Lazy Saturdays?

Saturday September 22, 2012. I roll over and check the clock. It’s 6:12 am and I’m debating to myself if I have to go to the bathroom that bad. It’s too risky. The sound of me getting up, doing my biz, then returning to bed, is a chance I’m not willing to take. I wait. I try to force myself back to sleep. The covers are pulled tightly to my neck. I squeeze. The stupid neighbor’s dog barks. I begin a cost/benefit analysis. If I go to the bathroom now, I’m up for the day. The boys are going to tear through that door anyway, so why bother. The risk of uromycotysis is too great. But the possibility of 20-30 minutes more sleep is also appealing. It’s so rare that they sleep past 6 am. Did the toilet just flush? I know I heard it. My mind races as I add more pressure by trying not to think of a waterfall. Just go to sleep. I think of Iraq Jason who thought nothing of peeing in a closely stowed bottle. The toilet is mocking me from behind the door. The light invites me. The covers are warm. My heart beats faster as sweat beads form. I throw my covers at Lacey and my jealousy of her joyous slumber enrages me. The toilet again flushes. Lacey surely heard it too. Yet she acts as though she’s asleep. The fact that she knows that I know she’s acting as if she is asleep causes confusion. Why would she act asleep? Is she mocking me as well? Does she think my plight is some joke?

I cry out,”Why do you mock me toilet?” It responds with a calm, antagonistic flush.

I curse under my breath as I check my watch. 6:14. Two minutes? Why did that last glass of milk have to be full? If its bovine goodness hadn’t been so sweet, I’d be enjoying this “late” Saturday morning instead of suffering this torture. Lacey is enjoying her sleep. Again, another flush. Lacey exhales and I’m sure she snickered. Why is this funny to her? Does she not know of uromycotysis? The sprinklers come on. This isn’t the correct time. This certainly is the work of the toilet. Did I not clean you enough? Why do you haunt me toilet? Panic sets in. I cannot continue and the toilet knows it. It reminds me, taunts me.

As I am starting to spin into full Tell-Tale Heart mode, my insanity is stunted by two boys at full sprint infiltrating our room.

Lacey rolls my way and asks,”Give me two hours now and you can get two hours later.” Her voice sounds like a mixture of Darth Vader, Bane, and lead singer of AC/DC after an all night bender. The fact that she’s bargaining means she serious. That fact that I think she’s bargaining, makes me cute to her. I comply, because it really wasn’t a request. My watch is set for 8:32 and I will forcibly enforce if need be.

The next hour or so is a haze. Coffee, cereal, requests for cosmic brownies. The boys remove all of the couch cushions. The octonauts run on loop. I drink my second cup of coffee. Train sets are brought to the living room. The couch cushions create a great landing pad on the floor. Third cup. Carson squeals. Grant laughs in a sinister manner and I remark that his mannerisms are similar to Denzel Washington’s character in Training Day when he speaks of King Kong

Callie is awakened by all the noise and has a surprise waiting in her diaper. The disappointment is quite noticeable when I learn it isn’t a toaster. Shortly after, Lacey emerges from our room well rested and more than ready to carpe diem. Not really. She nods my way as if to say,”Hey dog, thanks for the solid. I’ll let you watch the game in peace yo.” I nod back, accepting her proposal. Mountain Dew at 8:30 is her drug of choice. She settles into the couch and assumes the expression of haze I had two hours prior.

The turd, I mean game, reaches its completion. Lacey and I revisit a promise made earlier in the week. For some strange reason, our boys love the pastime of bowling. I was indifferent on the sport until I saw my boys faces light up with enough energy to power our house. But from a child’s perspective, bowling is the opposite of what parents tell them is acceptable. It’s loud. Heavy orbs are hurled at objects to disrupt order. The more chaos, the better. Congealed cheese product is served as a delicacy when combined with stale corn chips. Pop/soda/coke are okay. It’s a playground of taboo.

The bowling was what I expected. Strike, strike, spare for me. Six pound spheres attempting to bounce their way down the lane for the boys. The stern look from the counter with every impact is burning a hole in the back of my head. I cringe every time my 45 inch kid projects the six pound ball from his shoulder. It lands with a clank that tests the durability of the lane. All in all, a fairly standard Crutchfield bowling experience. Minus the bathroom excursion with Grant.

