Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#213 In which our hero resists shaking his child--but just.

So, this parenting thing. It’s starting to wear me down.

Lily’s two’s weren’t especially terrible, if memory serves (and that could be complete bullshit because, as The Scientist is quick to point out, I tend to suppress any bad parenting memories older than, say, four months, in favor of the laughing, dog-pile on daddy memories) but lately, at 3 ½, she’s getting on my nerves.

You’d think this would be caused the constant “why” questions but, honestly, I enjoy those.
LILY: Why is that man [on TV] wearing a coat?
ME: He must be cold.
LILY: Why is he cold?
ME: Because it’s snowing.
LILY: Why is it snowing?
ME: Because it’s winter there.
LILY: Why is it winter there?
ME: Because we live on a planet called Earth that periodically rotates in a fashion so that part of the planet is further away from the sun than other parts, causing it to get colder.
LILY: We live on the Earth!
But what she’s doing now is this half-hearted fake crying, mostly when she doesn’t get her own way. It drives both The Scientist and me crazy. We’ve tried to explain that she shouldn’t fake cry, because Mommy and Daddy worry when she cries, and she should only cry when she’s really hurt (or really upset, I sometimes add… but this is a slippery slope, since she is “really upset” when Macey knocks her cup on the floor, for example) so we can come and make it better. If she’s bothered by something (or someone, I’m looking at you, Macey) then she should just ask for help.

Our explanations didn’t really help, though. So we went straight to the time-out option. Lily is starting to catch on, because lately we’ve been sending her straight to the time-out chair (or the “simmer down chair” which I like to call it, thank you Charlie & Lola) without any warnings. This is something new… in the past, we’ve always given her a warning or two… Lily, if you don’t stop X, you’ve going to have to go into time-out. But no more… one fake cry and she is sent directly to the chair, no forewarning. This is, in Lily’s mind, the height of injustice, and she really starts crying then. To counter this, The Scientist has told her that the time-out clock doesn’t start until she stops crying. This is kinda harsh in my mind, but it is effective.

But even more annoying than the fake crying, is the not listening. Lord Almighty, this gets on my nerves. I’m not good with my child blowing me off. When I say please come over here, I just want her to come over here, not keep digging in the toy box or whatever. After the fourth or fifth time repeating myself, I start to see red. I have to use my “command voice,” which generally gets Lily’s attention, if not her immediately acquiescence.

The bad part is that I know there’s a legion of parents with teenagers out there saying, “you think your kid doesn’t listen to you now? Wait until she’s 14!”

To which I say fourteen? I’m hoping to make it to eight.





A picture is worth a thousand words
Why my wife is so cool

My Father's Day present. Thanks, sweetheart. I love you.




#212 In which our hero recounts another Father’s Day passed.

Dear Dad,

Father’s Day this year was pretty low key. My wife made me a wonderful breakfast of frozen hashbrowns and take-out sausage from our favorite hole in the wall restaurant. I mowed the grass. We played with the girls on the swing set. We napped. Dinner was burgers and hotdogs and corn on the cob in the back yard. A pretty good day.

As usually happens, I’ve been thinking about you a lot this past week. While there are countless happy memories, for some reason I’ve really been stuck on, well, not unhappy memories, but little (and not so little) incidents where I screwed up. Things that I never apologized for, but should have. So:

I’m sorry I stole all those quarters from you. But keeping your coin sorter right out in the open, and unlocked, proved too much of a temptation for me. I never took more than a dollar’s worth at a time, and I probably didn’t score more than $20 before Mom caught me one day… but I still feel bad about it. Especially since I just spent the money on gumball machines and (later) video games. I don’t know if you ever noticed, or if Mom ever said anything to you… but you never said anything to me.

I’m sorry I smashed up the car, twice.

I’m sorry I made you worry. Granted, it wasn’t hard to make you worry, but I should have tried a little harder to be where I said I’d be, at the time I said I’d be. I always figured that if I got there within an hour or two of when I said I would, it was fine. Only now do I understand how much a person can worry about their kids when they’re out of sight… and in the days before cell phones that extra hour or two was an unknown gray time with equal possibility of me being irresponsible or dead.

