Basic Truths of Parenthood: Flushing

Toilets are much, much more fascinating to toddlers than you might have ever imagined.

I picked up Rebecca and Abby from daycare today. While I was grabbing assorted crayon drawings, mild injury reports, and winter clothing from their cubicles, they ran down to the end of the hall to the bathroom. This was okay since the hall is enclosed and there was no way they could get anywhere.

The spent the time in the bathroom flushing the toilet and giggling.



*prolonged giggling*

Bearing in mind the alternative, I can’t really complain. I’ve recently had to stop Abby from deliberately sliding headfirst down the stairs. Like toilet flushing, sliding headfirst down the stairs is entertainment only a toddler can truly appreciate.

I really, really look forward to the point where she stops appreciating it.

A Moment of Valentine’s Day Empathy

Kristen cuts bread for herself in the kitchen. I, meanwhile, am beginning to make pancakes for myself and our children.

“Oww!” she says.

“What happened?”

“I cut myself with the knife.”

I survey the scene. She is still holding both the knife and the bread. The cut isn’t bad.

“I’ve done that myself,” I say. “Don’t bleed on the bread.”

18 Degrees Outside

It’s 18 degrees Farhenheit outside. The forecast high is 20.

Sadly, I genuinely enjoy the temperatures between 10 and 20 or so. The air feels wonderfully clean. Even the cold isn’t unbearable if you’re wearing a coat and gloves. Moving doesn’t hurt either. I think that I feel the cold more when I’m sitting at the computer writing than I do when I’m outside.

Thursday night between 10:30pm and 12am, I shoveled the driveway. Except for the snow, I enjoyed it. One constant problem with shoveling snow is that when the city’s trucks go through, they push all the snow off the road and into the driveway, making it completely impassable. Worse, they usually do this the day after you’ve completely cleared the driveway of snow, making the whole thing seem pointless.

Thanks to the pressure of cars’ tires, the snow on the road is a mixture of ice and snow, not the light, fluffy stuff you find on your lawn. By the time it turns into a foot and half high pile at the end of your driveway, it is nothing but densely packed chunks.

I spent an hour and half shoveling, scraping and sometimes digging. Overall, it was okay, but I don’t recommend it to anyone looking for winter fun. Or people with heart conditions.

Saturday Grocery Shopping

Once upon a time, before the arrival of children in my life, Saturday was restful.

Now, Saturday is the day of working on all the things that didn’t get done during the week, but definitely must be done (grocery shopping, for example). Bringing children grocery shopping takes forever. Leaving 2 toddlers with one parent while you go off grocery shopping is unfair to the other parent as 2 to 3 year olds are well… active. And have no concern for life and limb. Or whether they will break things.

So we go together. We strap them in the cart like criminals and push around the grocery store. We might or might not get lattes from the Starbucks inside the store (which has the unpleasant side effect of making any kid that does get loose harder to control).

In the end, it takes something like 3 hours: One for trying to figure out what’s on the grocery list/trying to get kids ready to go, some 40 minutes for traveling to/from the store, and finally about 80 minutes inside store.

The 80 minutes inside includes the actual task of getting groceries, plus controlling children, plus time for running back to get items that you forgot because you were attempting to control children.

I am amazed we get back from the store at all.


I made pancakes this morning. Now the whole house simply reeks of pancakes. I wouldn’t have expected the smell of oil, flour and heated griddle to permeate the entire house.

Somewhere in here there’s an entry about physics and the sense of smell, but I’m not the person to write it. Alas.


Living in Michigan, you don’t automatically get constant snow every day all winter, but sometimes it feels like it.

We’ve probably gotten 10-12 inches in the course of the last 2 weeks. Granted, some 5 of those inches melted into slush (and now ice) last Sunday/Monday, but that still leaves 6-7 on the ground.

It also means that 6-7 inches are on the driveway.

In past years my tactic for dealing with this problem could be described as “wait for spring.” As a general rule, the driveway would be level with the yard–except for the tire treads from my wife’s car. They’d be about 2 inches thick of a densely packed ice/snow mixture not unlike a glacier–well, at any rate not unlike a small, hard, unmoving glacier.

This year, with the newly found responsibility of a parent of two toddlers who want to walk up the driveway, I’ve shoveled every time it snows. I’ve even shoveled the sidewalks (the city doesn’t).

It’s sad how much of a sense of accomplishment I feel.

I feel so good, I may even mow my lawn next summer.


Every year around this time, I get the urge to roast a turkey.

I’m not sure why it is, but I can guess. I do all the cooking around the house and I can probably be described as a bit of a hobbyist. I particularly like to make Mediterranean, Indian, African (Ethiopian in particular) and occasionally Chinese food. I’ve got books on Southeast Asian and Japanese cooking, but these books are so far unused despite the fact the Japanese cookbook actually includes directions for sushi.

I love sushi, but I’m not yet confident enough of the freshness of fish in my area to try to serve it raw.

Actually, I’ve also got a few vegetarian cookbooks. It’s not because I’m a vegetarian, but rather because the lack of meat in the meals pushes vegetarian cooks to try interesting things. And also because I don’t believe eating meat on a daily basis is necessary.

So anyway, I made a turkey.

I got it for about a dollar a pound, making it rather cheap–$11.87. That’s still more turkey that we can eat, but it was the cheapest (and smallest) one I could find. I saw $45 turkeys in the freezer.

I hadn’t realized just how long it takes one of those suckers to thaw. Two days for the smaller ones. According to the label you could make it thaw in 19 hours if you let it thaw on the counter for 7 hours and then inside the fridge for another 12.

I tried that. It didn’t work. The outside was a little soft but the inside body cavities were like rock. So after calling my mom and younger brother Derek (both of whom had made turkey before), I put the turkey in the cooler with cold water and kept it there for an hour and half. In an effort to avoid disease, I changed the water every half hour, pouring it into the sink.

This is more of a pain than it sounds because it takes time to fill up the cooler with water, the cooler is a bulky object, and you pretty much have to wash your hands each time you touch the turkey.

Why would you touch the turkey? Because you want to get all the water out and you don’t want to have the turkey fall into the sink while you do it.

Also, we have 5 cats. So while I could have placed the turkey on a plate while pouring out the water, I didn’t want it out of my sight. It did thaw eventually though. It was juicy despite having the temperature go up past the maximum on the thermometer (190).

Not that Abby and Rebecca (my daughters, both under 3) ate any. When they noticed we had mashed potatoes, they refused to eat anything else (unless you count gravy).

And so, I now have at least 5 pounds of leftover turkey.

Anyone like turkey sandwiches?