Thursday, April 16, 2009

I REMEMBER - Hampster in the Pants

…I thought I had experienced just about everything, but got to add a new one to my cadre of stories recently. After telling Sarah to be careful about playing with her miniature hamster outside the cage, because it might get loose in the house (unwanted advice administered many times), the inevitable happened. Lillian (the Dwarf Hamster) made The Big Escape in Sarah's bedroom. Her room is like every child's room--far too much stuff for a dwarf hamster to hide in, behind, under, etc.

We had Mom, Dad, Sarah and her friend Heather all scrambling around with baskets, cupped hands, buckets, etc., trying to dig her out from behind stuff and catch her. We moved the bed, stacked toys, etc.

The poor little hamster was totally freaked out, scurrying around, past all these yelling, jumping, grabbing people. Finally, the hamster ran right at me and past me into the corner. Sarah jumped behind me to grab Lillian, and that is when the hamster decided to run up and hide in my pant leg. I stood up and grabbed the cuffs of my pants tight around my ankles. We finally had her captured--INSIDE MY PANTS! Now what to do? While I duck-walked to the bathroom with my hands holding the cuffs tight to my ankles, Lillian decided to explore her new environment by going up and down my legs and back and forth in my crotch and across my bottom. Lise and the girls were laughing hysterically, as if that would somehow magically help the situation! I managed, amidst the laughter and rodent antics, to hobble into the bathroom and hop into the tub. I was able to stand up and "encourage" the hamster to leave my pants and run down into the tub.

I can now recommend a unique and surefire way to capture loose hamsters in the house.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I REMEMBER - Paint on Ian's Head

...the time I took my oldest son to Home Depot on a father-son bonding trip to pick up building supplies. He was about 5 years old and loved to ride in the cart full of supplies. We had loaded the card with bricks and paint. For the life of me I cannot remember what the heck I was trying to build with bricks and paint, but that is what was in the cart...with Ian sitting on top.

So, we come out of the store and the little kid [Ian] says to the big kid [me]...."push it fast down the ramp for a ride, Dad" Why not? What could possibly go wrong? Off we go cruising down the ramp into the parking lot at less than supersonic speed, but still a bit too fast for the circumstances (that is how the highway patrol guy always describes it).

We leave the ramp at breakneck speed and head uncontrollably (no, you can't steer a shopping cart when you both are riding it and hanging on for dear life) toward a big pothole in the lot. "Of course it is always big fun, until somebody gets hurt" in my Mom's most disapproving voice was ringing in my ears, as we approached the pothole. Of course I was 41 and a responsible adult(?), so we were safe.

Yes, we hit the pothole and in very slow (painful-to-watch and yes, the parking lot was full of people watching this insane action) motion, and we began to tip over. I jumped off and grabbed the side of the tipping cart. Usually, holding up a tipping cart was a relatively easy thing to correct, but today, I had decided to fill the cart with heavy bricks [and paint]. It tipped over and try as I might, I could not hold it up with one hand. It crashed over and Ian and the bricks fell into the parking lot...Ian was ok and the bricks were ok. But, in a parallel universe that magically merged with this one, the paint flipped up and over and hit the bricks in a way that didn't even dent the can, but popped the lid off and dumped the paint over Ian's head.

Ian started to cry and I tried to wipe the paint off of him as best I could with a little rain water in a puddle next to the cart. It was a losing battle, so we loaded up the car and headed home. On the way, I coached him very carefully on what to do when we arrived home. He was very brave and very calm. We would pull into the driveway and quietly go to the side yard, get the hose out and wash him off before we went into the house...and under no circumstances would we let his mom know until we had it fixed. We agreed. Agreements with a five year old often don't hold up so well. We parked the car and I headed into the side yard to turn the hose on. Ian, instead of following me [as we had agreed], instead ran screaming up the walk into the front door yelling "Mom, Mom.....Dad dumped paint on my head."

It was a long cold day after that. Much funnier now. Ian now has his own son, Zak and I can only wish him a similar experience...many of them...and would like to hear how his private agreements with my grandson go.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I REMEMBER- The Shoe in the Pasta

...when my sons (Ian, Nick, Dustin) and I were living in a small apartment in midtown Sacramento about 1995. The boys were 10, 8 and 6 years old. It was often like a small fraternity house with house rules that wouldn't work in any other circumstances. This one particular night, because of time constraints (baseball, karate or soccer, etc.), it was going to be a skillet hamburger-helper dinner with no plates. Everybody would gather around the skillet with a fork...kind of like camping out, but with indoor plumbing. There is no way you can put three pre-teen boys in a cramped little kitchen and expect them to hold still, with instructions to don't move, don't touch-tease-punch-kick, blah,blah,blah your brother(s). You can ask it. You can demand it. You can yell it. You are not going to get it. This is what you get instead: Dustin (8) decides to show off his best Ninja fighting style moves [this is the part where I need to share that, as the smaller, younger brother, you ALWAYS get to wear perfectly reusable hand-me-down clothes from your older, bigger brothers].

So, the one-skillet hamburger-helper dish is almost done. The four of us are gathered around the stove, forks in hand. Although somewhat hoarse from yelling to "stop fooling around", I managed to squeak out one last warning, when Dustin gave one final high kick and the almost-the-right-size hand-me-down tennis shoe flew off and in as much real-time slow motion as real life can get, arched its way slowly to the ceiling and yes, came crashing down right smack in the middle of our one-skillet hamburger-helper dinner. Sauce flew in all directions, mostly on me, but a good helping on the stove, the walls, the floors, etc.

Time froze, the boys froze and slowly turned to see if my head would actually spin completely around before I turned into an alien from Hell, punishing all living things in my path. Actually, there is a high spot on the pain threshold that is somewhat pain-free, humorous and surreal.

This was one of those moments. Like I was in a dream-state, I slowly removed the sauce covered tennis shoe, dropped it into the sink and announced "Let's eat." The four of us consumed that dinner in complete silence in about two minutes.

No one complained. No one spoke. No one laughed....until almost the end and the " I guess Dad is not going to kill us after all" relief kicked in and as they stared at my sauce covered face...everybody started to laugh. We must have laughed for at least 10 minutes.

Classic of my favorite stories...perfect for most parents and really perfect for single parents.