Saturday, December 30, 2006

Here's a Question for all you Gearheads

Yes, Diana I am speaking to you (or through you to your hubs).

But before we get to the motorhead question of the year, I thought I would bring up a difference between the imps' generation and my generation.

In playacting with fake guns, the imps will often supply the following sound effects:

B'yoom! b'yoom! b'yoomb'yoomb'yoomb'yoom! (accent on the 'b' and up an octave on the 'yoom')

Say it fast enough and it sounds like laser guns firing.

When I was growing up and playing with fake guns, our sound effects went much like:

Bang! Pow! bangbangbang! powpowpow!

My imps' sound effects are sooo much cooler!

Ok, back the $800.00 question:

My 2001 Ford Escape (yes 4x4) was roaring up a hill near the Playground and just simply stopped its forward momentum. Sitting on the side of the road it idled between 200-500 rpms (for those of you who do not bleed grease when cut, this means the car was trying its best to stop running).

I can tell you what was not wrong (our mechanic spent 4 days playing with the motor and was about two more bruised knuckles from giving up and then stumbled upon the solution).

Not the cause of the malfuntion:
1- Bad Gas
2- Faulty Fuel Pump
3- Blocked Fuel Line

So (motorheads, diana or diana's hubs) what was the problem?

(no, I was not charged $800 for repairs. After all, I did not have to go to a dealer for any work! The final bill was much, much, much lower!!)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

More Holiday Stress (or why does daddy like to throw gasoline on the fire?)

Yes, I am back with more info concerning our Christmas "vacation" trip. When we last broached this topic, I was up the Proverbial Creek, no paddles and, as Jenny and Diana informed me, with no canoe either.

So there we were in Northern Illinois, 10 hours from home, and wife.imp was recovering from her recent shopping trip with a sedate lunch out. We were heading out to pick up her best friend (and his wife) from college (Ateneo de Manila University) who was also visiting relatives for Christmas.

So upon arriving at the restaurant (in the middle of lunch rush because we got lost on the way to the friend's house) wife.imp only had enough time to recount the 'Present' snafu 3 maybe 4 times.

Skipping forward in time because the imps were loud, whiny and did I mention loud?, I was rushing out to get the van fired up so we could escape the 'Evil-Eyed' stares of those diners the imps had not chased away.

Just as I reached the exit, girl.imp catches up with me and tells me that boy.imp needs his diaper changed and that wife.imp was having me change the diaper because she was enjoying time with her friends and because "...You owe her big time."

Exact quote. This is the type of quote that should send chills down your spine. The type of quote that should have mandatory sub-titles in flashing neon: DANGER, RUN--DON'T WALK, FLEE DAMMIT, DON'T LOOK BACK! PRETEND gir.imp DID NOT CATCH UP WITH YOU!

But no, I looked back at the table and there is wife.imp holding boy.imp up in the air waving him back and forth, smiling. Everyone at the table was smiling. And it was now too late to pretend I had not made eye contact!

Boy.Imp's pants were soaked. Absolutely, literally, dripping wet. Oddly enough the table top was dry. When I say soaked, I mean dripping from the bottoms of his shoes, his socks everything. It was as if he were dipped into a tub of water and handed to me. Ice cold water too. He was soaked and his pants were cold.

He sat through lunch, peeing what could only have been, what?, 2 liters, and not once did he complain. Not until his pants had time to cool down.

So into the bathroom for a quick change (but because daddy has had experience with more than one imp, he keeps a spare change of ...pants only in the diaper bag). So there I am, in a strange town, with a bag full of diapers and soiled clothes, in the middle of December, with my 3-year-old and no extra socks, no extra shoes and my own personal audience waiting for me outside the door.

Yes, wife.imp got a 2-fer that day. Dad forgot to pack a complete change of emergency clothes for boy.imp and was caught short--yet again.

