49. Superhero Speculation

mte28

The pressing questions of life for the rest of us mean very little to boys. How to achieve peace in the Middle East? Conquer world hunger? Convince Congress to pass a budget? Boys are not interested. (Neither is Congress, obviously.) But let me tell you what boys are interested in debating. If anyone can beat up Superman, that’s what. Boys are arguing about this on a daily basis. It typically happens when they’re supposed to be doing something productive, like homework, but instead my boys are saying things like this:

Nicholas: “I saw the lizard guy on the Spiderman commercial and he TOTALLY can never beat Spiderman.”

Nathan: “Yeah but Spiderman can usually only beat the weak guys, he can’t beat the guys with fire and swords and stuff.”

Nicholas: “But he could beat the lizard guy.  But he can’t beat Superman.”

Nathan: “No way.”

Moment of silence ensues, honoring the man of steel.

Usually nobody can beat Superman, at least not in the prognostications that have gone down at our house so far in nine years of boy raising. Not even Optimus Prime, who always seems to get dragged into the discussion as a final measure of any superhero’s strength. I guess if you can beat a gigantic metal robot truck, you are pretty much the stuff.

There is one guy, however, who always generates great debate which never ends in much resolution: The Incredible Hulk. I think boys like the Hulk so much because they dream of spending at least one day of their lives acting just like him. Actually, let’s face it – they usually act like him at least ONCE during every day, but they dream of spending an entire day doing it. Like the best boy day ever. Just wrecking all the things they normally want to wreck, only with the most out of control super nuclear green strength in the entire universe so they can really get the job done. My boys have watched that scene where Hulk punches Thor like three thousand times. And they’re still not certain if he can beat Superman…but they sure like to argue about it.

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48. Preparation Procrastination

People have said that getting boys ready for school and finally out the door in the morning is like herding cats. Not really. Herding cats has got to be waaaay easier than this. Boys can play an entire NFL regular season, playoff games, and Super Bowl on Wii football before school, but cannot put their socks on.  Why is it impossible for boys to make any morning progress whatsoever without a personal scheduling assistant reminding them to stay on task at 45-second intervals? Ain’t nobody got time for that…

Things my boys have done this week instead of getting ready for school, or in the middle of getting ready for school:

  • Hold empty laundry basket with both arms and wiggle all around while watching a tiny rubber ball roll around in the bottom. See dad glaring and yell “LOOK AT THIS, THIS IS AWESOME!!!”
  • Put on pants and belt, fail to buckle belt. Crouch in corner and continue building lego police station that has been under construction for 1.5 weeks. Still no socks.
  • Told to go to bathroom and clean breakfast residue from face…spend next four minutes attempting to fill toothpaste tube with water.

The longer I live, the more I am convinced that the battle of Armageddon will not be the forces of good and evil dueling over the fate of humanity, but rather the uniting of parents all over the world in one final attempt to make their sons put on socks before school.

47. Wear You Down

Brace yourselves, whining is coming.  This post is not about one thing in particular, it’s about everything in general.  Because everything in general is what my boys are wrecking today.  Well, pretty much every day.  Does it ever really stop?  Maybe it’s because I’m at the absolute pinnacle of boy carnage, with sons 9, 6, and 6 blasting me with 114% effort daily.  Maybe my boys, as my exasperated wife told me on the phone today, “…have no brain.  They were born without a brain.”  Maybe they’re just horrible and none of your boys behave this way.  But I really doubt it.

