A Good Chuckle

A Good Chuckle

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rights and Rights and Writes

My oldest child started kindergarten at the beginning of this school semester and the curriculum is surprising! After receiving her numerous, gigantic workbooks and textbooks, I thought back to when I was in kindergarten and what I learned back then. I am absolutely positive that nothing I was taught in kindergarten involved the difference between rights and responsibilities. Yet this is exactly what my daughter is learning in Social Studies.

"Rights are things that you are allowed to do by law. Like," I try to search for some examples, "breathing clean air. You have a right to breathe. You also have a right to drink clean water. And to speak your mind."

"What does it mean to speak my mind?" she asks me. Good, she is actually listening to me.

"Speaking your mind is when you say how you are feeling. You know when you come up to me and tell me that you want chocolate, for example. You have a right to do that, right?"

"I have a right?" she asks.

"Right," I reply hastily, realizing immediately afterward that this choice of words could probably set me back 10 minutes or so.


"I mean, correct. Yes, honey, you have rights."

"I have rights? Ooooh cool!" Laughing, she calls out to her brother across the room, "I have rights!" He was working on a puzzle and couldn't be bothered about the benefits of citizenship his sister was discovering.

She gets it, good to go, right? Right?

"Okay, so," I was hunting for verification that she understood, "can you explain to me what a right is?"

She looked at me with her head sort of tilted and she had her face squinted up so as to suggest she were really thinking hard about it. After a second, which at the time I just figured was for dramatic effect, she pointed her left hand to her right arm and lifted her right arm, suggesting this was the answer to my question.

I didn't immediately understand. She was pointing at her arm and looking at me expectantly. "What are you doing?" I asked her. I was not comprehending.

"Right, right!" She exclaimed and pointed to her right arm more excitedly than before. "This is my right!"

"Yes honey, that is your right arm. But that isn't the kind of rights that I am talking about. Remember what we just went over? You have a right to speak your mind, breathe clean air, right?"

"Right!" she said again, she was still raising and pointing to her right arm. "Right! My rights!"

I began to feel deeply troubled that either my daughter had evolved into an expert troll overnight or I wasn't getting through to her. "No, Honey. Not that right. That's your right arm."

"Yeah Dad, my right!"

"I know Honey, that is right. That's your right, but it isn't the right that we are talking about right now. Like the right to eat chocolate, right?"

"Oh." She says, simply, and puts her arm back down to her side. "I have a right to eat chocolate?"

"Maybe after dinner. Look. Focus. Can you explain to me what rights are so that we can move forward with today's lesson?" I asked, the gentleness in my voice began to give way to frustration a little bit.

She thought for a moment again, exactly the same as before, and then used her right arm to mime out the motion of writing words on the paper in front of her, excitedly making noises expecting confirmation that this was, indeed, the answer to my question, "Hmm? Hmm? Hmm?"

I sighed audibly, "That is write like write a word. Not right like a right to eat chocolate. Think about what we are working on right now, alright?"

"Right!" she laughs.

"Ugh..." I growled miserably. I called out to my girlfriend, who came running into the room. "Can you help me teach her this one?"

"Right now?" she asks, unaware of the semantic dilemma I have been sorting out.

"Right!" My daughter continues to laugh.

"We're talking about rights and responsibilities. She gets the responsibilities, but we are stuck on rights right now."

"Rights!" My daughter says again.

My girlfriend looked at me like I was nuts, "She already knows this one. You're on last week's lesson."

Expert troll it is.

In The Woods Entertainment
Got Fiction? Got Funny? Got Blog? Send all submissions to ManagerInTheWoods@gmail.com for publishing consideration.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Night On The Boardwalk - A Week At The Beach Series

A trip to the beach is never complete without a night on the boardwalk. In our family, it is just about every night that we are on vacation. A long day on vacation typically involves roasting in the sun on the beach and in the water, then a disorganized retreat back to the house for a shower and dinner before we head out to the boardwalk.

