Friday, February 26, 2010

Ghoulish Goofs

We sent GoofGirl to school with some leftover veggie Chinese food. Due to Jewish dietary laws, you cannot bring any meat to school. So I sent the teacher an email explaining that it isn’t real chicken or duck, it is all tofu.

After lunch, the teacher replied, thanking me for the explanation but adding, that as she ate my daughter kept hissing, “Feast on the flesh…”

"Please don't call social services," I begged - not for the first time.

At a playdate Goofboy is invited to stay for dinner. When chicken tenders are served he insists on only the little Valentines – no stars or moons for him.

When the host asks why, he explains, “If you eat the hearts of your enemies you will get their power!”

Personally, if he is taking on any attribute of a chicken, I hope he gets their flavor.


At another playdate, GoofGirl is offered oranges. She looked at them and said, “These look funny.”

The hostess explained, “But they are good. They are special oranges that are in season now, called blood oranges.”

My daughter takes a bite and announces, “They are good, and you can really taste the blood.”

The playdate burst into tears and GoofGirl got seconds.

Things began to wind down, and the host child just kept looking nervously at the fruit on the counter. It was clearly time for us to go and the hostess made us take the oranges.

"Please, this was so nice of you to have us over," I began, "We'll return the favor and we don't need to take your food..."

"Oh, I insist," she said, forcing a bag of blood oranges on me as her daughter cowered.

In the car on the way home, Goofgirl grinned, "I like blood oranges."

There is a method to her madness - a spooky and evil method.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympic Goofs

Like all little girls my daughter thinks she will be a figure skater, but she is also interested in hockey - she takes after me - she wants to hit people with sticks.


It is nice how, when figure skaters fall, the crowd cheers when they get back up to finish their routine. I was explaining to my son how this exemplifies the Olympic spirit of health competition and sportsmanship. He asked if the Winter Olympics were ever held in Philadelphia. I had told him about the great baseball player/character Jay Johnstone who said they boo everything in Philly, when the team wasn't playing Phillies fans would go to the airport and boo landings. We agreed a Philly Olympics would be fun, they'd boo falls, luge wipeouts, and ski-jumps. But they'd cheer for blood on the ice.


While watching ski-racing my son was clutching his Nintendo controller.

"Buddy," I asked him, "What are you doing?"

He just grinned.

"Do you think you are controlling the race?"

His grin turned sheepish, "I'm the one in front."

"Of course you are."

It was late, I sent him to bed without his gold.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hollow Victory in Vancouver

I guess I’m glad the US hockey team won, but somehow beating Canada leaves me feeling hollow inside. I remember the 1980 miracle, that was awesome, this was America coming back from a dismal decade. But beating Canada just isn't the same. This is their national sport, it’s all they’ve got – and they are the hosts of the Olympic Games. It isn’t as though Canadians are arrogant and in your face about their prowess on the ice (not like those insufferable Swiss.)

My son hates it when I get like this, he tells me I am missing the point (I tell him he is eight and should stuff it.). He got really mad at me when I started moping and feeling bad for the Detroit Lions when his beloved Ravens were destroying them. I mean, the Lions were trying and Lord knows Detroit can use a win at something.

Anyway, to get into the spirit I went to TP the home of some Canadians I know. But my heart wasn’t in it. I ended up just leaving a couple of rolls on their porch. With four kids, Carpool Clan can always use more TP.

I do have to say, I haven’t watched hockey in years and it was pretty exciting. Like soccer, but interesting.

I could see becoming a fan (my son would be super psyched and I do need a sport, everyone should follow something.)

I remember playing floor hockey in gym a lot in school. I got lots of high-sticking penalties – because I was trying to hit other kids with the hockey stick. I considered this a win-win. Either I got to hit a kid with a hockey stick or I got a penalty and didn’t have to play hockey anymore.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Nose Knows

Today, GoofGirl accidentally took 3C's jacket. This is completely understandable since the two of them (along with a third friend) all have the same kind of jacket pink jacket - like the pink ladies in Grease (hopefully sans Rizzo, none of us want to be dads to Rizzo).

When I told GoofGirl she had 3C’s jacket, she smelled it and told me I was right.

I asked her what it smelled like and GoofGirl told me, it smells like Carpool Clan.

“Is that bad?” I asked.

“No, it's okay,” she replied, “It's just different from our house. Less pizza, more Mac’n cheese.”

NOTE & UPDATE: This illustrative picture is courtesy of the intriguing website Clothes on Film. I saw Grease about 100 times - for some reason every birthday party that year went to see Grease, I was about seven at the time. I have no idea why this was considered appropriate - my kids will see it when they are 40 (because I am not up to being the dad to a Pink Lady.) Clothes on Film reminds me how much I saw and how little I understood.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ten Commandments of Sledding

OK – I understand that you are getting crazy being cooped up inside all day. I will take you both and some friends over to the huge hill at the middle school and we can go sledding. But we need to establish some rules. Some of these rules have corollaries – so pay attention. These are my rules. I don’t have to explain them.

Violation of any of these rules will lead to us going home.

If you sled down hill you carry the sled back up the hill. That’s how it works. I know it makes you tired. That’s the point.

Someone has to hold my coffee mug while I push you down the slope.

If I put it on the ground, it will get knocked over – and it will get cold.

