That's short for Overdrive Bike Club - which my sons and their Our Gang-like group of friends have started.
The took old bike parts and hung them off or around the treehouse, which by the way is no longer a treehouse but a clubhouse. When I saw them gathering up broken bike parts the other day I asked them what they were doing.
"We're making a bike club," said my 8-year-old. "Oh," I said.
"Well do you have bylaws?" I said. "What are bylaws?" he asked. "Rules. The Rules of the club that all must follow," I explained. "Get me a piece of paper," he said.
The other night my wife had her assistant and her boyfriend over because she just graduated from college and the two are planning to move to Austin.
We took them (and our adult beverages) up into the clubhouse to show them what crafty little buggers my kids and their friends are and how encouraging it is - in this day and age - to see kids being kids building shit and using their imagination instead of squatting in front of the TV watching cartoons or playing video games (trust me, they do do that).
We must have been causing quite a racket up there because we woke up the kids and they both came out on the deck and started yelling at us.
"Hey, get out of there!" said my 5-year-old. "That's our clubhouse!!!"
He was pissed.
And caused quite a racket himself, enough that his older bro came out and started in on us as well.
"What are you doing???" he screamed.
"Get out of there, it's for club members only!!!"
They were clearly not happy about all of this so we tried not to laugh and smirk too much in their faces and helped ourselves down from the treehouse, er, clubhouse.
I secretly want to buy them all jean jackets with back patches...
Fuck, I'm lying... it seems like an eternity since he was in diapers.
A funny thing about children is that the old adage "they grow so quick" does ring true at times, but when you have spent every waking moment (more or less) with them for those past five years it can seem like an eternity.
One of the unplanned activities that broke out in the backyard amongst the kids was a kickball game, and my son Cole, being the man of the hour decided to break out the traditional Maori Haka war chant (click on header for explanation) before starting the game.
It's been something he'll break out on occasion ever since his big bro got Rugby 06 for his birthday back in March which is where he was exposed to this pre-game tradition from New Zealand's All Blacks.
A few weeks ago, my 8-year-old's class did a project called the Wax Museum.
The kids had to pick somebody from the history books and give a little oral presentation while dressed like the person they picked.
The teacher requested that they had to pick somebody from the past. The person couldn't be presently famous. The note sent home to us parents basically explained that they didn't won't little Hannah Montanas or the cast of High School Musical running around the halls.
My son labored long and hard over who would be the subject of his biography whittling it down to two people: John Bonham or John Riggins.
Growing up with a father who was a high school football referee and a season-ticket holding Skins fan, Riggins is a figure of mythical proportions in my household. He was one of the original NFL wingnuts who didn't give a fuck about the status quo. With a country boy work ethic and a punk rock attitude, Riggins has always been a personal hero of mine, so when my son was doing his research I gladly saddled up with him to scour the internet for info or to search YouTube for classic clips of Riggins.
I still get goosebumps when I watch Riggins break free on fourth down and rumble to a touchdown against the Dolphins in Super Bowl VXII - a play that has gone down in the annuals of NFL history as one of the greatest ever.
But I also loved the fact that he had the balls to not only sport a Afro but also a mohawk.
And or course there's the "Lighten up Sandy" episode where a drunken Riggo told Supreme Court Justice Sandra O'Conner to relax and enjoy the banquet party they both were attending only to "fall asleep" on the floor later in the evening.
But despite my enthusiasm for Riggins, Zeppelin's drummer still won over my son's heart.
Again, here we have another dude who didn't give a rat's ass about the public perception of him and did whatever the hell he wanted to do. At least Riggins is still alive; it was a challenge trying to explain how some old rock star died chocking on his own vomit (which, by the way, is not something you hear of anymore but was all the rage back in the day).
The obvious thing to do here would be to show a clip of Bonham doing his hand drumming during "Moby Dick" but instead I'll leave you with a little Riggo.
Despite the unsavory outcome of the recent weather(see my knee caps below), it has been awesome.
Sometimes we just go straight from winter to summer, with a minor pit stop in spring, just long enough to rain a few times and maybe break out the sweatshirt once or twice before the heat and humidity become the daily norm.
Ironically, the best spring we've had in years came on the heels of one of the severest droughts the Southeast has had to endure.
