Sunday, December 08, 2013
And they shall call his name...
I figure one of the most important decisions I will ever make is what to name my kids.

Right now, my life is all Frosted Flakes or Apple Jacks, NCIS reruns or Golf Channel, and take out the trash or see just how much more I can stack on top of the can without it falling.  (FYI, my record is 2 ft. 4 inches above the rim, wall-aided.)

But someday that will, in theory, change.  My decisions will begin to mean more, have more lasting consequences.  And I gotta tell ya, that freaks me out a little.

I'm pretty sure they hand out manuals at the hospital that give you tips on how to raise your kids.  But no one tells you how to name your kids.  

Oh sure, there's the Big Book of 60,000 Baby Names, but that's got like a thousand names.  Who among us can choose just one?  I have enough trouble trying to decide what kind of cereal to have.

So today I am relieved to be able to say I have made this important decision.  I have picked out names for my kids.  And I will reveal those to you now, with the understanding that you agree to sign a non-compete agreement at the end of this post stating that you will not steal my names.

If it is a boy, they shall call his name.... Luke.

Pros: It's Biblical.  It's one of the Dukes of Hazzard.  Also, easy to spell if he's not very studious.  And for every day of his life, I can (and will) say in a Darth Vader voice, "Luke.... I am your father."

Cons: There are no cons.

OK, I have to admit I stole that idea from Facebook.  But my girl name I came up with all by myself, as I'm sure you will have no trouble believing.

If it is a girl, they shall call her name.... Adrian.

Pros: About once a week when I'm letting her out at school, I'll purposely hide her lunch or a book or something, so that she "forgets" it.  Then just as she's almost to the door, in the midst of all her peers, I'll roll down the window and yell in my best Sylvester Stallone voice, "Yo, Adriaaaaaaaan!!!!!  You forgot your protractor."

Talk about years and years of fun.

Cons: Again, there are no cons.  For me, anyway.

I'm so thankful to have this major life decision behind me.  Now all I have to do is get their mother to go along with this.

But today, that seed has been planted.

Actually, that's probably a poor choice of words.

"Some gal would giggle and I'd get red / And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head / I tell you, life ain't easy for a boy named Sue..."

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Thursday, October 17, 2013
Kids, it's not that difficult
As my blog has evolved, I have gone from posting at near Twitter-speed anytime a thought wafted through my mind, to posting a day or two after an event happened, and now to this.  "This" being some sort of massive blog slowdown wherein I am just now getting around to blogging about Nephew Bone's birthday party.  Which took place in August.  Of 2012.

OK, 2013.  But still.

Is evolved the right word?

Devolved?  Decomposed?

Nephew Bone turned five this year.  Ah, five...  I don't actually remember much about being five.  I think that may have been the year I got my Starsky & Hutch matchbox car.  Nephew Bone had a Duck Dynasty party.

Boy, this post really isn't going anywhere.  I think I will instead make this a general info post on how to throw a proper birthday party for a child under seven.  Yes, that's what I shall do.  I decided that just now, on the fly.

Bone: Making virtually every life decision on the fly since 1980-something.  This explains oh so much.

I know what you're thinking: Bone, you don't even have any kids that we know of.  How would you know anything about throwing a birthday party for one?

Exhibit A: I, Bone, have attended somewhere around EIGHT of these little germ fests over the past five years, so... yeah.

Exhibit B: One of my sister's favorite sayings is "I can't wait 'til you have kids."  I can only take this to mean she knows what an excellent rearer of children I will be and she is anxiously awaiting it, probably in much the same way Houdini's sister anxiously awaited his escape the first time she buried him alive.

(I also wrote a post several years ago wherein I may have poked a little fun at the time-out method of discipline and a couple of people took it to mean I was advocating spanking children.  Yeah, that cost me about half my readers at that time, so I no longer include it on my parenting resume.  I was even reprimanded by the World Order of Mommy Bloggers, aka WOMB.  Ironically, my punishment wound up being, you guessed it, a 15-minute time-out.  Oh well, live and learn.  Or, in my case, just live.  Not all of this paragraph is factual, but probably more than you think.)

Now that we've established my credentials, let's get this party started... in a manner of speaking.

The first thing you're gonna want to do is minimize the number of kids you invite to this party.  This is because of Bone's Theorem of Kids and Fun, which states:  The number of kids at the party is inversely proportional to the amount of fun your child's "adult" friends will have at said party.  And really, what's more important than that?

Chances are your child isn't going to remember this party anyway.  I mean, how many of your birthday parties before the age of seven do you remember?  And besides, are these really your child's friends?  Or are they, more likely, children of your friends whom you have forced upon your child in some sort of medieval-esque arranged friendship.  Hmm?

