help that I was wearing a Beer Nuts hat which read, Beer Nuts: Good Times, Great Nuts. I guess it beat the, “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” hat I had on last night. I was floundering, and things didn’t get any better when I called myself a “self-described Meatasaur” and that there was no way I was going vegan after one class, but maybe, just maybe, I would cook a meal every once in a while without meat in it. Crickets. The instructor made a quick joke about how good of a teacher she was and then moved on. I felt bad, like I had gone to band camp and told them all how dorky I thought band geeks were. Actually, I was little impressed with myself that I was able to introduce myself a church on a Saturday morning without saying, “my name is Paul and I am an alcoholic.”

We began cooking and made polenta with roast red pepper sauce, pizza, risotto with spring vegetables, and chocolate un-cheese cake. For the most part the food was pretty good. I would say it was one step short of gourmet, but the real draw of the day was the instructor. The instructor, colleen, had tons of energy, lots of wit, and a button that said, “be kind to animals, don’t eat them.” She made us all giggle a lot, and made the 3 hours together very enjoyable. For anyone of you who read this, you can find Colleen’s organization, Compassionate Cooks here. Some of the granolaheads, though, had elevated the woman to rock star status, and would laugh at an inappropriately volume at all of her jokes. They would also mutter under their breath about how smart she was, too. (“That is sooooo true, if you don’t stir in the cornmeal slowly, then your polenta will clump together. Wow, she really knows her stuff.”) I accepted all this though, as I figured the protein starved vegans hadn’t really ever run into one of their own with this much energy before.

I sat in the back, asking a few questions (“How do you pick a good tomato?” “Is pizza sauce the same as pasta sauce?” “Are bacon and eggs vegan?”) and considered how the cooking class would change my eating/cooking. I realize the health benefits of skipping meat some of the time. I also realize that a lot of animals suffer needlessly as part of the food establishment. I cannot, for two reasons, justify swearing off meat, just yet. We took Malcolm to Earth, the new Disney nature movie, last night, and it was apparent that eating other animals is part of the natural order. (Seriously, why does Disney love violence so much? For a kids movie, why not show more little baby ducklings hopping out of trees and less wolves eating caribou, sharks eating seals, lions eating elephants, polar bears attacking walruses, and cheetahs eating deer. Then again, I should be glad that Disney didn’t arm the polar bears with shotguns to shoot the holy hell out of all the walruses.) The second reason that I eat meat is that my cat eats sushi. Yes, that’s right, we gave our cat leftover sushi, so that means I get to eat steak tonight.

I am not ready to give up cheese or meat, but I decided that I would at least try a few things. I tasted some fake butter and vowed to try it on my popcorn and/or cookies. I also will try to use a thickening agent in some dessert recipes instead of eggs. I am going to write Colleen and let her know that I have made these two concessions. I am not sure whether she will be impressed or not, but, hey if a guy wearing a beer nuts hat tells you that you’ve made a difference, it ought to make your day.

Paully Rides a Bike

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

I have recently become chubby. I haven’t really been in shape since high school, but I am carrying around more weight now than at any point in my life. At first I was OK with this, considering I am a housewife and have nothing to look nice for 95% of the time. After some time, I realized that my wife is smokin’ hot and I better get my act together or she will find someone who is what I am not: good looking, has a job, and is good with kids.

I also noticed that, not only did my pants stop fitting, but that my shorts have actually started bursting. Anyone who has seen me on my birthday knows how challenging it is for me to keep my pants on. My recent girth, however, has made it almost impossible to stay fully clothed. There are two pairs of shorts that I wear that have permanently lost the buttons from the strain. Even worse, my shorts that close with snaps burst open all the time. They burst open getting into and out of the car. They burst open getting off the couch. They even burst open just bending over to lecture Malcolm. If you ever want people to look at you funny try buttoning your pants up in public. I gate a lot of strange looks while refastening myself out in the world, but by far the worst is arriving at Malcolm’s school. Every time I wear the snapping shorts, I get out of the car to bring Malcolm inside and immediately have to secure my pants. Parents who are there to drop off their kids look at me and give me a look that says, “why doesn’t Malcolm’s daddy wear pants in the car?” A woman at the grocery store last week thought I had arrived at the store fresh from pleasuring myself, so I decided that needed to drop the weight.