However, there was a Wal-Mart not 10 minutes away. And now I am one of those folks. I would dress my son up in the dead of winter and take him shopping barefoot to the local Wal-Mart. I also would have him stand barefoot, in only his diapers while we tried on clothes in the middle of the Boys department.

Come on over folks, bring your cameras! Daddy is about to parade boy.imp up and down the aisles for your amusement. Admission is FREE!

Can you believe it is 12-years together and still going strong!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

You're a No-Good, Grinch-like, Bastard of an Uncaring Christmas Mood Killer Dad!

Yes, that is right. I did everything possible to screw up Christmas for the imps. And I almost succeeded.

But Dennis, you seemed to be sooo into your imps. What happened?

Well, I apparently happened. Or as my brother put it, 'It just goes to show you how much he does not love his kids...'

How? How you might ask?

Well, we decided to keep the annual tradition of celebrating Christmas at my older Sib's house (his wife likes to decorate gingerbread houses with the imps).

So, two days before we leave, wife.imp is frantically purchasing last minute gifts and wrapping everything right up to the night before we leave. She even has special paper for 'Santa's Gifts' (I am supposed to get rid of this so the imps do not find it. It is hidden in my desk at the moment. But do not tell the wife, she does not know yet).

The day we are to leave, wife.imp has to go to work for a 'few hours' and believes she might be home by noon, at the latest. (It is raining and I do not relish driving all night to the northern end of Illinois in this weather only to unload the van in the wet in the early a.m.) Around 1 p.m. I am seriously considering cancelling the hotel and staying home for the holiday. When she calls after 3 p.m and advises that she is on her way home, I start rushing our luggage to the car. Having worked from a list, we only need wife.imp's clothing contribution and we are out the door and on the road!

When she calls after 4 p.m. (her commute usually lasts 30 minutes at worst), I detect a slight trace of annoyance in her voice. After her 5 p.m. call (an accident closed exits along 5 miles of the highway and she has been routed an extra 30 minutes in the wrong direction) I am seriously wondering if this weekend is going to be worth the effort.

However, even under the imps watchful eyes, I packed the car (did I mention I was working from a list?) with the presents for the nephews...wife.imp had gifts wrapped for our kids (both from us and from Santa) but knowing we would be going to the grandparents the day after Christmas, I left them in their hidey hole so that the little ones would have something to unwrap infront of the grandparents.

Did I mention that THE LIST I was working from was written expressly for my by wife.imp?

The afternoon prior to 'THE DAY' as we reclined in my elder brother's living room in Northern Illinois (a full 10-hours from our house!!), wife.imp looks at me and asks, 'Where are their gifts? I don't see the imps gifts under the tree.'

me: (smiling) oh, they're at home. I thought we'd bring them to mom and dad's Tuesday.
w.imp: Why would you think that? I mean...geesh! I spent..! What are they going to have to open tomorrow? Shit! Are they just supposed to sit there while everyone else unwraps gifts?
me: (not smiling) ummmmmm
w.imp: Now what--I have to go shopping.

brother.imp: (this is my younger brother who is not being very helpful) Ooooh, the day before Christmas! The malls will be full too! and bad traffic!

Thanks Bro! I see the family tradition of 'When you see a sibling in hot water, you make a nice soup!' has not been forgotten!

So wife.imp takes the family van out to the malls (in a city we have been to all of 5 times our entire lives, during one of the busiest days of the year, when all of the worst drivers are on the road flagrantly displaying their road-rage driving skills-- all by herself). My punishment? I got to sit at the house with the kids, waiting for wife.imp to come back from the latest shopping trip and gift-wrapping fiesta with her Christian spirit intact.

Oddly enough, gift-wrapping usually makes wife.imp glow and her mood brightens like the noonday sun. I was less than confident that this trip would replenish her sparkling mood, and when 7 p.m rolled past with no wife.imp to be seen...

