Saturday, February 10, 2018

Senseless Updates About Snow, Property, and Running

Snow Day:

I got a snow day off from work so I spent the day with Baby Noisewater. Chicago got around a foot of snow on Friday, and it's still coming down on Saturday. Not much on the agenda on a snow day other than a snow journey, so I bundled the little guy up and outside we went. It's hard for him to walk in boots, which led to him falling face first into snow. He didn't even cry. His freezing face didn't even effect his mood. In fact, he was greeting strangers on the street by saying, "Hi." and then warning them, "coooooold." That's his version of small-talk banter with the neighbors.

"Hi! Coooold!"

It looks like the Noisewaters will be closing on a condo very soon and staying in the fine city of Chicago. Not only will I be a homeowner for the first time, but I'm pretty excited about some things that often escape me in shitty apartments such as in an unit washer/dryer, a dishwasher, a spare bedroom, and my very own parking space. I know these amenities come standard to a lot of you, but this is some high class baller-ass shit to a guy like me. Scrubbing dishes all these years has made me very humble, and it's time to finally kick back and relax.

I told you all a few posts ago that we have been making an extra effort to save money, and one way we are doing this is to use a Google Docs spreadsheet to log in everything that we spend for a month. I highly recommend trying this out to make yourself more self-conscious of all the junk you buy that you don't need. When you find yourself in the checkout aisle eyeballing that Payday candy bar, you suddenly think, "Do I really want to log that $2.12 into the spreadsheet?" Also, you and your spouse will be keeping each other accountable. It's not uncommon after telling your spouse about an expenditure to hear in return, "Did you put in on the sheet?" It actually works. Try it out for a month and come on back to leave in the comments how it worked out for you.


I also let you guys know a few posts ago that I was signing up for the Chicago Marathon that will take place in October. Actually, it's 238 days, 19 hours, 42 minutes, and 10 seconds away. Well, I got in! No backing out now. This will be my second one, and I'm a hell of a lot older now. I'm sort of training early, helping my buddy Night Train who has his first marathon in the Spring in California. His program calls for a long slow run every Sunday, which is perfect because I'm slower than he is. This Sunday is supposed to be a 12-miler, but with this snow we might go with the treadmills. It's pretty boring on the machines, but you can watch basketball, talk to your partner next to you, and the ones we use have courses with little TV screens showing you running your route in different locations complete with little facts along the way. Last week I chose running up and down the Haleakalā volcano in Hawaii because I sort of did that in Hawaii on my Honeymoon. Some dudes picked us up in a van at like 4AM to drive us up the volcano, we watched the sun come up appearing to be coming up through the mouth of the volcano like it was giving birth to the sun , and then we coasted down on bikes. Then we had the whole day beginning having already done all that awesome shit. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Watching on the little screen at the gym wasn't quite as amazing, but at least it reminded me of a good time.

Hey, that's all I got, friends. Sorry nothing mind-blowing or eye-opening today. Just updates on the little life I lead. Leave a comment if you gave this a read and maybe I'll say something super in return.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

My Day Up Until Now

I used a website called Random Subject Prompts and the one that popped up was: "Write about your day so far." So, let's do that.

5:30AM - I wake up to hear the cutest voice ever saying "dada" in the next room. Sorry to disappoint you, Little Man, but it's Momma's turn; we switch off mornings. I couldn't get back to sleep so I picked up where I left off in my Jim Henson biography. Basically that dude changed the face of children's television and pretty much invented it in terms of the format we still see today. Previous puppet shows on television had a little stage where the puppets moved about, but what he and his female partner did in the 1950's (while he was in college) was look at a little monitor and let that space that the viewers could see be the boundaries of the stage. He was the first to let the puppets themselves be the stars of the show and brought those characters to life.

