December 23, 2009

My Christmas Letter

Posted in Just Darn Clever at 9:48 pm by Andrew

In the spirit of the season of giving season’s greetings of joy tidings, I’ve decided to share with all of you my Christmas Letter. It’s OK if you didn’t get me anything…you can make it up to me next year. Here goes:

Merry Christmas! We hope this card finds you with all the blessings…well, we just hope this finds you. Here’s what we’ve been up to all year, since we haven’t spent the time communicating with the likes of you:

My wife’s been busy with Tot-Toos, her new chain of semi-permanent tattoo parlors for toddlers. (The tattoos are semi-permanent, but at this rate, the parlors appear to be very temporary.)

I’m finally living my dream, as a choreographer for the Fox hit “Glee.”

Our eldest is 13 now so, you know, he’s cool. His day was fine. Whatever. Geez!

Our 10-year-old is fascinated by Twitter…so much so that he will now only communicate via Tweets. While the house is much quieter, it can be challenging to communicate with our son. Ironically, he doesn’t even have a cell phone – his “tweets” consist of wadded-up balls of paper that he throws at us.

Our youngest is a girl…and the youngest, so she’s perfect and spoiled, of course, as nature and common sense dictate.

And that’s about it. We hope with all our might that your every dream come true in the New Year. We also hope to actually speak with you next year. Just don’t count on it.

Peace!

December 15, 2009

Shoulda Put a Bow On It

Posted in Fun w/Photos tagged at 12:12 pm by Andrew

Tis the season for commercials where wives receive cars with giant bows on them. I’m sure there are some husbands who buy cars for their wives, but it seems absurd to me — patronizing, let alone extravagant. (Sorry Dear, I care too much about you to belittle you with a new car.)

But what really appeals to me in these commercials are the bows – the gargantuan red bows. Do people actually use these things, or are they only found in prop rooms at commercial studios? I’ve certainly never witnessed anyone receiving a gift with such a bow. And I know they’re not sold in the stationery section at Target.

Not surprisingly, these bows exist online. Carbows.com and largegiftbows.com sell them. [We should have known, right? Feltparkas.com probably sells soft rain gear, and we can likely buy rock paperweights at dumbgifts.com.]

I haven’t engaged in a lengthy search…I’m not fully committed yet…but it appears the bows online max out at 2 feet (for about $40). That just doesn’t match the 5-footers I see on TV. So I may continue the quest.

And when I find one, here’s my plan — I’m a gonna tie that on my car…or my wife’s car…and just let people think what they may. Did I receive a car as a gift? Did I give a car to my wife? Are we far wealthier than anyone realizes? Is Lexus now sponsoring DwyerTime? Who’s to say.

Or…maybe my wife and I will pull a little stunt. When my wife is at the kids’ school, I’ll put the bow on her car in the parking lot. Then, when she comes out, she can start squealing and jumping and thanking me in front of all her friends. They’ll be so impressed that I bought her a car!

Of course, some smartass will probably say, “Why did your husband buy you a used Ford?” Or that know-it-all Peggy will tell my wife, “If you already have an old white station wagon, why would you want another one?”

Friends can really be irritating. So I’ll teach them — I’ll put the big red bow on their car in the school parking lot. Then we can all ask them annoying questions.

I don’t know. Maybe the Internet has a User’s Guide to Big Bows, because I don’t want to look like a fool.

Gift-giving is treacherous.

Maybe I’ll stick with those ridiculous gift bags, and avoid wrapping altogether. But how do I fit a car into a bag?

Hmmm…GiftBagsForCars.com…

December 9, 2009

Look, Look! A Zhu Zhu!

Posted in Just Darn Clever tagged at 10:07 pm by Andrew

In case you haven’t heard, the hot toy this year is the Zhu Zhu pet, a battery-operated hamster that’s supposed to be better than real because it doesn’t eat or excrete.

Here’s a video demonstrating the unbridled joy kids experience with these toys. It’s bizarre and hilarious…and you won’t be disappointed. Here’s what you’ll see:

  • First, check out the 2nd girl in the video…the one on the right. She’s clearly overwhelmed by these electic hamsters — all she can do is point indiscriminately. The girl’s parents must be mighty pleased with those acting classes they sprung for. The director must have said, “OK, Jenny, you’re the pointer…I want you to point point point…see a Zhu Zhu and point!…bang bang bang, Can you do that for me?”
  • Second thing I noticed…where is this commercial supposed to be taking place? It’s obviously not a kid’s room — a cavernous space with multi-colored lighting, devoid of furniture save for 3K worth of Zhu Zhu products? Or are we looking at a secured wing of a psychiatric ward, where children with pointing problems can be left alone with electric pseudo-pets?