As she later informed me, there is 30-plus years with this story. I believe I can expect to have it pulled out, buffed and repeated each and every year, probably when we start setting up the Christmas tree.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You ever get an idea in your head about how easy something is going to be??

I had a dead tree fall down in my back yard...Ok, I was going to talk about being Bunyanesque and how two days later I felt like the Tinman who had rusted....

But let's talk about my former neighbors: Bill and Anita Drumm.

They have THE COOLEST halloween displays year in and year out. Apparently the local gendarmes actually drove by with the loud speakers announcing their approval...Pix next year folks.

'But Dennis, this is Christmas! Why on earth are you babbling incessently about Halloween?? Why Dennis? Why? If my pencils were sharpened I would be stabbing them in my eyeballs now...'

Because Bill likes to dress up like Santa for the local schools and elderly in the neighborhood. This by itself is worthy of a blog, but not todays. No today Santa made a housecall!

The imps were screaming! Not words, just sounds.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Time-Hasteners - Final Edition

So the final Six have arrived just in time to bring in the Holiday Weekend with a minimum of stress (are you listening honey? a minimum of stress...)

6: - William Shatner 'sings' "Rocket Man".

5: - Leonard Nemoy sings the Virtues of Bilbo Baggins!

4: - After this, I truly became a fan of Disco (and computer animation!!)

3: - The Capitol Steps. It does not matter your political views, Liberal, Conservative, Repbulican, Democrat, you will be mocked as the opportunity presents. Right now we have Bush....(but remember we once also had Bubba)

2: - This is a must see, all day event!!

1: - You might never trust your computer again - Learn to fear runaway programs!!

Bonus Time-Hasteners!!

a: - The original runaway program.

b: - Mambo music and Chinese food. You never really do get too much of this and you will find yourself going back for more!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Oh Yes! Wife.Imp IS a Joy-Sucker!!

Now before you guys start with the bedroom eyes, envisioning crushed, red-velvet curtains and wall hangings, a king-sized, heart-shaped bed (that vibrates), and cheesy-1970s soundtrack playing in the background, let us just say that the the only thing I know of named Joy, works with Barbara Walters on 'The View.'

So, how is it that wife.imp is now known as 'Joy-Sucker' here at the Playground?

We were on our way to Church this a.m. and discussing what girl.imp could do career-wise with her penchant for drawing (and perhaps enrolling her into art classes this summer). know if you want to be an artist you can go to school to be a Graphic Artist and not have to worry about being a starving artist. (Tony this sound familiar?)
girl.imp: Huh?
me: mommy is sucking the joy out of being a Starving Artist, honey!
girl.imp: Mommy is a Joy Sucker!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Is it proper to 'cheer' the 'death' of daddy's baby? or should we call it the benefits of a Treadmill!!

10:30 p.m. Wednesday

Upon arrival to home from a day of touring Ohio, boy.imp called me to his room.

b.imp: goodnight daddy

(hugs & kisses)

b.imp: daddy your baby is dead.
me: my what?
b.imp: (pointing at my stomach) your baby is dead!

woohoo, I am actually doing some good with the excercises!!!

Yea, me!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Good, Honest, Open-Lines of Communication are IMPORTANT to maintaining a happy marriage

But before we get into all that, let me just say that wife.imp and I

went to a Who concert last night!

1) The concert was just over 31/2 hours long and was waaaaay toooo short!!
2) Best
F&@*-ing concert I have ever attended! (Tony, although I have not been, this would include Lionel Richie)
3)It is a saaad, saaad thing to witness 40-55+ year-old-men sneaking hits off of their weed. It is even sadder that they knew we were in a section full of teen and (lord help us but why bring these imps to a WHO concert) pre-teen boys and the druggies still lit up...I believe the phrase 'would you like to smoke those out the other end of your body?' was in play...

But after watching those effing old men from England jump and rock non-stop (and make fun of the 'lame' antics of bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers) I am in awe...and will be back on the treadmill later today!

