Deal Number 2

JustinWhile are Grandma’s house, Justin decided to announce to anyone who was listening (specifically Grandma and Grandpa Bob) that there was a toy he really, really, really wanted. I’m pretty sure he assumed that because he was under Grandma’s roof it would either appear magically or he thought that someone was going to leap out of their chair and go to the store right at that moment to fulfill his wish. I can assure you that neither were an option…especially because it was Super Bowl Sunday and no one was getting off the sofa.

After making his announcement, he was largely ignored. Probably not the response he was hoping for. However, I saw an opportunity here.

“Justin,” I said, to acknowledge his existence. “I’ll make you a deal.”

He perked up in anticipation.

“Here’s the deal: If you get 100% on your spelling test this week and 100% on your speech, I will buy you that toy!”

I saw the wheels in his brain turn in order to process what I had just said. He looked into my eyes to make sure that that I wasn’t bluffing. My son, “The Negotiator,” was about to meet his match in Dad “The Non-Negotiator.”

He took a moment to calculate his response. With caution, he smiled and asked: “What’s deal number 2?”

I smiled and answered him “Justin….there is no deal number 2!!!!” And with that, his smile vanished and the room erupted with laughter.

I’m Batman (An Inappropriate Story)


Garrett has discovered Batman. He’s got the mask and the cape and he’s ready for action. I bust out laughing every time he puts on his costume and announces, “I’m Batman!!” One small problem: I’m not laughing for the reason he thinks I’m laughing. I’m in hysterics for completely inappropriate reasons.

Allow me to explain….

From this point on, my story is enormously inappropriate. It is not meant for mixed company or minors. Read at your own risk!

Fourteen years ago, GWE and I were on vacation in Europe with FoGWE and MoGWE. We were not married, we had no children, and our biggest conundrum was, “Do we sleep until 10:00am or 11:00am?” It was a magical time when we had few inhibitions and the word “sleep” was actually in our vocabulary. (Since the arrival of our children, I’ve been awake….since 2006.)

While on vacation, we spent a few days in Amsterdam. Like any true tourists, we wanted to experience the city. We had a picnic by the canals, toured the Anne Frank House, visited the Van Gogh Museum, and ended our evening at a sex show. Yep – a sex show!

At this point, you’re wondering “What does a child dressed as Batman have to do with this story?” Patience….

Feeling adventurous, GWE and I found a local “theater.” We paid our entrance fee and were escorted into a church lined with pews all the way to the stage. The stage itself had two levels. Both tiers were covered in red shag carpet and hanging over the center of the stage was a gigantic slanted mirror.

Just as we got seated, the lights dimmed and Prince’s “Bat Dance” from the 1989 “Batman” movie began to blast from the speakers. Amused and confused, GWE and I watched a young, blonde woman (who also looked amused and confused) “dance” onto the stage with a “Vicki Vale” dance. She was thin and boney, with a little extra skin. She looked like a hairless cat. She quickly disrobed and laid down on top of the tiered stage. Then, Batman appeared!

Batman was a 6’ 3” black man who wore a cape, a mask, and nothing else. With his “Bat-Boner” threatening to injure anyone in the first three rows of pews, he began to do a “Batman Dance” which included a move that can only be described as “Me, Tarzan. You, Jane.” This move was so funny, unexpected, and awkward that we still joke about it today and often imitate it when the mood strikes.

GWE and I turned to each other and began to chuckle as Batman continued to dance seductively while removing only his cape. The evening became more and more ridiculous as we continued to watch Batman “woo” his partner.

Finally, as the music was coming to an end, he climbed to the top of the stage (with Vicki laying at his feet) and he posed. At that point, someone flipped a switch and the top tier of the stage began to rotate like a Merry-Go-Round with Batman and Vicki Vale on top. They looked like a weird wedding cake decoration. GWE and I could barely contain our laughter.

And then, he impaled her. The evening went from “Ha, Ha, Ha” to “Holy Shit” very quickly. And, the mirror on the ceiling left nothing to the imagination. (A lot more happened, but none of it is relevant to this story.)