Things I have seen today:

  • Two boys full blown wrestling on the floor of their room, in school clothes, zero socks or shoes or belts or hair combed, exactly 60 seconds before the deadline to leave the driveway for school
  • One boy eating his little sister’s chicken noodle soup.  With his hands.
  • Two boys using the pogo stick ON THE TRAMPOLINE to make “world record jumps.”
  • One boy rolling down the window and draping himself out of it to yell at friends who were actually smart enough to exit their car upon arrival at school drop off
  • Blue gel toothpaste in 4 places all over a 3-foot radius of the bathroom wall by the light switch
  • At least a gallon of water all over the bathroom floor after bath time, the rest of the water left standing in the tub
  • A secret stash of those little paper daisy cups, soaked into soggy oblivion, stacked 6 deep behind the bathroom door along with piles of soaked toilet paper and some random ripped up candy wrapper
  • Three boys, jumping on the trampoline until their heads poked over the fence every time, then yelling “POO POO” repeatedly across the street at neighbor kids
  • A box fan left running full speed in a bedroom with all lights on and nobody in it.  The fan is on its face, blasting air directly into the carpet.

Again, this is just today.  I don’t even have the energy to begin recapping the entire week, with its un-piloted bicycles being missile-launched down the hill while one boy grabbed crotch and potty danced in the middle of the street; its twin 6-year-olds who, when I turned my eyes away for 30 seconds in the home improvement store, found the security camera monitor and began poking their hineys at it then hysterically laughing; or its epic battles that somehow turned 100 simple water balloons into 4,228 latex shreds all over my yard.

Yes, I am aware of all of the realities of my life.  Of the reasons to be thankful for kids that are healthy.  Kids that are smart.  Kids that are alive.  And I am.  But this funny blog is not my forum for that sentiment.  This blog is my channel for venting the last wisps of my sanity in a feeble attempt to turn total household destruction into something humorous.  For asking the critical question that I’m assuming at least several others with boys 9, 6 and 6 are asking, which is WHAT THE CRAP IS GOING ON HERE AND WHEN IS IT SCHEDULED TO COME TO AN END???

My wife and I are gonna just take a vacation from boys for just a few days.  We’ll call it the “Three Days of Sanity” tour.  WHO IS WITH ME???


Note: I wrote this post last night. In a blatant attempt to prescribe guilt to me, both twin boys presented themselves entirely dressed with hair combed a full five minutes before scheduled departure this morning. While I heaped ridiculous amounts of praise on both of them with my usual hope that somehow this will convince them to continue the good behavior, Nicholas responds with, “I did it for you, dad.”

As one of my father’s favorite sayings from my childhood goes, “Miracles do happen.” :)

46. DVDestruction

VHS copies of kid shows and movies are still doing a brisk business on eBay.  Why?  Boys, that’s why.  Yes, boys are driving the market on used VHS tapes, because smart parents know: those suckers are indestructible.

Buy a DVD copy of WALL-E or Monsters, Inc. and that thing will be skipping all over the place in days.  Toy Story 3, The Lorax?  Trashed.  Boys shred DVDs.  They toss ‘em, drop ‘em, stuff, slide and roll ‘em.  As soon as the next movie is selected, the previous DVD is discarded.  I’m pretty sure boys just hurl it to the floor then immediately take turns standing on it.  While wiggling.

Later each evening, I pause as I pass the playroom and survey the debris field, each disc shining like a cute little land mine on the carpet.  At this point, eight years into owning boys, I have lost more money by throwing away scratched DVDs than I currently have in my entire retirement fund.  I can’t even begin to discuss CDs or Wii game discs.  The carnage is incalculable.

Every DVD in our house looks like somebody artfully etched a haystack on the shiny side of it.  I can only believe that boys are using them as coasters, carpet slider roller skating devices, and frisbees.  In fact, it is entirely possible that DVD discs at our house see more action than the actual frisbees.  The frisbees are buried in the bottom of that giant box full of balls and skates out in the garage.  The DVDs are right there in the middle of every daily indoor boy battle between Optimus Prime, Spiderman, and an entire brigade of hot wheels cars under the direction of the Incredible Hulk.  DVDs have zero chance of survival.

Yes, I am aware that DVD technology is fading fast, giving way to streaming, downloads and other “non destructible” content.  I don’t care.  I’m hanging on to a handful of VHS classics, mainly for the revenge factor – so I can embarrass them in front of their friends in a few more years.

