Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Politics of Stealing Candy on Halloween

I try to be a good parent, but sometimes I fall asleep on the job. Literally.

I know I shouldn't, but it does happen occasionally. Take today, for instance. Two nights a week, including last night, I get off work at 2:00 AM. That's an ungodly hour of the night. (On the plus side, I was actually able to leave on time last night. Many nights it takes me fifteen minutes to an hour extra to get finished up so I can leave.)

So, I got home at 2:30, and found my way to a corner of the bed around 2:45. I say "corner of the bed" because that's what I usually end up with. We have a king size bed. It is very big. And yet The Wife usually finds a way to angle herself across three-quarters of the bed. As a math teacher, I'm sure The Wife could figure out an equation to determine how one small object (The Wife) could take up as much space as possible on one large object (the king size bed.) I don't need an equation, because I see it in practice all the time. (It's okay, though. I love her very much, and I'd still rather share a corner of the bed with her than try the couch.)

Anyway, I got to bed around 2:45. The Wife's alarm goes off at 5:45. (Sometimes I hear it, sometimes I don't.) (Of course, sometimes she hears it, and sometimes she doesn't.) Even if I do hear it, I usually go back to sleep until about 7:15, when The Wife leaves for work. The kids usually wake up a few minutes after The Wife leaves, so I have to get up to tend to them.

In other words, the two times a week I work the night shift, I usually end up getting between two and five hours of sleep. So, as the day progresses, sometimes I fall asleep while watching the kids.

That's what happened today. After breakfast I sat in my chair and got out the computer, checking out and such. And I dozed off for a few minutes. When I opened my eyes, The Boy was eating a Tootsie Pop from his Halloween stash.

A quick aside: It's Halloween morning, and yet the kids already have a "Halloween stash." Why? Because Halloween has become a week-long party. First, the kids had a "trunk-or-treat" in Grammy's neighborhood on Saturday. Then they got dressed up again and got more candy at The Boy's playgroup on Monday. On Tuesday, it was The Girl's pre-school's Halloween party. So, by the time they go out tonight for actual Halloween, it will be the fourth time they get into their costumes to beg for candy! (Back when I was a kid, Halloween was one night of the year! And we didn't go car-to-car in a parking lot for our candy, we had to walk the entire town and knock on every door!) (One of the good things about growing up in a town as small as Arimo is that we literally could and did knock on every door in town!)

An aside to the aside: The kids costumes are awesome! They are going out as Minnie and Mickey Mouse this year. The Wife made and put together the costumes herself, and she did an amazing job! (Okay, she didn't make the mouse ears. We got them at Disneyland. But still, she did an outstanding job with their costumes!) I am going dressed as Goofy. I was very proud of coming up with the costume by myself last year, without any help from The Wife. I figured I could get several years of mileage out of it. But, The Wife says this, the second year, will be the last year I get to wear it. She doesn't want me to turn into my brother. (We love him, but my brother John, a Green Bay Packer fan, has been a "Cheesehead" on Halloween for 20 straight years.)

Minnie and Mickey
Anyway, (asides aside) when I woke up, The Boy was eating a Tootsie Pop. Now, if he had wanted to sneak a candy and not get caught, this is the worst choice he could have made. Why? Because: a) it takes him 30 minutes to eat one; and 2) even if I had still been asleep when he finished, the sticky evidence would be stuck on his face. No, The Boy didn't have a care at all if he were caught or not, he just wanted the candy.

The Girl, on the other hand, is a completely different animal. She knows what is right and wrong, and doesn't like it when she gets caught doing wrong. So, she tries to put a spin on it. She is very good at this. With her ability to deflect questions and give vague answers, I think she might have a future in politics. Our conversation went like this:

Me: "Did you have a piece of candy?"
The Girl: "Maybe."
Me: "Did you have a piece of candy?"
The Girl: "My brother wanted me to have some." (I like how she still hasn't admitted that she had any, and tries to pass the blame to him.)
Me: "Did you have a piece of candy?"
The Girl: "I was going to ask you, but you were asleep." (Still hasn't admitted, now trying to blame me.)
Me: "Did you have a piece of candy? YES or NO?" (I was going with the parental approach of asking the same question until you get the answer you want, raising my voice a little each time I asked. She was being so evasive that this time I added the "Yes or no?" and did so with about as stern a voice as I could.)
The Girl: (Finally and sheepishly) Yes.

Her answers were so good and so "slippery," that The Girl would be right at home at one of the presidential debates. Obama and Romney could both learn a few things from her about plausible deniability and shifting the blame. I'm not sure if I should be proud of her, amused by her, or frightened by her. (Probably a little of all three.)

All I know is that, as a parent, I better not fall asleep on the job anymore.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

May Contain Immature Language

[Warning: This story contains mature language. Language so mature that it may cause junior high school boys to snicker uncontrollably.]

A while ago, my wife was trying out a new recipe she found on Pinterest. (As a guy, I have no personal interest in Pinterest. I don't even know what it is exactly. Is it a website? An app? An online store? A social media site? I really don't know, and I really don't care. However, I am very glad that The Wife has an interest in Pinterest. Why? Because more than once she has made something that tastes delicious and then said, "I got that recipe off of Pinterest." So, on second thought, maybe I have more of a interest in Pinterest than I thought.) (Whatever "Pinterest" may be.)

