Leaky Thought #2: North Wydokana

This is my third year writing the Faucet blog and, (bit of a brag here) I’ve had dozens of views. That’s, ahem, dozens with a “D”. And, for the most part, I’ve avoided politics or rants. I realize I may lose a slice of my vast audience with this one, but today I was in a store and saw a bunch of people walking around without masks. This despite (or, more accurately put, in spite of) the reinstated statewide indoor mask mandate, the rising COVID cases, the Omicron variant, the potential for more variants, etc. What can you do? I pushed my cart on down the aisle and had this leaky thought.

Maybe the naked faces are right. Maybe the experts and scientists are overreaching. Maybe the freedom to NOT wear a mask and NOT get vaccinated is being trampled with an overabundance of caution. Maybe so. What we need is a way to find out. So what if we had a state just for that? I mean we have fifty. Seems like we could spare one and do a trial. All the maskless, all the nose-thumbers-at-the-vacciners, they could all go there and do what they want, and let things fall how they will.

But which state? That’s the rub. (And I do NOT want to lose my dedicated readership in Idaho- GO VANDALS!) Every state has its own virtues, so how ’bout we take a nice slice of land, a big hunk of mostly empty space, and for the next couple of years anyone that’s tired of using masks indoors to cover up their horrible coffee breath can go there, just until the corona virus is more or less not a threat.

Want to go maskless indoors this winter? Don’t believe in vaccines? Head on over to North Wydokana. (State slogan pending, probably something about sneezing into masks…Where You Can Sneeze In The Breeze (?))

Leaky Thought #1

The other morning I was driving to work, listening to the news, and I pulled up next to a dog going number two. Our eyes locked, while the owner stood by. I could see the exertion in the eyes. The dog calmly returned my stare. I noticed the curve of the spine, the hind legs hunched together for support. My gaze did not alter the proceedings, so to speak, in any way.

I drove off from the stop sign as the news went on about world leaders meeting at a global summit. Now that would be something, I thought, if prior to meeting the leaders had to lock eyes with each other while going number two, and then had to pick up each other’s poop with a little baggie.

A leader afterward might say to an aide something like, “You know that tariff I was thinking of imposing on _____, well forget it. I’ve had a change of heart.”

Daddy Explains The Supply Chain

A preview of Christmas 2021

(Beckett, age 9, opens his fourth present, containing another note to the effect that this slip of paper is good for a new video game, scheduled to arrive in April. Avianna, his sister, age 7, has been sobbing inconsolably into her blankie since empty box number three, despite the note assuring her that a new outfit for her American Girl doll would arrive by mid-February.)

DAD

All right, everyone, let’s take a break.

BECKETT

I hate Christmas. Christmas sucks. (He rips up the note and throws the box at the tree, knocking off an ornament that shatters on the floor.)

MOM

(Downing a coffee mug full of wine.) Don’t worry about the ornament, honey. We can order a new one and it should be here by next Christmas. (She laughs and reaches for the wine bottle.)

DAD

Now hold on, everyone. This isn’t right. This is Christmas. We’re together. We’re healthy. We have a home, this yummy coffee cake— we have a lot to be grateful for.

AVI

(Through tears, wiping snot on blankie.) Why didn’t Santa come?

BECKETT

I hate Santa. Santa sucks.

(MOM takes a sip and looks expectantly at DAD.)

DAD

Santa did come. Who do you think brought all these presents and wrote these nice notes? (Mom laughs.) These are promises— guarantees— that on a certain date presents will arrive.

(The kids blink and wipe their eyes. Beckett whips a piece of coffee cake into the fireplace.)

DAD

 I can tell you guys are disappointed. That’s fair. You were expecting presents. You’ve been good kids this year— great kids. You’ve hung tough during the pandemic. It’s been a roller coaster of a year. In school. Out of school. Distance learning. In person. You wear your masks and don’t complain even though sometimes you’re the only ones wearing them like at gymnastics or Conner’s birthday party. You made the Nice List. I know this personally.

MOM

More than I can say for Daddy. (She gulps the rest of her mug.)

AVI

(In a whiny voice.) Then why didn’t we get any presents?

BECKETT

Santa’s a fat ass.

DAD

Listen, you’re angry. You’re upset. I can see that. But Santa always keeps his promises.

MOM

Mmm…(She shakes the last drops of the wine bottle into her mouth.)

AVI

(In a petulant whimper.) Why do we have just these empty boxes? (Her face shrivels into a mask of agony.)

DAD

Well, I didn’t want to have to tell you guys this, but I got a letter from Santa. All parents did. Or at least, I think most of them did. And in this letter Santa talked about something called a supply chain. It’s how the elves get all the parts to make the toys.

