This one goes out to the makers of that helmet I was wearing Sunday afternoon. Much love.

This helmet saved my ass, big time.

You should have seen me on the mountain last Saturday, man. I was like Tony Hawk. No, wait; he’s a skateboarder.

Dude, last Saturday, I was like Shaun White. Yeah, man, that’s who I was like: Olympic gold-medalist snowboarder Shaun White.

OK, not so much … but, still, I turned in one of the best days of snowboarding I’ve ever had—which was impressive, since I only boarded once last winter, and hadn’t done it at all for the six seasons prior to that.

But anyway, yeah, Saturday, after Zan and Jayna’s amazing morning of skiing, Wonder Woman and I put in some time on the slopes, me on a board and her on skis. The weather was spectacular, and each run was better than the one before it. I was shredding. Or carving. Or something. Whatever the cool kids call it, that’s what I was doing.

Not only did I avoid wiping out on any of the trails I tackled, but I also managed to successfully disembark from the ski lift without eating it … which, as far as I’m concerned, is the most difficult task a snowboarder like myself faces—and by “like myself,” I mean “an almost-40-year-old man who is happy to zig-zag down the mountain without attempting a single jump, hop, or spinny, twirly thing of any kind.”

If you’ve never snowboarded, allow me to explain why the ski lift is a particular challenge for boarders:

Skiers have their skis on as they ride up the lift … which means they also have their skis on when they get off the lift … which means it’s very easy for them to slide down the little hump at the ski-lift disembarkation point.

Boarders, however, must unbuckle their back foot from their board in order to move themselves into position to get on the lift, and are required to keep their back foot free until after they get off the lift. What this means is that, as you reach the disembarkation point, you must set the board down on the snow with your buckled-in lead foot, then place your free-floating rear foot on the board and pray to whatever higher power you might believe in that you remain upright as you slide down the little getting-off-the-ski-lift hill with essentially no stability whatsoever, because a snowboard? A snowboard is designed to be maneuvered by way of two feet tightly affixed to its surface. Unbuckle one foot, and what you now have is a slippery, out-of-control slab of fiberglass that can fuck you up 12 ways to Sunday if you should happen to make the slightest of wrong moves.

So delightful was my Saturday snowboarding experience that, despite only intending to board that one day, I took advantage of an equally gorgeous Sunday to spend a few more hours on the mountain.

In the wake of my Saturday experience, I felt pretty invincible … which is why it shocked the hell out of me when, during one of my first runs on Sunday, the sky cracked open and the hand of God reached down, grabbed me around the ankles, lifted me in the air and slammed me backwards in a whip-like fashion onto one of the steepest, most frozen and hard-packed sections of the mountain.

Actually, it went more like this: I was winding my way down what, up until that point, had been my most favorite trail—one that I had torn up repeatedly the day before—and, after hanging back a bit in order to keep my distance from a slow-moving and apparently novice skier, I decided to blow past him, because, hey, dude, Shaun White doesn’t hang back. So, at the appropriate moment, I pointed the board downhill and zipped by Mr. Novice … and I believe I might even have taken the liberty of thinking to myself that I was far superior to Mr. Novice, because did you see the ease and finesse with which I just blew past him? I mean, am I cool, or what?

And as I contemplated my superiority and coolness, I cut a turn onto the toe edge of my board on a very steep and very shady section of the trail, whose steepness and shadiness made it hard to see the little mashed-potato-like build-up of snow that, just as I got on my toe edge, grabbed the heel edge of the board. And if you know a little bit about leverage and inertia, then it will come as no surprise to you that hooking the downhill edge of my board into the mountain while traveling at a relatively high speed on a particularly steep surface caused the board itself to stop, and caused the human strapped onto said board to snap backwards in the aforementioned whip-like fashion and slam into the mountainside with tremendous force.

I do not believe my body has ever experienced an impact as bone-jarringly vicious as the one it experienced last Sunday. In the 1/100th of a second that it took for me to go from zipping along upright to drilling myself into the ground, it occurred to me that I was about to die, because I knew that the back of my skull was the thing that would be smashing into the earth with the majority of the force generated by my colossal fuck up. And in that same 1/100th of a second, it also occurred to me that, “Dear sweet Christ, I’m wearing a helmet! Oh, joyous day!”

As the back of my helmet-covered head smashed against the ground, the one thing that was most clear to me was the fact that, had my head not been helmet-covered, the unbelievably violent impact would have, beyond the shadow of a doubt, knocked my ass out cold, and I would have remained that way for a substantial amount of time. I am also quite sure that, at best, I would have suffered a positively spectacular concussion, and, at worst, been either paralyzed, comatose or deader than fried motherfucking chicken.

