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5:57 a.m. - 2006-11-16


For those of you who didn't know ... my city was hit by a tornado yesterday. You can read about it here.

The place I talk about here was, in fact, The Fun Zone ... the same place that was destroyed by the tornado yesterday. I changed the name because I always change names of everything I write about to protect the innocent.

The fact that we spent several hours in there on Sunday and today it's nothing more than rubble that we can't even get near, due to downed power lines, blows my freakin' mind.

The fact that I drive past this place every day on my way to work blows my freakin' mind.

The fact that I only work about 2-3 miles from the Fun Zone blows my freakin' mind.

The fact that my son was on a field trip in a Museum that was mere blocks from where the tornado first touched down ... well it blows my freakin' mind.

Everyone's fine here. No damage to the home.

Hundreds of people in our city are homeless this morning though. I hope to use my talents in some way to help raise money for them.

Anyway ... I typed this story up Tuesday morning and couldn't get it uploaded. But here it is today ... kinda weird that the entire story takes place at a building that no longer exists.



WOMEN!!

On Sunday we had a birthday party to attend.

The father, Jack, and I have been friends for about 16 years.

The mother, Amy, and Susie have been friends for about two years now.

It's not like we hang out with them much. In fact Susie sees Amy more than I've seen Jack in the last 10 years or so.

Jack and Amy have a son ... Paul. Paul is eight days younger than Andrew and they've become good buddies as Amy brings Paul over to the house about twice a month on Friday nights while I'm at work and the four of them (Susie, Amy, Paul and Andrew) order pizza and the kids play games while the Moms chit-chat.

Sounds all great, huh?

Well, about six months ago, Amy started talking divorce with Jack due to Jack's ... ummmmm ... alcohol abuse.

Jack and I used to party way back in the day. One time we went to Atlanta together, spend a fortune in alcohol and strippers and then SOMEHOW I drove the two and a half hour drive home without killing us or anybody else (that I remember).

I quit partying when Andrew was conceived because that was my promise to my wife ... if this sex we have ever results in a kid, I'll clean my act up.

If it doesn't, you're married to John Belushi for the rest of the time I can convince God to give me.

Andrew's born, I quit partying and the rest is what you already know ... I'm boring and dull now but HAPPY.

Jack never stopped partying.

His wife says he drinks at least 12 beers a night and from looking at him, that's obvious.

While I'm a fat, bloated bastard, my weight gain is attributed to those goddamned Pringles for breakfast.

His is pure alcohol.

And apparently, he's not a fun drunk anymore.

Jack's become an abusive drunk.

According to Amy whose side of the story is the ONLY one we've heard so far.

Soooo ... there's your backstory.

Now ... on to the party Sunday.


The party's at this place called "Kid's Kastle".

It's a huge place with everything from video games to those big plastic playground mazes you see at McDonald's, except this one is about five times bigger than your average McDonald's playtrounds to bumper cars to a full-sized skating rink.

It's freaking HUGE.

And Andrew had never been there so naturally, he's going apeshit running from one thing to the other.

Susie commented how the place must be ripe with germs from snot-nosed kids touching everything in sight.

I agreed and came up with an invention that is basically free standing Hand Sanitizer stations.

(Someone at work confirmed that there are such things out there, but I didn't see any at Kid's Kastle so maybe I need to go in there and talk to the owner about buying some so germaphobic parents would feel better about dropping their germ-free kids in the middle of the place)

Anyway, Andrew's having a blast and Jack and Amy are keeping a safe distance from one another and everything's hunky dory.

Then Andrew sees the skating rink.

And Andrew wants to try skating.

Now, being my kid, he's not blessed with the most coordinated genes out there.

I have enough trouble getting around with shoes on my feet, let alone skates, skis or roller blades.

But Andrew is finally in a position where he can try skating so he wants to give it a shot.

Fine. Go for it, Captain Clumsy.

