Sunday, December 03, 2017

Senseless Updates

1. So this morning Mrs. Noisewater wanted to get some things done in the house, and it's hard when she has Baby Noisewater following her around like a puppy dog. So, she convinced me to take him out of the house and out of her hair. On the way to the park we found $30 on the ground! Score! If she hadn't talked us into going out, I would have laid around in my pajamas watching The Punisher and scratching my daddy parts. And while I'm excellent at that, I would have made $0 doing that. I thought about putting that into Baby Noisewater's savings account, and then I got thinking that I could put a little money every paycheck into that account so that he can go to college, or clown school, or male exotic dancer school, or whatever his dream may be. I figure that's going to cost a little more than I can afford from scavenging for cash on the sidewalk. 

Blood sucking scum bag leech televangelists like Joel make Baby Noisewater cry.  He's trying to change the channel or fling poo at him.
2. Speaking of money, we are saving to buy a place to live in this Summer. I'm 40-years-old, going on 41, and I've been renting my whole life. That's pretty bad, right? I need to grow up at some point and stop handing all my money to landlords. Right when I'm really doing good at packing some dough away and just paid off my car, I get hit with an insane dental bill. I don't know if you know this about me, but I grind the holy hell out of my teeth every night. My store bought mouth guards that I pop in after brushing my teeth at night are no match for the psychopathic, destructive, and costly gnashing my powerful jaw engages in each and every evening. Turns out I have taken away all the enamel on two of my molars. The dentist was putting pictures up on the monitor, and there are just giant yellow craters where that white enamel is supposed to be. Hard to look at. I actually had to say, "Doc, if you think showing me this is for my benefit, I'll just take a pass. I trust your judgement that my teeth are totally fucked. I can't look at this anymore." 

I sometimes think of Balsac "The Jaws of Death" from Gwar when I imagine the grinding.
Putting crowns on these suckers is expensive as hell, and dental insurance, while good for everyday cleanings, really doesn't do a whole lot for you with big jobs like this one. Doesn't it always seem the way that right when you're thinking to yourself that your finances are getting in order, that's when you get hit with some crappola like this? I'm going to avoid driving Latifah (that's my car's pet name) because I just know she's due for a major procedure of her own that will bury me further.

3. In these times of someone new being outed every week as a sexual harasser or sexual predator, it has us all wondering who will be next. I was watching Sesame Street with Baby Noisewater the other day, and during Elmo's World I got thinking how the original voice of Elmo got busted having inappropriate relations with young boys. However, Mr. Noodle seemed to be in the clear in all of this. I texted out to a couple friends that a funny headline for an article in The Onion would be:

"America is shocked that Mr. Noodle still hasn't diddled any kids."

I got one of those kid parties I didn't know I had to go to until a few hours ago, and Mrs. and Baby Noisewater will both be up from their nap soon. So, I'm going to cut this blog update off now before it gets any crazier. Hope everyone is doing super. And don't forget to stop and smell the roses and look on the ground for dropped cash. 

I'm sure he's a very nice man . . . 

Sunday, November 05, 2017

The Crying In Room 304

Many of you don't know what it is I do for work (and when I say "many of you" I mean 6 out of the around 7 people or so who read this page), but I'm a school social worker for the Chicago Public Schools. I realize this is maybe the last thing you would guess that I do given my warped sense of humor, but I swear it's true.

So at the end of the day on Thursday, which was like a Friday because the next day was a teacher's institute day, I get the call from the principal to go into room 304. As I'm making my way to this assignment, I'm wondering what sort of class-wide problem I would be dealing with. This was not going to be an individual student's problem. Something went down for this whole class, so even if I was tired and not feeling up to this at all, I started to psych myself up so that I could step in there as Dr. Noisewater cranked to eleven and ready to command that room.

Even before I opened the door, I could hear the sobs of 30 (our school is overcrowded) fourth graders. The class rotates between two teachers, one teaching math and science, and the other teaching reading and writing. So who does social studies? I have no idea, but that's not important. What happened was this teacher's partner (their other teacher) across the hall announced that it was her last day, and she announced this by crying like crazy in front of children. Now this other poor teacher was stuck with hysterical kids picking up on that emotion and carrying on all afternoon, which must be why she called for backup.