The first order of business was to figure out how to exercise while Malcolm was at school. I immediately decided to starting riding my bike. The idea of getting away from the world and listening to my Ipod on the open road seemed appetizing to me, so I went into the garage to take stock of our bikes. We bought decent bikes after we got married, but we haven’t ridden them in about 4 years. After inspecting them, I knew that we would have to take them to the shop, and one week later, bam, I was hitting the trails.

I decided to go to Lake Chabot because I remembered the trails being relatively flat and someone on the internet said it was about 12 miles long. I got to the lake, got on my bike and I was off. I immediately felt like something was wrong because the bike felt too short. Much in the same way that Malcolm feels in pajamas that are way to small, I didn’t ever seem to get to extend my legs. At first I was afraid that I had actually forgotten how to ride a bike, but after a while it got a little easier. I knew I had forgotten how to ride the bike when I hit the first hill. I did not remember how to shift so on the first incline I made it really hard to pedal and had to stop after I lost all my inertia. On the far side of the hill, I tried to shift again and got it wrong, ending up pedaling at 100 mph and not really going anywhere. After a while I got the knack for switching gears and had a great time listening to the Barenaked Ladies and darting around turns, hitting hills and actually breaking a sweat! Things were great until I had to stand up to peddle up a hill and my pants burst open. This was shortly followed by my headphones get stuck around the steering wheel, necessitating me to ride leaning over with my head near my hip until I could stop. I had now been bicycling for 15 minutes and had already stopped 4 times. Not good.

That positive outlook lasted until I hit the first really large hill. I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to go, since it was an intersection of four paths, and had to stop to look at the map at the bottom of the hill. I realized that the 12 mile long bike path went straight up the hill, so I gutted it out and started peddling up the hill as fast as I could. About 1/3 of the way up, I couldn’t take it anymore and had to get off the bike and walk up the rest of the hill. After 2/3 of the way, I decided that I had probably read the map wrong and went back down the hill to check it out (again). I was really pissed to find that I needed to go up after all, and tried in vain to scale the hill. I started walking about ¼ of the way up, and eventually made my way to the top. After getting all the way up, I found that there was another hill, only this hill was about twice the size of the first one. I said screw it and went back down the hill to check out another path. I was breathing pretty heavily (some say wheezing) and I was glad to have a few minutes of even trails. This was short lived, as it turned out that this “new” trail also had hills. Ack! I decided that I had biked enough for today, so I headed back to my car, wounded in the knowledge that I couldn’t take a hill and that I would probably be fat for another week.

I was completely exhausted by the time I hit the parking lot and, when I got to the entryway to the park, couldn’t take another hill and proceeded to walk my bike out of the entrance. Sadly, this is where the guard shack was located and the guards both looked at me walking my bike up the (not-so-difficult) hill and sneered that I was such a wuss. Things didn’t get much better upon arriving at my car, as the water bottle I had brought with me was Amy’s castoff: a huge pink thermos looking thing which I drained by my car. All in all, I considered the outing a success, if only because I will go back again sometime.

When I got home I put the bike in the garage and looked at the other bike, which actually contained the lock I used during Law School. I was riding Amy’s bike!

Ten Things About Me

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

10 Things You May Not Know About Me

These are all the rage now, so here is my take.

1. I never learned what profits are. My dad is a minister and my mom is a nurse. They never cared much about making more money than the next guy. The only profits I ever heard about were in the bible. That is why I never really made any money. As my classmates from law school went off and made $100-200,000, I made $60k for the government and then $52k for an employee side law firm. It seemed like good money to me.