Mmhmm, stepping on some toes now, am I?

Now personally, I prefer a 1:1 child-to-parent ratio.  I wouldn't go any higher than 2:1.  If someone shows up with more than two kids, I recommend scolding their child in front of them.  It has been my experience that they will leave fairly soon after that.

The second ingredient for a successful children's party is renting one of those cool, inflatable water slides.  Nephew Bone had one of these at his party.  Actually, he's had an inflatable slide at two of his parties, and those were two of the funnest days of my admittedly not-all-that-exciting life.

Going down an inflatable water slide at 40-years-old dressed as Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty... I'm just not sure where else my life has to go after that.

Now, there is one danger of which you should be aware with these inflatable slides.  Inevitably, one of the smaller kids winds up getting hurt by one of the bigger kids and starts crying.  This also happened at Nephew Bone's party.  And no, the "bigger kid" in this instance wasn't me, thankyouverymuch.

Although I did make two kids cry on the trampoline.

But it's not my fault!  I have to do my high jumps!  It's family tradition.

And that's it.  Two simple steps to hosting a successful kids birthday party, from a guy who's never even hosted one. 

If I could proffer one final piece of advice, it would be this:  No one's perfect.  Actually, that's not really advice, is it?

Hmph.  Let's try something else.

Kids are a crapshoot.  We're all gonna make mistakes.  (Well, you're gonna make mistakes. As stated earlier I've not had kids yet, so...)  They're resilient.  They'll adjust.

And if they question you, respond as my Dad always did to me: "Because I said so."  (Bonus side note:  This works OK with kids.  Not as well with girls you may be dating.)

Besides, your kids have most likely figured out by now that you control the flow of Goldfish and juice in the household.  And once that pecking order has been established, what could go possibly go wrong?  And if they're still getting on your nerves, just send them up to bed early.  Problem solved.

Wow, if I already have this much knowledge about kids, once I get a couple years of actual experience, I'm gonna be a scary good parent.

No wonder my sister can't wait.

"Do you think for one minute that this is it / Your party is bogus, yo, it ain't legit / You better put on the Hammer and you will be rewarded / My beat is ever boomin' and you know I get it started..."

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Let them eat cake!
As I was preparing to exfoliate the unnecessary details from my weekend and prepare a tasty little blog casserole for you, it struck me that I attend a high number of toddler birthday parties.  You know, for a man. With no kids.

Anyway, first things first.  Saturday morning, I managed to complete a 10-kilometer run.  Which I now prefer to refer to as ten thousand meters.  It just sounds farther.  (Ooo, one million centimeters!  Even better.)  I've also been singing the "I would walk five hundred miles" song, substituting "have run" for "would walk", "ten thousand" for "five hundred," and "meters" for "miles."  A couple more changes and it'll be completely unrecognizable.

I finished in 51:58, which isn't my best.  But it also isn't my worst, and as is always my #1 goal in these races, I didn't die.  (#2 is getting my name in the local paper.  What?  I need attention.  I come by it honest.)

There was no trophy this year, as I am 39 and at the upper end of my age group.  But next year, when I reach that age-which-shall-not-be-spoken, I'll be the young whippersnapper in my classification.  This year, I was racing against guys with names like Corey, Trey, and Dustin.  But, next year, I'll be going against guys named Dean, Barry, and Stanley -- guys who have lived, guys who have more than likely had at least one prostate exam.  And the way I figure, I'll be like the just-turned-50-year-old who goes out on the Senior PGA Tour for the first time.  I'll be dominating the dojo.  So to speak.

After a nap so short it's an insult to even call it a nap, it was off to Nashville.  Yes, my spring social season is in full swing, and Saturday was my friends' daughter's first birthday party.  As I stated earlier, I've attended quite a few of these, so I know the drill -- cake, presents, seven thousand pictures, and copious amounts of hand sanitizer.

As a matter of fact, I've become such a pro at these things, I could probably hire myself out to attend them.  Actually, now that I think about it -- strange, childless man at a toddler's birthday party -- maybe that's not such a great idea.

Anyway, even a seasoned pro like myself was a bit taken aback by one hiccup that did occur.  This happened when the mom scolded one of the "kids" for trying to eat one of the cupcakes:  "No!  Not yet!  Can't you wait five more minutes?  I have to get a picture of the table first! "

Yes, because that's what the party is all about -- pictures of decorations.  And good heavens, we'd already been there for nearly two hours.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep some of these kids entertained for that long?  I know I wasn't there five minutes before I was playing on my phone.