So I did the type of crap they taught me to do in graduate school, but more accurately it's just instincts and common sense. First I validated their feelings, so I let them know it is okay to feel the way they were and that showed what a nice group of kiddos they were to care so much about their teacher. Then I asked them to tell me more about their teacher so that I could know too how special she was. They all had a lot of nice things to say. All I know about her is she taught at the school for one quarter and then took a maternity leave gig closer to her house. This is a move that I get so that she can cut her commute down and be with her family more, but there usually is no guarantee of a full time position when you fill a maternity leave position. So it seems risky, but maybe her spouse makes a lot of dough? I didn't get into that with the kids; It's just what was running through my head. Also I was thinking, if they think they are miserable now, just wait until they have some crummy permanent sub every day for 3/4 of the school year and everything will be chaos. That I didn't share either.

So then I started asking some ideas of what they could do to show how much they care for her. This is when hands started going up, and as their brains started firing with ideas, the crying slowly stopped. These youngsters had some awesome ideas too. I seriously should have been putting a few on Pinterest. I remember one very bright young lady saying they could have a giant poster board where everyone pasted little mini books on there where you could turn a few pages of each with little stories about what they will remember about her. That was the winner. That was a dope idea.

One student asked why she was leaving them. I let the students know that it is important not to see it as her leaving them, but her taking an opportunity. As hard a decision as it was for her, she had to do what was best for her family. This is when I related a personal situation to help them better understand. I said, "How many of you had Mr. Gung Ho for gym class?" A lot of hands went up and many of them smiled and wanted to tell stories about how funny he was. This was not a shy class - and everyone wanted to talk. I said, "Yeah, he was a very good teacher and a very good friend of mine. I miss him all the time. Was I sad when I heard he was taking a different job? You bet. But I was happy for him. He too took a job nearby his house so that he could be with his family more and not in his car two hours every day. So we should be happy for miss what's-her-name too. What is her name, anyway? Crying lady." I'm just kidding. I knew her name. But honestly I just learned her name that day because she was only with us for one quarter.

Anyway, it's true what I said about Gung Ho, and I didn't know how true until I found myself telling those kids about it. I really do miss him. Sometimes we would both be busy, and it's such a big school that we would only cross paths once in a given week - but that was enough if one of us got off a one-liner and had each other laughing our way all the way down the hall. You need that person at your place of business who shares your sense of humor and keeps you from getting too serious and crabby.

How about you, Seven Readers? Who is your Gung Ho around the office, and what's something funny the two of you crack jokes about?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Me Too Dave

Mrs. Noisewater and I just got back from a trip to Ireland for a wedding. Her parents came all the way out from California to stay at our place in Chicago with Baby Noisewater while we were gone. We are so lucky to have family to do things like that for us, but truth be told, they cannot get enough of the little guy and were sad to go back. He is a charmer.

Baby Noisewater Cheerios Head
The 500th book Baby Noiseater made grandpa read to him.
We learned something right away on our travels, and that is this: Traveling without a kid is really damn easy. All we had to do was get ourselves on the plane on time. No strollers, no putting all kinds of baby stuff through security, no security opening our bags because formula looks like coke, and no chasing crawling baby around while waiting for the flight. We even had a few drinks. Why in the hell did I bitch about traveling back when I had no kids? Also, what in the hell did I do with all that free time before we made a baby? If you said blog a heck of a lot more, you wouldn't be wrong. I'm doing the best I can, my friends.

So it rains a lot in Ireland. Did you know that? I have been there twice now, and I think that I enjoyed about 30 minutes of sunshine. Total. I ran twice while out there this time, and I did document some beautiful blue skies while they came out so briefly, plus a fantastic rainbow. I don't think the photo truly does it justice. That was the happiest I was. Except for when I was laughing about the guy I would meet later that day . . .

