Saturday, January 20, 2018

My Day Up Until Now

I used a website called Random Subject Prompts and the one that popped up was: "Write about your day so far." So, let's do that.

5:30AM - I wake up to hear the cutest voice ever saying "dada" in the next room. Sorry to disappoint you, Little Man, but it's Momma's turn; we switch off mornings. I couldn't get back to sleep so I picked up where I left off in my Jim Henson biography. Basically that dude changed the face of children's television and pretty much invented it in terms of the format we still see today. Previous puppet shows on television had a little stage where the puppets moved about, but what he and his female partner did in the 1950's (while he was in college) was look at a little monitor and let that space that the viewers could see be the boundaries of the stage. He was the first to let the puppets themselves be the stars of the show and brought those characters to life.

I was trying to explain to Mrs. Noisewater when we were watching a modern "Sesame Street" that it was no good because the kids in the show were clearly actors. Corny as all hell. Back in the 1970's it was an organic experience of the kids just having conversations with the puppets as if they were real people. The kiddos reacted to what the puppet was saying, and the puppeteer fed off of the spontaneity and whimsy that the children brought to the scene. This scene below is the best example of what I'm talking about. The girl had her little joke and was cracking herself up, so Jim made Kermit pretend to get all frustrated. And then the unexpected pull at the heart strings at the end brings it all home for a truly magic moment.

7:00AM - Fell back asleep eventually and got up feeling like a million bucks. 7AM is really sleeping in during the baby days. I made myself a French press cup of coffee with my birthday gift of a press and a grinder. If you don't have one, I recommend it. I'm amped with fuel for the whole day, and I just kind of love the whole process of brewing it.

Cat mug not included.
9:00AM - Went for a run with my buddy Night Train who lives down the street. He is training for his first marathon in the Spring in Big Sur, California, and I have my 2nd one in September here in Chicago. Topics discussed that I can remember were: Parenting styles, break ups, our upcoming Man Night get together with friends, whether or not Tom Brady is faking an injury to play head games with his opponents, and what makes an ideal roommate. If you're anything like me, you do your best thinking when you run, and it really helps to have someone with you to hash out all of life's problems and reflect on the minutia of all things off of the running path.

10:30AM - Mrs. Noisewater was meeting a friend at the Women's March, and she made this terrific sign. The other side has a clock that says "Time's Up." What is funny is that she showed the boy the typical way of protesting with a sign by shaking it up and down and doing a ra-ra chant, so Baby Noisewater did the same and babbled about what may or may not have been about women's rights but more likely was about Thomas the Train and his rights in the rail yard.

12:10 - We are currently on a major budget restriction, trying to save for a more proper home for the family, somewhere with in-unit washer/dryer, a dishwasher, and a proper bedroom for the Little Man. For this entire month we are tracking everything we spend on a spreadsheet. If either of us buys something, even a can of soda at the gas station, it has to go onto our spreadsheet. Believe it or not, it really does make you more conscious of what you need and don't need to buy. Hence, I opted for a free activity for the baby and took him to the library. Here he is playing with a random girl that was there. He is so social, but mostly with the ladies. It was impressive that he recognized that his partner had more advanced fine motor skills, so he opted to be the guy who fetched the bricks for her to carefully put into place. He has the brute strength and cute strength.

And that about takes us to the current time. Tonight we will stay in and continue to spend zero dollars. There is some movie about a mute gal falling for a merman that is supposed to be quite good, so we may stream that one free and illegally.

I rather liked this writing activity because when you take the time to write about your day, you find yourself a little more convinced that it was all time well spent.

Be well, Blog Buddies.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Two Daddy Things and One Not Daddy Thing

1. I like that thus far Baby Noisewater is not too obsessed with the television. Something will catch his eye, he will point and get excited, and then he moves onto playing with toys or looking at books. When the local news is on it always seems to be about disasters.