“You guys want movie night at our house??  SUUURE!!!  I got your favorite old Buzz Lightyear tape right here!”

“HEY, where you going???”

“IT’S ALMOST DONE REWINDING!!!”

45. The Cash Massacre

I found these two bills on the kitchen counter today.  Not surprising.  Well, actually the one surprising thing about it is that I did not find them behind the bed, or jammed in the crate that holds the shoes.  Or lying in the floor of the play room.

Boys destroy pretty much everything at one point or another, and cash is no different.  For some reason, boys take great pleasure in turning cash money into something that looks more like one of those horrible preschool projects involving dark markers, glitter, and way too much glue.  Just look at Washington in that photo.  He has like 9 pieces of tape on him.   This is no way to treat the founding father.  But hey – at least they’re trying, I guess.  Not sure why boys always try to repair the money after their destructive methods are complete, but they do.  Once I found four staples in a dollar.

I tried frightening them with tales of how defacing bank notes is a federal offense, which means they could get like their Razor Scooter taken away by Ben Bernanke, or get sent to the penitentiary until they are eleven.   They were not impressed.

“What’s peniten-shun-ary dad?”

“Do they have snacks??”

And don’t think it’s because they have no understanding of the face value of a dollar.  Oh, they know.  Boys have already figured out they can trade the green paper for SpongeBob frozen frutti concoctions from the ice cream truck.  The ones where his eyes are those black bubble gum balls.  VERY high value item among boys.

They get it.  They just don’t care if they are trading with dollar bills that look like they have emerged from an intestinal tract.  Very embarrassing.  I caught Nathan busting out the door and headed for that awful ice cream truck last week with a bill that literally was hanging together by less than a few dozen atoms.  It was 99.876 cents worth of busted.  Hanging onto its life by less than a penny.

“DUDE!! You cannot give that to the ice cream truck!” I yelled.

But then again, the ice cream truck guy is probably just thrilled he’s not getting another 225 pennies in exchange for SpongeBob.  And I do hate that ice cream truck, anyway.  Evil distributor of overpriced corn syrup… So, maybe we have arrived at a suitable disposal point for the busted cash.

Good luck with all the staples, ice cream truck guy.


Author’s Note:

Yes, you have the right be be astounded that I have actually surfaced and written some words.  It’s been a while.  Despite the fact that I’ve changed jobs, been on family vacation, and had more work on my plate than ever before in the history of myself, I should have at least been able to have kept up with a few posts.  Also, it’s been a rough summer.  I must admit that there were a few weeks in there when I felt that the boys had ultimately conquered, leaving me so beaten down by “everything” that I was never again going to even attempt to act like I find this situation even remotely humorous…  And if you think “everything” is a lame way for a writer to sum up the frustrations that nearly caused their online demise, then go read posts 1 through 44.  

Done?  Good.  THAT is everything.

But I’m back!  At least on a limited basis.  I shall attempt to press on

 In the battle to survive boys.  :)

44. Slam the Door

Boys cannot close a door, shut a door, or latch a door.  Boys only slam a door.  Slam it hard.  So hard the entire house shakes.  So hard photos are knocked off axis in our neighbors’ hallway. So hard you can still hear and feel the wood frame in your house trembling and groaning fifteen seconds later.  It’s out of control, this door slamming issue.

I suppose it’s because they’re in such a hurry to get outside and play, get inside and pee, or get back in the middle of the ongoing battle with the flying frog guys or whoever they’re fighting this time.  At any rate, just about the time you’re feeling confident about the fact that you’ve achieved a better-than-80-percent success rate on actually closing the door, boys blow right by you and start with this earth-shattering slamming business.

BOOM!!

It’s enough to set off seismic readings.  As if the neighbors don’t despise you enough, now the entire geology faculty at nearby universities hates your family.  We live close enough to the beach in Florida that I fully anticipate my boys will trigger a tsunami any day now.  Probably when the ice cream truck is coming.