Anyway, the recipe The Wife was making involves those Pillsbury-type rolls, you know, the ones that come in a cardboard can. (The "easy opening" cans that act like a demented, dough-filled jack-in-the-box when they finally ....POP open.) (Yes, I jump every time.) (And I say "Pillsbury-type" because we buy the store brand instead. They are cheaper, and I am nothing if not cheap.) The recipe involves flattening out the rolls, putting a couple of slices of pepperoni and some cheese in them, then rolling the dough back around the pepperoni to form a ball, so that you end up with a little roll stuffed with pizza.

The Wife started to call them "pizza balls," but then she stopped herself and said, "Oh, wait, I can't call them that." Why? Well, The Wife has been a junior high math teacher for several years, and so she has a built-in instinct as to what she should not say because it will make junior high boys laugh inappropriately. Her instinct told her that "Pizza Balls" would fall into that category. So, she had to think of another name for them. I think she settled on either "Pizza Rounds" or "Pizza Rolls."

(Should I be offended that, since no junior high boys were around, I was the reason she felt she couldn't call them "Pizza Balls?" No. After all, I still laugh every time I hear the name "Winnie the Pooh." I'm not exactly the model of maturity.) (See:

That got me thinking about what other simple words or phrases she has to avoid for fear of inapproriate giggling. So, I asked The Wife and her mother (The Mother-In-Law was a high school English teacher for many, many years) what other words they needed to be careful with. And then I gleaned some of my own memories as a snickering junior high boy, and I came up with this list of words and phrases that might make immature schoolboys laugh, chuckle, or guffaw for no apparent reason. (Of course, this list is far from comprehensive, because sometimes junior high boys can find innuendo in the most innocuous of words.) (Probably even the word "innocuous.")

* pee--Urine, like most bodily functions, is very humorous. And, if you say it twice in a row (pee-pee), even the junior high girls will think it is funny.

* P--The Wife says she can't even use the letter "P" as a variable in a math equation. (You know, stuff like: 4a + 3c = P) That's how funny pee (or P) (or pee-pee) is.

* thong--Back in my day (which admittedly was a long, long time ago in a land far, far away,) a thong was a kind of slip-on shoe, like a flip-flop or a sandal, which stayed on your foot  because of a little strap that came down between your big toe and the toe next to it. (The index toe?) The word "thong" used to be quite tame, butt but then a certain style of skimpy underwear and swimsuit became more and more popular. If you say the word "thong" today, junior high boys will immediately think of butt cheeks. And they will giggle.

* balls--I know I mentioned this earlier. I just thought I'd point out that "Pizza Balls" does sound like a nickname some unfortunate kid might get while in junior high.

* nuts--Very similar to the usage of "balls." (Although, now that I am writing this, I don't think I'll think of a squirrel "gathering his nuts" in quite the same way ever again.)

* #1 and/or #2--The numbers 1 or 2 by themselves will not bring about snickers. It's when you combine them with the actual word "number" that the laughter ensues. (As in "number one" or "number two.")(Yes, bodily functions are hilarious.)

* __?_--I was going to put a word here, but since I try to keep this a family-friendly humor column, it just didn't look right, even though it is a common word. The word has several meanings, including pulling the hammer back on a gun, raising an eyebrow or turning your head in a particular manner, or even a male bird of any kind, particularly a rooster. But, I would suggest you avoid using it around teenage boys. (And don't even think about saying something "warms the cockles of your heart.")

* 69--I've got to admit, I didn't know the number "69" was a "thing" until I was well into my mid-thirties. I was on a party bus going to a mandatory office party in Wendover, Nevada. (For those who don't know, Wendover is 100 miles due west of Salt Lake City, and it is a frequent destination of Utahns who want to leave the state to experience the wilder side of life that the state of Nevada offers.) I didn't really feel the need to let my wild "Nevada" side out, but this particular office party was mandatory if I wanted to get my Christmas bonus that year. (It's the only reason I was on the party bus.) To pass the time on the 100 mile ride, my coworkers engaged in a game of drunken bingo. (I think the driver and I were the only sober ones on the bus.) And whenever the number "69" was called out, everyone giggled like junior high boys.

* pianist--For heaven's sake, just say "piano player" instead.

* tool--The other day we were watching an episode of Castle, and the female police officer pulled her gun on a guy who was using a grinder to try to break through a safe. She told the guy, "take your hand off your tool." The male cops who were with her started to snicker. (So did I.) I then asked The Wife if her junior high boys would laugh at that, too. She said the 9th grade boys probably would, but the 7th grade boys probably wouldn't get it.

* wiener--If you say "wiener" instead of "hot dog" at this point in time, you're pretty much just asking for trouble. ("Beanie-weenies" are pretty dangerous, too.) (In more ways than one.) (Yes, that was a fart joke.)

So, there you have it. Like I said, this list is far from complete, because, in the right frame of mind, junior high boys can turn just about anything into some sort of innuendo. (Probably even the word "innuendo.")

And now that I'm done writing this, I think I'll go make me some Pizza Balls! (Mmm.....Pizza Balls!)