It’s 4 O’clock Somewhere

410Have you ever wondered what goes on in your house at 4:10am? Neither did I. However, I found myself wide awake and quietly sitting on the sofa in my den while dealing with a bout of insomnia several nights ago. Everyone else was asleep (I assumed) and I was hoping that after a few minutes, I would be tired enough to return to bed. Little did I know, my house is a cornucopia of activity and entertainment at 4:00am. Here is what I heard/witnessed:

4:10 – I’m sitting quietly on the sofa watching The Golf Channel (no volume.)

4:15 – The neighbor’s cat jumps onto my roof and nearly scares the piss out of me. I thought we were about to be robbed.

4:20 – My 6 year old’s bedroom door opens. I crane my head over to the hallway just in time to witness Justin exit his room. His eyes are shut, he is no longer wearing his Mario pajamas (or underwear), and he “shuffles” over to the bathroom. I hear him go pee pee (no flush) and then I see him return to his room with his eyes still shut. The door closes. He never saw me.

4:23 – Justin’s door shutting must have woken up the 1 ½ year old. I can now hear Garrett yelling “DA-DA!! DA-DA!! DA-DA!!” His bedroom door is slightly cracked and I can’t tell if he sees me or not. Regardless, he excitedly keeps yelling “DA-DA!! DA-DA!! DA-DA!!” I decided to stay perfectly still. He’s like a bear in the wilderness. If he senses your movement, he will attack.

4:30 – The neighbor’s cat is now lying across the skylight in the den and looking down at me – judging. Garrett is still yelling “DA-DA!! DA-DA!!” and he’s added percussion by banging on the wall.

4:35 – I hear “BLOOP” from the kitchen. That’s just our fish – “Fred the Undead” trying to escape the aquarium again. After 8 ½ years in that aquarium, I understand his need for a “Shawshank Redemption.”

4:40 – I hear a “THUD” from Justin’s room. I can only assume that he shifted in his sleep and banged his head against the wall…again.

4:41 – The “THUD” has reignited Garrett’s “DA-DA  Drum Circle.” I swear there is only one kid in that crib, but he makes it sound like his stuffed animals (Mickey, Chica, and Elmo) have joined his band.

4:45 – I realize that I have about an hour and a half before I have to be up again. I attempt (for the second time) to go to bed.

As I found myself in bed staring at the ceiling, I began to wonder….what else happens in the middle of the night when I’m asleep???

You asked WHO for a WHAT?!?!?!

PuppyJustin is in “Puppy Mode.” We’re not sure how it started, but it came up suddenly and without warning. Either he overheard a conversation about puppies or one of his friends recently got a dog or it could have possibly been something he saw on television, but he has been asking and asking and asking for a puppy. He is…pardon the phrase…”a dog with a bone.”

Last night, while watching the “AFV Animal Special” (shocking, right), the topic of puppies came up again. This time, Justin took a different approach. He walked up to GWE and asked for a piece of paper and a pencil. Once he had his writing utensils in hand, he settled into the “Daddy Seat” on our sofa and began to write a note.

“Mommy?” he asked. “How do you spell ‘Dear’?”

“D-E-A-R,” she replied.

“Ok,” he said, while scribbling on the paper.

“Mommy?” he asked again. “How do you spell ‘Santa’?”

GWE and I immediately looked at each other. Um…this was not a good question for a Jewish kid to be asking.

“S-A-N-T-A” she answered, curiously.

Without spelling out the rest of the letter, I’ve chosen to attach it below for your viewing pleasure.

It was a complete coincidence that GWE handed Justin a "Naught/Nice" pad of paper!

It was a complete coincidence that GWE handed Justin a “Naughty/Nice” pad of paper!

I felt bad about this. Justin is 6 and didn’t understand why we weren’t leaping at the opportunity to get a dog. I pulled him aside and gave him a hug while I explained that I understood his interest in getting a puppy. However, puppies need a lot of care and I was concerned that Garrett was too young to have a puppy in the house. I wanted Justin to understand that Garrett was still a baby and he needed to be a little older before we could consider it. Justin nodded that he understood and walked back over to the television to continue watching “AFV.”

The truth is – that’s all bullshit. I wanted a dog too! I’ve always wanted a dog! When I was a kid, I begged my parents for a dog. They finally got one – 6 weeks after I moved out of the house!!!! They didn’t just get a dog, they REPLACED me with a dog!! If they could have trained that shih tzu to do the dishes and take out the trash – they would have named him JASON!! And now that I’m an adult and I’m fully capable of talking care of a dog – I can’t get one!! I married a woman who is allergic to dogs!!!! I can’t win! (And, to add insult to injury – even my allergic wife HAD A DOG while growing up!)