I think I have to side with the kid on this one.  And did she really have to yell?  That kinda hurt my feelings.  I mean... his feelings.

Thankfully, the rest of the party went fairly smoothly.  Well, except for the grill catching ablaze.  But perhaps that will be another ingredient, in another blog casserole.  You know, if you didn't catch it on the local news.

And in case you're wondering, that poor, downtrodden, reprobate kid did finally get his cupcake, as well as an extra Capri-Sun for his trouble. (Actually, he punched a hole clear through the back of his first one.  I could never do those things right!)

"But I would walk five hundred miles / And I would walk five hundred more / Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door..."

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I'm a big kid now
Welcome to Restaurant Reviews, an all-new non-regular feature here on IYROOBTY. Today, I will be writing about the midscale Italian eatery and entertainment chain known as Chuck E. Cheese.

There is nothing like a kid's very first trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Why, I still remember mine like it was last week. And that's because it was.

Last Sunday, I ventured into one of Chuck E's 542 locations. My first impression? It was like Aladdin's Castle had started serving pizza!

Remember when you were a kid and your mom would come and get you out of the arcade and tell you it was time to go eat and that maybe you could come back later but there was never a later? Well, problem solved.

At Chuck E. Cheese, you can play and eat, then play some more. Kids of all ages can enjoy the fun. Well, except for the climby thingie, which apparently has an age limit even though there was none clearly marked. I really don't think there should be an age limit on fun.

Now on to the ratings:

Entertainment - 8.5 (out of 10)

Kudos for the number and variety of arcade games. There was also the climby thing and a giant slide. Plenty to keep you, er, your kids, occupied.

I deducted half a point here because the football toss game stopped giving me tickets. And I was dominating, too! Also, Mario Kart was NEVER open.

I took away another point for the animatronics stage show which is going on pretty much the entire time you're there. I mean, it was interesting enough. I just think if those kids ever figure out that's just a bunch of metal and wires and not a real person up there, you're gonna have some crying kids. It'll be like finding out there's no Milli Vanilli.

Can I be completely honest? Going into the whole thing, I thought Chuck E. was really gonna be there. It's a little disappointing, that's all.

Food - 5.5

Well, there's pizza. And I think I saw a salad bar on my way to the restroom. Honestly, you don't even really notice the food so much. You just wolf it down as quickly as possible so that you can get back to the games.

Ambience - 8

Fun. Noisy. Laid back. I deducted two points here for the rude six-year-old girl who kept climbing onto the ramp and stealing my skeeballs then throwing them down the wrong lane. I mean seriously, where was her legal guardian? What a dark day for parenting.

Also, if the thought of forty kids running around mostly unsupervised all over the place bothers you, then that'll take the ambience rating down a few notches to about a... negative twelve.

Value - 10

Where else can you do a half a million things, all at a quarter to three? Oh, wrong slogan.

All games cost one token. Granted, each game lasts an average of forty-two seconds. But still, high marks for making things simple. Most kids find the ticket counting machine pretty fun, so you can usually kill an extra ten minutes or so per kid on that.

Then there are the prizes. We cashed in our tickets for a cool glider airplane, an inflatable hammer, and some Pop Rocks. At what age will I stop being amused by Pop Rocks? You might think it would have already happened by now, but apparently not.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. However, I would like to make a couple of recommendations. As I do have my very own blog on which I sometimes write restaurant reviews, I think I've earned that right. Number one, be sure to come well-stocked with hand sanitizer. Also, if they could like maybe put kids who steal other kids' skeeballs in time out or something, that would be great.

"You can hear the cries from the carnival rides, the pinball bells and the skeeball slides..."

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Party like it's 1983
Friday night, I attended a birthday party for a 10-year-old girl. (It's this or nothing, alright?) The party was for Kywana Jr. She is the godson's stepsister, which basically makes her my step-god-niece. Or something. So pretty much, I had to go. Also, I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.

Upon arrival, I found myself standing near a circle of five moms, with no other males in sight. After about five minutes of mom talk, I was starting to think this wasn't such a good idea. Wanting to add something to the conversation, I quipped, "Oh, was I supposed to bring a kid?" Then two of the moms started talking about how they couldn't find jeans to fit their daughters' butts. At which point, I made like a defecting Soviet gymnast and snuck away.

Once inside the house I finally spotted some people I knew. The male half of Kywana came out from wherever he had been hiding and Setup Girl showed up with the kid who was almost mine. Then cupcakes and cheese puffs were served and things were starting to look up.

