Archive for June, 2008

h1

Where A Dad Can Be A Kid

June 17, 2008

Tonight I did what most parents dread: I took my kids to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Just mention the name and hear the unanimous and synchronous groans of all parents within earshot. Every mom and dad knows that a couple of hours spent at C.E.C. means loud screaming kids running between your legs, bright, blinding flashing lights, and horrible arrangements of your musical favs performed by Chuck & his gang. Not to mention the necessity to eat pizza with the consistency of a greasy tire. At least they give us all the soda we can guzzle to wash down the chunky bits.

No, parents dread the thought of an adventure at Chuck’s.

But…

Once the decision to embark has been made, a parent undergoes a change as we pass through the doors. Especially the fathers. We revert to little kids. The lights! The sounds! The games!! I noticed tonight dads who played air hockey with the enthusiasm of a dog chasing a stick. A beer-bellied 30-something with a long blonde mullet shot Skee Ball and collected tickets in a bucket which I’m sure he would redeem for a nice Nerf frisbee or something. Another dad was dropping tokens by the dollar in a Galaga game with the same intensity and frequency as dollars dropped at the local go-go girls wiggle tavern.

So regardless of the moans and groans when prodded by our kids, “Daddy! Let’s go to Chuck E. Cheese’s!” we secretly enjoy the experience and look forward to when we can go be a kid, too!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some Galaga alien ass to kick….

Advertisements
h1

Crayons vs Legos

June 16, 2008

Daddy FridgeMy parents were clever. Much more clever than I am as a parent. Growing up I never had the encouragement to indulge in creative visual artistic endeavors. Rather than sit me down with a box of crayons or colored pencils in which my final output would be a bunch of indiscernible scribbles, circles, and zigzags surely to end up on the front of the fridge at my request, I was given the array of typical little boy toys. I built cabins out of Lincoln Logs, spaceships from Legos, and raced cool cars on mini race tracks. All of which could be disassembled and stashed after I became bored with the monotonous activity. Clean. No mess. No clutter. Very clever.

But despite all the underhanded training and playtime activity to become an architect, rocket scientist, or redneck race car driver, I became a creative artist. And as a parent with a deep appreciation for all types of creative arts I am obliged to plop my daughters down at the table armed with a gigantic boxful of crayons, colored pencils, markers, and a ream of paper, and say, “get to work, draw me something.”

I have also discovered that this route to keeping children entertained is a whole heck of a lot cheaper than spending hard-earned dollars on overpriced toys that get opened and played with once or twice then stuffed in the closet for eternity – or at least until the next yard sale. But, whereas simple toys can be put away, thrown away, or just accidentally swallowed, there’s a ton of creative output from the drawing table. And every little page of scribble is a masterpiece in the eyes of my girls.

“Put this on the fridge, Daddy!”

“Hang this one in the hallway!”

“Do we have enough for an art gallery showing on First Thursday yet?”

As dutifully as my daughters spent their creative energies drawing their masterpieces, I dutifully display their art upon as many surfaces as are available. That usually means the front of my fridge looks like a telephone pole in a bohemian part of town; stacked with layer upon layer of fliers and posters and silly art.

But I wouldn’t change it for the Mona Lisa.

Happy Fathers Day

h1

My Baby’s A First Grader

June 11, 2008

Today my oldest child, my firstborn, my baby, the Goon, is officially graduated into 1st grade. How can this happen? It seems like only yesterday my baby was 4 and visiting Disneyland for the first time. And only the day before she was 2 and on an Alaskan cruise. A year of Kindergarten has passed like the wind blowing the snow on Mt. Hood as I speak.

(WAIT! — did he say snow? In June!?!)

Yes, I said snow.

Record cold temps in Portland and low snow levels have extended the skiing season in to the summer. WTF!?! I split from Montana 13 years ago to get away from cold, freezing temps and snow. Now I’m smack in the middle of winter in JUNE! So all you freaks in the northeast having a heatwave, just bite me!

And you know who else can bite me? The geniuses proclaiming the “Global Warming” effect. Yup, that’s right…bite me with those cold, chattering teeth!

Ok, ok, you might be figuring that I’m a little grumpy right now due to the weather. That may be so, but my grumpiness is offset by the joy of rehearsing Les Miserable. After six days of rehearsal we’re nearly finished blocking the show. We open in 17 days so you can bet we’ll be getting bi’dness done here this week. Our Jean Valjean is a veteran of the Les Mis stage, having previously toured the show. He sounds awesome! I’ll disclose more about him later. Maybe tomorrow I’ll show y’all my new 19th Century French student revolutionary sideburns.