When my high school football coach asked you to join the coaching staff, I’m sorry I was such a jackass about it. You were considerate enough to ask me about it before hand, but given your life-long love of sports, I know you wanted to do it. But all I could imagine was the hard time I’d get from the other players if my daddy was telling them what to do. You were always the best coach for me, I know you would have been outstanding in the role. But you passed, just because your selfish son objected.

When you lay dying at home, I’m sorry I didn’t visit more often. I lived the closest of us kids, but I just didn’t make the effort. I know that you hated anyone making a fuss over you, and in a strange way, I think you were happy that I stayed away. But that’s not why I didn’t come. It was because I was scared to death of you dying, and if I didn’t have to see it, it was less real. So you slowly wasted away from the strong, vibrant man I always knew to a frail, jaundice shell who could bared get out of bed, and I was horrified every time I did come home to see how far you had fallen. I should have come more often, should have spent hours talking to you, learning everything I could from you. There’s so many questions I’d like to ask now, but at 25, I was too young and too stupid to even know what to ask. And now it’s too late.

Finally, when the funeral director asked if the family wanted to be there when they closed the casket, I’m sorry I didn’t step forward. I was the man of the family now, I should have. But it was hard enough seeing your lifeless body laid out, waxy and strange. Funerals are such strange things… they pulled the partition across the room, neatly separating the living from the dead; then closed the casket where no-one could see. Like the closing of a lid would be tougher to take then seeing the corpse of your loved one. My mother and sisters made no move to witness this final closure, and I sat stone-still in the wooden folding chair, afraid to be the only one to move. Just before the partition clicked closed, it flashed through my mind that I should get up and watch, even if no-one else would. But the idea of being alone in the room with your casket, even for a moment, was too much to bare, so I did nothing. I’m sorry I wasn’t stronger.

And, of course, I’m terribly sorry that you never got to meet my wife and daughters. They’re the best; you’d love them. I’m lucky to have them. Just as I was lucky to have you as a dad. I miss you.

Your son,






(SCENE: Kids are in bed, we’re both laying on the bed, I’m flipping through the channels, looking for something to watch.)
THE SCIENTIST: Is this a new Studio 60? I thought it was canceled.
ME: I guess they’re going to burn through the ones they’ve already shot.
TS: I can’t watch this, I need to get to bed.
(I reach for the remote to turn it off)
TS: Don’t turn it off!
(After it ends, I turn off the TV and roll over to put the remote on the bed stand.)
TS: Where are you going?
ME: Just putting the remote away.
TS: Oh. Stay up here and hang out with me, ‘kay?
ME: Okay.
(The Scientist snuggles in.)
TS: Are you going to go run?
ME: What?
TS: Are you going to go for a run? Exercise?
ME: You, you just asked me to hang out with you. Like, 30 seconds ago!
TS: Don’t make fun of me!
And that is what life is like with my wife.





So I’ve been doing some more thinking about Paris Hilton. I’m starting to wonder if I’m being too hard on her. Maybe because I’m a softy at heart, or maybe because that last time I was excited about something bad happening to a celebrity I got shit on pretty badly.

Then I read this article in Slate about the media circus surrounding her arrest. The writer sounds a bit like a pompous jackass, but some of what he wrote hit home. Namely:
…Those gloating and jeering headlines, showing a tearful child being hauled back to jail, had the effect of making me feel sick. So, you finally got the kid to weep on camera? Are you happy now?
Jeez… did I want to see her cry? I’m a little ashamed to admit that I did. Mostly because I wanted to see some real responsibility to her actions, not the usual vapid sound bites that define her entire personality. If I was in that situation, I certainly would take it seriously. But she never did. Until she was actually sent to jail. So, yeah, a few tears finally allows me to believe that she understands the severity of what she did.
Evidently as bewildered and aimless as she ever was, she is arbitrarily condemned to prison, released on an equally slight pretext and—here comes the beautiful bit—subjected to a cat-and-mouse routine that sends her back again. At this point, she cries aloud for her mother and exclaims that it "isn't right." And then the real pelting begins. In Toronto, where I happened to be on the relevant day, the Sun filled its whole front page with a photograph of her tear-swollen face, under the stern headline "CRYBABY."
Hmm… that is a little shitty. But I’ve been doing the metaphorical equivalent of pointing and laughing for some time now. So I guess I’m as shitty as the rest.

