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Friday, June 29, 2007

The Bickering Has Begun


I started off summer vacation really well.

First there was the matinee viewing of Surf's Up! A trip to the Museum of Life & Science and then a play date hike through the NC Botanical Gardens. I wanted to keep on my toes by keeping them on their toes so I made a list and have been consulting it.

Aside form these field trips, there has also been many games of Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, Go Fish, playing catch, riding bikes and then there's always the pool.

But last weekend the whole tick bite thing threw me for a loop (plus I aslo think I may have a hernia but I'll save that for later). Because of the antibiotics I'm taking for the tick bite, my exposure to sun has been limited.

So this week, without the pool to fall back on, I had to dig deep for some other plans, preferrable of the non-paying variety. Also to be considered is that it has been pushing one hundred degrees in the shade here. So I took the boys to the mall (the small mall, not the big mall) and we browsed the hobby shop, books at the book store and sealed the deal with pizza at Alfredo's - they could possibly have the best pizza in the area.

Next day was the pet store, which is by the grocery store so we could kill two birds with one stone. Speaking of birds, the boys want a new pet. Should it be a bird? A lizard? Fish? These are the pressing questions you have to ask yourself. We also cat sat for our neighbors recently and so now Cole has a hankerin' for a kitten. But we already have a cat and she's an old lady so maybe it would be a good idea/maybe it would be a bad idea.

Yesterday I decided to take them to the Ackland Art Museum which is part of UNC but it was a bust (no pun intended there!): Spencer, unbeknownest to me, had recently gone there on a field trip with his class. And Cole didn't like it because it was too quiet. I was bummed because the second floor was closed down to install a new exhibit. So my planned "kill a couple of hours" scheme went belly up in about 30 minutes flat. I tried to rally the troops with yet again another slice of pizza, this time at the storied Pepper's Pizza on Franklin Street followed up by locally-made ice cream at the Maple View Farms store in Carrboro just across the street from Weaver Street Market (local co-op grocery store).

But today, I had nothing.

As a matter of fact, I totally forgot that it was Friday because it is the first weeekend that I haven't had to work since mid-April and the obvious fact that school is out so all my days blur together now. I barely remembered to take out the trash; it would have been ugly had I forgotten that because last Saturday my wife satisfied her blue crab jones for the first time this summer so crab shells had been festering in the can all week.

In hundred degree heat.

Phew. Glad I remembered.

The plan for today was to "record" the boys' band. You see this week I picked up the artwork for the CD my band is about to release and this spurred Spencer into prying into asking about how he could make his own CD. So I told him that my MacBook has GarageBand and that I could record them and then burn a CD.

This was a very bad idea.

Because for the last two days he has been badgering his brother to play their set so I can record it. But getting two boys - ages 4 and 7 - to do the same thing at the same time takes crucial planning. So for two days, if one boy wants to play, the other defiantly says no. I tried to explain that this interaction is very much like a real band but they just can't grasp the real world explanation.

Enter the bickering.

"Wanna play?"
"Why not?"
"Because I don't want to!"

"Where's Spencer?" asked Cole.
"He's in his room," I said.
"I want to tell him something," he said.
"What?" I said.
"That he's not my brother anymore," he said.


Then I tell Spencer he's has got to change his approach. Don't whine at your brother and demand him to play, but rather ask him if he wants to record or be on a CD or play rock star.

He had almost convinced him when Cole delivered the fatal blow: "I don't like your songs. Can we play something else?"

"Wh-Wha-Whaaaattttt?" said Spencer.
"But dad he said he was going to play," he said on the verge of tears.
"Welcome to the real world son," I said.
"Maybe you could ask him if he wants to play some of his songs?" I said.
"But I don't waaannnnnaaaa play his songs," said Spencer.
"Guess you got a problem," I said.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

That Old Cliche


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Here is a picture of my 4-year-old doing "work" on a dead lap top.

He's been kind of moody lately. Mostly because since the summer began he has lost his personal time with me. When his older brother was in school, we had half days together on Monday, Thursday, Friday and all day together on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until we picked up Spencer from elementary school at 3:30pm.

Now all day everyday it's a threesome.

Of course Spencer is jazzed just to be able to hang out with me (affectionately known as Papa G) and his little bro who is now his right hand man in free play and in terrorizing me.

