Gross


zkTo compensate for my inability to decorate our house for Christmas (since I’m Jewish,) I found another way to satisfy my urge for holiday ornamentation. I decorate for Halloween! I’m not fulfilled unless the front of our house is covered in fake webbing, skeleton and spider lights, carved pumpkins, and all sorts of creepy critters. Each Halloween, I venture to the Halloween shop to pick up a few new odds and ends. Last year, Zombie Kitty and 2 Zombie rats were added to the mix.

Last Saturday, Garrett and I decided to pull out all the Halloween decorations while Justin and GWE were away. As we made our way through the bag, I re-discovered Zombie Kitty. Garrett and I chased each other around the yard scaring each other with him. And then, we had an idea! We decided to place Zombie Kitty in Justin’s bed….and not tell him.

When Justin came home, he commented on how much he liked the decorations. But, he quickly asked, “Where’s Zombie Kitty?” With a blank expression on my face, I replied, “I don’t know. I didn’t see him in the bag.”

Garrett was less vague. “JUSTIN!!!!! You need to go to sleep right now!” he screamed. (It was 1:30 in the afternoon.) Ten seconds later, he decided to take a different approach. “You’re in trouble. Go to your room!!” It would have been a little more convincing if he wasn’t laughing and vibrating with anticipation.

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Justin marched to his room and found Zombie Kitty waiting for him. He yanked it out of bed and for the rest of the day, it became a game of “Where’s Zombie Kitty?”

Justin hid him in my home office. Then, Garrett hid him on the chair GWE uses to do her make-up in the bathroom. Then, it ended up in Garrett’s bed. Somehow, just as the kids were going to bed, it ended up under the covers on GWE’s side of the bed.

While I appreciated Justin and Garrett’s attempts to scare me with Zombie Kitty, I don’t think they appreciated my true talent of scaring the shit out of children under the age of 10.

After Justin went to bed, I snuck into his room and placed Zombie Kitty under the front of his bed. The following morning, he screamed as he returned from the bathroom and found Zombie Kitty waiting for him in the dark.

Zombie Kitty reappeared again last night under the dinner table in Justin’s seat. It had been hours since anyone thought about Zombie Kitty. Once he turned the corner and looked down, he jumped again at the sight of Zombie Kitty.

Once the boys went to sleep last night, I placed Zombie Kitty in Justin’s school backpack and zipped it up. He woke up this morning demanding to know where Zombie Kitty was because he didn’t want to be surprised anymore. I told him I didn’t know and ignored the topic while I rushed around getting the kids ready for school. As he was running out of the door, I asked him to put his lunch into his lunchbox. Once he unzipped his bag, he screamed again at the sight of Zombie Kitty staring back at him from inside his bag.

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And finally, this evening, I placed Zombie Kitty in the dresser drawer he uses for school clothes. It’s been in there for hours and I don’t expect him to open the drawer until tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to hear his reaction!!

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The Legend of Zombie Kitty continues…….

vigonormalGarrett and Justin wanted to see “Ghostbusters.” I knew they were too young to see the new one, so I rented the original. They loved it. LOVED IT! They kept running around the house for days pretending to ‘bust’ ghosts. Whenever we got into my car (once referred to as “The Hotmobile,” now referred to as “Ecto-1”) they would request the “Ghostbusters” theme music on repeat and sing it as loud as they could over and over and over as Garrett made the siren sounds with his voice.

That all changed when the DVD of “Ghostbusters 2” arrived at the house. What started with excitement and anticipation ended in tears and a fear of going to the bathroom alone.

While the boys loved “Slimer” and “The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man” in the first movie, they were a lot less jovial after seeing “Vigo the Carpathian.” Garrett didn’t seem scared. I would describe his reaction as ‘reserved.’ Justin was clearly bothered by the character and covered his face a couple of times.

I should have been a little more observant and understanding of Justin’s fear, but I wasn’t thinking. All I saw was a way to have fun scaring the kid who’d spent all week trying to scare me.

While the boys continued to watch the movie, I went to my computer, printed out a picture of Vigo the Carpathian, taped it to the inside of Justin’s toilet seat, and then quietly closed the lid. My trap had been set. I just needed Justin’s bladder to set this prank in motion.

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When it was time for dinner, Justin asked for us to pause the movie…and he never returned to it. Hours later, it was time for bed and I asked Justin to get ready. He put on his pajamas, brushed his teeth, and then climbed into bed. Knowing that the trap had not yet been sprung, I asked Justin to go potty. He told me that he didn’t have to.

“Justin – go potty before you go to bed.” I said.

“I don’t have to,” he replied.

“Justin – you’re going to have to go in the middle of the night. You might as well go now,” I reasoned.

“I don’t have to,” he said, again.

“C’mon, Justin. Just go!” I said in my deepened dad-voice as a ‘do-it-or-else.’

Begrudgingly, he got up, walked into the bathroom, turned the light on and then turned the light off and got back into bed.

