Washing Away


The rain has come and the rain has gone,
Washing away all the joys of the world.
The playground is sodden and filthy,
Sad little children shuffle past.
Heads down, glancing sideways.
Their laughter will unsung this day.
They march on towards homework,
That Great executioner of youthful glee.

The rain has come and the rain has gone,1322
Washing away all the joys of the world.
The old dog mopes at the window,
Lonely and fearful of distant thunder.
The days walk had been abandoned.
Now she can only lay here waiting,
And hoping,
The child will come home soon.





Happy Monday



A Long Walk, a Good Talk, Ice Cream, and a Giant Fish

This past Sunday the clocks needed to be set forward for Daylight Saving Time, my daughter asked me to take her to the park, and my wife asked for the third time this week if I would mow the back yard. These are sure signs that spring is trying to poke its head out from under the blanket of winter weather.

Well my phone is my primary time-keeper, so it sorted itself out, and I had no desire to spend any part of the day walking behind a noisy machine that spewes exhaust fumes and grass clippings at me on my first weekend day off in close to a year; so, a father/ daughter day at the park seemed about my speed. This also provided me with a convenient excuse not to venture to the urgent care place to investigate this respiratory illness that has been causing me some discomfort for nearly two weeks now.

The local park is a wonderful affair with a large well maintained, and rather cool looking playground and jungle gym.


Once we arrived my role in the afternoons activities was reduced to that of pusher of the swing and I watched as my daughter chased after children her own age and showed off to the younger ones and tried to coax the shy ones out of their shells. While I love watching my little extrovert at work I couldn’t help feeling ignored and left out. I tried to strike up conversation with some of the other parents but most were too busy hovering a few feet away from their kids in case, heaven forfend, they fall, or try to go down the slide backwards.

Extrication from the playground was made possible by the promise of ice cream. a dirty trick I know, but  jealousy got the best of me and, I wanted be able to actually talk with the daughter I barely see. A half mile walk was a pleasant way to recap the playtime and speculate on our ice cream choices, I even received an unsolicited “I love you dad” and a huge smile.

Over our dishes of frozen sugar we discussed the relative merits of vanilla chocolate chip, versus strawberry, and it was agreed that the chocolate chip was the clear winner. The remaining discussion ranged from what was the best part about school to the impending birthday she had coming up in just a few days with, including few direct statements about what she would like.

When presented with the option of taking the direct or scenic route home my girl chose the longer of the two, the way she hadn’t seen before. The extra time was filled with sudden interest in when I was a boy and where I grew up.

I told her some about the small town where I spent my childhood and the schools I went to. How, like her, recess was my favorite class. It led to discussion about how even though she had two aunts that lived up north only one of them was my sister. It took two tries for her to get her head wrapped around the fact that her other aunt was my sister’s wife. In the end she simply accepted this, even though it was outside of her realm of what was typically expected.

An awkward moment came when she asked about my parents. Honesty made explain that they has died. The conversation included the fact that my father died of cancer caused by smoking.

I quit about two years ago, my wife has not. So when Kate pointed this out I just told her that I would like her mom to stop smoking, she just wasn’t ready to do it yet, and left it at that. My daughter asked me is she was going to smoke when she was older, and I said that she didn’t have to, and I rather that she didn’t because it was really bad for her. She thought about it for a moment, with a serious look on and finally agreed.

The seriousness of the moment was broken when she realized, with an excited gasp, that our long meandering journey had taken us all the way back to the other side of the park. The sun was going down and most of the other kids had gone home, but we stopped and played some more anyway.


It was early evening before we set off home to a dinner of take out from our favorite taqueria. As we strolled I was satisfied in the knowledge that, time would march on despite the pointless lunacy of mucking about with clocks, that I had properly shirked my landscaping duties, and that for one glorious rare afternoon I got to spend a few hours just being a dad.

Just one thing still puzzles me and it has been bothering me for a long time…

Why a fish?

Why a  giant fish?

What’s His Name’s Birthday

Our daughter got invited to the neighbor boy’s birthday party and so, as custom dictates we were in the position of figuring out what would be an appropriate gift for a nine-year-old boy who we know practically nothing about. In fact until we moved in next door three months ago the existence of this entire family was really a matter of hearsay as far as I was concerned, but I digress.

Procrastination and general disinterest ensured that we would be doing our gift shopping at the last minute. Suggestions from his mother indicated that his interests included video games and “sciencey” type books. Since, as I mentioned, we really don’t know this child or his family very well we opted for the noncommittal, free form present of a gift card, of a modest sum, from a bookstore. You remember those right, buildings from which you could purchase printed material from before internet retailers took over. Kind of like a newsstand but with a little more heavy lifting involved. At any rate the procurement of the card was quick and painless but it then occurred to me that we needed to get a card as well.

The selection of birthday cards presents one with entirely too many options at this point. The array of choices includes, but are not limited to; birthday, her birthday, granddaughter,daughter, friend, from a group, his birthday, grandson, son, kid’s birthday the list really goes on ad nauseam. Yet, for all of these options there did not seem to be a single card under the description of, “Birthday of random child who you know nothing about but somehow found yourself attending their party anyway.” Not a single god damned card fit quite so aptly, so I just got one with some dinosaurs and shit on it.

The party was held at a nearby pizza buffet joint that, being accustomed to hosting children’s birthdays, was quite adept at squeezing money out of parents through the use of games that take non-refundable tokens and issue tickets that can be traded in for prizes that just a little more than disappointing for the kids when they realize that in order to achieve enough points to get anything interesting they’re going to have to tap into their college funds. If your my kid then this amount probably still wouldn’t suffice. Having grown up close to the Jersey shore I was very familiar with this scam and even almost waxed nostalgic when I saw that their particular grift included Skee Ball, a game that despite never achieving mastery at I was quite fond of as a child. The food at this venue was, by technical definition pizza, in that it was a round dough covered in sauce, cheese (allegedly), and other toppings, served in triangular sections. I do however reserve the right to call bullshit on the blatantly uninspired bit of pandering that was offered as a mac and cheese pizza. I would like to point out that if after trying a single pepperoni slice at your establishment my six-year-old declines seconds, you’re probably doing it wrong.

The desert offering, in lieu of a traditional birthday cake, was another disheartening insult to the wonder that is pizza. This appeared to be just dough topped with marshmallows and chocolate sauce but my curiosity could not overcome my revulsion to further investigate this amalgam of grease and sugar, though my daughter seemed to almost be reconsidering whether she was still hungry when she saw it. Soon after the tokens were distributed and the children were unleashed to lay waste to the game room.

They were too late. It turned out that almost half of the arcade was out-of-order, leaving the children from two badly scheduled birthday parties and those that came included from the restaurants normal Sunday lunch rush to crowd and shove each other as the jockeyed for position at the remaining machines. The overall effect was like viewing the children from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, if that movie had been filmed in some post apocalyptic boardwalk attraction. Eventually we had to leave as I needed to head to work (note to self: thank my employers) so my daughter cashed in her tickets for a few paltry gewgaws and we thanked what’s his name’s parents and headed home.

The kids had fun, so all in all it was a good party. I am glad that the neighbors think enough of our family to have included us in their son’s birthday, it was a nice and unnecessary, friendly gesture towards the new people in the neighborhood. It is especially nice to their son considering that he is nearly three years older than my daughter and, as I recall, when your ages are in the single digits this is a significant difference.

We were, however, able to evaluate that my wife and I will more than likely not be cashing in the coupon our daughter won for a free pizza party at that particular location.