Archive for May, 2014


It’s really hard for my children to get away with anything at school because we get tweets, text messages, automated phone calls, and emails about EVERYTHING. Any of my kids sluff class, get in a fight, get a toy that they shouldn’t have taken to school taken away for a parent pick up, and we get notified. As much as my child are growing up in an age of electronics, and so many things are so much easier. it’s so much harder for them to get away with it.  I’m seriously waiting for the day that I get some kind of notification that says something like “Your child is guilty of chemical warfare, He dropped a ‘dirty bomb’ on his classmates.” On one hand I’ll be going “That’s my boy!” on the other… Why would you do that?! Chemical Warfare is never justified!

Both myself and my wife would ditch out, and race home or to the post office, and pick up the phone and say “yes they’re excused from school” or in my case, I had an extra key to the mailbox. My school would mail out pink slips, I’d go to the post office before my parents and pull the slip out of the mail before they saw it. I nearly got caught once or twice trying to make an hasty exit.

Yes, kids now days have it so easy, ridiculously easy, and yet they get away with so much less.

Dude, Where’s my shirt?!

A few weeks ago I decided to Chaperone (read: My daughter begged) for my daughters field trip to an aviation and space Museum.  It seemed simple enough, just go stand around make sure that the kids don’t touch anything, and it’s SPACE! What’s cooler than that? Even if the kids got nothing out of it, still SCIENCE! I signed the form really without paying attention to details because, how hard could it be.  Besides! SPACE! A day or so later I’m researching on my computer and my daughter comes in, and says “You know how you agreed to go Chaperone my class.”

“Yes, I remember, are you excited?” I admit, I was excited.

“I’m very excited. But dad, you HAVE to come swimming with me.”

Still half distracted, I responded with something like “Huh?… okay.”

She squealed “YAY!” and hopped out of the room. About 10 seconds later it donned on me what I had just done. I thought she was talking about a different event for some reason. It wasn’t until I Googled the Museum and realized that it had a waterpark. Then reality set in.

Typically, when I do chaperone for my children’s school events, I’m the only male; it’s usually me and 3-4 mothers. Typically, when I’ve gone and done these things with my son, the parents almost never, ever, participate directly in the activities. On the extreme rare occasion when the fathers do show up, they are FAR more likely to.  My daughter is 11, and it just donned on me, that under these circumstances I’m going to look like a major, major pervert… Oh joy, because I needed that kind of stigma.  I already agreed, no backing out now, time to suck it up.

The day comes up and I made sure we were all prepared the night before; it was a simple matter of getting out of bed, eating and walking out the door.

When I got there I saw that the father of my daughters friends where there, AND he was coming with us. I had gotten to know him a bit back and forth with sleep overs and various activities that our children did together. He was a nice guy and I liked him. Inside I was relieved, at the very least; I’m not alone in this. In the next 10 minutes two more showed up. I’m not alone this time, I’m okay. This is almost completely unprecedented, but for once I’m not the gender minority for  male Chaperones.

I went in the school and met the kids that were assigned to my group; one of them was a major Batman fan. She had Batman Shirt, and shoes and backpack. I like this kid already, She was a bit hyper tho. Another brought a shatton* of candy. A bag of skittles… not like a small bag. Like two 1lb bags of it dumped into a brown paper bag.  I made a mental note that “Shatton” needs to be made a new unit of measurement.

Once we got on the bus, and got moving, one of my daughters friends asked me what my name was

“Clem” I responded.

My daughter rolled her eyes and her friends eyes nearly popped out of her skull.
“Wow… That’s a stupid name, I thought I had a dumb name, but you just made me feel better.” Wow kid, harsh.

My daughter exhaled sharply. “His name isn’t Clem!”

When they asked what it was, I put my hand up to my daughter and said facing her friends, “What do you think it is? “  Putting my hand up in front of my daughter was the silent signal of “don’t respond, let’s have some fun with this.” In the next 10 minutes her surrounding 5-6 friends who could hear the conversation, cycled through about a dozen different names. Then my Daughter who was getting perceptibly annoyed with the increasingly level of ridiculousness that her friends were showing, gave in, and told them my name. At which point Batman Girl gasped, because she made a correlation between my name and the Batman Franchise Said “That’s it, we’ll call you Batman.”