After our first game, Grant announces that his digestive processes have culminated. This is of no shock to me because the restroom facilities are in the “Perfect Storm” of disease and pestilence. First of all, it’s a bowling alley. We thoughtlessly strap on shoes that just minutes ago were worn by someone who could have been nursing a good case of janeway lesions. Next, we grab a ball that some freakishly awkward 13 year old, with large, impetigo ridden hands, just used to bowl a 92, while flipping his head back to keep his ridiculous Justin Bieber bangs out of his face. His zit-faced girlfriend thinks about how dreamy he is as she slathers ointment on her hands for the tungiasis she is battling. Next we order french fries and nachos…

My point: The bowling alley is gross. Now plop a restroom in the middle of it and you’ll understand why I knew Grant would have to go. The “Perfect Storm”.

Grant and I enter the lair of gross. I tell him repeatedly not to touch anything. I sanitize the seat as best I can. The questioning begins.

“Grant, just poo?”

“Just poo dad.”

“Are you sure?”

He nods.

I put him on the poorly sanitized throne. A burst of urine strikes my tacky bowling footwear. Grant laughs. I remind him that he just informed me that his intentions were for a number two only. He doesn’t respond. The process continues. I remind him again not to touch anything. We begin the basic game of ninja hands, in which I am slapping his hands as he tries (and has moderate success) to touch everything.

After what seemed like an eternity in the petri dish (<;5 min), Grant completes his biz. I move him to the sink to begin decontamination. I'm not a ridiculous germaphobe, but I thought starting at the shoulder and working my way down to the hands was the best strategy, until I could run him through the car wash. As I'm scrubbing the left inner tricep of my middle child, I catch a glimpse of the image in the mirror. I stop. I stare. The image smiles, then laughs.

In this moment, I want nothing more than a Delorean equipped with a flux capacitor. I want to take the image that just laughed at me in the mirror and show it to my 24 year old self. He wouldn't believe me. He doesn't even know Lacey Howard. And laughing about getting his shoes peed on is out of the question. This isn't how my 24 year old self would envision an awesome Saturday.

And he'd be wrong.

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Lacey Is No Ken Paves or How I Stopped Worrying and Embraced the Shorn Dome

There are things that must get done that I absolutely despise. Taking the trash out is one of those things. By the time the trash is on its way outside, it is testing the weight limits of whatever trash bag Lacey found on sale because I have used my foot to compact 100 pounds into a space normally held by 10. I feel like Superman manipulating matter. I equally despise mopping. And not necessarily the actual mopping, but the discovery of how poorly I swept. There is no greater failure than holding an impotent wet mop and seeing the debris you missed. Hanging clothes is another. On more than one occasion, I may or may not have reset the dryer to avoid hanging clothes. Full disclosure, there are clothes in the dryer that could be folded right now. I’m not being lazy. Time is needed to ensure those wrinkles settle in.

As bad as all the above are, they pale in comparison to haircut day.

Not my own haircut. I have grown quite institutionalized on the subject. Marines are required to have their mane clipped weekly. It’s a bit overkill, but whatevs. The origin of this weekly ritual is unknown. My guess is there is some ambiguous wording in some obscure order, written by some douchebag overachiever. Now the rest of us pay the price. Again, whatevs.

No, my problem is Carson’s haircut. He hates it. His normally calm demeanor is replaced with something that requires a young priest and an old priest. He kicks, cries, wiggles, yells, screams, and sulks. At the end of this spectacle, I am physically spent, covered in sweat and hair, and monetarily lighter due to the tip we must leave for the barber’s troubles.

We had tried everything we could think of until last Sunday. Lacey had the bright idea (I supported it) to cut Carson’s hair at home. So, with a Wahl home haircut kit, we embarked on mission to make this chore less deplorable.

