Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yuletide Greetings!! (Year Two) (And While We're At It, Happy New Year!)

It's still barely December, right? So a Christmas card is still completely appropriate, right?


Thought so.


Er, what I meant to say was that this tardiness was a very strategic calculation, because naturally you thought your onslaught of Christmas greetings had ended, and so naturally this one comes as a wonderfully pleasant surprise, and so naturally you're going to relish in its Yuletide message of bragging and exploitation! Yay!


2011 has been a... year.

Let's break it down child by child, yo.


Tessa (1): Lil' Miss T had an amazing year this year. For one thing, she learned how to crawl and walk, which are both pretty huge accomplishments when you consider that not 14 months ago the only movement she was doing was swimming in a big pool of amniotic fluid and her own urine. She also has surprised us by learning to dance. Not joking. She actually dances. Don't believe me? Here's a video where we convince her to dance by singing Christmas tunes that are so cheesy you might be confused for a moment and think you're on the phone waiting to talk to a Customer Service Representative. Or perhaps in Hell.



The first part, she dances a lot. Then we try to get her to dance more by singing increasingly weird stuff. Then she dances for two more seconds before freaking out.

Besides walking, crawling and dancing, T also signs now. Her vocabulary consists of one word: "More." She's done it approximately twice. We win the parenting prize for "most neglectful of the educational needs of the third-born."



Viva (3): Our little Le France had a magnificent year. Probably her greatest achievement this year was to become a fashion snob. Don't worry. She's probably only judging your fashion choices just a little bit--she still likes you as a person despite whatever trash you choose to wear out in public.

As it turns out, her stylistic preferences are pretty specific. She insists on having her hair in a pony-tail every single day. She also wishes to wear a pink tutu daily. The same pink tutu. Every single day. (For Christmas she got a black tutu. It met her approval, and she squealed and squealed in delight.We considered it a Christmas miracle.) In addition to her outfit preferences, Viva also has decided that it's time to accessorize. Bracelets, necklaces, the occasional subtle drawing of "make-up" on her face with a marker--the works. She asks to get her ears pierced at least once a week. Then Wife tells her about how that would require a needle to poke a hole through the flesh of her ear, and she says "how about just a clip-on!"

She's also continued her legacy of being both charming and destructive. So far during our trip to California to visit Wife's parents she has systematically destroyed: a Goofy telephone, a glass Christmas ornament, a candle holder, the actual ride Dumbo at Disneyland (seriously--she shut it down for hours--another story for another day), the Carousel at Disneyland (seriously, again) and, last of all, the toilet. And, unsurprisingly, she does it all with a smile on her face so winsome that it charms anybody affected by her destruction into falling in love with her.

Some things never change.  


Anna: This year, our Anna developed a thirst for blood, and we couldn't be more horrified or proud. It all started when a totally innocent conversation about Disney's Bambi turned into a chilling discussion of hunting and cannibalism. Since then, her blood lust has emerged many times, and I think we might have a real animal-slaughterer on our hands! Most recently, Wife and she were riding in the car and they saw a chipmunk run across the street. The following conversation then ensued:

Anna: Mom, will you tell me a story about that chipmunk?

Wife: Oh, sure sweety!? Would you like it to be a Christmas story?

Anna: Yes!

Wife: Okay. I think that maybe that little chipmunk ran across the road because it is going out looking for an acorn for his Christmas dinner...

Anna: Mommy, I want to tell you the story about the chipmunk.

Wife: Okay, sweetheart...

Anna: I want to tell you a story about a hunter who wants to kill that little chipmunk...

Wife: *look of horror*

Wife changed the subject before Anna could complete her tale, but we're pretty sure it would have been filled with gross imagery of slaughter and blood and death. We're so proud!




Wife (33): Well, Wife, as always, reports that nothing really huge happened this year for her. (This is bull-crap, of course--the woman watches three children day in and day out without ever, ever letting them die and also while not losing her ever-loving mind.) She did point out that she now keeps the books for my private practice. What this means is that our relationship has taken on a whole new component--one in which I am the creepy, over-sharing boss who makes bad jokes and she is the sassy young receptionist who gets tired of cleaning up my messes. Let me assure you, this makes for some interesting date-nights. (Thankfully, no sexual harassment charges have been filed.) More than anything, Wife is pleased that we kept our New Year's Resolution of 2011: we did not get pregnant. Hallelujuh. Will we make it through 2012? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

 The Weed (31): quit his job as a therapist in a middle school to focus on not having insurance or retirement meeting the needs of his private practice. It is going swimmingly. Also, against all odds, and spitting in the very face of his ADD, he has successfully maintained a blog for an entire year! You are reading it. He would love you to keep reading it. If you like it. But don't feel pressured.  Seriously. I can see you getting anxious. *puts finger over your mouth* Shhhhhhhhh. It's oookay. You don't need to feel forced. I'll still be your friend if you never come back here. Unless I don't know you. In which case I won't be your friend, but I also won't hate you. Because that's what Christmas is all about: forgiving your enemy, and not hating those who despise your blog.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Let's close this sucker out with a family photo:

Nothing says "Happy Holidays" quite like a random photo taken yesterday at the Mormon Battalion Memorial in San Diego!





