Monday, August 25, 2008

The Bathroom Tourists

My sons are bathroom tourists.

Anytime we go to a restaurant - and we go to a lot of restaurants - both boys find some excuse to visit the bathroom.
Several times.

This would be less irritating if I had no plan to, say, eat at these restaurants. Unfortunately, I usually wait until I'm hungry to visit a restaurant and eating is pretty much the foremost thing on my mind. I might even go alone, but society pretty much demands that I feed my family, too.
Damn society.

Instead, like most parents of young children, I spend only 25% of my time at restaurants actually eating. Another 50% is spent repeatedly visiting the bathroom. The final 25% is spent yelling.

"No. You cannot go to the bathroom. I don't care if your bladder swells to twice its usual size and then explodes; you are not going to the bathroom again."

And then I usually take them to the bathroom again because I see fellow diners are dialing 911.

I know why my sons like going to the bathroom. It's those frickin' paper towel dispensers with the laser-activated mechanisms. My kids enjoy washing their hands and then waving them like a wand under the dispensers until the box magically rolls out a sheet of gritty paper.

I get that. I really do. I myself frequent exactly one movie theater in Florida and I do it for one reason only - the theater has the new Dyson Air Blade machines that actually squeegee your hands with air. Sometimes, I lose complete interest in the movie and spend most of my time in the bathroom. Sometimes, I'm forced to stand in a line of like-minded guys, each one tearing himself away from the Dyson with an embarrassed laugh.

I swear to you right now that I will have one of those Dyson Air Blades in my home - right next to the immensely practical urinal I'm planning to install.

Occasionally, I don't mind the frequent trips with my kids to the bathroom. My favorite trip so far was to an older diner attached to a drug store. We visited the bathroom, and after the boys finished their business, 5 year-old Julian walked expectantly to the paper towel dispenser and waved his hand under it.

When nothing happened, he waved his hand again. Still nothing. 9 year-old Gabriel took a swipe, apparently under the impression that Julian had waved his hand incorrectly.

I reached over and pulled down on the black old-style lever on the side of the brushed metal dispenser. One sheet advanced and my sons' mouths fell open.

They liked even better than the lasers.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chock Full of Jesus

I've been going to church with my family since we moved to Florida. This was Bridget's idea, mostly, because she's worried about our kids growing up without any kind of reference point for religion.

A few years ago, for instance, we ate a holiday dinner at Bridget's aunt's house. Someone began to say grace and everyone at the table bowed their heads - except for the three Grim Richard children who, with their mouths crammed with food, looked around in amazement as the entire room of people closed their eyes. It was Gabriel, I think, who had the guts to shout out the obvious heathen question:

"Why the heck is everybody sleeping, Dad?"

So, there is some merit to Bridget's concern.

I'm surprised by how much I like going to this church. At first, I only agreed to attend because I think it's a good idea to force a conversation about morality at least once a week. Usually, this blog forces two or three uncomfortable conversations a week with my wife, so I sort of assumed that base was covered.

Apparently not.
v Gradually, though, I've come to enjoy the nice people, the great conversations and the fact that the "H" word is not thrown around like a holy brick. Also - and Bridget will hate me for mentioning this - there are donuts in the lobby after services. I think other churches really underestimate the synergy of donuts and religion.

Alas, the donuts are off limits for me now. A recent physical showed that I had borderline high blood pressure problems, borderline sugar problems and, finally, borderline cholesterol problems. To combat these borderline ills, I've adopted a pretty strict diet that denies me sugar, refined wheat and, most of all, high fructose corn syrup.

And so far, it's worked. My sugar levels dropped to acceptable levels. My blood pressure also dropped. It turns out that if you concentrate on eating only "food", your body tends to...what's the word I'm looking

A few Sundays ago, our church held Communion. Ushers handed little cubes of bread and tiny glasses of grape juice to everyone who wanted to participate. On cue, everyone popped their cubes of bread into their mouths. Except for me.

Bridget gestured impatiently toward my bread.

"High fructose corn syrup," I whispered.

Bridget shook her head forcefully and I swallowed the bread. I got her point. A little corn syrup is okay as long as the bread is chock full of Jesus.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Miley Vyrus

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted. I have good excuses. My brother and his family came into town, for instance. Also, I just plain suck sometimes.

It's true. You can look it up on Wikipedia.

I planned to make up for my sloth by writing and posting a really good, amazingly funny blog entry. And I did indeed write a really good, amazingly funny entry yesterday which I was five seconds from posting this morning.

Until I saw the Hannah Montana Wake Up call site. Using this snappy purple and pink site, you can actually have a recording of Hannah Montana call your daughter's cell phone and give her a personalized reminder about her cooking class, girl scouts or cheerleader practice.

That's one possibility, anyway.

Or you could use the site to interrupt your friend Ron's important business meeting to remind him about his non-existent Girl Scout meeting. And what about Mike and Hank? Wouldn't they feel left out if Hannah Montana didn't call to give them a chirrupy reminder about gymnastics practice?

But wait a second here. I'm a middle-aged man with middle-aged friends who have serious responsibilities. Is this really the kind of behavior grown adults would appreciate?


So, anyway, my apologies go out in advance to Ron, Mike, Matt, Hank and Roger. I would have hit more friends, but the site only lets you schedule five calls per e-mail address. I would have set another, temporary e-mail address in order to spread the Miley Vyrus but I have a lot of important, responsible work to do.

Like posting the web address for the Hannah Montana Wake Up Call site.