2. I love bologna. I talk about smart foods that are healthy and close to the farm, but heaven to me is a bologna and American cheese sandwich on white bread with tons of mayo and mustard. No pickles, no tomatoes, no lettuce. Meat, cheese, bread. Sometimes in college I would make double-decker bologna sandwiches, and my eyes would glaze over in ecstasy.

3. Itunes thinks I am insane. My tastes include: Weird Al, Dave Mathews, NWA, Nirvana, Indigo Girls, Frank Sinatra, Linkin Park, Pottery Barn Margarita Music, David Sedaris Books on tape, ABBA, Bob Dylan and Journey. Usually, I listen to one of these because I feel guilty about listening to one of the others. I listen to ABBA if I have to clean the house. It has energy and I hate cleaning. The cycle then begins as I begin to loathe myself like a smoker who buys a brand new pack. I then put on something to make me feel cool. Linkin Park or dirty rap will usually do the trick. I typically feel a little guilty that these selections have no redeeming social qualities to them, so I will throw on Dylan or Dave Mathews until my brain hurts. As soon as my brain hurts, I relax to the easy digested Weird Al, and the cycle repeats itself.

4. I don’t care for old people. It’s not that I don’t trust them, it’s that they are perpetually in my way. Have you seen an old person trying to buy some milk at the grocery store? You’d think that they were choosing a dental plan. Any time I am late and need to get somewhere fast, I end up trailing a blue haired beauty in some 1960’s boat, who travels at about 5 miles an hour, never signals and uses every lane in the road. As far as I am concerned, everyone who hits 75 should be sent to a retirement community and not let out unless supervised.

5. I can’t fight off viruses. I get cold sores when I am out in the sun without chapstick. For prolonged exposure, my entire mouth breaks out and I look like the Scottish King’s dad on Braveheart. Either he or the old witch on Robin Hood. Definitely someone from that genre though. When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, a virus attacked my heart. I was in the ICU for a week with doctors constantly monitoring me for way out of whack test results. They thought I might die, since my test results were so bizarre, but I survived and got to go to Chucky Cheese after I got out of the hospital. When I was in college, I developed “Hoof and Mouth” disease which brought on small red bumps all over my hands, feet and mouth. Needless to say, the doctors at the hospital were surprised that a human had contracted this typically bovine affliction. I swear they thought I had sex with a dirty cow. My current issue is the small bumps I have on my hands. I have 30-40 small bumps on my hands and to combat them I have been going to the doctor. She freezes off the bumps (or at least tries) and this kills off the flesh in my hands. Ironically, it is a double whammy, and the old doctor can’t see very well and instead of pinpointing each bump like a smart bomb, she opts instead for a scorched earth policy. Right now, my hands look like I either have the plague or leprosy. Or both. I am tired of explaining all this to people, so I bought some gloves (reminiscent of cycling gloves) that cover my hands, but expose the fingers. People see my gloves and ask what they are for. I have enjoyed over the last week or so making up different reasons for how I hurt myself. I told one group that I jammed my wrist sliding head first into second base, and another group learned that I almost broke my wrist skateboarding. My softball team knows me a little better so I told them the truth. I have hand herpes.

6. I used to like the Miami Dolphins. I grew up a 49er fan. Somewhere in middle school, I felt that they were a little too cookie cutter, so I found a new team, with a bad ass quarterback and two bad ass receivers. I am not sure why I began to like this team, but I carried this with me until around college. I now root for the raiders, but honestly, I’d rather have sex with a cow than watch them lose like they do.

7. I am good at word games. I destroy people while playing Boggle. I amaze crowds with my ability to solve puzzles on Wheel of Fortune. I am not quite as good at scrabble, but I am getting better. I know that qat is a word and so is sequoyah. This is quite strange, because I don’t use good English and I always hated the subject in school. Maybe I just hated my teachers, and secretly enjoyed the subject matter. Somewhere, Jim Scruggs is smiling when I drop a nine letter word on you at Boggle.