Walking along the boards after sunset is a unique experience, even as compared to the very same boardwalk during the day. Though you can't see them, you can hear the ocean heave its waves onto the shore not far off in the night. The smell of salt water surfs the cool ocean breeze to your nostrils. Store fronts are all lit up and many different types of music can be heard as you pass by one store to the next. There is a lot of sensory stimulation for the kids - a wonderland of lights, music, and excitement.

As a parent, some of the pleasure in a night on the boardwalk is derived from the humorous observations one can make - the kind of humor that is totally lost on the kids. Seeing other parents with misery written all over their entire demeanor dragging screaming children away from an arcade. Or catching a glimpse of the exasperated adults who are trying desperately to negotiate the five dollar ice cream cones into their children's mouths and failing horribly, ice cream decorating unexpecting attire. And these are just the normal observations. If you are especially vigilant you can find some really absurd shit to laugh at.

So we're on the boardwalk, my girlfriend and I and all three of our kids (my youngest tucked into a stroller). "Hey, lets get some fries," I suggest. A day in the water always sets me up for a seek-and-destroy-the-junk-food appetite in the evening.

My kids get all giddy and start hopping up and down, "Oooh! French fries! French fries!"

We veer out of the naturally formed lane of pedestrian/stroller traffic and situate into the unnaturally long line for french fries. I squint my eyes, working them to the absolute brink of their functionality to see the menu from our position in line, approximately eight clicks off from the service counter. "Can you see the prices for anything?"

My girlfriend gets out her binoculars, "Not really. But they have crab fries!"

"Oh, nice!"

My daughter starts up immediately. "Ahhh! Crabs!" She sticks her arms up and clicks her fingers together as some mock pinchers with a pained look of unreasonable fear on her face. Not a day has gone by on this vacation without someone saying the word "crab" and my daughter losing her shit over it entirely.

A few days later we get to the service counter to place our order. "Hello, we'll take one bucket of french fries and two buckets of crab fries please."

The Eastern European teenager behind the counter smiles and nods at me, "Is that all?"

I affirm that it is and he sets out on his way to get my buckets of overpriced potatoes. Taking a deep breath, I smile at my kids who are standing in line patiently waiting for their fries.

As a parent of three, anytime I have all of my kids out in public I feel a heightened sense of awareness. If you have kids, then you know what I mean. You see everything all at once, everywhere. The years of telling your children that you have eyes in the back of your head actually becomes reality at some point and it is no more apparent to you than when you have your whole family out in a crowded public area. Sometimes I can see things BEFORE they happen.

And then there are some things that you could never have seen coming if you had all of your life to think on it.

A shriek of terror immediately attracts the attention of my entire clan as we grow old in line. A woman of girth whose existence looks to have originated before the second world war miscalculates a step and begins a slow, painful fall to the wooden planks we are all standing on. The sun rose and set again by the time she reached the end of her fall and we all stood there, slack-jawed, in complete shock and yet still suspicious of what just transpired. I was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to appear from behind a trash can laughing at us.

When she eventually hit the ground, two things happened simultaneously: she dropped a bag that spilled fancy looking sea shells out on the boardwalk in front of my family and I and she unleashed flatulence at such a degree as may never have been executed before. If I could extract the memory of this sound from my mind, I would loop it on repeat every Halloween - a sound that seemed to have been the spawn of such auditory delicacies as when you try to extract your foot from mud and a zipper.

After testing the boardwalk to ensure structural integrity, I cautiously walked over to help her up and make sure she is okay. A couple of other people did as well (after recovering from the immediate shock of the travesty we all just were witnesses to). My kids see that I am helping this lady to her feet and they want to help her as well, so they start picking up all of her sea shells and putting them back in the bag from which they spilled.

My daughter is holding onto a sea shell she finds particularly beautiful. "Daddy, look at this shell! Isn't it pretty?"