“Justin! There is no way you went potty. At least lift the lid this time!” And then I waited………

Once again, he got up, walked into the bathroom, turned on the light, flipped the lid…..and then he SCREAMED a scream I had never heard before. At first, I was very pleased with myself. I got him and I got him good! I was expecting him to come out of the bathroom smiling with an “Oh dad. You got me so good” look on his face. That was not the look I saw when he came of the bathroom.

What actually happened was that he raced out of the bathroom and into his bedroom with tears streaming down his face and he was white as a ghost. He collapsed on the floor where I was standing and he began to shake while screaming, “HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME????” My prank had blown up in my face and now my son was a crying blob on the floor who refused to go into the bathroom by himself for any reason.

Thankfully, Garrett was the one who saved the day!

As I got Justin into bed and tried to calm him down by telling him that everything would be ok, there was a moment of silence as we both heard Garrett walk into the same bathroom. I thought, “oh shit, it’s gonna happen again.” In silence, Justin and I stared at each other as we heard Garrett pull down his pants, then lift the lid…….and then, we heard him quietly laugh to himself……and finally, we heard the sound of him peeing. As if nothing was amiss, Garrett pulled up his pants, closed the toilet lid, flushed, and walked out.

Justin and I could not contain ourselves. We erupted in laughter. The thing that almost scared the (literal) crap out of Justin actually made Garrett laugh as he went potty!!

So, now we know, a Carpathian in the crapper isn’t for everyone!

 

At least nothing happened to the Nintendo 3DS Justin was hiding under his bed!
At least nothing happened to the Nintendo 3DS Justin was hiding under his bed!

It was my intention to write about three of four funny recent events with the boys. However, this evening, we had an incident with Garrett that made me so angry that I wasn’t able to get into “Ha, Ha, what a funny story!” mode. Now, I’m in the “Are you F#$#^&G kidding me????” mode.

At some point this evening, Garrett announced that he had to go to the bathroom. He made us pause the television and wait for him. After a few minutes, he returned with a guilty look on his face.

“Garrett? Did you pee in the potty?” I asked.

“Yes!” he announced to me and MoGWE. (Mother of Greatest Wife Ever)

I continued my mild interrogation. “But, I didn’t hear a flush. Did you flush the pee?”

“Yes!” he proclaimed.

Honestly, I didn’t believe him. My dad-senses were tingling and he looked guilty of something. I stood up and walked to the bathroom to see what had happened. From behind me I could hear MoGWE telling Garrett, “If you did something, you better tell your dad. He’s about to find out anyway!” I turned to see that his lips were sealed…with a smirk.

I looked in and around the potty. No evidence of anything. If he did it, he flushed it and that was the end of that.

A few hours later, with Justin soundly asleep in bed, I began Garrett’s nighttime routine. I put Garrett into pajamas, got him a cup of water, and I was about to read him a book when he whispered, “Daddy. I have to tell you a secret.” The smirk was still on his face, but now his whole body began to shake in a spastic manner like he was going to burst of excitement if he didn’t say this one thing.

“Ok. What’s your secret?” I asked, expecting to hear about something that happened at school that day.

“I snuck into Justin’s room, went under his bed, and peed on the floor!!!!!”  

He said it with the frenzied excitement of someone who just won the lottery or found out they weren’t the father on “Maury.” My guess is that he thought I would find it just as funny and exciting. I did not. And, clearly, he did not anticipate the level of anger from me that this action would elicit.

Needless to say, toys were taken, tears were shed, and I made myself perfectly clear: if you piss on the floor again – you better be prepared to sleep in it!

It’s a good thing Justin doesn’t know what happened. The one thing that really upsets Justin is the thought of Garrett coming into his room without his permission. If he ever found out about what happened under his bed, he might need therapy!

 

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The art of negotiation is alive and well in my house. Both GWE and I heavily rely on our negotiating skills on a daily basis both personally and professionally. So, it should come as no surprise that our sons have absorbed all of our conversations, tactics, (and some cases) my ‘colorful’ language and attempted to use their new-found skills against us.

Justin is figuring out how to negotiate, but he does not understand the concept of ‘leverage.’ He needs to have something I want in order to begin a negotiation with me….specifically for the Nintendo Wii U he has so anxiously craved for the past year. Many of his conversations have begun with, “Daddy. You will get me a Wii U if I’m nice to my brother for a year, right?” I then have to (again) explain to him that there are certain things I require him to do without expecting any form of gratitude in return. These include: be nice to your brother, clean your room, flush the potty after EVERY use, etc. I have told him that ‘if’ I see grades that I’m pleased with, then we can begin the Nintendo negotiation.

Garrett not only figured out the art of negotiation, but he also recognizes the power of cold….hard…cash! No more Legos. No more stuffed animals. He wants cash so he can get his own toys!