So I started feeling rather bad about my attitude, thanks to this article. But then I decided to dig a little deeper. Couple other points from Slate:
… a result of being found with a whiff of alcohol on her breath…
A whiff? Okay, let's look at that. She blew a .08 on a Breathalyzer, this is the bottommost threshold to be considered “impaired” in California. However, it’s important to note that in California, there are two separate charges that apply: “driving under the influence” and “having a BAC (blood alcohol content) higher than .08.” Apparently you can be charged with both, but only punished for one (and the punishment is the same for both). Surfing around some legal websites, I came across a succinct explanation of why the law is this way:
Q: "So then what is the purpose of being above or below a 0.08 if they can still prosecute you for a DUI?"

A: Because driving with a BAC above 0.08 is a separate crime. The law was written this way because many people, especially those who drink regularly, were proving able to pass the field sobriety tests while above 0.08, thus indicating that they are not under the influence.
 Conversely, other people, especially those who seldom drink, may be measurably impaired even with a BAC well under 0.08.

23152(a) is driving under the influence. No BAC test result at all is required to get a conviction under this - if the cop testifies at trial that you were impaired, that may well be enough to get a conviction under (a).

Obtaining a conviction under (b) would require a BAC result over 0.08.

Please notice that all of the news stories report that Hilton was spotted "driving erratically;" that’s why she was stopped. The police officer would have been completely within the law to arrest her even without her failing a breathalyzer. Which she did anyway.

To those reporters (and especially the Slate guy, who I’m now pretty sure is a douchebag) who read that Hilton was at the bottom of the BAC scale and make the jump in logic that she barely had a “whiff” of alcohol on her need to do their homework. Like I just did. In 10 minutes of surfing the Web. And I’m not even a professional journalist.

So, was she drunk or not? Maybe she’s just a poor driver. Maybe she’s such a party girl that .08 is nothing to her. Or maybe she was minutes away from driving into a pole and killing herself and/or someone else.

Back to the Slate article:
…So now, a young woman knows that, everywhere she goes, this is what people are visualizing, and giggling about. She hasn't a rag of privacy to her name.

…she should be left alone to lead such a life as has been left to her.
Is this a joke? You’d think from the tone of this article that Paris Hilton is just trying to live her life in obscurity, and is besieged on all sides by paparazzi invading her life. While the truth that we’ve all seen played out time and time again is that Hilton courts the media, that she’s a media whore. She wants to be famous, and has taken every opportunity to embrace publicity (good or bad--she wasn't exactly enraged about the release of her weird sex tape). Now that she is famous, should we feel bad that magazines are plastering her photo across every tabloid? I argue that you can’t invade someone’s privacy when they discard that self-same privacy in the name of being a star.

But I will say this. If Paris Hilton, after she is released from jail, removes herself from the public eye and leads a low-key life, I will eat every single word I’ve written here. Literally. I will print this out and eat it. I'll even video it and put it up on YouTube. But I feel pretty confident that she’ll be back on the party circuit within the week, if not the same day.