The victim (or aggressor?) of the catastrophic fall/fart combination looks over at my daughter and says, "That is called a 'Hermit Crab' dear."

And at that very moment, the crab came out of his shell, sticking his weird extremities out onto my daughter's hand.


We'll be taking those fries "to-go". 

In The Woods Entertainment
Got Fiction? Got Funny? Got Blog? Send all submissions to ManagerInTheWoods@gmail.com for publishing consideration.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sand Castle - A Week At The Beach Series

"Whoa, awesome sand castle Dad!" Said none of my kids ever. My knowledge and skill with building sand castles begins and ends with the ingredients - sand, water, a shovel, and buckets. I am Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor in the sand castle world. 

There are some people who show up at the beach with a backpack of sand castle crafting goodies and deliver awe-inspiring results - castles as great as any of the mightiest kingdoms throughout history. I, on the other hand, show up with dollar store buckets, two plastic shovels, a buzz and a dream. 

"Why do we even need a moat Daddy? I think that may be a little much," my oldest daughter says to me as she finishes up what will soon be the northeast corner of the castle. Building a sand castle is always her idea. If it were up to my son, the activity would resemble what he is presently doing - running towards the ocean, calling it names ("The Ocean's a Dopey! The Ocean's a Dopey!"), and running away from the waves as they attempt to restore honor to the ocean whose great name was just sullied on it's very own shore!

"Well Sweety, we have to defend ourselves from the barbarians somehow," I reply, "and I am not sure if we can make any catapults with the resources we have available to us right now!" 

"Will the moat protect us from crabs?" Her concern, though based on a ludicrous fear of crabs, is much more realistic than my concept of defending against barbarians. Or is it?

"It sure will. Unless they are barbarian crabs," I reply and we both laugh.

Taking a look at our work, I am impressed! Now that my daughter is 5 years old, she has turned my years of disaster into a how-to-not-do-it and overcome the genetic disposition to fail at sand castles. What she has expertly crafted is no less than one of the brilliant creations I spoke of earlier. A castle fit for a princess with a moat to protect her city.

"Can we raise an army Daddy? With knights and wizards? And I can be the princess!" Joy escapes her through giggles and a smile brighter than the sun we are baking in.

Unable to restrain my laughter, I am filled with that special pride you get as a parent when you see something in your child that you know, without a doubt, is your own fault (sorry I am such a dork Honey). I continue, "We sure can! Can you find anybody you would want to be in your army? Maybe some of your cousins?"

She begins to survey the beach. All sorts of body sizes, shapes, and colors are performing various beach activities all around us and I am very curious how she will choose her conscriptions. 

This momentary pause in conversation is interupted by the utmost pandemonium; my son the barbarian charges the castle, sunlight as war paint on his face, and he kicks right through it, screaming.

Caught totally off guard by the attack I had no time to protect my eyes and thus ended up temporarily blinded by castle debris. I reach out for where a towel should be and find one, wipe my face off and squint through the pain. My daughter, much to my astonishment, is NOT crying. She is, however, glaring at me unsympathetic to my plight.

"Your moat didn't work Daddy."

I guess next year we'll build a catapult. 

In The Woods Entertainment
Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods

Got Fiction? Got Funny? Got Blog? Send all submissions to ManagerInTheWoods@gmail.com for publishing consideration.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Watching Jaws - A Week At The Beach Series

"No! I'm not tired! I don't want to go to bed!"

Anybody with kids is familiar with this obstacle. After a long day in the sun on the beach, playing in the water and building sand castles (or trying to if you can call it that), and then a long night walking the boardwalk, eating ice cream, and watching the bizarre nonsense that happens at night on the board walk - musicians, dancers, and pirates blowing bubbles (yes, really) we get back to the house and the kids are exhausted.

They don't want to go to bed of course because they don't believe that they're tired! They think bedtime is some sort of tyrannical plan to put a cap on the fun they can have in a day and they are determined to maximize their fun always. 