Things were looking pretty grim in January but we have had plenty of rain since then so much so that they have lifted some of the water restrictions (re: the car washes are back open).
I call this San Diego weather as that is what it reminds me of: party cloudy, mid-70 degree days with little or no humidity. 70 degree highs and 50 degree lows could quite possibly my all-time favorite stretch of weather. Although when I lived in SoCal, it was precisely this kind of weather that drove me bonkers. The lack of seasons can be disconcerting when you have a hard time deciphering between Christmas or the Fourth Of July. Marked not by the articles of clothing you wear but rather by the seasonal displays at your local drug store.
So it was a no brainer last weekend to sit under the covered part of our deck and watch a storm roll in. Yahtzee being the time-killing game of choice.
That was until my two boys spiraled off into playing the Staring Game which - quite obviously - involves staring at your opponent until someone blinks.
"You blunked!" scream my 4-year-old.
"You blunked. I saw you!!" he said.
"Blinked," said their mother.
"It's 'you blinked'" she said.
Ten minutes later I play the reigning champion, my 4-year-old, who stared at me with the widest eyes ever.
Yesterday my oldest son found his soccer season ending on a double header. It was a beautiful balmy day. We made lunches for in between the games and brought snack for his teammates.
Turns out everyone had the snack idea as several parents brought food for the budding Beckhams.
Last week I was sporting a freshly shaved head and it got a little sunburned so this week I opted to wear a hat. I couldn't find my sunglasses from last summer so I was still subjected to squinting for the majority of the morning.
I even had the foresight to slather some sun screen on my face... unfortunately I didn't have the sense to put the shit anywhere else on my body.
And apparently, as the Earth's orbit would have it, that hole in the ozone just happened to be over the soccer fields in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this past weekend.
I also had the pleasure of having to work a catering gig later in the night.
I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to have polyester tux pants rubbing up against your sunburned knees for several hours.
Fuck water boarding, this shit could break the weak at heart in two Gitmo Bay minutes.
It seems lately that my yard has become the default spot for the neighborhood kids to play.
They are a motley bunch ranging from ages 4 to 12 and comprised of El Salvadorians, Egyptians, Indians, a French-American half-breed, a couple of unidentifiable-origin'ed Caucasians and my mutt children. It can get to be a bit much at times, trying to make sure the older ones don't outdo the younger ones (or expose them to "mature" subject matter). For the most part the kids are all well-behaved and cordial to each other and they know they I have a rule that if they all can't agree on something or make piece with each other after a disagreement then the "party is over" as I like to say.
I had to start keeping disposable cups on hand because I was finding that I had to wash too many cups on a daily basis; water is of an utmost premium here in the drought-ridden Southeast.
The other day they were playing soccer in the backyard - a hectic, discombobulated sea of bodies and heads going in all directions - when I heard the Indian boy, who was playing goalie, yell out defensive strategies.
"Nobody's listening to me," he said as I walked outside to inspect the ruckus.
"Well maybe you should tell them in Punjabi," I said.
He laughed and then let out a tongue-trilling bombardment of sentences.
"See," he said. "They won't listen to me in Punjabi... because THEY DON"T KNOW PUNJABI Greg!" he said.
The next day I was with my 4-year-old and we made a pit stop at the drive-thru teller at the bank.
"Why does that girl have a dot on her head?" he asked.
"It is part of her culture," I told him.
Later that day I told him to ask his neighbor who then explained to me that the size of the dot indicates whether the girl has reached adulthood, is about to get married or is married.
"So her small dot means she's old enough to date?" I asked him.
"Girls don't date," he said. "Marriages are arranged."
"Oh yeah right," I countered.
Today was one of those early release school days which means the kids began congregating in my back yard slightly after 2pm. My son came in and asked if he could play over at the Indian boy's house. He's the oldest but for some reason - one that everybody knows - I'm just not comfortable with a 12-year-old being held responsible for my 4-year-old.
My Indian neighbor stepped up and said that his grandmother and sisters were home.
"Okay," I said much to the delight of my sons and their friends, a rousing round of Hi-Fives ensued. "But I'm going to walk you over there and make sure it is okay."
Grandma came to the door and I asked her if it was okay that my boys play there.
She looked at me and then at her grandson.
He translated my inquiry.
"She said it's cool," he said.
"Thanks dad," my oldest said with a shit-eating grin on his face.