If You Call Me “Daddy Daycare” One More Time…

Hey, you.Daycare

Yes, you.

You who insisted on calling me “daddy daycare” when I was with my son at Starbucks.  You need to cut it out.

Seriously.  This is hard enough without throwing in the term “care.” That’s a lot of pressure.

Plus, it is a terrible movie.  One of Eddie Murphy’s worst…and that’s saying a lot.

It’s not “daddy daycare”. It’s called “taking parenting seriously.”  It’s called, “quality time.”  It’s called, “Daddy has a hankering for a Starbucks coffee and he can’t responsibly leave the 9 month old alone at home, so grab your snowsuits.”

It’s called “A quick prayer was just thrown up that we survive this trip.”

But it shouldn’t be a surprise that, on my day off, I’m chilling with my boy, right?  Shouldn’t it be the norm?

And, if you spend any time watching us, you’ll notice that I’m not so much a “daycare” as I am a magician, a puppet-master, a story-teller, a banana cutter, a whiz at opening food containers one handed, and an unending encyclopedia of animal noises.

Don’t believe me?  You try reading a book on animals and turn to the giraffe.  He’s expecting a sound, you know.  The lion has a sound.  The bear has a sound (similar to the lions, interestingly enough).  The elephant has a noise.

And then you turn to the giraffe.

What the hell?  Baby book editors: make a warning label that this book has a giraffe in it so I won’t start making sounds at the beginning.  You’re killing me.

Pro-tip for dads: a zebra, giraffe, and rhino all make the same noise…because I really can’t figure out that many variations.  It sounds like a screaming goat.

“I love seeing fathers with their children in public.”

This was actually said to me today, too.  A sweet woman, I’m sure.  But what do I say to that?  “Thanks?”  Aren’t I supposed to be doing this?

Or maybe I say, “And I love strangers commenting on my life objectively.”

Or maybe I, like I did today, just rip open a bag of raisins and cram them into my mouth before he can grab any.

Choking hazard, you know…

I’m not a Daddy Daycare.  I’m a dad.  And, if you watch closely, “care” is a strong term to use.

I’m just trying to make sure my kid survives the trip to Starbucks.

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A Public Service Announcement: I Will #Karatechopyou If You Keep Hashtagging Ridiculously Long Phrases

Well, like most good articles, the title says it all.Hashtag  I will karate chop you if you keep this up.

Let’s be honest: when hashtagging (a questionable practice as it is), let’s not presume to pretend that we will ever, EVER, once again hashtag another statement with “#youheardithearfirstcauseI’mthebest.”

That’s a useless hashtag and you know it.

I do not think the world understands why hashtags were invented.  Hashtags are meant to literally “tag” something to ensure that you can find a thought stream within your many tweets/texts/posts that all relate to one another. (No need to thank me for the little lesson on facts, reader.  I’ll take your move from ignorance to knowledge as thanks enough)

It is not, I repeat, IS NOT, meant to be ludicrous.

…and yet it is.

Either by design or simply by function, it’s become one of the most annoying parts of social media.  And that mostly has to do with the fact that people are using hashtags as if they are little editorials on a post.

And by “little editorials” I mean “little run-on sentences that will never be repeatable because, well, they’re just too darn long.”

And annoying.

And I vow now, in public, that should I ever run across you hashtagging like that, I’m going to post “#karatechop” onto that post as a response.

Because that’s exactly what I would like to do to you every time you do that.  I would like to karate chop you in your funny face.

And I’m a pacifist. So, that says a lot.

About you. #Ohsnap!

Strange Encounters While Carrying a Baby

Disclaimer: These two tales don’t really have to do with working out.

Although, it can be argued that carrying our kid in the shoulder harness is a workout.index

Anyway- Encounter #1:

Scene: Brownline “L” station.

Situation: This station butted up against a bunch of houses, and my son and I were standing on the platform waiting for the train to arrive.  From out of what I can only imagine is one of the back windows of a house I hear, “Hey mister!  The redcoats are coming!  The redcoats are coming!”

I look around.

Sure enough, it’s only me on the platform with my boy strapped to me…and underneath you can see my bright red sweater.

Haha…really funny.  Good one, girls.  Obviously some sleepover happening.

Then out of the turnstiles comes a young father with a toddling child my way.

The girls are back at it again, yelling, “Hey mister!  Watch out for the redcoats!”

“It’s a sweater!” I yell back.

Giggling from the darkness.

