Friday, February 29, 2008

Where Next?

Now that I'm back from Vegas, I promptly booked my families' trip to Disney World. Not Land. The Florida one. Third week in May. Looking forward to it. We're going with my brother's family and they've been twice in the past 5 years or so, so we'll be in good hands but if you've been recently feel free to lend me your insight on the dos/don'ts.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm Back!

I'm back from Vegas and still working on catching up on my sleep. I think my last three nights, including travel home, totaled about 9 hours worth.

Didn't win much but played a lot. Ate a lot. Drank a lot. And golfed horribly. Holy crap did I suck!

Above is the view from our hotel room. The space-ship looking thingy is actually the covering for the taxi stand at the main entrance. What I can't figure out is how we entered through there and after a series of lefts and rights ended up directly over it. Just didn't make sense.

At 3 a.m. I was reduced to playing slots like this one above. Not normally my thing but the craps table, the blackjack table and the Let It Ride table didn't want to play nicely with me. Jackpot Party did. And a Party we had! Well, for a while. Then I gave most of it back.

Of course, we golfed. I know, shocker! Actually, I'm not sure one could call what I did golf. It was more related to hiking. As in climbing over boulder after boulder looking for lost balls.

Until I befriended Wilson The Cactus. Sad when he drifted away. He was quite a companion to me.

We also did an ATV excursion which was fun. I have stories to tell about that, but I'm not going into it now. Perhaps another time. Anyway, a few of my readers have asked about a picture of me. Well, the one above isn't of me. Its my buddy. But I looked nearly identical to that picture. So there you go!

A view of Vegas at dusk from the 18th hole. Alas all things must come to an end. These are just the pictures I took with my cell phone. My buddy (above) had a digital cam and will forward me pix and I'll post them if you all are interested.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tooth Fairy Inflation

When I arrived to pick up The Little One from school on Friday evening she delighted in showing me she had a loose tooth. A very loose tooth. How this thing went from being rather solid to practically blowing in the breeze in 9 short hours is beyond me.

Of course, she couldn't keep her fingers and tongue off it all evening. Out of the many experiences of being a young kid, that's one I remember vividly. It seemed nearly impossible not to play with that loose tooth and after it was gone, my tongue seemed bent on some primitive mission to keep fiddling with that new hole.

Flash forward to Sunday morning; 2 a.m. A tiny hand pushes my shoulder in that five-year-old-I-have-something-to-say-and-your-sleep-is-of-no-importance shove. "Daddy! Daddy! My tooth came out." It appears her night-time teeth grinding serves a purpose after all. I'm just glad she didn't swallow it.

Consequently, last night, Mrs. B set up the little tooth for the Tooth Fairy wherein I learned the going rate is $5. Holy crap is inflation that bad? I made a dime and was jealous of my friends making a quarter. Has inflation increased 50 times in the past 35 years of so? I guess so.

But then, my parents shared a car and my dad would never dream of eating lunch out every day during work and would convulse at the thought of buying a $2 coffee nearly every day like I do. I guess we can afford it.

So the Little One has a cute little gap-toothed smile that will soon be filled in by no-doubt crooked and too big teeth which will require braces in 6 or 7 years. So I have that to look forward to.

Oh. And my parents response when I thought I needed braces (not badly, but my friends all had them)? "You're a boy. You're teeth are fine." What the HELL is that supposed to mean?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Surprisingly Not Annoying

Well folks, one week from tomorrow I will be headed off to Las Vegas for 4 days of golf, gambling, ATV-ing and general R&R (except for my liver - he might have to work a bit harder).

There's 8 of us going and one has already notified us he hurt his back and golf and the ATV excursion are in jeopardy. As an aside, I'm so thankful for my general back health. Though I've had very minor issues at times, I can't imagine dealing with a 5.5+ hour flight on Southwest with a bad back. So good luck, buddy.

A few of the guys will just play poker whenever we're not on the golf course. So, periodically, I'll pop in and see how they're doing but I can't just sit in one room playing poker all day, every day. Cool guys like me and the Fonz need more action!

One guy, G, won't go on the ATV trip because his wife thinks he'll kill himself. First, I think he needs some balls. Second, would that place be in business long if they lost one or two of their patrons every trip? I'm pretty sure its a nicely controlled environment, but whatever. Seems, he's the controlled environment.

Another buddy, I'll call him B2, is the obsessive sort. On the one hand, he's great to go away with because he gets so excited and we get a kick out of that. He really has genuine fun when he does stuff and its contageous. On the other hand, he obsesses every little detail. I mean everything. (How close are the rooms? Where will we eat every night? Are we seeing a show? Are we not seeing a show? What are you going to wear? (Yeah, he really asked me that.) Don't forget your GPS. How about check out? Can we stay late? No limo this year, think a cab will be hard to get?) Whereas, I'm more of a go with the flow sort of guy. Normally, his behavior would irritate me, but for some reason with B2 its comical and sweet. He calls me 2 or 3 times a week (for the past 15 weeks or so) to update me on how many days are left, or remind me to bring something or ask what else I want to do while out there. The rest of us have a big laugh about it. He comes across at motherly, but its tempered by his enthusiasm.

