Guess how I thought of opening Go Ask Daddy this week?
I had designs on a scathing prediction of boredom and boneheadism in the Super Bowl on Sunday. Final score: Patriots 9, Seahawks 8. It’s the lousiest championship game in the history of Jesus.
Marshawn Lynch fumbles three times and rushes for 3 yards. Tom Brady throws seven interceptions, and Seattle can’t muster a touchdown. Both coaches draw the writer’s block when it comes to rule-bending.
That’s saying something. Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll redefine the term, ‘cheat sheet.’
The holidays are here, and just as I found that spirit coursing through my veins – was it the bowl of sugar-cookie dough chilling in the fridge? My admission that I’d definitely split a pizza with Jan from the Toyota commercials? – I get horse-collar-tackled by a rogue virus.
A Santa makes his rounds, I find myself with Vapo Rub on my chest, fever rousing me before it’s time to make the donuts, and the realization that the fam might have to do it without me today.
I’m happy to share on this very Christmas morning our latest edition of 6 Words. It’s the Christmas special. I’m not talking the Full Houseor Growing Pains Christmas specials – I mean the Hemingway-prodded means of getting you all to condense the season.
A guest bought a Papa John’s pizza for me, my supervisor and Nico, the good bellman. Jong, I’ll call the supervisor, ate a slice. I ate another. Nico ate the rest. In an estimated six bites.
If there was a (pizza) pie chart to represent which of my girls asks the most questions, Grace would claim a share equivalent to Nico’s. When you’re 8 and spend lots of time at daddy’s elbow, you ask many questions.
When you’re 28 and spend time eating daddy’s pizza, you get called out in his blog.
1. How many feet tall is our house?
I have no idea.
I think the people who built it packed up and left the community in the middle of the night, and they left no blueprints.
Let’s see … two stories, 10-foot ceilings, what, a foot of floor/ceiling between them, an attic I probably couldn’t stand up in … yeah, about 100 feet tall.
No, not that tall. I’d estimate it pokes a good 32 feet up in the air.
It’s nothing more than a cruel hoax perpetuated by contrived, parent-honoring holidays and overpriced buffets.
Brunch, a meal that takes place between breakfast time and lunchtime, in place of those meals, is fine for those who sleep in and wake up hungry. But what about those of us who wake up early and hungry?
Breakfast: Two eggs, over easy, two warm tortillas, tall glass of milk, short glass of OJ
Brunch: All your carbs – waffles, waffle sticks, pancakes, French toast, crepes, omelets. Or, three strips of bacon and a poptart.
Lunch: A grilled cheese, potato salad, a couple of carrots, a bottomless Coke Zero.
Don’t be fooled by Mother’s Day and Father’s Day specials and Easter brunches made to feel like special occasions with $20 entry fees. It’s still a meal for those who sleep in.
It shouldn’t cost as much as a half tank of gas – that’s what I call being tricked by a business. It’s NOT hella tight, as the kids say.
3. How do mood rings work?
Every human should have mood-ring technology strapped across their forehead.
Imagine the utility. If your cashier’s in a romantic mood, proceed with caution. If the traffic cop is having a blue day, he won’t get mad if you lag behind a bit.
If your hairstylist shows yellow? Proceed with caution. She’s a bit tense and excitable, neither of which mixes well with scissors.
Here’s what about.com says the colors mean:
violet blue – happy, romantic
blue – calm, relaxed
green – average, not much going on with you
yellow/amber – tense, excited
brown/gray – nervous, anxious
black – cold temperature or broken ring
A mood ring is actually a hollow clear shell with thermotropic liquid crystals inside. These crystals twist in reaction to temperature changes on your skin.
The twist changes the molecular structure of the crystals, which changes the wavelengths, which changes the color the ring displays. It’s more tiny science experiment than soul-reading sorcery.
I lost a mood ring once, when I was a kid. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
4. Does Iona stand for something?
It stands for Independent Oaths of Narwhals of America. Or Immigrant Oatmeal Needs Association. Or perhaps Impact of Oedipus complex for Nootkas Abroad. (Well, those would make good band names, anyway.)
Iona doesn’t stand for anything. It’s a college in New Rochelle, N.Y., with a cool nickname (Gaels) and cool mascot (a burly, man-sized leprechaun-like figure in maroon, wielding a walking stick.)
The Christian Brothers who opened the school in 1940 named it after an island of the west coast of Scotland.
The mascot’s name is Killian. He smiles a lot, even though the Gaels blew the biggest halftime lead in NCAA men’s basketball tournament history this past season (25 points).