Then, “Hey mister!  Your daughter walks pretty well!”

As the young dad passes me he says, “He’s a boy…”

I chuckle and loudly inform the girls, “It’s a dude!”

The train pulls up, and me and dad get on the same car.  I sit down by the door, and dad and son come and sit next to us.

And then he does the unimaginable…he begins talking to me.

“So, what’s his name?”

This is breaking all sorts of dude codes, but I say, “Findley.”

“Oh! My son’s name is Phineas!”

Yes…we both call them Finn/Phin.

But then he says, “So, where did you deliver?”

My brain misfired at this point because that is a) not a question I was expecting nor b) a question I’ve ever been asked.

So I just stammered, “Uhm…I didn’t.”

And then the train stopped and I left.

In retrospect, I wonder if dad with toddler needed a friend.  Our generation is really pretty bad at making friends because we’ve pretty much kept all of our friends from childhood through social media.  He was a nice guy; we could have had a beer.

But don’t ask me where I “delivered” unless your an OBGYN and you’re checking in on the reputation of a colleague.

Encounter #2

Scene: Starbucks

Situation: Finn and I have just left his daycare, and dad is stopping off for his version of a “nite-cap” (aka: coffee)

We sit down next to a woman, and I notice she’s reading the book of Revelation from the Bible.

I immediately say to myself, “Shut up, Tim. Don’t ask anything.  You don’t want to know…you don’t want to know…”

But I don’t listen to my own advice, and as I’m unharnessing Finn I say casually, “Weird book you have there.”

“The Bible?” she says, half offended.

“No.  The Bible isn’t a book.  It’s a library of many books.  I mean Revelation.”

…yes, I’m a pretentious jerk from the get go. Not by best moment.

“Oh, Revelations.  It’s amazing, right?”

“Yes, well, it’s amazing that REVELATION (emphasizing that there is, in fact, no ‘s’ on the end of the name) made it into the Bible at all.”

…I’m still on the pretentious a-hole kick at this point because, well, that day was not particularly great at work.  Please note: I am not proud of this fact. I am amused, but not proud.

She says, “Do you go to church?”

At this point I begin laughing kind of like Clark Griswold does in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when Mary at the lingerie counter asks if she can “pull something out for him.”  It’s a laugh like, “Oh, you have no idea…”

And then I simply say, “Yes.”

And then she says, “You should come to my church! We have great programs for kids!  I teach his age group.  I would be all over that little one!  He should come sit on my lap. As Jesus says, “Suffer the little ones unto me…'”

At which point I turn to Finn and say, “See buddy…this is why you need to learn to crawl.  So you can suffer yourself on up to Jesus.”

And then I grab my coffee, thank her for the invitation, and leave.

On the one hand, I’m a jerk.  On the other hand, I’m a jerk.

Really, there are no two ways about it.

But honestly, she had a weird super-happy-creepy vibe to her, and although I think she was just being nice, you’re not going to get me to put my kid on your lap by comparing yourself to Jesus and then utter the word “suffer.”

I applaud her for her zeal.  A+

Her delivery? D-

My attitude? G.  Because it was much lower than an F.

Don’t Be Surprised When I Punch You and Call You Ronaldo

There’s something about the gym that really bothers me.51379a86d2184.image

Well, there are a number of things.

One of the most prominent is that there are “Re-rack your weights!” signs everywhere, and no one does it.  Which means I’m constantly taking weights off of bars and putting them back on racks because the big-neck-little-head dude who just lifted before me apparently either can’t read or greatly overestimates my abilities.

But I don’t want to talk about that today.

I want to talk about the fact that no matter where my locker is located in the locker room, it never fails that when I come back from the shower there are at least two guys using adjacent lockers sitting right there where I’m going to try to change.

Today was no exception.

But today was kind of funny.  It was obvious that the two guys knew one another and were chatting when I showed up, awkwardly shouldering my way between them because, well, I’m not going to hang out in front of the mirror until they leave because I will not be that guy who hangs out in front of the mirror in a towel.

I will not be that guy.

They’ll either move or deal with it.

…unfortunately they decided to deal with it.

But it was funny today because they were chatting, and the one dude with the beard was talking to the other dude with the smelly shirt, telling him about how yesterday at a Starbucks in a Target some lady came up to him and just started chatting as if she knew him.

And then he said, “And you know what?! She did it again today!”

