Years of blood, sweat, and tears (mostly tears) went into the creation of my debut novel “Kilroy Was Here”… which is finally here!
I know a lot of you are curious about the title to my upcoming book, Kilroy Was Here, but have been too shy to ask about it. We’ve all heard “there’s no such thing as a dumb question” and we all know that’s a bald-faced lie. There are sooooo many dumb questions. The world is filled with dumb questions. Now more than ever. But, this isn’t one of them. So who is this Kilroy? Is he (is it a he?) the protagonist of the book? Why was he here? Where is here? Where did he go? Where are any of us going? What is the meaning of life? Relax. I will answer most of these questions, if not all of them, in the following sections. (The answer to the last one, of course, is the number 42.)
To clarify, Kilroy is not a character in my novel.
So who is Kilroy?
Well, there is still much speculation about this, so it’s more important to understand the what, instead of the who. The phrase “Kilroy Was Here” has its origins during the height of World War II and is usually accompanied by a crude drawing of a bald head and large nose peeking over a wall. The image and phrase became a popular graffiti tag left on the battlefields of Europe, Asia, and Africa by American soldiers, thus proving that even then most soldiers were, as they still are, delinquent vandals at heart. Though Kilroy has many variations, he’s typically depicted like the image below:
So Where Did “Kilroy Was Here” Originate?
This is where the who comes in. The most prominent origin theory for “Kilroy Was Here” starts with a Rivet Inspector named James J. Kilroy in a shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts. During World War II, the United States was manufacturing naval vessels for the war at an extraordinary rate and Rivet Inspectors like James J. Kilroy were paid by the number of rivets they inspected each day in these ships. To keep track of where he’d left off or to keep shifty coworkers from erasing or moving his marks, Kilroy began to leave the message “Kilroy Was Here” wherever he stopped for the day. Oftentimes, the ships were pushed into service so fast these marks were never erased or painted over and the message “Kilroy Was Here” could be seen in random—often obscure—places inside the ships. Many of these ships were troop transport carriers, delivering soldiers to battlefields in every theater of the war. The soldier’s, seeing the marks and the messages, began leaving Kilroy everywhere as they fought their way across war-torn continents. Kilroy quickly became a legend, as soldiers sought to outdo each other by finding increasingly difficult-to-reach places to leave him. Many soldiers marveled at how often Kilroy seemed to appear on the battlefield before anyone else. It was, essentially, the original viral social media post.
Why The Heck Is Your Book About Afghanistan Named After WWII Graffiti?
Good question. Kilroy traveled with U.S. soldiers into the Korean War and even made a few appearances in Vietnam. Most recently he has popped his bald head up in Iraq and Afghanistan, though that’s not the reason for the title. My book has less to do with the war itself and more to do with the people who live it. The individual soldiers who slog out the day-to-day, no matter how ridiculous it might sometimes seem, and how each soldier, in some way, hopes to leave a mark on the war. Kilroy Was Here is a story of both hubris and humility as well as how our treatment of others can shape our world more than bombs and bullets ever could; though sometimes we can’t always see it in the moment.
Fun Fact #1: There is rumored to be a Kilroy sketched into the dust on the surface of the moon… from the astronauts… not from aliens or anything.
