Sunday, July 31, 2011

Singing Time With The Weed UPDATED

Oh, boy! You guys are in for a treat!

So, tomorrow morning, I am playing a violin solo for a church meeting. At 7:00am. On a Sunday morning.  Because my life is awesome like that.

Anyway, I got on here to write about this thing that happened while I was practicing with my accompanist. Basically, because the song I'm playing is really simple and super short, I was trying to brainstorm ways to make the performance less mind numbing befitting of a church meeting, and one of the things I threw out there was that maybe I could play the melody, play the descant, and then sing it a third time through. I was half-way joking. But my accompanist, who is a church leader, was like "I think that's a great idea."

Really? I'm going to be standing there playing the violin, and then in the middle of my performance, I'm going to put my instrument to the side and randomly start singing?

He insisted we try it out.  And as I tucked my violin under my arm and started belting it out I almost couldn't keep from laughing. I held strong though and got through.

He was like "so what did you think?" and I was like "well, I almost started laughing. I mean, who does this? It feels a little bit like I'm a spectacle. Like the audience will be all on tenterhooks wondering what will happen next. 'So, next is he going to strip off his suit and start an interpretive dance? Oh, maybe he will treat us with a verse in sign language. I sure hope he brought a kazoo and an auto-harp!'"

 "Oh, Bill, didn't you just love the part where he danced hip hop to Janet Jackson wearing spandex?"

My accompanist thought my thinking was unfounded. So... we're doin' it. That's right folks. I'm playing a violin solo AND singing. In the same performance.

Yeah. I'm that awesome. Because that is totally what it is. Awesome. And epic. And not weird or awkward at all.

Anyway, because of this development, I had a brilliant idea and decided I wanted to give you guys a sneak peak into what will happen tomorrow! I forwent the violin part, because *yawn*. But I'm going to sing the little ending part for you to prep for my big performance.

Gotta throw out some thoughts about the video before you enjoy though. 1. I just got out of the shower in this so, as you'll see, my hair is a little bit like a bale of hay / Einstein's fro during the later years (and maybe the early years? Have I seen a young Einstein? Were there even cameras that long ago? Man, I sure wish a raging genius scientist was here to answer all these questions for me.). 2. You know how I'm weightlifting like a beast now? Well, my bodyfat percentage is going down, but I'm also taking a little somethin' somethin' called creatine which has made my face expand like a piece of bread in a bowl of water. (This is my warning to not be expecting a face that could launch a thousand ships. Unless said ships were launched in terror. Away from me. As fast as possible.) 3. Remember how I have a blind eye? If you look closely, it will probably do weird stuff. I can't remember. 4. I am not smiling at all. That's because this video is SERIOUS BUSINESS. Except for in the middle when I can see Wife laughing out of the corner of my eye and I have to stop rolling so I can regain my composure.

All right. I think we're ready for the performance.

I just rewatched it, and I was like "Whoa. Better than I even remembered."

I don't mean to ask a question with an obvious answer (BREATHTAKING), but what did you think?

UPDATE: So, I finished this post at three in the morning. And I had to get up by 6:30am. Before going to bed, I decided to shave. And for the second time in two months, I realized that I had left my electric razor at somebody's house while on a trip (#ihaveADD). So, I launched into a complete meltdown. And then Wife came to the rescue with a fancy Gilette razor she bought for her legs, and I dry shaved for a minute, but then my whiskers were too long, so that's when Wife came to my side and taught me how to shave. It was very tender, and reminded me of the movie Phenomenon and also of a very healthy father son relationship. I can't deny that I will likely treasure the memory of her showing me how much lathered soap to use for a very long time...

Oh, and the actual performance? Went fine. It was as good as one would anticipate a combination violin/singing solo by someone who has had two hours of sleep and was just taught to shave by his wife would be.
Photo attribution here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cujo Satan Kitty UPDATED

Have you ever been looked at or approached while walking down the street in a way that made you feel uncomfortable and a little bit dirty inside? In a way that made you feel a little violated?

