Embarrassing my Daughter

My cute little daughter is getting older, and it’s breaking my heart.  Before I go into too much detail, I admit, I was at fault in this situation.  That’s not the point, though.  The point is the sadness I felt.

The Flower Child, my seven year old daughter, is in Girl Scouts.  This is the first year she’s been in this organization, and we signed her up so she can be a part of a group that is all girls.  She’s played T-Ball and Soccer before on teams with boys and girls, but she needs some girl time.  Our neighborhood is teaming with masculinity.  Within a quarter mile radius, there are eight boys and no girls for her to play with, so she’s incredibly excited to go to Scouts.

I took her to a meeting last week.  There are 20 other little second grade girls in her troop. I walked with her to the classroom where she was having her last meeting.  Right when we entered the room, she skipped away from me and took a seat in the middle of a gaggle of giggling girls.  I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, so I waded through the crowd to find her.  I snatched her out of her seat and gave her a big hug.  Then I set her back down and went on my way.

An hour and a half later, the meeting ended.  I came back to get her, and as we were driving home, I asked her how her meeting went.

She said, “Dad, you know, you embarrassed me.”

I looked back at her, completely baffled, “What?  How did I embarrass you?”

“When you hugged me!” she declared.

I bristled from her brash statement.  “But why?  I should be able to hug my daughter.”

“It’s not that.  You picked me up and were growling like a bear, in the middle of all my friends.  It’s embarrassing!”

TheFlowerChild

“Oh,” I replied.  I had never thought about the fact that I might make my daughter embarrassed. I just wanted to give her a hug, since she always does that before she goes somewhere.

This weekend, we had a discussion about what I can and can’t do. I asked if she was just uncomfortable by my actions and not just embarrassed about me being her dad.  That would be a total death blow to her father.  She said it was just my actions that bothered her.   I understand the situation now, and won’t hug her like an angry bear anymore in her circle of friends.  I will however still get a socially acceptable hug from her before she runs off to be with her friends.

No Awe, No Wonder (69/365)

What’s wrong with kids these days?  Aren’t they amazed by anything anymore.  Are all the special effects in movies, or those blasted video games and such are taking the wonder out of the world?  If everything is awesome, then is there any awe left?  I wonder if there’s any wonder left.

On Saturday, my wife and I had to travel to Brookfield to sign some tax forms.  I wanted to make the trip worthwhile for my kids because sitting in the car for an hour and a half without getting to do something cool seemed unfair, especially since it was the weekend.  I decided that stopping at Miller Park would be a unique experience for them.

We arrived at the Brewer’s baseball stadium around three in the afternoon.  For those not familiar with this stadium, it’s a giant brick stadium with a massive green metal roof.  The inside has four levels of seating, and can hold over 40,000 people.  My kids weren’t as amazed as I thought they would be.  I asked my five year old son, Ivan the Wonderful, “So, isn’t it huge?”

“Yeah.  It’s big,” he replied.

Miller Park

We entered the stadium by some doors near the left field corner, and entered a restaurant there called Friday’s Front Row Grill.  I thought we’d get a good view of the field, the grandstands, and the roof from inside the restaurant, bout you couldn’t see as much as I would have liked.  The outdoor balcony wasn’t open.  All you could see out the windows of the restaurant was the field, but the entire field was covered with a tarp.  You couldn’t even tell it was a baseball field.  My daughter asked if they played football here.

Sadly, I answered, “No.  It’s for baseball.  You can’t see the field because of the tarp.”

When we left the restaurant, I started looking around to see if we could enter the stadium to better see the huge closed roof.  All the gates to the concourses were locked shut.  I was irate.  How dare they cover the field!  How dare they preventing us from gazing upon the giant retractable roof!

That’s when I decided to take my kids up the closed escalator.  Yes, that was probably against the rules, but I blame the Brewer’s organization for not giving my kids the experience I wanted to give them.   I guess I could just bring them to a game, but that’s besides the point.  Bow to my unreasonable wishes!

While my wife and daughter were still in the Brewer’s store near the restaurant, so I snatched my two boys, moved aside a yellow construction sign, and led them up an escalator to the second level.  They were going to see the inside of Miller Park, and they were going to like it!  We swiftly made our way upstairs, and then went into the stands.  I pointed up and showed the kids the huge closed roof.  “Isn’t it amazing!  Look at how high the roof is,” I said, my voice filled with wonder.

