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5:19 a.m. - 2003-11-14


You know how sometimes you have one of those days where all you want to do is slap everyone you see except for the reeeeally good looking people and you just wanna have sex with them and THEN slap 'em around?

I call that "yesterday".

The wife and son leave the house at 6:45 a.m. for work and daycare respectively.

Everything's going smooth.

At 7:00 I get a phone call.

"I'm broken down on the side of the road," Susie says. "The car's overheating. Can you bring some water for the car?"

I grumble something, toss on a baseball cap and head the five miles into town to rescue my wife and son.

I'm feeling particularly macho because even though I don't know jack about cars, I know how to put water into a car. Had she said "A spark plug just blew, come replace it" I would have faked a Mexican accent, told her she had the wrong number and slammed the receiver down several times to make sure the phone connection was cut.

So I get there and she's on the side of the road, just like she said in morning rush traffic.

I'm dressed seductively in a wrinkled t-shirt and gym shorts.

No underwear.

No socks.

Tennis shoes.

And a ball cap.

It's a bit chilly on the side of the road in early November with cars whizzing by.

So I hurriedly filled her tank with water, she started the car, everything looked fine. She pulled back into traffic, I followed her to the next exit, then I turned around to go home while she kept going straight.

On the way home, my cell phone rang.

"It did it again," she said. "Where are you?"

"Driving home," I said. "And staring at the five gallon water jug I should have left with you in your car."

"I'm on the side of the interstate again," she said. "I'm going to let it cool down and then start it up and try to make it to daycare."

"Wonderful," I said. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay," she said. "I'm sure it's just a leak. I'll get it fixed. No big deal."


Well ... it's a gasket.

And we all know what they say about gaskets.

Once a gasket goes ... well ... uhhhh gotta get it fixed.

Long story short, the mechanics put some sealant on it to temporarily fix it without having to replace the $800 gasket.

But they suggested that Susie get rid of the van as quickly as possible because there's no telling how much longer the sealant will hold before the gasket blows like a Hilton Sister on ecstasy.

(Can I just say how excited I am that the Hilton Sisters are now part of our pop culture world because it gives me a whole new set of analogies to use?)

So how does Susie handle this news that she's going to have to replace her beloved Minivan soon?

"Let's go out to dinner."

Keep in mind, I don't write about going out to dinner much because we don't do it.

We have a three year-old.

A slightly spoiled three year-old.

A slightly whiny, fidgety, spoiled three year-old.

Asking him to sit still in a nice restaurant for an hour is like asking George Bush to tell the truth without using words that he's made up himself.

Or asking a Hilton Sister to keep her panties on.

It just ain't happening.

We go to Carrabas Italian Grill.

The restaurant opened about three months ago but we hadn't yet been there because the crowds were huge to get in and we've got a fidgety spoiled whiny three year-old.

We get there and there's still tables available. Whee.

Naturally, having taken one look at Andrew, we get the table next to the kitchen. It used to be that I'd be offended at such a blatant diss on my family to be seated far away from the rest of the diners in a noisy atmosphere.

But now I understand it.

We're sitting there and the waitress brings over a triangle of raw pizza dough.

"Shape this however you want and we'll bake it," she tells Andrew.

Andrew starts to play with this dough and we're very thankful that the waitress is so attentive.

Andrew starts picking the dough apart in little chunks. That's all fine and good, but now we have about 17 little marble sized pieces of dough on the table.

He gets bored with the dough and starts coloring in the coloring book they've provided him.

I start to reassemble the dough.


Andrew TOTALLY freaks out. I'm talking Rainman style. Screaming. Kicking. Flailing.

He's sitting next to me and my first instinct is to cover his mouth with my hand and hiss at him to be quiet over and over and over again.

Tears are rolling down his face as I do this. He wanted the dough in several different pieces and didn't want it all together.


I didn't see what the big deal was.

But I knew that I wanted to take the tines of my salad fork, jam them hard into his gums and say "Knock this fucking shit off NOW!"

However, common sense tells me that's the kinda shit they'll lock you up for when you do it in a public place. And I really wanted to see "Survivor" last night and not be tossed into the slammer. So I refrained from doing any primitive dental work on the boy and waited for him to calm down before I removed my hand from his mouth.

He sat there and whimpered a bit and wanted Mommy to sit next to him rather than Daddy.

Smart move, Bobby Fischer.

So Susie and I changed places in the booth and he was happy.

The waitress brought his chicken fingers out and warned us all that they were hot.

We told Andrew they were hot and not to touch them.


I distinctly remember saying "Don't touch the chicken fingers Andrew ... they're hot."

He latched onto a chicken finger like it was gold.

And then he let out a scream that sounded an awful lot like a coyote's howl with several dozen "EEEEEEE"s thrown in.

Now he's REALLY crying. Not just alligator tears over pizza dough being reassembled. I'm talking major blowout screeching.

Susie doesn't subscribe to my way of thinking where you muffle the screams with your hand until the kid calms down.

She gently chastises the boy.

"I TOLD you they were hot," she says, trying to make her voice louder than his shrieking.

Meanwhile, all 175 of the other diners are glaring at us. There wasn't a single child among them.

I used to be one of those diners. The ones who'd glare at parents who thought it was okay to bring their young children to a restaurant where you actually ordered off a menu that you held in your hands rather than one that hung over the cashier at the counter.

But now I'm on the other side of that fence. And I just wanted to scream "Dammit all to hell ... this was a spur of the moment dinner that didn't allow us to get a fucking babysitter and we wanted to try this restaurant too! I can't help it the kid burned his fingers on these firebricks they call chicken fingers. So fuck off. Each and every one of you. Fuck the fuck off."

We wolfed down our food as quickly as possible while Andrew whimpered and sucked his fingers which were hardly lasting scars anyway.

Came home and looked up Honda Odysseys and Toyota Siennas.

Anybody have any insight into either of these minivans?

Lemme know.

Susie's dad and his wife are coming to town tomorrow and staying with us for three days.

I don't care for either of these people.

They're nice enough. Too nice really.

But her dad left the family high and dry when Susie was a teenager and married this woman that he had been having an affair with for some time.

There was a lot of bitterness from Susie, her Mom and siblings toward the Dad over the years.

But now, with the exception of her Mom, all the siblings have come around and accepted the fact that Dad left them on the brink of poverty, never paying child support and basically turning his back on them while embracing his "new kids" ... the children of his new wife.

Because he's old now. Almost 70. He wants to be around his kids and grandkids now.

There's more to the story that I will never share here.

But suffice to say ... I don't like the guy. He makes me extremely uncomfortable. It was my job to tell him he wasn't welcome at our wedding 15 years ago and I had to use some pretty colorful language to get my point across with him.

This is only the fourth time I've ever seen the man.

I really wish they'd just get a hotel room rather than stay with us.

But this is one of those families that enjoy being together 24-7 when the situation allows it. Plus, he's a cheap bastard that won't spring for a hotel room.

And we're the only house that is clean enough for visitors.

So we win by default.

At least you guys will get a decent "in-law" entry on Monday since everyone's coming to our house on Sunday for ... I dunno. A day of porn surfing, sleeping on our couch and eating all our food, I guess.


I hate it when I dread the weekend.

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