Tuesday, September 13, 2005


In Which A Whole Lot of Shaking Goes On...

As I nursed my recently acquired hip injury (don't worry, I won't post another picture of it) I was lucky in that several kids from the neighborhood suddenly let themselves in (the lucky part was that they didn't walk in on me taking pictures of my own naked hip. The risks I take for you people, I swear...). Mostly, these are the kids who get kicked out of their own houses on nice weekends, and so end up making a mess of other people's houses. Their instincts for which house to hit are unerring. And in my case, their timing was perfect.

I made everyone call their respective homes to inform the authorities where they were. I don't know why I bothered. Most of these children were the offspring of other Yummy Mummies who had left for the weekend, so their hapless dads were only too happy to let someone else watch their kids for a while. But with that brief nod to courtesy quickly dispatched, life really did start to become like a page from Where the Wild Things Are.

The walls and light fixtures shook with every footfall. The dog ended up in a closet, wearing a nightgown. When I freed him, he ran and hid in my bed. Under the covers. Meanwhile, downstairs, someone put a bag of popcorn in the microwave. A bag of Jiffy Pop. The kind with the aluminum outer covering. Electric blue flame lit up the kitchen.

While I acted like a one-man HAZMAT team, God help me, someone decided to start painting the hallway.


I figured, No point in steering now, and tried to catch up on some work, and then on some email, and found myself writing slightly crazed dispatches like this one:

CHildren have taken control of house. Corn dogs and chocolate bars for lunch. Dog is sleeping in my bed. Flames enamating from microwave. Also from head.

Action figures! Video games! Boogers!

EVery child in neighborhood is running up and down stairs. Rug soaked with Kool-Aid. Where are other parents?

No time to write! Life in dan

If there was an upside to the sudden takeover of my house, it's that the Tylenol had time to kick in and my leg felt better. While I flexed it tentatively, I peered out my living room windows. All down my street, I could see into the living rooms of my neighbors. All dads by themselves while the Yummy Mummies were away. I could see their silhouettes in the flickering glow of their assorted big-screen TVs and home theater systems. To a man, they were all watching baseball. Blissfully alone. I saw one of them tip his head back and bring his arm up in the universal gesture of kickin' back and havin' a beer.

The rotten bastards.

Something in me snapped. I went upstairs, and found the girls in the bathroom. The tub was a festival of rainbow-hued bubbles, a lather high enough to brush the ceiling.

"We're washing all my stuffed animals," the Brownie announced.

"Oh good. We're on the same wavelength," I said, smiling. "Because we're gonna surprise Mommy while she's gone and clean the whole house."

"WHAT?!?" I heard the distant shriek from Thomas' room, where the boys were dissecting a rubber lizard with a pair of safety scissors.

Every face in the bathroom fell. I kept smiling like a crazy man. "Yep. I'll get the dust-rags. Oh, and don't worry, girls. You can all help!"

Those kids couldn't have left the house faster if I'd yelled "Fire!" or even "Here comes the ice-cream man!"

As they left, Thomas and the Brownie surveyed the wreckage sadly. I'll say this for them: when they go and play at other kids' houses, they always help clean up before they leave. Unfortunately, they're among the few kids in our neighborhood who do this. Which means our house is often left in a shambles.

Thomas looked up at me glumly. "I guess we gotta pick up everything now."

I stopped smiling then, although I was kind of enjoying myself. And I thought I had finally stumbled on the secret to spending the weekend in charge of the kids: Keep switching tactics. Keep 'em off-balance.

So as Thomas started to pick up the mess, I called him back. "Don't be ridiculous. We're not cleaning."

The look of befuddlement was suitable for framing. "But you said--"

"I just said that to get rid of them. I don't have near enough ice cream to make milkshakes for everyone."

A brief digression: Some time ago, I was asked what I did to finally woo Her Lovely Self when we were first dating.

I'd love to tell you it was combination of charm, a sense of humor, and good looks.

But really, it all boiled down to my skills at wielding a certain, um, mechanical device.

The kind of device that makes women moan with pleasure.

It had been a while since I took The Device in hand, but it seemed that the situation warranted it.