Also, there’s no word on his stance on oatmeal needs or the Oedipus complex. (He might think that’s where the volleyball team plays).
5. Do you have to put all the ingredients in order when you make a recipe?
I do, honey.
I’ll probably leave out something small yet significant, such as baking powder. Or baking soda. Or chicken.
I go in order because if I happen to be cooking vegetables or bread or listening to the radio, my man brain can’t handle the strain. You end up with flat pancakes, bitter-tasting tortillas, or accidental vegetarian quesadillas.
Ponies. Clowns. Singing mice. That used to be enough. Now, we rent out restaurants. Create horse-riding adventures. Rent bounce houses and cotton-candy machines and maybe even boy bands.
Every year becomes a practice in topping what we did last year. Or what the last kid did.
You served hot dogs and had Lady Gaga sing for your kid’s party? Well, we’ll get Ke$ha and serve pizza. Deep.dish. The Party of the Year can have a few gems on the editing room floor. Some doozies on the “not quite list.”
Grace is the youngest, therefore, she gets that name. The Baby. I’m 41, she’s 8. When I’m 91, and she’s 58, she’ll still be The Baby.
Grace plays like John Kerry on this issue. Daddy carries her on his back, baby monkey style. But Grace also wants to do things on her own, figuring anything she can reach with help from a kitchen chair is fair game. She’s a second-grader who thinks like a high schooler sometimes. Good and bad.
Science gives me no concrete solution.
Theory 1: Baby status ends on the first day of kindergarten
False. She breezed through the celebrated 100th day of kindergarten straight through to graduation. First grade is a memory. She’s better than halfway through second grade. No, she’s not in driver’s ed yet, but she’s asked for cute boots for her birthday and I swear she had on mascara the other day.
Theory 2: A lost tooth begets big-girl status, officially
False. Her first wiggly artifact popped out during lunch at school. Many more have since followed, replaced by big-girl chompers that more readily resemble sharks’ teeth. She even uses toothpaste that doesn’t taste like cotton candy and her toothbrush isn’t shaped like Scooby Doo.
I bet she’d still let me brush them. Still my baby.
Theory 3: If a child requests crustless sandwiches and orders chicken nuggets in a Mexican restaurant, color her baby
False. It might hold water in the “I just want chicken nuggets!” argument (oh, and mac and cheese), but this argument falls apart at the mechanically-separated seams. Elise requested crust-off status on her sandwiches up until age 13. And this weekend, at age 15, she just left them on the plate.
So, false, thanks to Elise’s picky eating habits. Still my baby. Both of them.
Theory 4: A child who eats pizza with toppings is sophisticated enough to shun the baby label
False. She shuns all things Little Ceasar’s (although kids today have no idea how awesome the big rectangular pies they used to serve in the paper wrappers … can I get a witness?), and she’ll surgically remove any toppings (except for olives, but olives are baby food).
Silver lining: I get her discarded toppings. Still my baby. And SUPREME supreme pizza.
Theory 5: When she nets her first soccer goal, her baby status is traded
False. The score-happy monkey had many hat tricks under her belt the day she pulled my pants down between two busy soccer fields. After one particularly effective scoring game, she declared as she climbed into the car, “daddy, sometimes I’m pretty, and sometimes I’m dirty.”
By the looks of her uniform and the scowl on the other coach’s face, I’d say it was a dirty day.
But it sure was pretty.
In conclusion …
This is tough: She’s little enough to ride on my shoulders, and play baby dolls. She’s often painted up with temporary tats, susceptible to the cookie bribery (who am I kidding? So am I), and will tool around on pbskids.org while her sisters look at Pinterest and Star Dolls.
She’s snuggleable, but less tolerant of my scratchy chin. She made me a folder last season to take to Carolina Panthers games I cover for the Associated Press, with the left pocket labled “win” and the right “lose” – with happy and sad faces indicating which is which. I use it, after almost every game.
When she draws me, I’m still a stick figure with messy hair and a crooked smile, not the anatomically and visually accurate rendition her 12-year-old sister does. (Let me run on the treadmill another month before you draw me again, Marie!)
I asked Grace about her “dirty” game recently. She didn’t complain about the refs or the goals we gave up late in the game to settle for a tie, wiping out Grace’s hat trick. Babies are supposed to be all “mine mine mine,” right?
Instead, she gave praise for the girl’s effort.
“Did you see her stretching and running and jumping on the ball when it came close?” she reminded me. “She made some really good saves, daddy!”
That’s not so babyish. Kind of … big-kid like.
Me:That’s my big girl.
Grace:No, Daddy. I’m your baby.
I won’t argue. But only for the next 60 years or so … tops.