True-story Tuesday redux: Parental instincts

Back when I was in junior high, I was on a bowling league, and my dad and I would go to the lanes early. My dad had a second job there and would very reluctantly give me money to play video games while I waited for everyone else to show up.

One Saturday morning, before the other kids arrived, a guy arrived with another boy. The guy was handing a Jerry’s Kids bowling event that day, and the boy (I believe his name was Tim) was there because, well, I didn’t know why. He wasn’t bowling, and he wasn’t the guy’s son, but oh well. The guy had a job as a clown; he’d perform at birthday parties and the like. He wasn’t dressed as a clown that day, though.

Later that day I got a call from the guy. He wanted to know if I wanted to come over and help with tallying the results and such. I thought it sounded like fun — yes, I’ve been a nerd for a long time — and I asked my parents. My mother asked for a little more information and I gave it to her.

“Absolutely not.”

I wasn’t happy, but it didn’t bother me too much either. My parents didn’t let me go over to people’s houses unless they knew the people themselves. Adding to this was the fact that my mother, years earlier, had worked at a grocery store called Family Foods, and she said she’d seen him come through her lane and that she’d always gotten a bad vibe from him. She thought he was trouble.

I told the guy I couldn’t do it because my parents said no. He said no problem, maybe another time, and that was that. He sent me a packet of advertising material for his clown business a few weeks later.

Months later, the guy made the local news. Turns out he’d molested over a hundred boys about my age in the area.

That is a true story.

My parents, the prognosticators

My parents have made predictions over the years. I thought I’d revisit some of them here.

  • Subway restaurants. When I was little, we’d go shopping in South Bend. I’m pretty sure that’s where we went to our first Subway restaurant. At that time — sometime in the mid-’80s — there were very few Subways around; no one I knew had heard of them. My parents picked up franchise information on them because they believed they’d really take off; they didn’t do anything with the information because they knew absolutely nothing about running a restaurant.

    Today: Subway is the third largest fast food chain in the world.

    Verdict: Correct!

  • Computer animation. Back in the early ’90s, my mother expressed interest in computer animation. In particular, she thought it was the future of animation.

    Today: Disney’s last “traditional” animated film (not counting direct-to-video) was Home on the Range, released in 2004. Their next is scheduled to be The Princess and the Frog in 2009.

    Verdict: Correct!

  • Zenith Electronics Corporation. My father held Zenith stock after he no longer worked there because he believed their technology for HDTV would be valuable.

    Today: Zenith is pretty much gone. They went bankrupt in 1999 and LG Electronics, majority stakeholder at the time, took over the brand.

    Verdict: Incorrect.

  • Laser tag. Back in the ’80s, when laser tag toys first hit the market, my mother believed laser tag would be huge.

    Today: Not as popular as it was in the late ’80s. It has recently been featured on The Simpsons (“That 90’s Show”) and How I Met Your Mother (Barney loves laser tag), and was one of the activities at Mike Roth’s bachelor party.

    Verdict: Partially correct.

(Comment from old site:)

Well,Well,Well…I guess

Well,Well,Well…I guess you’ve become nostalgic in your “old age”. My prediction for the future is that the X Games will become better than ever-because I love watching those “kids” and how competitive they are. They are real athletes with their own clothing and language and followers. So I know I am pretty old to be a fan but I really admire their bravery or craziness-whichever it is. The end. Oh, and by the way, my gut reaction to people has never been wrong, thus the fact I don’t care for very many individuals. The end.

Allan's Latest Stats

Today was Allan’s 4 month check-up. I think our pediatrician must have asked me at least two or three times, “So, you’re just breastfeeding? Really?” Allan was a whopping 18 lbs, 2.7 oz (above the 95th% for weight); 26 7/8ths inches long (also above the 95th%); and had a 17 inch head (75th%).

I love charting the information on a graph. It makes me feel as if I have some control over the situation. See, I can make big babies!

I’m thankful that I have another month before I have to switch car seats.

(Comment from old site:)

Ha! Addy had her 2-year

Ha! Addy had her 2-year appointment this morning and was a whopping 22 pounds, 8 ounces! In another couple of months he’ll have caught up to her and we can put them both in a play yard and watch them battle it out!

Doesn't it feel great to unsnap those jeans during the middle of the day?

Allan just turned 4 months yesterday. To celebrate, I decided that he was ready to put on his first big boy jeans. I think I waited too long. The 6-9 month pants are a little too snug for our big-bellied boy.

Oye, we make large children.

Elena has a little trouble focusing

Helen: From now on, we’re going to pick up all our toys before we watch a show.
Elena: (very enthusiastically) Watch a show!?!
Helen: No, not now. At nighttime.
Elena: (just as enthusiastic as before) Nighttime!?!
Helen: Okay, I need you to focus …

That one last Christmas decoration!

It never fails. Every year, a few days after carefully packing away loads upon loads of Christmas decorations, a very prominent Christmas knick-knack stands mocking me for missing that one item.