In Garrett’s kitchen, he has a cash register filled with fake money. The more he accumulates, the happier he is. (Smart kid.) However, as we continue to work on his potty training, I need to make sure that he’s actually doing something while sitting on the potty. Like any good negotiator, Garrett recognized that I wanted something…and that he wanted something…and so, he began to negotiate.

“Daddy! Here’s the deal,” he announces, like he’s doing me a favor. “I’ll let you look at my poopoo, but I want money.” See – he’s got the leverage on me because I need to make sure he did something in the toilet before he gets off. And, he’s specific about what he wants – CASH! What he doesn’t realize is that I’m robbing his cash register and paying him with his own money. So, it’s a win for both of us! (Except for last week when Justin caught Garrett taking my debit card out of my wallet and trying to hide it in his ‘secret drawer.’ That’s another story.)

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I’ve paid thousands of (fake) dollars over the past few weeks for the honor of seeing my son’s poop. I don’t know what the going rate for poop viewing is, but I suspect I’ve raised the limit!

 

 

HotGarrett’s potty training has been going well. To the best of my knowledge, he has not had an accident in over two weeks! This has been very exciting news! (Although, probably not to him when he reads this 10 years from now and he realizes that his dad had been posting poop updates on the internet.)

However, I think we might have overdone it with the reward system. Garrett knew that if he went pee-pee in the potty, he’d get a small toy and if he started going poopy in the potty he would get a larger toy. Here is an example of how he planned his rewards.

I didn’t realize that Garrett would apply this Pavlovian response to other things in life.

Several weeks ago, I purchased a new car. Garrett was very excited about it and began calling it “The Hotmobile” long before it actually arrived. He is his grandfather’s son and has a love for all things automotive. There have been two occasions when I’ve reprimanded him from actually kissing the car. (Yes, he kissed the car.) When I asked him why he did that, he told me that he loved the car so much he had to kiss it.

On Saturday, while helping me pull the trash cans out of from the street, Garrett stopped to admire the car once more. I watched him closely in the hopes that I wouldn’t have to intervene in another make-out session with my Lexus.

As he stared at the car, I could see his brain working. Then he turned to me and said, “That’s not a pee-pee toy, daddy.”

“Nope.” I responded. “That is not a pee-pee toy.”

Another moment of silence. “Daddy? How many poops on the potty did you have to do to get that car?” I could not contain my laughter. It was too funny.

“Well buddy…..it only took me 37 years of pooping on the potty!”

There was a pause followed by, “Good work, daddy.”

 

ShrimpThanks to Alton Brown and my son (Justin,) I am not allowed to eat shrimp cocktails when I travel. Truth be told, I wasn’t eating shrimp cocktails BEFORE I was told not to eat them. However, I am defiant and rebellious by nature and feel compelled to do things I’m told not to do. (Don’t play in traffic? Why not! It’s just like Frogger – but the stakes are bigger!) So, on my last trip, I chose to defy a culinary television personality and my concerned son. I ate the shrimp cocktail.

A few months ago, GWE got tickets for me and Justin to see Alton Brown at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. We were both excited and had no idea what he was going to do. Was he going to cook for everyone? Was he going to mock someone else as they cooked? What was going to happen? We didn’t know. However, due to an unexpected event, I had to go out of town and I was not able to attend the show. Instead, MoGWE (Mother of Greatest Wife Ever) took my place. She and Justin had a great time.

During the show, Alton Brown told the audience a story about one time when he ate a ‘bad’ shrimp cocktail and then boarded a cross country flight. The story left an impression on Justin.

Now, whenever I travel, Justin is concerned about my consumption of crustaceans prior to boarding a plane. Like a TSA inspector at an airport, he asks, “Daddy, did you eat a shrimp cocktail?” with the same accusatory tone I get when asked, “Did you pack your own luggage?” And, once again, I normally don’t eat shrimp cocktails…especially in airports!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had to do an unusual amount of traveling. And, with my travel schedule came a renewed concern from Justin about my pre-flight shrimp digestion. I assured him that I would not be eating shrimp.

On the last leg of my journey, I happened to get to the airport an hour early and had some time to kill. I had a lot of restaurant options because I was flying out of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta. With plenty of time to spare, I found a pub with several TVs showing the golf tournament and I began to review the menu. There, on the top of the appetizer list, was ‘Shrimp Cocktail.’ Normally, I would have ignored it and made a different choice….but….SHRIMP COCKTAIL!

As I began to eat the last shrimp, my phone rang….and it was GWE. I asked to speak with Justin and the first thing I said to him was, “I’m eating the shrimp cocktail.”

“NNOOOOO,” he yelled (while laughing at the same time) “Don’t do it!”

“Too late!” I told him. “The shrimp (munch…munch…munch) is gone!”

“NNNNOOOOOOOO!!!!”

Despite the warnings from Alton Brown and Justin – I ate the food I normally wouldn’t have eaten and it still did not kill me.