Fun Fact #2: The character “Wilson” on the hit 90’s TV show, “Home Improvement”, was originally to be called “Kilroy” as his hands and the top half of his face were all that were ever seen over the fence. ***THIS HAS BEEN FLAGGED AS FAKE NEWS***
For more popular theories about the origin of “Kilroy Was Here”, check out www.kilroywashere.org
Kilroy is coming! As many of you may know, my first novel, Kilroy Was Here, will be published soon. The novel is satire and obviously fictional, but based loosely on some of the insane happenings of my 2009 deployment in eastern Afghanistan. This is not your typical hero journey or shoot ‘em up war story, though there are a few negligent firearm discharges and a particularly harrowing Peeps eating contest. Below is a brief synopsis of the book to give you an idea of what Kilroy Was Here is all about:
“U.S. Army Officer, Lieutenant Jared Rye is a battle-hardened warrior. Or at least he thinks he’d like to be. On Christmas Day, 2008, he arrives at the war with high hopes of battlefield glory and a lasting legacy, only to be relegated to a Squadron desk job. With the help of his Squadron’s “accidental Chaplain”, a local interpreter bent on leaving for America, a perpetually drunk Russian contract pilot, and his fellow staff officers, Rye navigates a yearlong deployment on a rural outpost in Afghanistan. As he seeks to find meaning in the war, Rye faces oddities and mishaps ranging from an inter-Army mafia of lower enlisted soldiers to a crippled, local boy with a penchant for pornographic doodles, a two-faced local militant, and an autocratic Squadron Commander paralyzed by paranoia. Rye’s unlikely friendship with his interpreter becomes the bedrock of his sanity, as he grapples with the reality of America’s “Forever War” and his perceived lackluster war experience. But when a series of roadside bombs cripples a resupply convoy, the soldiers of Titan Squadron look to the highest ranking officer remaining and Rye must put his training to the test to lead an assault against an enemy of unknown strength.”
Details on the book’s release date will be coming soon. To get regular updates, click “Follow” at the right of this page.
Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @hogwashwriting
The History Of The Donut
In honor of tomorrow being National Donut Day, I have written a short history of the donut. This is not the full history of the donut, obviously, but a few key moments in history that are worth noting:
1057 B.C. – A Greek naval commander named Dorotheos of Naxo set sail in search of a mythical island of great wealth. Half way through their journey, the crew of Dorotheos’s boat was lured into wreckage off the coast of a small island, by the incredible smell of baked goods. When Dorotheos and his remaining crew struggled ashore, they found the island inhabited by elderly women producing a previously unknown type of sweet roll. Dorotheos and his men immediately enslaved the women, as was the custom of the day. They repaired the ship and set sale for home with their newfound, culinary wealth. The island women fed the crew exclusively sweet rolls on their voyage, which eventually capsized the boat due to the excessive weight gain of the crew. The sweet rolls were dubbed “Donauts”, short for “Dorothothoes Nauts,” in memory of the lost crew (“Naut” being the Greek word for sailor).
1476: Following his death, the tyrannical ruler of Romania, Vlad The Impaler (or Vlad III Dracula) still lingered in the minds of its citizens. Rumors and legends of his cruelty, and even supernatural abilities, haunted people for years to come. His thirst for blood lead to tales of vampirism. So much so that the citizens of Transylvania began placing pastries filled with blood red jelly on their window sills at night. Their hope being that by sucking out the jelly, the fearsome Dracula would satisfy his thirst and pass over their house. In 1897, Bram Stoker galvanized the legend of Vlad with the title role in his vampire novel “Dracula”, though the jelly filled donuts were largely left out of the story.
Early 1800’s: Dutch settlers in New York City (or New Amsterdam) brought with them their delicious sweet pastries that were deep fried in animal fat. At the time, these treats were known as “oily cakes”, which sounds disgusting. The name changed over the years to “grease muffins” (which wasn’t better), then to “sugar bagels”, then to “doughnut”, and finally to the original Greek “donut”.
1865: Wounded Civil War veteran, Abe VanDough returned home to New York City with one leg and a dream to open a bakery. After commandeering a vacant storefront, VanDough began churning out oily cakes and grease muffins based on his own family’s secret recipes. Finding it difficult to draw in customers, and impeded by a missing leg, VanDough took out a small loan to purchase a horse. With a custom harness, VanDough mountained a wooden dowel to the horse’s forehead. With oily cakes speared on the dowel, VanDough would ride about the city selling his pastries to people on the street. VanDough is credited with giving the donut it’s hole and his horse became known as “The Unicorn of Time Square” and is the reason why unicorns are often associated with sprinkles and glitter. VanDough is also credited with having the world’s first “food truck”.