Cut to a train that has gone off the rails with numerous casualties and Erik starts stomping his feet, smiling, and saying "Choo! Choo!"

Then in another neighborhood in Chicago we have a bus accident, and Erik looks my way all wide eyed with a big grin saying, "Bus!"

You can't seem to get through a local news broadcast without a fire somewhere, so Baby Noisewater points and whispers to me "hot." It's adorable how he always whispers that one with a cautionary tone. His nanny taught him that word and says it's the most important word to teach a baby.

The point is that it is, of course, tragic what is happening all over our fine city every day, but Erik has no concept of that aspect. It's not like he is hoping for these tragedies to happen, but he is certainly pumped when he sees some of his favorite stuff. All he knows is that he loves trains, buses, and to warn people about hot stuff. The young man has a way of lightening the mood anywhere he goes, and that's one thing we dig about him around here. I'm not saying he should be part of the news team on a little split screen throwing in his two cents on channel seven, but I'm not NOT saying it.

Figured I'd choose a picture with zero chance of anyone saying, "Too soon."
2. My wife pointed out that this rag I call my blog is steadily becoming a dad blog, and in a lot of ways she is right. But before I move onto something else, one more thing about a children's book I have been reading a million-gizzilion times, "Green Eggs and Ham." And incidentally, a good parenting tip is to learn to paraphrase books after a while. You can really just point out one quick thing on each page and move on if that bed time is quickly approaching or if you're just plain sick of reading the same book for the umpteenth time. After a while I'm like the magician in one of my favorite Patton Oswald bits.

I got thinking about old Sam-I-Am in "Green Eggs and Ham," and that dude really should get some sort of lifetime achievement award in the area of sales. You take a customer who absolutely hates green eggs and ham, and this persistent little fellow tries every angle under the sun to see if there is a scenario where his customer will like his product, be it in a plane, a train, in a tree, or with a goat. The goat always gets me. How is eating something I hate with a stinky-ass goat sweetening the deal? It just goes to show you that to make a tough sale you got to try every angle. That's what made him the G.O.A.T. salesman. Get it?

3. Mrs. Noisewater and I were watching "Love Actually" around Christmas time, and I thought of a terrific porno version. Are you ready for it? I mean, it's a little gross, but it's funnier than hell. I couldn't share it on social media because people are so damned easily offended these days, but I'll share it with you fine folks because you're my kind of people. "Love Anally Starring Colin Girth."

Here's a dashing shot of Colin Firth. Wonder what his  thoughts would be on my new spin on his old film?

And I leave you with that. Two potentially boring daddy things if you're not into that and one porno thing. Can't please everyone. Have a fine day, my friends.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Not too long ago I was finishing up getting changed back into my clothes after swimming laps at the YMCA when I heard rambunctious kids coming into the locker room and the voice of a timid man saying, "Okay, guys. Now you have to get changed faster. Not like last time. And I'm going to be timing you."

One of the boys responded with, "Okay. Ching Chong banana."

And when the swim coach came into view I saw that he was Asian. I didn't care for this, partly because my wife is Asian and my son is Asian. But also, I just thought it so disrespectful that a little kid would be mouthing off and using stereotypical race related name-calling towards a grown man who was trying to teach these kids how to swim.

It's a good thing they didn't step in a few minutes earlier when I was naked because that would be the worst time to yell at kids, but because I was fully dressed I said, "Which one of you said that to your coach. That wasn't nice."

When one kid said, "Nobody said anything," I was almost positive it was him. What the hell do you mean no one said anything because all four of you kids were shouting as you came in? He doth protested too much, the little punk.