That happened to me the other day.

I was on a little evening stroll around my neighborhood talking on the phone to my friend Brad. It was a peaceful evening. Not many were out. Suddenly I heard a noise. A noise that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. It sounded a little bit like the mix between a purr and a growl. When I looked down, a cat was following me, mimicking my gait, and looking up at me with eyes that said "pet me. I need you to pet me. I need it bad."

 "How you doing...?"

I wasn't really sure what was happening at first. I mean, I've interacted with cats a time or two, but nothing extensive. I was left baffled as the cat continued to follow me, and I wondered what the crap it was doing. Is this normal behavior, I wondered. Do cats frequently approach strangers for backrubs in the dark of night? If I touch it will it leave me alone? Is my life in danger in any way?

Then my brain went deeper. Is this cat in heat? And more troubling, is this cat trying to date me?

It seemed pretty clear that the cat was after a little bit more than just a good scratch behind the ear, so I decided that engaging with the kitty cat was probably a bad idea. I listened to that gut instinct--the voice inside me that was saying "don't start anything. Just ignore her, and she'll go away." I walked a little faster, said very clearly "leave me alone!" and kept walking.

But the cat didn't listen. She kept following me. And she got aggressive. As I continued walking, she began catapulting herself at my legs in an attempt to get me to stop walking, all while making the same purr/growl she was making before. She would pummel me. I'd keep walking. She'd try to trip me looking up at me with eyes that said "touch me." I'd just walk past her, thinking she'd get the hint. But she didn't.

She would NOT take no for an answer.

I'm not sure whether this cat was ever employed during the 1990's, but if she was, she definitely missed the cheesy, horribly acted video that depicted situations of sexual harassment (pronounced HAIREssment) and the consequences of not listening to someone when they say "NO." This cat did not hear me tell her that I wasn't interested. In fact, my rejection just made her more persistent. And if she and I had both been employees at a call center making cold calls to pharmaceutical companies, and had both been outside on our cigarette break when this happened, believe you me, I'd have turned her in to the boss in a second. And I would have been listened to, because let's face it, no employer wants to have a lawsuit on their hands that has anything whatsoever to do with the word "pussy."

I wasn't sure what to do, so I did what any self-respecting 31-year-old man would do and ran into my house daintily and shut the door as fast as I could yelling "leave me alone!"

The whole thing was terrifying. If this cat had been bigger, I'm not sure what would have happened, but I might have lost some innocence that night. It was as if this cat seemed to want to bear my freaky hybrid cat/human children, like the kind you'd see on a weird Facebook ad selling car insurance that uses some wonky picture to grab your attention.

Like this:

"My daddy is a person and my mommy is a kitty-cat"

You might think that this episode would be the end of the story. But it's not. No story worth telling ever ends where it really should.

As it turns out, the attraction this cat felt to me was powerful enough that any time I or any member of my family went outside, she would suddenly materialize out of nowhere, purring and growling and rubbing up all on me like we were at a club or I was covered in mice or something.

She appeared so frequently that she got a name. CSK. Short for Cujo Satan Kitty. 

CSK was making things a little difficult for us, I'll be honest. Not only was she totally inappropriate with me, but my daughters, especially Anna, are allergic to cats. We'd frequently be outside in the backyard, or in the park, or getting in the car or sitting by the window (I'm not kidding) and suddenly, out of nowhere, CSK would appear, and Anna would start freaking out "Daddy, CSK is here and she can't touch me because I'm allergic!!!"

It was getting ridiculous. Even when I was writing the first part of this post a month or so ago, I was sitting there trying to work through the PTSD surrounding my first encounter with CSK when Anna screamed from the kitchen. I got up from writing about CSK, walked to the kitchen, and saw that Anna was pointing at the window on the back door, where a ravenous looking CSK was sitting there mewing and licking her chops expectantly like we owed her something.