And a final bit from Slate, the part that burns me up the most:
Purportedly unaware that her license was still suspended, a result of being found with a whiff of alcohol on her breath, she also discovers that the majesty of the law will not give her a break.
The law wouldn’t give her a break, huh? I point you to this timeline of Hilton's run-ins with the law; below are the most relevant points:
  • Sept. 7: Spotted "driving erratically" and arrested.
  • Sept. 26: Charged with driving under the influence.
  • Jan. 15: Pulled over by California Highway Patrol and informed that her license is suspended. She signs a document acknowledging she is not to drive.
  • Jan. 22: Hilton pleads no contest to a reduced charge of alcohol-related reckless driving. She is placed on three years probation, ordered to enroll in alcohol education and pay $1,500 in fines.
  • Feb. 27: Hilton is ticketed for misdemeanor driving with a suspended license. A copy of the document signed Jan. 15 is found in her glove compartment.
Okay, so she is pulled over for driving with a suspected license (which is, by the way, a crime) and basically given a warning. Then, less than two weeks later, she is pulled over again. With the “do not drive” document--WITH HER SIGNATURE--in the glove box. Also, she never enrolled in the court ordered alcohol education course.

She drove with a suspected license and was pulled over. TWICE. She broke probation. She disobeyed the court. Maybe it was all a series of misunderstandings as Hilton’s lawyers would like you to believe… but to me, it seems like a pattern of behavior from an overly-privileged young woman who doesn’t think she needs to worry about the laws that affect other, lesser people. She brought all of it (the crimes AND the media attention) on herself.

I was afraid I was being too hard on her. Maybe I’m not being hard enough.




There’s a part of me that really doesn’t want to care about Paris Hilton. This is, I suppose, the moral, upright, conscientious part of me. But there’s another part, a much stronger part, that is completely enthralled with this dumbass being sent to jail.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware that a large part of this is jealousy. Who wouldn’t want that girl’s money? She’s not just rich, she’s filthy rich. She’s never had to worry about making rent or tuition or having enough left over to buy food for the week. I want that life.

But it’s not just her money, there’s plenty of rich people in the world and I don’t wish harm to all of them. No, it’s more than she’s dumb as a box of rocks. Does living a life of extreme privilege do that to you? If you never have to struggle for anything, does your brain just atrophy and die? Or was she just born without sense?

Anyway, I’m a little bit ashamed at just how gleeful I am at her fall from grace. This doesn’t, of course, keep me from clicking back constantly to The Superficial (my new favorite portal for celebrity-bashing) for the latest Paris Hilton updates.

However, and this might be hard to believe, but I also feel the slightest big bad for her. Honestly. I suspect that she really doesn’t understand why this is happening to her. No doubt that daddy has been there with his deep pockets at every turn to get her out of any jam she’s ever been in… but this time it’s different. It didn’t start out different, mind you, she was put into jail (and really, this is “jail” in the softest sense) while, undoubtedly, her mom and dad and their team of expensive lawyers swore they’d get her out in days, if not hours. She certainly wouldn’t be staying the entire 45 days (completing your entire sentence is for, you know, poor people) and low and behold! She was out four days later. And I’m sure she thought that there was nothing wrong with it… that’s just how the world works. She had to sit in a cell for nearly an entire week (!) and that was more than enough punishment. So she went back to her mansion (and reportedly the first order of business was to get a fake tanning treatment) to sleep it all off in her own bed, like it was a bad dream.


The judge ordered her back to court, then right back to prison! This is where she broke down. And this is where I start to feel the tiniest twinge of compassion. I compare her reaction to that of my 2-year-old when we take something away from her. All she understands is that she WANTS it, and that she should HAVE IT. And when we take it away, she just can’t being to comprehend why we would ever do such a thing. It’s such a horrible situation that she has no recourse but to crumple into a ball on the floor and scream and scream.

That’s Paris Hilton.

However, any real empathy is erased by the knowledge that she got drunk, slide behind the wheel of her car, and drove away. She didn’t kill anyone, but could have. And for this, she has to pay the price. Just like I would have to. Just like you would have to. Being rich doesn’t give her the ability to better hold her booze (just the ability to buy better booze).

And in her case, the price is laughable low. She’ll do her time and get out in less than a month. And, I’m sure, during that month her “imprisonment” will be broadcast 24/7 on cable stations and the Internet.

And I’ll lap up every moment of it.


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#211 In which our hero recounts the events of a lovely wedding and the Bataan Death March which followed--part II

Our plan was a good one.