I was trying to explain to Mrs. Noisewater when we were watching a modern "Sesame Street" that it was no good because the kids in the show were clearly actors. Corny as all hell. Back in the 1970's it was an organic experience of the kids just having conversations with the puppets as if they were real people. The kiddos reacted to what the puppet was saying, and the puppeteer fed off of the spontaneity and whimsy that the children brought to the scene. This scene below is the best example of what I'm talking about. The girl had her little joke and was cracking herself up, so Jim made Kermit pretend to get all frustrated. And then the unexpected pull at the heart strings at the end brings it all home for a truly magic moment.

7:00AM - Fell back asleep eventually and got up feeling like a million bucks. 7AM is really sleeping in during the baby days. I made myself a French press cup of coffee with my birthday gift of a press and a grinder. If you don't have one, I recommend it. I'm amped with fuel for the whole day, and I just kind of love the whole process of brewing it.

Cat mug not included.
9:00AM - Went for a run with my buddy Night Train who lives down the street. He is training for his first marathon in the Spring in Big Sur, California, and I have my 2nd one in September here in Chicago. Topics discussed that I can remember were: Parenting styles, break ups, our upcoming Man Night get together with friends, whether or not Tom Brady is faking an injury to play head games with his opponents, and what makes an ideal roommate. If you're anything like me, you do your best thinking when you run, and it really helps to have someone with you to hash out all of life's problems and reflect on the minutia of all things off of the running path.

10:30AM - Mrs. Noisewater was meeting a friend at the Women's March, and she made this terrific sign. The other side has a clock that says "Time's Up." What is funny is that she showed the boy the typical way of protesting with a sign by shaking it up and down and doing a ra-ra chant, so Baby Noisewater did the same and babbled about what may or may not have been about women's rights but more likely was about Thomas the Train and his rights in the rail yard.

12:10 - We are currently on a major budget restriction, trying to save for a more proper home for the family, somewhere with in-unit washer/dryer, a dishwasher, and a proper bedroom for the Little Man. For this entire month we are tracking everything we spend on a spreadsheet. If either of us buys something, even a can of soda at the gas station, it has to go onto our spreadsheet. Believe it or not, it really does make you more conscious of what you need and don't need to buy. Hence, I opted for a free activity for the baby and took him to the library. Here he is playing with a random girl that was there. He is so social, but mostly with the ladies. It was impressive that he recognized that his partner had more advanced fine motor skills, so he opted to be the guy who fetched the bricks for her to carefully put into place. He has the brute strength and cute strength.

And that about takes us to the current time. Tonight we will stay in and continue to spend zero dollars. There is some movie about a mute gal falling for a merman that is supposed to be quite good, so we may stream that one free and illegally.

I rather liked this writing activity because when you take the time to write about your day, you find yourself a little more convinced that it was all time well spent.

Be well, Blog Buddies.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Two Daddy Things and One Not Daddy Thing

1. I like that thus far Baby Noisewater is not too obsessed with the television. Something will catch his eye, he will point and get excited, and then he moves onto playing with toys or looking at books. When the local news is on it always seems to be about disasters.

Cut to a train that has gone off the rails with numerous casualties and Erik starts stomping his feet, smiling, and saying "Choo! Choo!"

Then in another neighborhood in Chicago we have a bus accident, and Erik looks my way all wide eyed with a big grin saying, "Bus!"

You can't seem to get through a local news broadcast without a fire somewhere, so Baby Noisewater points and whispers to me "hot." It's adorable how he always whispers that one with a cautionary tone. His nanny taught him that word and says it's the most important word to teach a baby.

The point is that it is, of course, tragic what is happening all over our fine city every day, but Erik has no concept of that aspect. It's not like he is hoping for these tragedies to happen, but he is certainly pumped when he sees some of his favorite stuff. All he knows is that he loves trains, buses, and to warn people about hot stuff. The young man has a way of lightening the mood anywhere he goes, and that's one thing we dig about him around here. I'm not saying he should be part of the news team on a little split screen throwing in his two cents on channel seven, but I'm not NOT saying it.