8. I secretly wonder why women I meet want to have sex with me. Some women are trapped in unhappy marriages. Some women are attracted to my funny, post modern ways. For every woman, there is a different story. Sometimes I think my life is a reality show in Cinemax. I am certain, though, that all women (who look at me) are angling to get me in the sack. Sadly, most of these women have been unsuccessful. Occasionally, I believe that some men want me as well. I mean, who wouldn’t want to sleep with a guy who wants to play Boggle, eat bologna and occasionally looks like a leper?

9. I always prefer blue over red. I root for Cal over Stanford. I root for Michigan over Ohio State. But it goes beyond sports. I like Cool Ranch Doritos instead of the regular. I like blue raspberry, not the red stuff. Oh, but its so much more. I have 2 blue suits, but no red ones. I have 27 blue shirts, and 1 red one. No red socks. I like blue states. I have a blue car. The only time I dislike blue is when the Dodgers are on.

10. I used to be a kleptomaniac. It started in junior high, when I would lift sunglasses, shirts and candy. I once stole a Tinkerbell figurine from Disneyland for my girlfriend, who was into that kind of stuff. In high school, I moved on to baseball cards, but this ended when I got caught with the entire set of 1987 Topps baseball cards in my pants. I learned my lesson and didn’t steal anything until I learned that Malcolm’s stroller could hide groceries in it. Hey, times are tight, man.

All by Myself

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

So, you don’t really know how good you’ve got it until you don’t have it at all. My one my best qualities is my ability to sleep. I know this is sad, but some people knit, some fight racism, I sleep. I sleep well. At least I thought I did, until Amy went out of town on a business trip this week. (On a side note, Amy left for Las Vegas for a “business trip” on a Sunday. Who has a meeting in Vegas on a Sunday? If she comes back with a tan and blood shot eyes, I am gonna be pissed!)
I was down a few hours of sleep in the past few days to begin with, as Malcolm has learned how to climb out of his crib, and now runs up to our room and wakes us up at 6 a.m. by slapping us in the face while shouting, “I sleep long time. Malcolm has good rest.” I planned on going to sleep early, but the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter put an end to all that by luring me in until all hours of the night. In case you haven’t seen it, it stars Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, the guy who plays Earl, with brothers Darryl and Darryl on Newhart, and contains my new favorite all time movie line: “You’re 14 now, you’re almost a woman.” I was moderately interested in the movie until Sissy’s character called another woman a sow and chased her with a stick. At that point, I was hooked and didn’t go to bed until 11, a half hour past my normal bedtime.

This was not a fatal mistake, but alone in the house, I heard every stinking noise outside and with each sound I panicked like I was being attacked by our neighbors. In reality the neighborhood cats were either fighting, screwing or both. Ironically, I failed to pick up on the similarities between the cats outside and the lovemaking rituals depicted in the movie I watched earlier.

After I had finally gotten used to the nocturnal feline escapades (NFE’s on the animal channel), I slowly drifted off to sleep. Until, that is, I was awakened by the high pitched buzz of a mosquito. There is something about my blood which makes me irresistible to mosquitoes. That’s why I had already been bitten three times by the time I learned that I was being hunted. In the next hour and half, I went on three mosquito hunting expeditions, treating our neighbors who may have wondered what was going on to the sight of me in my pajamas skulking about with a rolled up Restoration Hardware catalogue slowly inspecting the walls and ceiling for bloodsuckers. In between unsuccessful attempts to bring down the scourge of the skies, I tried to completely hide my body underneath the blanket, leaving only my nose and mouth outside the comforter. If you need any mental imagery, it was a bit similar to the cartoon bear hiding under the water from the swarming bees in the air, while breathing through a little straw in the water. Finally, at 1 a.m., I spotted my prize catch on the crossbeams to our skylight and the justice was swift and permanent. I knew I had the right prey, when a large dollop of bright red blood was splattered along with the mosquito. I smiled quietly to myself as I strutted off to bed, as I previously switched from using an Entertainment Weekly as my weapon, but I didn’t want to sully it and face Amy’s wrath at ruining the interview with Angelina Jolie.