My nine year old son, Bob the Builder, was someone who I thought would appreciate the soaring arched roof.  He answered with, “It’s tall.”

Discouraged, I told my kids that it was time to leave.  They sensed that we were doing something wrong, so they slunk up the stairs, giggling, hiding behind seats and ducking behind posts.  I didn’t care, probably because I was disappointed with the experience that I thought they should have, so I just strutted towards the escalator.

When we got back downstairs, I saw my wife and my daughter.  I waved them over so I could show my daughter the upstairs.  She gets excited about everything, so maybe The Flower Child could lift my spirits.  We turned to go back up the escalator, and a maintenance man suddenly appeared at the top of the steps.  Apparently, my bold move to go up the stairs the first time was noticed by someone, and he was sent to make sure it didn’t happen again.

“You see the caution signs,” he said.  “That means you can’t come up here.”  I nodded.  My wife shook her head in dismay at my bold attempt to snoop around upstairs.  Disheartened and defeated, I lead my family out of the building.

Was I wrong for wanting a bigger reaction from my kids?  I’m not sure.  Maybe they were impressed, but didn’t really say it.  Who knows?  Are my kids, or all kids these days not amazed things as easily?   I’m not sure, but I think I was impressed a lot easier than their generation is.  Was I wrong for sneaking around, and taking them upstairs to show them more of the stadium?  Of course not!

I’m Not The Garbage Man By Choice! (48/365)

Just because I eat all the leftovers, doesn’t mean I like leftovers!  Just because I eat old bread doesn’t mean I don’t want a soft, fluffy slice from that fresh loaf. I have been forced into this position against my will!  Today, I say, “No more!”  It’s time for this man to take a stand.

Here’s the deal.  Yesterday, at the Tiefenthaler household, when the kids were fast asleep, I lost my mind.  I started a completely petty argument, but I’M IN THE RIGHT!  I WANT JUSTICE!

It all started when I was a total gentleman and went out and did some grocery shopping.  On the list, that my wife wrote for me to follow, was the word, “bread.”  Since was the start of a school week, I bought two fresh loaves of Country Hearth 100% Whole Wheat Bread.  When I got home and stocked the cabinets with the bounty I brought back from the grocery store, I found two more bags of bread, and each one had about 10 slices left.  They both are still well within the “use by this date” on the package.  One said February 20th, and the other said February 22nd.

Now, my wife, bless her heart, loves only the softest and freshest of breads.  I knew that if she found these new loaves of bread, she would use them, and force me into eating the older stuff, or just let it get moldy and toss it in the garbage.  I did the only logical thing.  I purposely pushed the bread to the back of the cabinet, and put the older bread right in front.

To my dismay, when my wife was making sandwiches for the kids’ lunches, she bypassed the older bread.  She was making the kids sandwiches with the new, fresh bread.

“What are you doing!?” I screamed.  “There’s two other loaves of perfectly good bread in the cabinet.  Stop making those sandwiches with the new bread!  That’s so wasteful!”

She argued that this bread tastes better, and that I left the bread open, so it was harder than it should be.  Point taken.  I probably did leave the bread open, but I didn’t relent.

“So what!  Of course the new bread is softer.  I don’t care.  The kids, and you, can eat a sandwich with this bread, which is still perfectly fine.”

Then she said the thing that really set me off.  “But you like toast.  You can use the old bread for toast.”

I don't want to eat crusty toast!

I don’t want to eat crusty toast!

I lost it.  I don’t remember my exact words, but here’s my argument.

1.  I don’t like toast that much.  I just eat the old bread so I don’t waste it.  Toasting the old bread is the only way it tastes good after it gets too old.  I’m saving us money!

2. Maybe if we actually finished a loaf of bread before opening a new one, we could all enjoy fresh bread instead of everyone except me!

3.  We are passing on this “fresh bread” weakness to our children.  Honestly!  You know, my wife will reach at least three slices deep for her piece of bread.  The crusty one on the end isn’t acceptable, but neither are the two after that?  Really?  What is this?  The Princess and the Pea?

4.  This soft fresh bread thing is an epidemic.  She’s passing down her knowledge of nice things way to early to our children.  My kids know about thread count.  That’s so wrong.  When I was a kid, my sheets were probably made of sand paper, and I didn’t know any different.  I slept like a rock on the sandy sandpaper sheets.  However, my children will touch some sheets and be like, “Ewww.  This isn’t soft.  The thread count is probably under 400.”