“Batman?” Now this was a name I could get behind.

“Well, if you can be Batman…  Always be Batman.” Then it was settled, they could use my real name, or Batman. I would respond to either.

By the time we had pulled up front I had donned my headphones and the girls had gone through my playlist which was 90’s Summer hits, and had noted that it was “old music” and that I must be an “old man”. but they commented that many of them liked a lot of the tracks. Particularly Nirvana, I was kind of surprised by that. Current 11 year kids still listen to 20 year old music.  mm hmm, we all listen to ‘old man music’. We had discussions about Alpaca’s and Pepe Le Pew, this seems like an odd correlation except for the fact that Alpaca’s run like Pepe Le Pew.  Most of my daughter’s friends had NO idea who Pepe Le Pew was. I was happy to educate, because it’s the important things in life that need to shared.

When we pulled into the facility I was kind of stunned to see an F14 Tomcat, F15 Eagle and an F9F-5 Cougar, otherwise known as a Blue Angel, parked out front. When I inquired about the planes, they were all decommissioned and real.  The 11 year old boy in me that knew the difference between an F-15E Strike Eagle, and a MiG was thrilled.  When Top Gun came out, the identified MiG-28’s were not actually MiG-28’s. Not knowing that information as an 11 year old boy for me was a major social faux pas! I don’t remember now what they actually were, because it seemed like a rather insignificant detail, but knowing that they were wrong was a big deal. I admit, I wasn’t allowed to see it when it came out, but I overheard the correction and held onto it like my life depended on it. (I looked it up; they were Northrop F-5E (one Seat) and F-5F’s (Two seats)) My Daughter seemed less than excited about a couple of planes, her loss.

The Tour Guide took us through the site, telling about the history of space travel. He explained to us as we went forward which county did what first, and what technological advancements we enjoy today were made possible because of the space race. The number of exhibits they had that were authentic, and not models were amazing.  For example, they had an authentic German B2 Rocket from WWII. This is a significant piece of history. As things tend to do with 11 year olds with things of historical significance, it seemed to go over their heads. That’s okay, I made a mental note that I need to drag my daughter back here when she’s a bit older.

After a lot of displays and talking, and the inner child in me who kept getting excited over planes (Such as an SR-71 Blackbird) and an I-MAX Movie about the creation of the universe, it was time for the waterpark. We walked over and got everything sorted and I went to the locker room to change, there was already a fair number of people there, and as I sat down and started changing, I took off my shirt and put it on the bench. Shortly, just seconds later the kid who sitting not 5 feet away, probably only 11-13 years old, grabbed something off the bench and bolted.

Ever have one of those feelings like something significant just happened, but you have no idea what it was, but you’re sure that it’s going to bite you in the butt later? Yeah that happened. I looked around and saw his shirt, thought maybe I was being paranoid, and continued on.

I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the first father out in the water, out of the 4 men that came 3 of us got in; I felt a whole lot less pervvy. Whew, bullet dodged. My Daughter seemed bent on hanging with her friends, and I’ve got no problem with giving her space. The park itself was kind of impressive. The most impressive piece was the 747 that was de-commissioned, and then hoisted on top of the building. Gutted and re-fitted as a Water slide. Easily 100+ Feet up with at least a 200+ tube.  Super cool. The wave pool was very shallow; I could stand flat footed while it was being wavy.

Then it came time to leave, I went back into the locker room and showered came out looked for my shirt and… hey… where… Crap. So that’s what that feeling was…  I looked at the shirt that the kid left behind. It was the exact same color as mine, the one he walked off with… Huh, what are the chances of that… Well this is awkward; I can’t get on the bus without a shirt. I got dressed went out and found my daughters teacher. Filled her in, she started laughing with that look of, “Better you than me.” I’m somewhat embarrassed at this point, so I checked lost and found… nothing. The staff asked what happened, as I explained the above scenario, they were heavily amused. I went and told the teacher that I was heading to the gift shop in hopes, that they have a shirt… They have to have a shirt; they need to have… something… Or else the whole persona of “I swear I’m not a pervy dirty old man.” gets blown out the window like a stolen t-shirt.

