Monday, November 26, 2012

I Dodged a Bullet I Fired at Myself

I don't know what the hell is wrong with me.  Fresh from our victory murdering Santa Claus in front of our 10 year old, and then essentially butchering him Buffalo Bill style and parading around in front of her in a suit of his skin (fine, we came clean about Santa, and explained that WE are Santa, essentially, but it loses a vital element of brutality if you say it that way), I decided, without really deciding, that I was going to explain how babies are made sort of against my own will.  I know that makes no sense.

I was doing dishes in the kitchen while Emma was finishing her supper and Lily played in the family room.  Emma was disagreeing with me about something I was saying.  I can't even remember what, but I decided to play dramatic.

"Oh fine...don't agree with me.  ME!  Your father, your own flesh and blood."
"Well what?
"Well why shouldn't I disagree?"
"Because I own you!  I created you!"

It was here, right at this spot, where something inside my own brain detached and inaudibly joined the conversation .  I'll bold my brain's comments.  Returning you now to the last thing...

"Because I own you!  I created you!"
Really Jim?  You're really going to bring up creating her?  HOW'D you create me dad?  Want to talk about that?  Is this conversation going according to some plan?
I'll fix it, I thought, "Well, not REALLY created you.  I mean, I had a hand in it.  Well...not a hand.  Look, I just mean, I only partly created you."
Please...Please just stop talking now.
"Yeah," she replied, "only partly, like maybe 25%."
Okay...good.  She's closed that chapter.
"25%?  How'd you come up with 25%?  Two people, one half, what's the percentage?"
Oh my god SHUT UP!!!  What the hell???

The conversation more or less died then, with the subjects of "How EXACTLY do you calculate the percentage of creation" and "What are the mechanics of said creation between a mommy and a daddy" somehow...miraculously...unasked.  But not for lack of trying on my part.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Magic Moments - Childswork

Today is my second bi-monthly post for November over at Childswork.  

Today I'm giving thanks for rare magical moments.  And it's all girly and touchy-feelie and heartfelt and crap.  So go eat that mushy garbage up, cause you never know when it'll happen's rare and magical.  

Oh!  OH!!! Do you see what I just did there??  BAM!!!  God DAMN I'm good!  Good for you Jim!  Good for you!

And if I don't post again before turkey day, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

"Thanks for the Unicorns"
More of a figurative unicorn really, but you can't take pictures of figurative unicorns.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Can't Be Taught

I don't know if other utilities in other States do this, but here in Western Pennsylvania, Duquesne Light, as part of some program to greenify the state, or conserve electricity, or something, sends out these monthly statements that graph your power usage and compare you to your neighbors.  

Last month I got one and it I looked at my usage and then underneath it said "95".  And I was like, "SWEET!!" because we bought triple pane glass windows and they're all energy efficient, and I replaced my heat and AC last year with more energy efficient version, and I've been slowly replacing the dumb old light bulbs with the fancy curly bulbs and so clearly this was all paying off, because look how efficient we were last month!

Only then I read the little narrative that went with it, and it said, "Out of 100 homes, you are using more power than 95 of them."  So, to restate, there are only 5 houses out of 100 peers that used more than we did.

So the first thing I did was shut off all the heat and lights and power and huddled on the floor in the cold and dark and rocked back and forth because windows/ac/heat....THOUSANDS of dollars later only to still be in the 95th percentile for worst energy usage.

The second thing I did was say, "Bah!  It's marketing.  Here's the number they want me to call to learn about their new energy program.  Right....cha-ching!"  And I threw out the letter and turned the power back on.

A couple weeks later I was at work and some coworkers were talking about this same stupid scam statement and I asked what their "score" was.  

I think the one guy said he was 8.  Um.  Hmm.  So...he had the 8th best energy usage??  DAMMIT!!

A few days ago I walked through the house and was unsurprised to find that almost every light was on.  I don't know why EVERY light in the house wasn't on, that was the only surprising part, but it was too many lights.  I decided I needed to make a conscious effort to turn lights off when I leave a room.  

I held an impromptu family meeting (we were watching The Voice) and said, "Okay, starting from here on out, when you leave a room, turn out your lights!  Emma, if you leave the lights on in your room upstairs, we're going to send you back up to turn them off.  And if you bust us, we have to turn them off too!"  Emma hates having to go back upstairs, because it interferes with her "laying upside down on the couch playing with her itouch" plans, so I knew this would be very motivating.

Two days ago, with a sigh, I walked down the stairs to address Emma.

"Emma, I used to hate when my mother did this to me, but..."

"Oh no!  What did I do?"
"You left the light on in your room.  I need you to go upstairs and turn it off." 

I could have turned it off.  I obviously had been upstairs in order to observe it's un-turn-offedness...but I wanted her to "learn".

All of this was accompanied by a flashback to a memory I had of my mother standing in the kitchen of our house on North Avenue, Columbus, Montana, and saying to me, "Jim, you didn't turn the light off in your room."  My room was just down the hall.  I was eating breakfast at the counter.

"Can't you turn it off for me?"

"How are you ever going to learn if I do it for you?"
"I just forgot.  It's not like I don't know HOW to do it.  You're standing right there!"
"Fine, but this isn't teaching me how to turn off lights."

*sigh, ponderously climb to my feet, walk down the hall slowly and heavily, dramatically flick the switch off with a flourish, turn around, return to the kitchen sit down heavily, sigh, and shake head.*

"Thank you."

I remember thinking how stupid the whole exercise was.  

To Emma's credit, she was much more respectful.  When she came back down, I thanked her, "Remember, Emma, if you catch US leaving lights on, let us know and we have to go back up and turn them off too!"  I think that softened the blow of having to move.

Last night Emma sat down on the couch and said to me, "You guys left the light on in your bathroom."

"Did we?  Hmm, I'll have to go turn that out."  I walked up the stairs to find that the bathroom lights were indeed on.  I shut them off and came back downstairs.  "Thanks, Em."

See mom, I told you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Giving Thanks

Today I'm giving thanks over at Childswork.  And more than likely it's you I'm thanking.  That's right.  YOU.  I mention you practically by name.  Sort of.  Don't get so caught up in the name thing.  I didn't mention your name.  I wanted to, but I couldn't.  The um. . . law forbid it.  Or something.

Anyway, thank you for being you, and go read all the nice things I said about you and the things you've done for me and my family.

"People Who Get It"

This is a giant hamburger of awareness that I recently ate.
This post needed some awareness.