I let the him know that they shouldn't be talking to their coach like that and maybe the coach should be calling their parents to talk about how they have been addressing the guy they have been paying to teach their children. The kid looked pretty scared but moments later they were all four singing the "Power Rangers" theme and none of them were taking any steps towards getting undressed to put on their swimsuits. This coach had zero control over these kids, and it greatly upset me. I hated seeing him getting run on like that by these ungrateful little brats, and I had already ascertained that the kid I got into it with was the ringleader. Without him I'm pretty sure the other three wouldn't be acting nearly as shitty. He is the one that needed to be straightened out, but the coach did nothing. He just let them sing their songs at him and call him names.

Let me tell you, blog friends. We live in a time now where I'm not all that proud to say I'm an American since our president has shined a light on how many folks out here would love to go back to the days of 1950's Mississippi. Mr. Trump is an awful president, but his policies, administration, and behavior brings about opportunities for open conversations with our kids about matters such as race, sexual harassment, and just being civil and having some class. I like to think that my son will show a little more respect, and if I ever catch him acting in a racially insensitive and asshole-ish manner towards an adult like those boys I met the other day, then I have truly failed him as a father.

Sorry if this came off heavy handed today, friends. I'm usually a much more light hearted blogger, as most of you know. I'll get back to fart and dick jokes next time I grab the laptop to do an update.

Have a happy holiday, everyone. Peace on earth and good will to ALL. 

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Senseless Updates

1. So this morning Mrs. Noisewater wanted to get some things done in the house, and it's hard when she has Baby Noisewater following her around like a puppy dog. So, she convinced me to take him out of the house and out of her hair. On the way to the park we found $30 on the ground! Score! If she hadn't talked us into going out, I would have laid around in my pajamas watching The Punisher and scratching my daddy parts. And while I'm excellent at that, I would have made $0 doing that. I thought about putting that into Baby Noisewater's savings account, and then I got thinking that I could put a little money every paycheck into that account so that he can go to college, or clown school, or male exotic dancer school, or whatever his dream may be. I figure that's going to cost a little more than I can afford from scavenging for cash on the sidewalk. 

Blood sucking scum bag leech televangelists like Joel make Baby Noisewater cry.  He's trying to change the channel or fling poo at him.
2. Speaking of money, we are saving to buy a place to live in this Summer. I'm 40-years-old, going on 41, and I've been renting my whole life. That's pretty bad, right? I need to grow up at some point and stop handing all my money to landlords. Right when I'm really doing good at packing some dough away and just paid off my car, I get hit with an insane dental bill. I don't know if you know this about me, but I grind the holy hell out of my teeth every night. My store bought mouth guards that I pop in after brushing my teeth at night are no match for the psychopathic, destructive, and costly gnashing my powerful jaw engages in each and every evening. Turns out I have taken away all the enamel on two of my molars. The dentist was putting pictures up on the monitor, and there are just giant yellow craters where that white enamel is supposed to be. Hard to look at. I actually had to say, "Doc, if you think showing me this is for my benefit, I'll just take a pass. I trust your judgement that my teeth are totally fucked. I can't look at this anymore." 

I sometimes think of Balsac "The Jaws of Death" from Gwar when I imagine the grinding.
Putting crowns on these suckers is expensive as hell, and dental insurance, while good for everyday cleanings, really doesn't do a whole lot for you with big jobs like this one. Doesn't it always seem the way that right when you're thinking to yourself that your finances are getting in order, that's when you get hit with some crappola like this? I'm going to avoid driving Latifah (that's my car's pet name) because I just know she's due for a major procedure of her own that will bury me further.

3. In these times of someone new being outed every week as a sexual harasser or sexual predator, it has us all wondering who will be next. I was watching Sesame Street with Baby Noisewater the other day, and during Elmo's World I got thinking how the original voice of Elmo got busted having inappropriate relations with young boys. However, Mr. Noodle seemed to be in the clear in all of this. I texted out to a couple friends that a funny headline for an article in The Onion would be:

"America is shocked that Mr. Noodle still hasn't diddled any kids."