To get Carson on board, it was decided that I would go first. Ya know, hey daddy’s doing it so it must be okay. I figured Lacey had seen me with essentially the same ‘do for over six years and if it did go awry, my profession encouraged bald heads. This would not happen because as Lacey assured me, she had skills like Edward Scissorhands if he had graduated from Paul Mitchell University. I didn’t believe her (her only other hair cutting experience was a failed collaboration with yours truly, where we failed miserably to shave our dog) but 33 year old, fathers of three really don’t care about appearances. Vomit covered shirts: no problem. Grant’s cold and flu version of scotch guard on my sleeve: not a catastrophe. Navy blue and black: no, that will not happen. I’m not a savage.

Lacey began the experiment that I didn’t know was an experiment, by asking questions that a seasoned barber/stylist should know. Guard sizes, fade issues, and proper utilization of resources were topics discussed. She stifled giggles while she cut. My deep brown locks fell carelessly on my shoulders. Concentration was broken as children ran through the haircut area/living room. Laughs unstifled. Apologies spoken but not meant.

Lacey completes her masterpiece and I temper my expectations as I walk to the bathroom. The image stares back and I’m returned to my sophomore year of high school. Although this time it’s my wife who has butchered me, not Fred Marion. The “fade”, for the two minutes it existed, was more recognizable from space than the Great Wall of China.

As mentioned before, this occurrence was predestined. I knew at the first giggle.

Lacey continued the giggles as she gave me a sweet mohawk (pictured below), then chromasized my dome.

With this enjoyable experience behind us, we focused our efforts on Carson. Ladies and gents, I’d like to say that we fought the good fight. That we discovered a method to cut Carson’s hair that created a relaxing, enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, I ended up physically spent, covered in sweat and hair, and my own head was follically-challenged.

Just another typical Sunday and it was awesome.

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We Don’t Want Dessert, We Need Our Check

Dinner out once was a leisurely experience. Lacey and I would dine out to avoid cooking, save time, or to just get out of the amazing 900 square foot apartment we had in Virginia. We would sit and consume without a care in the world. The clock was in fast forward as we discussed what newlyweds think is important. It was the calm before the storm.

There were warning signs of my future, but I was too stupid to see them. In 2008, Lacey and I were living in Pensacola, Florida. A high school friend and her husband were vacationing in nearby Destin and we decided to meet up. They had been blessed with twins who were about two years old. Lacey and I were Destin regulars and thought we could meet for lunch at one of our favorite establishments. Our meal came, we enjoyed the view, and had a good time catching up with old friends.

That’s what the naive father of one 6 month old saw.

The reality that I witnessed, without really witnessing, was that while Lacey and I enjoyed the meal, our friends worked the meal. Fries were portioned. Walks were taken. Needless apologies were made. Trips to the bathroom. Distractions. Silverware maintenance. Salt and pepper thievery. More needless apologies. Toys dropped. Toys recovered. Binky maintenance. Books read. More needless apologies.

It was the same meal, at the same time, at the same restaurant. Two totally different experiences. This isn’t an indictment on my friends. Their kids were well-behaved and we had an great time. They just were just kids, and at the time, I didn’t realize the amount of work a simple restaurant experience was.

Fast forward 3.5 years.

At the end of our post-church, out to eat experience, I looked at my wife and started laughing. We are awaiting our check that cannot come fast enough. Lacey gives the waitress the stink eye and then looks at me as if to say,”Can you believe she has the nerve to deliver those drinks to that other table?”. I check my watch and calculate that it has been 23 seconds since she took my credit card and has NOT brought it back. Her tip was diminishing at an exponential rate.

As I sat there figuring out 18%, then 17%, then 16%, then 12% of 32, I looked back on the circus that had just taken place. We should’ve received a medal (or if you’re a MACS-2 Marine, a well-worded letter of appreciation) for our performance.

In less than 45 minutes we had:

-Read a 3’x3′ dinosaur map in its entirety.
-Averted blindness as the result of ketchup exposure.
-Executed a sanitary, no shoes, public restroom urination through a method of suspension and amazing agility.
-Discovered shoes that were thought to be lost forever.
-Contributed to the proper hydration of my daughter through the depositing of countless strawfuls of water.
-Single-handedly (literally) consumed a large sandwich.
-Ensured the proper temperature of macaroni and cheese that went unconsumed.
-Utilizing proactive thinking, ordered water. Not to drink, but to be used as a method of sanitation at the end of the meal.
-Consumed entire meal in less than 30 seconds.
-Prevented the interruption of at least 3 different conversations through the use repetitive instruction as to the location of Grant’s seat.
-Allowed the high-fiving of a giant wooden bear by Grant.
-Prevented the murder of our waitress through distraction and change-of-the-subject prowess.

