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


#235 In which our hero discussed his Christmas plans, and how they are not going as, um, planned.

Tomorrow is Christmas eve, and I have to admit that I'm not feeling very Christmas-y. See, I have this problem. I like to make plans, generally very casual plans, but plans nonetheless. And when these plans come together, it makes me very happy. But if they don't... well, I can get more than a little pissy about it.

And in the last four days, my plans have been thoroughly blown to shit.

The plan was that the in-laws were coming for Christmas, and no-one else. That makes for a nice, quiet and relaxed holiday. I was looking forward to it. I had the entire week of Christmas scheduled off, so I'd have plenty of time to kick back and unwind. The Scientist and I even planned on going out to see a movie. We don't often get the chance to just pick up and go (without the associated cost of a babysitter, of course).

Things started to go south early last week. I had taken Wednesday off just to burn my remaining vacation time. But Lily came down with a fever on Tuesday, and it was decided that it would be best to keep both kids out of school, just to be safe (our daycare is currently a festering cesspit of snot-nosed urchins). So my day off that was supposed to be a little light shopping and some heavy napping turned into me trying to entertain my kids all day. And here's the thing: I don't mind taking care of my kids for a day, I actually enjoyed it. But it was counter to the plan, which gnawed at the back of my mind.

Also, I'm involved with a new business pitch at work which, don't get me wrong, is cool. But it's very rush-rush-rush, and we need to send our finished presentation to the client by the 7th. That gives us next to no time to really pull everything together--especially considering that they are asking for three concepts. Anyway, it was clear that I'd be working some or all of Christmas week. And maybe the weekend right before Christmas, too. Suck.

But, as it turned out, I didn't have to work the weekend. So I thought it would be free and clear until the day after Christmas, which I will have to work.

Then The Scientist got sick.

And I mean really sick. She started to feel back Friday night, and spent all day Saturday in bed. Often, when people say something like I spent the entire day in bed it's an exaggeration; in this case, it was literally true. Other than getting up twice to go to the bathroom, my wife spent the entire day in bed. At 5 o'clock I made her some soup. Other than that she tossed and turned and moaned in bed.

Sunday morning, she felt better. Better enough to get out of bed and--wait for it--do a bunch of laundry. Why would she do this? You ask. I also asked. This isn't anything that can't wait, I said. Take it easy, you're not completely healthy yet. But no, she wanted to do laundry; and not only that, she wanted to go out shopping, then go to the fucking barn and feed her horse. Y'know, I said, you don't have to "catch up" on things you missed yesterday; this isn't anything that can't wait.

I'm fine, she said.

But, naturally, when she got back from the barn she felt worse. She immediately crawled into bed and tried to die. If anything, she's sicker now than she was yesterday. She's now dealing with, ahem, intestinal issues, so I'm giving her a wide berth.

In fact, I've been sanitizing my hands like crazy. The last thing I want is to get sick myself. Because I'm a huge pussy when it comes to getting sick.

So, clearly, we won't be going to the movies. We won't be having a dinner by ourselves. I won't be kicking back and relaxing. Did I mention that the girls also seem to have a touch of whatever is currently killing my wife? So yeah, they're whinny and hypersensitive and can't seem to play together for 10 minutes without getting into a fight. And since my father-in-law is engrossed in watching one football game after the other, I can't even put on the magic that is Dora. Even if I could, they'd just fight over what episode to watch.

My holiday plans are not going as I wanted. And I'm pissy about it.

But... I keep telling myself I only need to get to Christmas morning. Because we have some presents for the girls that they are going to LOVE. And I can't wait to see their faces. They are going to go mad with joy for these things.

At least, that's the plan.


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As promised, photographic evidence of the Fancy Pants party.

First up, me, in all my, ahem, glory.

The identities of the other party-goers have been obscured to protect the innocent. Or, mostly innocent.

A co-worker of The Scientist, along with her man. They were good sports, and she won the prize for "pants with the most stuff on them."

The Scientist. I still say those are some sexy pants. As of yet, I have been unable to get her to wear them again.
Friend and former co-worker of my wife's. The shirt really says it all.

"Flasher pants."

Probably the fanciest hand-made pants of the evening. This is M., The Scientist's best friend and winner of pants trivia.

My buddy J., co-conspirator with my wife to hold this surprise party. Winner of "Most Colorful Pants." That's his son in the background (in girl's pants) doing, um, oh, never mind.

Clown pants.

Finally, the winner of "Grand Master of Pants." When in doubt, go lederhosen.

The Scientist and I sucking at Guitar Hero. This is my second pants of the night, after the see-through ones got a little steamy.

