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Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The Bubs tried out his sidewalk chalk today. This stay-at-home-dad was sure that this activity was a winner... and would buy me at least about 20 minutes of peace.

It lasted less than 5 minutes. The Bub stood up and threw the chalk onto the driveway, breaking it into multiple pieces. He then walked towards the back yard heading for the path to campus. This kid had other plans.

Activities are important, but a two-year-old has the patience of a two-year old. I need about 3 activities for every 10 minutes of rest. This kid is a multi-tasker.

I think I'll continue the sidewalk chalk. It's a crowd pleaser from what I've seen. Maybe I'm not giving the Bub's a chance to show his talent. Maybe my attention span should not be so limited.

Monday, September 13, 2010

House Chef

"So who cooks?" I am sometimes asked this question after stating my job as a stay-at-home-dad (and therefore exposing that I do not leave home for a job). "I mostly cook, but my wife will also cook periodically," has been my standard answer. I then get either a validating nod or a suspicious -- I mean an "interesting" -- stare from the individual asking.  My inclination is to second guess this "interesting" stare as possibly the look of someone who is not on board with my stay-at-home status.  However, I want to avoid my over-analysis by replacing such a weak answer with this one: "I am the house chef."

House chef... it has a strong-like-bull context and reinstates me back into the hierarchy for those who stare at me with suspicion, or I mean with interest. Not that I live by society's code in America, because I mostly do not. I try to challenge it anytime I can or am aware that I can. And that is the key... being aware of when I can challenge the status quo. Since I was raised in it, under it, behind it, on top of it, etc... it is hard for me to recognize it.

I did work in the restaurant industry from the age of 17 until I was in my early thirties, but mostly front-of-the-house positions, i.e. waiter, bartender and front-of-house manager. My back-of-house experience is mediocre. I periodically cooked in almost all the places I waited tables in except for the places that were "known" for their food, including the sushi restaurant in Huntington Beach, Ca. The sushi place was the last restaurant position before entering the education industry.

I believe I picked up a lot of "tools" from many of these restaurants: I clean as I go and there is no 10-Second Rule applied here at the house. Roasted chicken, London Broil or Pepper Steak (with the pepper sauce made from scratch) are on my menus. Veggies are steamed to keep from losing the vitamins and the carbs are managed so not to take over the meal.

My wife bought me a new set of pots and pans from Macy's on a very impressive sale. These babies are stainless steel and I am almost not wanting to use them so to preserve their newness. This is really going to bring my cooking up a level. I am thinking of picking up some black and white checkered pants and carrying around a meat cleaver during the evening hours between 5-7, but I would be the only one impressed.

The Bubs doesn't care who cooks the food as long as he eats when he's hungry.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Learning the Market

When thinking about ways that a person, a.k.a. a stay at home dad, can bring in money for the household I have been juggling a few ideas. One idea was (and is) learning the stock market better by starting a small account. I started watching Mad Money (Jim Cramer) and reading more articles on market behavior. Instead of going nuts, I decided to invest in a near-penny stock that I researched to have potential. The market is volatile currently and it's no place for knuckleheads like me. So after searching around for one I found Sirius XM Radio (SIRI). Of course as soon as I purchased it, it went down. hahaha... serves me right. But I'm solid in my belief that once this economy gets stronger (whether it is the jobs issue or the housing market keeping it down... or maybe even the fear mongering political strategy by conservatives to better their chances this November) that SIRI will be in good position to take off.

All of this takes time away from the Bub so I try to only jump online when he naps. However, sometimes I just need to know where the DOW is at. Some days the Bub will walk over to me and hand me a book. This is my signal that I'm spending too much time on the computer. Nine out of ten times the Bubs brings me a book, I crawl down on the floor and read it with him. I think this is why he continues to bring me books. I never thought the Bub would help keep my day balanced.

When the Bub gets older and starts hearing that many of his friends' fathers were working full-time when his friends were babies/toddlers, he's going to start asking me questions on why I was home all the time. So when that day comes, I want to be able to support society's majority view (that the man brings home the bacon) and tell the little guy, "Dad did alright Bub." After that conversation, I hope to walk outside to my expensive car in the driveway and drive off to the yacht club for a round of over-priced golf with buddies.

Until then, I think we should all be thinking about buying a satellite radio (a Sirius XM radio). ;)

"I yelled at Kenny today for coloring outside of the lines!" - Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom

I think Mr Dad would have been a better name for this movie, but I was ahead of my time back then. Mr Mom was a great movie for its time. I recreated the bathroom scene (along with my father) when my little guy (a.k.a. The Bub) was only 3 months old.

While at a restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd, I needed to change the Bub's diaper. Since there were no baby/diaper changing platforms in the men's room (not the first time), my father offered to help. While my dad held the Bub up in the air, I slipped off the old diaper and quickly slipped on the new one. I was happy that there were no number two's inside (as I'm sure my pop was too). I happened to notice the hand dryer was directly behind Bub's butt as my father held him high in the air. I thought of Michael Keaton's character (a stay at home dad) doing the same in the men's room (while at a job interview). My next thought was, "glad no one else is in here with us."

Just as I patted the final adhesive on the side of the Bub's diaper (and thinking that we were done without anyone seeing), the bathroom door swings wide open. The look on the guy's face made me think this was not what he was expecting to see. I smiled at the surprised gentleman and said, "Come on in. We're just about done."

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The Bubs is infatuated with all three of these modes of transportation. When he hears any of them, he quickly flashes us the sign (we're teaching him ASL) with his eye's wide open looking for validation. "Yes, an airplane Bubs. That's an airplane!" This can go on for hours each day. I am just glad that we don't live near the end of a runway or otherwise we'd be busy.

The Bub's can actually tell the difference between the sound of a truck and a car. We live near a busy county road and hear vehicles constantly. We also seem to have lots of Harley Davidson's traveling up and down this road (there goes one as I right this actually). I had to teach Bubs how to sign motorcycle. He picked it up in one day - almost immediately. It was like he was waiting for me to tell him.
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