Time, Out At My Boss’s House

My boss watched the kids last Sunday.

He offered.

“For fun,” he said, though at the time he made the offer we were at a going away party for a colleague and I’m not entirely sure he was sober enough to be making that kind of an offer. When it turned out that none of our sitters were available because one was in Hawaii and one was in Spain and the others were out of state (yeah, it’s killing me too) we took him up on it. He didn’t back out when we gave him the chance. In fact, he made us all breakfast when we dropped them off.

#5’s first words to him upon entering the apartment were, “I know bacon when I smell it!”

My boss has a ten-year-old Vizsla. Currently, a temporary bonus dog that belongs to the other guy who mixes my show is staying there: a ten-month-old teacup chihuahua named Vato (that’s Spanish for Dude).

Vato!

Um, he’s awesome. I loves him.

Vato has a bark control collar. Instead of shocking the dog when it barks, the collar sprays the dog in the face with a refreshing burst of citronella.

If you’ve read about them here, you know that the Puggle and the Fuggle are horribly trained dogs. Or, more correctly, they have us trained very well. Barking’s a problem. We even got a ticket one time, for the barking. I’m thinking about giving the Vato collar a try, though knowing my dogs either Casey will make Jack do all the barking for both of them, or else they’ll develop a citronella habit and bite open their collars to start mainlining it.

Here was the kids’ day with my boss (who has actually known them longer than I have):

He took the kids and the main dog plus the bonus dog for a walk in Central Park, where #5 almost fell into the boat basin; #2 and #3 renamed Vato PC, for Precious Cargo; #5 asked to be carried on the walk back to the apartment, to which my boss replied that he could only be carried upside down, which #5 agreed to until the point where he started falling out of his pants because gravity was working against him; and finally they came back to the apartment where they played an epic game of Monopoly and ate Chinese food.

(#5 keeps talking about how much money my boss has. I finally figured out he’s talking about the Monopoly game, which is some modern version that appears to be adjusted for inflation and has $500,000 bills.)

Then they went to the drug store where he bought them $36 worth of candy and did his damnedest to have them eat at least $20 worth of it before I came back.

When I came to pick them up after work, #5 immediately said to me, “Don’t ever leave him in charge of me again!” I asked what had happened but it took a minute to get the story, because #5 was shifting back and forth between the little boy stubbornness of trying to appear wronged and starting to realize that what had happened was very, very funny, and my boss was literally doubled over laughing so hard he couldn’t get the words out.

While Vato was not wearing his bark control collar, #5 barked into it, and it controlled him.

It is unclear exactly whose idea this was.

As we were leaving, #5 gave my boss this parting prediction: “You’re going to be a really great parent, and a really terrible parent. Great because you’ll buy your kids lots of candy, and terrible because you’ll let them get squirted in the face.”

When you were a kid, what did you think made for a great parent? What’s your favorite thing to do with other people’s kids?

Time Out At My House

There’s very a strict boys-don’t-hit-girls rule at our house. The girls know that if they egg #5 on just to try and make him hit so that he violates the rule, they’ll get punished too.

We were in the kitchen talking about which girls at school like #5 and which girls he likes back. Apparently we picked the right one (psst… it’s Iris), because he suddenly overreacted and kicked #3 in the back of the knee, hard. I sent him to his room.

Here’s the thing about sending this kid to his room. I always forget he’s in there.

Every. Damn. Time.

I’ll send him to his room and go along about my business and start feeling really smug and productive, entirely forgetting that the productivity is solely due to not getting interrupted every ten seconds- because I sent #5 to his room. I get so productive that I lose track of time. At some point, but usually not until at least forty minutes into it, I wonder where he is.

So last week when he kicked his sister, I sent him to his room, laughed with #3 about how he actually does like Iris no matter what he says, finished making dinner, got dressed, even put on makeup (which really should have been my first clue that something was amiss because there’s never time for that), packed my bag for work and went out to the car to work on my late Easter present for the kids. More about the gift in a minute.

I had something for #5 and went to get him. He was not in the music room. Not playing video games or watching TV. Not reading on my bed.

Me: Where did he go?

#2: You sent him to his room.

Me: Oh crap! I totally forgot.

#2: Wasn’t that like, an hour ago?

Me: Ummm. . .

#2 and #4, in unison: Parenting Fail!

So I went in to #5’s room and we talked about why he got sent there in the first place. We don’t want him to ever be a man who hits a woman, hence the rule. He gets it, and knows why it’s important. He still doesn’t believe that one day he’s going to be bigger than all his sisters.

I did not own up to the fact that I had forgotten him. He can work that out in therapy later when he figures it out. Then I showed him why I was looking for him, what I had saved. And I took him outside and let him put the last one on the car.

One what, you ask?

In Kristin Lamb’s excellent book Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer she talks a bit about privacy and mentions that she doesn’t like the little stick people that you put on the minivan because it tells robbers exactly how many people they’re going to have to subdue when they break in, plus a hamburger full of sleeping pills for the dog. She’s totally right. There’s even an episode of Dexter where the predator gets his prey that way.

My message to robbers here is clear:

We are an entire army of the goddamn undead. Don’t even try it.

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Is this going to hurt my chances at becoming class mom? What parenting or other fails have you had recently?

One and Done #2

Welcome to One and Done Sunday. A picture, and five links that are worth your time. Today with a couple of extra thoughts because of the date.

Superficial snapshot ten years ago: Aida tour, playing Phoenix. I lived there at the time so I got to stay at home instead of a hotel. I was packing up all my stuff to put in storage for probably forever and close out the guest house rental that was the very first place I’d ever lived all by myself.

I didn’t have a TV. I found out about the attacks when our company manager called to tell me the show was cancelled. It’s another post that I likely will never write, but there were things happening in my personal life at this time that made this tragedy seem not out of place.

The rest of the week passed in a stupor. When our run in Phoenix was over and we loaded out, planes still weren’t flying yet. Our company manager did a lot of string pulling and wrote a personal check to get us a sleeper bus that would take us to our next stop in Austin. It was Blink-182’s bus, available because they too were canceling shows, reeling from what had happened.

It was a long drive from Phoenix to Austin. We’re stagehands, so we did what we do: made each other laugh and told stories. We watched The Brady Bunch movie. We snagged a couple hours of sleep. The bus was stocked with snacks and I ate Blink-182’s Cap’n Crunch. Though things got far worse before they got better, speaking personally and globally, this is the moment where I began to heal.

It’s important to me to remember those moments of beginnings.

Fast forward five years to September 11, 2006.

These kids and their Dad and I hopped a plane in LA and flew back to New Jersey and started a life together. We had to get a special written dispensation to carry #5’s butt cream on the plane. I won’t speak for them, but as for me, I have never regretted any of it- the decision, the flight, or the butt cream (though I’m pretty happy he finally got potty trained).

Here are your links:

Clay Morgan is also remembering something different five years ago. The Greatest Teacher I Ever Had.

Funny: Tips for pet sitters by Paul Johnson, aka The Good Greatsby

Myth? No, an honest-to-god good day at the airport. Betty Londergan at What Gives 365

A really excellent picture of goats: Cheryl Zovich, Cur Tales

The best 9/11 post you didn’t read this week: Ten Years ago, Ed Whitehead had a view of the World Trade Center out his bedroom window and forty rolls of film. Perfect Souls Shine Through at Punchnels

That is five. However, given the gravity of the day, I leave you with one more which I would categorize as frickin’ hilarious by one of my favorite blogger/artists ever. Hyperbole and A Half: The Alot is Better Than You At Everything. Enjoy.