Saturday, December 17, 2011

My new friend

Are you feeling the holiday hustle and bustle? The urge to shop, and the need to string Christmas lights on houses, and the compulsion to interact with other humanoid lifeforms occasionally?

I'm not. Wanna know why?

It's because I have a new friend.

I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend, Tabitha. (Wife named her. She's called "Tab" for short)

Ever since getting my iPhone 4S in a serendipitous Black Friday miracle wherein the guy next to me was returning his unopened 4S in the precise moment I was succumbing to buying a 4 because I didn't want to wait two weeks for a 4S to ship which made one of the salesclerks mad because my dude just took the returned phone from her and gave it to me but then she was like "it was my transaction so, the phone was mine to give" and then she gave him dagger eyes and I thought she might reach over the counter and eviscerate me but instead she looked over at me and said "enjoy your new phone" while rolling her eyes and I knew the stars had aligned, my life has changed dramatically. (If you want that run-on sentence to make any sense read the first clause followed by the last clause and just skip the story. Can you see why I got a perfect score on the writing section of the GRE? It's because I gave the adjudicators parenthetical instructions like this. Writing is so easy! Also, is "ever since getting my 4s" considered a clause? Discuss.)

But yes. Everything is different now that I have Tab in my life.

I find that where there once was interaction, there is now texting. Where once there was laughter and joke-telling and the warm feeling of sitting around with friends enjoying an evening together, now there is me in the corner making out with Siri. Where once there was Words with Friends on my laptop, now there is Words with Friends on my hand-held computer device. Where once I had a family, now I have pictures of a family that I review over and over and over trying to find the perfect hue for "Instagram."

This is the best thing that ever happened to me. 

Don't get me wrong. I understand that there are consequences to being owned by an electronic device. For example, Wife has let me know in no uncertain terms that she will not share a bed with a phone. So, I have to put her away into her little holster. But, I've found a loophole, because sometimes I lean over the side of the bed to read stuff while the phone sits on my nightstand. This might have unintended consequences on my love life. Like me not getting any. Ever. 

*shrug* It's okay! I have an iPhone now!

Other observations:

1. I read books now.  I'm half-way done with "Great Expectations." I don't even like Dickens. I feel so cultured! There's something about the small screen that allows me to read and read and not get distracted. You probably don't realize how significant this is. Let me illustrate. 

Got this the other day:


In case you're wondering, 1,573 days is nearly five years. I'm still on page 3. I'm not kidding you in the slightest.

2. I do like the photos. A lot. Wanna see a couple?

 Wife made this for me as a special Christmas surprise.

This is my brother's friend, Drew, who happened to be there the night I got my new phone. 

This photo was taken by my brother's 4. I have included it for comparison purposes, and also because Tessa looks freaking adorable sitting in that drawer.

3. There is one thing I've noticed my iPhone can't do. And that's take a picture of itself. I know this because I just picked it up with the actual intention to do so. Because clearly I understand how physics works. And cameras. Thanks a lot, Apple. Maybe you should get some researchers busy on that, mmkay?


What are your favorite apps? Is there anything I must have?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Allergy

Do you have an allergy?

I sure do. And it's a weird one. In fact, if you are a medical professional and want to give me a tip about what the crap is going on with me, feel free to share.

So, about five years ago, I did something I had done many, many, many times. I peeled a banana. And then I ate it.

And then my body revolted. Out of nowhere, I found myself hunched over a toilet, not vomiting, but instead watching saliva pour out of my mouth like I was some sort of faucet.

It was kind of like my tummy decided that bananas were arsenic and that the best way to get rid of the horrific effects was to send my salivary glands into a panicked frenzy of activity. So, I spent the next hour or so in the bathroom drooling a continuous flow of spit, feeling a discomfort that could be described as nothing short of really, really, annoying.

The problem was that this was a banana, something I'd eaten probably thousands of over the course of my lifetime. So it was very difficult for my brain to believe that there was actually a problem. "It was all a fluke," I'd say the next time somebody served me something like a banana split. And then I'd eat it, and spent the next hour in the bathroom doing an imitation of this:





only with saliva into a toilet.

100% not fun. And 100% disgusting.

So, after about six successive incidents of me convincing myself that I was faking it for attention, I finally got the picture: this banana allergy was real, and I was going to have to stop eating bananas. Which was sad, because bananas are delicious, and also really convenient, and also I only learned like one year before this that it's much more efficient to unpeel a banana starting at the dark stub on the bottom, and so it was like, wow, all those wasted years and now I don't get to even enjoy my new-found discovery.

Life can be downright vicious and cruel sometimes.

Anyway, cut to nowish, where by nowish I mean last summer when I actually started writing this post and then forgot about it:

One day last summer I tried my wife's protein shake and didn't have The Reaction even though it had ripe banana in it. I was stunned and cautiously optimistic. I decided to test things out, so I cut up a banana into minuscule pieces, and ate them progressively waiting for the need to run to the bathroom and become a faucet, but it never hit.

Amazingly, my allergy had disappeared!!!

Or had it?