"You're not tired buddy?" I ask my son. He's laying on the couch next to me, snuggled up with his blanket and sucking his thumb, his eyes staying shut a little longer than normal with every blink. 

Then his big sister weighs in on the situation. "I'm a little tired but I'm not ready for bedtime yet."

Just then the movie Jaws returns from commercial break. "Okay, you guys want to watch a scary movie with me?" 

My son sits up and is immediately interested, "Oooh, oooh, scary movie, scary movie!" He is a Goosebumps enthusiast.

"Well, what is it about?" My daughter is always careful to make sure that she is getting the absolute best deal available to her - and she doesn't like scary movies. She doesn't want to go to bed, so now she needs more details to weigh her options and make her decision. 

I explain the premise ("These men try to stop this shark from eating everybody") and my daughter agrees to hang out and watch - she isn't afraid of sharks (it's not like they have claws), she is afraid of crabs (because of their claws). The movie is most of the way through already and the three men are on the boat, shooting whatever that thing was that they shot to attach the barrels to Jaws. 

"Are those men pirates, Daddy?" My son asks.

"No!" my daughter responds quickly, "They can't be pirates because they don't have a pirate flag on that boat."

And then - Jaws wrecks the boat! The captain slides down the sinking ship right into the mouth of Jaws! At first it looks to me like Jaws has the man by his leg and having not seen this movie for quite some time I forgot whether or not Jaws eats this man.

This immediate action breaks up the suspense and my daughter is startled, "Ahhh! Is that man dead?" She covers her eyes. 

"I don't think he's dead Honey, it looks like the shark is just eating his leg for now." Just as I say that, a better camera angle shows that Jaws has this man by the waist, not the leg like I had thought. "Oh never mind Honey, yes, it's all over for that man."

The movie plays out to the end and I ask my kids whether or not they liked it (and whether or not they understood how sharks could be scary even without claws).

My son leads out, "I liked it except for when the shark ate that man who was almost a pirate."

My daughter agrees with him and adds, "I'm glad there weren't any crabs in it though," she says as she imitates a crab pinching the air.

Jaws 2 starts up on the screen. "Okay guys, time to brush your teeth and get ready for bed. You don't want to watch too many scary stories about sharks if you are going to the beach tomorrow!"

"It's just a story Daddy," my son reminds me.

Their immediate protest of bedtime coupled with the fact that they are on vacation too forces me to the bargaining table. "You guys go brush your teeth and get your jammies on, and then we'll see where we go from there."

So they oblige, we get them ready for bed and return to the living room where Jaws 2 has continued playing undisturbed. It is at the scene with two women on the water, one is driving a boat and the other is water-skiing behind said boat. All of a sudden the woman water-skiing disappears.

"Okay guys, you can hang out and watch the shark eat one more person, but then it is bed time, deal?" This deal works in my favor because they didn't notice the water-skiing woman getting pulled under the water like I did and I am expecting Jaws to make quick work of her so I can ship the youngsters to bed.

"Okay!" They both shout merrily, happy to be given another reprieve from bedtime. They scurry over to the couch where they were sitting for the first movie. But no trace of the water-skier. 

Jaws attacks the boat (surprise, surprise)! He sticks his snout out of the water trying to get his chomp on and the woman in the boat dumps what appears to be gasoline all over him and then BOOM! The whole thing explodes! The shark's face is on fire and the boat with the woman in it (complete with said woman) is charred up and destroyed.

"Okay guys, that's a wrap. Bed time," and I get up to lead them to their rooms. I was banking on the water-skier but settling for the driver.

My daughter speaks up quickly. "No Daddy, you said we can watch the shark eat one more person. He didn't eat that woman, she blowed up."

She got me on a technicality. So I sat back down. They both fell asleep on the couch shortly after.

Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Plant Fingers

Another beautiful day in the mountains of Pennsylvania so naturally I have my oldest two kids outside playing, my oldest daughter and my son. They are running through the wooded parts of the yard going on an imaginary adventure and looking for "roley-poley" bugs underneath rocks. They point all of their findings out to me - ant colonies under the rocks, butterflies fluttering around, caterpillars eating leaves.

All of a sudden my daughter comes completely unglued. She yells, huffs and puffs, and then runs straight over to where I am sitting on the front deck. "Daddy, daddy, some buggy was bothering me when I was picking these flowers!" She cries and she tosses a handful of ferns on the deck beside me. My two oldest always liked to pick plants and flowers.

"What kind of bug? Where is it?" I ask her.

She calms down immediately, takes a look back at the place in the woods she was just picking ferns at and shakes her head, as though she caught a chill and was shaking it out. "Actually Dad, I don't think it was a buggy now, I think it was the plants brushing against me."

"You're probably right, Sweety. But let me check anyway." I check her out, no bugs on her anywhere. I tell her so and she smiles. "You know Honey, plants are alive just like you and me."

"Plants are alive? For real?" She asks in amazement at this new concept.

"Yes, for real Sweety."

"Can they be my friends?" she asks me.

"They sure can! They might be boring friends, but they'll always be down to hang out with you," I tell her with a smile. My inner hippy is so proud of her for wanting to befriend the plants.

She smiles wide and giggles, then scoots back out into the woods to continue playing. A little time passes by, maybe a half an hour or so and the kids are still exploring the woods in front of our house. They walk across a "secret passage" and into a clearing dead center in front of my line of vision before they split ways and my son ducks back into the woods.

My daughter stays in the clearing in front of me, examining a particular plant she found interesting, a short but wide bush that is presently no taller than the waist of a normal sized adult. She reaches out and touches a leaf on the plant, and gently strokes it as though it were a pet cat. All of a sudden she plucks a leaf from the branch it was on!

As she plucks the leaf I squeal out, "Ouch!" in a cartoon sort of voice.

My daughter stands straight up and yells once, so loud that I consider calling the police on myself! Then she looks at the plant and yells, then the leaf and yells, and back to the plant again, panic really setting in, and then she looks at me and goes completely insane. She runs at me as fast as she possible can, which is not that fast at all (my daughter sort of flutters when she runs) "Waaaaaaah!" Inconsolable, she reaches me and jumps into my outstretched arms.

"Honey, Honey, calm down! It's okay!" I say to her.

"That plant said 'Ouch!' That plant said 'Ouch!'  IT'S ALIVE! WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

"That was me Sweety, the plant doesn't talk. I'm the one who said 'Ouch', relax."

Her face contorts in the most accusing look she can give me while still maintaining a tear flow consistent with the great waterfalls of our world. "Why would you do that?!"

At this I couldn't help but laugh. She looked so offended and upset - a consequence I had not considered when I pulled my little prank. "You plucked one of that plant's leaves. What if one of your friends came up to you and pulled one of your fingers off? Wouldn't it hurt?"

My point set in and she slowly came to a calmer state, her choppy and upset breathing winding down back to normal. She was really pondering this concept that I posed to her. "So leaves are fingers on plants?"

Unsure of the science behind the whole thing at this point, I reply slowly, "Kind of."

She screams right in my face. Like, I can smell her breath as she wails directly into my gaze, that is how close she is to me. This outburst caught me off guard and I shook, startled.

"Whoa whoa, what is wrong Honey?!"


Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods 

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dealing With Spiders

My oldest daughter (5) and my son (4) are each in their respective bedrooms having some solo time before dinner. Late in the day, solo time is a great way to break up kids who are otherwise getting pretty cranky and agitating or fighting with each other and give them some alone time to relax. I'm making dinner in the kitchen. Not unusual for summers living in the woods, the occasional spider makes his way onto the scene.

