Archive for the 'Family' Category

Oh no she DI’INT

So yesterday, after another taxing day in the uncomfortable world of semi-business attire, I returned to the castle and, like always, immediately changed clothes. I selected one of my favorite shirts, a sporty Cincy Reds shirt (with the 3/4 length raglan sleeves, natch).

After pulling the manly cotton over my weary head, I noticed a strong perfume-y odor. Initially I ignored it (men have a genetic knack for dismissing weird odors). But then one of my daughters jumped on my lap, gave me a hug, and said, “you smell like Mommy.”

Hrm. I put her down, and pulled the collar to my nostrils. SNIFFFFFFF… She was right, this was unmistakably the wife’s perfume.

“Honey, why does my REDS SHIRT smell like your perfume?”

“I dunno. I wore it when I took a nap,” she said.

“My REDS shirt?!?”

“Yeah, it was super comfortable. Nice and soft. I see why you’re always wearing that thing.”

“Okay, comfortable enough to sleep in, maybe. But did you have to girly it up with that offensive smell?” I asked.

“Oh, please. It’s just a sports jersey. I think you’re overreacting.”

Ah, ‘overreacting.’ I said to myself. I moved past her into the bathroom. “Pardon me, my love. I’ll be back in just a moment.”

“What are you DOING?!?” she exclaimed a few seconds later.

“Why, I’m rubbing your favorite hand towels under my armpits, dear,” I said. *rub*rub* “Wow. I see why you’re always using these.” *rub* “Nice and soft.”

You see, in today’s lesson we’ve learned that marriage is all about effective communication. Both parties understand each other now. (Of course, one of them slept on the couch after the lesson. But at least he was comfy in a 3/4-length raglan-sleeved Reds shirt.)

I never claimed I was a smart man…

“You shake my nerves and you rattle my brains…”

Over a recent weekend, my wife and I opened our home to an elderly relative of hers. The lovely lady, carrying the superior genes from my wife’s side of our union, enjoyed a few days of respite in our home.

Eager to prove I wasn’t totally useless, I made a pot full of theMonkey’s famous Red Sauce. I may not do many things well, but I can cook a good red sauce. The trick is to dice a half-pound of prosciutto so thin that it disintegrates into the bubbling, steamy tomato flesh, and then… well, I’d go on, but this isn’t a story about pasta sauce. I just thought that it was information that you might need to know later in the story.

One evening, expecting a large influx of relatives coming to visit, I looked at the rather large remainder of the sauce, resting quite comfortably in the fridge, the flavors getting better acquainted with every passing hour. Then inspiration struck. You know, I thought, the only thing that separates red sauce from salsa is cilantro, spicy peppers, and some sugar. Everyone likes salsa. Yes. I shall make salsa. I shall tread to the local grocer, and acquire the necessary items. I shall tell the grocer, “Excuse me sir, but I need some cilantro. And some spicy peppers.” What a captial idea! Which is exactly what I did.

At this point, dear readers, the habaneros enter into our story.

Or, as I shall refer to them from now on: Satan’s Insanity Peppers.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, all the possible anecdotes that could arise from someone working with hot peppers. But understand: no matter what you’re thinking about, no matter how terrible your imagination, no matter how many horror movies you’ve seen, nothing can prepare you for some of the details you’re about to encounter.

Trust me, it’s worse than you can possibly imagine.

Continue reading ‘I never claimed I was a smart man…’

Yay parenthood

“How does a cow go, sweetie?”


“Good! How does a cat go?”


“Haha!! How about a pig?”


“Good. How does a Mommy go?”


Ice storm

Mike at ExtremeInstability, notorious for his thunderstorm-chasing photos, ventured into the heart of Nebraska after last weekend’s ice storm. His pictures show an alien landscape; make sure to check them out. (Note: the link is good, but I guess his pictures are popular enough to nuke his hosting server. Try back in a day or so if you can’t get through.)

Power transmission towers crumple under the ice. Image credit: ExtremeInstability

The pictures reminded me of the ice storm we (in central Ohio) suffered through exactly two years ago. It was one of the worst weeks of my life.

Continue reading ‘Ice storm’

Rules of marriage

The missusMonkey & I are coming up on 15 years, here. So, I’ve decided to pass down a synopsis of what I’ve learned from being married for a decade & a half.

Feel free to accept or reject this advice, but don’t deny it’s way more practical than “til death do us part.”

