Monday, March 21, 2016

The Grocery List

This weekend has been a lot of fun. In case you didn't read my last post, my wife headed out of town for a few days leaving me in charge of our girls...or vice versa, depending on how you look at it. I am happy to announce that everyone is still alive and we have not yet had to visit the emergency room. I probably shouldn't say that as we still have 24+ hours without mom in the house, but I'll take my chances.

I was reminded of something very important in my wife's absence: I am not good at grocery shopping. I have never denied this fact. I just figured I would have somehow been better at it now that I've been married with kids for quite some time now. This is in fact not the case.

If you were to look in our fridge, you would think a bachelor lives here. Part of this is because I was only tasked with buying the bare essentials to get us through my wife's absence. Part of it is because I am horrible at grocery shopping. I have often joked that I need a shopping list to survive. A typical scenario plays out like this:

Wife: "Honey. Can you grab a gallon of milk on your way home?...Do you want me to write it down?"
Me: "No need. 2%, right?....oh yeah....we get the half water-half milk ,low fat stuff."
Wife: "Yes. Low fat."

I then proceed to bring home $100 worth of groceries...and no milk.

Yes. I need a list. Yesterday, I even had my girls reminding me what I needed. Milk (no we're ok for now). Juice. Mac and Cheese. Oatmeal. Cereal. Hamburger for dinner. Donuts - because it was daddy-daughter donut day.

What did I forget? Milk...technically that was intentional since it's cheaper at Kwik Trip anyway. Oatmeal. Mac and Cheese. I did remember the hamburger (and buns) as well as some Brats because they were on a killer sale. Probably not a need, but even my wife would never yell at me for buying Brats....we love them. Most importantly, I forgot the juice. Heaven forbid my girls get stuck drinking water?!?

So, today during my lunch break, I had to make a "quick" run to the grocery store again to get the things I forgot. Yes, I made a list. I got everything on my list. The problem is that I really struggled finding a few of the items on the list.

Milk was easy. It's always in the back. (I didn't feel like making a separate stop at Kwik Trip and the milk was lower than I thought.)

I got lucky on the oatmeal since it was logically in the same aisle as the cereal.

I couldn't for the life of me find the Mac and Cheese. I easily located all the other pastas and pasta sauces. Apparently Mac and Cheese doesn't rate as a pasta. I finally asked an employee where I would find it. (By the way, they are always extremely helpful at HyVee.) I was quickly led over to the Mac and Cheese. When I joked that Mac and Cheese must be the black sheep of the pasta family and not allowed to be in the same aisle, she told me that Mac and Cheese is a "boxed meal" and therefore grouped with those items. Makes sense now, but not something I would have guessed on my own.

The juice is always a chore for me. Even though I seem to always "half remember" that it's not located in the three aisles of beverages, I always seem to go look there first as if they decided juice should belong with all the other beverages. Nope. Still not there. At this point I was too embarrassed to ask for more help, so I wandered a little bit. I did finally find it....and I still don't know why it isn't with the other beverages. Maybe I'll ask another helpful HyVee employee next time I'm in there.

In the end, all is well. I found everything I needed and was on my way. It only took an hour or two. OK. Maybe it was only 10 minutes....but it felt like an hour. We were able to have juice when I brought the girls home tonight. We had milk with our Mac and Cheese supper...with Brats on the side. I'll count it as a win, but I'm still looking forward to my wife taking over the grocery shopping when she returns. Until next time....

Friday, March 18, 2016

Look Out World

The time has come once again for some real fun and excitement. Firefighters are preparing for action. Emergency phone contact information is being exchanged. I even have a neighbor who sold their house and moved away. You guessed it.... the wife is heading out of town for a few days and leaving me in charge of the house....and kids.

For those of you who missed it last time around, you can check out my former post "When Mom Is Away...The Kids Will Play." I set pretty high expectations during our last daddy-daughters weekend and even set a few challenges. Although I feel my daughters and I did a fine job of rising to the challenges and accomplishing our goals, I was still a little disappointed. Not once did a fire break out or someone need to dial 911 or visit the ER. We didn't break any priceless heirlooms. (Our heirlooms are worthless or "without value or price"....we just think priceless sounds better.)

To prevent such a bland, blah and generic daddy-daughters weekend from happening again, I have decided to make a few changes this time around. Here's what I have planned:

I Will Make No Plans

Making plans would practically guarantee a flawless weekend without issues, accidents or injuries. Don't get me wrong, I don't really want anyone to get hurt, but at least a close call here and there to liven things up. Making plans would have us running like a well oiled machine. That would just spoil us and give my girls an inaccurate perception of how life really works. We wouldn't want that.

Where's the fun when you have a nice, neat and organized schedule? Who would want to know exactly what they'll be doing at any given moment throughout the weekend? Not me. That would be like looking at the tv guide (do those still exist??) to see what you will watch on tv Thursday night. Clearly the more sensible, and exciting, thing to do is randomly pick out a Netflix show on a whim.

Making plans will definitely be skipped. For the record, meals will be eaten, baths will be taken and teeth will be brushed. Those are more like habits than plans. Plus my wife would kill me if I didn't take care of the basics. 

I Will Set No Expectations

Setting expectations would ensure my daughters are well behaved and following directions all weekend. Rules would be followed and there would be no arguing. The house would be clean and toys would always be picked up after playing with them. Seriously, why would I want that? If I wanted a clean house, I would go visit a friend.

Having no expectations means anyone can accomplish anything. My seven year old can make our meals. My five year old can do the dishes. They can help each other do the laundry. There will be absolutely no expectations for accomplishing these tasks because (let's be honest here) they can't really do much worse than me at any of those tasks. 

