Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Thought You Were Supposed To Be Polite?

Americans typically, or maybe stereotypically, make complete fools of themselves when traveling abroad.  We're loud, we wear US flags for apparel, we wear cowboy hats, we drive giant wheeled tanks and call them SUVs, and we like to wage war on countries that look at us the wrong way.  For the record, I am loud and wear a cowboy hat only when riding mechanical bulls in Tijuana.  But this is about representing one's country, and representing it admirably.  This is for you, Canadian dad.

I took Audrey to school today, and as usual, the parking lot was a mess of minivans jockeying for dominant position like really crappy Tron lightcycles.  I coasted the family boat into an open berth and unloaded my precious cargo.  On the way into the school, I noticed some clown had parked in the handicapped spot.  No handicapped plates, no handicapped mirror tag.  A-hole.

Drop off Audrey, spot humiliated Canadian dad, decide not to mention how his country is stinking it up at their own Games.  Walk out to parking lot behind Cana-dad.  Wait...oh no you didn't, Cana-dad.  You parked in the handicapped spot?  You move out of America's attic and think you have some sort of diplomatic immunity that allows you act, and park, like an American?

Let me put it to you in a language you may understand.  Don't be a douche.  That's French, right?  

Monday, February 22, 2010

Oh. Canada?

I'm not a sportswriter.  I'm not even a sports fan.  At best, I'm passable at conducting a two-way sports-centric conversation where my responses are expected to be more erudite than "really?" and "wow."  But every two years I take time off from the other great competition, American Idol, to watch the Olympics.  And like a great Adam Lambert performance, last night's hockey throwdown between USA and Canada didn't disappoint.  The poor Canucks, inventors and curators of the rink, conquered on their home ice by their imperialistic pigdog neighbors to the south.  How many Molsons were spoiled last night with the bitter tears of their shame?

Fast forward twelve hours.  I'm dropping off Audrey at school this morning, and in my haste to get her backback and coat hung up, I nearly smack my face into the chest of a behemoth of a man.  As I slowly backed away, I realize the gargantu-dad is wearing an unzipped CANADA jacket over a shirt embroidered with what had to be the world's largest wearable maple leaf.  I couldn't believe it.  A real live Canadian and with what had to be a hangover from his previous national we-sucked-at-hockey night.  At this point, I made a quick calculation.  We're in Phoenix, so when I am going to have another chance to give the business to a subject of Her Majesty?  We are also standing in the safety of a  preschool classroom.  Chances are if he was going to kick my ass (and then possibly eat me), he would not attempt it in front of children.  In fact, I was counting on this.  I smiled and snorted, "Sorry about that game last night."  As he stared down at me in what appeared to be disbelief, I told my daughter I loved her, then he replied, as only a Canadian can, "Yah."  Immediately I knew that this could not end well.  In an attempt to befriend the executioner, I asked, as if it were even necessary, "Are you from Canada?"  Again, and even longer and more Canadian-esque, "Yaaaaah."  Possibly sensing that I was about to become a snack for sasquatch-dad, the teacher grabbed me and explained that my Girl Scout cookies were here and I needed to pay for them.  Thank God for thin mints.  And when I turned around, the giant elusive creature of the northern woods was gone.  Nary a footprint or photograph do I have for proof.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pardon The Interruption

For the past five days I have been a passable solo dad and a fairly poor pediatric nursing assistant.  Max and Audrey have been overtaken with one or more of the following: H1N1, regular ol' flu, pneumonia, un-named virus, random bacterial infection, or fifth disease.  Or not.  But they are both sad little lumps of exhaustion. 

Our house feels like Andersonville.  Endless crying, pain, sickness, and body fluids.  Sometimes you don't know it is going to be a terrible day when you wake up.  It just kind of turns out that way.

Oh yeah, Happy Valentine's Arizona Statehood Day.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Parking Wars

This is not a rant on women drivers, or mommy drivers, or Phoenix drivers.  Really it's not a rant on drivers.  This is a rant on parkers.  Occasionally I drop Audrey off at her preschool before heading to work.  Her school shares a fairly tight parking lot with, among all things for terrible morning traffic, a Starbucks.  Her school also attracts families from some rather wealthy communities in north Phoenix and Scottsdale.  There are plenty of Lexuses (Lexi?), Mercedes SUVs, and Range Rovers to accompany the fleet of minivans and other I-don't-need-a-look-at-me-car-I-just-need-something-to-get-the-kids-around vehicles.

Can you smell the aroma of parking snafu mixing with the steamy fragrance of a freshly brewed Frappuccino?

Mommies, or to be fair anybody dropping off the tykes, are in a hurry to dump off and dash off to a few precious hours of child-free freedom.  The kind of freedom that isn't free.  It's about $5.50 an hour.  So the mommies, or again in fairness the "persons," dropping off the children, don't bother to take up merely one parking spot.  Said persons park the kidmobile squarely centered on the white parking stall dividing line, as if they were lining up a 747 for takeoff on the runway at JFK.

Three persons mommies, three kids, six parking spots.  And as if the vehicles weren't already drawing enough attention, they all happened to be high end Euro-rides.  "Look at me.  My ego and my car cannot possibly fit into just one parking spot.  Please do not park your sub-$70k vehicle within ten feet or I could be at risk of catching your middle-class-ness."  Oh, the humanity.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Rhythm Is Gonna Get You..A Chance To Clean Up

Great disappointments in my life thus far:
1.  Have not summited Mount Everest.  Yet.
2.  Cannot properly throw a regulation sized football.
3.  Have not learned Spanish.  No habla, amigo.  Apenado.  The preceding message was brought to you by Google translate.

I don't know what Mana is singing about, but their mesmerizing musica has a good beat and I can dance to it.  Actually I can't dance to it.  I'm a terrible dancer.  I'm lucky to be able to tap my fingers rhythmically without looking like I was tonguing the terminals of a car battery.

But I like to nod my head and make up sounds in an attempt to accompany Mana as I drive through the barrio on my way to work.  Sort of like talking to Max.  I don't know what he is saying, and he doesn't know what I am saying.  But we're both having a pretty good time bouncing around and making silly sounds.  Until one of us throws up green beans.