Figured I'd choose a picture with zero chance of anyone saying, "Too soon."
2. My wife pointed out that this rag I call my blog is steadily becoming a dad blog, and in a lot of ways she is right. But before I move onto something else, one more thing about a children's book I have been reading a million-gizzilion times, "Green Eggs and Ham." And incidentally, a good parenting tip is to learn to paraphrase books after a while. You can really just point out one quick thing on each page and move on if that bed time is quickly approaching or if you're just plain sick of reading the same book for the umpteenth time. After a while I'm like the magician in one of my favorite Patton Oswald bits.

I got thinking about old Sam-I-Am in "Green Eggs and Ham," and that dude really should get some sort of lifetime achievement award in the area of sales. You take a customer who absolutely hates green eggs and ham, and this persistent little fellow tries every angle under the sun to see if there is a scenario where his customer will like his product, be it in a plane, a train, in a tree, or with a goat. The goat always gets me. How is eating something I hate with a stinky-ass goat sweetening the deal? It just goes to show you that to make a tough sale you got to try every angle. That's what made him the G.O.A.T. salesman. Get it?

3. Mrs. Noisewater and I were watching "Love Actually" around Christmas time, and I thought of a terrific porno version. Are you ready for it? I mean, it's a little gross, but it's funnier than hell. I couldn't share it on social media because people are so damned easily offended these days, but I'll share it with you fine folks because you're my kind of people. "Love Anally Starring Colin Girth."

Here's a dashing shot of Colin Firth. Wonder what his  thoughts would be on my new spin on his old film?

And I leave you with that. Two potentially boring daddy things if you're not into that and one porno thing. Can't please everyone. Have a fine day, my friends.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Not too long ago I was finishing up getting changed back into my clothes after swimming laps at the YMCA when I heard rambunctious kids coming into the locker room and the voice of a timid man saying, "Okay, guys. Now you have to get changed faster. Not like last time. And I'm going to be timing you."

One of the boys responded with, "Okay. Ching Chong banana."

And when the swim coach came into view I saw that he was Asian. I didn't care for this, partly because my wife is Asian and my son is Asian. But also, I just thought it so disrespectful that a little kid would be mouthing off and using stereotypical race related name-calling towards a grown man who was trying to teach these kids how to swim.

It's a good thing they didn't step in a few minutes earlier when I was naked because that would be the worst time to yell at kids, but because I was fully dressed I said, "Which one of you said that to your coach. That wasn't nice."

When one kid said, "Nobody said anything," I was almost positive it was him. What the hell do you mean no one said anything because all four of you kids were shouting as you came in? He doth protested too much, the little punk.

I let the him know that they shouldn't be talking to their coach like that and maybe the coach should be calling their parents to talk about how they have been addressing the guy they have been paying to teach their children. The kid looked pretty scared but moments later they were all four singing the "Power Rangers" theme and none of them were taking any steps towards getting undressed to put on their swimsuits. This coach had zero control over these kids, and it greatly upset me. I hated seeing him getting run on like that by these ungrateful little brats, and I had already ascertained that the kid I got into it with was the ringleader. Without him I'm pretty sure the other three wouldn't be acting nearly as shitty. He is the one that needed to be straightened out, but the coach did nothing. He just let them sing their songs at him and call him names.

Let me tell you, blog friends. We live in a time now where I'm not all that proud to say I'm an American since our president has shined a light on how many folks out here would love to go back to the days of 1950's Mississippi. Mr. Trump is an awful president, but his policies, administration, and behavior brings about opportunities for open conversations with our kids about matters such as race, sexual harassment, and just being civil and having some class. I like to think that my son will show a little more respect, and if I ever catch him acting in a racially insensitive and asshole-ish manner towards an adult like those boys I met the other day, then I have truly failed him as a father.

Sorry if this came off heavy handed today, friends. I'm usually a much more light hearted blogger, as most of you know. I'll get back to fart and dick jokes next time I grab the laptop to do an update.

Have a happy holiday, everyone. Peace on earth and good will to ALL. 

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?