Apparently, last year he was bumming that he didn't "do more". I guess one night he just kind of hung out in his room and did nothing. He's a big gambler, so if the tables are cold he loses lots and he had been pretty beaten down. That was the night I went on my little escapade involving copious gambling, inbibing and eating. My best buddy, B1, is going with us for the first time (his wife granted permission if I promised not to take him to a strip bar - I did. We won't). He and I are more similar in that we like to have a few more beers than the other guys and cruise around and check out the scene more. We're more into the roaming party, you could say.

If the tables beat us up, perhaps we'll hang out in a bar and play Keno until the wee hours or do a bunch of casino hopping. There's always fun to be had. We'll just go with it. I hear one of the casinos has Beer Pong even. How cool is that? I'm sure to check that out. I was pretty good in my day. Being able to consume large quantities of beer and having a modicum of hand/eye coordination served me well back in college (and after for that matter).

Also, B1 one is not an experienced gambler who tends to be protective of his money. To set him up, the other weekend we did a mini casino night where I taught him a bunch of games and dealt a million hands and we're going to do it tomorrow night too. At the least, we can practice drinking some beer.

This year B2 says he wants "in". That means he wants to hang out with me. (Hey! I'm fun dammit!) And B1 will be with me 24/7 I'm sure. So, that's fine by us, but he's already trying to plan it. He's called to ask what we're going to do, where will we go, what's the plan? We don't know. B1 and I, being so damn cool, don't plan. We just do. If B2 wants to come along, that's perfectly fine. He just better keep up.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Uh Oh!

"Daddy! Daddy!"

I heard the yells just as a woman seated near the McDonald's ladies' room was whispering to me, "I think she needs you."

Its not an uncommon occurrence for my 5 year old to yell to me from the bathroom when her mother's not with us. Even in public. I was quite certain it was otherwise vacant and the seated woman assured me no one had gone in for quite a while.

Of course, I'm old hat at creeping into ladies' rooms for her "issues" but I'm still surprised to find them no cleaner than men's rooms. And this one didn't smell any better either. I guess I always envisioned that women would be neater, by nature, than men and they probably are. Just not as it pertains to public rest rooms. Yuk!

Anyway, as I approached the second of two stalls I could tell the Little One was really upset. She had the door open for me and was only in her shirt, having removed her tights and skirt and tears were streaming down her face. The problem was immediately visible. Her leotard, which she went in to change into, had partially fallen in the toilet. She explained she had placed it on top of the toilet paper dispenser to change, but it fell off and landed on the seat with some of it, perhaps a quarter, landing in the water.

When I pick her up for school on Tuesdays we only have an hour to get something in her belly and get her to gymnastics. Normally, there's time to change at school but I was held up at work and since I don't want any of the teachers to have to stay as she changed, I thought she could change at McDonald's and then eat. We've done that before to monumental success.

"We have to go home and get another leotard!" she exclaimed through her tears.

I muffled a bit of laughter. It just all seemed kind of funny. I mean, there was pee in the toilet too. I gingerly tugged the outfit out and wrapped it in toilet paper and wrapped it further in her tights so it could all be thrown into the wash. Luckily, it was cold out, so we had sweatpants for her to wear and she wore a simple white top to school so I tried to convince her to go in sweats and the long tee and get special permission from gymnastics to wear them in place of a leotard. There was simply no time to go home and make it back in time.

She was still very upset so my other option to her was to cancel the class and have her do a makeup. That wasn't a good solution either. "But I have to do gymnastics on Tuesssdaaaaay" At this point I really just wanted to get out of the ladies' room since I thought at any minute someone would come in. Plus, it stank!

She ended up going with the sweats and top. Her ability to compromise lately has increased tenfold. She's still a stubborn young lady, but I totally appreciate when she's able to go with the flow.

On the rest of the drive to gymnastics I asked if the pee in the toilet was hers. It was still kind of on my mind. It was she said. I asked about the stink too. "It was gross when I went in there" was the reply. I didn't think it was her.

Of course, gymnastics understood and allowed her to participate in sweats and a tee. They can be a bit stringent, but really, who cares? Besides, the few boys don't wear leotards.