While eating, I eavesdropped on conversations about Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers. Again trying to add something to the conversation, I told everyone that the male portion of Kywana was my brother from another mother. That's when Kywana Jr. grabbed one of her little friends and said, "This is my sister from another mister." I started to think about the biological implications, then I just stopped my brain. When Kywana asked who all was spending the night, I raised my hand, but it was not to be.

The next order of business was to pick a movie. I suggested Rocky II, but unfortunately that wasn't one of our choices. We could pick between Bolt (which I'd never heard of), Bedtime Stories, and Marley & Me.

One little girl informed us that she was not allowed to watch Marley & Me. Personally, I thought that was taking the whole Team Aniston/Team Jolie thing way too far. But then she went on to say that she couldn't watch movies where something bad happens to an animal, and she heard something bad happens to Marley. At which point, Setup Girl said, "Well, we could always watch Old Yeller."

Anyway, we wound up watching Bedtime Stories. They had a big projection screen set up in the driveway, and we all sat in the garage and watched. And by all, I mean me, the projection screen guy, one Dad, and the sisters from different misters.

The movie started a bit slow. I thought of slipping out early, but decided to stick it out since there was free popcorn. It was definitely geared towards kids, which makes it all the more strange that a couple of times during the movie I found that I was the only one laughing.

Finally, it was time to go. In addition to the girls, there were two little boys that attended the party who I took to be brothers (from the same mother). One looked to be about Kywana Jr.'s age, and the other a few years younger. When they got ready to leave, Kywana Jr. surprised the older kid with a kiss on the cheek. Instantly, his little brother took off running full speed for the door.

I laughed. I don't remember much about 1983--when I was ten--but it must have been a lot like this. Without the projection screen. Also, fewer girls.

"A little girl came through the front gate holdin' a fishing pole. His dad looked down and smiled, said we can't leave her behind. Son, I know you don't want her to go, but someday you'll change your mind..."

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Friday, June 27, 2008
The three words you can never say in front of children
In memory of George...

I have never considered myself to be a foul-mouthed person. I mean, sure I play golf, and drive a car, and occasionally have been known to break out in song from the South Park Christmas CD. But for the most part, my speech is tasteful and very much family and kid friendly.

Or so I thought.

A couple of weeks ago, I was over at Kywana's (their celebrity couple name) playing Mario Kart on the Wii. But that's another issue for another day. There were a couple of children present. I think we can all see where this is headed.

Well, as is bound to happen, I ran my kart off the road pretty quick. And without thinking, I dropped a c-bomb.

Instantaneously, I heard a motherly voice from the next room admonishing me. "Uh, we don't say that around here."

I managed a befuddled "What?"

"We don't say that around here."

Then a child chimed in, "Yeah, that's a bad word. We say carp instead."

"Carp?" As in the large Asian freshwater fish? Yes, apparently. "Fine, I'll say carp. But you'll all know what I really mean!"

Laughter ensued, or so I imagined. And for the rest of the night, crap became carp. Or more accurately it became, "Crap! I mean carp!"

The racing continued for awhile without incident. Then some person with pure evil in their heart selected the track known as Rainbow Road. It's this wee little narrow winding road with huge drop offs on both sides, into a canyon, river, or some other such abyss. If you run off the road, your chance to win is pretty much shot.

"I hate this frickin' track," I uttered innocently.

"Um, we don't say that, either," came the motherly voice again.

"What?!"

"That's another bad word."

I didn't know whether to go stand in the corner or write my name on the board. I felt like I was in first grade. And much like first grade, I talked back.

"I've never heard of such. What am I supposed to say then?"

"Try heavens to Betsy."

"Yeah. Or oopsy daisy."

Laughter ensued, only this time for real. Finally, after I ran my kart off Rainbow Road for the fifth time still on the first lap, I let another expletive fly.

"Suck!"

The room fell silent. (Not really, but it's more dramatic that way.) Nothing needed to be said. I'd hit rock bottom, and knew I needed help. I hung my head and wondered if I'd be asked to leave. Or if they were gonna call my mother. Fortunately, the answer to both was no. Well, I was asked to leave, but that was because it was 9 PM and I'm always asked to leave at 9 PM.

I was one of the lucky ones. I got another chance. And even though it's only been a couple of weeks, my rehab is going well. I'm already starting to see some progress. Just this past weekend I was playing Trivial Pursuit with a girl. (If only that were a euphemism for something else.) I dropped a box of cards (or that), spilling them on the floor. Instinctively, and with the tone of a kindergarten teacher, I said, "Oopsy daisy."

That illicited an odd and slightly fearful look. And needless to say, we didn't wind up "playing Trivial Pursuit" that night, if you know what I mean.