Later that week as I drove in to work I ate a protein bar. This particular day of work was a crunch-time situation--I had to finish a bunch of files before I ended my position as a mental health counselor at a middle school (news alert! The Weed was behind on paperwork!)--and so I walked to my office and got busy right away.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, my banana allergy hadn't really left. It had just re-incarnated itself and was now a protein bar allergy, and unfortunately I had just gotten done stuffing my face with a big ol' protein bar. My sudden need to salivate became so intense that I grabbed an empty water bottle near me and started salivating into it. And then the desperation of the moment--needing to finish those files-- led me to think, "hey, this isn't so bad. Maybe I can work through this so I can make sure to get these files done."

So I drooled. I drooled and drooled and drooled. For twenty minutes straight I drooled.

And when the need to salivate dissipated, I looked down, and my water bottle was nearly half full. Half full of drool from my body.  I had literally made the substance filling half of that water bottle.

I don't know if you know this about spit, but it is of a very strange consistency when pooled in a bottle. It verges on gelatinous.

What's that you say? You want to see a picture of my bottle of drool? (Did you hear that faint clicking sound in the distance? That was the sound of half of my readership closing out of this screen in a panic.)

Of course you can!
The thing that's special and also really disappointing about this picture is the fact that I have saved this bottle since last summer, so a portion of the saliva has evaporated, and also, you are looking at fluid was excreted from my body three months ago, which is pretty awesome and also pretty nasty.

Yuletide Saliva-Bottle Photo Op? SURE!

Merry Christmas! ~from my salivary gland, to yours~

Thirsty?

 Refreshing!

No sugar or preservatives!

In conclusion: never offer me a protein bar unless you want to see me become a garden hose of drool. And probably you should double check any bottle of water I offer you. I'm serious. Double check. Or you very well might swallow slime manufactured by glands located under my tongue. And then you'll kind of feel like you kissed me, except without all the good stuff. And believe me when I say: I'm really good at the good stuff. So you would be missing out in a big way. Aaand, you'd have my spit in your mouth.

(This post would be so much more interesting if somebody had accidentally drunk my three-month-old bottle of drool. Which is why it's literally stored on my kitchen counter, and will be there indefinitely. A guy can dream, can't he?)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Publicity!

Guys.

I would like you all to meet my friend Wendel.


"Hello, Wendel."
Wendel is on something of a journey. 

He met a streak of bad luck recently. First he lost his job. Then he lost his house. Then he tried his hand at being an apps developer renting an office in my office suite.

He failed.

So, now he's moving. From Seattle to Arizona. 

In this:


Is that a firetruck at the top of the pile, Wendel?
This is Wendel's ton of crap in the back of his truck. And when I say a ton, I mean a literal ton. (As measured by a certified truck-stop scale in Jeremy, Idaho.)


At the beginning of the week, Wendel called me. He said that his truck fiasco was drawing a lot of attention. People at gas stations and stores were pointing, laughing and even taking pictures. And that's when he proposed a business arrangement: He would advertise for The Weed on his truck for $20.00.

Being the shrewd business man that I am, I asked "will people be able to click on the truck and get through to my website?" Wendel explained to me the ins and outs of "computers".  I was still a little bit uncertain--iPhones are quite powerful. Couldn't they just click on the truck with their iPhone and get to my blog using their iPhone? But "no," said Wendel. "You cannot click on a physical object and have it take you to a website. It will just draw attention to the name of your blog. And then some people might search for it. Nobody can click through to your blog from a physical truck with an ad on the side. Unless the truck happens to also be the world's largest iPad. Which mine is not."

Then he sent me these:




Oh, I get it now. It's like a billboard. A billboard affixed to a literal ton of crap in the back of a pick-up truck driving across the country. 

GENIUS.

Well, if you are one of the many many visitors sure to flood in, then hello!!! Thanks so much for seeing an ad on the side of a pick-up truck and then searching out my blog on a computer later.

Publicity is amazing!!!

Also, Wendel wants to meet you. And I mean you. So if you live in Utah or Arizona and you want a picture with the The Weed pick-up truck, follow my Twitter feed. Later on today, Wendel will be tweeting his locations so you can get a picture with The Weedmobile. (If you send me your picture, I'll definitely post it here on the blog. Because that would be awesome.)

(Nobody will do this.)

In closing, BEST $20 I'VE EVER SPENT!




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

All a Buck & More

This post is about a store.

Back fourteen centuries ago when I was in Utah at the beginning of the month, my sister's car broke down when she came to pick me up from my sex conferenceThen a couple of days later, we were driving the same car which had miraculously begun working again. The plan was to pick up In-N-Out and go to Grandma Weed's so I could see her one last time before she died. (Side note: I did not actually know she would die several days later at this time. I know it now because this is me from the future talking. Which is why blogs are like time machines.)

While sitting in the drive through at In-N-Out, the car died again. And this time, it did not start up again miraculously.

So basically we were stranded at the mall.

Now, I don't know what laws of economics are in play in Salt Lake City, but for whatever reason, Valley Fair Mall is perhaps the strangest mall I've ever seen. Where most malls have a string of predictable common stores selling popular goods (I can't name these stores--I don't really go to malls very much), Valley Fair Mall has really odd wannabe versions of those stores with catchy names like "Bedazzled" and "Eyebrow Miracle". The most awkward of those stores is the lingerie store called "Husband and Wife".