Susie gets the skates on him, he steps off the bench and immediately busts his ass.

I guess that's par for the course. When that first happened to me as a child, I immediately took the skates back off and never put them on my feet again. Sorry, but life's too short to bust one's ass repeatedly in order to learn how to walk with wheels on your feet.

Andrew got back up laughing and tried it again.

He hit the floor again in record time.

I was ready to throw in the towel 15 seconds into the excursion but Susie was insistant that we hold his hands and teach him how to do this.

So she's on the rink with Andrew and I'm walking on the raised area around the rink while Andrew is hanging limply by his arms and being wheeled around the rink.

I swear, he looked like he had palsy with his legs going every which way but forward and us dragging him around the rink by his arms.

We made it around the edge of the rink one time and Andrew's had enough.

Susie was proud of him and I thought he was ballsy for allowing his parents to drag him around in public like a headless witch being dragged through a Salem village in 1645.

As Susie was removing his skates, Jack walked by and we started talking.

Then Amy interupted us.

"Do you know where the ice cream is?" she asked Jack.

"I suppose it's in the freezer," Jack answered.

"You SUPPOSE?!?" she shot back.

"Yes," Jack said calmly. "That's where I had them put it so it'd stay frozen."

"It needs to be THAWED!!" she said, shooting darts with her eyes.

"Well what do you want me to do, Amy?" Jack asked. "Go breathe on it??"

Amy just stared a stare at him that said volumes.

"Yes," Amy sneered in a sarcastic tone. "That's what I want you to do, Jack. Go breathe on it."

Then she stomped away.

Once again ... we had only been hearing one side of the story.

But from what I saw, Jack came off as the rational guy and Amy was borderline psychotic because the ice cream wasn't being properly thawed 30 minutes before the kids had cake and ice cream.

Meanwhile, I'm standing there with a fake grin on my face because ... here's the clincher ... I'M NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT THEY'RE GETTING DIVORCED.

Don't ask me ... I don't know.

Amy's asked Susie not to tell me.

Jack's moved out of the house and is living in a furnished apartment.

This has been going on for a month now.

And yet ... NOBODY TELL UNCLE BOB. Oh heaven forbid I find out!

So I'm standing there, fake smile in place and pretending like I'm thinking "Oh you wacky kids and your ice cream!" when I'm really thinking "My God ... Jack ... I hate it for you and the kid but DAMN!! Why didn't you tell me that wife of yours was insane?"

So I say what I think is an appropriate thing to say as she walks away.

"Women! Can't live with 'em, can't hit 'em over the head with a shovel and bury them in a shallow grave five miles into the woods without a bunch of dogs finding her rotting corpse and tearing it apart and taking her skull home to a family in a cabin in the woods who alert the authorities who do an autopsy on what's left of her body to determine who she is and then nailing you for killing her over frozen ice cream!"

... You know ... hoping Jack will come clean about the impending divorce situation.

But all he says is "Yeah."

Which tells me that I'm not the King Of Manipulation that I used to be.

An hour or so later, we're leaving Kid's Kastle and I stop to thank Jack for inviting us.

We're talking briefly and Amy comes up.

"Have you seen Paul?" she demands.

"I haven't," he said. "I've been busy paying the people here and thanking the guests."

"God!" she blurts out. "Can't you do anything right?!?"

And she stomps off again in search of their poor kid who was probably hiding in a closet somewhere and hoping he could just live at Kid's Kastle for the rest of his childhood.

"We should get together for a beer sometime," I tell Jack.

"Oh, I quit drinking months ago," he says. "Let's have lunch."

BUSTED!!!

I'm pretty sure I've busted Amy now.

This is getting too weird.

I'll keep you updated.



In the meantime, guess who got sick as a result of all those germs all over the place in Kid's Kastle.

If you guessed Andrew, you're wrong.

HAAAAAATCHOOOOOOOOO!!

*sniffle*

Goddamned kids with all their germs.

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