We’d get up at 4am, drive to the airport, check in, get on our 5:30am flight to Chicago, hop on a plane to Cleveland and be home in time for dinner. Ideally the kids would sleep much of the way. With dinner at home and a familiar bed time, we might even be able to get them back on a schedule with minimal pain and suffering.

But things starting going south as soon as we got on the plane. We were all situated, strapped in, taxied to the runway and ready to take off.

The engines powered up.

Then the engines powered down.

Then they powered up again.

Then down.

Throughout this process, we started to smell fuel in the cabin. Which couldn’t be good. Finally, the captain came on and said that there was a sensor fault in the #1 engine and he was taking us back to the gate to have it looked at. Should take about 30 minutes, he said. This was an inconvenience, but nothing horrible. The girls were still occupied with napping or watching DVDs.

After a half hour, they tired it again. Engines powered up. Engines powered down. “Sorry folks,” the captain said. “We’re going to have to offboard you to another flight.”

Which I thought at first meant that they’d bring another plane around and we’d get on that one. But that wasn’t the case… they were going to rebook us on a later flight. And the next available flight to Chicago? 1:15pm. Keep in mind that it’s now 7am. We had more than six hours to kill in an airport, with two cranky little girls.

We watched movies. We ran around. We played games. The girls, by and large, were in decent spirits. After a couple of hours, though, their spirits were clearly hitting bottom. And one by one, each of my girls, including my wife, fell asleep on the floor.

Since I only got about four hours of sleep the night before, there’s nothing I wanted to do more than crash, too. But, considering we were at a public airport, it seemed like at least one of us (us grown-ups, that is) should stay awake. And since The Scientist had already staked out her chunk of carpet, it fell to me.

As I sat there reading my book, I took a moment to look at my sleeping family. They were all cuddled up, more or less together, and their sleeping poses said so much about them. Lily, the sensitive girly-girl, snuggled close to her mama. She insisted in being covered by a blanket, so we did the best we could and draped her pink hoodie over her shoulders. Her hair shone red and gold in the sun. Macey, the stubborn, bull-headed child refused to stay on the blanket we laid down for her. Instead, she rolled around and fussed until she finally fell asleep; her butt up in the air, knees on the blanket, face mashed cheek-first into the gross airport carpet, hair a tangled mess. The Scientist was positioned strategically between them, trying to get close to both, comfort them, help them sleep. She was curled around Lily, a hand resting on her shoulder; while Macey was near the back of her knees. A slumbering yin and yang. Also, The Scientist’s ass was pointing up at me, driving me to think dirty thoughts even in my sleepy state.

We finally got on the flight at 1:30, and it was a pretty uneventful trip to Chicago. The Scientist managed to score us free meal vouchers, so we ate and snacked and watched movies and slept. Macey loves the TV. Loves it. The portable DVD player kept her fully engaged and occupied for the entire four hours. Which was great… until they told us to turn off all electronic devices. This threw Macey into a screaming rage that lasted a good 20 minutes. Only by landing and pulling her out of her seat did it stop.

We marched our droop-eyed children off the plane and to the next gate. While Lily was big enough to sit in an airplane seat without a booster, Macey had to use her car seat. Which, let me tell you, weighted a fucking ton. Dragging that damn thing through three airports really sucked. It wasn’t just heavy, it was awkward.

And, naturally, when we arrived we found our flight had been delayed two hours. Any and all positive energy from two days ago had been thoroughly beaten out of me by then, and when they made the delay announcement, I was less than charitable.
ME: Did I just hear that right? Delayed to 10:30? Are you fucking kidding me? GodDAMN it!
LILY: Daddy, why’d you say goddamn it? Why’d you say goddamn?
ME: Because I’m sick of being in these goddamn airports, honey.

So there was more running the girls around, more snacking. Thankfully our luck broke and the fight was bumped up to a 10pm departure. When we finally got seated, the girls were completely gone. No snacking, no movies; nothing but putting them into their seats so they could immediately fall asleep.