Do you know what I did have as a pet? A guinea pig named “Fudge.” Do you know what’s fun to do with a guinea pig? NOTHING!! They scream like banshees, eat pellets that are indistinguishable from their poop, piss on you every chance they get, and the only interaction you will ever have with them is when you change their cage. To this day, the smell of cedar chips make me gag!

Yes, as an adult I understand that dogs require a lot of time (that we don’t have right now), attention (that I don’t have right now), are not cheap to maintain ($$ I don’t have right now), and we have two young kids. The timing is all wrong. However, the kid in me wants a dog right now!!

Once again, I had to be a grown-up and make a mature decision. Sorry Justin…we can’t have a dog. Someday, you’ll understand…..and then maybe you can explain it to me!

Now, about that Santa thing….

I Am The Voice of My Generation…But, You Shouldn’t Listen to Me!

The Lost Generation had Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Elliot, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Beat Generation had Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac. And apparently, The Huffington Post‘s “thorough” research team believe that I am one of the voices of Generation X AND that I am an expert in “Friendship.” (Yes….you read that correctly.)

I am Gen X Daddy. I am a member of “Generation X” raising two members of “Generation More-Screwed-Than-Us.” What is Generation X? We are a group of individuals born to “Baby Boomers” in the late 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. Typically, we are apathetic, cynical, and disaffected, yet –  independent and comfortable with cultural diversity (thank you, Sesame Street!) We were the first generation to integrate technology into our daily lives and the last to know what a rotary phone was. But, why am I “Gen X Daddy?” Because that domain was not taken yet when I decided to start this blog!

So – imagine my surprise when I was contacted one morning by The Huffington Post asking if I would be a “Gen X” spokesperson for a panel on “Friendship.” Specifically, they wanted to know my thoughts on a recent survey (which I was unaware of) explaining that Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers have fewer and less meaningful friendships than Seniors and Millennials.

They could not have found a more inappropriate guest than me. Honestly, I don’t make friends easily and I’m terrible at maintaining those friendships I do have. Having me comment on “Friendship” is like asking a vegetarian how they want their steak prepared. When I called my wife to tell her what I was being asked to do, it was met with deafening silence and then a “Whaaaaaa??????”

In retrospect, I think some producer at The Huffington Post was in a panic for a guest…typed “Gen X” into her internet search command…and then found my blog. Clearly, she never read it. Otherwise, she would have realized that all I do is tell silly stories about my kids. (And she would have seen that my last name was spelled “P-R-I-L-U-C-K!”)

I can’t be the “Voice of My Generation” because the only thing my “voice” keeps saying is, “Stop hurting your brother!”

Grandma’s Dead, But She’s Feeling Much Better Now!

Last night, I came home from a very, very long day at work. I quickly grabbed dinner, plopped down on the sofa to watch a few moments of a client’s show, and then planned to pass out from exhaustion. During a commercial break, I grabbed my iPad and looked at some Facebook updates. All of a sudden, I saw this on my mother’s page:


I looked at it for a few moments and tried to process what I was looking at. I turned to GWE and said, “I think grandma died….4 hours ago…and no one told me.” She responded with, “What?!?!” as I showed her what I was looking at.

I grabbed my phone and texted my mother with “You awake?” (I didn’t call. It was midnight where she was and I thought she might be in mourning!) This was the following text conversation:

Mom: “Yep. Unfortunately, I can’t sleep.”

Me: “Is grandma ok?”

Mom: “Yep. Why?”

Me: “Saw a weird message on your Facebook page.”

Mom: “About her?”

Me:  “Yes. Asking about your ‘late’ mother.”

Mom: “Geez. Looking.”

Me: “It was posted 4 hours ago. Is this like the time my rabbit died you and didn’t tell me for a month?”

Mom: “Oh, brother. Headed to the kitchen to get on my computer.” Pause “OH CRAP! I just answered her.”

Me: “Delete it from your page before people start asking questions!” Pause “Glad I saw that before flowers started showing up at the house!”

Mom: “OMG! I feel like punching daddy until he wakes up to tell him.”

Needless to say, my mother called my grandmother the next morning to tell her what had happened. It turns out that the woman who posted on my mother’s Facebook page had left a phone message for my grandmother last Thanksgiving. Since my grandmother never got around to returning the call, the other person assumed the worst – that she had passed away. (I’ve had people not return my phone calls before. And, maybe I wished that they were dead at the time….but, I never assumed they were dead and then sent their relatives a condolence message on a social media site!!)