5. I’m the only one who eats left overs.  I don’t really like them, but everyone else is too good to eat yesterday’s spaghetti.  Maybe I don’t want to eat the spaghetti again either.  Maybe I want today’s hot and fresh meal.  Maybe I want a slice of fresh bread.  Maybe the man of the house doesn’t want to be the garbage man.  I’m not the garbage man by choice!

Alright.  That’s enough.  I sound like such a baby, crying and whining for hours on end.  I’ll just be a man and eat some toast.

The Stupid Stage (20/365)

My kids are an inspiration to me, in so many ways, but I’d like to highlight one example where they are making me a better person, that is, until I hurt myself following their lead.

I have an expression I coined for myself whenever I am learning a new task.  I call this “The Stupid Stage”.  It’s not the nicest phrase, but that’s how I feel whenever I am trying to do something new.  I feel so stupid because I don’t understand how to do this new task, and I’m afraid other people will watch me and think, “That guy looks so stupid!”

I bring this up because over the weekend, my kids, my wife, and I all went cross country skiing.  Now, I’ve only tried cross country skiing a few times in my life, so I‘m pretty awful at it.  I’ve never been able to move out of “The Stupid Stage”.  I awkwardly try to push through the snow as I go uphill, and pray I don’t fall on the downhills.

Don't fall, stickman!

Don’t fall, stickman!

My kids are my inspiration.  They don’t even think about how good or bad they are at it.  They just strap on the skis and get after it.  There is no worries about “The Stupid Stage”  To them, starting out something new is “The Funny Stage”.

They don’t care if they fall or fail.  Matter of fact, once they get the hang of something, it just makes them even more bold.  For instance, my five year old fell a lot when skiing, but he kept on getting after it.  Once he was halfway good, he wanted to try the hills again and again.  I wish he had some sense of fear, or worries about what other people think, but nope, he doesn’t.  None of them do.  They don’t listen to their parents worries or concerns, like, “Slow down.  You might fall.  Don’t try that…”

I want to be like them.  I want to take more risks in life and not worry about how I look.  That’s how I can learn.  No more “The Stupid Stage” expression for me.  I now will embrace “The Funny Stage.”   Well, I do worry about falling down when I’m trying to ski.  It hurts when you’re old and you fall, but it does look funny.

Contribute to Society, Kids (12/365)

I put the smackdown on my kids this weekend.  Wait a minute.  Talking like I’m a professional wrestler instead of a parent doesn’t play very well sometimes.  I need to watch my word choice.  No, I didn’t hit my kids, but I did tell them in a very firm voice, “You kids need to go and shovel the sidewalk.”  It’s time they start contributing to society.  More importantly, they need to make my life easier.

Get familiar with this thing, kids!

Get familiar with this thing, kids!

Keeping a clear path on the sidewalk is very important for society because then the citizens in my neighborhood can go for a walk and not get snow on their boots.  Also, my kids need to know that they have to help out with their family.  I do enough for them already by telling my wife to do stuff for them.  I’m kidding.  I’m only kidding.  I’m a good Dad.  I play video games with them.  Go me!

Don’t Gloat (7/365)

This post will be short.  Two days ago, I declared victory over the flu.  One child came down with it and no one else contracted it.

I was wrong.  The Flower Child, and Bob the Builder, my two other children spent all last night barfing out their lungs.

And… I’m not feeling so great either.

fuflu

Lesson learned.  Don’t gloat.  If something good does happen, keep it to yourself. Don’t even celebrate the small victories in life.  I apologize for being so morose.  I feel like I’m going to puke on the keyboard though.

The Watch Someone Else Barf Diet (3/365)

I am not advocating bulimia with this post.  That’s a bad idea.  However, if you are someone who loves food, and can’t help but to eat delicious goodies, I suggest the “Watch Someone Barfing Diet”.

What’s that you ask?  Well, the “Watch Someone Else Barf Diet” a simple plan.  When someone else is sick and barfing, just watch them throw up.  Then you’ll feel really sick too, but hopefully not too sick.  With this comprehensive diet formula, you’ll feel just disturbed enough so you don’t eat anymore.  Food looks mighty repulsive when it comes hurling out of another person’s mouth.

