I know I have some screwed up thoughts. But sometimes, I even scare myself.

On Saturday night, we left JJ’s wedding around 10. The parking garage was… sketchy. There was construction going on, so it looked like a disaster. There was even a cliche flickering light.

I was in my tuxedo, looking amazing. Meg was all dressed up too, looking like she was walking next to someone who looked amazing. We didn’t blend in with the few other people who were around.

I had a realization. The situation was really similar to how Thomas and Martha Wayne died. So while I was a bit unsettled, holy shit, if things went really bad this could turn Austin into Batman.

Meg is on her way to a Girl Scouts meeting tonight. On her way out, she kissed us each goodbye.

“Goodnight, be good for daddy.”
“Yes, mommy.”

“Goodnight, be good for daddy.”
“Yes, mommy.”

“Don’t kill either of the children tonight.”
“No promises.”

This morning, Leanne handed me a balled up sheet of paper.

“Daddy, I made a present for you.”

Normally, this is a good thing. As a father, you learn that there are some key words that indicate what follows is going to give you a migraine. For instance, “Daddy, um… guess what?” is a universal sign that I’ll be drinking before noon.

A present, on the other hand, has the potential to make my morning. My office is a gallery of her various pictures and art projects. They are almost always cute, save for the short period during which her depiction of me wearing shorts looked more like I had a giant set of testicles. I’d make a joke about this being her “blue period”, but that would just be immature.

Today, I open up my “present” to find — sweet merciful crap, I can’t believe I’m about to type these words — a severed Barbie arm.

Years from now, on the off chance she turns out to be a serial killer, there will inevitably be some asshole reporter at my door asking what she was like as a child. The only real answer I’ll have will be “You know what? I probably should have seen this one coming. My bad.”

I’m locking my bedroom door tonight.


Ok, I get that Frozen is huge. I liked it too, at least the first 17 times I was subjected to it. And I totally see the desire to shit out any and all possible merchandise.

But holy shit, the only doll they had available at the parks this week… ok, lemme see if I can describe this. It’s Elsa in a dress. So far, so good.

Then you flip the dress up over her head. As in, that’s the point of the doll, not just something I do in my spare time to see if I’ll get arrested or not. Creepy, but come with me on this.

Instead of legs, there’s an upside-down Anna. The underside of Elsa’s dress is Anna’s. So it’s… I dunno, two dolls in one?

I could be more forgiving if the story premise was that they were the same person and somehow switched between the two. I say “more forgiving” because there’s no real justification for this abomination. Even if that were the case, it doesn’t change the fact that it looks like Elsa is giving birth to an adult Anna.

“Son of a bitch.”

About an hour in, Meg has yet to complete her first Rainbow Loom bracelet. Leanne has since moved on to other Christmas presents.

“You do realize that Leanne’s friend Luke made her, like, one a day for a week, right?”

“This is going to end up on Facebook, isn’t it?”
“Oh sweet merciful crap yes.”

Two minutes earlier…

“What about this for an idea for Leanne’s Christmas party at school? I take some white styrofoam cups, draw snowman faces on them, put them in a pyramid–”

Now at this point, I’m picturing a vertical pyramid. As if each child got their own multi-layer snowman to take home. Sounds kinda neat right? I should take this opportunity to remind my faithful readers that Meg did, in fact, graduate from Villanova’s School of Business.

“… and the kids can throw cotton balls into them.”
“I don’t get it, how– hang on, are you playing beer pong with a bunch of kindergarteners?”

Annnnnnd there’s that college degree in action.

“Well, no. It’s supposed to be throwing snowballs.”
“Yeah, but, and I know it’s been a while since I’ve played me some beer pong, I’m pretty damn sure that’s beer pong. I mean, sure, there’s no beer — there is no beer right? just checkin’ — there’s no beer, but these kids are going to go home and tell their parents about their party and effectively describe beer pong.”
“Just… god damnit Jay. <rubs temples> Do you think it’d be fun?”
“Is it… is it called Snowball Pong?”

I thought about the American Horror Story episode I had paused in the basement and worked through all possible answers that led me to ending this moment as quickly as possible.