 "Stop being coy. Just let me in."

People, I'm not kidding, this cat was starting to scare me. And I was beginning to realize that I needed to take action.

The final straw came when I got home from work one day and Wife pulled me aside to tell me that as she was getting the kids in the car that day, CSK came up to Viva and when Viva reached down to pet her, CSK scratched her arm all up. 

Oh no, CSK. No you di'n't. 

Sexually harrassing an adult and making him feel like he is a piece of meat is one thing. But scratching up a two-year-old child? One that is my daughter? At that point you are no longer welcome. You are officially done. There is no more messing around.

I wasn't sure how to get rid of CSK, but I was sure that the next time she came around I would do something. My options were limited. Because I'm a pacifist (read: terrified of pain and also too empathetic to actually inflict pain on other living things), I knew it couldn't be explicitly violent, but also that it had to be forceful enough to TEACH CSK A LESSON.

The day came when I was in the back yard with the girls. CSK suddenly mounted the fence to hop into our backyard, and Anna started yelling "DADDY, you need to tell CSK to go away" and something snapped in me and I knew what I had to do. I took the kickball we were playing with and approached CSK (who apparently took my approach as sexual reciprocation because not only did she not run from me, but she actually perked up, waiting for physical contact). I thought about throwing the ball at her, but then I got realistic: I probably couldn't even hit the fence. The likelihood of my actually hitting her was approximately zero and then she'd just look embarrassed to know me (like she did on the day I became like Jimmer Fredette) and proceed to enter the yard and assault me and both of my daughters. So instead, I took the ball and... kind of started shoving her with it. At first she thought it was a game, but then I started getting annoyed, and I figured, hey cats can land on their feet, right? and so I just shoved her off the fence. I heard her land with a thud, and wondered what was next. She purr/growled, and then she hopped on the fence again, and it scared me so badly that I almost ran into the house  screaming and covering my girls like there was a tornado approaching, but I bolstered up my courage and took the ball and shoved her off the fence again. Really hard. Like a man. A man that is afraid of cats.

And it worked. Somehow, this act communicated to CSK that we were not interested in her friendship/stalking/sexual advances. She finally, finally got the message.

She hasn't shown up since.

But sometimes, I still look out at our back porch and think I see her feline eyes staring at me with a mixture of rancor and jilted love (the worst kind of combination).

And sometimes, late at night, as I'm sitting in my room, I wonder if she's out on the back porch peering up at my bedroom window, waiting for her moment to break into my house and massacre us all...


Good bye, CSK.

(One final note: Anna just saw the human/cat morphed picture and, knowing that most of the photos on this post are of the actual CSK, asked "Daddy, did CSK get a haircut?")
Yes Anna, to teach CSK a lesson, I shaved off all her fur. And this is what was left.

UPDATE: Somebody (aka my subconcious) recently pointed out something very alarming. What if CSK is a male cat????? What does this mean about me? And the universe? And life? And relationships?

I'm very uncomfortable right now. Why would a cat demonstrate this behavior???

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I don't get why nobody has contacted me regarding the national debt yet

There’s a lot of talk these days about debt reduction—and I don’t just mean my looming student loan debt. I’m talking bigger more daunting debt. The national debt.

Now, I’m no mathmetitian (nor can I even correctly spell the word mathematician without spell check), but I've been crunching some numbers, and I think there some pretty obvious ways to reduce the deficit that the powers that be haven't even considered. And frankly, I'm still not sure why I haven't been consulted on the matter.

Take for instance Youtube. Do you realize how much money could be made from a viral video? Lots. That’s how much. And it wouldn’t even be that hard to go viral. Like, say President Obama got some footage of Sasha and Malia playing with a kitty cat and then that kitty cat farted in Sasha’s face and Malia said something really funny like “Wow, that was some fierce feline flatulence!” And then they looked at the camera and smiled and giggled? Totally viral material, due to their celebrity. And then? Cha ching. Debt reduction.