Now, Sunday underlined, at least for us here at the Playground, why we need to communicate more effectively (yes guys, this is marriage-speak for 'men need to listen AND understand what we hear, dammit!)

Background to Sunday: wife.imp had a friend over for the weekend. Friend.imp was in town for a week of training then heading back to the Philippines. So every free moment they were off and shopping. Sunday was a day of shopping and brunch (I was there for the brunch!)

After eating wife.imp and Fr.imp were off to the Victoria Secrets and I and the imps were off to admire the 40' tall christmas tree with the 5' tall painted, styrofoam presents that were lined around the base of the tree. Very pretty. Wife.Imp knew that it would hold my attention for less than 30 seconds. So as she was walking away she shouted instructions:

w.imp: You know where we are going to be. Victoria Secrets blah blah blah!
me: Yeah yeah! Go on! We'll find you.
w.imp: You know where the store is? blah blah blah...
me: (waving and nodding) go on! We'll be fine.

Facing the main entrance to the main building of this complex, the Victoria Secrets store is directly inside the right hand door. I was wondering just how hard will it be to find someone in a store the size of a shoe box?

(keep in mind that, with the imps in tow, traveling from point A (tree) to point B (store) takes about 3-5 minutes. The restrooms and car from point A takes almost 10 minutes)

To be honest I did not know that Easton Town Center ( had more than one Victoria Secrets store.

So, after admiring the tree, we headed off for the store. No wife.imp or fr.imp. HMMMM, did they go out the other door and are waiting for us at the tree???

saleslady.imp: Can I help you? ( look lost and here you are dragging your two little ones through our store. How prescious! I bet you are here to buy something naughty for your wife and brought the imps along to make us pity you in a nice way!)
me: ummm, yes. I'm looking for my wife and her friend. They are filipina and about so tall and...
sl.imp: well - pause - I don't think I'll be able to help you.
me: thought not...

So out the door to the public restrooms then back to the tree (passing by the store just in case...nope, still not there).

So back at the tree the imps played Hide-and-Seek. Both getting scared because the tree was soo damn large they were not finding each other. Back to the store. Still no wife or friend. and then No girl.imp. It seems I was not moving fast enough and she decided to run around the store on her own.

me: ok, boy.imp. You really need to hold my hand because I am not going to lose you like mommy or g.imp. Excuse me (nice, friendly) saleslady.imp, I seem to have misplaced my daughter...

After retrieving girl.imp we went back outside to warm up. I do not know what it is about sales clerks and the holidays but they do seem to be more cranky this time of year...

Back to the tree. No wife.imp. I was feeling pretty tired by now and b.imp was more or less acting like an anchor at the end of my arm. So I decided that we missed connections and the safest place to wait would be back in the family van. 5 minutes after arriving at the van g.imp announces she needs to go potty. I now felt like the anchor dragging at the end of b.imp's hand...

Back inside the main building:

imps: Mommy!!!!

So friends, the moral to this story? If I had listened to wife.imp, you would not have had to slog through this long post!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Friday Nite Wanderings - Favorite Foreign Flicks - Time Hasteners Take IV

Friday Nite:
It is the beginning of a long, cold weekend. Long mostly because it will be cold - high of 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is the beginning of the sucky sports season. Mostly because I am no longer a die-hard fan of the NFL (thank you Art Modell), and (since the retirements of Bird, Johnson, Jordan) am not a fan of the NBA, never was a fan of hockey...and we are not in baseball season....

I must rely on my pre-recorded entertainment. I have a very diverse collection but I must try an match my desires to wife.imp's mood and late at night this usually means the long, dramatic movies are out (and are definitely out while the imps are awake).

So as I decided which foreign flick to watch (no these were not the soft-core that can be found on IFC F*@#&*G
Channel>, I decided to do a list.