“Hard to say. As a game concept–”

Clearly, I failed miserably at choosing the shortest possible path towards resuming my night.

“– as a game concept, I think beer pong kinda sucks. It’s hard to say because I’m normally blasted off my ass when I play.”

She gave me that look that said I wasn’t leaving until she had a real answer. It said quite a few other things as well, but trying to put that look to words would be akin to someone reading from the Necronomicon.

“Ok, real answer,” our hero replied with a growing sense of fear, “I’m worried that cotton balls won’t fly correctly.”
“I thought about that too, so I figured I’d bring ping pong balls as back up.”
“So wait, lemme get this straight–”

So now I’m back in the basement, which is where I wanted to be in the first place.

I’ve had chronic headaches for over six months now. My physician is out of ideas and is sick of seeing me, so he’s sending me around to just about every specialist he can think of. The only thing he’s ruled out is pregnancy, and that’s only because between board games, video games, and comics, I’ve regressed so far back into virginity that I’ve actually grown a hymen.

Today’s visit was with a neurologist.

“What you’re describing may be tension headaches. Are you under any excessive stress at work or in your home life?”
“My son shit on the floor this morning.”
“I think we’re done here.”

I should quit my job and write advertising for contraceptives.

This morning at around 6:45am, Meg was drying her hair and I was trying to will myself out of bed. When she turned off the dryer, I heard that Austin was screaming his head off. It sounded like he’d been at it for a while, which surprised me since normally the girl would have wandered in pissed off that he disturbed her beauty sleep.

Why didn’t I hear him over the monitor? It was giving off some weird static last night, so Meg just turned it off. It’s amazing the difference between the first and second child. If the monitor started to misbehave when Leanne was young, Meg would have slept outside of her room with her ear literally pressed against the door while I pursued an engineering degree online and fashioned a new one out of spare phone chargers and a potato until we could buy a new one the next day. With Austin, the moment it starts to act up, we not only shut it off, but actively get pissed at him for the inconvenience of having to expose an arm to the cold air outside of the blankets.

Sadly, that’s not the real story here. He was screaming pretty loudly, so I decided to go see what’s wrong. Keep in mind the proper mental image here. I’m going straight from bed and walking 30 feet down the hall to the boy’s room.

I open the door to find his sleep blanket draped over the side of his crib. Not the best omen, but not all together a surprise these days either. Next to it, also hanging over the side of the crib, are his pajamas.

At this point, even my coffee-deprived brain can do simple math. There weren’t many layers left between, let’s just put it mildly and call it “between Austin and the world.”

Sure enough, sitting on the floor in front of the crib is Austin’s diaper. Sitting on the floor — the carpeted floor — next to the diaper, are the contents of Austin’s diaper.

This morning — believe me, I wish I was making this shit up — Leanne came into our room, stood on the foot of the bed, and started yelling “cock-a-doodle-do”. Why anyone teaches their kids how to speak is beyond me.

Adding insult to injury, she then pulled the covers off of me. Let’s not forget this is just a normal Tuesday. When I think about what she has planned for Christmas morning I wet myself a little and then curl up in a corner.

I have what I believe to be an elegant solution to the problem. I’m going to get her addicted to coffee. Come with me here. The reason this morning’s antics had me wondering about the potential fire hazards and legal implications of nailing her door shut at night is because I’m an order of magnitude beyond useless without my morning coffee. On average, roughly three days a week I don’t remember Meg’s name until well after 8am.

If I could apply that to Leanne? Picture a zombie child wandering into our room in the morning and plopping on the foot of the bed only to fall back asleep. If I time it correctly, she won’t start to get talkative until the walk to the bus.

Assuming Meg convinces me not to go forward with this plan, I’m marking this date: October 29, 2013. Let’s say that the teenage sleep-until-noon thing starts at 15. On October 29, 2022, I am setting my alarm for 5am and I’m going to blow an airhorn in her room. Some of you who don’t know me may be wondering if I’m really the kind of jackass that will hold a grudge for 9 years. Those of you who do know me aren’t wasting time wondering.