"Dad! Dad! There's a spider in my room!" My daughter hollers across the house. I put down what I am doing and make my way to her bedroom. Upon my arrival, I see my daughter standing on her bed pointing at this borderline microscopic spider scooting across her floor. This spider is so small, if I took a picture of him he would probably only total like 3 pixels. I literally thought it was just a piece of dust on the floor at first.

"Seriously honey?" I ask. A bit vexed to be drawn away from cooking dinner for such a tiny spider. "What is that tiny little spider going to do to you?"

She opens her arms up wide, "He could build a big spider web! AHHH!" The image of a giant spiderweb entangling her must have followed her words closely because she let out another series of yells complete with an erratic jumping episode, all the while pointing at the spider as it tries desperately to get out of the room. But the spider is so small, it is not covering very much ground. 

"Okay, okay, calm down!" I grab the closest piece of paper, scoop up the spider and remove him from the room. 

Back out through the kitchen and over to the front door where I release this little spider into the wild (however wild my front deck is anyway). Wash my hands and back into cooking dinner.

Not even 5 minutes pass by when I hear my son start up, "Dad! Dad! There's a spider!"  

I literally sigh aloud and start back down the hallway, this time toward my son's room. This is something that comes up from time to time - my son hears his sister doing something and then he has to get in on the act. I get to his room and he is sitting on the floor playing with his cars, totally undisturbed. 

"Alright buddy, where is this spider?" I ask him.  

He stops what he is doing, looks up at me and smiles. Then he shows me the tire of one of his bigger trucks. On the tire is the remains of the trespasser - a spider that was big enough to go toe-to-toe with me in a bare knuckle boxing match. I muttered a few obscenity-laced half-prayers. My son says, "He's dead, I runned him over."  

I am waiting to hear from this spider's attorney.

Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods 

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Bowser And The Raccoons

When my girlfriend and I had our first child, we bought a house near the state forest and game lands and moved in with our small family and two cats. We had been living in the mountains for a while already and so didn't think too much about leaving the cat food dishes on the back porch at the end of the day when we brought the cats inside for the night. Upon awakening in the morning, I discovered daily that there was no more cat food left. Not surprising considering where we are, but I never expected what I saw late one night.

About 10:30 pm, my girlfriend and I were hanging out in the living room watching some Netflix when I heard a ruckus on the deck. Something sounding like a slam and then a loud "MEOW!" of fury. I jolted up and ran to the sliding glass door that opens to my back porch to investigate. Bowser, one of my cats (and arguably one of the most bad ass cats to have ever lived), was face to face with a raccoon!

Bowser growled ferociously at the raccoon who hesitated his advance toward the cat food. Then, out of nowhere, another raccoon appeared on the deck from out of the shadows. Dastardly fucks! I unlocked the door and pulled it open quickly. Not entirely sure about what to do, I figured making a loud noise would be sufficient enough and so I let out a loud "Hyaaaaaa ya son of a bitch!" in a fashion very much similar to how my Grandpa used to holler at my dogs and cats growing up and I stomped my foot down really hard.

Not sure if the raccoons understood what I said or not, but they got the hell out of there lickity-split. Bowser looked up at me with this face like he was thinking, "You know you sound dumb as shit, right?" So I scooped Bowser up and brought him inside against his will. During the summertime Bowser would hang out on the back porch all night, enjoying the weather and probably whooping ass on mice and other trespassing critters.

A bit on Bowser. He was an older cat, about 16 when this happened. I adopted him from my grandparents who adopted him from my Aunt, who adopted him as a kitten way back in like 1993. Yeah, how old do you feel now? I said "way back in 1993." Anyway, my Aunt who adopted him originally had him de-clawed, so he didn't have any front claws. But that didn't stop him from being a cat boxing champion. I've seen Bowser slap the shit out of dogs who got too up in his business. So, now you know that.

