Moms

Your mother marks you first. Maybe you were too young to remember when you first suckled at your mother’s breast, or the first time she actively ignored your cries, doesn’t matter, the mark was being made. Criticisms and affirmations, facial expressions and that floppy footed gait of yours, all handed down from your mother. Generational preferences made for you before your mother even considered you. Hate them all you want, in the end, the density of your blood will eventually convince you to concede to the point where you wear that mark, reluctantly at first maybe, and then without shame.

My mother died ten years ago this coming September. When she died, my brothers and I instinctively looked to our father for some sort of comfort. All I remember finding was a man wrestling with his own grief and aside from an assortment of expiring condiments, an empty refrigerator. I remember the sadness of that refrigerator because I checked it out of habit, to see if there was any iced tea in it. My mother was a pretty heavy tea drinker, hot tea mainly, but she kept iced tea in the refrigerator too. The relatively large amount of empty cubic feet he had, compared to the small amount of condiments slowly expiring in his fridge, got to be kind of downer. It took me a while to figure out that the old man had no inclination to make any tea, and so I started making my own.

A pot of water, three large Lipton tea bags, and sugar to taste obviously. Other than the twenty-three chromosomes gifted to me, the taste for tea, and the ‘recipe’ lived on so to speak. Liking and making iced tea was/isn’t that big of a deal, but it was/is a connection to my mother that I found a bit of comfort in. I take comfort in mothers marking you first, mark you ’til the very end.

Five Songs I’ve Heard From Other Cars While Waiting for My Kids

For the last few months I have been given the freedom to pick up my toddlers from school. It’s one of those daily mundanities that keeps me from being a total slob and walking out of my house in flip-flops, basketball shorts and no deodorant on weekdays.

I tend to arrive about fifteen to twenty minutes before the kids get out. Generally, I try to read, listen to NPR, or thumb through various social media feeds on my phone. But every once in a while, my efforts to entertain myself are interrupted by the loud sounds pounding from other parents/guardians vehicles.

Now I can’t say for certain whether or not I might have done something like this in my younger days, but for the sake of this post, let’s assume I had the good manners and consideration for others and never engaged in such rude behavior.

Show the World – Lil Boosie feat. Webbie and Kiara - I didn’t turn around to see who was playing this song. Since Boosie’s release from prison, the radio seems to be doing its best to make sure this song pops. Personally, I hate this song, and my hatred extended to the driver of the car who was playing it.

Don’t Say Goodnight – The Isley Brothers A late model Jeep pulled into the parking lot one day with all four windows down blasting this song. It was actually kind of nice considering the sun was high in the sky, the breeze was blowing and everything else kind of matched the mood of the song, other than we were all about to pick up grade school children.

Wood Wheel – Underground Kingz A Camaro a couple of parking spaces over from the minivan played this loud enough so that the even with the windows up, I could hear the lyrics to this syrupy classic. Sure kindergartners were only separated by glass and a brick wall, but how else were they going to learn the song for the end of the year recital.

Love And Happiness – Al Green Some dude in one of those semi-fixed up pickup trucks came into the parking lot blasting this. When I heard it, I knew whoever was playing was mainly a blues guy. I mean, I don’t really know if he was mainly a blues guy, but it made sense when I thought it.

Licking Stick – James Brown This lady drives a beat up Ford Explorer, and for about a week she came up to the school windows down playing all manner of James Brown. She let this song finish one day while she sang along head bobbing with the somebody farted face. The only other artist I’ve heard her play was Zapp, so all things considered, she’s okay in my book.

ILYD

I love you Daddy. That’s what my oldest triplet has been hitting me with for the last couple of days. If he wasn’t my son, I might be moved by such an open and random declaration of affection. But he is my son, and this is an obvious attempt at emotional manipulation and I am not fooled.

I’ll admit, the first few seconds after he first hit me with the ILYD, I may have turned into some vague form of human putty, but the brain got smart when the heart played stupid. I mean I saw how he said what he said, all doe-eyed and sweet and thrown over his left shoulder. It was nothing to him, because he went right back to playing whatever game he was playing on the iPad.

I knew then that he was playing me, but I just wasn’t sure what his angle was. Was it the fact that he was sitting there playing games on the iPad when he was really supposed to be banned from it? Or maybe it was some pre-emptive butter-up for for some future related fiasco, like another destroyed ceiling fan, or a package of Oreo’s consumed for breakfast, or bringing a fresh pile of poo in his pants to me with the words “I boo-booed.” spoken in a deadpan/matter of fact tone.

He’s also been saying it randomly to his mother, his brothers, and his sisters, building goodwill shotgunning these “I love you’s” all willy nilly. I might believe this kid if it weren’t for all the misery he puts (and will continue to put) me through, but then again, maybe I should take these while I can get ‘em. Collect them now and put them away for one of those days when he tells me what a jackass of a father I’ve been. I’ll be able to pull one of those vintage ILYD’s circa 2014 out and think about how I doubted it back then, and now, it’s the best thing ever.

Peacoat

It was just one of those weird things. I found myself going to O’Reillys to pick up some screws for the set of license plates that were just mailed from the dealer. This was my second trip in less than twenty minutes since the first time I came by, I left my wallet at home.

I park and walk in thinking that it’s gonna be like it was maybe fifteen minutes earlier, one or two other people in there like it is any other time you walk into an auto parts store. But it wasn’t.

