Archive for March, 2011

Letting go day 7: North American Hootenanny

You remember our dog Chuck, right? Friendly. Drooly. Barky. Enormous.


The night before last, he dropped a massive load on the living room rug. Then last night, in the garage, he made another plus-sized deposit.

Because the weather is warm now, we’ve considered leaving him out, but Chuck will bark most of the night, which robs us of sleep and leads the neighbors to mutter and put nasty notes in our mailbox. I don’t know what to do.

Maybe we try canine diapers. Or maybe we try Imodium. Or maybe we buy a shock collar and let him stay outside all night.

(I sense your disapproval from here. No, we won’t jolt old Chuck with electricity, even if sometimes, when he’s staring at a wall and barking and barking and barking, we kind of want to. )


1. This is the final day of my daily blogging experiment. Hal. Lay. Freakin. Loo. Ya. Okay, not really. It’s been fine, but I’m growing weary of writing about my days in the life, which are marginally interesting, even to me.

*. I’m going to the North American Hootenanny on the rooftop of the One-2-One bar tomorrow night. You should come. It’s free, and I’m pretty sure you like free.

trois. Slade climbed into bed this morning before sunrise and accidentally kicked me in the eye. I hope it was an accident, anyway.

Until next time, dudes and dudettes.

Be good. Try not to kick your father in the eye.


Letting go day 6: The neighborhood circus

Piddly stuff has set me off lately. The dogs taking a dump in the living room, Slade throwing pebbles on the sidewalk I just swept, the toll road company sending us a bill that we’ve already paid. I clench and curse quietly about all this minor drama that doesn’t matter.

I tell myself exactly that, that it doesn’t matter, but I’m still pissed off. My insides are still a fist.

How do I let it go? How do I laugh and breathe deeply and enjoy the strange scenery of a life off the rails? I need to figure that out.

A party erupted at our house Saturday night. I invited a few people from the neighborhood over, and they showed up as did others, one of whom I only sort of know, another of whom I didn’t know at all.

Shots were downed and schemes were hatched and beer bottles were broken and baskets were shot on Eli’s new hoop. I had an especially fine time.

Then Phil backed his truck into a steep ditch. Why Phil, who lives a maybe two-minute walk away, had driven to our house in the first place is a head scratcher. Why he’d decided to cruise home with a belly full of booze is another.

A tree prevented his truck from flipping over, and the front half of his truck, including a wheel that was off the ground, poked out into the road. We tried to push his truck and then tried to tow it, but we couldn’t budge the heavy machine.

It’s been a brutal year for Phil. His wife cheated on him and left him. He’s working several jobs, but money is always tight. He gets to see his son very little.

You’d think that a truck in the ditch would be enough to break him. But Phil remained upbeat and relaxed as we failed to get his truck unstuck and called wrecker services and hoped that a sheriff wouldn’t roll down the street.

I told Phil that if it we were me, I’d be angry and freaked out. I told him I might just put my head through a window.

He smiled at me. “What are they going to do to me? I mean, really. I’m already broken. They can’t hurt you when you don’t care any more.”

He patted me on the shoulder.

“Come on, bro,” he said. “Let’s get some cold beers and enjoy the circus.”

He yanked two Lone Stars from the garage fridge, and we walked up the driveway to the road to await the tow truck, and I drank deeply from the bottle, and I have to admit that I felt calm and pretty good.


I’m sure I’m over my 20-minute limit. I didn’t intend to tell this story, but then I started typing, and I didn’t want to stop. So I didn’t.

Letting Go Day 5: If you find my brain, could you please return it? Thanks.

“Ride bike down the stairs,” says Slade, who is sitting on his tricycle, at the top of a long flight of stairs.

“Absolutely not,” Sally tells him.

“Ride. Bike. Down. Stairs,” he demands, and I say no this time and Slade yells and yells. The 2-year-old is fearless, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.


a. I seem to have misplaced my brain sometime yesterday evening. If you find it, please return it.

II. I went for my first open water swim in the lake yesterday. Even with a wet suit on, it was cold. Fun, too.

trois. A nap sure sounds swell.

14. My parents left yesterday, and Slade has been waddling around the house going, “Grammy, where are you?” and “Papoo, where are you?”

Okay, I’m off to wash dishes and bathe boys and change a diaper and read a story about a goose or the moon and continue living this rock star life.

Letting go day 4: Tow truck birthday

So, yeah, tonight, I meant to post but things got a little rowdy and then Phil backed his truck into a ditch and Wade got lost in the woods and now it’s 3:30 AM and Slade is going to wake up in about an hour.