Never again would we be able to see Batman as an innocent comic book superhero. To us, he was now a strange masked black man who jiggled his “junk” to the sounds of Jack Nicholson screaming “This town needs an enema!!” in an attempt to seduce a half-asleep naked woman while trying not to bang his nuts (aka “The Dynamic Duo”) on the stage or fall off its “tilt-a-whirl!!”

And, that is why I bust out laughing every time Garrett jumps out wearing his cape and yelling, “I’m Batman!!”

The First Grader on the Roof

JustinplaneI have always said to my wife that someday Justin is going to convince Garrett to climb onto the roof of our house and then jump off. Garrett loves his older brother and would do anything to be like him. If that meant climbing onto the roof and then “flying” off in order to please his idol, so be it. However, I was wrong…

Instead, Justin ended up on the roof….and I’m the one who put him there!

One Sunday evening, Grandpa Bob brought over a model airplane and charger for the kids to play with. From the backyard, I watched as Bob charged the tiny motor and released the plane into the air. The look of awe and wonder on Bob’s and Justin’s faces quickly turned to horror as the plane landed on the highest part of the roof. We tried everything to get it down…a hose, a leaf trimmer, a golf ball retriever, a thrown soccer ball, etc. Nothing worked.

While Bob and GWE were in the house and Grandma and Garrett played in the car, Justin and I stood in front of the house and looked at each other. We gave each other “The Look.” It’s that moment when two people make a non-verbal agreement that will never be spoken of, nor ever admitted to under oath. We made a “We-Know-What-We-Gotta-Do” pact.

I lifted Justin as high as I could. He grabbed onto the roof while putting his feet on my shoulders. Like a leopard, he leapt off of me and onto the roof. Using his hands and knees, he climbed all the way up…grabbed the plane…came all the way back down…and “trust-fell” off the roof into my arms. I have to admit, I was impressed. For a kid who hates going outside even on a sunny day, he was on the roof!

As proof of his adventure (and not to be used against me by Child Protective Services in the future), I now present evidence of Justin’s climb up Mount Priluck…without his Sherpa!


“I can see my house from here! Oh, wait…I’m on it.”


There’s a Jew on my roof. Yet, he has no Fiddle.

As a prologue to this story, the plane was retrieved and all was well until…..

GWE decided that she would be the next pilot to launch this toy plane into greatness. As she released the plane into the air, it whirled around and around. It went up one side of the street and down the other. It was truly a magnificent flight. And then, it crashed….onto the roof of our neighbor’s house.


I debated whether or not to go over to the neighbor’s house to explain that our toy was on their roof, but instead Justin turned to me and said, “Um…I’m not getting it.” And with that, he turned and went back inside the house.

Magnet Mania!

More magnets have arrived for the Man Cave!
Mag1This is from GWE and it’s from the Margaritaville Casino in Las Vegas. One of the problems with being related to me is that you must (by default) become a “Parrothead.” I’ve got two little Parrotheads in training and it’s nice to have a visual reminder in the Man Cave! “Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame”…but, since there are no girls allowed in the Man Cave – it’s kinda difficult to assign blame like that!

Mag2These wonderful magnet additions are from MoGWE and FoGWE. It’s been a little too cold recently to add them to the Man Cave, but they will be going in before the end of the week!!

Thanks again, and keep the magnets coming!!

All I Want for Passover is My Two Front Teeth

It is said that we celebrate Passover to commemorate the story of the Exodus from Egypt. During the Seder, there is a lot of praying, a lot of Manischewitz, and the occasional plague. This year’s Seder was unlike any other for two reasons: 1) We discovered that “teething” should be added to the list of deadly plagues. And, 2) I almost considered reenacting Plague #10 myself by killing our first born due to his uncharacteristically obnoxious behavior. What started as such a promising and exciting celebration ended in frustration, tears, and delicious left-overs.