So there I was, lying flat on my back at a roughly 50-degree angle, head pointed downhill, feet pointed uphill. I remember wiggling my toes to make sure I hadn’t paralyzed myself. With that potential calamity ruled out, I slowly—oh-so slowly—slid myself around so that my still-buckled-to-the-board feet were pointed downhill, and then sat up with great care.

During the crash, I was so focused on my head smashing against the ground that I have no memory whatsoever of the back of my body hitting the deck. However, landing on one’s tailbone is commonplace in heel-edge wipeouts, and I suddenly became very aware that I must have landed on mine with equally impressive force, because—and I know this is sharing too much information, but I’m also the guy who wrote in great detail about getting a vasectomy, so, um, yeah—my rectum or sphincter or colon or some ass-related muscle structure was spasming in such a way that left me certain I must have suffered some kind of massive internal trauma that would require skimobile-driving medics to come peel me off the mountainside and whisk me to a helipad where a chopper would fetch my broken body and transport it to the closest emergency room.

I wasn’t quite ready to start screaming “HELP!” just yet, however, so I sat there trying to get my wits about me and hoped that the very unusual sensations I was feeling in my head and lower torso would pass. For a minute or two, I was seriously questioning whether or not I would be able to get down the mountain of my own volition.

Amazingly, after about five or 10 minutes—or it could have been an hour; who the fuck knows?—I had regained my composure to the extent that I was able to ride my board down the remaining two-thirds of the trail, which deposited me at a secondary chairlift that I had to ride back to the top in order to ski down to the main-lodge area. During that lift ride, and subsequent cautious board ride back to base camp, I kept waiting to have some kind of seizure, or find that my ski pants were drenched in blood leaking from my ass, or slip into massive shock. And all I can say is that a.) helmets are the greatest thing ever, and b.) the human body is incredibly resilient, for I apparently was fine, and continued boarding for the rest of the afternoon. I even took another pass at the trail that had kicked my ass, because I’m a big believer in that “get right back on the horse that threw you” thing.

But back to that getting-off-the-lift stuff I described earlier: my stellar record of perfect dismounts came to an end late in the day when, just as I got off the lift, I fell, hard, facing forward, and took most of the impact on my right arm. I felt a ferocious “pop” in my shoulder joint as my arm got twisted back in a highly unnatural fashion, at which point it snapped off of my body and slid down the mountain. I filled out a form at the Lost & Found, and they promised to call me if they find it.

OK, I still have my arm, but four days later, it feels like the cartilage in my right shoulder joint has been replaced with crushed glass. However, as someone who almost got surgery for chronic, since-resolved pain in my left shoulder, I’m pretty sure the damage is nothing too serious, and that I’ll be back to normal in a week or two.

So, as fate would have it, the most vicious and forceful crash my body has ever suffered left me with no lasting pain whatsoever, while the little “Hey, I’m a dipshit who fell two feet after getting off the ski-lift” mishap continues to plague me.

But, man, other than those two incidents, I was Shaun White, dude. I’m tellin’ you: Shaun motherfucking White … if Shaun White was almost 40, didn’t do any tricks, and whined like a little bitch when he fell down and got a boo-boo.

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A barrel of laughs

[WARNING: Contains profanity … as does most of this blog … but it occurred to me after linking to this entry from an entry on The Pioneer Woman’s far more wholesome site that some of her audience might come over and have a heart attack when they unwittingly stumbled into a big pile of “F” bombs … so, now that you’ve been warned, any cardiac issues that might result from reading the following are on you.]

About a million years ago, I mentioned some trouble we were having with raccoons getting into our trash barrels. Months later, my barrel nightmare continues … and, at this point, the raccoons aren’t even the problem; I am. But we’ll get to that.

Last summer and fall, I often started my day by glancing out the window and noticing that my two trash barrels were lying on their sides with the lids off, the plastic bags of refuse contained therein shredded, and the now-half-eaten contents of said plastic bags strewn about the back steps, walkway and yard.

“Fuck!” I would exclaim. “Goddamn motherfucking raccoons!” I would add.*

Then I would go outside with a plastic grocery bag over my hand and use it to pick up and deposit back into the barrels the various slimy and disgusting gobs of partially chewed bread, pizza, wet tissues, coffee filters, ear swabs, chicken bones and a myriad of other gag-reflex-inducing items—all of which were made even more delectable if it had rained during the night.