Anyway, later that night, me and my girlfriend were still watching Netflix (oh the glamour of a life beyond bed time) when we heard Bowser growling by the sliding glass door, looking out onto the deck. I walked over to the door and moved the curtain aside to see a squad of up-to-no-good fucking raccoons on my back porch eating cat food out of Bowser's dish. And Bowser sees them too, he knew they were coming back. He was waiting for them.

"HYAAAH! HYAAAH! Ya slippery fucks, get off of my porch!" I yelled, and knocked on the door a few times good and loud.

And the raccoons didn't budge. Bowser looked up at me again judging me hard, shook his head, and sighed.

So I picked Bowser up and brought him over to my girlfriend, who held him on the couch. Then I went back to the door, pulled it open and yelled once more at those thieving shits. Two of the raccoons dove off of the porch and into the immediate shadows of the woods beyond, and yet one stayed behind glaring at me. I stomped on the porch a few times, picked my hands up and started waving them wildly around, yelling again "Get the hell outta here ass hole!"

This last raccoon still didn't leave. He stood there looking at me, and in reply to my wilder gestures, he straightened himself all the way up, to show me how tall he was I guess. In the animal kingdom he was saying "Come at me bro."

"Okay, it's like that then?"  At this point, I was pissed. I went back inside to find my air rifle. If this raccoon wanted to be a douche, I could be a bigger douche, guaranteed. As I opened the sliding glass door to retreat into the house and fetch my BB gun, Bowser escaped! He booked it across the deck and lunged at the remaining raccoon, who was still doing his best tough guy impression.

Bowser slap boxed the piss out of that raccoon. He hit him about six times in rapid succession. Right, left, left, right, left, hay maker. I'm standing there like a fucking idiot watching this and all I can think is "Down goes Frazier!" The raccoon could only take so much abuse before he dodged back into the darkness after his friends. Bowser stared after the raccoon for a few moments in the quiet night air on the back porch. Then he looked back at me with all the feline arrogance of a cat who just handled a human's problem for him. He walked over to his food, sniffed it, and laid down next to it purring.

Never saw a raccoon on my deck ever again. 

Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods 

Got Fiction? Got Funny? Got Blog? Send all submissions to ManagerInTheWoods@gmail.com for publishing consideration.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Words That Rhyme

One of the many things a parent is responsible for is the education of his/her children. This is challenging sometimes if you are trying to teach something that your kids have no interest in learning at the moment. The key is to find what they want to learn and teach them about that. It opens the door to learning other stuff. And then there are times like this... 

My oldest daughter is interested in just about everything from baking cookies to star systems in space. She will ask me a question and then, upon getting my reply, if she deems it cool enough to hear more about, she will literally say to me "Dad, tell me everything you know about [insert cool shit she wants to learn here]."

Her younger brother is not interested in many things outside of cars, puzzles, and memory games. When we were trying to teach him to count, he didn't care one bit. Considering that his favorite color is blue, and he loves to play with his little cars, we began to teach him to count by counting blue cars (Dishwalla?). But it is tough to spark his interest in things he doesn't care about - like most little kids, he just cares about having fun.

Anyway, fast forward to words that rhyme. My girlfriend was teaching our kids about words that rhyme, using some fun examples. "A goose and a moose on the loose! Goose, moose, loose. Lets make a cake by the lake! Make, cake, lake."

Getting ready to leave for work - basically running around the house looking for all the shit I need to take with me because I am the living embodiment of disorganization. I would lose my head if it weren't attached and you would find me playing some interesting "Marco-Polo" to get it back. Since it is attached, I can hear all the learning taking place in the living room as I frantically scour the nonsense littered across my night stand for my work ID.

From the other room I can hear my kids taking turns rhyming words. "Door, more, ploor!" And "Sink, think, Stink!" They are laughing it up, having a great time. And rightfully so - their mother is excellent at making things fun for them and my kids are all about having fun.