AVI

Supply…chain? I thought the elves make the toys in the North Pole.

(She wraps herself into a blankie cocoon. Mom cracks open a vodka seltzer can.)

DAD

They do. But they get the parts from all over the world. Especially China. Elves in China send the elves in the North Pole lots of the parts to make the toys.

AVI

Why didn’t the China elves send the North Pole elves the parts? (Her blankie cocoon collapses into a blankie puddle.)

DAD

Uh… shoot. That’s not what I meant. I don’t want you to blame the elves in China. There’s enough of that out there already. It’s no one’s fault. What I meant to say is…it’s…it’s… complicated. See, they put the toy parts in big containers, just like the bins you keep all your doll clothes in. Then they put the big bins on big ships. Due to the pandemic, those big bins are getting hard to come by.

BECKETT

The pandemic sucks.

DAD

And in addition to there being not enough bins, there’s not enough space to store the ones we have. And then there’s not enough boats to take the bins that have stuff. Or there’s boats but no bins. Or full bins but no boats. See, the boats bring the bins to these places called ports. And, because of the bin shortage, or bin surplus, depending on how you look at it—

AVI

(Sniffling.) Bin surplus?

DAD

And there’s not enough truck drivers, or, I mean, elves to drive the sleighs.

AVI

(Moans.) Why aren’t there enough elves?

BECKETT

Trucks suck.

DAD

See, the ports are like Beckett’s closet. Just a total mess. And certain places in the world are taking advantage of the situation. Instead of trying to help Santa, and get him the bins he needs, some people, not Chinese or Asian or any particular ethnicity, just…um… people on the naughty list. Yeah. (MOM laughs, causing her to choke on her vodka seltzer.) These naughty, bad people are holding onto the bins or charging extra money for the bins. Santa was basically screwed. He and his elves did all they could.

BECKETT

Screw Santa. Christmas sucks. (He bashes an empty box against his head.)

AVI

(Writhing.) Why couldn’t Santa use his flying reindeers?

DAD

He was missing some parts for his sleigh. They were stuck in the supply chain. He ordered them last summer. It was supposed to be there by Labor Day, but they got delayed. Just like your gifts. I know for a fact Rudolf’s nose needed a new light and it came just in time. That’s how Santa could deliver these boxes full of his promises.

(MOM, using the coffee cake spatula, cuts a small hole in her next vodka seltzer can and shotguns the beverage.)

AVI

(Rising like a creature from a blankie lagoon.) Doesn’t Santa have magic? Couldn’t he use his magic on the chain? If he knew about Rudolph’s nose on Labor Day?

MOM

(Burping.) Didn’t Mrs. Claus tell Santa to order the Amazon elves to make the gifts by September? Why didn’t Santa listen to Mrs. Claus?

DAD

Santa explained very clearly to Mrs. Claus that the Claus family was on a tight budget in the month of September and didn’t want to go into debt. I believe Santa gave Mrs. Claus the option of telling the Amazon elves to make cheap, shitty presents in September.

(Beckett starts gobbling wrapping paper.)

MOM

Shitty presents would be better than shitty notes.

DAD

Not all the boxes contain Santa’s promises. (He winks.)

(Avi sheds her blankie in an instant. Her moist eyes widen. Beckett stops chewing and hocks a wad of paper onto the floor. They both scramble to the tree, shaking boxes until they each find one that isn’t hollow. They rip into the presents with a vengeance.)

BECKETT

Socks? Seriously? I HATE CHRISTMAS.

DAD

But they’re Star Wars socks!

(Beckett throws the socks into the fire and runs off screaming.)

AVI

A pack of erasers?

DAD

Frozen 2 erasers! Aren’t they fun?

AVI

I’m going to my room and staying there until my presents arrive.

(She grabs blankie and stomps off. In the living room Beckett is kicking the wall and screaming. The mom opens a laptop.)

DAD

What are you doing?

MOM

Easter shopping.

COVID INFORMATION FOR OUR COMMUNITY AND (POTENTIALLY YOUR!) SOFTBALL TEAM

November 24th, 2021

Dear Green Pines Families,

I wanted to make you aware that we were notified that an individual within our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Due to procedures related to privacy laws, I am limited in what I can say. Gosh, do I want to spill the beans on this one. You have no idea. Still, I urge you to respect the privacy of our students, staff, and members of our unofficial school adult co-ed recreational softball team, the Batty Bats.

It is essential that I share what I can to ensure anyone that may have been in contact with the individual is aware of their potential exposure. Fortunately, the individual in question plays outfield. “Plays” is a bit of a misnomer. For most of this season anyway, the individual basically stands in the outfield with a glove. The individual does not catch, throw, or even move much. Your classic weakest link. You might be wondering, why does this individual even participate in recreational softball? Gosh do I wish I could say more here, but again the privacy thing.

