Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sam's Mural

There is no such thing as Karma Bonus points with your children. You do something because you said you would, or maybe because it is the right thing to do, but there is no "Kid Karma Bank."

Months ago I told my children that I would paint whatever they wanted me to paint on their walls. It has taken a long time, mostly because I am lazy, and I still have another room to paint.

Sammy wanted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I just finished painting the mural today after being partially up there for a week.

As soon as I finished he said, "Dad, can you paint a Power Ranger up there beside it?"

"Sure baby, right after I finish your sister's room," I said.

This is a time lapse video I shot of the painting.

This is the final painting.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thanks Chuck

Establishing and keeping connections with people is a full time job. It is difficult and not something that I am remotely good at with anyone. People I work with, friends and even family... Family is what I care about the most, but I still find it hard to connect to them.

My son Calvin is ten and becoming a man. I am always trying to find ways that we can be together and bridge that gap that is between us, but even the best plans don't always work out.

Luckily, I am an opportunist.

Calvin has his own unique sense of humor, but as Steve Martin said, "Comedy is not Pretty." In the wrong place with the wrong audience, and you can get in quite a bit of trouble with your best punch line. Timing is everything.

Recently, I was waiting to take Calvin out to dinner after his play practice. I am just standing there taking up room in the hallway while he is waiting in line to change his clothes. I hear him say to his theater instructor, "You know Jesus is the son of God, but God is the son of Chuck Norris."

I was furious! First of all, he has been told to not try out his new material with anyone but me. Plus, he has already gotten in trouble for trying to be funny by talking about religion to his theater instructor. Jokes about religion are hurtful and make people angry.

What surprised me the most was his Chuck Norris joke. When and where did he hear Chuck Norris jokes? More importantly, why did I not know about this sooner? All that wasted time when we could have been giggling over ridiculous punch lines!

After doing my parental duty- chewing him out for his poor timing and for breaking the joking about religion rule, I asked him where he heard the Chuck Norris joke. Still a little shook up from the stern talking to I gave him, Calvin sheepishly said, "I made it up."

He is creating his own Chuck Norris material? Wow! I am thrilled. As an early adopter of Chuck Norris jokes, I have treasured them ever since I told my first one in public and was greeted with a puzzled look. It is an acquired taste.

If you don't know the story behind Chuck Norris jokes, I will try to clarify. A few years back some college kids were sitting around trying to think of funny things to say to one another when one of them touched on the ultimate man icon of the 80's, Chuck Norris. His cool steely look, and his Karate abilities made him a natural for this humorous game of one-up-manship. Chuck Norris Facts became a fad. These jokes are mostly shared among guys, because we are, as a rule, immature and silly. The more impossible the Chuck Norris feat, the funnier it is to us.

It has apparently escaped my son that I have a Chuck Norris t-shirt, and my wife had just given me a Chuck Norris Facts poster that I took to work. So, I tried to lighten the mood by telling him one of my favorite Chuck jokes, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could Chuck Norris? ...All of it.”

And with that one joke, there was a new bond between us- and a whole slew of new inside man jokes! We spent the next hour at Wendy’s with me telling Calvin Chuck jokes from my blackberry while scanning Chuck Norris

You know your son is having fun when he squirts coke out of his nose while laughing.

Thank you Chuck for helping me to stay close to my son.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


It is difficult for many people to realize that they have aged. There are constant reminders around us all that we are used to and no longer shock us. The unsettling experiences are the unexpected ones. Surprises can rattle you to the core of your being.

I was surprised like that just the other day. I made my way to the nearby Great Clips spot with my son to get our hair cut. Sharde, my normal hair stylist, had disappeared again. That is to be expected from a young person trying to find her way in the world. You have to make decisions about what is best for your needs. Calvin refused to have his hair cut because Sharde wasn't around. I think he has a crush on her. That is easy to understand, she is a cutie.

My hair couldn't wait. I jumped up in the chair determined to get my hair back under control.

This new lady was nice enough. I can't remember her name, but she got right down to business.
The stylist went about trimming my hair, and evened out my unruly mop. About mid-way through she stopped in front of me and said,"Would you like me to trim your eyebrows."

I was shocked and insulted that this woman who didn't even know me 5 minutes before is asking to trim my eyebrows, but I took a breath and said in my most calm voice, "Ok."

I know that my eyebrows were kind of hairy. I have given it some thought, but I didn't think it was something that other people notice. The biggest problem for me was figuring out what to do about them. So I thought that having a professional address the issue was probably a good idea.

She was obviously unaware of the internal trauma she had just caused me, because she followed up her intial question with this little zinger, "Now people will focus on what you are saying and not your eyebrows."

What? Is this why my kids don't listen to me? People are distracted by my eyebrows? What the ...

At this point I know I am turning red. I have no idea what to say, so I give one of those little confused smiles you use when someone says something to you that sounds like an exotic foriegn language that you don't understand.

Unbelievably, she is not finished!

"We can't have you walking around looking like Andy Rooney, now can we?" and then she laughs!

I was so upset I nearly leapt out of the chair and roundhouse kicked her right in the clippers! There was no way I could have prepared myself to suddenly be compared to a man who looks like he has ginormous, furry caterpillars dueling on his forehead.

My calming techniques have really come in handy lately. Deep, slow breathing while concentrating only on the air entering and then leaving your body is very centering. On this day, I think it kept me out of jail.

What other age indicators are there waiting for me to discover? Maybe I will find out that I am only 13 years away from being able to move to a senior village.