And that's all we got! Look for a bigger, better and even fancier Fancy Pants party in 2008!


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Whenever someone asks me if there was anything about fatherhood that I didn't expect, I say that I expected to love my children (eventually, as it turned out), I expected to feel protective of them, and I expected them to be terribly cute... but I never expected them to be so funny.

These kids make me laugh every day. And every time one of them does something that makes me laugh, I think I need to remember this so I can post it to my blog! But I never do. Sometimes because it's just funny in the moment, or it's so esoteric to our family that it wouldn't be funny to anyone else, or sometimes because it is just so stupid that I don't like to admit that it made me laugh. Like farts. Any time either of the girls farts, it's good for a chuckle.

But Lily did something earlier this week that made me laugh.

She apparently learned rock-paper-scissors at school, and wanted to play with me. But she didn't have it quite right.
LILY: Daddy! Daddy! Let's play!
ME: Play what, honey?
LILY: Play craft paper, stone, horse!
ME: Wait, what is it?
LILY: Craft paper, stone, horse!
ME: Huh. Honey, do you mean rock-paper-scissors?
LILY: Yeah!
So we play a couple of rounds, and I tell her paper covers rock, scissors cut paper, etc.

LILY: Daddy! Let's play something else!
ME: Okay, what do you want to play?
LILY (looking around) Let's play... um... rock, stove, rug!
ME: Sure!
So we play a couple rounds of rock-stove-rug (rug is in front of stove, rock breaks stove, rug covers rock) then Lily wants to play another game. This time it's Polly Pockets, horse, chair (Polly Pockets sits on chair, horse jumps over Polly Pockets, chair... jeez, I don't know what the chair does). This goes on for some time until she gets bored of it.

See? That's probably only funny to me.


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Holy crap. Rarely have so many odd and esoteric things come together to make me laugh.


Awesome. The people demand you click NOW!


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#234 In which our hero unexpectedly attends a party wearing pants of a most unusual nature.

Mom came up to visit last weekend. Since we went to visit the in-laws for Thanksgiving, she asked if she could come up this weekend because it will have been so long since she saw the girls. Being that we had nothing planned, I said sure.

Little did I know that I was walking into a trap.

Mom came up Friday and it was nice. The girls are always insanely happy to see grammy, due in part to the gifts she always brings. Generally speaking, I’m happy to see mom for the same reason. No! I’m kidding. I love my mother. And her gifts.

So Saturday comes and The Scientist has to work, which is a pain in the ass. But I’ve got nothing to do all day, so it’s play with the girls, run to the store for stuff to make dinner, and just hang out. The Scientist comes home, we eat and all is well. Around 6 o’clock The Scientist tells me that her friend is coming over to pick up some food we have stored for her in our chest freezer. But when M. gets here, she has a sheet cake.
ME: Why’s M. have a cake with her?
THE SCIENTIST: Because we’re having a party.
ME: Who’s having a party?
TS: We are.
ME: What, now?
TS: Yes, now. Go upstairs and get changed.
So yeah… my wife, who is a terrible liar and absolutely can’t be trusted to keep a secret from me… threw me a surprise birthday party over the weekend.

My birthday isn’t until next Monday but, wisely, she threw it this past weekend so I wouldn’t expect it. And man, I did not expect it. Frankly, I’ll still a little taken aback that she pulled it off. I mean, my wife is really bad about keeping secrets, and folds like a cheap table when under examination. But she not only arranged food, games and activities, she got my mother into the action, too! Behind my back! And she invited a dozen or so of my friends over! And everybody even played along with the theme.

Theme, you ask? Oh yeah. Hell, yeah.

A little background first. About a year ago I discovered the music of Jonathan Coulton. He’s a geeky guitar guy, and his songs are really fun dorky stuff. I have three of them on my iPod right now. One of the songs that caught my ear was “Mr. Fancy Pants” (scroll down the list, you can hear the entire song for free).

It’s a funny, catchy little ditty. Sometime after hearing it, I told The Scientist that I thought we should have a fancy pants party. With a trophy for fanciest pants (not unlike the song). This idea percolated in both of minds for awhile, before we both agreed that it just wasn’t going to happen this year. Too much going on before the end of the year. Then it would be too snowy to have a party. So, maybe we could do this in the Spring. We were both onboard for this timeline.

Or so I thought.

Little did I know that shortly after I said something, my wife began planning a surprise fancy pants-themed party for my birthday. And she did it this year (I’m turning 39 next week) because she knew I’m be expecting something for my 40th. Which I totally would be; especially considering how much I bitched and moaned when she planned a surprise party for her friend’s 40th (the same friend who delivered the cake--wearing some seriously fancy pants, I should add) and I had never had a surprise party, even though I’ve always really, really wanted one.