School and District leadership, in conjunction with public health officials and league umpires, have determined there is no need at this time to close our school or cancel any games. Some physical education equipment is used by the Batty Bats (balls and clipboards, to be specific). We have cleaned and disinfected, as appropriate, and our campus has been deemed safe for occupancy. The softballs, since they haven’t been caught, thrown, or even hit by the affected individual since getting divorced from a certain middle infielder/relief pitcher, did not need disinfection.

Although you have not been identified as a close contact, out of transparency, we feel it is important to notify our community of this information. As you are probably aware, viral symptoms can be confused with other symptoms related to adult softball participation, most notably shortness of breath, and muscle aches and pains. However, and again privacy laws are a real you-know-what, it seems safe to say that a reasonable person would agree, moping in the outfield and intentionally striking out are unlikely to cause shortness of breath.

I know this information is concerning. Please know we are acting in accordance with public health guidelines and Rec. League rules. Players with positive test results must follow league protocols and public health guidelines. I can’t really say what I want to here, but, well, screw it. Before the divorce, this individual had a respectable batting average. The Batty Bats will not be beholden to a virus, or an outfielder that is bitter over a shattered marriage. And the pandemic, like the softball season, is not over. I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone to remain vigilant. Viruses are blind— they don’t care about age, race, or socioeconomic factors. So too, is jilted love. Blind to a team on the brink of contending for this year’s North San Diego Coastal Fall League Championship.

Despite this unpleasantness, the safety of our students, staff, and community remains our primary focus. (Beating Green Pines Middle is our second, LOL;) If you have questions or concerns about this information, or if you are free to play softball on Sunday nights, please contact me. If you aren’t free to play, but know someone that is, please contact me directly. The playoffs are three weeks away and we can’t afford to forfeit any games with the Chuck Wagon Trotters nipping at our heels. We thank you for your cooperation and support. Stay safe and Go Bats!

A Leaky Comparison

Things my wife does on a Saturday “soccer morning”:

Feed three kids breakfast

Find three soccer jerseys

Find three sets of shin guards and cleats

Fill four water bottles

Help three kids get dressed in soccer uniforms

Put sunscreen on three kids

Inflate any soccer balls that need air

Get team snacks ready

Put three soccer balls in soccer bags

Put shade and lawn chairs in the car

Get three kids in the car

Things I do on a Saturday “soccer morning”:

Drink coffee

Go poo

Latest MFA Rankings Are In

The latest MFA rankings are in, complete with a surprise that caught all the experts off guard.

(I’m referring to my now seven-year-old daughter Mia’s Favorite Animal rankings— not to be confused with other popular MFA rankings, like the Most Fanciest Aardvark, real big in certain parts of the USA.)

Let’s get to it.

It’s no surprise that HORSES, as a result of her new riding lessons, have taken over the top spot, knocking PEACOCKS to number two. The real surprise, the big doozy, the one that caught everyone off guard, is the new animal now holding the three spot.

MOTHS.

That’s right folks. No one saw it coming. Some experts say it’s a result of the moth that was in the bathroom for three days that Mia wanted to adopt. Others claim it’s the dark moth that scared her in the garage one recent Saturday morning. There’s even some arguing it might have to do with a moth on the screen door weeks ago…

DOGS and CATS round out the top five, which everyone predicted.

Either way, the new MFA rankings prove one thing without a doubt: the experts aren’t always right.

A Daring Feat of Strenuousness

Tonight, D, my four-year-old was playing with a toy when she should be asleep. “Stop playing with the toy or I take it,” I said from the hallway, where my ass had recently joined D’s two older sisters in Dream Town.

“Close the door,” D responded. I’ve fallen for this before. I close the door and she keeps playing. Fool me once.

“No,” I said.

I will now attempt a daring feat of strenuousness. I will now try to record with accurate punctuation the first twenty ways she said “close the door,” (all of which I ignored).

  1. Close the door.
  2. Close the door.
  3. Cloooose the dooor!
  4. Close, the door.
  5. Close the door!
  6. Close the dooooooooooor!
  7. CLOSE THE DOOR!!!!
  8. Close the door.
  9. Close……the… … … door.
  10. Close the door.
  11. Close. The. Door.
  12. Close! The! Doooooooor!
  13. Close the door.
  14. Clooooooooooooooose theeeeeee DOOOOR!
  15. Close the door.
  16. Close the clore.
  17. Close the… … …
  18. Dose the door.
  19. Close the door.
  20. CLOSE THE DOOR.