 "I will personally resolve the debt crisis with my cuteness. And my bum hole."

Or blogging. So, I’m not sure if you readers realize this, but blogs can make money. Take my blog, for example. Just the other day, my new friend Ursula from Alaska donated five dollars to this blog. That just took my earnings from this cash cow of a writing project to a total of approximately $15 or $20 or maybe even $40 if you count the ad revenue I earned during the time period this blog was about ADD but that I forgot to cash out on because I have ADD. What this data indicates is that a blog from Capitol Hill, say a blog by John Boehner (I can’t see that name spelled out without laughing), for example, could rake in some serious money. Like maybe even hundreds of dollars a month. If he was feeling altruistic, he could siphon all or most of those earnings to offset the national debt. Of course, that might feel like revenue, so I’m not sure if he’d feel comfortable with that. But what I'm saying is, get a blog, powers that be! You're missing a ton of opportunity to fix our nation.

Other ideas:

E-book? (Famous White House Desserts might be a hit. Or White House Dogs: tales of canines as well as really ugly first ladies who have graced the White House)

Internet store? Okay, this one is so simple. Just make some mugs and stuff that have catchy slogans! In fact, I'm going to go to my Zazzle account right now to whip one up. It's that easy.

Browse other personalized gifts from Zazzle.

The mug says:  Solve the debt crisis! Buy 1 trillion of these mugs!

Guys, whoa. I think I might have just inadvertently solved the debt crisis myself.

Are you beginning to see how simple this really is?

There are tons of other ideas that would work really well, that nobody in Washington has even thought of. I'm not going to go into detail, but just think about it. Why are there no adsense ads on governmental sites? MONEY. How about Obama appearing in a music video with Lady Gaga and Pee Wee Herman or maybe a music video featuring Harry Reid in a wife-beater? MONEY. What about a Joe Biden/Nancy Pelosi pin up calendar? MONEY. White House garage sale? MONEY. E-bay sales of White House Memorabilia... you get the point. This isn't hard you guys! These are things that are just rolling out of me... like off the top of my head. Imagine if there were think-tanks considering this stuff? The crisis would be over, lickety-split.

So yeah, if you're concerned about the national debt like I am, you should probably do two things. First, I think you should contact your Congressman and tell them your opinion, and then maybe mention something about youtube or a blog or, you know, whichever of my ideas most caught your attention. And then you should probably buy one of those debt cups because I'll put the money directly toward my student loan debt and/or my lunch tomorrow the national debt. (Or at least part of it. The part that was your sales tax.).

If we all come together, we can make this happen!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training

I don't mean to brag, but I think it's pretty safe to say that Wife and I are Potty Training Masters.

We potty trained Viva last week. In one day. I know. *exhales on fingernails, then buffs them on shirt* <----Did that make any sense? Wife and I both knew how to do what I'm describing here, but neither of us knew how to describe it, nor what that action is even supposed to mean. (Any insight? Also, this entire paragraph might be totally confusing now, which is why it is awesome.)

So yeah, when it comes to teaching the bum-holes in this household where to deliver the goods, we have a no holds barred stance on rewards. In fact, if we made a mission statement for potty training, it might read something like this: In the quest of potty-training at the The Weed household, no reward is off limits if it means we don't have to open a diaper filled with warm, steaming non-baby feces and then clean the reeking toddler-haunch located in said diaper ever, ever again.

 So let me get this straight. I have to put my peepee and poopoo in this cold, unforgiving pit of death which I'm almost positive will eat me alive if I sit on it, and in return, you will feed me more candy than I've ever eaten in my life? DEAL.

Because of this, on day one of Viva's potty training, we had enough reward systems implemented to successfully train a team of dolphins at Sea World to do a 30 minute ball tossing spectacular.  Seriously. We're a little out of control, but hey, it works, so don't hate.