I hope you’ve learned something here about my favorite food. Please go out and support your local donut shop tomorrow. There are thousands of donuts in need of a good home. Be a hero.
***Additional Fact: The donuts known as “bear claws” were originally made with actual bear feet, coated in pastry dough, and deep fried (essentially a chicken-fried bear foot). This tradition was discontinued in the early 1940’s when rations were put on the bear feet supply due to their need for the war effort.
The Google Dictionary defines “Dad Bod” as: a male physique that
is relatively slim but not lean or toned. I prefer to think of it as “the melting of one’s former self, coupled with stress collection points around the abdomen, waist, and ass.” I would also like to be gender inclusive in that “dad bod” is not just for dads, but I would never in a million years tell a woman she has “mom bod” for fear of violent death. Anyway, the descension into “parent bod” can be a source of depression for many new parents, so this week I’m offering a few tips to help fight back against this terrible disease:
- Let Food Go To Waste – Children at the dinner table can be the most unreasonable people on Earth. If your children are anything like mine, there is a violent revolution every time mac and cheese isn’t on the menu. Most nights the standoff ends with good food left on the children’s plate. Myself, being a child of a child of a child of the Great Depression and also an unapologetic glutton, can not stand to see good food go to waste. So, often times I eat it. Don’t look at me like that. You know you’ve done it. Judgements and self loathing aside, these are unneeded extra calories and a direct contributor to dad fat. Don’t be afraid to throw away food. Or buy a dog. Dogs are good garbage disposals.
- Designated Cook – Pick the worst cook in the house to be the designated dinner cook. In my house, that’s me. I’d say at least two of the dinners I prep each week are sub par. And that’s being generous. This means that at least two nights of the week, I’m consuming less calories. Not a bad start. (Note: This can backfire. If the cooking is so horrible as to be inedible, frequent pizza deliveries can occur.)
- Turn Your Children Into Workout Equipment – Being a parent, it can be hard to find time to squeeze in a workout. In fact, it’s next to impossible to have a designated work out time unless its before or after the children go to bed. One solution to this problem is to work out with your children. Let me clarify, I don’t mean that your children are doing the exercises, too. I mean, use your children as workout equipment. By sewing canvas handles onto the backs of your children’s T-shirts, you can turn each child into a dumbbell, kettlebell, etc. By making the child hold various objects, you can change the weight of your “kidbell” as needed throughout the workout. Kids love to be lifted up and swung around, so everyone wins. (*Note: If you are using your “kidbell” as a kettlebell, please ensure the ceiling is high enough to provide overhead clearance. Otherwise your “kidbell” will get all whiny.)
- Work Workouts – For many of us, our jobs consist of stagnant days staring at a monitor and doing keyboard cardio. This daily eight hours of inactivity can wreak havoc on our bodies, especially since we tend to consume high levels of junk foods at our desks to fill the gaping holes in our soul. One good trick to break up the daily monotony is to set a recurring alarm on your watch or phone and at regular intervals, get down on the floor and do a few reps of some sort of exercise. Not only will this help to burn midday calories, but it will reinforce with your coworkers that you may, in fact, be mentally unhinged and you should not be trifled with. If your boss catches you mid workout, you may want to learn some variation of a gang-sign to flash.
- Be The Office Jerk – The office setting is notorious for being an ever flowing spring of processed sugars and trans fats. It is always someones birthday, anniversary, National Donut Day, National Cookie Day, National Deep Fried Double Stuffed Oreo Day, etc. So next time Dave from accounting puts a box of donuts in the break-room, you march right down there, grab that box of donuts, and chuck it in the trash.* Sure, Dave will probably cry. It’s his birthday and he can cry if he wants to. But then he will be thanking you for helping improve his overall quality of life. When your boss comes to talk to you about all the complaints he’s getting, just put him in a headlock with the biceps you’ve built from curling your “kidbells”.