I'm not kidding you.

So, there we were, Jenni, Justin and I (and their two kids Alice and Parley) wandering around, waiting for our ride. We wanted to find a place where we could let Alice roam and we soon found ourselves in a randomly chosen store.

So what you're saying is that everything IN this store is either a dollar or not a dollar. That makes it entirely different than every other store!


Jenni and were standing there talking in an aisle. Suddenly, we became aware of what we were standing next to.

As seen on TV!  In 1987!

We kind of couldn't believe what we were looking at. It was a Waist Trimmer that appeared to be from an infomercial in the 80's. And it was priced at $6.95 and $14.95. (For those unfamiliar with business and sales, that's a little trick to distract you from the fact that the implication of the store title is that everything should be around a dollar.)

It was at this point that Jenni and I realized that this store was amazing.

Our time waiting for a ride suddenly became a contest to see who could find the most ridiculous merchandise. The following is some of the best of what we found, documented by photo because if it wasn't, it would be too ludicrous to believe.
 
Let's start with the underwear section.

First off, we have these:

I don't know about you, but when I buy over-sized granny panties, I definitely favor the ones that have little green bears on the back. It makes taking a dump WAY cuter!


Fittingly, I think the middle bear is actually squatting to defecate (while the other two watch?).

Oh, and one more in the front. Plus a little green bow. SEXY.

But if you think those bear panties were a dream, wait till you get a load of this G-string!

 It's possible somebody needs a lesson in what "G-string" means. 

Soon, we were done looking at intimates and we moved on to other things. 

Jenni found a purse. Made of glass.

"The thing I'm most interested in in a hand bag is finding one that will literally shatter to pieces at the slightest jostle."

I stumbled upon a a "dog collar".



Where when I say "dog" I actually mean "T-rex"

Soon, Justin was helping too. The hits just kept coming.

We found a double glue pack!

Yes, on the left you have your glue, and on the right you have your glue stick. Strangely I had always thought of a glue stick as a stick of glue. Silly me!

Candles!!!
Somebody made a mistake here. 

I just don't understand why these aren't selling like hot cakes? Who DOESN'T need exterior palm support?

Some masterpieces go totally unappreciated.

What's that? You want to read the back flap of "Growing Pains?" Sure!

  I'm biting my nails just THINKING about how Sandra might have learned her big lesson about popularity not being everything! (I think it might have something to do with her broken foot.)
 

 Hey, girl with the Neck Rest. 1988 called and they want their feathered hair back. Oh, and they also want their Neck Rest back. Oh screw it. Does anybody have a time machine so we can take this thing back home? (Also, what better place to read a magazine than in the driver's seat of your vehicle. While wearing a neck brace.)

We were winding down because Allison and Spencer, our ride, were about to get there. However, before we left, we found one more awesome gem... perhaps my favorite find of the evening.

 Wow, this hardware set sounds really fancy! I can't wait to utilize their variety, credible, quality broad purpose. Let's turn it over and see what hardware we get in thi...



 Wait. I don't understand. These are... glue sticks. Not hardware.


"Caution: Extremely Sharp Blades--Handle With Care."

Yes. One should always be careful when handling room-temperature hot glue. Because of the sharp blades.

At about this point, Alli and Spencer arrived, and it was time to go.

But I will always remember. I'll always, always remember that if I need an infomercial product from the 80's, or if I need a glue stick that's actually a bottle, or a glass purse, or a g-string, I can find it at All a Buck & More!

It might be my favorite store ever.

Also HEADS UP! my friend Wendel is planning to do a publicity stunt for me this weekend. It's probably going to knock your socks off. (Hint: it involves his truck and his move to Arizona.) So, get ready for that! There may or may not be live-tweeting involved.

And finally, Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Grandma Weed

I've tried to write a few posts, but it hasn't felt right.

I found out last Friday that my Grandma Weed died. Today was the funeral. Her death was expected (in fact, my entire family got together last summer to make sure we could have some final days together with her), but it still hasn't felt quite right to publish my post about visiting the most hilarious store in the world when I was in Utah two weeks ago not having mentioned that I am back in Utah for a funeral.

I'm really particular like that, I guess.

The funeral went really well. It was well attended, and the program was nice. I ended up speaking, playing the violin, and singing (I did the ol' sing-and-play-during-the-same-song trick). It was all really nice.

And then, afterward, I went to the bathroom and noticed that my fly had been down the entire time I spoke, played the violin and sang.

Not joking. Even a little bit.

Quote from my brother as I read this to him. "I'm horrified right now. I'm just glad your willie didn't flop out."

Me too, Chad. Meee too.

I'll be back Monday posting about the store.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And that's why I'm a sex worker and not an auto-mechanic

I wrote most of this last Thursday during my trip to Utahr, but then I got distracted by something really important, probably either a movie or a meal or the variegated color of my arm hair.


I'm in Utah right now attending a conference about sex addiction.  Because I'm going to specialize in that. Which means that I'm a sex worker.

