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I was exhausted. With Tyler quietly napping in his crib, I lay across our bed and glanced at the alarm clock on the bedside table. The digital green numbers showed the time as being a quarter past six, in the afternoon. After a slight pause, I calculated the actual time to be five minutes until six. I’ve had my clock set twenty minutes fast for about as many years as Sarah and I have been together. When the repeating tones of the alarm drills into one’s dreams, and one opens one’s eyes to see the harsh green glowing display, the only truth is the time it displays. This is how I manage to get up on time
almost every morning. I closed my eyes. I would nap for twenty minutes then go wake Tyler. When I opened my eyes one second later, the display said it was nearly seven o’clock. I sprang from the bed and dashed into Tyler’s room. I didn’t want him to nap too long and ruin any chance at still getting him to bed at a decent time. He woke easily and promptly asked for his mommy (which is great for one’s ego). I explained to him that mommy was in Michigan. She goes there once a week to gossip and hang out study with her friends for their PTA License exam. As we descended the stairs, it occurred to me that it was actually six thirty, and we hadn’t overslept at all.
Minutes later, we were in the kitchen, scrounging for food. I handed Tyler a strawberry while we waited for the microwave to finish radiating our Hobo Pocket leftovers. The tentative plan for the evening included reading the newspaper while we ate, playing outside, chasing each other through the house, and general father-and-son fun. I looked at Tyler after finishing the newspaper and knew that our plans had just changed. What I wouldn’t find out until later was just how much our evening would stray from the line I laid down for it. Tyler’s face was covered with ketchup, potatoes,and zucchini. But that wasn’t the game changer. This was nothing that couldn’t be corrected with a wet wash-cloth. It was when Tyler smeared banana, potato, and ketchup in his hair that plan B became necessary. The tentative plan B for the evening included playing in the bath, brushing our teeth, chasing each other through the house, and reading stories before bedtime.
I ran Tyler’s bath and allowed him to toss in some of his favorite bath toys. I am a creature of habit, and rarely – if ever – change the way in which I do things. Bath time is no exception. I wash Tyler’s face, scrub his hair, and was his body. Then we play for a bit before pulling the drain plug. For some reason that I may never know, I switched around our routine on this particular night. I washed Tyler’s face and decided we would play for a while before soaping up. We played for a few minutes and were having a great time. Then Tyler stopped. And grunted. In… ANY… other… situation, I would know exactly what was happening. That synapse failed to fire on this night and left me confused.
“Wait. What’re you doing?”
With great reluctance, I glanced behind him.
“TYLER! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?! OH GOD, NO! STOP!”
The tentative plan C for the evening was to freak the f*** out! And I was well on my way toward doing so. I grabbed Tyler and held him out of the sewage while I tried to develop a plan of action. My only goal was to clean the contaminated area as quickly as possible, with as little involvement of my skin as possible. I wrapped him in a towel, ran into the living room, baby-wiped his butt, put a diaper on him and ran back into the bathroom. Using the same thing we use to rinse water off Tyler – a blue plastic container – I scooped the two turdlets up and dumped them into the toilet. I really couldn’t tell you what it was about all this that had me gagging and very close to vomiting (I wipe smeared poop off his balls more times than I care to count, for crying out loud), but it took quite a bit of mental – and physical – restraint to keep my stomach from betraying me. After grabbing all the toys that were in the tub at the time of the “incident” and throwing them in a sink full of hot water, I poured a bunch of bleach in. I then took that same container of bleach and splashed it all over the tub.
Did I finish washing Tyler? Nope. Am I okay with that? Absolutely.
I was this close (squeezes fingers together) to calling a HazMat team and getting our house condemned. I won’t say that I didn’t muse over how much accelerant would be necessary to effectively destroy a two-story house. The problem is, fire investigators are very smart and would have quickly unraveled the mystery. I’d like to say that they would understand my motives, but I just can’t be sure.