We Will Have Fun

Don't get confused with this one. I am NOT "planning" to have fun. I just know that by not making plans or setting expectations, daddy-daughters weekend will be a blast. We may or may not have any personal possessions left unbroken by the end of the weekend, but we are certain to have a lot of fun. Until next time.... 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Darth Vader - Not All Bad

I learned something really amazing this past week. My two little girls absolutely love Star Wars! Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought their appreciation for great cinematic art would have developed so quickly. My wife hasn't even developed an appreciation for Star Wars yet. I must say I am impressed though that she no longer rolls her eyes whenever I mention Star Wars.....but I'm not holding my breath for her to actually watch any of the movies.

This all started last week when my wife (yes - the one who won't watch Star Wars) picked out a Star Wars story book for the girls at the library. It's one of those "5 minute stories" books for kids. They are great for bedtime story reading. This one in particular has 15-20 stories giving you 2-3 stories per Star Wars movie. 

I only had to read a few of them before they were asking tons of questions about each of the characters and what will happen to them next. When I mentioned that I had all the movies (the original 6 anyway) down in the basement, they just about jumped off the couch. They were begging to watch them right that minute. 

I wasn't really sure if they were ready for them yet or least until I remembered that Star Wars was the first movie I saw in the theater around the age of five. Since my daughters are now five and seven, we're right on track. If nothing else, it would be a nice break from watching Barbie and My Little Ponies. To be honest, I kinda figured they'd be sick of the "grown-up movies" after about ten minutes, but it never happened.

Fast forward a week (and past the poor parenting decisions on my part) and they are starting their fifth movie today. My original plan was to let them watch them in chronological order until I realized I didn't have Episode 1 on DVD. After I finished crying about this dramatic realization and got past the shame of being a Star Wars fan who was somehow missing one of the DVD's from my collection, I came up with a new plan.

I decided they would watch the movies in the same order their old man saw them. We cruised right through Episodes 4 through 6. Fortunately, a friend from work was kind enough to loan me his copy of Episode 1, so there was no delay in our movie marathon week. Having just finished Episode 1 and seeing "Darth Vader" when he was a nice young boy really helped them to understand that Darth Vader isn't all bad.

My initial concern that some of it would be too scary for them was quickly put to rest when I realized how logically they thought about everything. Darth Vader, for example, didn't really scare them. They kept recalling how I had apparently told them at some point that he started out a good guy and "turned back into" a good guy by the end. That had them looking past all the evil in him and making comments about how "he's only bad for a while" and that he "starts and ends as a good guy." 

I think we're going to slow down on the tv time that got a little out of hand this week and take our time watching episodes 2 and 3....but I don't want to completely lose momentum and possibly have them lose interest in Star Wars (as if that's even possible). It would be nice not to finish them this weekend though. That would just mean the month long wait until Episode 7 comes out on DVD would seem like an eternity.

I am slightly ashamed to admit that I still haven't seen the latest Star Wars movie. Thinking about it now though, I'm glad I didn't rush out to see it in the theater by myself right away. I will now have the opportunity to watch it with my girls and it will be new to all of us. 

Gotta run for now. My youngest and I are supposed to be having a movie night together right now while my wife and other daughter are at a school play. Amazingly enough, with a Barbie movie playing, my daughter hasn't even realized that I've been typing away on the computer. Plus I had the advantage of not having to actually watch yet another Barbie movie. Until next time....

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Bird Flu

I have the pleasure of working my way through Influenza A right now. Also known as Avian Influenza or the "Bird Flu." ("A" does not stand for Avian I learned.) It's kind of a crazy name for something I could actually catch myself. You can Google it yourself, but I'll give you a heads up and let you know there's a lot of wackos out there who think it's named this because it has some origin with birds....particularly waterfowl. I can set you straight though.

In reality, it's called the bird flu because it's just like some bird flew in under the radar and started pecking at your eyeballs creating a massive headache. The bird then continues to tear at every fiber of your body until you feel like your flesh is being torn apart piece by piece. Don't worry though, because the 103 degree fever quickly sets in and scares the bird away. Then you're just achy, miserable (and of course - still contagious) for anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

There is one thing I enjoyed about having the flu. Somewhere around the time my raging fever was making my eyeballs feel like hard boiled eggs about to explode, I experienced a great moment of clarity. It's at this moment that I discovered something amazing: I had complete, 100%, no questions asked clarity into why my daughters each related to specific My Little Ponies.

For those of you not "in the know." I'll give you a brief background. My Little Ponies is a cartoon that can be played nonstop via Netflix at any hour of the day without any concern for how many times you have seen the exact same episode. Even with the "newer" added episodes/series where the ponies turn into humans and go to high school together, you still only have so many episodes to choose from. Needless to say, spending Saturday through Tuesday home sick with one or more of my daughters at my side, I got to see just about every episode.

I haven't yet decided if all the pain of the last four days is worth it now that I know which ponies my daughters are most similar to. I shouldn't complain too much though, I was fortunate to have the flu related pains to help mask some of the My Little Ponies marathon pain.

I will however always cherish the flu of 2016 as the time I learned my daughter Ziva is the spitting image of Rainbow Dash. An attention seeking, have to be first at everything, stampede through the room Tomboy who likes to learn things the hard way, but is always eager to help a friend. I also learned that my other daughter Siri matches up nicely to Pinky Pie. The looks all cute, quiet and shy girl in pink that knocks your heart through your throat when she blurts out an off-the-wall comment at the spur of the moment....and at the top of her lungs.

I suppose I should have used my flu-induced, near coma extreme moment of clarity to try and cure some disease or solve a serious social issue, but I didn't. Baby steps. You have to take the really important things in life in baby steps. Besides, knowing me, I will probably get a severe case of Pneumonia or Bronchitis before Spring is over. There's always a chance for clarity there as well. Until next time....