And if you said I should have kept running towards it to find a pot of gold, you're not the only one.
Mrs. Noisewater, her friend McDonald, and myself went to The Little Museum of Dublin, which we thought was a bunch of miniatures on display. In reality, it is a small building with tiny rooms with various exhibits of human-sized items. Very quaint. On our way out a local told us that we should go around the corner to see the smallest bar in Ireland (and some claim the world's smallest bar). They aren't lying - It is a cramped, little bar, and there is no way it is a approved by any fire marshal worth his salt. You go down a narrow staircase into a shoebox of a tavern with extremely low ceilings. And with what can only be a cruel joke, a 6 foot 4 man tends bar, literally ducking his head under beams to pour the drinks. He had to have banged his noggin a few dozen times before conditioning himself to bow under each time he steps forward.

The moment we set foot in there, four men in ties swarmed Mrs. Noisewater. I asked one of them to take our picture, and the man who called himself Dave put his arm around her and said, "sure" . . . waiting for me to take a picture. He knew damn well that I didn't want a picture with his stupid ass in it.

I said, "No, sir. I mean can you take a picture of me, my wife, and my friend?"

"Oh this is your wife?" He replied. "Sure, all take your picture." But then as he was taking the shot, one of his other pervert friends jumped in front to photo bomb and flicked the bird.

Running along this bridge on either side was good fun. I should have took a picture of the bridge going across that looked like a giant harp.
If Mrs. Noiswater was at all flattered by the attention these business men were showing her, that quickly faded when she would see those boys stand at the bottom of the staircase pouncing on every female who set foot in there. These lads certainly fished with a big net. We sat and laughed with our pints as we watched Dave crash and burn with two lovely ladies. When they walked away to sit at a table, undeterred, he followed them there and joined them. They pretty much politely told him that they would rather he go away so that they could talk to one another about something, but he did not abandon ship just yet. Dave sat and waited for a moment to interject something and get back into the conversation, and when one of them talked about someone they know, perhaps one of their boyfriends, Dave blurted out loudly, "He sounds like a dick!" I laughed so hard that I nearly spit  Guiness all over that little place.

As funny as it was to watch, it also grew a little uncomfortable to watch these guys harass lady after lady. So we decided to leave. Later, McDonald and I were saying how anyone who came in contact with Dave and his merry band of perverts would instantly have one of those "#me too" stories that have been going around the internet. For this reason, we dubbed the man Me Too Dave, or #MeTooDave, if you prefer. Now, I don't at all intend to make light of anyone who has experienced harassment of any kind. It's truly an awful thing. But what we saw Dave doing was more along the lines of hitting on everything that moves and not taking no for an answer . . . Okay, fine. It was straight up harassment and pretty much wrong. But it was hard not to keep laughing any time one of us, during a quiet moment, would say Me Too Dave.

And with this last picture of an Irish sunrise, I wish you good day or goodnight.  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Beer For the Runners

First let me get this out of the way. My son was eating chili with his hands and got it all over his sweatpants. I thought Chili Sweatpants might be a good band name, or perhaps a good album title. Mrs. Noisewater thought that should go on the blog, so there it is. Chili Sweatpants on that ass.

In other news . . .

I got an email about volunteering for the Chicago Marathon, and I saw it as a sign because I always told myself I needed to do that some day. When I ran my one and only full marathon years ago I had no one supporting me. I was so thankful for all the volunteers and random people along the way cheering my name (I had my name written on my chest, which I highly recommend for this reason). I saw this email as a good opportunity to make good on my promise to give back.

After registering online the confirmation email gave me my assignment: It said I would be giving out the free beer to the runners. Oh hell yes. I was made for this job.

When I got there the row of taps on the sunny side were all taken, and very few of the early finishing runners were coming to the dark side. Zero of the wheelchair participants (who have the early start time) came our way, and the few really competitive guys, mostly Kenyans, that came through didn't want the beer anyway. Here is a rough estimate of beer consumption based on levels of performance.

2 hour finishers: 1 out of 10 drink the beer. They all look like their entire body has gone into shock, and some are close to throwing up. One guy was wretching, and while I felt odd offering a gagging person a beer, I felt it my duty to put it out there to everyone. To be honest, some of them were so out of it after what they put their bodies through that they didn't even notice there was free beer to be had. I haven't reached the level of exhaustion where I don't notice free beer, but maybe I'm just not working hard enough. Or maybe I'm just a drunk.