- Get Fired – Once you’ve choked out your boss, you no longer need to worry about going to work. Your newfound wealth of free time should provide you with plenty of time to work out and your lack of income will prevent you from overeating. Or eating at all.
- Stop Drinking Beer – Just kidding. That’s a silly one.
It should be noted that despite all of these tips, I still suffer from Dad Bod. These are not intended to be a magical cure, but a resource to keep Dad Bod in check. There is no cure for Dad Bod. It is terminal. The only thing you can do is make the most of the Bod you have left.
*Please never throw away donuts.
**Move your eyes to the right. Find the “Follow” button. Click.
Some days the posts will be nothing more than a reason for you to say, “hey, I guess my day wasn’t that bad”…
6:59 am: Wake up children. Already nine minutes behind schedule. Daily struggle ensues.
7:28 am: Arrive to daycare to drop off Josie. Realize I forgot to pack snacks for Easton. Refuse to go all the way back home, so Easton gets to pick two snacks at the gas station (Father Of The Year Award). He cannot understand why the candy aisle is not a viable source of options.
7:42 am: Easton has been dropped off. It occurs to me that one of his snacks contains peanut butter, violating the schools nut-free classroom policy.
7:55 am: Arrive to work, email Easton’s teacher explaining the severity of my peanut butter fail and apologizing for any nut related emergency health situations I may have caused.
8:00 am to 4:00pm: Work (I have to say that because my boss reads these articles).
4:30 pm: Pick up Easton. He complains of a stomach ache. He has also left his lunchbox in his classroom for the second day in a row. The room is locked. He shows little remorse.
4:30 am: Leaving Easton’s school parking lot. He suddenly remembers he has forgotten two stuffed animals on the table in After School Care. I stop the truck and ask him if these are the same stuffed animals I explicitly told him not to bring to school that morning. He says “yes”. He shows little remorse. I don’t think he knows what “explicitly” means yet. I now have to check his backpack every morning because my son is a smuggler. We retrieve the smuggled goods.
4:50 pm: Josie has been picked up. We arrive home. Easton continues to complain of a stomach ache. I’m suspicious it is a ploy to watch more TV. I give him a puke bowl anyway.
5:20 pm: Dinner time. Easton does not want to eat. This is unusual.
6:25 pm: Easton says he’s feeling better. We all go downstairs to play.
6:31 pm: Easton excuses himself to use the bathroom upstairs.
6:33 pm: Easton reappears covered in vomit and a bewildered look. We cautiously go upstairs. The kitchen is ground zero. The spray pattern would suggest he was playing “helicopter” when the incident occurred. The smell is unbearable.
6:40 pm to 7:20pm: Easton in the bathtub. I clean. Josie watches from a safe distance, asking questions about the process. Answering her questions forces me to breath. She laughs when I gag.
7:45 pm: Bedtime routine.
8:45 pm: Write blog post / Relive trauma.
9:25 pm: Post article to blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Spend remaining awake time refreshing WordPress app to see how many hits the site has received.
10:00 pm: Slip into unconsciousness while silently cursing those that haven’t followed the blog.
11:00 pm: Awoken by Easton. He has vomited all over his bed, rendering it unusable for the night. He sets up shop in our room. I clean for another 15 minutes.
12:10 am: More vomiting. This time he actually does it into the puke bowl. What a genius idea.
12:46 am: Not quite dry heaving. More like “damp-heaving” or a dusting of vomit.
12:50 am to 6:05am: Easton sleeps fitfully. He thrashes about like a sleeping dog. I think he’s dream about chasing squirrels.
6:06 am: Easton wakes up, says he feels fine. Wants eggs and toast. I keep the puke bucket handy.