Viva's showcase included a table covered in all of her favorite candies, arrayed in a display case-style presentation that you might see at your local grocery store at Easter, a progress chart with plenty of empty spaces just waiting to be bedecked in princess stickers, and then, the piece de resistance: the beautiful white princess gown she had been coveting for weeks and the elegant plastic shoes that went with it.

She was very, very excited.

And because she was excited and loves sugar and loves stickers and wanted the dress really, really, really, really, really, badly and was old enough to understand how positive consequences over time can lead to plastic princess shoes, she potty trained very easily. This is not rocket science. It's simply the reason my children will expect to be rewarded anytime they do anything positive like get a good grade or wipe snot off their nose.

(Kinda funny aside: when I was in grad school, we were talking about reward charts for children and how detrimental they are to helping kids find intrinsic rewards for positive behavior, and I started feeling so guilty for the chart I had made Anna for potty-training that I raised my hand and confessed. "I just made a reward chart for my daughter. It involved a prize at the end, prizes along the way, and pieces of candy for every positive step my daughter took." My professor was like "um, that's not good... Oh. Unless it was for potty training. If you're potty training, you get to break every rule. I mean, come on, you're teaching a human to put crap into a cold, uncomfortable bowl.")

I should admit here, though, that we learned the hard way to bring out the big guns early on. With Anna, we did not know this trick. We read a book and naively thought it would guide us to diaper-free bliss. We followed its instructions one arbitrary day when Anna was barely two, and, for good measure, covered every inch of our floor in plastic in case of a "slip up." What that day resulted in was a little two-year-old who got to drink lots and lots of juice and then slide around having a blast on the plastic, totally uncommitted to pooping or peeing in a potty, but really loving all the attention she was getting.

We knew we were done when, for the fourth time that day, Anna walked into the corner right next to the potty, squatted, and then peed on the floor, and instead of being adults, Wife and I got into an argument about it. That's right. We were fighting about a two year old peeing in her underwear in the corner of the living room. Eventually we caught ourselves, and were like "I think Anna has let us know she is not ready." And then we waited until she was ready. A year later.

Yeah, maybe that's the key too.

The The Weed Method of Potty Training Success:

1. Blitz your child's mind with enough candy, treats, stickers, and purchased rewards that he or she literally would be insane NOT to put his or her waste into the toilet.
2. Do not employ the above method until the child is old enough to ask to be potty trained using a full sentence. 
3. If your child is going into Kindergarten and still cannot construct a sentence of this kind, buy him or her a permanent catheter. And then rethink kindergarten.

Wow. I'm pretty sure I just made a million dollars right there. Did you see that?

One final thought. Even though a child is potty-trained successfully, and hasn't had a daytime or nighttime accident for days, moments like the following still might occur from time to time.

As wife is putting Viva into her carseat:

Wife: Viva, why is your dress all wet?

Viva: Because I cleaned it.

Wife: Why were you cleaning your dress?

Viva: Because I went peepee in it!

Wife: Uh oh, sweetie. Did you have an accident? Where were you when you had an accident?

Viva: In your bed.

Wife: (horrified look, runs upstairs)

Wife (After looking for the accident unsuccessfully): I don't see it Viva. Where were you when you went peepee?

Viva: (in a voice filled with glee) I was on your pillow!

Yeah. That really happened.

Hey, wanna see a The Weed home video clip? WARNING: you will see a glimpse of a two-year-old's bum bum.

Things of note in this video:

1. Viva is holding a screwdriver. Don't know how she got it or where it came from. We are the best parents ever.
2. I am wearing a shirt that's older than Anna (who is five).
3. Who doesn't have a little potty in their kitchen?
4. Tessa needs a nose-wipe somethin' fierce.
5. Just be thankful this wasn't the other "Viva on a potty" video we saw on youtube (really? there's another Viva, and she has youtube potty footage as well?) which actually shows a toilet filled with toddler poop.