After, on the drive home we were joking about the incident and how funny it would be later on. That didn't seem the case with her, but by the time we got home she was laughing at the whole thing and she thought it hysterical when she relayed to story to her mother.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Daddy / Daughter Day

Mrs. B. had to go in to work on Saturday so I took the opportunity to have a daddy/daughter day with The Little One. Its not an unusual event but I feel guilty about doing some fun things without her mom present. At the same time I cherish the alone time with her to do fun stuff that isn't as much up Mrs. B's alley. And let's face it, The Little One is a bit different with her mother around which is a bit more clingy and dependent. I prefer the independent version.

So. What's a guy like me who's going to Vegas in 10 days during which I'll golf to do? Of course, take her to the driving range! Nearby is a covered one that is marginally heated. The heat wasn't great and it was actually a chilly 38 degrees out and snowing! Not a blizzard, but snowing. Nuts.

She rather liked the fact we were hitting golf balls into the snow so I took that opportunity to teach her that to excel at something, one has to persevere and sometimes deal with discomfort or inclement weather or whatever. I didn't use those words exactly because she's 5 but I was attempting some father-type life lessons.

Her cheeks and nose got red. Her winter jacket never came off either. And afterwards she mentioned her hands were tingly (she miss hit one at the end and I think she got a stinging sensation from it). But there was not one word of complaint from my little girl as we practiced. She kept coming back to my bucket to grab more balls with a "watch this daddy" smile and a genuine attempt to do her best. Her best has improved quite a bit from last year too, no doubt from getting bigger and stronger. And practice.

I don't instruct much. Sometimes I'll ask if she wants some but if she doesn't, I let her whack away at them. If she does, I give her one or two things to key on and she'll do it that way until her mind wanders. Its all good. I want to keep it fun and she had a blast. So did I even if I did hit them lousy myself. She's good on my ego. "Daddy. I need binoculars to see that one you hit it so far. Did you hit it over the fence?" (I didn't).

While leaving the lobby she asked if she could have some candy. I told her how proud I was of her efforts and how tough she is and I would buy her some candy, but not there.

I took her to a special candy place and wondered if she understood where we were when I was parking and walking up. Once in the that lobby, upon viewing the velvet ropes and posters she got it. We were at the movies. I took her to see Alvin and the Chipmunks which was cute and mildly amusing. And she got her candy. Sour patch kids which she shared with me over a diet Coke.

She was such a trooper through the day and continued after we got home. It was pure joy on my part and I love that time with her and I know she enjoyed it immensely as well.

Then, on Sunday she explicitly told me she likes mommy better than me. That stings a bit when its said, but its probably universal among kids and I try not to take too much offense to it. Of course, I'll still look forward to our next day together. Just she and I.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


When I was a lad of 19 or so I worked in a ski shop. Of course, selling ski boots was part of the job and I had a female customer one time who liked a particular pair. The ones she selected were not appropriate for her skill level or her height and weight so I was trying to steer her towards a different pair that were slightly more expensive. She began grilling me on why she needed to spend more money when she was comfortable in the less expensive pair. I tried to explain that the pair she liked were below her skill level as well as too soft for her. She had an athletic build and was by no means fat nor was she rail thin.

In explaining I told her something like, "Well you're not svelt, so I don't think they will be the best choice for you." I don't think at the time I fully understood the meaning of svelt. Her response was mildly offended but she laughed it off as did her boyfriend with her.

Later, and today upon reflection, I realize how hurtful that may have been to her. Unless she was completely comfortable with herself, I can only imagine the bitching she did about me afterwards. Or maybe she even cried.

She did, however, go with the boots I suggested and, no, I didn't work on commission.

So, to the nice, biggish skier lady from 1986, I apologize here in public for the poor choice of words I used as a naive young man. I realize now that they may have impacted you more than I ever intended.

Incidentally, women will wear the most painful and awkward shoes in order to look good at a dance or a wedding or whathaveyou, but none, in my experience, would give up a lick of comfort for performance when it came to ski boots or ice skates. Men would.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Try it You'll Like it

I'm remember a time I was at my Jewish friend's parent's house for Passover dinner. Of course they had matzah balls and gefilte fish, both of which which I've had before, among other things. His mom passed me one dish and felt compelled to explain it. "Its pastrami. Try it. I think you'll like it."

I had to chuckle. Of course I knew what pastrami is and it never occurred to me it was an exclusively Jewish dish to be honest.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


I think I'm betting the Pats (-6) and the Over (47) in a teaser for $100. Wish me luck.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Overheard from The Little One's room as she played Barbie with her twin sister best friends.

Twin Sister #1 (the twins are 6): I'm never going to get married because when you do you have to kiss a boy.

Twin Sister #2: Ewwwwwwww!

The Little One (remember she's 5): Well, I'm going to get married.

Both Twins: Ewwwwwwwww!

Twin Sister #1: To who?

The Little One: Um, HELLO! His name is Jake and I love him!

Hmmmmm......I just hope she's not rushing into things. She only sees him like twice a year.