Now, at this point I had many questions.  Primarily I wondered why he had to go to Target two days in a row.  Because we all know that you can’t get out of Target without spending $50. Who can go two days in a row?  Somebody’s got some money!

He had a beard, but he didn’t look rich. I didn’t expect it.

He went on:

“And then, I’m walking in here today, and some guy comes up to me, punches me in the gut and says, ‘Hey Ronaldo!  How you been?’  I didn’t know the guy at all!  I guess I just have one of those faces…”

Ok.

Of all the names in the world to call this guy, Ronaldo would not have made the top 100.  He was about 5’9, white as Casper, and had a reddish beard.  Seamus?  Sure.  Larry? Likely.  Jerry? Jou know it.

But Ronaldo? Hell no.

See, now I have a dilemma.  Because I’ve heard this story.  And I’ve heard it annoys this guy.  And now I have this urge, when I see him again at the gym, to hit him in the gut and say, “Hey Ronaldo!”

And I will do it because, well, let a guy change in peace and move over next time!

He asked for it.  Next time take a hint and take your story to the stair climbers, guys…guess you just have one of those faces.

I Met Tom Ricketts. He Signed a Ball.

The title of this post pretty much says it all.1011553_10151821193401066_2074400412_n

For those of you who don’t know Tom Ricketts, he’s the owner of the Chicago Cubs.

This last Friday my buddy Adam had some tickets, so Finn (my 5 month old son) and I jumped on them.  It’s a Chicago tradition to skip work and go to a Cubs game, so Adam, Finn, and I hopped on the Brownline toward Addison and the lovable Cubbies.

It’s Wrigley lore that Ricketts wanders the bleachers and the nosebleeds chatting it up with his customers, but I’ve never caught a glimpse of him.  He’s like a white stag, that one, rumored to be wandering the Wrigley wilderness, but never caught by the huntsman.

Well, we bagged a stag.

That sounds bad.

Let’s just say, he stopped by to chat with us.  Finn started yelling and making noise (it’s actually a kind of roar that he does now), prompting a passing Tom to look our way, and Adam said, “Hey, that’s Tom Ricketts!”  I then unashamedly held my son up and yelled, “Yo, Tom!  Your youngest fan is here!”

“Yo” is a term of endearment in Chicago, btw.  It’s kind of like saying, “Excuse me, sir, can I have your attention?”

He smiled, and hiked up toward us.  Adam hails from Wisconsin and was decked out in his Brewers gear, a point that he had to apologize for.  You don’t stare the owner of a ball club in the face while wearing the opposing team’s standard without a bit of sheepishness, no matter how staunch a fan you are.

Finn and I were in our Cubs gear, though, a point that Tom commented on quite a bit saying, “Well, it looks like you’re raising the kid right.”

It was then that I realized he probably thought Adam and I were together, bringing our son to the game from a family of mixed allegiences.  Which, in many ways, if I had a dude life-partner, Adam would be in the running.  It’d be like being married to me…which is a pretty good deal.

Regardless, we’re secure enough that we didn’t need to correct him.  There were more important matters at hand anyway, like chatting about the club guys coming through the pipeline.  He’s optimistic about next year’s prospects, although I’m not sure it matters.  The Cubs will be what the Cubs will be regardless of the players.  People will pay to watch them because, well, there’s nothing like skipping work to watch a Cubs game.

Nothing.

He handed Finn a ball and said, “Raise him right!” I said, “Sure will, Mr. Ricketts, but you can’t hand him a ball and not sign it.”  So he pulled a pen from his pocket and gave my kid his first autographed ball.

Sure, Ricketts doesn’t play.  But let’s be honest, Castro will only be with the Cubs another couple of seasons, Rivers isn’t going to last long, and nobody knows who the hell Nate Schierholtz is.

But Ricketts will be with the team for a long time.  As Mel Brooks says, “It’s good to be da king.”

…and good to have him sign a baseball for your son.

Go Cubs!

You Know That Moment Where the Dude at the Gym Offers You His Water Bottle?

So, you know that moment where the dude at the gym offers you his water bottle?

Yeah, I didn’t either.

Until yesterday.

I’m running on the treadmill.  It’s going terribly…I need to run more.  Lots more.

And faster.

So I’m running and sweating a lot.  Normally I would sweat sitting on a polar ice-cap, so you can imagine what it might mean for me to be running and sweating.

It’s a lot.

It’s like running next to a water fountain no one would want to drink from.

Because of this, I usually try to pick a treadmill with no one on the left or right.  I’d hate to get people wet with sweat flinging from my elbows.