We arrived at the home of MOGWE and FOGWE at the time they had requested. GWE and I unloaded the car and brought in bags of clothes for the kids, toys, playmates for the baby, food for the baby, etc. Anything and everything we could have needed, we brought – just in case. It looked like we were moving in. Justin was happy to see his Uncle Ethan and everyone proceeded to move into the den for appetizers and drinks.

FOGWE surprised Justin with a remote controlled car. I immediately told Justin that he could play with it, but to be careful and not drive it over his baby brother who was lying on the play mat in the middle of the room. Justin handed me the car and asked me to put batteries into it. I proceeded to quickly load the car with batteries, placed it on the ground, flicked on the remote….and then I drove it directly over Garrett!!  (Yes – I am a wonderful role model.)

What you should know is that Garrett has been teething recently. There is saliva (“slime”) everywhere. It’s on his clothes, his chin, and his fingers. He swallows it so it’s in his belly and comes out with his poop, ie diarrhea. GWE and I decided to pick him up and place him on my lap so that he could see the Passover Appetizer action! He smiled, saw the chopped liver and gefilte fish, and then blasted 4 oz of a baby formula/saliva mix all over my pants and GWE’s pants. We were “slimed” for the evening. There is nothing like having hot-and-then-ice-cold puke on your clothes for the rest of the night!

Then, we passed him off to MOGWE, who gave him a few more ounces of formula. Garrett proceeded to thank her by spitting up a few more ounces all over her blouse, pants, and shoes. She passed him back to us and left to get changed again. In the meantime, we were struggling to soothe Garrett out of discomfort due to his teething.

We all then proceeded to the dinner table. GWE had Garrett to her right and I sat diagonally across from Justin. As FOGWE attempted to lead the table in ceremony and prayer, he simply could not be heard over the sounds of my five month old babbling out of pain and my five year old being silly at the table. Justin knows when he has a captive audience and that dinner table became his playground. He would not be quiet, he would not sit still, and he would not follow directions…, he was being a five year old.

After a VERY abbreviated ceremony, GWE decided to try and put Garrett to sleep in the crib. At this point, we were both starting to get worn down due to Garrett’s discomfort and Justin’s behavior. After a few minutes, we decided to check on him. He was as awake and as pissed as ever.

As the traditional Matzo Ball soup was being served, GWE and I made the executive decision to bring Garrett back to the table to give him his solids. I sat in GWE’s seat to feed Garrett, GWE took my seat, and then Garrett began to devour whatever I put into his mouth. It only took about 10 minutes for Garrett to finish his food and for our food to be served. However, this was 10 long minutes and Justin was nowhere to be found.

I decided to pass the baby back to GWE and I went searching for Justin. Unfortunately, I found him. As I opened the bathroom door, I discovered Justin with his hands in his hair and his hair soaking wet. There was water EVERYWHERE! He had wet down his head and used the liquid hand soap as shampoo. “JUSTIN!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!” I demanded to know. “I’m cleaning my hair, daddy,” he replied. I grabbed the towel behind him, tried to dry his soapy hair, gave up, and then marched him back to the table. He knew I was very upset, but I was exhausted and tired of him not listening. As we got closer and closer to the table, he begged to not be seen. My patience had ended and I tried to drag him to the table – kicking and screaming. MOGWE stepped in and decided to take Justin back to the bathroom to clean him up. I sat down and began to quietly eat my chicken.

Honestly, the rest of the evening was kind of a blur. I remember dessert and Justin finding the Afikoman. But, that’s about it.

As we drove home in silence, I thought about the evening and how it actually was reminiscent of a real Exodus. We had come to the grandparents’ house in hopes of good food and shelter, but my two little plagues practically destroy everything. And then, we were free to leave.

The Origin of Garrett

Of all the stories that I’ve shared on this blog, it dawned on me that I have not shared the origin of Baby Garrett’s name. I was thinking about it while reading an article from Dr. Lisa Quick. As she points out – one of the common themes in choosing a baby’s name is, “How will it affect the outcome of their lives?” Is Little ‘Moshe’ destined for life as a Rabbi? Will ‘Sheldon’ only be good at accounting? I think GWE and I were partially relieved to discover that we were not having a girl because it saved us from having to judge possible girl’s name by their “Stripper Potential.”

