Friday, April 27, 2012

Rainy Sunday Save

Sunday was a bit dreary last weekend. Little League was cancelled, and the little Goofs looked ahead at a long day in front of the TV. If I were a good parent, I would have taken them somewhere. But sometimes my energy lags, and I have my own things to do. But Carpool Buddy's dad called and suggested we take the sluggers to the battings cages. We got there early enough that there wasn't a crowd and we rented a cage for just our two. The switched off for about forty minutes before some friends arrived and we shared with them. The adults did not take turns, unfortunately, but I did find out that a pitching machine only costs $2700 - which strikes me as very reasonable. I mentioned this to Mama Goof, but she shut down that discussion quickly. I was going to explain how I was going to build a hanger-like structure to contain the pitching machine in the backyard. She doesn't trust me to build things - she's right. Other dads gave very precise and detailed instructions about stance and swing. Unfortunately, we had a lot less knowledge to share CarPool Clan's dad is Canadian so he has an excuse to not know anything about baseball. I know a great deal about baseball, but none of it applies to the actual events on the field. I know anecdotes about Moe Berg (a pre-World War II catcher-spy) and a huge number of baseball statistics. Also, my baseball knowledge stops with the 1989 Orioles. So we encouraged our sons by stating the obvious: "Hit it!" "Swing hard!" "Keep your eye on the ball!" I urged GoofBoy to channel Johnny Mize - a Giants first-baseman who was known as the "Big Cat" and who retired before I was born and died almost a decade before GoofBoy was born. Still, a long Sunday yawned before us. GoofBoy planned to watch the Washington Capitals in the NHL playoffs. Mama Goof had the brilliant idea of calling one of his buddies, who he doesn't see to often. Worked perfectly. When the little Goofs have friends over, they are not permitted to just watch TV. Sometimes, a movie is part of the plan but not just sitting around watching TV. But sports are different, somehow that seems ok - almost social. It counts for GoofGirl too - although she isn't that interested in sports, but if she were it would. Am I wrong about this? For GoofBoy and his buddy, watching sports on TV is very much an activity. Besides all the yelling at the TV, they play ga-ga as they watch. Gaga is basically an Israeli dodgeball game in which the ball is rolled. From a parent's perspective this has the huge advantage that it can be played indoors and is less likely to damage the house. As a kid I considered it a huge improvement over regular dodgeball. I got out just as quickly, but a rolled ball was less likely to hit me in the head and break my glasses. It isn't impossible, but at least it didn't happen every single game. And what of GoofGirl? She had had gymnastics in the morning and had been up late the night before so she dozed and read. Then we got a surprise call from friends with younger children who wanted to go bowling (apparently they had begun to get cabin fever as well.) These two little boys love GoofBoy who is a natural camp counselor - and is just great with both of them. But GoofBoy was booked. Fortunately, they also love GoofGirl - who is always looking to polish her baby-sitting skills. So she went along, had fun bowling and playing grown-up mom. For a day with little promise of adventure, it turned out as a neat day for the little Goofs. Glad they have so many good friends to make this kind of surprise possible (without me having to do much of anything.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tooth Fairy vs. Disney: The Final Battle

Because GoofGirl is extremely interested in the political and social affairs of the Tooth Fairy realm I tend to tell her when friends and acquaintances lose teeth. If she knows the person she has a pretty good idea what kind of tooth fruit the planted tooth will yield (reminder, GoofGirl explained that Tooth Fairies need our teeth as seeds.) Thanks to Facebook and the awesome power to tell everyone everything all the time, I usually have a fair amount of datato share with her.

The other day, a little boy we know who is vacationing at Disney lost his tooth. Naturally, as we were going to bed I told her, but instead of describing the fruit from the boy’s teeth she got very concerned.

“Daddy, this is not good.”

“What’s wrong?”

“The Tooth Fairy and the Disney Princesses, they don’t like each other.”

“Why not?” I asked innocently. Since my day job involves modeling violent conflict, Ithought there might be a grant in this.

“No one really knows who started it. But they battle with magic, the whole world could be in danger!”

“Why would that be?”

“The Tooth Fairy isn’t allowed at Disney because the Princesses and Tinkerbell don’t like her. But if there is a tooth she’ll try to get it,” she rolled her eyes at me – clearly in a hurry to get to the control center and enact Toothcon Four.

Then she turned suddenly, “Daddy, do you know about this from Facebook?”

“I guess, sure,” I answered – getting nervous because she was takingall of this so seriously.

“Oh no, Daddy! The Tooth Fairy reads everything on the internet. Now she’ll know, she’ll try to go to Disney, the Princesses won’t let her in, they’ll battle with magic and we’ll all be doomed.”