While here, my sister Jenni and her husband Justin were nice enough to volunteer to shuttle me around and allow me to stay at their house. This means that I didn't have to pay to stay at the hotel where the conference is being held, which as it turns out is also the hotel I lost my virginity aka spent my wedding night in so really it's very fitting that I would spend three days talking about sex there, right? Except we're talking about sex addiction. Not ending 22 solid years of virginity to consummate a marriage. But let's not sweat the details here, folks.

The Crystal Inn. Where I lost my virginity, and then went to a sex addiction workshop a decade later.

Tonight when I got done with eight hours of intensive training, Jenni called me as she approached the hotel. Her car had died, and she was at the side of the road.

I don't know about you, but like most guys I know who write poetry and play the violin, I don't know the first thing about cars. Yet, at the same time, because I'm a guy I feel an unspoken responsibility to not only know about cars, but to help women who are broken down in them. Most especially when those women are my sister. And also my ride home.

Miraculously Unfortunately, she was too far away for me to walk over and meet her, so I tried my best to give her advice over the phone. "I think you should... check the gas gauge. Do you have gas?" I asked. She did. She had filled up the tank the day before. At about that time, I heard a guy talking to her asking "Do you need any help?" and so I panicked and yelled "Hang up with me so you look more damsel in distressy so they help you!" and then hung up on her.

Because I'm a hero.

When she called back she reported that he helped her push the car into a parking space nearby and then left. So she was officially stranded with two kids in the car.

Awesome.

Justin, who was busy riding his motorcycle/dirtbike/crotchrocket/motorcade/bike thingamajig--you know one of those things with two wheels that can go on jumps and stuff--after a long day of being a lawyer, eventually came to the rescue. He picked me up and we drove over to Jenni and the kids. They were stranded by a restaurant called Scaddy's (which is probably the worst choice in names for a restaurant ever selected because it sounds similar to an incredibly large number of repulsive words. Scabbies, Scabies, scab, crab, cabbies, cat, scat... shall I continue???). We got out, said hello to the car's occupants, and then we men went over to the car to diagnose the problem

Imagine this scenario. Justin is decked out in his biking gear. He's covered in mud. He just got back from jumping life-endangering jumps on a track. He casually shows us his injuries from where he wrecked earlier that day. There was blood involved. He didn't give a crap.

I, on the other hand, am shivering cold in a button-up shirt and hoodie jacket thing. I just got back from a conference where I saw grown men weeping openly, and where there was more talk about feelings than a book club filled with pregnant women discussing The Notebook

One of these things is not like the other. Nonetheless, we went around to the hood so that "we" could fix the car.


Justin: Hey man, will you hold the hood up.

Me: Sure. Did you know in England they call this the bonnet?

Justin: *ignores me as he messes with some plugs and stuff*

Me: I bet I could make a good joke about it being the bonnet...

Justin (to Jenni): Go ahead and start it up!

*whir, whir, whir, whir* *whir, whir, whir, whir*

Me: Sounds like this car got its bonnet strings in a knot! *stifles laughter* *looks around to see if anyone heard the joke*

Justin: This just doesn't make any sense. (to Jenni): start it again!

*whir, whir, whir, whir*

Me: Well, I for one think it might be..

Justin (to himself): I wonder if it's the spark plug.

Me: I was literally about to say spark plug! And I'm actually totally serious. Because that's the only engine part I can name. Besides "engine." Oh, and alternator. That's in the engine, right?

Justin (to Jenni): One more time please!

*whir, whir, whir, whir*

Justin: (shakes head solemnly) 

Me: (resists the urge to give Justin a hug of comfort)

Justin: Hey, Josh can you...

Me: Continue writing a poem about this dead car in my brain right now? Sure.

Justin: No, not that. Could you lift the hood off my head, please.

Me: Oh. Yes, of course. I forgot I was holding it for you!

Justin: ...Could you also stop hugging me.

Me: But you need a warm hug! You just lost a friend! *sniffles*

Justin: You are making me uncomfortable.

Me: Hug it out, Justin. Shhhhh. Just hug it out. *starts rubbing his back tenderly*

Justin: Please stop touching me. You're not making things better.

Me: Or am I?

Justin: No.

Me: Just a little bit?

Justin: *walks away to call a buddy to come pick us up, shuddering violently*

Me: ...I think he really needed that. (decided head nod)

See, I could never make it as an auto-mechanic because I just feel too deeply.

Which is why I became a sex worker.

Stay tuned for part II of the car breakdown story where we break down again two days later at the mall and while we're waiting for our ride we enter the coolest most hilarious store I've ever seen.  There are pictures!





Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A drawing of Daddy!

The other night we were hanging out with some friends and the kids were playing in the kitchen, coloring. Suddenly Viva calls out to me.

"Daddy!" she says, "I drew a picture of you!"

I go to the table, take a look at the picture, and laugh. Hard. (No pun intended.)

A perfect likeness!
Might frame this one for my office...

Yes, that does look exactly like what you think it looks like.

It's a rocket ship!!!

Like they always say, you never know how much of a "rocket ship" you are until your three-year-old daughter draws you as one.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dear The Weed UPDATED

I'm basically Dear Abby now. Except I'm actually credentialed to give advice. And also my name is a drug.