My grandmother called me yesterday afternoon laughing hysterically. I told her that for a dead woman who was calling from “the great beyond,” her cell reception was fantastic! She told me that it was cold where she was, but the harp music was nice and the angels seemed friendly. I told her that I’m glad we caught it in time, otherwise my parents would have come home one evening and found a Minyon (10 Jewish people needed for certain prayers) standing in their driveway. We laughed and laughed. (Yes – this is sick.)

It actually did make me wonder – what happens to our “virtual lives” when we pass away? I found two answers. The first is an APP called “If I Die.” According to the site -“Simply install the app on your page, choose three “trustees” (i.e. people who can be relied upon to confirm your sad demise) and record — by text, image, or video — a message that will be published to your feed, upon your death. “ Very creepy!

The other solution is to have a friend post something on your behalf. I like this better! I recently saw an article about two friends who had a plan.  When one died (cancer), the other waited a few days and then used the deceased friend’s password to log onto his Facebook page. He then began posting new status updates “from beyond the grave” as the person who just passed away. He did it for a week with per-arranged updates that they had worked out together before his passing. Here is another one: Dead

In the future, you better made damn sure someone is really, really, really deceased before posting something like that!! Nothing could be stranger than posting a virtual condolence note only to have it responded to with “I AM NOT DEAD YET, ASSHOLE!!”

What did you call me????

Justin in CarWhile driving home one afternoon, I decided to take an alternate route to avoid a stoplight. Justin chimed in from the back seat – “Daddy, I thought you said we were going home. Why are we going this way?”

I assured him that we were going home, but that I was taking the “back way.” GWE turned to Justin and said, “Wow, you are very astute!”

Justin paused for a moment, took a deep (concerned) breath, and then asked the following question: “Mommy………..did you just call me ‘stupid’?!?!?!”

There was a moment of silence and then GWE and I began to roar with laughter. We assured him that we didn’t say “stupid.” We were telling him that he was “astute” – he was someone who could accurately assess a situation!

Jeez – I hope I never have to explain to him that I think he’s “farcical” and not a “fart-sicle!”

It Just Takes One Moment…

photoAt 9:15am this morning, Justin and all of his school friends began to perform in their holiday show. He first appeared with his 4th grade mentors in a song about the holidays and friendship. He then appeared with his kindergarten class in a performance of a funny song and dance about dreidels. Justin happily sang, danced, and took his bows after a number of songs throughout the morning.

At the end of each “set,” the parents enthusiastically praised their kids. Hoots, hollers, and shouts of “That’s my kid!” came from the giddy parents. Even though it was freezing outside, the atmosphere was filled with warmth and love. Here we were – proud parents cheering on our kindergarten through 5 grade students!

I was expecting a call from CBS this morning because I needed to handle an issue with a client. Normally, I would have put my phone in my pocket and enjoyed the morning, but the call was time sensitive and even if I couldn’t take the call, I knew I could respond with an email. My phone was in my hand for the whole performance.

My phone buzzed once and I saw the first alert from CNN. There was a school shooting. No further information was available. I hoped for the best, turned my phone over, and returned to watch the kids gleefully singing and dancing.

A few moments later, another alert from CNN appeared on my phone – Breaking News: Official: 27 dead at Conn. school, including 18 children. I stared at my phone for a moment and re-read the announcement twice. I remember sitting between my father and my wife and having the blood drain out of my face. This was very, very bad. I thought about leaning over and showing the alert to GWE, but decided against it. She (and every other parent) would soon find out what I had learned and there was no reason to ruin the last few minutes of her enjoyment of the show.

I sat there quietly and smiled while my son performed. Once or twice I looked around in an effort to observe my surroundings. There were happy parents everywhere watching the show, waving with pride to their children, and video-taping this event…all the while basking in the holiday cheer. It was very odd to know something that no one around me knew and the irony of the moment was not lost on me. Here I was watching happy students performing for their adoring parents and across the country another group of Kindergarten through 4th grade parents where anxiously waiting to hear if their sons and daughters were still alive. At that moment, many of them were being told the worst thing any parent could ever hear.

This blog has never been about standing on a soapbox while telling the readers what to think or do. It has been about telling you true (and mostly funny) stories about our boys. And, while this tragedy will spark debate over gun control, mental health, and personal security…I would like to focus on one thing – the innocence of children.

We are all GenXDads, GenXMoms, GenXAunts, GenXUncles, GenXCousins, and even GenXGrandparents. We are all one degree away from a young and innocent child. When you get home, grab a child (preferably yours), give them a huge hug and kiss….and then do it again for those who can’t this evening.