“Please welcome to the stage….Bambi!” No. “Please welcome to the stage…Tiffany!” No. “Please welcome to the stage…Selma!” Maybe!

GWE and I began tossing around potential names the evening we found out we were having a boy. Many of the names we liked when we were choosing Justin’s name no longer seemed to be in the running. We had a few new choices, but nothing we were married to.

Then, last May, GWE and I were in Atlanta visiting family. It was a stressful week because it happened to be the same week all of the networks were deciding which television pilots to pick up. I had booked only one pilot that year and I was in a panic. The client was Garrett Morris and the show was a small, unknown ½ hour pilot called, “Two Broke Girls.” On the night of my parents’ anniversary dinner, we were driving back to their house when Garrett called to check in. While on speakerphone, in front of my parents, wife, sister, and soon to be brother-in-law, I informed Garrett (jokingly) that if this show got picked up – I was going to name our unborn baby after him. We all laughed about it.

Later that night, GWE turned to me and said, “That’s not a bad idea.” I asked her what she was talking about. “Garrett,” she said. “I like the name Garrett.” The next afternoon we found out that “Two Broke Girls” was picked up.

As the months leading up to Garrett’s birth passed, we continued to contemplate names. Some stayed on the list, but many came off. “Garrett” remained the entire time. Typically, in the Jewish faith, you name your child after a relative who has passed on. And while we were certain that we would do this with his Jewish name, we were seriously considering going against tradition and not only naming him after a person who was not a family member…but, someone who was still alive!

At some point as a parent, you are faced with actually making a final decision about the name of your child. And, I had to seriously think about it. Were we really about to name our child after Garrett Morris? Seriously?? The “Base-ball been berry, berry good to me” guy?? As I thought about it, I realized that this was a man who had been my friend and someone who stood by me at a time when many would not. This was also a client who had enough faith in my professional guidance and my career to convince me to come back to a business that seemed like it didn’t want me. Garrett had shown me friendship, loyalty, and trust. These are the qualities I wanted our son to have. And so the decision was made – “Garrett” would be the name for our son.

Now, there is a part of the story that GWE did not know until right now. (Sorry, hon.) Since I’m putting this story in writing, I wanted it to be accurate…, the following is true. Three weeks before “Little” Garrett was born, I told “Big Garrett” about the baby’s name. We were backstage at a taping of his show and as I was leaving, I turned to Garrett and told him that I would see him next week. He replied, “You mean the week after. We’re on hiatus next week.” At that moment, it dawned on me that there was a possibility I might not see him until after the birth. And…to tell someone you just named a child after them seemed too important to do over the phone. I took a moment and made a judgment call. I then asked him if I could talk to him in his dressing room for a moment. He looked concerned and let me in. And then….I just said it – “Garrett – GWE and I love you, you’re important to us, and we’re naming this baby after you.” At that moment, I saw him turn white, stare at me for a moment in disbelief, and then reply, “Holy Shit!” We talked for a few moments about it and then I swore him to secrecy. I asked him to please act surprised when GWE and I called to tell him the good news. He did!

There is one more funny part to this story. Just as we had with Justin, we refused to tell anyone the name before the actual birth. However, we did tell MOGWE (Mother of Greatest Wife Ever) and FOGWE (Father of Greatest Wife Ever) that the name began with “G”. We would never acknowledge if they were correct, but they were allowed to throw out names to gauge our responses. For weeks, they would ask us about every “g” name in the book. We politely smiled and moved on to another subject. On the Sunday before Garrett’s birth, MOGWE and I were sitting on the sofa and she turned to me and said, “I know you didn’t name him after a 74 year old comedian.” I smiled back and said, “Of course not!” All the while, I was laughing to myself while thinking – “Well, you’re in for a big surprise!!”

And that is the origin of “Garrett.”