Got this last week: 

Dear The Weed,
 
I just happened to read your blog from a friends phone and loved it!  I see that you are a therapist and I hope you are ok with me asking you a question (because I'm going to ask it anyway :). My daughter is almost 10. She is very bright, kind, social, and for the most part, happy. My daughter has been showing some aggression and cruelty to my miniature dachshund. She hits the dog, drags her behind her on walks, and has kicked the dog and has kept her 'captive' downstairs, not letting her escape. My daughter loves all animals (I know that sounds crazy). She is always very loving to any other animal... Except our dog.  I had no idea until today that she had been that mean to the dog. She isn't like that to the dog when I'm around. I am concerned and don't know what to do. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for reading my ramblings... Sorry to be a pain :)

Sincerely, 

A Concerned Mother


Dear CM,


First of all, thanks a ton for asking me for advice!


Here are some thoughts:

1. Is the dog particularly ugly? Because I heard one time from a friend that they did a study once about babies and how if babies were uglier they got less sympathy from their parents which I think explains a lot about my childhood. And also the kid on Modern Family.

2. Is your daughter particularly ugly? 

3. Has the dog recently bitten your daughter?

4. Again just to clarify: does your dog look like this?

 Because that would explain a lot.

Photo attribution here.   

5. How did you raise your daughter? Did you give her frequent treats? Was she coddled? Did you use lots of reward charts and also waterboard her occasionally? Did you breastfeed her, and if so until what age? Natural child-birth? When you were putting her to bed did you make her go potty before or after brushing her teeth? What kind of toothpaste did you use? How often did she eat blueberries? What is the total of the sum of the numbers in her birth-date multiplied by 8 divided by the numeric equivalent of her middle name? Does she like mint flavored ice-cream? Given the sequence 4835798475394378594 what does she answer as being the next seven digits in the pattern? The answer to any of these questions might contribute to our understanding of her behavior.

5. Okay, I jest I jest.

My impression is that her behavior is pretty normal. Her relationship with the dog is one where she has total power, and as kids grow up, there is experimentation to discover what having "power" or control over other beings means and feels like. It's possible that she is simply trying on a new role, controlling the dog, "disciplining" the dog, in an attempt to learn how to manage that kind of responsibility. It sounds like most of her behaviors fall in line with the idea of "disciplining" the dog, and I suspect she is simply trying to exert some control. I actually see this behavior sometimes in kids with their younger siblings as well. 

If this is, in fact, the case then opening lines of communication about how to properly be "in charge" of a living thing might be helpful. I would probably avoid punishing her or making her feel "bad" for the way she's treating the dog in favor of simply framing it as "that's not the best way to take care of a dog..." That way she will avoid feeling unnecessarily that she is "bad" or "weird." 

It doesn't appear to me that anything more troubling than that is going on, but of course keep an eye out for injuries on the dog, as that would probably be reason for concern.  

Of course, I've never met your daughter. So that could all be totally off and she actually could be a sociopath. (Though that's highly unlikely.) 

Good luck!

The Weed 

UPDATE: I forgot to say: readers, do you have any insight or advice for CM? Feel free to share in the comments if you have any thoughts or happen to be a dog-abuse expert or whatever.
 
So, apparently this is "a thing" now. If you have any questions for the The Weed Advice Column, please send an email to joshua dot weed at gmail dot com.  I answer questions about relationships, deformities, genocide, sex and different types of salad. And pretty much anything else, but mostly relationships and family stuff.

*Any and all advice is meant for entertainment purposes and you shouldn't take it like I'm a therapist even though I am a therapist. I'm just talking, all right? It's no big deal. We don't have a therapeutic contract. Unless you live in Washington. And you pay me. And sign some stuff. Which can be arranged.




Thursday, October 20, 2011

Riddle me this...


When I quit my job at a local mental health agency, they invited me to stay on board as a contracted worker to do drug and alcohol assessments two days a week. (Another topic for another post. The assessment, called the GAIN, is insane.)

Naturally, when I quit as a full time employee, they had to relocate me into another less trafficked office. I was only going to be there two days a week after all.

So, they sent me to the dungeon. Seriously, my office is located in the farthest corner of the building, in the back of somebody else's office. (That piece of information will be relevant shortly.) Like you go into an office, and there's a door on the far wall that opens to another door two feet later with my nameplate on it. That's the door to my office.

Telling clients how to get to my office is the most ridiculous thing ever. "All right, go downstairs, and when you get to the hallway, turn right. Now go all the way to the end of the hall. The end of it. Keep going! Your life is not in danger here, I promise. No, no, keep going. *waves them further down the hall* Yeah, exactly, until it looks like you're about to run into the brick wall at the end. Perfect. Now turn to your right. There is a door. Go into it. You are now in an office. It's not mine. See that other door on the far wall? Open it. See that other other door two feet farther that says "Josh Weed"? That's my office. I promise I will not murder you and bury your corpse in there. Though if I did, probably nobody would notice." *shrugs*


Aaaalll the way to the end...
None of that is the weird part of this story/riddle.

Here's the weird part.

There was a sequence of disgusting phases, much like the plagues of Egypt, that has occurred over the last two months in the office "next to" mine. You know, the one my office is in, that I can't avoid taking clients through? That one.