Did those last two paragraphs sound like a terrible infomercial.  I have to make light of puking right now, or else I’m going to spill my guts too.

I'm on a diet.

I’m on a diet.

It’s all because, Ivan, my five year old is heaving chunks.  The poor little guy woke up at 11:30 pm and said his stomach hurt.  When our children wake up in the night and tell us that, there’s a 95% chance they are going to ralph.

It’s just past midnight, and I’m writing again.  I’d like to sleep, but I’m worried he’s going to wake up again and miss the bucket.  He missed the first time around at 11:30 pm, and puked up dinner on the carpet and his bed sheets.

I had to wash those out in the utility sink in the laundry room.  The chunks of cheese from the pizza he ate were so large that they clogged the drain.  I had to get a pencil and jam the cheese barf down the drain to unclog the sink.  GROSS!

The second time, at about 12:30 am, he made it into the puke bucket, but it was still gross to dump it in the toilet and then flush it down.  Then I had to rinse out the slimy stomach acid residue from the bucket.

Alright.  That’s enough.  I’m making myself sick writing about it.  I just hope the little guy is feeling better and getting some sleep.   I’m going to try to get some shut eye right now too.

P.S. I think that diet would really work.  Whenever my kids have the flu and are puking, and I don’t get it, I still don’t eat hardly anything for a few days.

Punching the Poo out of Cows Down on the Farm

Being a farmer is brutal.  Doing all that manual labor, growing crops, smacking around the livestock, and shoveling poo must be rough.  Dealing with the poop is probably the thing that really makes me appreciate farmers.  They can handle that smell of hay mixed with manure.  It’s so brutal.  I know you probably get used to it after a while, but the smell of animal feces can really singe my nose hairs.  Have you ever smelt a pig farm before?  Dear Lord!  That scent is so indescribably awful.

Is there poo on my pitchfork?

Is there poo on my pitchfork?

I’m not much of a fan of farms, but I visited one last weekend.  For months and months, my five year old son, Ivan, has been asking to visit a farm because his 4K class went on a field trip to one.  We went there on Saturday to buy pumpkins, but we took in a lot of the other activities too.  We enjoyed a tractor ride, the kids all rode on a horse, and the most fun was catching chickens.  Did you know that you can walk up behind a chicken, and snatch them up.  They flap their wings a little sometimes, but mostly, they just sit in your hands.

The strangest part was when our whole family went into a small barn with a milking cow.  This old lady was by the cow, and she let each one of our kids have a turn milking it.  The cow, we’ll call her Bessie, because I call every cow that name, was a cranky beast.  After my kids milked the cow, the old lady did too.  The only problem was Ol’ Bessie tried to kick the lady.  The lady got really mad, stood up, and punched the cow in the ribs.  The cow appropriately responded to the attack by taking a huge dump.  My kids laughed and laughed as the lady grabbed a pitchfork to clean up after Bessie.  The stench of manure was so powerful, my eyes were burning when we evacuated the barn.

I don’t know if punching cows is a normal, nor do know if cows poop in protest when they are punched, but thank goodness I don’t have to clean the poo.

P.S. Farmers, if you’re out there.  Is it normal to punch the livestock?  I’ve only been out there with the cattle a few times and on two occasions, with two separate farmers, they punched the cows.

 

Pokemon – Gotta Catch ‘Em All. Actually, Don’t!

Something very dangerous, and downright sinister has happened in the Tiefenthaler household.  Pocket monsters have infiltrated our walls, and we’re surrounded by them.  For the uninitiated, Pokemon is a Japanese word, that means “pocket monster” in English.  It started as a video game for Nintendo, and expanded into a cartoon show, movies, and a trading card game.

Here’s why it’s such a big problem.  On the bus, a kid named Sean introduced my 3rd grade son, Bob the Builder, to the Pokemon card game.  Bob loved them and decided he needed Pokemon cards.  It sounds nice on the surface, until I realized that one pack of 10 cards costs $4.10 cents.  That’s ridiculous!  This hobby could be wicked expensive.

F you, Pikachu!

F you, Pikachu!

Side note:  I want my kids to grow up normal, but I wish they didn’t ride the school bus.  In addition to learning about Pokemon cards there, they also learned some very colorful language.   I’m so glad they are expanding their vocabulary.