I got one of those kid parties I didn't know I had to go to until a few hours ago, and Mrs. and Baby Noisewater will both be up from their nap soon. So, I'm going to cut this blog update off now before it gets any crazier. Hope everyone is doing super. And don't forget to stop and smell the roses and look on the ground for dropped cash. 

I'm sure he's a very nice man . . . 

Sunday, November 05, 2017

The Crying In Room 304

Many of you don't know what it is I do for work (and when I say "many of you" I mean 6 out of the around 7 people or so who read this page), but I'm a school social worker for the Chicago Public Schools. I realize this is maybe the last thing you would guess that I do given my warped sense of humor, but I swear it's true.

So at the end of the day on Thursday, which was like a Friday because the next day was a teacher's institute day, I get the call from the principal to go into room 304. As I'm making my way to this assignment, I'm wondering what sort of class-wide problem I would be dealing with. This was not going to be an individual student's problem. Something went down for this whole class, so even if I was tired and not feeling up to this at all, I started to psych myself up so that I could step in there as Dr. Noisewater cranked to eleven and ready to command that room.

Even before I opened the door, I could hear the sobs of 30 (our school is overcrowded) fourth graders. The class rotates between two teachers, one teaching math and science, and the other teaching reading and writing. So who does social studies? I have no idea, but that's not important. What happened was this teacher's partner (their other teacher) across the hall announced that it was her last day, and she announced this by crying like crazy in front of children. Now this other poor teacher was stuck with hysterical kids picking up on that emotion and carrying on all afternoon, which must be why she called for backup.

So I did the type of crap they taught me to do in graduate school, but more accurately it's just instincts and common sense. First I validated their feelings, so I let them know it is okay to feel the way they were and that showed what a nice group of kiddos they were to care so much about their teacher. Then I asked them to tell me more about their teacher so that I could know too how special she was. They all had a lot of nice things to say. All I know about her is she taught at the school for one quarter and then took a maternity leave gig closer to her house. This is a move that I get so that she can cut her commute down and be with her family more, but there usually is no guarantee of a full time position when you fill a maternity leave position. So it seems risky, but maybe her spouse makes a lot of dough? I didn't get into that with the kids; It's just what was running through my head. Also I was thinking, if they think they are miserable now, just wait until they have some crummy permanent sub every day for 3/4 of the school year and everything will be chaos. That I didn't share either.

So then I started asking some ideas of what they could do to show how much they care for her. This is when hands started going up, and as their brains started firing with ideas, the crying slowly stopped. These youngsters had some awesome ideas too. I seriously should have been putting a few on Pinterest. I remember one very bright young lady saying they could have a giant poster board where everyone pasted little mini books on there where you could turn a few pages of each with little stories about what they will remember about her. That was the winner. That was a dope idea.

One student asked why she was leaving them. I let the students know that it is important not to see it as her leaving them, but her taking an opportunity. As hard a decision as it was for her, she had to do what was best for her family. This is when I related a personal situation to help them better understand. I said, "How many of you had Mr. Gung Ho for gym class?" A lot of hands went up and many of them smiled and wanted to tell stories about how funny he was. This was not a shy class - and everyone wanted to talk. I said, "Yeah, he was a very good teacher and a very good friend of mine. I miss him all the time. Was I sad when I heard he was taking a different job? You bet. But I was happy for him. He too took a job nearby his house so that he could be with his family more and not in his car two hours every day. So we should be happy for miss what's-her-name too. What is her name, anyway? Crying lady." I'm just kidding. I knew her name. But honestly I just learned her name that day because she was only with us for one quarter.

Anyway, it's true what I said about Gung Ho, and I didn't know how true until I found myself telling those kids about it. I really do miss him. Sometimes we would both be busy, and it's such a big school that we would only cross paths once in a given week - but that was enough if one of us got off a one-liner and had each other laughing our way all the way down the hall. You need that person at your place of business who shares your sense of humor and keeps you from getting too serious and crabby.