She said another twenty or so, but— especially #34-39— the level of skill required to accurately punctuate the sentences is beyond my meager writing abilities. I only have a BA in journalism, thirty years of reading, and about fifteen years worth of writing.

Rather than the butcher the complicated, experts-only “black hole” punctuation, I’ll simply say that right around a snappy semi-colon in #41 I offered a deal to close the door half-way. The deal was not accepted. I closed it halfway, anyway. A line was crossed: little feet hit the floor. I took the toy away and put it up high in the hall closets with the beach towels. Screams ensued. Everyone woke up, including my ass. Mommy had to come to the rescue.

The real takeaway here is obviously the nuanced language that toddlers are capable of. But a word of caution: only grammarians and scholars should try to correctly punctuate sentences of an over-tired four-year-old that doesn’t want to go to bed.

Oh, and bring a pillow for your tush if you have to sit on a hard wood floor.

From the Toll Roads Class Action Administration Basement

EMPLOYEE A: So whaddya say? One more and then let’s go to lunch. I’m starving.

EMPLOYEE B: Fine by me. It’s been quite the morning.

A: You got the plate number?

B: Yeah, right here. (Reads the license plate number).

A: Got it. Ok, which highway?

B: The 133.

A: (Speaking as he types.) Our records show that you drove on the 133 Toll Road in Southern California. Month?

B: August.

A: Okay. (Types) What else we got?

B: The drone took some pictures of a stop at In-N-Out.

A (Speaking as he types.) Further, our records show that you stopped at In-N-Out. O.K. Anything else? (His tummy rumbles.)

B: Yeah, it says here that they parked crooked and took up two spots, right during the lunch rush.

A: Don’t you hate that? There’s no where to park and some jerk can’t take the time to straighten out. All right, I’ll add that. Is that it?

B: A couple more things. Looks like they ate outside and left napkins, straw wrappers, and ketchup stains all over the table.

A:(Sighs before starting his speaking while typing routine) Our records indicate that you also left behind quite the mess at your In-N-Out patio seating.

B: Quite the mess…mmmm…that doesn’t sound right. It should be more official. Remember, we get paid a percentage based on how many join the class action suit.

A: Yeah, you’re right. I’m just thinking about In-N-Out. Man. I haven’t been there in forever. Not since my wife went vegan. I could eat my hand right now.

B: Well, let’s knock this out and head over to the one over by the mall.

A: Really? I thought you only ate salads from Whole Foods.

B: We deserve this.

A: You’re damn right we do. All right, let’s focus…quite a mess…hmm…

B: How about: Our records indicate your trash disposal was less than satisfactory.

A: Brilliant! Man, I knew you were smart, Mr. Magna Cum Laude. We’re done! Let’s eat— I’m going animal style.

B: Wait. There’s one other thing the drone picked up.

A: Uff. Man I miss the days when all we had to write was that our records indicated they drove on a certain highway. But I guess the strategy is working with the last few class action suits through the roof. What do we got?

B: Ketchup stains. Our records indicate a ketchup stain on both the shirt and pants—his rear— from sitting in ketchup. It appears the shirt stain went undetected until the 241.

A: Oh geez. People are slobs. How can we write that so it sounds official? I can’t think with my stomach this empty.

B: Hmm, give me a second.

A: (Stomach growls.)

B: How about, lastly, our records indicate multiple blemishes to both front and rear attire during use of Southern California Toll Roads.

A: Gold! Pure gold! Say it again. (EMPLOYEE A types as EMPLOYEE B repeats the phrase.) Now just to add the closing. (Singing as he types)You May Be Entitled To A Payment From The Two Class Action Settlements. A federal court has authorized this Notice. This is NOT a solicitation from a lawyer. Done! Let’s eat. I’m getting a double and a shake. Cholesterol be damned.

B: Don’t forget— change the font in those last to lines to 2.5. Perfect. I’ll drive.

A: Should we take the toll road?

B: (Freezes in the doorway.)

A: You should’ve seen your face.

(Door closes.)

Parenting Is Like The Sea

Circumstances dictated that I was away from my children the last two weeks. Two weeks without a single “Daddy.” (I’m not counting FaceTime, which the four-year-old dominated with unicorn emojis.) It was strange.

So this weekend, it took a little while to get back in the saddle. Am I proud of my reaction to my four-year-old ignoring my fourth directive to brush her teeth? Not particularly, though it should be noted that the horsey I swiped from her did not actually “go bye-bye.”

There are some other incidents that I could mention, one involving Lincoln Logs and a character I called Overall Paul…but I think it’s sufficient to note that parenting is like the sea. When you’re away from it for a time, be aware that it will take a day, or two, to get your parenting “legs” back underneath you again.

And if you have a strong willed four-year-old, it might take a month. I’ll let you know.