Anyways, I caved and bought Bob the Builder a pack of cards.  Of course, he opened them in front of my seven-year old daughter, The Flower Child.  Now she needed some cards.  I don’t remember all of the persuasion techniques she used, but I’m pretty sure there was some crying involved.  That didn’t make me cave.  What did was she also complained so much about the cards that my five-year old, Ivan the Terrible caught wind of this injustice.  He needed some cards too.  I wasn’t about to get between Ivan and some Pokemon.

Back to the store I go for another pack.  In order to save money, I bought a three pack of cards for $11.98.  If I bought three separate packs, it would have been $12.30.  Hooray for saving 32 cents!  I’ve you’re keeping track, that is now $16.08 spent on pocket monsters.

I handed over the packs of cards upon my return and thought it was finally all over.  I was wrong.

The Flower Child had a special “EX” Pokemon card that was more powerful than any of the cards that Bob the Builder or Ivan the Terrible had in their packs of cards.  Joy.

After some kicking, screaming, crying, and more crying, I said they could get some more cards on one condition.  They could all have their own three pack of cards, but only if they let my wife and I take them out to eat at a Mexican restaurant.  I needed a beer, and my wife demanded a margarita.

Back to the store we go for $33.94 worth of stupid Pocket Monster Cards, and that’s before taxes.  The running total is $590.76 for cards now.  Actually, it’s not that much, but I didn’t feel like doing any more math.  I’m a writer.  Leave me alone.

Here’s the real danger in this situation.  I like collecting cards.  Somewhere in the basement, I have stacks of baseball cards.  Even worse than that, I still have Magic the Gathering cards under my bed.  In college, I played that game a ton.  I remember cashing my monthly check from Hollywood Video when I worked in college and then spending it all on Magic the Gathering cards.  Granted, I only got paid about $41 per month, but I needed more cards!  Will I get sucked into this card craze?  Please, no!

At the restaurant, they tore into their packs.  The first thing Bob the Builder and Ivan the Terrible looked for was if they got any special “EX” cards.  They didn’t get any, but the Flower Child got another.

So, do any of you readers want to give me your old Pokemon cards?  Specifically any “Mega” cards or “EX” cards.  For the love of all things sacred, give me your Pokemon.  I’ve got to catch them all!

Flu + Frozen Pipes = Doom

WARNING – If you have a weak stomach, do not read any further.

You must be brave.  I commend you for continuing.  Get ready for a gut wrenching tale.

I only ask one thing.  If you make it through, you must share this with your friends, and more importantly, your enemies.

Note – We are in the middle of a very cold winter.

The day after Valentines – Saturday, 2/15/14 – 3:00 AM – Central Standard Time

My six year old, The Flower Child, wakes up crying.  She complains of having bad dreams, so I reluctantly get up and rub her back to help her calm down.

Lisa, my wife, gets up too, but she doesn’t come into The Flower Child’s room.  Instead, Lisa walks into the bathroom and barfs in the toilet.  All the commotion wakes up my four year old, Ivan the Terrible.  I assume Ivan will ask my wife or myself to tuck him back in, but instead he enters the bathroom and upchucks into the garbage can.

“The toilet isn’t flushing,” Lisa moans from the bathroom.   Even though she is still crying, I exit The Flower Child’s room to check on the status of the toilet.  My wife and Ivan are both sprawling out on the cool tile floor like dead bodies.  “It flushed once, but won’t anymore,” my wife says.

I step over them to fiddle with the lever of the toilet because there are some chortle chunks floating in the toilet bowl, but it doesn’t flush.  I take the back of the toilet seat off and notice that the chamber in back is not filling up with water.  This is not a good sign.  I twist the sink handle to see if water will come out of the sink, but only a few drops sputter out and then nothing.  We have no running water.  Our pipes must be frozen.

Oh no.

Oh no.

2/15/14 – 3:30 AM – Central Standard Time

I can handle kids and my wife dumping out their guts.  I can handle frozen pipes.  But together, it might be too much for one man to take.  I cast my doubts aside and remember my mantra in times like this.  “Cast iron stomach! You have a stomach of steel.  You can win this battle.  Stomach of steel!”

The Flower Child hasn’t stopped crying, but her sadness must take a back seat for the moment. First up, I find every available bucket or garbage can and double bag each one.  Next, I get on the computer, find the emergency number for the local utilities, and call them.