Something else you need to know.

On the way back from Thanksgiving, we again started talking about a fancy pants party (we had eight hours to kill, afterall). I’m all geeked about the idea. I’m thinking about what kind of fancy pants people would wear… what kind of fancy pants I’d wear. I’m thinking it has to be something outrageous, something no-one else would think of. “You know what would be awesome,” I said, off-handedly; “A pair of transparent pants. And I’d wear a thong under them! Ha!

Lesson #1: be very careful of what you ask for.

So, M., my mom and The Scientist start dashing around the house, getting everything ready for people to arrive in less than an hour. But first, my wife takes me upstairs and says, “Here. Put these on.”

In one hand she has a pair of transparent pants. In the other, a tiger stripped thong.

Holy. Shit.
ME: Where the hell do you even get transparent pants?!
TS: I made them.
ME: You did not.
TS: I did.
ME: What’s this material?
TS: It’s a shower curtain. And let me tell you, my sewing machine did not like it.
Transparent pants. Well, in all honestly, mostly translucent pants. Unless I bent over and really stretched the material. Then there was no hiding nuthin’. I was a little hesitant about the thong--it’s not my normal mode of underwear. Actually, I’m a boxer guy, so even tighty-whities are a little constricting. But, good Lord, she went to all the trouble to make me see-through pants… and I did sort of ask for it. So I put them on.

Me and mom. She's clearly never been more proud of her son. From the front, not so bad, huh?

From the back? Dear God, my eyes! My eyes!

Unfortunately, these are the only photos we took. Because there were some fancy fancy pants at the party. Everyone made an effort, which was very cool. Other people had cameras, so I’m hoping some of those pics come my way. I’ll post them when they do.

After eating, drinking and general mingling, there was pants trivia (written by The Scientist. Again, how cool is my wife?) M. won with a total of 9 out of 11 possible points. Actually, she tied with the lovely Miss Kate. I asked them both to pick a number between one and five for a tie-breaker: M said one, Miss Kate said seven. So, M. won!

By the way, Miss Kate came all the way from the frozen north to attend. She’s also awesome (albeit slightly less so than my wife--sorry Kate). It was fantastic to see her, and a wonderful surprise. Her flight home was cancelled, and she was stuck in Cleveland an extra night, which sucks. I feel responsible. But, she blames it on the general suck-assiness of Chicago, and not me. But she might just be saying that because it’s my birthday.

Thanks again for coming, Kate!

Lesson #2: pants made of shower curtains do not breathe. At all.

Even though I loved my see-through pants, they started to get a little swampy after a couple hours. fortunately, my friend B. brought me an alternative pair of fancy pants. Blue with fur cuffs. And suspenders (and we all remember my unfortunate past flirtation with suspenders).

Then, there were also several categories of pants to judge. I wasn’t expecting to have to judge other people’s pants and, frankly, I was ill-prepared after several piña coladas. But, the winners broke down like this:
  • Pants with the most things on them: K., a co-worker of The Scientists for green pants with a bunch of gold buttons sewed on.
  • Sexiest pants: L., The Scientist’s horse trainer for her tight leather pants (I actually wanted to pick my wife for the skin-tight plaid bell-buttons she found at Goodwill; but she wouldn’t let me vote for her).
  • Most colorful pants: My friend J., for multi-colored clam-diggers (this award probably should have gone to M. for her Napoleon Dynamite-inspired jeans, but she had already won the trivia contest).
  • Grand Master of Pants: My friend S., for his authentic lederhosen. It’s just though to beat lederhosen, y’know?
The Grand Master of Pants was awarded a trophy, which was one of The Scientist’s co-workers old softball trophy with the figure sawed off above the waist. I nearly peed myself laughing when I first saw it.

Also in attendance that night were a beautiful kilt, flasher pants (i.e., pants that only extended from ankle to knee), clown pants, an especially esoteric graffitied pair of jeans (I got most of the jokes, Kate), girl jeans (on a boy) and others I’m forgetting. Like I said, everyone wore something (even L’s husband, who I think really would rather not have bothered) and it was super cool.

I’m lucky to have good friends. And a cool mother who completely went along with the joke. Thanks mom.

But I’m mostly lucky to have a great wife to plan and execute all of this… even though keeping her mouth shut all this time nearly gave her an ulcer. I really appreciate it, sweetheart. You’re the best.

And I’m already planning my pants for next year’s party.


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