After I had fallen asleep again, I was jolted out of bed at 2:30 by the loud sound of crashing wood. At this point, I knew that our ultra-religious neighbors to the north were starting a new crusade and had started by beating our French doors down to show us the true path. I looked out the window to confirm just this and saw that half of our back fence had fallen down. I was confused as to why something like this had happened, until I realized that this same fence had been leaning over because our rear neighbor’s compost heap was slowly pushing towards us. But still, a compost heap causing half of our fence to fall down at 2:30 in the morning? Come on!!! Safe with the knowledge that it was a bulging compost heap, and not marauding Christians from the North, I finally, at 3 a.m., fell asleep for good. Well, I slept until 5:55 a.m. when Malcolm slapped me in the face to let me know that he wanted some apple juice. Amy come home!

Paulie goes to the Doctor

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

I went to the Doctor yesterday. A couple of friends of mine got the skin cancer and, as a tribute to them, I went to the dermatologist. I was a little nervous about going, since I regularly played sports outside (with no shirt on and no suntan lotion) when I was growing up. Now, my body looks like a mini-solar system, dotted with molar constellations all over the place. The other reason I was nervous was my junk. I have moles on my private parts, and the prospect of having someone not named Amy or Scarlette Johanssen rummage around my twig and berries is a bit terrifying. It is precisely this reason why the search for the dermatologist took so long. My skin doc had to be a) a woman b) who is older (but not old: old people scare the hell out of me) that c) looks like a troll. I ruled out a man doctor immediately because the image of an older man touching me downstairs reminds me too much of grade school. (Oddly enough, my 1st grade teacher was named, “Mr. Robinson.”) I thought I wanted a recent medical school grad, and secretly hoped that she would be good looking, that way I could double the number of good looking women who had touched my private parts in the last decade. I soon realized the horrible feeling of shame that would attach to getting an erection during a medical examination. An old ugly woman would avoid any nightmares while minimizing the risk of inappropriate genital swelling (IGS in the medical literature). I entered these parameters into my insurance’s doctor finder and found that the nearest doctor who matched my needs lived in Boise, Idaho. Not wanting to commute that far, I started calling doctors and asking, “excuse me, do you have any old ugly, lady doctors in your office who are accepting new patients? The trollier the better.” Lucky for me, I found one that did, and made my appointment.

After filling out paperwork, I had the age old dilemma of selecting a magazine in the waiting room. If I were all alone, I would easily grab the first US Weekly or People magazine I could find and scour the pages looking for embarrassing pictures of celebs. However, there were a lot of people in the waiting room with me, so I did the following: I scanned the generous selection of magazines while commenting, “Baron’s, got that one at home, New Yorker, don’t have the newest one yet, Time, too mainstream, ahh yes, Conde Naste Investor, I made $1,500 last time I read this one.” I had never heard of this magazine, so I figured it was definitely a step up from my normal trash. But since I have the attention span of a cocker-spaniel, I quickly slipped a US weekly inside it, to entertain myself during the wait.

The assistant, Claudia, called me into the office, and I dropped off the magazine at the table, commenting, “interesting derivatives strategy, I’ll call my broker.” I have no idea what any of that meant. Claudia took me back and asked me the same questions that were on the paperwork, which I found annoying. Are my written answers less trustworthy. Do they even read them? Next time I will consider putting wildly inflammatory answers on the forms, to see if they do actually read them. Any allergies? Your breath, you alcoholic deadbeat. Family history of cancer? My grandma had a severe cancer of the sense of humor. Never told a joke that one. Currently taking any medication? I drink the blood of the innocents.