In the nine months leading up to the birth of your first child, you undoubtedly heard a friend, family member, or coworker say something to the effect of, “say goodbye to sleep” or “better catch up on z’s now” or some other inane joke of the sort. I’ll admit, I’ve made these comments to friends as well. But I’m allowed too. I’ve been through, and currently reside in, the inferno of early child rearing. The bags under my eyes are proof of my qualification to regurgitate mindless idioms like a broken parrot because my brain is too exhausted to come up with anything even remotely original. What no one ever tells you in those pre-parent months, is “why” you’ll lose so much sleep. I mean, we all understand the first stretch. The infant phase. The nighttime feedings, the 2am diaper explosion extravaganza, the 3am for-no-reason nuclear meltdown, etc. But what about after that? You know, once you’ve bragged, “my kid is already sleeping through the night” and your already-parent-friends have a nice chuckle. Its because they know. They know that it never ends and you’re a fool. Here is a list of reasons that have dragged me from the depths of slumber at some ungodly hour in the past few months:
- The Bathroom Announcement: This move is the most common, but is typically only used once the child has mastered the door knob and can freely come and go from their room. This self-sufficiency should allow the child to take nighttime restroom trips with little disturbance. It does not. A child must always announce his/her activity, no matter how small. Or, as in recent cases, the child will inform you of “mission completion” before returning to bed. (Some children will pretend to be lost and unable to find their rooms. This is a stalling technique. They are NOT actually lost.)
- The Light Moved: Tricks of light can often cause worrisome thoughts in children, which will lead to crying, which will lead to you being awake. To be clear, the lighting does not actually change or move inside the room. It’s all a matter of imagination. An easy solution is to rid the room of any pixies, sprites, glow-trolls, and fire demons prior to saying goodnight. This should put your child’s mind at ease and buy you an extra half hour.
- Spider On The Other Side Of The Room: Another tactic a child might use, is claiming to have seen something impossible. A few weeks ago our daughter woke us with that pretend sobbing that kids do when they know they have a bullsh*t reason for being up. She claimed she saw a spider. I escorted her back to her room and asked her were she saw it. She pointed behind a chair on the other side of her room. For clarification, I asked if she saw the spider, in the dark, behind a solid object, from her bed on the other side of the room. She said “yes”. She’s a liar.
- General Inquiries: Sometimes children will wake you up when their weird little brains conjure up impossible scenarios or other tricky topics that demand immediate attention. “What would happen if the ocean were full of cheese balls?” “What should I do if the floor actually DOES turn to lava?” “Where do rainbows go when the sun comes out?” “What are fire demons?” Do not answer. Questions lead to questions lead to question. A midnight pandora’s box.
- Foot Aches: I say “foot aches” because this is the specific example I’m dealing with currently. This tactic could manifest in any recurring phantom body ache. A few weeks back, my son woke us up complaining that his feet hurt. When I asked him where, he pointed between his toes. Turning the light on, I examined his feet and found no evidence of any exterior issues to validate his claim. I told him to put on some socks and go back to bed. This was 12:15am. At 1:30am, he again entered our room. This time armed with that fake sobbing cry. Again, I escorted him to his room and tried to calm him down. He finally got back into bed and I told him to be brave and close his eyes. At 2:45am he entered our room again. This time we were both sobbing. Again he claimed his feet hurt. Desperate, I pulled some random, generic, nothing-special lotion from our hall closet. I slathered it all over his feet, put his socks back on, and sent him back to bed. Never heard another peep. It’s happened on two other nights since then, but both times I’ve gone immediately to the placebo lotion and nipped the problem in the bud. I don’t want to count my chickens, but this may be my first real victory as a father.
This is only the small sample of examples I could dredge from my tired mind, but I know there are more. I’m sure as the years pass, these will transform into things like loud slumber parties and curfew breaking. If you have more examples you’d like to lend to the list, please follow the site on the right side of the screen and then leave your comments below.
As, I stated in a previous post, part of the revamped Hogwash Writing will be the occasional book review. Obviously, I’ll only post reviews once I’ve completed a book and, since I am a slow reader, they will be few and far between.