3 hour finishers: 3 out of 10 drink the beer. There are fewer Kenyans now, and a few more beer swillers.

4 hour finishers: 6 out of 10 drink the beer. Now we're having some fun. I basically never have to stop pouring by this time. It's a waterfall.

5 hour finishers: Somewhere between 8 and 9 out of 10 drink the beer. And every 10 minutes someone asks if it's okay to drink two. I usually would say, "No, sir. We are not allowed to do that," as I winked at him and handed him his second. Other times I would say, "Sure, to hell with it. What are they going to do, fire me? I'm a volunteer! Drink up!" Like I said, I was made for this job.

I noticed that the maintenance guys going around to check on the kegs, replace them, and pour more ice were drinking the whole time. I didn't believe in drinking on the job myself, especially during the morning. However, we reached a point where my shift was officially over and there were still runners coming through. I couldn't just pack it in and leave after all these hard-working, albeit slower, marathoners were still trickling through the finish and every bit in need of beer as their speedier cohorts. There was no way I was leaving my post. However, since my shift time was officially over and since it was beyond noon, I figured now was an excellent time to drink on the job.

It got a lot more fun at this point. One for you, one for me. I remember one guy saying, "Can I get one more beer for my wife?" I said to him, "You don't need a story, sir. I remember on Halloween asking for one more Snickers for my little brother. I didn't have a little brother. Still don't. Here's your second beer, sir. For your knees."

I was getting a bit of a buzz on and no longer had to be jealous of them getting to drink while I had to "work," but here's the thing: I had to admit that I was a little jealous of them running the race. That feeling started for me on the train ride downtown. I was thinking back to the nerves I had the morning of the race and the fantastic playlists I made to push me through.

So I decided to sign up for next year's Chicago Marathon. I think my plan will be to run it every other year with the alternating years tapping those kegs of Goose Island 312 wheat beer and handing cups of it out to the athletes with a smile on my face all day long. It will be a fine pattern for me every fall.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

1. So the other day I'm taking care of Baby Erik Noisewater all day, and I get a text from his mom saying that he has the best daddy ever. I appreciated the compliment, but I had to tell her that moments before I received that text I was taking a pee with the door open. Erik wandered in and stuck his hand right into my pee-pee stream. Now, I don't know who the best dad ever really is, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't piss on his son.

2. I'm going to the Cubs games today and tomorrow with two of my good friends who live in L.A. One doing really well directed television shows, and the other is a singer and the guy from the Ivanka post. It's the singer's 40th birthday, so we are all getting together at Wrigley Field for Cubs games today and tomorrow. Our Cubbies are already in the playoffs, so the game is just a chance to catch up and drink too many eleven dollar watery domestics. Many of the guys I'm going to this game with were friends I have known since grade school, and we have been going to games since we were kids. A few of us were fascinated that there a seats that dwindle down to rows of three, two, and then ONE! In either corner of the park there is a row that is just one seat, so one game when we were in high school, in a mostly empty rain delayed game when the Cubs stunk, we waved to each other from the one-seat rows. This is a little before we discovered booze and women.

3. Sometimes people ask if Erik Noisewater is a momma's boy or a daddy's boy, and I put it like this. He loves his daddy. His daddy makes him laugh like crazy. But he needs his mommy. When he starts getting cranky and his mom isn't around he just says "momma" over-and-over, and then when he sees her, he will snuggle up to her in a way he and I just don't. But, I can make that little rascal laugh until he damn near hyperventilates, so we both have our roles. But rarely will he say "dada." He does sometimes, but he likes to point at me and say "ma!" He smirks at me too, and I'm positive he is trying to be funny - and succeeding. He also does all kinds of funny tricks to keep people laughing. The kid is funny and blond, both like daddy.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Two Crazy Guys We Met During Date Night

Mrs. Noisewater and I have a new plan where we go on a date night and then immediately lock in the next one. That way we don't ever let too much time go by between dates. It is kind of like when you get a haircut and then book the following appointment when you pay. We also have a rule where we don't meet up for drinks with anyone else. It's a night just for us. That is, unless we meet some weirdos organically, which often happens when it's a Noisewater date night . . .