I thought this appointment would be educational, as the doctor team would tell me about skin cancer and the proper way to avoid it. Interestingly, nothing of the sort happened. After asking all the same questions again, Claudia told me that you can get skin cancer in your finger and toe nails and that you could also get it in your anus. Huh? What made things worse was that Claudia had a severe accent or lisp, so I didn’t really understand it for a few seconds and right after she said this, she smiled and looked away. The specter of anal skin cancer loomed about for a while we both sat silently in the room looking at the wall. She then asked whether I used sunscreen, and when I answered in the affirmative, she said, “ya but you probably ushe shtlirty. When I replied, “no I use SPF 50, I like the banana boat no tears kind,” Claudia looked at my paperwork and then nodded after reading my answer to “occupation: proud stay at home daddy to Malcolm, the zaniest 2.5 year old you will ever meet!”

Claudia told me to take everything off except for my underwear and that she’d be right back with the doctor. At this point, I realized that I had made a grave error when preparing for the doctor visit. I had rushed to get Malcolm out of the house that day, and while I had remembered to brush my teeth, I had neglected to put on deodorant. Malcolm and I had gone to the park earlier that day and it was warm, so I was a bit sweaty. I leaned over and quickly realized that I stunk. Also, since I had not realized that my anus would be up for inspection, I was a little unsure about back door cleanliness. I am not saying I have a dirty butt, but I am sure you would agree that extra diligence is required for cleaning your ass if you knew that someone would be inspecting it up close that day. With my mind racing about these disaster scenarios, the doctor entered the room.

The sad thing is that the doctor, who much to my liking looked like a hobbit, entered the room and, without saying a thing, began going through my hair like a monkey. A lot of people would have been put off by this, but I love it when people, hobbit or otherwise, run their fingers through my hair. My eyes immediately went to half mast and I loved it. She eventually said “2 millimeters, pink, or something similar, before saying that “people can get skin cancer in a lot of places. I had to get something removed from behind my ears. Believe me, you don’t want that. By the way, nice to meet you, my name is Dr. So and So.” Well, at least we’ve met.

The good doctor proceeded to scour every inch of my body with a fancy looking glass measuring the size of every mole I had. This took a while. Of course, the first place she looked was under my arm pits, which by now stunk pretty good. I felt pretty happy about that afterwards. Lucky for me, I only had I mark that needed a biopsy. I say lucky for me, unless than one turns out positive and I have the cancer. That won’t be so lucky. We’ll see.

I also learned that I have a pink-grey spot on my nee nee (Malcolm’s words, not mine) that I should really pay attention to. Sweet! The doctor said I need to pay more attention to my weiner! That is the sexual equivalent of medical marijuana. I have spent the past few days vigorously inspecting my genitals for any change in the situation. I plan to continue this for the foreseeable future.

The ass inspection was quite the scene, and every bit as terrifying as I thought. The doctor told me to get on my stomach and then pulled my boxers off. She then bent over my butt and looked straight into my anus, like she was inspecting my tonsils from below. Not having embarrassed me enough, then proceeded to spread my cheeks to vary the view. Are you frickin’ kidding me? I wanted to curl up in the corner to cry.

The visit ended with the doctor freezing off some bumps that had developed on my hands. I didn’t realize until later that the freezing process turned relatively innocuous, small bumps into large, swollen, occasionally bloody blisters. Later that day, my hands looked like I had leprosy. Sweet, especially since I had a joint birthday party in my honor that night.

The doctor told me that I needed to make an appointment for the biopsy and then quickly left the room. Sitting on the examination table in my underpants, I remained in the room, wondering what to do next. After about five minutes, the good doctor returned and asked why I was still there. “Oh, I didn’t know what to do. Can I please put my clothes back on?” She told me I could go and I went out to schedule my next appointment. By the front desk was a cosmetics rep who must have been the best looking woman I had ever seen. I wanted to say something witty to her, but the only thing I was able to actually get out was, for some reason, the word “mutton.” At least she didn’t stare into my anus.