This year was going to be different. In fact, I called my mother-in-law, who has so graciously supplied me with at least two extra-large Sterilite bins of Christmas figurines over the last 15 years. That’s a lot of figurines to put away, not to mention the multitudes of Fontanini nativity set figurines and buildings that I’ve been collecting, and, of course there are the four boxes of ornaments! Oh, and we can’t forget the odds & ends! Some of these include the cheesy 70’s-style plastic bells that I’d inherited from Brad’s Mom. I like to hang those up in the doorways which Brad tends to walk through frequently. His head knocks into them every time—then I laugh hysterically as he gets mad.

Anyway, during our conversation, I found that my mother-in-law has the same trouble. This woman has an amazing ability to decorate her house beautifully for Christmas! She also has about tens times the decor that I do! I figured since now I had verbally expressed my concern about leftover Christmas items, that I would certainly get every bit put away successfully.

Well, this afternoon I found it. The three foot high snowman was sitting on our counter in the basement. CURSES!

(Comments from old site:)

Thanks for the compliment!

Thanks for the compliment! I still have all my Christmas stuff up and guess I’ll have to dust the ornaments off as I put them away-when, I don’t know. I always forget a couple of items,usually a cup in the dishwasher or something hanging on a doorknob. Waiting for the snow to start up since we are supposed to get a few inches of lake effect. I have to get back to work. Kiss the babies for Papa & me. Love Ya…Mom P.S.Dad is having a rough time with his back now. Maybe sympathy pains?

No way!

I do the exact same thing! Today, I discovered a reindeer apron that’s been hanging on a wall in my kitchen. I’ve probably walked past it 200 times since I put away my decorations!


I noticed that cute apron, but never even thought to tell you about it! Now I feel guilty!

The tag cloud is no more

I’ve removed the tag cloud because some people didn’t like it. You can still access entries by tag by clicking “Tags” at the top.

Visiting Ami and Brandon

We visited our friends Ami and Brandon over the weekend. We had a wonderful time. We even did some sledding in their backyard. This seemed to do astoundingly bad things to my back, which of course I did not notice until the next day — when I’d get up, I would occasionally move somewhat like the zombies in the Thriller video.

Don’t misunderstand the entries on Ami (aka Emmy)’s blog — their house is wonderful, large, and beautifully decorated. It also has the Garage Mahal, an enormous garage where I believe the Pistons hold their training camp, and cats, which encouraged me to experience for the first time the magic that is Allegra.

(Comment from old site:)


You guys should see the snow now! The poor snowmen are almost buried. :(

Elena’s concern for her little brother

A couple of weeks ago, our friends across the street, Vandana and Raj, invited us over for dinner. At one point during the night, we wanted Allan to be a little more isolated from the three older kids running around, so Raj fenced off a small area with Superyard for us and moved Allan into it.

Elena became very, very upset. We asked her what was wrong.

“That man, Mr. Raj, taked Mama’s baby, Allan, and put him in cage!”

“I’ll be right back.”

Helen and I were watching The McLaughlin Group from December 30, the second part of their “2007 Year-End Awards”. They were doing the “15 Minutes of Fame” award. Pat Buchanan had nominated the Middle East peace plan, Eleanor Clift had nominated Senator Larry Craig, and Monica Crowley had nominated Howard K. Stern when we heard something in the girls’ bedroom.

I went to their room expecting to have to tell Elena to be quiet and go to sleep, because that’s what I normally have to do. Instead, Helen and I found ourselves having to bathe Elena, wash all her bedding, and wash and dry her doggie, which in recent days has been a close friend. (Fun fact #1: “Popsicle” is actually a brand name. Fun fact #2: The purple color from two Kroger-brand frozen pops comes out pretty easily if you get to it early.) We got her back in bed with new sheets (and a few towels as insurance) before too long, and she was only mildly upset that she didn’t have her princess sheets.

One day, no puking. Too much to ask? I don’t think so. And please keep in mind that Katrina and Allan have not shown any symptoms. Are we lucky, or are we extremely unlucky?

I only just now got to hear Clarence Page and John McLaughlin’s nominees — Sanjaya Malakar and Andrew Speaker, respectively. Good suggestions all.

Ode to a norovirus

I got sick Tuesday afternoon
Elena, Wednesday morn
Then Thursday took down Helen, too
We all feel quite forlorn

Late-night talk shows

It’s always been this way

Some people are Leno people. Others are Letterman people. I’ve always been a Letterman kind of guy, and last night I was proud to be one — The Late Show was back with its writers. TiVo always records The Late Show and The Late Late Show for me, so I watched the second half of Letterman and all of Ferguson this morning.

Last night, out of morbid curiosity, I put The Tonight Show on. It was painful. I put Letterman back on after less than a minute.

The Late Show writers have a blog. It provides a little insight into what’s going on with the strike, and it’s funny.

Here’s hoping The Late Show and The Late Late Show writers are not alone for long.