Hmm, perhaps "carp" would have been a better choice there?

"Courtney Cox. I love you. You're so hot. On that show..."

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Sunday, April 08, 2007
Time In
There is a growing problem in this country. And it's not limited to large cities, or the beltway, or the state of Utah. No, you can see evidence of it in the living rooms and backyards of Anytown, USA. It's the wussification of today's youth. Now there's no need to concern yourself with this word. It's a scientific term, basically meaning "the process of turning into wusses."

Allow me to spin you a yarn.

Yesterday I went into the kitchen to fix a bowl of Lucky Charms, a not uncommon occurrence in Bachelorville. I'll admit I was a tad excited when I bought them Thursday and saw the prize was a Spiderman water squirter. So one might think I was thrilled when I opened the box and found the water squirter sitting right there on top. Au contraire, monsieur. (That's French for "You must not know 'bout me.") I was dismayed.

When I was a kid, cereal prizes were located in the bag with the cereal. Crap plastic toys and fake tattoos were buried deep within gobs of sweetened, frosted, or toasted bits of corn and puffed wheat. To find the prize, you either had to pour out the entire box and get in trouble, or wait and hope with all your might that the prize would come out in your bowl instead of that of your siblings. It was like a little cereal lottery.

Or worse, there wasn't even a prize in the box. And you had to collect the dreaded proofs of purchase from three or four cereal boxes, then beg your mother to mail them in so you could get your hard earned prize. Three or four boxes! Do you have any idea how long that seems to the mind of a child? It was like waiting on four Christmases.

But today? Kids don't have to dig around or collect proofs of purchase. The prize is right there on top, handed to them, like everything else. And this is a perfect microcosm of what is wrong with kids today. But I don't blame the kids at all. I blame people like Big Cereal. Oh, and the trampoline industry, of course.

Among the most tangible signs of the wussification of kids are trampolines with those ten foot high vinyl and net walls surrounding them. That's not a trampoline; it's a playhouse with a bouncy floor. I don't understand. Was there a sudden spike in the number of trampoline tragedies beteween the time I was a kid and today?

When I was young, my parents didn't overprotect me with a fence and roof on my trampoline. Half the fun of jumping on a trampoline was getting caught up in the springs once in awhile and pinching the fire out of your leg, or jumping too high and banging your head against that steel rail. YOu do that a few times, and you don't need a protective wall. You'll stay real close to the middle.

Then there is the abundance of protective gear kids today have to wear to ride a freaking bicycle. I saw a little girl the other day riding a bike with training wheels on a sidewalk, wearing knee pads and a helmet. Most kids are so loaded down with safety gear, you could shoot them out of a cannon and they wouldn't get a scratch. If I had ridden my bike dressed like that, every kid in the neighborhood would have laughed me straight into therapy.

Aren't we being a little too overprotective? I mean, what's next? Soft foam padding underneath swing sets? Wearing life preservers and arm floaties in little one-foot deep plastic pools? Can you imagine growing up and never having to have stitches or a cool scar or a cast for all your friends to sign?

Kids can barely even get into trouble these days. What's with these washable markers? A kid marks all over their clothes or a wall in the house. So what? It comes right out. When I was a kid, we had permanent markers. Heck, we kept Heloise in business. Not only was the ink permanent, but the fumes were so strong, you could get brain damage from sniffing one too long. And again, I turned out fine.

So you parents might be saying, "Bone, you make some valid points, even though you have no kids and it doesn't look like that is going to change anytime in the foreseeable future. What can we do to help our kids?"

Well, don't take it from me, take it from this woman. Who I'd be willing to guess not only doesn't have kids, but probably hasn't even had a date in fifteen years.

You give your children a TIME OUT. According to this article, "It's important to not spank, hit, or slap a child of any age." (Um, were my parents the only ones who apparently missed that memo?)

"Bone," you may wonder, "How long should my child's time outs be?" Well again, referring to our resident expert, one minute for each year of age is a good rule of thumb.

Now, when I was in school, if I got a paddling, I knew I was going to get another when I got home. Imagine how much better I would have behaved if instead of a paddling, I had been given a ten minute time out. And knew that when I got home I was in for ten more minutes. I shudder at the thought.

Seriously, when I was a kid, if I got in trouble, I was the one wanting to call a time-out. And if I had tried to, I am only fairly certain my Dad would have immediately called time-in.

This whole situation frightens me. These are the bloggers of tomorrow we're talking about. I'm barely even going to be able to enjoy my Spider Man water squirter now.

"I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way..."

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