When you are holding my coffee, don’t spill it.

When you are holding my coffee don’t drink it.

If you drink my coffee and you think it tastes “funny” do not ask what is in my hip flask.

If you think you hurt yourself – walk it off or put ice on it (there’s plenty.) I only care if there is blood, and even then only if there is a lot.

I don’t care if you go headfirst down the hill.

If you go headfirst try not to hit anything, and if you want to go sledding again don’t mention any of this to mommy.

Do not throw snowballs at me; it might make me spill my coffee.

If you start a snowball fight with me and I hit you in the ear with a snowball, don’t complain, walk it off.

Keep track of your own turns. I’m not settling arguments about this. I’ll just watch you fight and make snide comments to other parents while I sip my “coffee.”

I can take a turn whenever I want. I don’t wait. Don’t say that’s not fair – it is perfectly fair. It is my sled and you wouldn’t be here if I didn’t bring you.

If you get snow down your shirt, don’t whine about it. It comes with sledding and there is nothing I can do about it.

If you have to go to the bathroom, but you don’t want to stop sledding, don’t tell me – just hold it.

We are done sledding when I have to pee.

Snow: A Manly Response

This time, the Snowpocalypse was a little scary. The power went out. Our furnace, and most of the furnaces in our area, requires electricity to run. I called our furnace guy about starting it manually and he only said, “Please don’t!”

The resulting inferno might have helped clear the street though…

Without heat houses can get very cold. And without passable streets we couldn’t go anywhere. Thankfully our house held its heat pretty well, staying above 50 (which isn’t too bad, all things considered.)

Call to Arms
In the face of this situation I had only one response – shovel. Because in a snowstorm that is what men do. (Actually, real men have snowblowers and tractors, but don't like loud noises and am inept with machinery so Mama Goof would be running the snowblower. Hence, no snowblower, my ego can only take so much of a beating.)

I was thinking catastrophically. If the plow came by we could leave and if the house got too cold we could warm up in our cars. It also gave me something to do and kept me out of a house full of yelling kids. I chatted with my neighbor who was thinking the same, explaining, “It’s like a pack of gibbons in there! Why do you think I am out here poking snow out of the trees with a broom?”

The snow was piled so high that as I cleared snow off the cars I played avalanche allowing huge boulders to fall on me. I couldn’t quite reach the top of the minivan – so it sports a geriatric Mohawk.

I brought the kids out to play, but they kept getting underfoot running along the shoveled walkway. I finally figured out that it was very had for them to get out into waist-depth snow. So I dug a path and a snow-base for them.

Shoveling solves most snow related problems. But it does eat up a lot of energy – certain restoratives are needed.

Winter Storm for a Winter Storm
And then the power came back and the street was plowed. So what did I do?

The plow left a pile of snow blocking our driveway. Time to shovel, followed by a bit more winter warmer.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Preparing for Snowpocalypse 2010

In my little corner of the northeast we are preparing for the coming snowstorm. Schools aren’t closed yet, but they will be – it is nice to see the pre-emption doctrine making its way to local government.

On the way home from picking up the little Goofs from school Mama Goof called and ordered me to hit the supermarket for necessary supplies. (We already have liquor.)

I'm glad I had the little Goofs along because the place was packed with panicked suburbanites stocking up on toilet paper and waffles and all the shopping carts were taken. I pressed the little Goofs into service as porters, little complaining porters that can’t hold things upright.

Seeing the press and panic I had us move in tight formation and issued our snow emergency supermarket instructions:
Walk with confidence and keep moving.

Be ready to fight if anyone tries to take our food. I’ll take the blows. GoofBoy – hit them low. GoofGirl - run away with the food.

In the checkout line you must look at the ground. Do not look at candy and ask me to buy any – I won’t. GoofBoy do not read the headlines on any publications for sale in a checkout counter and under no circumstances can you read them out loud to your sister.
The last bit is standard operating procedure at the supermarket regardless of whether conditions.

The line was long and tempers frayed. One man broke down and started running around the supermarket yelling: “The Snowpocalypse is coming! The Snowpocalypse is coming!”

For once, it wasn’t me. Fortunately, my kids weren’t freaked out – with me as their dad they have certain immunity to adult madness. But they did have a concern. My son looked up at me, “Dad if the snow gets really bad which one of us will you eat?”

“I don’t know,” I answered thinking. “You have more meat, but your sister is really tender. I see how the mood strikes me.”

“Good,” he said, his eyes gleaming. “While you think about, we can take you down.”

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Taste of Snow

Today was a snow day in our part of the world, one of many this year. GoofGirl loves to play in the snow and insists on coming outside whenever she can.

But a central part of her snow-play is to wander around and taste snow from various parts of the yard. She has been doing this for years. In fact, the first time we took her out to play in the snow (pictured below) she tasted it.

One would think that first experience would satisfy her curiosity. But not GoofGirl. I've carefully observed her habits here over the years. She is systematic in her explorations. She has (in her head) divided the yard into sectors and she tastes snow from each sector.

I have no idea why she does this and when I ask her, her reasons are vague. She is also evasive as to whether or not snow from different parts of our yard taste different or if it tastes different in different years or months. She needs to learn to write so she can keep a journal of this essential data.

My only theory here is that it somehow relates to her fondness for the White Witch in Narnia.