The fight to Cleveland was also uneventful. We picked up our baggage, which had arrived hours and hours before us. An aside: I think it’s crappy that the airlines just leave your bags out in the open if you don’t pick them up. At any point anyone could have walked by and said hey, that’s a nice bag! I think I’ll steal it! But everything was there and accounted for when we arrived.

We plodded through the final leg of our journey, out to fetch the car. The Scientist and I were both heavily laden with suitcases and roller bags and garment bags and plastic bags, so the girls had to fend for themselves. We prodded them along, finally crawling into the car around 12:30, local time.

An hour later, we were back home. I was scared that after all the sleeping, the girls would be wide awake and ready to play. Thankfully, they were as eager to sleep in their own beds as I was. With minimal wiping of faces and changing of clothes, everyone went to bed.

It was nice to be home again.




#210 In which our hero recounts the events of a lovely wedding and the Bataan Death March which followed--part I

The Scientist’s brother was wed last Sunday.

He lives in California, so we’ve been planning the trip for a bit now. Usually I’d be delighted by the prospect of a trip to the west coast and the opportunity to wear fancy clothes, eat a good meal and drink free booze. However, our children are three years old and two years old, which could potentially make the trip challenging.

And by challenging I mean a complete goddamn nightmare. Or, at least, that’s what I was expecting.

See, the wedding itself was in the evening, meaning that by the time dinner was served (7pm, local time) it would already be four hours past our kid’s regular dinner time (6pm, Cleveland time) and an hour past their bed time (9pm, Cleveland time). So this was going to be a problem.

Oh, and Macey (who, remember, is two) was diagnosed with ear infections in both ears two days before we got on the plane. So, y’know, fuck.

But, I was determined to approach the trip with a positive attitude. We’d deal with the kids--we bought bagfuls of snacks--and by God we’d enjoy ourselves. We don’t get to take a trip out to sunny California every day after all.

And, by the time we landed in California, it was starting to look like a positive can-do attitude was going to pay off! Our flights had been on time (and the layover in Chicago minimal), we managed to keep the kids occupied with the portable DVD players (yes, plural, we bought another one for the trip since we would be sitting in different rows for some of the flights) and with lots of snacks and juice boxes. Macey's ears didn't seem to bother her on the flights. We were greeted by Nana and Pop-pop at the gate, the girls were ecstatic to see their grandparents, and everyone was smiles and rainbows.

The first chink in my sunny new disposition came when it turned out that sunny California wasn’t all that sunny. Matter of fact, it was a little chilly. This put the kibosh on the swimming pool, which was one of our major bargaining chips with the girls. Matter of fact, we had to go out and buy the girls new jeans, since we had only brought light dresses and shorts. We did manage to get into the outdoor sauna (which Lily adorably called “The ‘Zon”) a couple of times, which was fun. And that was our Friday.

Saturday was the rehearsal dinner. We tried to get the girls on California time, and they seemed to be making headway. We didn’t have to feed them a full dinner beforehand, and we had high hopes that we could actually get them to eat dinner with us, instead of having to chase them around the table.

Now, it’s important to note that at functions like this, I consider my #1 job to be “keep the kids out of everyone else’s hair.” I’m very disdainful of parents who show up at an event at which there are other kids present and just release them to the pack. Most importantly, this event was to celebrate the impending wedding of my brother-in-law and his wife-to-be; I wanted all eyes on them, not me and a screaming three-year-old. And, like every parent, I assume that every time my child raises her voice above a whisper that everyone else in a three block radius is thinking, “Jesus, can’t you shut up your kid already?!” When the truth is most people don’t give a crap. Anyway.

The dinner went as well as could be expected, helped to some degree by an open bar and a constant flow of a wonderful Riesling (What? I wasn’t driving). It got a little dicey near the end, but mostly The Scientist and I got to enjoy a fantastic meal (the lamb was very rare and very good), drink coffee and actually chat with others at our table. This experience allowed us to breath a sign of relief… hey, maybe the wedding itself won’t be such a big deal!

Oh, such hubris!

Since the wedding didn’t start until 6pm, we had all day to kill. But first--an aside.