Instead of picking my nose today, i picked some stocks

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

I had been looking at one of our mutual funds for some time. It was a “socially conscious ” mutual fund that tried to change corporate America into something that loves gay people and hates nuclear energy and tobacco. For a while, the fact that my money was out there trying to do good was enough for me, as the returns have been less than stellar. Now that i have to scrounge up change underneath the couch in order to fill up the car with gas, i have decided that i don’t care what my money is out there doing, as long as it is recruiting more money to come my way.

So, after figuratively flogging the dying hippie mutual fund for some time (occasionally selling it in order to pay for abnormally high credit card bills or property taxes, or as it was really the case, strippers in reno) i decided to get rid of the tie-dyed shareholder report and replace it with something that makes me richer. How do you pick a stock? I heard anecdotal evidence that companies on the fortune “Best Companies to Work For” outperformed the S & P by like a billion percent. I am sure that you will read somewhere that this is the silliest thing you could ever do with your money (other than throwing it on stage to strippers in Reno), as you should never create a stock porfolio strategy on something your wife put in a presentation to sell software.

I don’t care, i like the idea of making money from companies that treat their people well. Not because i like people, mind you, but rather because low turnover is good for business and happy employees are more productive. I am still not sure why this means i should buy stock in any given company at any given time, but this is the first time i have purchased stocks (rather than mutual funds) and i will allow myself some room for error.

So there I was, ready to make my fortune in “the market” (as we investors like to call it) and the top company to work for was google. I glanced over the fundamentals, much in the same way a blind french person wold review a McDonals menu in sanskrit. I knew that you don’t want you P/E ratio to be too high, but to tell you the truth, i liked PE in school, so i didn’t really care that Google’s P/E ratio was in the stratosphere. It was time to by some stock.

I am looking for somewhat of a balanced portfolio for the $10,000 i wanted to invest in my own stock picks, so i didn’t want to overcommit to google. After doing the math, i realized i could afford a whopping two shares of stock. TWO FUCKING SHARES? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The market involves billions of dollars flying around as sophisticated trades respond to market conditions and predetermined advanced strategies, and here is little ole me, in my pajamas and slippers, sitting at the breakfast table saying, “Hey world! Someone sell me a share or two of google. I’ll pay 50 cents less than what it is worth now!” Humbling indeed.

I did get the order filled, and actually, they had to break up my order in two! That’s right, my mammoth order had to split in order to make the market. I assume the transaction went as follows: a broker, much in the same way a short order cook freaks out when a large group arrives, sees my order and immediately gets on the phone and says, “Holy Shit! Paul Schwartz is making his move in stocks finally and he is trying to corner the market on Google! Let’s get on board with him and ride this thing all the way to the top!!!” Sadly, it probably went more like this: HAHAHAHAHA, look guys, this douchebag is trying to buy 2 shares of Google. Two Shares!!! Response: is he trying to use a coupon? HAHAHAHAHA. Say, i’ll give him one if you give him one, that way he won’t feel so bad.”

I needed to round out my portfolio with stocks, so i played it safe and picked other companies off the list that i had heard of, Nordstrom, American Express, Whole foods, mixed with some tech firms whom i recognized from the purchase of naming rights to prominent baseball/football stadiums. I figured you can’t really outsource hi-end retail places with good service, so those firms were safe for the time being. Also, i won’t feel so bad at spending $25 for strawberries and $30 for socks since ultimately i am helping my own bottom line. (Bottom line is an investor term i learned which refers to the last line of some report filed with the SEC and contains just enough errors and omissions so as not to be “material.” I tried to make sense of that all, but Ellen was coming on and i wanted to see her cry over someone taking her halloween candy away, so i quit.

I am not really a good personality match for waiting for “buy” orders to get filled, as i a habitual checker and have refreshed my browser page about 400 times in the time it took to write this post. After some minor price changes, we are now the proud owner of nearly $9,000 worth of stock! From now on, any comments i make about my “portfolio” will be references to these stocks. References to my “package” mean what they have always meant. Bring on the market!!!!