Here's that big, shiny, metal bad boy now:


Worth every penny of the 50 cents I spent on it at a yard sale all those years ago. And although in this instance it was used for completely different purposes, I was pleased to see The Device was as good at mesmerizing my children as it was at seducing Her Lovely Self.


Of course, as a sentimental nod to one of the old recipes, I did add a little sumpin' sumpin' just for Daddy.


Then the Brownie spilled a bit of her precious drink, and when I hastened to wipe it up, I returned to find that someone else had discovered my milkshake.


While Blaze slept it off, we three sat around on the couch, watching the sun lower in the sky, and listening to our stomachs gurgle until, at last, they were empty. And instantly, the children were famished.

"Dad!" the Brownie cried. "You forgot to make dinner!"

Clearly my day was not yet over...


Oh my goodness...

The Wrench used to serve me double-chocolate triple malted milkshakes every morning.

In bed.

until the day finally came that I waddled into a Weight Watchers meeting...


Nowadays, the milkshake machine sits quietly on the counter. I dust it once a week, but can't bring myself to get rid of it.

I shall, however, someday soon be able to join the legions of "Yummy Mummies", so thats *almost* as tasty! ;)
you fed you dog "special" milk shake.

thats all I had to say.

you should be seeing a lot of "creamy" stuffs cropping up soon.

poor dog ... first violated .. and now drugged.
Nice tactic you used to clear out the house...I'll have to remember that one if I ever am in a similar situation...
I see you've got the whole parenting thing under control. Nothing calms a child faster than ice cream. I have answered your tag and in so doing have removed my cybercover for just today. I would only do this for you. xoxo
You and Blaze both deserved a good stiff shot after what you had gone through.

The reverse tactic can work just as well - the promise of icecream if we get the porch and shed cleaned up. I never would have gotten it done without the neighborhood kids help. Plus, they got the pick of goods before I posted it all on Freecycle.

Two words: Pizza Delivery!

Looking forward to round 3
love it!!! Giving the dog a special treat.... nice...

Can't wait for the next installment!!!
You might just win the award for the best Daddy ever, if you keep this up! Not the best pet owner, however...poor drunken violated Blaze! No wonder he needed a drink.
I read you every day now, thanks to Cute Little Box. I've now linked you to my site. No pressure on you, though. This is a really GREAT way to break up my day...
It's the paint on the wall that just dropped my jaw to the floor. Had it been one of my parents handling oversight at that point, I think the yellow paint would have been covered with a nice piece of tanned child hide. (There were nine of us - lots of hide to choose from.)

A vintage Hamilton Beach shake mixer is a thing of beauty (particularly when mixing ice cream with alcohol.) And that one has the bonus of being a magnificent shade of Seriously Old School blue/green/whatever.

Dang it. First AJ with the barbecue yesterday, and now you with the milkshakes. I want a real shake. Now. I need to fly home to Illinois and have a Whitey's shake. (They ship them on dry ice from Illinois, but six shakes are $69...)

Anybody have some frequent flyer miles they can spare?? Or some lottery winnings???
Perhaps my favorite line:
While I acted like a one-man HAZMAT team, God help me, someone decided to start painting the hallway.

The photo brings it home. A nice swatch to say, "How about a lovely yellow for this room."

And your poor dog! I'm hooked.
obvious question: who leaves paint out for young hands to find???

so, what's for dinner?
Hey, I thought you left the posts including paintings to Thomas' blog. I guess being family there's bound to be some crossover. The looks on the kids' faces while sucking back the shakes is priceless. The "enjoying it but fearful it might be taken away" look.
This is the ship my boyfriend will run some day when we get married and have kids. It's got to be! I'm a teacher and such chaos wouldn't truly happen on my watch, but I can completely see the gleeful abandon of all things rule like....in a good way, that is. :)
I love that despite their (relatively small) size, kids and dogs tend to dictate the happenings in a household far more than moms (yummy though they may be) and dads.

By the way, you know it's dinner time when reading about a milkshake induces saliva...!
Corn dogs for lunch AGAIN?

Oh, MM, Bailey's in there fits JUSSSSSST right.

(And Blaze won't mind a bit... poor little sodomized thing that he is.)
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