“There’s nothing we can do?” I ask, knowing that she will really worry about this and never get to sleep.

“Send them a message. Tell them to glue the tooth back in and don’t talk about it anymore.”

“I don’t think you can glue a tooth back in.”

“Then tell them to mail it to their house. Get it out of Disney territory right away.”

“OK, you go to sleep now,” I told her in my most comforting voice.

She lay in bed, one arm extended up and cried, “Tell them Daddy, tell them!”

So I told them, sparking a very strange Facebook thread. If the world comes to end, you’ll know why. And if it doesn't, you'll know who to thank.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

A Bedtime Story with Spiderman & Pop

When GoofBoy was little, the Spiderman movies were still new and he was fascinated. I didn’t want him to see the movies (he wasn’t ready) but he got the gist by osmosis – just like he learned the Star Wars movies before seeing them. Also, one time, at Costco we watched enough of Spiderman Two that GoofBoy had a pretty good handle on it. He would regale strangers, “Dr. Octopus is trying to build a fu-shion reactor and Spiderman has to stop him. Dr. Octopus has robot arms, and he has issues.”

I started telling him stories about another super-hero:
”Bubbe, I want some ice cream and we are all out!” Pop whined.
Why are you talking about Bubbe and Pop? You promised me a Spiderman story!

I just started, give it a minute.
“So go to the Wawa and get more,” Bubbe replied.

“But there’s too much traffic!”

“So fly!” Bubbe said, exasperated.
What’s zacerbated?

What I’m going to be if you don’t let me tell this story!
So Pop went down to his workshop and built a jetpack. He went upstairs, strapped it on, pushed the bottom and zoomed off to the Wawa to get some ChubbyHubby ice cream. When he got back home, Bubbe was furious! Pop’s jetpack had left ashes all over the house. So, after Bubbe was done yelling at him, Pop finished his ice cream and went back to his workshop.

He stayed down there a long time. When he finally came up, he had done it. He made, not a jetpack – but a heli-pack, powered by eating ice cream. Pop was having the best time, flying around town - thuk, thuk, thuk and eating ice cream. The best thing about it was that the ice cream went to power the heli-pack so Pop wasn’t getting chubby – in fact he was losing weight.

But one day, he went flying and he heard something pop in the propeller over his head. Suddenly he couldn’t steer, he was just flying around in giant circles – and he was running out of ice cream, which meant the heli-pack would run out of power. Just as he was on his last scoop of ChunkyMonkey, suddenly Spiderman swung by!

“Having some trouble?” the friendly neighborhood Spiderman asked?

“I am, my gyroscope is busted and I just keep flying in circles.”

Spiderman sat on the side of a nearby building and fired a web at the propeller. It stopped spinning, and Spiderman put Pop down on the sidewalk – right next to a Wawa.

“Thanks Spidey!” Pop yelled.

“No problem, Pop, you ok from here?”

“I think so, I owe you one!”

So Pop went into the Wawa where the store clerk yelled, “Hey Pop – what flavor ice cream today?”

All the Wawa clerks knew Pop. Pop got his ice cream, and some duct tape (you can fix anything with duct tape) and flew home.

A few days later, Spiderman was battling the Green Goblin by the Bay Bridge. The Green Goblin had captured Spiderman’s girlfriend and had her tied up and dangling over the water. But he also had rockets pointed at the bridge so that cars were going to fall into the Bay. There was no way he could save his girlfriend and the bridge.

Suddenly, from out of nowhere thuk, thuk, thuk, thuk, thuk.

It was Pop on his heli-pak eating rum raisin ice cream. He had followed the blinking lights. Spidey looked at Pop and nodded. Pop put down the ice cream and switched to reserve power.

Spidey moved in and slugged the Green Goblin with one hand and shot webs at the rockets with the other. When he dropped Spiderman’s girlfriend, Pop swooped in and grabbed her.

When they landed, Spiderman and Pop shook hands.

“Thanks Pop,” Spiderman said.

“Anytime!” Pop answered and he flew off into the night.
”Does Bubbe have adventures?” GoofBoy asked, hoping for yet another bedtime story.

The idea for this story had come to me in a vision of my father flying around town in a heli-pack, possibly inspired by images of Baron Harkonnen in the movie Dune. Suddenly, I had another vision, of my mom in aviatrix gear (bomber jacket, goggles, and scarf) flipping Amelia Earhart the bird.

“Oh yeah, when Pop gets lost, which happens a lot, Bubbe has to fly out and look for him.”

“Bubbe flies?”

“Sure, she flies an old Spitfire. Winston Churchill gave it to her.”

“Tell me! Tell me!”

As much as I wanted to do my Winston Churchill impression, it was enough.

“Another night Buddy.”