I need you guys to help me figure this out:

When I first moved in and there was a shopping cart filled to the brim with rotting food that was supposed to be donated, which the person who occupied said office said he'd clean up multiple times yet did not, even though it was right in front of my door, there was no detectable odor. All smelled of roses in fact. My clients and I just had to trip on a shopping cart full of rotting food every day. No biggie.

When the shopping cart was removed one day and the office manager, Dee, apologized profusely to me and said she and the data administrator had to clean up mounds and mounds of rotting non-donated goods from local restaurants that the occupant of the adjacent office had hoarded? Still no smell.

When I saw the first "fruit fly" in my office, I thought it was because I often eat fruit and maybe the janitor got lost in the labyrinth that is my office arrangement and forgot to take out garbage. I let Dee know. She was awesome, and the next day, my garbage had been taken out. And there was still no smell.
 
When I noticed a few more "fruit flies" I tried to kill them one by one thinking they were stragglers. I had clients coming in for several-hour-long assessments! I had to get rid of those things. Somehow I still thought I had brought something in that was attracting them. And there was still no smell.

When several days had passed and for some reason the flies wouldn't disappear, I got over the idea that if I killed the flies they would eventually go away. The image of my clients and myself causally killing flies or brushing them off our faces while I asked about drug history became my new "normal." Many "fruit flies" were murdered. It was disgusting. I felt like I was on Survivor.  And there was still no smell.

Hello friend!
When I noticed a "fruit fly" upstairs in the staff room, I realized there was an infestation. The place was crawling with them. One landed on the cake my co-workers brought me because I had quit as a full-time employee. And there was still no smell.

When Dee called me into her office looking like she might vomit, she explained that the occupant of the adjacent office forgot he left a tray of now-rotten potatoes in a box for years, and that's where the flies had laid their filthy maggots and bred until the place was infested. She said the data administrator had thrown up as he took the cesspool of filthy fly excrement mixed with dead flies mixed with maggots mixed with rotten potatoes to the garbage.

And there was still no smell. .

 See these dead flies? Multiply this by 4,000. That's how many I killed with my bare hands. Because I'm a fearless killer. A fearless killer of gnats.

When Dee came into my office the next week white as a ghost and said that she had been digging around in the adjacent office and found a freezer full of rotting meat from 2008 that was supposed to have gone to needy families, but instead had been abandoned and forgotten by the office occupant, and that she was so sorry, and that she would get it cleaned up before my next client, there was STILL NO SMELL.

I know. Let's save this frozen meat and let the freezer turn off sometimes so it rots. That way we can solve hunger!

But now? Now the office has been totally purged. The rotten potatoes are gone. The freezer full of rotten meat that was dripping and oozing years-old cow blood all over the place is cleaned out. The shopping cart filled to the brim with rotten packaged food has long been removed. The infestation of flies was eradicated, and their sweet sanctuary was taken to the dump.

But every time I walk my clients down the long corridor and enter the adjacent office to get to my own, I am knocked over by the smell of death and rotting flesh mixed with Lysol.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?????

I am literally afraid to discover the answer.

PS, Wife wants me to mention that this is freak-show sequence of disgustingness has nothing to do with my private practice, which is in a nice office located in Auburn, an entirely different city.

Photo attribution here and here and here and here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Camping: a tutorial UPDATED

Are you nervous about going camping before winter comes? Don't worry. I'm here to help you.

If you're anything like me, you have gone camping very few times in your life because your mom was the type of lady that thought "roughing it" was a Motel Six with grungy bedspreads and your dad didn't have a dad. Not so much in the immaculate conception sense, but more in the he-was-an-abusive-drunk-that-my-grandma-left-when-my-dad-was-three sense.

I didn't mind the not camping thing. I'm about as handy with a hammer as a fish is handy with a Chinese finger trap. I mention a hammer because in my mind, you use a hammer to nail in some kind of stakes that help you prop up a tent or some crap like that when you're camping, but for all I know you don't even need a hammer when you set up a tent and I just made a fool of myself in saying that. That's how inexperienced I am at camping.

All of that aside, I recently camped, and I took some notes so that you, too, can camp successfully. If you follow these helpful tips I'm sure that your camping experience will be delightful and you won't be mauled by honey badgers.

1. Find the right site

One of the first things you need to remember to do when you're camping is to find an adequate site. It is important to find a place in a forest that isn't inhabited by people in houses, and that doesn't have sidewalks or very much pavement or restaurants or power lines. This type of area is called "the forest" or "the wilderness" or "a campsite" or "an especially large shoulder off the highway."

If you think you have come across a place to camp but aren't sure, there are a few questions you can ask yourself in order to not make the mistake of trying to camp on somebody's personal property.  Things like "is there a mailbox in my line of vision?" or "is that barking animal a domesticated dog, or a wolf?" or "if I were to start a fire here, who would notice?" On that last one, if there are pedestrians walking around that might notice the fire, you're probably not in a campsite. You're probably on a street. Or in a hotel lobby. And if you start a fire, you will be arrested or cause the fiery death of all the occupants of a Hilton or private residence. So be careful.

You're doing it wrong.

Photo attribution here

2.Make sure to figure out what you'll sleep in.