In other words, I’m pretty sure I’m fucked.

So, yeah, today was my birthday. It started out hard and hazy and ended up funny and hazy.

Thanks to Dave and Vangie for the black socks, Luby’s gift certificate, and ear plugs. I’ll use and appreciate them. And thanks to my wife for tolerating me, and to my parents, and to those friendly people on Facebook who wished me well.

I’m off to bed.

Dream well.

Letting go day 3: I am strong

I drove by McDonald’s this morning and eyeballed the joint but didn’t stop or even slow down. I am strong, dear Bad Chemicals’ reader. Probably unstoppable.


@. One of the dogs took a soggy dump all over the garage. This happens about once a week. Which reminds me: Anyone want a friendly canine?

#. I’m not sure I like anything I’ve ever written. Yesterday, I reread a handful of posts from this blog, and I was embarrassed and annoyed by every single one of them. I was pleased by a paragraph here and there, though.

%. Sally didn’t get shot at work yesterday, which is nifty. Which reminds me: If you chance into her anytime soon, tell her she needs to quit her job. Her lousy salary and the ocassional child she reaches isn’t worth what she puts into it.

We’re meeting up with friends at a local brew pub tomorrow night to celebrate my birthday. For grins, I think I’m going to write tomorrow’s post after I’ve returned with have a head full of barley pop. That should be stupid fun.

Or maybe just stupid.

Until then, dear reader.

Letting go day 2: I don’t have a problem. I can stop going to McDonald’s anytime.

I awoke at 4:00 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. I kept thinking about Sally and her student who showed up with bullets and probably a gun. The day before she’d sent Jose to the office and Jose was none too pleased about that. What if Jose brought that gun in yesterday to get back at Sally, is what I kept wondering. And what if he sneaks it in today to finish the job?

Our schools are broken, broken. They’re underfunded and overcrowded. No child left behind is a failure, and increasingly we can’t even keep our kids and teachers safe. We have to at least do that. We can’t let bullies like Jose beat up other students and call the principal a “fucking pussy” and saunter into school with weapons and get away with it. There are children who really, truly do need to be left behind, and Jose is one of them.


1. I couldn’t resist the siren call of a McDonald’s breakfast again today. I feel dirty for admiting that.

b. We’re off to a movie again tonight. This go around is Rango. If you’re counting at home, that’ll be three movies in the last week. I’m pretty sure that’s some kind of personal record.

d. My parents are visiting (read: spoiling the children) till Saturday. Slade and Eli will be mighty blue when Grammy and Papoo roll away. I’ll miss them, too.

XVI. Want to read a story about an old woman and a tooth that grows arms and legs and dances to circus music? It’s a lot better than I’m making it sound: While you’re there, be sure to also check out the piece called Samantha.

300. My 40th birthday looms.

Until tomorrow, dudes.

Letting go day one: Naked

I’m trying not to look at the screen while I type this. Maybe tomorrow or the next day I’ll get brave and type a post with the monitor turned off. I feel naked writing like this, without editing, without a net, and it’s both swell and shitty.


a. I’m convinced Jiffy Lube could be bombeed out of existence, and the world would be a better place for it. Why I continue to go there and expect a low-cost, hassle-free, speedy experience is God’s own private mystery.

dos. Sally and I are about to walk out the door to see the Adjustment Bureau. That’s right. A movie on a school night. We’re living on the edge.

3. I’m going to be featured at tomorrow. The thing they’re posting is a longer version of a story I wrote and published here a couple of years ago. It’s also a condensed, and sweeter, version of something else I posted here just a couple of weeks ago. Makes complete sense, right? Anyway, if you read it and swear you’ve seen parts of it before, it’s because you probably have.

IV. Today, one of Sally’s students, who’s in a gang and angry, angry, showed up to middle school with a gun and bullets. By the time cop searched him, the gun had disappeared, but he still had the bullets. Yesterday, Sally had sent this same boy to principal’s office and implored the principal after school to suspend the kid. The principal did nothing. And today when they found the bullets and the boy confessed to having a gun with him earlier in the day? They let him go back to class. It’s wrong, it’s sickening, and I can’t help but be worried about Sally’s safety.

z. Confession: I picked up breakfast from McDonald’s this morning. A Bacon egg and cheese bagel. It was delicious.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got tonight.

Here’s hoping you feel naked in your own way tonight, too.