There were at least five or six people standing in line when I walked in, which sucks because something about people who work at the auto parts store, they aren’t concerned with moving the line along. I don’t get to dwell on that too long though, because there’s a man in a dusty beanie and sweats looking at me and he says “Peacoat!”.

Peacoat? I’m wearing a peacoat. Does he know me? Did we go to school together and I totally don’t recognize this dude? Nah, I don’t know this dude. Ignore this dude.

I ignore this dude and make my way towards the aisle with the screws. He says it again “Peacoat!” and I wonder what this dude is up to. I’m too focused on getting these screws to pay this man any real attention, but the second peacoat has me thinking this dude is unstable. So in my best baritone, I respond with a gruff ” ‘s up bruh?”, and go get my screws.

That seemed to be enough, because before I made it back to the line to pay, he walked out. Maybe he had some weird form Tourette’s where when he saw a peacoat he has to say “Peacoat!”. Or maybe we did know each other at one point and i just couldn’t place his name or his face. Whatever it was, it was weird.

Not Dog the Bounty Hunter

With an apartment complex across the street, a university nearby, bus routes, bike paths, and an exercise trail all within walking distance of our house, our corner lot sees a fair amount of pedestrian traffic. Before our landlord went all Paul Bunyan on us, the poorly mulched area that sits to the left of my front door used to have an Oak tree there to provide shade all the way to the street corner. Now, the lack of majesty that sits outside my door these days is now punctuated by a smattering of dog poop dropped not ten feet from my front door. It has to be some pedestrian who uses this street as their route to walk their dog, but I haven’t noticed anyone who walks their dog on regular basis in a while.

The other day, I was driving back home after dropping off the kids at school, wishing I could run into whoever was allowing their dog to drop feces in my yard. I was working out the logistics on how to confront this unknown individual and the appropriate amount of ire to be used. There’s a certain amount of moral leverage in being the one whose yard is being desecrated. Ideally, I figured with a touch of bass in my voice and a properly cocked eyebrow, I could have this dog person, apologizing and picking up their dog’s poop while singing numerous apologies in my direction. I’d even go in the house and bring out a bag for them to take their crap with them, because at this point, using my garbage can would not be acceptable.

A bit too much pleasure was derived from working out this scene in my head, and it came to an end when I turned the corner to my street and saw a woman walking some poodle mixed mut in the vicinity of my house. I parked in front of my house and got out in a slight huff. She was an older lady, and she was instructing this dog to do its business on the fire hydrant in my neighbor’s yard across the street. While I was upset about the poo in my yard, I wasn’t irrational enough to confront this lady on what most likely was a coincidence. Still, I was annoyed, and I wanted her to see that her dog’s public relieving of itself was unacceptable. I shut the door to the minivan with a bit of force, and screwed my face as if to look serious. But all I could think to do was I raise my right and arm and say “Good morning!”. I said it quick, and loud, and tried to sound annoyed though. She responded, like any normal person with a good morning herself, and all I could do was paste on a smile and wave again good bye.

Three Hunnit (words)

In an attempt to force myself to write, a few months ago I attempted to write a post on a daily basis. I tried to keep the word count something low (around 250 – 300) and manageable and worth reading, but it didn’t work out. It didn’t work out simply because I wasn’t disciplined enough to do it.

So while the end of the year is near, and I’m claiming that I like to write, then maybe I should go ahead and do what I can to get daily posts out.

Now anyone who knows anything about anything, knows that typically when quantity increases, quality decreases, and thankfully the quality around these parts aren’t much to be concerned with.

Also, I’m too lazy to go back and see if I posted some kind of lame declaration like this in the past, so if I did, let’s act like we didn’t see it and keep it positive. Onward and upward peoples.

Sleep With Me

In principle, I am opposed to the very biological need for sleep. A third of your life, spent doing absolutely nothing. Not even nothing in an interesting way like, watching Duck Dynasty marathons, creating Star Wars themed playlists, or playing eight hour shifts of Call of Duty, but nothing like looking at the back of your eyelids nothing. Dull if you ask me.

If you’re thirty and slept the requisite eight hours, you’ve already spent ten years of your life sleeping. Ten years sleeping? People get married, divorced and remarried in that time frame. Just think about all of the stuff you can do with that extra time? I mean, that’s what I used to do, as I fought common sense to stay up late and wake up as early as possible in order to squeeze the most out of my waking hours.

But this post isn’t about that I’ll sleep when I’m dead mentality, this post about the concession. The concession that all I want right now, at this very moment while my fingers tip toe across this keyboard, is uninterrupted sleep.

The kind of sleep where I’m watching a television show that I’m interested in but not upset about if I fall asleep on it, and the sleep function on the tv shuts it off ten minutes after I start producing z’s. The kind of sleep where I’m not awakened by one of the triplets who want to pee, or have pee’d and need cleaning, or just decide they all want to sleep with Mom and Dad one by one thirty minutes apart from the other. The kind of sleep where the wife’s fear of all things crawling, produces a sudden yelp, the lights, and then me looking for whatever it was that woke her up for the next seventeen minutes doesn’t wake me. The kind of sleep where my fear of the kids destroying my house in the morning while I try to sleep late doesn’t make me walk downstairs.

That’s the kind of sleep I want right now. Sleep with me.

Snoop Dog Sleeping