First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Anticipation is the Best Part I Guess.

I have to pee. I'm not getting up though. Not right now. There is no way I am missing this. But man, I have to pee. Really like, squirming and worming and wiggling my butt. But if I get up now it'll be over by the time I get back. Just gotta squeeeeeze tight. Mmmf. Can't. OohUhhh. Lock my ankles together. GO just get up and go and then No no no. I'm ok. Alright. Let's see this. Whoa he's gonna rip that guy's throat out. Look out! Ahh no. I really have to pee. Seriously.

"Do you have to pee?"


"Ok, because you're wiggling all over the place."



Man, do I have to pee. I mean really bad. But look at this. The other guy is winning now. I can't believe it. AHH I have to pee. Get him! Look out! Ooh, I think I just let a little out. But this guy is about to kill the mean one! Arrgghh!

"Are you sure you don't have to pee?"


"You can take one of your dinosaurs upstairs with you."

" . . . Okaaay. Daddy this dinosaur is a Gigantosaurus and the Gigantosaurus attacked the Brachiosaurus but the Gigantosaurus is a meat eater but the Brachiosaurus manages to get away because he uses his looong tail to hit the Gigantosaurus and then he gets away."

"Wow. That's quite the upset. Get upstairs to pee now."

"Daddy come with me."

" . . . Okaaay."


Tuesday, April 23, 2013


The boy turned four in December. Pumpkin Man. His squash remains magnificent, but man, four is tough. It wasn't quite so tough with the girl, but he was two then and she was her. Now, he's bruises and belligerence. Affection and anger. It's an in between moment, four years old. Right between baby and little boy.

Expectations mount and a lot of crap that used to be cute isn't so much anymore. Learn stuff, pick stuff up and put it away, don't shit your pants, don't chase the cat, please try to use your fork but not on the cat. The demands are multitude.  And he's got the added pressure of Polly Perfect Pants as an older sister.

Our school system uses a traffic light/Yakuza paradigm as a discipline tool. Everyone starts on green, yellow is a warning, red you lose a knuckle on your index finger.  The Peanut--in the school system for three years now--has yet to receive so much as a yellow light. Every teacher loves her and her classmates admire her. She's horrifying. From the point of view of a little brother, terrifying and absolute in her good dobeeness.

He's been on red light once so far. In pre-school. Some sort of trumped up cereal stomping charge. A charge we didn't find out about until a week later when the guilt got to him and he spilled it. His teacher neglected to mention it. We talked. She won't do that again.

He questions everything. A quality I hope he keeps forever just not right now.  He talks in streams of four year old consciousness. Streams miles long.The car is often his pulpit. Daddy always listens. Daddy sometimes dreamily contemplates unbuckling his own seatbelt and making for the nearest telephone pole, but he listens.

He's a very good boy, the Pman. Empathetic, loving, hilarious. He's good at puzzles and he loves nature. He's planning on being a nature documentarian when he grows up ("I'm gonna take pictures of animals and make movies of animals. Will you come see all my movies Daddy?" "'Course I will, buddy."). He loves hard, he plays hard. He is hard. He has an agenda that must be filled immediately. He's often got an answer for everything. He's me so much and so much more than me. He's got it hard, the Pman. Second child. Windy child. Four year old. I wouldn't go back there.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Leadership is important. Without leadership, there would be no leaders. Or ships, possibly. Imagine a world without ships. Then we would never have the movie Titanic. What a great world. Leadership can be defined thusly:

In a world where most people would fall to their deaths by blindly walking off of cliffs--which would be a pretty long walk from Kansas--a leader is a person who will step in front of those people and say "hold on a minute here you guys" and then lead them with great insight to the fastest place to walk off that cliff.

In other words, a leader is a person who leads. Why do I bring this up you so presumptuously ask? Because on this blog, I am the leader. Every time I write I lead my readers right of of cliffs and to a watery death. At least we're in Malibu

Another person who is a born leader is my wife. She always has been the type of person who can walk into a situation and take control. Also, she is unfailingly true to herself. Helps to make her a great teacher, a great teacher mentor, a great department head, and a pretty good capture the flag player.