Dinner was lovely. The place had a mescal lounge. It was my first experience drinking mezcal, and I enjoyed the smokey tequila flavor. It got a nice fire going in my belly.

After dinner we tried to go to a pop-up bar that was modeled after the TV show "Stranger Things." The line was pretty long, so we decided that paying a babysitter while waiting for anything was not a good use of our money and time. I suggested a rock n' roll bar that I've been meaning to try, and my wife is the coolest so she agreed. There was live music and a cover, and I didn't like what I was seeing and hearing. The singer was a white guy with cornrows, and while they were trying awfully hard, it just sounded pretty shitty. I asked the guy at the door what the band was all about, and he was not even trying to sell them. He said, "I don't know, man. They're trying to be punk, but it's not really punk." As he said this he was lifting his shirt and scratching his big bare belly. We took belly-man at his word and decided not to go in. The problem was there were no bars in the immediate area.

We decided to call an Uber from a nearby Mexican restaurant that smelled like a sewer. Probably not a good idea to eat there, but we did knock back two frothy and refreshing margaritas. With time running out on the babysitter, we decided to ride back to a spot where we could walk home. There we met a hilarious drunk dude. I can't exactly remember how it is that we got talking, but it might have been about the preseason Bears game since that was on. This dude was hammered and sitting at the bar slurring stories to me while his wife was more upbeat and bouncing around the bar from person-to-person telling other stories, and in one case the same story she had just told Mrs. Noisewater.

Drunk dude told me that his wife was crazy and that she held a knife up to his throat the other night. He said he is 59 and his wife is much younger. He called her a grave robber. We got talking about our kids, and he incredulously informed me that his 12-year-old daughter was receiving dick-pics from her classmates. "Do they even have pubes at that age," he asked me, outraged. I told him that I didn't get a thicket down there until a year or two after that, but it's possible. He then told me that the same daughter and her friends drank/ate all of the jello shots at a recent block party. I guess these kids were pretty hammered, and all the parents were pissed, as I'm sure you can imagine. Most of what this dude said had me laughing, but this was the hardest I laughed.

Drunk dude then asked what myself and Mrs. Noisewater were drinking. I started to tell him, but then Mrs. Noisewater suggested we get going. That was a fantastic idea because I would have listened to goofy stories from that guy all night, especially if he was buying, and I felt hungover enough the next day as it was.

So, get out for a date nights with your special someone. And also, talk to some weirdos at bars. Weirdos at bars have the best stories.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater's Baby Book Review

I thought I would help other parents out there by letting you all know which books have been helpful when putting Baby Erik to sleep and which ones totally suck. Some of the pictures came in sideways, but whatever. My web master is on vacation.

Knitting and listening to ZZ Top

"Goodnight Moon" was written in the 1940's, and it has been used steadily by parents to put kids to sleep all these years for a reason. All babies seem to love it, I am finding in my limited exposure to my baby and a few others. You basically say goodnight to everything in the "great green room," and at one point there is a little old lady whispering "hush." When I say hush and put my finger up in the hush-motion, Erik always looks up to me for that part. It's all about routines for babies when you're putting them down to sleep, but sometimes I mix it up and go with the ZZ Top version and say she's the little old lady just looking for some tush. It's also all about keeping yourself sane.

"Go on! Take everything! Take everything from me!"

This kid in "The Giving Tree" is a real turd, right? Take, take, take. That's all he ever does. The rat bastard robs the tree of everything over the years to the point where the tree is just a stump and the boy sits his now old ass down on the tree when the tree has nothing else left to offer. You could just as easily have called it "The Taking Boy."

You can't tell me that monkey isn't up to something sinister.

Swiper will pay for his crimes against the lemonade stand.