I recently completed the book, “The Hooligans Of Kandahar” by Joseph Kassabian. The story, is Kassabian’s own story and an excellent read; a raw look at an enlisted man’s journey through a yearlong deployment in and around Kandahar City. If you’re looking for a glamorous war story filled with acts of heroism and moral stands, this is not the book for you. As the cover states, “Not all war stories are heroic”. Instead, Kassabian dives deep into the monotonous routines, squalid living conditions, and “big-Army-chicken-shit” that were, and probably still are, the earmark of deployments to Afghanistan.
This is a non-fiction book, so I’m sure many of the soldiers in the author’s unit were less than flattered by the way they were portrayed, but it’s undeniably real. If you’ve ever served in the military you’ll recognize every character. Every unit had its mixed bag of soldiers, male and female. The war lovers, the drunks, the power-hungry, the lazy, the unapologetically unhygienic. Kassabian himself, as the narrator, fits the role of the angry soldier. The soldier who’s lost his tolerance in a war that long ago lost its direction. In a way the book seems more a tragedy, not in a “boo-hoo” way, but definitely not a light-hearted-romp either. At the very least, “The Hooligans Of Kandahar” can be a means to better understand friends or family members who have slogged it out in Afghanistan (or Iraq). A means to place yourself in their dusty, muddy, bloody boots and understand their anger, their frustration, and their relief to be free, but never quite free, of a war we never fully understood.
*If you don’t like potty language, perhaps steer clear. Or have a friend who does like potty language redact this book first. It’s not for the weak or faint of heart.
**Also, look to the right side of the screen and follow my blog, you freeloader.
As a parent, we’re always told that it’s important to foster our children’s creativity and desire to learn. To encourage them to discover new things and to provide them with the means and the environment to do so. What you’re not told, as parents, is that like everything your child does, he or she will take these activities to extreme degrees that you cannot possibly sustain.
In my last post, I mentioned that my son has developed the notion that he will build a robot out of the materials pulled from our recycle bin. He has coupled this with a passion for “science experiments”, which as of late has simply been an excuse to dirty every piece of tupperware and mason jar we have in the house. I’ve boiled this experience down to what I call “The Seven ‘Lations’ Of Mad Science”:
- Titillation – In this stage, both the parent and child partake in the creative exercise. It is a pleasant experience for everyone involved. The child is learning and making memories. The parent experiences the joy of watching their child learn and grow. This is the only stage in “The Seven ‘Lations’ Of Mad Science” that involves a parent’s joy.
- Escalation – In this stage, the child begins pushing the boundaries of what is reasonable. The experiments become more elaborate, laborious, and messy. The child experiences joy as he brainstorms new and intricate ways to destroy your kitchen. The parent is forced to begin making excuses (often fabricated to avoid saying “I’m too tired”) to put off or gently put down the ideas.
- Accumulation – The child begins, on his own, to collect items to be used in future science experiments (in my case a garbage robot). These items are often pulled from recycle bins, waste baskets, or simply found outside. This is a highly unsanitary stage and your home will become infested with ants. Your child will likely then wish to keep the ants for future science experiments.
- Overregulation – As a parent and reasonable human being, you are forced to set strict boundaries on the experiments your child is able to perform and the items he is able to retain for science. Expect resistance in this stage. Resistance can manifest itself in many forms. I, for example, have seen fits of rage, quiet brooding, feigned hearing impairments, and the always feared, insincere compliance in the form of “FINE”.
- Capitulation – In this stage the child’s resistance reaches critical mass. As a parent you begin questioning whether your overregulation is right. Are you holding back a great mind? Are you stifling growth? You concede that science experiments can be done, as long as they are “done outside” and robot parts must be kept “only in your room”.