And don’t think this doorway violence is limited to the home… Car door slams are among the most painful experiences that parents of boys ever endure.  You can literally hear the metal frame of your vehicle creaking and crying from an impact generally 78 times the necessary force required to pleasantly activate the door closing latch.  The next sound after that is the tinkling of all those tiny blue squares and octagons of shattered glass as the window crumbles to the bottom of the car door.

“Why?  Why must they slam it so hard?” you groan to yourself as you assume the “forehead on steering wheel” international position of defeat.

There is no answer.  Just sit there and endeavor to emotionally recover with your car.  In the face of such brutality, you must comfort and console one another if you have any hope for survival.

43. Wreck Your Lawn

Connor’s third birthday party was held with a gathering of friends and family in our backyard.  Our lush, green, carpeted-thick-with-grass backyard.  We had just moved into this home about a year earlier, and everyone complimented me on “how wonderful your lawn looks!”  Of course, being the smart-aleck pessimist that I am, I deflected all compliments by saying “Take a good look at it now, it’ll only get worse from here.”

I had no idea.

That same lusciously carpeted backyard now looks like a nuclear lawnmower testing site gone wrong out in Area 51 or something.  Dead splotches everywhere.  Straggly grass patches, struggling to poke themselves up wherever escape can be found from trucks, scooters, skates, balls, and fossilized socks.

And holes.  Heaven help us, the holes.  Holes and dirt mounds are everywhere, like we’ve been invaded by a herd of suburban anteaters.  Or bombed relentlessly with enemy mortars.  (Which is probably what our neighbors would prefer to be doing in response to all the noise.)  Boys will dig a hole anywhere, with anything.  But mostly they’ll dig it right in the middle of where nobody, for any reason, will ever need a hole.  After hearing some sage advice from a veteran mother: “Every boy needs a dirt pile for digging in their back yard,” we thought this was a brilliant solution.  I zoned off a nice, tidy corner and declared it “The Digging Spot,” knowing that we’d surely never see dirt on the lawn again.

This is what we got:

We also got buckets of mud carted all over the property and dumped in piles on the grass. Piles like Clifford the Big Red Dog did his potty breaks at our place.  Honking piles of dumped mud, everywhere.  Dirt isn’t good enough in the dirt spot.  Boys must see how it looks when deposited atop something else.  Something nice.  Something green, that we can kill, or something dad will trip spectacularly over while searching urgently for lost pacifiers in the dark.  Boys are hall of fame dumpers.

But we’ve only begun to mention the reasons your lawn is toast if you have boys.  There are the plagues of ferocious insects attracted to every square inch of your grass by the vast feast of scattered granola bar remnants, popsicle drippings, and gooey candy wrappers.  It’s like you’re the pharaoh and the boy is mini-Moses, calling down swarms of locusts attracted solely to the shining of those horrible, foil CapriSun pouches and their glorious “Mountain Berry Mist” residue.  Let’s face it, does anyone believe that even ten percent of a CapriSun pouch ever even makes it inside the kid?  Not a chance.  It’s all bait for the bugs that are about to munch your yard into nothingness.

Attempting to mow what’s left of your lawn when boys are done is even worse, due to the debris field your mower is forced to withstand.  Golf balls, large rocks colored with markers, silverware… Every mowing session is like a new episode of “Will it Blend?” and includes exciting new discoveries for dad, like “Wow.  Never thought a tennis ball could unravel into string and wrap 294 times around a mower blade.  Neato.”

But as you survey your landscape once the day is done, hoping the trim job might help the neighborhood “lawn of doom” look mildly acceptable, you stop pondering the shredded victims of your “Will it Blend” show and start asking the real question:

“Will it Live?”

Because when it comes to your lawn, the answer is no.  It will not live.  It will die a gradual and merciless death, with boys hounding it every second of the way…

Rest in peace, lawn.  You are gone for now, but never forgotten.

For when these boys are 15 and pleading for a phone and texting and car insurance premium payments… I will avenge you, lawn.  With their sweat, I will avenge you.  And my word is my bond!