I have two books with Dora the Explorer. They're cute, and I like to expose the young man to a little bit of Spanish. I will say there are a few too many words, which will lead to the baby trying to turn the page or reach for another book. This is when you have to make up a more abbreviated narrative for each page, or if you're a psycho like me, make a sick joke. For example, you'll see the picture of Dora and Boots the monkey having a sleepover, but look at the evil and maybe a little drunk look on that monkey. He's up to something just as the mom is turning out the lights. Sometimes for kicks I'll say, "Mom, don't turn out the lights for a human and monkey sleepover! That's how AIDS got started!" Yeah, I'm nuts. Sorry. Then you will see Dora and her monkey friend picking lemons to make lemonade while the evil little weasel with the lone ranger mask, Swiper, is stealing the lemons. This is when every once in a while I will say, "So for stealing the lemons, boots held him down while Dora beat Swiper about the head shoulders with a bicycle pump. 

The tear jerker.
Let's move onto a serious note. This is the book that you will read to your kid, and you will cry. Every single time. The worst of these times for me was when Mrs. Noisewater was getting her appendix out right around Christmas time only a few months after Baby Erik was born. My family was nice enough to hold off on the Christmas activities until she was out of the hospital and feeling better. So, one night Erik and I had just left the hospital to go home, go to bed, and come in the next morning. When I read this line to him I cried like no other:

"And if someday you're lonely,
or someday you're sad
or you strike out at baseball
or think you've been bad . . .

just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair.
That's me, my sweet baby, my love is right there."

I since have bought this book for two other new parent friends of mine, and they loved it too. I highly recommend this one.

Star Wars: A Daddy's Perspective

A good friend of mine got Erik this Star Wars book with original artist renderings of what they envisioned the movie would look like. I spoke earlier about having to make up quick things to say when there are too many words, and here is another great example. There's almost more space for words than pictures. So, for example, in the picture above I will say, "And then the ungrateful Luke Skywalker so hastily attacks his father who had just so generously offered to rule the galaxy side-by-side with his only son." I like to give the story that daddy perspective.

Alexander came to wish you an unhappy birthday. In Australia. 
Here is a classic that I also read as a little kid. I think it's cute that Alexander is obsessed with Australia. But I will say, he seems like somewhat of the brooding emo pessimist type. I would wager he listened to The Smiths in his teenage years. He's a good kid. 

"Try it and you will see!"

Here is the takeaway from "Green Eggs and Ham": Sam-I-Am is the best salesman ever. He approaches a customer with a product that the customer completely hates and tries every angle to find a way to make it work for the customer, be it eating those eggs on a plane, on a boat, or (my favorite), with a goat. Cracks me up every time. What would a goat bring to the table aside from spitting, howling, and smelling bad? Yet he tries that angle anyway to exhaust all the possibilities. Without a doubt the salesman of the year over there and Green Eggs and Ham, INC.

Dinosaurs actually became extinct at the hands of giant babies.

Kids go bananas over pop-up books, but that is also the problem. In their excitement they will beat the shit out of pop-up books. Just look at that once mighty dinosaur. No match for Erik's fat finger beat-down. 

Where the jerks are

Here is another classic, "Where the Wild Things Are." And here is another pretty awful little kid, chasing the dog around the house with a God damned fork, and hammering nails in the wall. So, his mother sends him off to bed with no supper, which is when he envisions going off to an imaginary land with monsters. There he becomes their king and sends them off to bed without their supper. Jeez. Rather spiteful, right? 

My kind of town

We have many friends who got us Chicago related books, and those are a lot of fun for a baby growing up in the Windy City. The Cubs one is especially fun, and that "C Is For Chicago" one has amazing drawings. I only read the Cubs one after a win. S is for "sore loser." 

I'm sure many of you remember "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." I had not seen it in a number of years and got to the end to find the last page was the one on the right. So, that's it? The caterpillar ate too damn much and got fat? That's the lesson for the youngsters out there? Don't eat like a pig or you'll be a fat-assed caterpillar of a kid? No, that's not how it ends. The final page where he becomes a butterfly was ripped out by my nephew. It's a darker and more cautionary tale without that last part. 

And here you see Erik at his office carefully helping his dad write this blog during his lunch break. It was no-pants Friday at his work. They have fun days like that over there. Hope you enjoyed the book reviews and it can be helpful to some of you with kiddos of your own.

Any other children's books recommendations that you care to leave in the comments?