After a couple of these episodes, I realized I needed to do something to prevent the raccoons from getting into the barrels. I started simple: I placed a couple of plastic lawn chairs upside down on top of the barrels … both to physically prevent the raccoons from gaining access, and to simultaneously give the appearance of an eating establishment that had closed for the night. “Go elsewhere, vermin; we’re closed,” the upside-down chairs implied.

Despite the clear message I was sending, the raccoons were undeterred. In fact, not only were they able to topple the chairs and barrels, but they also used some discarded cream cheese to smear on the pavement a note reading: “Ha ha! Nice try, dumbass!”

In the weeks that followed, I tried foiling the raccoons by placing atop the barrels other items: a Red Flyer wagon; a miniature, rideable dump truck; a quasi-cinderblock thing that weighed about 50 pounds. Sometimes they defeated me, but other mornings, I would rise to find that everything was still intact—which I later realized was just the raccoons’ way of messing with me. The ol’ Rope-a-Dope. They let me wear myself out while allowing me to think I was winning.

Their strategy worked … for, sometimes, emboldened by a false sense of security and the misguided belief that I had thwarted the raccoons once and for all, I would neglect to construct my fortress of obstacles. And it was on several of these occasions that, while Wonder Woman and I sat on the couch watching television, I heard my nemeses breaking into the unprotected barrels.

On one such occasion, I sprang from the couch, opened the back door and saw, just on the other side of the screen door, a raccoon who had ascended the back steps and was now trying to pry the lid off one of the barrels. And I figured he would head for zee hills when he saw the big human standing six inches away from him, but he just looked at me through the screen with what I believe is the closest a raccoon can come to an expression of utter boredom and total disinterest. Or maybe it was just the fact that he and his partner—who already was inside the other, still-upright barrel—were both so goddamn fat from feasting on my garbage for weeks on end that they had become overweight to the point of lethargy, and mustering up the energy to run away from the big human was just too much work for them to even consider.

As if not being scared of me wasn’t obnoxious enough, the little fucker stood on his hind legs, placed his front paws on the screen, pushed his snout up under a wooden slat that runs horizontally across the middle of the door and began sniffing big raccoon lungfulls of whatever it is we’d had for dinner that evening—which apparently was so tantalizing that it caused him to begin licking the screen. I shit you not.

Well, Wonder Woman was rather freaked out, and I’d had enough of this arrogant little bastard’s bullshit, because how dare he not cower in my presence? Me, the superior human? Thus, I coaxed him off the steps by pushing the door open, then ran down the steps toward him, which finally caused him to flee. His shithead partner was still in the barrel, so I kicked it over, thinking he’d immediately run out, but he was either too scared to exit, or had decided that there was no way in hell he was abandoning the buffet unless physically forced to do so—which he ultimately was when I grabbed the wheels on the bottom of the barrel and tilted the bottom end upward, causing Rocky and the trash to tumble out of the top, at which point he finally fled, too.

Over time, we had a number of similar such raccoon sightings, which we told Zan about, and he, of course, wanted to see the raccoons, so I told him I’d try to take some pictures for him the next time they decided to dine at Casa de Scratches.

During a subsequent raccoon visit, I began trying to scare the two of them away, then remembered about the pictures, dashed to get the camera, and made it back in time to capture this spectacular shot:

Raccoon tail

The next time, the raccoons were particularly brazen, and, when I advanced on them, would only retreat to the tree several feet away from the barrels, so I again grabbed the camera and proceeded to orchestrate a raccoon photo shoot for the ages. I’m telling you, it was spectacular; one of the raccoons clung to the side of the tree at eye level and got all Cindy Crawford on me, posing like he/she was America’s Next Top Model.

“Zan’s gonna freak when he sees these,” I said to Wonder Woman, who was looking out the window while the photo shoot took place. Hell, not only did I think Zan was going to freak, but I was pretty sure National Geographic was going to use one of the shots for the cover of their next issue, complete with the headline: “The Most Breathtaking Raccoon Photos Ever Taken.”

In the midst of the shoot, I attempted to view on the camera’s display screen one of the pictures I’d just taken and discovered that some bumbling moron had forgotten to reinsert the compact-flash card—and I would have kicked that bumbling moron’s ass had the bumbling moron in question not been me. Since kicking my own ass seemed silly, I instead retrieved the card and ran back outside, at which point I captured this beauty right here:

Raccoon in tree

By this point, I’d had enough of the raccoon hijinks, and decided it was time to ratchet up my prevention methods. I ultimately settled on a pair of Rubbermaid Roughneck barrels, which I raccoon-proofed by strapping the lids down with a bungee cord that I ran from one handle to the other, like so:

Bungee & barrel

The raccoons knocked them over a couple of times, but, lo and behold, could not get the lids off. Finally, I had successfully outwitted an animal whose brain is the side of an almond. Yay, me.