 Hobo Pockets:
1 to 1.5 pounds of hamburger (ground beef, ground round, ground whatever) – spiced to taste
Sliced potatoes (about 1/4 inch thick)
Sliced carrots (about 1/4 inch thick)
Sliced onions (about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick)
Whatever other vegetables you have handy (zucchini, green pepper, etc.)
Get four large sections of tin-foil. Put a hamburger sized patty of meat on each one. Add veggies to each one. Wrap them up so they are completely covered. We actually double wrap them because they like to try to open up when you flip them. Put them on a grill. Grill on medium-low heat for 30 minutes, flipping at 10 minute intervals.
Unwrap and Enjoy the deliciousness!
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As you may or may not remember, Sarah and Tyler were both out of town for a week. Just prior to that, only Sarah was absent from our home. Her sister is getting married in a couple months. Turns out that another of her relatives (cousin maybe?) is also getting married soon, so they threw a combined hang-out-at-the-pool-and-drink-and-play-party-games bachelorette party. This party consisted of penis straws, drinking games, penis cakes, swimming, penis-related games, penis penis penis. I’m told there were no strippers, but that isn’t the point, aside from penis penis penis.
The day following the
penis bachelorette party, I was given a taste of what joint-custody must be like. I packed Tyler in the car and drove two hours, to a big-chain shopping center parking lot. I met Sarah there so I could transfer Tyler to her care. I had to continue my duties as an employee of a great company, and locking one’s child in a dog crate is ill looked upon. This left little other choice than to live as a single man for a week. I’m sure you all know how miserable it was. You know, no chores, no responsibilities (aside from feeding the dog), no screaming teething baby. It was torture.
Sarah and Tyler came home Saturday Evening. After passing out many hugs and kisses, I helped in transferring the contents of the truck into the house. As we all know, the thing we need most after a vacation is another vacation. So, instead of putting away the newly created disaster zone, we all hung out and relaxed together. We both talked about our week, played with Tyler, then watched TV after he went to bed.
As an aside, Tyler showed me his new skill(?) as well. If we ask him what sound a dog makes, he opens his mouth and breathes in and out quickly, like a panting dog. I clapped my hands, and panted as well.
“THAT’S where he got it,” Sarah said.
Sarah explained to me the difference between in the way we mimic a dog. When she does it, she opens her mouth, sticks her tongue out, and pants. When I do so, I park my tongue behind my lower teeth. Tyler has inherited my trait, as it relates to the highly sought-after skill of panting. I have since tried – quite unsuccessfully – to correct this behavior, because Tyler looks absolutely adorable when he sticks his tongue out. I’ll keep you posted, as I’m sure this will make or break me as as an adaptable father.
I made breakfast for Tyler and ate with him the next morning, while Sarah made an attempt to attack her inbox and catch up on the happenings on Facebook. After breakfast, Tyler ran off to play, and I cleaned up the kitchen. It only took a matter of minutes to get the dishes into the dishwasher and wipe off the counters. After finishing my good-husband duties in the kitchen, I walked into the office and stopped. I needed a couple seconds to fully absorb what my optic nerves were sending to the ol’ visual cortex. I distinctly remember two of the roughly three thousand thoughts that flooded my data center:
Should I freak out?
Is this as funny as I think it may be?
Trying hard not to scream like a girl in a horror movie, for fear of scarring my child for life, and slightly due to the fact that I actually wanted to laugh hysterically, I consciously calmed myself before speaking.
“Good job putting the rings on the penis Tyler.”
In my haste of getting the penis away from Tyler, I didn’t even think about grabbing the camera. I did make an attempt to recreate the scene, but Sarah hid the penis from me. She thinks it’s highly inappropriate, while I see nothing but humor in it. After some tension-filled discussion (and a little attitude on my part), I gave up on capturing the real deal. Suffice to say, it’s extremely (EXTREMELY) similar to the picture displayed at the top of this post. The key differences are as follows:
1) The red cone would have been a flesh colored penis.
2) The actual penis picture would have been hilarious (if you’ve got a twisted sense of humor, like myself, apparently).