Spencer got some serious big boy time with Papa G the other day when he helped me deliver some stuff. One of the odd jobs that I do is deliver maps and visitor guides to the local hotels, senior centers and parks & rec offices for the Orange County Visitors Bureau. On Monday morning my wife took Cole to his annual check-up while Spencer and I made the rounds making deliveries. By the third delivery, after the third person echoed the sentiment "You got a helper today!" Spencer suggested that it might be a good idea if he got paid for his services.

I thought it was a good idea.

So we agreed on the nominal fee of $1 per deliver for him.

He helped me make 9 deliveries.

Later in the day, I heard a knock on the door and Spencer came in with two boxes on a dolly.

"Delivery for Greg Barbera," he said.

Kids, they soak up everything like a sponge.
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Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Souvenir


So one of the ticks I pulled off my body a few weeks ago left me with a souvenir.

It's called Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness and pretty much mimics Lyme disease.

Of course I could possibly have Lyme disease but all my symptoms didn't match up, so they put me on some antibiotics and told me to just "keep an eye out" for any Lyme diseases symptoms like muscle and joint pain, fever and extreme headaches.

This sucks on many levels:

a.) You shouldn't drink alcohol while taking antibiotics (which I have to take for the next 21 days). In the next 21 days there's a pre-Fourth of July cookout, a Fourth of July cookout, my band plays a show at Heavy Rebel weekend in Winston-Salem and another in Raleigh at Sadlacks with our guitar player's friends' band from Wisconsin called Shady Haze. Bands from Wisconsin like to drink beer. Punk rock without beer sucks.

b.) One should not have prolonged exposure to the sun while taking antibiotics because you are more prone to getting sunburned. Taking my boys to the pool is one of the ways I keep myself sane during the summer months.
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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cabin Fever


So what do my two boys do when it is pushing one hundred degrees and it is raining out?

Why they wrestle.

But not just any kind of wrestling.

It's got to be Mexican - Nacho Libre style.

So they put underwear on their heads and attack each other.

They've never even seen the movie only the commercial.

Thanks Jack Black, I owe you one.
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Friday, June 15, 2007

Getting Dick'ed

A few weeks ago I ran into another stay-at-home dad - coincidentally named Greg - at the playground of my youngest son's co-op playschool.

We got to chatting and it turned out that his wife worked for this radio show called The Story hosted by Dick Gordon.

I suggested he get the wife to do a piece on stay-at-home-dads.

He suggested I pitch it to her myself.

So I did.

Today, The Story aired my story.

You can find it at:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Band Practice


The Backwards Hats (a.k.a The B Brothers) had their first practice yesterday.

It also doubled as their debut show.

Here are the lyrics to "Snake Attack":

we are going into the woods
what's going to happen


a snake attack! snake attack!

you better run, you better hide


a snake attack! snake attack!

so run for for your life

you got to go


a snake attack! snake attack!
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Friday, June 08, 2007

I'm Not Having It!


The nature show that is my backyard... I've had enough of it.

Last week I found a tick on my ass.

How does one get a tick off their ass all by himself? Well it ends up looking like a one-man game of Twister that's what I can tell you. I found another on my calf a day later and just two days ago found a little, tiny speck of one on my youngest son. How does one get a tick off of a 4-year-old boy? Well let's just say that I think the head of the tick is still on/in him.

Little boys don't know how to stand still when their dad is hovering nearby with tweezers.

Last weekend I came home from work after a shift to find the house empty. So I retreated to my back deck with an adult cocktail and got to the business of unwinding. But the backyard was a-twitter with critters. A pair of birds, orioles I believe, were either humping or fighting. Whatever they were doing they seemed to make a whole lot of racket in the process. Then some raven was crowing from the top of a pine tree in my yard so I decided put some music into the boombox because that's how I do it... drowned out nature with rock & roll!

Then I noticed this wasp hovering slowly in front of me, arms length and eye level away.

Carrying something.

Some sort of larva I guess and then the wasp dropped it and I watched it retreat back to it's nest, which just happened to be on the roof of my deck right outside the sliding door. There's too much kid traffic right here for me to leave it be so I got out the toxic death spray and annihilated the bristling nest o' wasps and their brood.
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