And that is where the story should end, except it doesn’t, because a couple of weeks ago, our trash collectors, as they seem to always do, left the lids and empty barrels on the ground along the side of the road instead of back in the driveway from whence they came—which is why one of the lids was subsequently destroyed when the oil-delivery truck arrived a short while thereafter and ran it over. The word “pissed” does not begin to capture my feelings about this.

The following week, I figured I’d let the trash collectors know they had fucked up, and would ask them to not fuck up again, by taping to the damaged lid a large note, like so:

Barrel with note

This turned out to be a wise decision, as I believe the white paper and green marker made the lid more visible to the passing cars that might otherwise have run it over after the trash collectors again left everything on the side of the road.

The same note remained in place last week, and, to their credit, the trash collectors this time did throw the lids back into the driveway, but the barrels were still sticking out into the street, and also partially blocking the entrance to the driveway.

Now, if a normal person pulled up on such a scene, they would most likely park their car in the street, move the barrels and then pull into the subsequently obstruction-free driveway. Unfortunately, I am not normal … which is I why I instead decided that I couldn’t resist the challenge of successfully squeezing my car in between the barrels on my left and the snowbank on my right.

I was like a surgeon, I tell you. I slipped the car in there like a seamstress threading a needle. In fact, so snug was the fit that the driver’s side of my car actually grazed one of the upside-down barrels as I passed it … which would have been simply ducky if not for the fact that, unbeknownst to me, the handle to said barrel was jutting out in the direction of my car, and snapped right the fuck off when my back tire ran over it.

What’s that? You want to know if I’m aware of what a gargantuan dipshit I am, and if I realize that I got exactly what I deserved for doing such a galactically moronic thing? Why, yes … yes, I do, thank you. I do indeed.

*Yes, I’m vulgar. I use the “F” word. A lot. I know this. Wonder Woman hates it. Some of you might dislike it, also. However: You want honesty, yes? Well, in all honesty, I curse like a drunken sailor lost at sea when I get pissed off. Can’t handle my cursing? Then YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

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Posted in Buffoonery, Life | 35 Responses

Another mouth to feed

I can’t believe I forgot to introduce you all to the newest member of the family! Where are my manners?

Baby Alive Tink & Poops, a.k.a. The You've Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me Doll

This little bundle of joy is Baby Alive Tink & Poops. No, that’s not her real name, but that is what Jayna has been calling her since, like, a year ago when she first saw the commercial. As you can probably surmise, the “Tink & Poops” part means she not only urinates—which is just so yesteryear—but she also defecates. And if there is one thing we need around here, it is a fake baby who shits herself.

But she is all Jayna wanted for Christmas, so Santa came through, and Jayna, well, she was beyond excited when on Christmas morning she found her new baby under the tree.

“What are you going to name her?” we asked.

“Baby Alive Tink & Poops,” she replied.

“But don’t you want to give her a pretty name, like Stephanie or Rebecca or something?”

“No.”

“You’re just going to call her Baby Alive Tink & Poops?”

“Yes.”

And she meant it. It’s February, and blondie here remains known only as Baby Alive Tink & Poops.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, though: I have my own special pet name for her, which I’ve not yet shared with anyone. I like to call her the You’ve Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me Doll.

Because, look, I have a sense of humor, OK? I can take a joke. But this little bug-eyed brat? She pushes it way too far.

As if the tinking and the pooping weren’t enough, missy here also talks. So, the first time she announced that she was hungry, well, Mommy and Jayna whipped up a delicious bowl of green glop made from the special powder that came with BATP, and Jayna then shoved it down BATP’s gullet.

A short while later, of course, BATP announced that she needed to go potty. Ever the attentive mother, Jayna sprang into action, removing BATP’s diaper and sitting her on the potty so that she could evacuate the green slop from her plastic rectum, and is it really necessary to make a doll that shits? I mean, come on, really? Isn’t the peeing enough?

So, OK, she pooped, and how exciting, look, there’s green feaux-poop in the potty! Oy vey.

A couple days after BATP’s inaugural eating-and-pooping session, I was in the playroom with the kids when BATP announced that she had to go potty. Jayna looked at her from across the room, then continued playing with Zan and me.