The 25 most important rules of marriage -in no particular order:

  1. They must never wallpaper together.
  2. She gets unlimited access to his t-shirt drawer.
  3. She gets an extra alcoholic beverage when out for dinner (if he’s driving). He must not complain.
  4. She must not talk during the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl. At all.
  5. She must not act aggressively to strangers/bad drivers. He must still defend her if when she does.
  6. The decision to have a child comes with a commitment that the parent of the same gender must accompany said child to the toilet. An exception shall be made if the child is less than two years old.
  7. He must use a bathroom on the other side of the house for his daily constitutional.
  8. There shall be two closets. Both for her.
  9. He must respond instantly to a call of “Spider!”
  10. He must pull all dropped earrings out of the toilet.
  11. Whichever spouse has had the worst day gets the last bit of wine from the bottle. If both have had an equally worse day, she gets the remainder (he’ll probably be drinking Scotch anyway).
  12. She shall not complain about his scruffy beard, if she has shin stubble so stiff that it could be used to scrub the rust off a grill.
  13. He must not complain about the way she mows the grass. She must not complain about the way he vacuums.
  14. He must hold her hair when she vomits.
  15. She has fancy china. He has remote controls. Both must be respected.
  16. He is allowed to have a crush on Monica Bellucci. She is allowed to drool over Brad Pitt. Both shall be secure enough to not let this bother them.
  17. The first one awake brews the coffee. No fair cheating pretending to be asleep.
  18. Both must take turns hollering at the kids being the “bad parent.”
  19. One shall enjoy a back- or shoulder-rub without the expectation of having to return the favor immediately. Up to one day may pass before “re-backrubbing” the spouse. Only one day, however.
  20. She must at least pretend to be interested as he excitedly explains (for the 37th time) the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the NHL’s 2-line pass rule, or why Mikey had to hide in Sicily.
  21. She parks in the garage, he parks in the driveway.
  22. She must inform him immediately if any lights appear on her car’s dashboard. “Immediately” does not mean a week or two.
  23. She gets the last piece of chocolate.
  24. He gets the last piece of pizza.
  25. She has shoes. He has caps. Leave each other alone about it.

Getting away

As I’m sure you know by now, I live with four girls. Life for me is pretty much what you’d imagine it to be. Like the Borg, my family has assimilated this once proud, testosterone pumping male into the collective; and like the Borg, resistance was futile.

I used to whizz outside, now I make sure the seat is back down before I leave the bathroom. I used to scrub engine grime off of my hands, now I scrub fingernail polish stains out of the carpet. I used to eat cereal over the sink. Last Tuesday I caught myself wondering if I was using the right fork for my salad. I used to wear boxer shorts around the house on lazy mornings. Now I wear sweats or pajama bottoms, so that I don’t hear “ewww, Daa-ad!!” every time I cross and uncross my legs.

I used to make beer runs. Now I make tampon runs. I shudder to think what life will be like when all four of them start cycling at the same time. I figure I’ll just hide in the bathroom, while they scrape their claws down the door and chant “daaaadeeeee….. coooommme oouuuttt….” like that chick from the Exorcist.

Most of my money goes to jeans and earrings and boy-band CDs. Most of my time goes to killing spiders.

Continue reading ‘Getting away’

Don’t mess with God

Last Wednesday (4 October), a series of storms plowed through my town. It wasn’t really a surprise, we were expecting severe weather all day (and are quite used to it here in central Ohio), but nobody expected how intense it was going to become. 60 mph winds, hail, tornadoes, the works.

Here’s a few pictures I managed to snap before, during, and shortly after the storm:

Here it comes. The mesocyclone is visible just to the bottom center of the picture. As bad as we had it, the folks about a quarter-mile north of us had the worst damage - whole sides of homes perforated with baseball-sized holes, windows blown out, siding ripped off.


Meso negative gradient
Same pic as above, but with a negative gradient to bring out some scary detail in the clouds.


it hits
The storm hits suddenly. I was standing right beside these patio chairs when I took the picture of the meso. The wind hit and almost blew me off my feet; I scrambled into the kitchen and snapped this shot right after I got inside. That’s golf-ball sized hail, there.


Another quick picture, just outside the front door. This image is extremely stretched; it was black as night outside. After this, I made it to the basement to calm the freaking-out monkeyFam. The house sounded like someone was emptying a machine gun clip into it. Every few seconds a HUGE piece of ice would hit a window… the wife and I were expecting to hear glass breaking at any moment. Note the hail streaks in the image… they are actually being thrown toward the storm. Weird.


The worst part of the storm lasted for about 5-10 minutes. Here’s the front yard covered in ice.


A couple of hours later, here’s a drift of halfway-melted hail on my back patio…

…and the same drift after I swirled a hole in it with my foot.


birdFortunately, we were spared any major damage (unlike the poor souls about 500-1000 yards north of us). Turns out we just got sideswiped. When I came out the next morning, I found a dead bird on my porch. I kicked him over and snapped this morbid shot.

I guess he didn’t hear the tornado sirens.

Aside from the damage to the homes and birds in the area, lots of the trees were prematurely skinned of their leaves. Normally, around here, peak autumn color is around the third-fourth week of October — but unfortunately, there are not many leaves left. Autumn will be duller than usual this year, and that means that the gray of winter will last a bit longer.