When I am getting prepared for work, running a little behind schedule, and still cannot find all the things I need, I get a little agitated.

"Soup, poop, goop!"

I enter the living room, "Hey, have you seen my work ID?"

"ID, mighty, bitey!" Kids learning to rhyme will rhyme sounds without regard to the actual language - kind of like Lil Wayne. 

Frustrated and with no help from the peanut gallery I run back to my bed room to double and triple check the places my ID should be but alas it is still not there. I holler out, "Where did you put it when you washed my pants, honey?"

"Honey, funny, wunny!"

You know that feeling you get when you are agitated and you can almost feel your blood boiling? Nobody is doing anything to me, but I can't help feeling this frustration. I can't find my ID and every time I ask for help my kids are rhyming words at me like some terrible Mother-Goose-rap-along from hell. Where the hell is my stuff? I want to yell, but I don't. When you are a parent, you slowly but surely master the art of the maniacal forced-smile instead of yelling obscenities in the presence of children.

"I still can't find my ID, I am gonna be late!" I call out in desperation. And in reply I hear my girlfriend getting on the case.

The kids don't miss a beat, "late, great, jate!"

My girlfriend, being the pinnacle of order and organization quickly finds my ID, effortlessly, as though she knew where it was the whole time. She tells me so and I hurriedly scurry out of whatever crevice I am searching and obtain it from her. Victory!

"Thanks Honey!"

"Honey, funny, lunny!" The kid chorus goes followed by a right fit of hysteria.

Calmer now that my head is firmly reattached to my neck, I acknowledge my kids' learning. "You guys are doing well with rhyming! Good job!"

"Job, blob, tob!"

I get to the door, look over my shoulders and say, "Can you guys think of words that rhyme with BUCKET?"

Dumbstruck, both kids cock their heads sideways, like confused puppies trying to piece together this new challenge.

Close the door and off to work I go! I am sure I'll hear about this later!

Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods 

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Dookie Deception

When you are a parent, you see a lot of poop. Straight up, no way to tip-toe around this fact of life. Furthermore, there is not a single parent in the history of parenting that will tell you that they enjoyed teaching their kids how to wipe their own asses. The reason I say this with absolute certainty is because I know how one teaches kids to wipe their own asses. It involves wiping their asses for them. And who wants to do that? Exactly; nobody.  

Now, I'm not sure how things work in typical households, but in my house when one of the kids needs help wiping they will procure this help through one of two ways; one is a screaming declaration about what just transpired ("Dad, I pooped!") leaving us parents with the assumption of what is needed from us and the other is a knock on the wall - a technique that was developed by my wife and I to send signals to each other throughout the house without yelling for each other, which was subsequently hijacked by the kids for all things bathroom.  

I get to the toilet and see kid poop sunk in the bowl every single time I am summoned for dookie-duty. And of course it is there! You don't flush until after you wipe (aside from the "courtesy flush" - a totally separate topic)! 

So what happens when Mommy gets there to wipe?  I imagine she sees the poop as well! 

So one day, when the stars aligned just right, I stalked the bathroom, waiting for one of my kids to ship a dookie. Eventually, my son comes barreling across the house for a potty break. I wait for him to call in assistance after the fact, specifically aiming to volunteer my help before he calls out for it. Quickly. Quietly. Efficiently. He runs out of the bathroom to go play, but I remain. 

Then I take a nasty poop, just absolutely disgusting. You know when you can tell in your gut that it's going to be abominable? That is what I meant when I said earlier that the stars had aligned just right. I was ready to go. 

And then I knock on the wall and hide in the shower - a complete forgery. Seconds later, I hear Mommy making her way to the bathroom. If she was expecting kid poop sunk in the bowl she will be in for quite a surprise this time!

Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods 

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A Good Chuckle

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Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods 

Got Fiction? Got Funny? Got Blog? Send all submissions to ManagerInTheWoods@gmail.com for publishing consideration.