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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Alien Abduction

So I had another alien abduction dream the other night.

I think I've had about a dozen or so over the last few years.

This one was sorta generic and par for the course in that it featured the basic big, bright light outside which needs to be investigated, that feeling of lost time and not being able to account for your whereabouts, and that feeling like you've been drugged.

The kicker was that during my "return" I sort came to walking down a dark hallway in my house only to find a stranger sleeping on my couch.

I walked over and pulled the covers off the stranger to find that I was looking at myself sleeping on the couch.

Chills rolled down my spine.

I shuddered off the chills and *poof* the dream went away.

The weird thing was that I actually slept on the couch because my 6-yr.-old came into our bed and 2am complaining of an ear ache.

The next day while channeling surfing I stumble upon a show about Roswell on the National Geographic channel.

Now I wasn't totally blown away by the coincidence because one can always find a show on aliens or Hitler on cable television.

But then today, I took said sick 6-yr.-old to the doctor to see if he had an ear infection (he does) and during our stay in the waiting room (not the mass populace waiting room, but the second tier room they put you in after the initial nurse consultation), the boys and I had this odd conversation about dreams and nightmares.

My 3- yr.-old's reoccurring "nightmare" is when I'm the tickle monster. I've actually heard him laugh in his sleep before and had him tell me the next day that I wouldn't stop tickling him on his dream.

But then my oldest son went into this elaborate dream about finding me in a room stuck with needles, lotsa of needles, all over my body and that the image totally freaked him out.

I think I've been listening to The Doors too much or something...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Punch Number Two

I got woken up this morning by my almost-7-year-old shrilling "Snow! Snow! Dad there's snow!"

It wasn't even 6am yet.

Of course they cancelled school because that's what they do here in NC. I remember one year they cancelled school at the thought of flurries. But over the years they've learned their lesson; a few times they cancelled school and not one drop of precipitation ever made it to the ground.

So today we get a meager two slushy inches and they cancelled school.

Kids are stoked as it is a rare treat to get snow in our neck of the woods but it does happen. But not enough that you care to purchase the necessary clothing for toddlers who will grow out of something overnight. Fortunately, my sister lives in the Midwest and is always passing along cold weather hand-me-downs.

I think she was appalled when years ago, when our first kid had experience his first taste of snow, she had called and asked if he got a chance to play in it. I told he he didn't have any boots so I put plastic trash bags over his shoes and secured them with rubber bands because - after all - somebody has to represent the white trash side of the family.

But the thing that sucks most about snow days, isn't the fact that "no school" are the two words I want to hear least, is that snow here just sucks. It rarely ever snows enough to do something fun like sledding or tobogganing and the snow is almost always on the side closer to sleet than powder.

So it is really like playing in the mud after a few hours when the sun finally breaks through and the temperature warms a bit.

I dig managed to make a tiny, snowman with a pine needle mohawk only to have my moody 3-year-old kick it over because "snowman don't have mohawks, Dad!" he barked.

Not to mention, today was the day both boys were suppose to be in school (3-year-old until 1pm, 6-year-old until 3:30pm) and I had big plans about what I was going to do with my free time.

Instead, it's "can you say cabin fever?"
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One, Two Punch

So just last week we were rolling in temperatures above 70 degrees here in Carolina.

Over the weekend we had a cookout with some neighbors and we were joking about how ridiculous it was that we were in t-shirts and shorts and grilling during the MLK holiday weekend.

And then it came: the fucking frigid weather.

So cold in fact, that daytime highs were in the low 40s.

So what's a stay-at-home dad to do but improvise.

Enter the indoor camping extravaganza.

Needless to say, the wife wasn't to happy about this one. But I (think) I convinced her that it was a good primer for the boys for when we finally get back into camping (this spring I hope; we registered at REI when we got married but we haven't been since Number 1 was born and that's creeping up on seven years).

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Friday, January 12, 2007

The Cave

The place in the woods where the degenerate "burn-outs" would hang out - was called The Cave. Riding past there on
your bike when the hoodlums were there was like riding the gauntlet. Sometimes they'd throw rocks at you, sometimes they'd throw beer cans. You were going to get heckled that much was for sure.

Years later I befriended one of the local juvey hall kids and went there myself. At some point they had built a rope swing that swung off the top of it which was pretty hairy and pretty scary. I saw a guy get stuck and watched his friends scramble to find a branch long enough for him to grab so he could get back. Serious injury would have resulted from a fall from that height. Although the dirtbags were smart enough to knot the end of the rope which formed a rudimentary seat thus saving your upper body strength from being tapped out in just such and occasion.

My older brother told me a story about how one of his friends was kicked out of his house in high school and he spent a couple of nights at the cave (although there doesn't seem to be much room in the cave).

And when I told another friend about my recent trek to The Cave he asked if there were any moldy Penthouses to be found. Fortunately there weren't. But there was a shitload of broken glass from smashing beer bottles on the rocks.

So on a recent trip to see my parents I took my two boys on a expedition to see the creek, the "black path," and the cave.

A little bit of neighborhood lore for them to take with them back to North Carolina.
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The Woods

I spent a lot of time playing in the woods as a kid. We used to ride our bmx bikes back into the woods by the creek. Skipped stones along the bank or search for salamanders, turtles or snakes.

There was a path that went from Lake Needwood all the way to the National Zoo in D.C. It was dirt for a long time and then somewhere around the end of elementary school they paved it and it became known as the "black path."

if you said you were going to the black path people knew exactly what you were talking about. By the time I got out of high school, me and my friend Scooby would ride our mountain bikes on it, searching for paths that spun off of it. If we didn't find anything, we'd get to D.C., park our bikes and saddle up at some cafe like Zorba's on 19th Street and drink pitchers of beer under the summer sun. Those were good times.
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Durham Ink

The shop is open.
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