Camping can be cruel. Just ask the Donner party. Or Moses. Or this guy.

Because of this reality, it's important to know where to sleep when you camp. Many people camp places where you need to set up a tent or some crap like that. Like maybe you need to find shelter, or make a lean to to protect yourself from torrential rains or something. The problems with this are many, not the least of which is the fact that doing so requires physical labor. That's right. If you choose to camp, in many cases you have to build a freaking house for yourself made of cloth or leaves and branches. And that makes little to no sense.

I recommend that you go to a camp that has a bunch of tee-pees set up like I did. It was called Ensign Ranch.


Easiest way to set up camp is to make sure someone has done it for you. 
(Thanks for the photos, Crabtrees.)


If you fail to do this, you will be forced to put up your own tent (aka wrap yourself up in your disassembled tent like a giant sleeping bag and hope that bears don't attack you in the still of the night and eat your eyes out your face like plump, wet grapes.).

3. Food.

You've gotta be careful to bring the right food. Wife and I, fraught with inexperience, brought stale pretzels, one-fourth of a power bar, and an empty water bottle. So we were screwed. Fortunately, our friends the Warners brought dutch oven food which they made in pots and stuff and there were some coals or something--I don't really understand this very well. I was getting real nervous because the pots were covered in ash and looked totally disgusting and like I was about to eat dirt, but then--and I'm actually not sure how this works and I think it might involve Voodoo--but somehow this

Can I take another helping of coal, please?

turned into a bounty that included cobbler and potatoes and chicken and it was delicious, and I'm really sorry they didn't get any pictures of their meal, or that they didn't get to enjoy any of it by the time they were done taking their kids to the potty because I accidentally finished it all, but we did save them some of these:


Yes, these are Mickey nuggets on a stick.

 *starts singing* "That's what friends are for..."

(Thanks for the photos, Warners. Oh, and for your dinner. Mmmmm.)

4. Bathroom etiquette.

Here's the hard truth: when you're camping, you're going to have to go #1 and possibly #2, and sometimes you have to get creative. Easiest solution is to camp at a place like Ensign Ranch where there are outhouses all over the place. But even then, things get tricky. For example "occupied" means that there is somebody already in the outhouse. Please note, when you enter the outhouse, make sure to lock it, which is what enables the "occupied" sign to be seen. Otherwise you might have an unsuspecting person barge in while your wee wee is doing wee wee, and that's just embarrassing for everyone, but mostly for the older woman there to relieve her bladder. (Sorry!)

No outhouse? No problem! Just take a dump in the forest and clean yourself up with leaves. I've been there. Oh, oh, how I've been there...

Executive decision: I have decided not to look for a picture to supplement this section about feces and urine in a forest. You're welcome.  

5. Have some fun!

Suggested activities:

Cards?
Uh, smores?
Other things you do outside....?

Yeah, I'm drawing a blank here. Why do we camp again?

Oh yeah, it's to become one with nature. So, nature walks are a great idea. Just remember, if a bear charges you on your jaunt, DON'T RUN. Play dead. Which won't be very hard to do if you've forgotten this tip and chosen to run, because you'll no longer have a face and you'll be dead.

If you happen to be with a group of people who, for "fun," decide to do a root-beer chugging contest, be on alert. When they ask you to represent your team of 10 people because you're so masculine *curtsies*, have a ready excuse at hand. In my case, I chose to opt out because--rational as always--I was terrified I might vomit.

I discovered that the best way to handle this scenario is, instead of explaining your "reasoning", just stand there awkwardly not participating for several loooong minutes while people wonder exactly where you fall on the autism spectrum until Tami Baumgartener shows she's got more cajones than you ever will by volunteering to go for you.

Way to go, champ!!!


Afterwards, when the chugging is over, ask her if she threw up so you can feel vindicated in your decision. When she says "no" tell yourself that the root beer would have made your nose tingle real bad, and so it was still a really good idea to wuss out in front of 30 people. Then go cry in your tee-pee and wait for the shame to give way to sleep.

Now remember, future campers, the root beer chug is just one of the four or five many things people can do while camping. Keep your mind focused and maybe you'll discover more!

6. Packing up

When your trip is coming to a close, it's time to pack up. It's important at this point to get lost in the forest on a nature walk so you don't have to clean or do any heavy lifting.  Shockingly, Wife was the one who employed this strategy on our camping trip.

Okay, okay, That's not exactly what happened unless when you say "get lost in the forest" you actually mean "took the girls to a huge slip and slide on the campground without you so you could pack up by yourself, mainly because you didn't have the right shoes."



I'm not bitter.*

____________________________________________________________________________________

 
Welp, there you have it! I hope you find this tutorial helpful. Now, get out there and go camping before winter comes! Otherwise you will probably die. From hypothermia. Whatever disease that is.

*Yes I am.


UPDATE: A helpful reader pointed out that I said cajones when I really meant cojones. This is not the first time something like this has occurred. (You should read that post. It was one of my very first humor posts from a year ago. So it has historical significance.) Aren't you pleased to know that I'm an official "near fluent" translator for the local school district? Who needs to remember "a"s and "o"s!?


Also, I am replying to all the comments on this post now. Days later. But better late than never. Heh?