“Hurry, Mommy, hurry!” BATP begged.

“Aren’t you going to go help her?” I asked Jayna, who shook her head “No” with a guilty look on her face.

“Hurry! Hurry!” BATP continued, but to no avail. Apparently, Jayna had already gotten her fill of motherhood.

“Uh-oh. I made a stinky,” BATP announced … and she sounded just a little too cutesy about it—as if she knew that the child who was supposed make sure she didn’t unload in her pants no longer was interested in handling that task, and responsibility for the matter would now rest with that child’s parents. The joke was on her, though, because, after years of changing poop-filled diapers for my long-ago-potty-trained kids, there was not a chance in hell I was going to start doing it for a doll. Stew in it, buttercup, ’cause I got nothin’ for ya.

But, a day or two later, BATP still had not been tended to, and because I am incredibly anal, I could no longer deal with her slop-covered, feaux-feces-ridden presence, so I took her upstairs, stripped her down and gave her an enema to get all of the dried and coagulated slime out of her digestive tract. I then suggested to Jayna that we stick with giving her water, but no more food.

Jayna relayed this information to Mommy later in the day by telling Mommy that she no longer wanted to feed BATP, because “it’s yucky.” Wonder Woman, however—who does not share my anal-retentive/OCD-ish neuroses—knew that any suggestion of taking the pooping out of Baby Tink & Poops’ job description must have originated with me, and quickly assured Jayna that she could forget about what silly Mr. No-Fun Daddy had said; the feeding and the pooping could continue.

OK, fine. I could deal with that, because the rule book says: “She who rescinds a declaration issued by Daddy subsequently is responsible for the aftermath of the rescinding.” BATP would now be Mommy’s problem.

But here’s the part where BATP really earned the honor of being dubbed the You’ve Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me Doll: Wonder Woman and the kids returned home from running errands the other day, and among the things they had purchased while out was a fresh supply of “food” and diapers for BATP.

Now, firstly, fuck that noise. Plus, also, no fucking way. Like I said: I have a sense of humor, but I am not working for The Man so that we can keep Ms. Shit & Piss well-fed and diapered. Helllllllll no. (Oh, and a special memo to the toy-company assclown who thought up this little scam: You suck.)

Fortunately, BATP has since been mostly forgotten, and has been sitting in the position and manner shown above for days—and, as far as I’m concerned, she can wallow in dried green goo until the house crumbles down around her, because to bring her upstairs and clean her would be to remind Jayna of her existence, thereby starting up the whole cycle again.

Of course, BATP might have a new lease on life nonetheless, because, among the dirty dishes I cleaned last night, I discovered this:

Baby Alive's food

(And, no, doing dishes for a fake baby who fake shits herself doesn’t feel the least bit ridiculous, why would you think that?)

So it looks like Mommy might be getting ready to resuscitate her—which is fine … as long as she starts wearing cloth diapers and eating like a flea. For I am the Lord of the Manor here, and there will be no more of this buying-food-and-diapers-for-a-doll nonsense on my watch.

It feels good to say shit like that previous sentence … because it allows me to pretend for a second that there’s some truth behind the words.

There isn’t.

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Posted in Jayna, Parenthood | Tagged | 40 Responses

Enough already

We got slammed with snow yesterday … again … to the tune of about a foot. I shoveled us out after it tapered off in the late afternoon … which is why I was kind of bummed when I woke up this morning to find that it had snowed about another six inches during the night. Back outside I went again to clear the snow along the edge of the roof (using a roof rake, by the way … an item I never even knew existed until I purchased a home; if I don’t use it, ice dams form and water from the melting snow and ice leaks into the house, and golly gee, boys and girls, it sure is fun to be a homeowner!) and to shovel us out yet again.

Bitching about the snow is a New England tradition, and I certainly do my fair share … but, to be honest, part of me kind of enjoys shoveling. I’d rather roll around in broken glass and take a turpentine bath than rake leaves, but shoveling somehow works for me. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m borderline OCD (and Wonder Woman would probably argue the “borderline” part), and forcing myself to do way too perfect a job of shoveling every single square inch of pavement, cement and flagstone on our property somehow soothes that part of my brain.

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Kiss this

Wonder Woman tells me that these things are called Kissing Balls. Yesterday, I took this picture of one that is still hanging in our backyard … just before I started shoveling … again.

So far this winter, we’ve gotten approximately 3,119 inches of snow. Which reminds me: Mother Nature, if you’re reading this, I have some balls for you to kiss.

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