How about you, Seven Readers? Who is your Gung Ho around the office, and what's something funny the two of you crack jokes about?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Me Too Dave

Mrs. Noisewater and I just got back from a trip to Ireland for a wedding. Her parents came all the way out from California to stay at our place in Chicago with Baby Noisewater while we were gone. We are so lucky to have family to do things like that for us, but truth be told, they cannot get enough of the little guy and were sad to go back. He is a charmer.

Baby Noisewater Cheerios Head
The 500th book Baby Noiseater made grandpa read to him.
We learned something right away on our travels, and that is this: Traveling without a kid is really damn easy. All we had to do was get ourselves on the plane on time. No strollers, no putting all kinds of baby stuff through security, no security opening our bags because formula looks like coke, and no chasing crawling baby around while waiting for the flight. We even had a few drinks. Why in the hell did I bitch about traveling back when I had no kids? Also, what in the hell did I do with all that free time before we made a baby? If you said blog a heck of a lot more, you wouldn't be wrong. I'm doing the best I can, my friends.

So it rains a lot in Ireland. Did you know that? I have been there twice now, and I think that I enjoyed about 30 minutes of sunshine. Total. I ran twice while out there this time, and I did document some beautiful blue skies while they came out so briefly, plus a fantastic rainbow. I don't think the photo truly does it justice. That was the happiest I was. Except for when I was laughing about the guy I would meet later that day . . .

And if you said I should have kept running towards it to find a pot of gold, you're not the only one.
Mrs. Noisewater, her friend McDonald, and myself went to The Little Museum of Dublin, which we thought was a bunch of miniatures on display. In reality, it is a small building with tiny rooms with various exhibits of human-sized items. Very quaint. On our way out a local told us that we should go around the corner to see the smallest bar in Ireland (and some claim the world's smallest bar). They aren't lying - It is a cramped, little bar, and there is no way it is a approved by any fire marshal worth his salt. You go down a narrow staircase into a shoebox of a tavern with extremely low ceilings. And with what can only be a cruel joke, a 6 foot 4 man tends bar, literally ducking his head under beams to pour the drinks. He had to have banged his noggin a few dozen times before conditioning himself to bow under each time he steps forward.

The moment we set foot in there, four men in ties swarmed Mrs. Noisewater. I asked one of them to take our picture, and the man who called himself Dave put his arm around her and said, "sure" . . . waiting for me to take a picture. He knew damn well that I didn't want a picture with his stupid ass in it.

I said, "No, sir. I mean can you take a picture of me, my wife, and my friend?"

"Oh this is your wife?" He replied. "Sure, all take your picture." But then as he was taking the shot, one of his other pervert friends jumped in front to photo bomb and flicked the bird.

Running along this bridge on either side was good fun. I should have took a picture of the bridge going across that looked like a giant harp.
If Mrs. Noiswater was at all flattered by the attention these business men were showing her, that quickly faded when she would see those boys stand at the bottom of the staircase pouncing on every female who set foot in there. These lads certainly fished with a big net. We sat and laughed with our pints as we watched Dave crash and burn with two lovely ladies. When they walked away to sit at a table, undeterred, he followed them there and joined them. They pretty much politely told him that they would rather he go away so that they could talk to one another about something, but he did not abandon ship just yet. Dave sat and waited for a moment to interject something and get back into the conversation, and when one of them talked about someone they know, perhaps one of their boyfriends, Dave blurted out loudly, "He sounds like a dick!" I laughed so hard that I nearly spit  Guiness all over that little place.

As funny as it was to watch, it also grew a little uncomfortable to watch these guys harass lady after lady. So we decided to leave. Later, McDonald and I were saying how anyone who came in contact with Dave and his merry band of perverts would instantly have one of those "#me too" stories that have been going around the internet. For this reason, we dubbed the man Me Too Dave, or #MeTooDave, if you prefer. Now, I don't at all intend to make light of anyone who has experienced harassment of any kind. It's truly an awful thing. But what we saw Dave doing was more along the lines of hitting on everything that moves and not taking no for an answer . . . Okay, fine. It was straight up harassment and pretty much wrong. But it was hard not to keep laughing any time one of us, during a quiet moment, would say Me Too Dave.