Here is a brief transcript of the conversation.

OPERATOR:  How did you find out that the pipes were frozen at 3:30 in the morning?

ME: My wife and my four year old child are throwing up and we can no longer flush the toilet.

OPERATOR:  I will send help immediately.

ME:  Thank you kindly for your help.

2/15/14 – 3:45 AM – Central Standard Time

We set up a makeshift bed using towels and sleeping bags on the hardwood floor in the family room.  My wife and Ivan the Terrible continue to heave out their guts.  After every vector spewing episode I take the double bagged garbage can to the garage, tie the bags and dump them into the large garbage can in the garage.  It is well below freezing in the garage, so the stomach spittle remains should freeze, effectively eliminating any puke stench.

As I was transporting one load of vomit to the garage, my wife informs me that The Flower Child threw up in her bed.  I march into her bedroom and find that she blasted chunks all over her comforter, sheets, and stuffed cheetah.  I strip all the sheets and comforter from her bed, throw the stuffed cheetah in the middle of these sheets, roll it up into a large ball, carry it to the garage, and throw it on the garage floor.

I get a call from the workers, and they say that they are on route.  They tell me that they will be working from inside my house, in the basement where the main water pipe enters my home.  They also tell me to clear away anything near the pipe because they have a large machine they need to put near the pipe entrance, and they are about 15 minutes away from my address.

The Flower Child is transported to the makeshift sick bay on the family room floor.  I hustle downstairs to move my weight bench, exercise bike, turn tables, record collection, and paper shredder from the area by the water pipes.

2/15/14 – 4:00 AM – Central Standard Time

Help arrives.  Two bearded utility workers enter the home, carrying a large machine and a bunch of hoses that will inject hot water into pipes outside.  With all the commotion, my eight year old, Bob the Builder, wakes up and joins me in the living room.  He doesn’t feel sick, but I set a double bagged garbage can next to him on the couch.  Bob asks who’s making all the noise in the family room.  I inform him that Mom, Ivan, and The Flower Child all have the flu, and they are busy sending messages to the wastebasket.

2/15/14 – 5:30 AM – Central Standard Time

The utility workers aren’t making any progress.  My son, Ivan the Terrible, tells me that he might have to use the toilet because something wants to come out the other end of his body.  I warn him that the toilet Mom spilled the groceries in has already been flushed.  He has to use the other one.  Also, if he has to go, he shouldn’t flush it.  He says he can’t hold it and rushes to the loo.  Shortly after he exits, The Flower Child takes a dump in the toilet that is already loaded with fecal matter.

2/15/14 – 6:00 AM – Central Standard Time

The stench from the crap loaded toilet has wafted out into the home and mixes with the already prevalent scent of stomach acid.  I resist the urge to flush the toilet by pulling my shirt over my head.  God help anyone that has to use that toilet again.

2/15/14 – 7:00 AM – Central Standard Time

The utility workers come up from the bowels of the basement.  They couldn’t unfreeze the pipe from inside the house.  They leave, but they promise to return soon with reinforcements.  I hold my best poker face and say, “Thanks for trying your best.  I hope you can fix it when you return.”

On the inside I scream, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

Already prepared for this, I call up a local hotel and immediately book a room over the phone.

2/15/14 – 8:00 AM – Central Standard Time

After haphazardly packing several outfits for my sick family, I load the clothes into the van.   Right before throwing the casualties into the van, I make my way to the bathroom to flush the brown down.  I cover my mouth and nose when entering, but I probably should be wearing goggles too.   The putrid smell of hell’s candy burns my eyes.  Tears well up as I approach the toilet.  Whatever happened in here was beyond awful.  I don’t know if the first blast or the second caused it, but supersonic sewer sewage is spattered all over inside and outside of the toilet bowl.  I flush the toilet and dive out of the bathroom.

Once everyone manages to get a jacket on their sickly frames, we get in the van and roll to the hotel.  Thankfully, no one has a wet burp in the car, but after we get out, Ivan the Terrible calls Uncle Ralph and his Cousin Hurl in the parking lot, and The Flower Child brings some fluorescent cheer to a snowbank next to entrance of the hotel.  I feel so powerless in this moment.  The only thing I can do to help The Flower Child is hold her hair back so she doesn’t get any on herself.