There was more to this meal. I’m sure Lacey could provide more insight to the happenings on her side of the table, but you get the point.

The waitress returns. We gather our belongings. Carson high-fives the snowbirds in the booth next to ours. The hostess holds the door. We buckle. We start the same Imagination Movers song again.

Lacey exhales and says,”Well, that wasn’t too bad at all.”

And it wasn’t. It was awesome.

Don’t Wrestle a Poo Covered Toilet Brush From a 2 Year Old

I’m amazed at what normal has become to me. In some houses, a cushionless couch would be cause for concern. But in the Crutchfield home, this is just normal. A two year old running around wearing nothing but a fedora while asking for someone to “wipe my booty”, is a statement heard so often, that it barely gets an eyebrow raise from either Lacey or me. The phrase,”No cookies until you finish your Lucky Charms” is my Sunday morning staple. And all of it is our normal.

This is not to say that our house is a Lord of the Flies type free for all. It’s not. Lacey and I are parents to a 4, 2, and 1 year old. We have been forced from man-to-man coverage into more of a prevent defense. And much like the prevent, our kids often shred it for huge gains.

This past Friday, Lacey was cleaning up what was an amazing dinner (love ya, babe) while I was trying to prevent the aforementioned 2 year old in a fedora from escaping the bathroom after his business was complete. The Perry the Platypus wannabe had instructed me to give him some privacy while he did his thing. I obliged and waited for the actual completion. I say actual completion because it takes 3 or 4 times of “I’m done” until he’s actually done.

While waiting eagerly to do my fatherly duties, I heard a “clank-clank-clank”. Knowing fully that I would not like what was going on on the other side, I pushed open the door to find Grant using the toilet brush as stirring utensil of his previously mentioned business. While not in the realm of what I would call normal, this wasn’t the weirdest thing that happened that day.

I quickly deduced (see what I did there) that the toilet brush was no threat to me in the toilet and would start negotiations to keep it that way. Much like a seasoned negotiator, I started off slow and calm.

“Granty, how about we stop with the stirring, huh?”

Seeing my calm as weakness, he flatly replied, “No.”

With a bit more authority I said, “Grant, give me the brush.”

A master negotiator himself, he again replied,”No.”

Knowing my negotiating skills were useless, I decided to resort to brute force. He’s under 3 feet and weighs 40 pounds. I’m 6’2″, 220. This is a fight I should win.

After a struggle that would rival Peter Griffin and the giant chicken, Grant was sent out of the bathroom crying and without a toilet brush. By any standard metric of scoring, I was the winner. Unfortunately, for parents, winning is relative. Although I had bested my middle child in a feat of strength, I was the one covered in poo water.

Parenting is a tricky beast. I wish I could tell those not-yet-parents that this is the only time I’ve told a story about poo water. I can’t. But for every millisecond of poo water, there are years of I-love-you-daddy’s that make it all worthwhile. Being a parent is not for everyone, but it is the best thing in the world.

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More Characters Than a Tweet

The example tells me I should tell you why I’m doing this. To tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure other than I was strolling through my Facebook timeline and saw others doing it, so why not? What makes their observations any more clever than mine? Why should they get all the glory a WordPress blog brings?

So now you know. I’m writing my innermost thoughts because everyone else is doing it. My parents are so proud.

Some basic guidelines:

1. I will refrain from politics or religion. You probably don’t care what I think and I sure as hell am not going to listen to someone as wrong as you are on the subject.

2. Grammar nazis look elsewhere. There will be plenty of misspelled words, syntax errors, and general buffoonery as I butcher the written word in this blog. Put up with it or don’t.

3. Enjoy. My mind numbing thoughts are just that: mind numbing. Reading this will be like a relaxing cigar. A nice pint of whatever you choose to imbibe. Or if you’re like me, a double double animal style that makes the tears stop flowing.

I look forward to entertaining you, or at that very least, clogging up you Facebook timeline.