And with this last picture of an Irish sunrise, I wish you good day or goodnight.  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Beer For the Runners

First let me get this out of the way. My son was eating chili with his hands and got it all over his sweatpants. I thought Chili Sweatpants might be a good band name, or perhaps a good album title. Mrs. Noisewater thought that should go on the blog, so there it is. Chili Sweatpants on that ass.

In other news . . .

I got an email about volunteering for the Chicago Marathon, and I saw it as a sign because I always told myself I needed to do that some day. When I ran my one and only full marathon years ago I had no one supporting me. I was so thankful for all the volunteers and random people along the way cheering my name (I had my name written on my chest, which I highly recommend for this reason). I saw this email as a good opportunity to make good on my promise to give back.

After registering online the confirmation email gave me my assignment: It said I would be giving out the free beer to the runners. Oh hell yes. I was made for this job.

When I got there the row of taps on the sunny side were all taken, and very few of the early finishing runners were coming to the dark side. Zero of the wheelchair participants (who have the early start time) came our way, and the few really competitive guys, mostly Kenyans, that came through didn't want the beer anyway. Here is a rough estimate of beer consumption based on levels of performance.

2 hour finishers: 1 out of 10 drink the beer. They all look like their entire body has gone into shock, and some are close to throwing up. One guy was wretching, and while I felt odd offering a gagging person a beer, I felt it my duty to put it out there to everyone. To be honest, some of them were so out of it after what they put their bodies through that they didn't even notice there was free beer to be had. I haven't reached the level of exhaustion where I don't notice free beer, but maybe I'm just not working hard enough. Or maybe I'm just a drunk.

3 hour finishers: 3 out of 10 drink the beer. There are fewer Kenyans now, and a few more beer swillers.

4 hour finishers: 6 out of 10 drink the beer. Now we're having some fun. I basically never have to stop pouring by this time. It's a waterfall.

5 hour finishers: Somewhere between 8 and 9 out of 10 drink the beer. And every 10 minutes someone asks if it's okay to drink two. I usually would say, "No, sir. We are not allowed to do that," as I winked at him and handed him his second. Other times I would say, "Sure, to hell with it. What are they going to do, fire me? I'm a volunteer! Drink up!" Like I said, I was made for this job.

I noticed that the maintenance guys going around to check on the kegs, replace them, and pour more ice were drinking the whole time. I didn't believe in drinking on the job myself, especially during the morning. However, we reached a point where my shift was officially over and there were still runners coming through. I couldn't just pack it in and leave after all these hard-working, albeit slower, marathoners were still trickling through the finish and every bit in need of beer as their speedier cohorts. There was no way I was leaving my post. However, since my shift time was officially over and since it was beyond noon, I figured now was an excellent time to drink on the job.

It got a lot more fun at this point. One for you, one for me. I remember one guy saying, "Can I get one more beer for my wife?" I said to him, "You don't need a story, sir. I remember on Halloween asking for one more Snickers for my little brother. I didn't have a little brother. Still don't. Here's your second beer, sir. For your knees."

I was getting a bit of a buzz on and no longer had to be jealous of them getting to drink while I had to "work," but here's the thing: I had to admit that I was a little jealous of them running the race. That feeling started for me on the train ride downtown. I was thinking back to the nerves I had the morning of the race and the fantastic playlists I made to push me through.

So I decided to sign up for next year's Chicago Marathon. I think my plan will be to run it every other year with the alternating years tapping those kegs of Goose Island 312 wheat beer and handing cups of it out to the athletes with a smile on my face all day long. It will be a fine pattern for me every fall.