Yes, my elbows sweat.  Don’t yours?

I also try to find the solitary treadmill because I don’t like talking to people at the gym.  I talk to people all the time.  It’s my life.  Hence, I try not to do it at the gym.  To give my inner I a break.

But yesterday there were no lone treadmills, and so I had to squeeze in between a very pleasant looking woman walking her butt off at an incline setting that was probably called “Everest,” and the muscle-bound dude in the black tank-top who had hair like Rick James.

Ok, it wasn’t exactly like Rick James.  It wasn’t very long, but cropped all up on his head as if Rick James’ hair had suddenly retracted into a flop.

And that’s the culprit: the dude with the Rick James flop crop.

After about 17 minutes I’m tired as all get out and sweating badly.  And all of a sudden, in my line of sight, a water bottle appears.

It’s not mine.

It happened so quickly and strangely that I didn’t know what was going on, and therefore didn’t do anything.  It was like a mirage, an oasis in YMCA treadmill Hell.

But then it appeared again after another minute…minute 18.

By minute 20 I was fit to be tied.  That’s so sad, but true.  And the water bottle made another appearance.  And I think I was in some sort of a daze, dehydration or apoplexy, because I reached out and grabbed it.

And then, as I was holding it in my hand, I thought to myself “What kind of a person passes a water bottle to a complete stranger at the YMCA?”

That question didn’t haunt me as much as the next one that popped into my mind, “And what kind of person accepts it?!”

Turns out Rick James’ crop flop wasn’t offering me his water bottle.  He was, in fact, throwing punches to the left and the right as he ran while holding his water bottle.

You know, as we do when we have muscles.

Still running, I turned to the side and said to him, “Uhm…I think this is yours.”

He looked over at me with this stunned, bewildered look.

I don’t blame him.

He took back his water bottle and said, “I guess you can have a drink if you want one.”

I just shook my head and kept running.

No thanks, man…life is strange enough without that experience.

I lasted another five minutes before jumping off of there.  That was quite enough for one day.

Happy Mother’s Day

So, at the Y today, post-workout.

(I’m setting the scene for you)

And I’m chilling in the sauna for a second with a towel around my head…so as not to have to talk to anyone or look at anyone.

And in there are a couple of older guys, what I would probably call “regulars.”  These guys are the masters of banter.  They love to chat it up.

So, anyway, I’m just chilling there, minding my own business, and a guy in full racquetball gear (goggles engaged and everything) comes in and says, “Geezus guys, it’s hot in here!”

And one of the regulars (we’ll call him Regular #1) goes, “What?  You wanna eat dinner in here?  It’s a sauna!  You sweat your brains out.  That’s what you do. Idiot…”

I’m loving it so far.

Racquetball Man sits down and starts bouncing his racquetball on the ground.  He begins,

“You see the high for mother’s day?  Holy shit, 55 degrees! Can’t believe that…”

Bounce. Bounce.

Regular #1 says, “Oh yeah?!  I remember when it snowed on Mother’s Day!  I was in Chicago for that.  Years ago.”

Bounce. Bounce.

He pauses…no bouncing…and then says sentimentally, “I’ll never forget that Mother’s Day…”

Ok man, now I gotta know. You speak with such emotion. Why won’t you ever forget that Mother’s Day?

I dare not ask, though.  The first rule of sauna sitting is: you don’t speak in the sauna lest someone speaks to you and you have to make up a fake profession and talk about the workout facility saying things like, “Yeah, I hate that lifeguard, too…”

But he doesn’t answer, he just goes on, “My wife treats me like she’s my mother. ‘Buy me flowers. Have dinner with me.’ Geezus…”

Bouncing resumes.

Bounce. Bounce.

Racquetball Man chimes in, wiping off his goggles, “I know what you mean, hombre.  My old woman thinks I owe her something.  Just ’cause you have kids, don’t make you a mother.”

Uhm…actually, that’s the common definition of “mother.”  But I keep my silence and listen on.

Regular #2, who up to now has been silent says, “My lady gets a card.  That’s it.”

Bounce. Bounce.

Regular #1, “And what you put in that card, all X’s and O’s I bet.”

This comment is apparently funny, because everyone laughs except me.

Raquetball Man, “Alright, I gotta go play.  Tell your mothers I say hi.”

He bounces out.

And then…silence resumes.

I surely will, Racquetball Man.  I surely will.