Favorite foreign Martial Arts movies from my collection (post-Bruce Lee).
5) Rumble in the Bronx - Jackie Chan taught us that anything on the set can be used as a weapon.
4) Drunken Master - This by far is our favorite Jackie Chan movie. Drunken Boxing RULES!
3) Hero - saw this in the theatre and now am up to 5 viewings at home. I still prefer the big screen but can watch this all day...
2) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - This movie is the pinnacle of action, story-telling, and Martial Arts. Or it was until...
1) House of Flying Daggers - stop here. If no other film is ever made this would be worth watching on a daily basis!

Perhaps I might offer up an opposing list of the worst, yet must-watch Martial Arts movies (yes, also in my collection!) next week.

Time Hasteners Take IV
Ok, the last time we updated this list, it was all text. That is over now. Get rid of the kids, tell the boss you are on a 2-hour break...

6) - I just stumbled on this and no matter what you thought about Steve Irwin - this will make you smile!

5) - I have absolutely hated rap/hip-hop for years. As-a-matter-of-fact, the only rap album I own had the song, 'Fly Girl'.

4) - Throwing the 'Fat Man' for points! Can it Get any Better??

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Should we go out in public?

Before I digress into the main thrust of tonight's blog, let me just state that both imps have made it decidedly difficult for us to enjoy a dinner out. As a matter of fact, we are those parents who have imps that want/try to run wild in restaurants...

Our apologies.

Now on to tonight's post!

Girl.Imp had her school's Christmas pageant. Yes, our little, Catholic, school girl was a penguin in a choir for the school's play on how Penguins Rescued Santa and saved Christmas!

(yes...yes...lighten up dennis...)

Before we get to the stage let's take a quick trip to the after dinner conversation Boy.Imp had with, well you'll see:

boy.imp: Pecker! peck. peck. Pecker!

wife.imp was rushing to eat and discussing her day, thus probably missed this activity on b.imp's part.

me: (pecker? wtf, b.imp?)

b.imp: Pecker! Pecker! peck. peck. Pecker!

me: ummm...(it was right here that I saw b.imp was playing with two of the bird ornaments from the Christmas tree. Yes, this was truly an 'aha!' moment!)

Back to the Play:
The 1st grade, penguin choir starts into its recital and can anyone guess whose little imp stood in the center of the podium and Yawned her way through two of three songs?

Or perhaps which imp was chatting with others around her and (as we discovered later) initiated tickle fights during the songs?

Or, can anyone guess, which darling, little imp simply had to indulge herself in the heavy-metal, head-banging motion during a pause in the singing?

Yes our imp was front and center All.Night.Long!

and do not think that sitting in the audience was a treat. B.imp, when he wasn't busy hopping on and off of our laps also preferred other seats:

wife.imp: (whispering in my ear) Ouch! He's sitting on my boobies!!
(b.imp was standing on her lap leaning back into region and kind of bouncing up and down to the music...)
me: teeheehee!

However, while it appears (to wife.imp's great dismay) g.imp has inherited daddy's--ahem--'rhythm', she really can carry a tune. Plus, not once was she caught picking her nose or nibbling on her fingernails during the concert!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Time-Hasteners - Take Three

Ok, we have seen Stick Figure mayhem and we have abused a Gerbil and were Burninated by Trogdor.

What could possibly top that?

Let us switch things up and go with some written text.

What? Read you say, Dennis?

What could possibly be sooooo interesting to make me want to stop work to read some pointless drivel? I have projects to complete and/or imps to care for. I have a loooooong ass week ahead of me and an unrelenting schedule of numbness ahead...

Ok, now that I have you in the proper frame of mind:

9: Bored with the daily grind? Need a change of scenery? Well strap on some wings to your lawnchair and fly! Or read about how Larry did it:

8: Considering what to do when your imps are old enough to pursue higher education? Wondering how to approach a top-level university? John Mongan did!

7: There is nothing like a philosophical question to excite the brain cells. So what do you believe? Is Hell endothermic or exothermic?

Happy Holidays!!