So before you buy your kid a zhu zhu for christmas — hip-checking fellow parents into the shelves to get your mitts on one — watch the above video a few times. Is your child ready for such fun? Or will she be reduced to a poor little pointer girl?

December 1, 2009

Say Hello to My Little Sheep!

Posted in Fun w/Photos tagged , at 9:16 am by Andrew

Life is just different out West. And if you don’t believe me, consider this:

“Say hello to my little sheep!”

You know how it’s common to have a pair of granite lions out front of important public buildings, like libraries and courthouses? If you didn’t know that, you need to pay more attention to your surroundings. Maybe these will ring your bell —

But out here in Colorado, where men are men and women know it, we do it up different. We blaze our own trail. We live large. And we use bighorn sheep to protect our public buildings.

That’s right, they’re sitting like bookends at the entrance to a courthouse in Denver. If you live in granite lion country, you probably thought they were mountain goats…or a pair of dodge rams. (Hello?…that’s not even an animal…that’s a truck).

So if you’re coming out west anytime soon, if you’re planning a ski trip or taking the kids to the new Balloon Boy Amusement Park, you better come ready to live it up western-style. While that doesn’t involve concealed weapons or carabiners, it may involve bighorn sheep, alpacas and cougarpumas, be they granite, live or some combination of the two.

November 25, 2009

Live Like You Were Dying?

Posted in Just Darn Clever, Top 6 at 11:37 am by Andrew

Their son died when he was 10.
His wife was killed when their daughters were only 4 and 7.
He lost his parents when he was 15.

We’ve all read heart-breaking stories about people losing loved ones under tragic circumstances. For those of us lucky enough to have been spared such anguish thus far in our lives, these stories really hit us in the gut.

It’s difficult to imagine the pain of losing a child or a spouse. And the general theme of such stories is to live in the now…to appreciate what you have…to not sweat the small stuff…to cherish every moment with your family.

And I think we all walk away with those sentiments. It’s such a cliché, but they really do “put things in perspective.” For awhile.

But for how long? We may walk over and give our kids a hug. We may have a great family dinner that night. We may listen more intently as our children describe their day that evening. But do you wake up the next morning and your first thought is to appreciate the small things?

My answer is certainly “no.” And honestly, how could we? It’s just not realistic to live every moment as if it were your last. It makes for a great country song – and every time I hear it, I’m moved practically to tears. So the emotion isn’t lost on me. In fact, even a Folgers commercial this morning choked me up.

But I’m also a realist, and I believe in another saying: “Life is for the living.” Life is broad, challenging and exhilerating. Sure, it includes the times your heart clogs your throat, watching your daughter sing a song in the kindergarten show, seeing your son hit a triple, and witnessing each of them walk down the aisle.

But life also includes doing the laundry, the dishes and changing the litter box. It includes getting frustrated when the kids don’t do what you say, fail to leave for school on time and lie to you about the cookies. That’s life.

So how do we reconcile these two realities? How can we cherish our son’s first date yet stress when he misses curfew? Here’s my answer – those are not opposing realities. They’re one reality…called life.

We need to stop feeling guilty for living, engaging and enduring all the minutiae that life includes. We can’t look adoringly at our children every moment. When the kids break the window, we can’t simply appreciate that they’re cancer-free.

Life isn’t black and white; it’s gray. Black is over-reacting to life’s troubles. White is being thankful for every minute of life. Gray? Gray is showing up 10 minutes late to the school concert because you can’t find your son’s black pants, being moved to tears by his trombone solo, cleaning the cat vomit from the carpet when you get home, and kissing your kids goodnight in bed. Blend together the good and the bad, and it comes out gray. A beautiful shade of gray.

So go ahead, shed a tear the first time your son doesn’t kiss you good-bye before school. Treat that indiscernible finger-painting as a masterpiece. Pull your hair out when your daughter yet again loses her car keys. Life happens, and there’s nothing wrong with reacting to it. Be glad you’re not dying; you can start living like you’re dying when you’re actually dying.

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my family and our health. I’m thankful for all the wonderful moments we have together. I appreciate that I have room to grow, to become a better parent and a better spouse.

I can’t wait to sit down with my family tomorrow, surrounded by a true feast, though I’m fully aware of the kitchen stress that must first be endured. That’s fine. I’ll take it.

Life is good, warts and all.

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