The gift shop was about 100 yards away in a different building. My mirror like chest, blinding cars on the nearby highway, nearby being defined as a half a mile, through trees; I’m a ginger, and I’m really pale.  I started what felt like the walk of shame, each step becoming increasingly more mortifying as I continued on. I picked up my phone and called my wife and shared my plight, I told her that I was only slightly mortified.

“Only Slightly?”  Was the first response she gave me. Well, actually it was the second response. The first was what seemed like controlled laughter.

With a sudden frame of emergency I asked “Should I be more so?”

“You hate being the center of attention.”

“Yes, I’m aware, I’m at the building, can I call you back later?”

I walked in to the front doors to be greeted by 80-90 year old volunteering women who had classic Football helmet haircuts. And boy, what a greeting I got, I got a severe case of the stink eye, like somehow my Shirtless body was a direct assault, and a violation of the core of their being.  Somehow I violated their personal space and their morals of ‘thou shall not kill’ all at the same time.

I looked around quickly… ah look Gift shop and there were shirts in the window. I’m saved! Wait… what’s that sign say. “No shirts, no shoes no services.” lovely.  Because that’s what I need, resistance to try and fulfill the requirements of their store. When I want nothing more than to be able to it. As I walked in, desperate to get out of there as soon as possible, with some self-covering — I was met with the stare of another patron who looked at me as I violated her sanity somehow. Was it the paleness of my skin? Or just shock? Was I growing scales and didn’t know it? I didn’t know, didn’t care. I looked around briefly and didn’t see anything that would fit.  Joy.  I approached the cashier…  She looked up startled; I didn’t even give her a chance to say anything.

“I’m looking for a shirt… everything is way too big, Or way too small.” She just pointed to a wall

“Middle Rack.”

I just grabbed, didn’t care what was on it, I’d turn it inside out I had to.

I brought it up to the desk and said “yes please.”

She picked it up and without actually looking at me.

“Soooo…”

“It was stolen.”

“Someone stole your shirt?” actually looking at me now.

“Yup, some kid took it.”

“How did that happen?”

I stated very quickly. “They were the same color, they got mixed up, I knew something was wrong, but couldn’t figure out what it was, and he left with it.” She just stared at me for a couple of seconds, unmoving. Not sure if she was trying to figure out if she had heard me correctly, or wither or not the story was believable in the first place.

“Can I pay and go now? My daughter’s school bus is waiting for me”

She gave me a shocked look, “How old is she?”  She actually started scanning the shirt now

“11”

“Awkward.”

“Not helping.“ She stopped and stared at me again. I threw my money on the counter, and she just picked it up.

I have to admit, this chick staring me down like this was making me a bit agitated. Could you please, for the love of god, just take my money, so I can get out of here?

The rest of the exchange was done in silence; she cut the tag for me, without a question.

“Thank you.” I put it on in the store and walked out, as quickly as humanly possible.  By the time I had gotten back to the bus they had been waiting for me for almost 10 minutes. My daughter was in tears because the teachers teased her that they’d leave me behind. The teachers both gave me a bit of grief over it, but I couldn’t’ expect less. Heck, I wouldn’t do any less.

I just hope that somewhere out there some kid notices that he has one of my favorite shirts and decides to actually wear it with pride rather than throw it away. I don’t think I’ll ever see it again, but at least I got a good story out of it.

 

Definition Shatton /Shh `at – ton/ ref: 1)  in regards to sweets, candy or other things that will rot your mouth. 2) More than what is necessary, this is a imperial measurement which is equal to the metric version of SHITTON; not to be confused with a diabetic amount.

I wasn’t going to tell this, because it’s weird. But I figured, people who know me, already know how strange I am. So here it goes.

Last night I had this dream that I was a roadie for Aerosmith During their 1979-1980 Tour. Because you know, I was 3, and I would totally be an Aerosmith Roadie at 3 years old. Anyway, They were setting up a stage for a show and there was a guy trying to Tune a Guitar and failing miserably at it. Steven Tyler comes out and yells at him, on key mind you. “You can’t tune a F***ing Guitar!? I did the f***ing Impossible, I dated f***ing Enya! And you can’t Tune a f***ing guitar!”

I woke up at that point, and my first thought was “Why did Steven Tyler sound like Ozzy?”