The Scientist and I also had an evening wedding. Thinking back, I’m not sure why we decided on evening rather than morning or afternoon… since there was to be a big dinner, I guess we just thought it would make sense to have it around dinner time. I remember that my sisters bitched a little bit about this, saying that they’d have to find something to entertain their kids all day. Tough shit, I thought. Cleveland’s a big city, you’ll find something to do. Needless to say, I’m a little more sympathetic now.

Anyway, we drove to a park and played, watched some movies in the room, let the kids play with their equally young cousins… the day progressed pretty quickly, actually. The Scientist even found time to visit with an old friend, have her hair done, and get a manicure and pedicure. Another aside--I don’t get the pedicure. I mean, I understand your fingernails, I guess… people will see your hands. And I guess people might actually see your toes, too, if you’re wearing an open toe shoe; but other than foot fetishists, who’s really evaluating your feet? And isn’t decorating your toenails just fueling their obsession?

We finally drive over to the venue, and it’s really cool. They choose a working winery, and the stone and timber building was surrounded on all sides by rows and rows of grape vines. However, it’s strange how my perceptions of such things have changed since I became a parent. What once I would have seen as a nice wide-open area for chairs and, later, dancing, I now saw as a rough cement slab that would tear the skin off my children’s knees if they fell. What once was a beautiful tile stairway built into the side of a hill was now something for my kids to tumble down and crack open their heads. The idyllic little fountain wasn’t so much a romantic accent as a swampy bit of land where the girls could get their shoes soaking wet (which Macey did).

Now, I’m sure the brother- and sister-in-law-to-be didn’t consider these things… and they shouldn’t have. It wasn’t their problem. They had other things to deal with. Actually, I hope they didn’t have anything else to deal with… everything went smoothly as far as I could see; if they had to put out any fires in the background we sure as didn’t notice. Then again, I spent most of the time chasing little girls to make sure they didn’t get into anything or accidentally brain themselves.

Unfortunately, things started to go downhill fast. Macey was a little whiney before we even got there, which was a big red flag. The Scientist had to hold her most of the time to keep her from screaming. Lily was better, but still a little off her game. We had no time to socialize (or worse yet, drink) before the ceremony started.

Macey was reaching full meltdown just about the time the ceremony started. I took her and walked her around the back of the winery--that is, as far away from the ceremony as I could get. There was a lot of “Which color is this flower? Right, yellow. What color is this flower? Right, red. How about this one?" Ad nauseum. My new-found cheery mood was starting to ebb.

We got through the entire ceremony without causing a scene (remember, job #1 is keep the kids out of other people’s way) and made it to dinner. The brother-in-law and his new wife thoughtfully provided kids meals (something The Scientist and I did not at our wedding--one of the few things I would change if we could do it over again) but it didn’t really help… Macey was really starting to lose her mind, and Lily only picked at her dinner. The Scientist was really flagging from lack of sleep (hair appointment + pedicure + manicure = no mid-day nap) and was starting to struggle to keep Macey quiet. She even pulled out the big guns (i.e., the portable DVD player) and it only momentarily staunched the flow of outrage over not instantly being put to bed. At this point, it’s about four hours past their normal (Ohio) bed time, and both kids were DONE.

The Scientist apologized several times to her brother for our children having fits… and received blank stares in return. Thankfully, he and his bride were largely unaware of the meltdown, which means we were doing our jobs as parents correctly. Thinking back to my own wedding, I don’t remember my sister’s kids throwing fits either--even though I was told after the fact that that is just what happened. Like I said, it always seems worse to the parents. My worst fear was that our kids would put a damper on their big day but, thankfully, that didn’t seem to happen. I hope their day was a wonderful and enjoyable as my wedding day was. I really wish them the best.

We finally loaded up the car and beat feet around 10:30… just a half hour shy of when they were kicking us out anyway. The girls instantly feel asleep.

Which was good, because we were taking the red eye out of California at 5:30am.

NEXT TIME: the voyage home… or, why it took us 19 hours to make a six hour trip.