- Isolation – Your child becomes increasingly withdrawn. His bedroom door is frequently closed. You can hear hammering at all hours of the night. When you listen at the door, you often hear maniacal laughter or the utterance of “potty language”. As a parent, you use this time to do the dishes or catch up on laundry.
- Annihilation – The garbage robot is complete. It becomes self aware and destroys your home. Even as you stare out at the smoldering ruins, you can’t help but feel proud of what your child created.
I forget where I was going with all of this, but take heed. You have been warned.
Don’t forget to click “Follow” on the right hand side of the screen. The Garbage Robot has been reprogrammed to track-down and terminate those who don’t.
I think any parent would agree that one of the hardest parts of being a parent (outside of stepping on LEGOs), is the often overwhelming fear that you’re doing everything completely and utterly wrong and, because of this, your children will grow up to be felons, arsonists, real estate moguls, or worse. We’re all terrified. Terrified we’re disciplining wrong, too frequently, or not enough at all. Terrified we’re not spending enough time with our kids or that we’re not giving them enough freedom. Terrified that our ineptitude will have consequences that echo to the ends of time and result in the collapse of humanity as we know it. Sometimes all of these terrors occur in the span of ten minutes. But I have news for you. You have every right to be scared because you ARE doing it wrong. Not all the time of course, but sometimes. No one is perfect and we all slip up and that’s okay. We are lead to believe that it’s not though. Not okay to be wrong. Social media shows us only the best side of the lives of our friends and family. Pictures of perfect vacations, perfect holidays, perfect perfectness. They are undoubtedly only fragments in time, captured in the lull of their own daily hurricanes, but they are enough to make us feel inadequate. That if anyone knew the chaotic, “Lord Of The Flies” situations that arise in our own homes, we’d be ostracized by our communities, blacklisted from social gatherings, and stripped of all lands and titles. So instead of giving parenting advice or recommendations, I thought I’d give you a dose of “real”. A quick snapshot of “the struggle” to brighten your day or maybe just remind you that you’re not alone in this mess. Please don’t judge me too harshly or call CPS.
The other night, after arriving home from work and school with both kids (ages 5 and 3), I began the nightly routine of making dinner. Work meetings were keeping Carlye late, which meant I was making my specialty, and the house favorite, boxed macaroni and cheese. As I prepared dinner, both children were out playing in the living room (it should be mentioned here that both children had already tried my patience by arguing the whole way home, so tensions were moderate to high). Halfway into the boil, Josie (3) wandered in and asked if she could help make dinner. I agreed, but informed her there was not much left to do. She proceeded to move one of our large stools from the island to the stove area, as is her custom. Once the heavy moving was complete, Easton (5) conveniently appeared, proclaiming he too would be helping to prepare dinner. I again, reminded them there was little left to do. Undeterred, Easton climbed onto the one-person stool with Josie, where they both began fighting immediately for valuable real estate. After minutes of this, I became frustrated and told them that since they couldn’t get along they’d have to leave the kitchen. Easton dug in his heels, as is his custom. I demanded he leave and find something else to do. In his fury, he grabbed a cardboard box off the counter, one that he’d been saving to build his “robot” (this is another story entirely), and whipped it to the floor. I demanded that he pick it up. He declined. I picked up the box and, fully knowing its value to him and his robot endeavor, proceeded to tear it to shreds. Not my finest moment. My act of retribution was met by one of the most hideous banshee shrieks I’ve ever heard my son produce. And then another. And then Josie began to wail. And Easton wailed more. And I spoke at them in ever increasing volumes, sending Easton to his room, which Josie interpreted as her punishment as well. And, as these two sobbing creatures crawled in anguish up our staircase, they somehow managed to start, between hearty sobs, a chant in perfect unison: MEAN DAD, MEAN DAD, MEAN DAD!!!
And there you have it. The story of the one time I was able to get my children to cooperate and work together. Now don’t forget to click the “follow” button on the side of this site. I’ve got all kinds of personal stories to make you feel better about yourself.