Now she may have a chance to be a principal. There is a fellowship in our neck of the cliffs that offers, for the qualified candidate, to both pay for their principal classes (How to Make Kids Wait on a Bench, Announcements 101, Budgeting on a Budget, The Philosophy of Pantsuits, Theoretical Angry Eyebrow Knitting, etc.) and pay her salary while she's learning. And she always said after she got her Masters, " The only way I would ever got back to school now is maybe if someone paid me. Maybe"

And so here we are. I don't know exactly how many applicants there were-- a safe guess would be a million-- but my wife is one of a handful of finalists. Which meant she had to go to a seven hour interview last week. I can only assume three and half hours of it were filled with getting the ratios of pens to pencils correct in a desk pencil cup, and the rest was practicing the most threatening/condescending way to say "Mr. Murray. Why don't you come in and have a seat."

I always got on really well with my principal if you measure it by time spent in his office.

I don't know if she'll get it, but I'm crazy proud of her already because I know she represented with passion, honesty, and students foremost in her mind.

But if she does get it, I can't wait to get called to her office. Rawr.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Conversations of Hope and Vodka

I open the freezer to take out the vodka. It pours thick, clear, oily.  Doesn't even burn a little going down.

Here's what I told my daughter when her Connecticut Grampa called today to cancel a visit to celebrate her recently passed 6th birthday. She asked where he was a little before bedtime, so I told her.

"Well, in Boston, there was an explosion during the marathon. You know what the marathon is?" She nods her head. Her teacher's mother ran it. She's unharmed.

"Someone planted a bomb and it exploded and caused a huge mess in the middle of the city so that part of the city is closed. They closed it so that they could investigate and find out who planted the bomb and also so they could clean up the mess. So that makes traveling near or through the city really difficult. But he said he'd come up on Friday, ok?"

"What's a bomb?" she asks. Heh.

I feel like I always knew what a bomb was. Growing up during the Cold War will do that, I guess. She managed to make it six years without that knowledge. Beautiful, naive, little punk.

"Well, " I said. I say well when I'm buying time. "Well, a bomb is something that someone makes and puts somewhere so that it'll explode. It causes explosions."

She raises her eyebrows. "Shit," they seem to say. An impressive new nugget for her to squirrel away in her perfect head. Soon, before she goes back to school, we'll probably have to give her a little more information. Maybe we won't. I don't yet know.

I don't blame the old man for canceling. The phone conversation was disjointed. He was disjointed. Uncommon for him these days. He sited traffic and his wife's fear of going through the tunnel as reasons. They were plenty good enough. He could've sited restless leg syndrome and his horoscope. Not used to hearing him feel guilty. Not used to hearing him scared. Funny, that.

So she knows there was a bomb. And she knows what a bomb is. I don't really know what the boy knows. We haven't told him anything, but in the hours following the explosions he told us he kept, "thinking about scary things." Maybe it was connected, maybe not. He's the child that needs the night time incantations, the monster checks in the closet. Then again, my wife and I were pretty fucking tense. While we limited their exposure to the news we still had our handheld devices and our wagging tongues. Who knows?

That's the over arching way I'm feeling. Who knows? Who knows what this means? Who knows who did it? Who knows how I'm supposed to keep my kids safe in a world of random violence?  Who knows how many of the first responders and helpful civilians actually feel like heroes? Maybe they just feel like the clean-up crew. The surgeons at our multitude of excellent hospitals probably feel ok about themselves today, but you know, surgeons.

I know only this: I've got kids. And I've got to be able to let them make their own judgements and have their own dreams about this world. Which means, I've got to have hope. Silly, stupid, irrational hope.  I hope that if it's a domestic terrorist, it wakes us all up to how much work we have to do in this country. If it's a Muslim terrorist, I hope it wakes us all up to how much work we have to do with Muslim people. I hope the fucked up individual who did this is not a brown Muslim person, for all our sakes. I hope that someday soon I'll overhear a loud voice at a local bar crow, "Yeah boy! That's what you fahkin' get for fahkin' with my fahkin' city, muthah fahkuh!"

Mostly, I hope because despair takes almost as large toll on my liquor cabinet as hope does. And also, fuck it. It's going to be in the low 60's tomorrow and my kids and I are going to the park.


My hope and wishes for recovery go out to everyone involved. People of Boston I love you.

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