2/15/14 – 9:00 AM – Central Standard Time

Bob the Builder and I pick up some wet wipes and bottles of water from the store.  We return to the hotel and drop off the goods.  Ivan the Terrible looks much better, but The Flower Child and my wife are still pleading their case to the porcelain judge.

2/15/14 – 9:30 AM – Central Standard Time

We might as well get what we are paying for, so Bob the Builder and I enjoy continental breakfast at the hotel.  I put myself on the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast) to hopefully avoid the same fate as my family and eat one banana and a piece of toast.  I warn Bob that he could get sick too, but he throws caution to the wind and eats a bowl of Fruit Loops and chases it with a frosted donut.

2/15/14 – 9:45 AM – Central Standard Time

Bob the Builder and I return to our home.  Reinforcements arrive and begin working outside.  The utility workers attach jumper cables to a pipe next to our driveway and run an ungodly amount of voltage through the pipe.  The electrified pipe will heat up and melt the ice block.

2/15/14 – 11:00 AM – Central Standard Time

Water starts running in the house.  I thank the utility workers for their hard work.  They inform me that pretty much all of Hartford is freezing up and they quickly leave to help the next home on their list.

2/15/14 – 4:30 PM – Central Standard Time

After scouring the house for hours, I know what must be done.  I have to clean the toilet that is covered with colon cannonballs.  Armed with a toilet wand, a scrub brush, bleach, Lysol and Scrubbing Bubble disinfectant spray, I enter the battle zone.  Step one.  I douse the whole area with chemicals.   Step two.  I exit the bathroom and hope that magical scrubbing bubbles are cleaning the toilet on their own, just like in the commercial.  Step three.  I re-enter the bathroom and find that that commercial is totally false.  Step four.  I scrub all the keester cakes and Mississippi mud off the toilet until it is sparkling clean.  Step five.  I close the lid so the cat doesn’t try to drink the toilet water.

Sunday – 2/16/14 – 2:30 AM – Central Standard Time

Bob the Builder wakes up with a bad stomach ache.  We guide him to the toilet and he immediately hits the eject button on his belly.  With running water, it isn’t very difficult to clean up after Bob the Builder.  I just flush the toilet.  Thank you utility workers!  Thank you from the bottom of my stomach.

2/16/14 – 8:30 AM – Central Standard Time

The final battle.  I think for a moment I cleaned the entire house and eradicated any sign of abdominal chum or Montezuma’s revenge, but I am wrong.  Piled in a ball in the garage, The Flower Child’s pink and white striped sheets and Butterfly comforter taunt me.  I snatch the cold boulder from the garage floor and heave it into the laundry room.  “Stomach of steel,” I chant to myself.  I unroll the ball and pull out the first of three blankets.  Only a few chunks are on this one.  I take it to the utility sink and run water over the clam chowder surprise.  It doesn’t come off.

That’s when it hits me.  The chunderspew that covers these sheets and blankets are frozen.  I have to use scalding hot water to dislodge it.  My hand trembles as I turn the knob to the hot water on full blast.  Slowly the half digested stomach purge heats up enough to peel off of the sheet.  Unfortunately, the putrid, acidic, noxious odor of Hurl and Ralph return.  The smell assails my nostrils, and I gag.  Between dry heaves, I manage to get the first sheet clean.  The comforter doesn’t have much on it, so I just chuck it directly into the washing machine.  However, the third blanket is loaded with frozen leftover lunch.  I repeat the cleaning process, but because these pieces of rainbow retch are larger, they don’t immediately slide down the drain. Some larger pieces sink and clog the drain, while lighter fare float about in the clogged utility sink.

I turn my head upward and ask for divine intervention.  Please, don’t make me reach into the sink!  For the love of all things sacred, don’t make me do it!

My prayers are answered.  The hot water works its magic and the chunky puddle begins to drain away.  I watch the remaining stomach discharge melt, break apart, and slide down the drain, never to be seen again.  I toss the last blanket into the washing machine.

All that remains is the stuffed cheetah.  I contemplate burning it, or throwing it away, but The Flower Child loves the cheetah.  With my bare hands, I scrub the oral diarrhea out of its fur, and whip the stuffed cat into the washing machine.  I win.

You made it.  Hopefully you didn’t retch on whatever device you were reading this.  Now remember to share it because sharing is caring.