Friday, February 27, 2015

Fast and furious

As a child, the worst part of going to church was having to wait for what felt like an eternity for my mom to finish talking to her friends so we could finally go home.  Despite my pleadings with her to wrap it up, we were almost always among the last congregants to leave. 

These days, services are in the afternoon and they go for three hours, which means that just like when I was a kid, I try to bounce out shortly after the last “amen.”  However, just like when I was a kid, the lady of the house sometimes thwarts my plans for a quick exit.

Though such situations are not dire, they leave me vulnerable to succumbing to the dangerous combination of being hungry, bored and tired (the Holy Trinity of impatience).  Such was the case last week.

With Casey engulfed in deep conversation, the girls and I decided to wait for her in the van.  After sitting tight for a while, I fell victim to my own impatience and found myself asking the strangest and most irresponsible question I have ever posed a child:  “Isabelle,” I said, “Do you want to drive?”

Hungry, bored and tired.  The Holy Trinity of impatience had struck again.

Before I knew it, Isabelle had fired up the van and was eagerly seated and ready to go with her hands on the wheel at ten and two (the kid is a natural!).

My plan, if you can call it that (stupor of thought would be more accurate), was to have her back the van across the nearly empty parking lot.  We checked behind to be sure we were clear.  We were.

“OK sweetie, pull down on the gear shift and move it from ‘P’ to ‘R’.”
“It’s stuck.”
“Pull harder.”
“It’s still stuck!”

That’s when it occurred to me...

“Put your foot on the brake THEN pull the gear shift down, then take your foot off.”

She did as instructed.  And it worked.


The car flew backwards, jarring Sammy (who had come upfront to get a close-up view of my driver’s ed lesson) and freaking out Isabelle and me at the same time.  Because we backed up so quickly, I thought Isabelle had depressed the accelerator on accident.  Why else would be moving?

Maybe it was because I’ve never driven a car before or maybe I was simply confounded by my vulnerable state of mind, but whatever the reason, I had completely overlooked the fact that we were parked on an incline.  As it turns out, gravity works.

Wanting to stop, but worried she’d hit the gas, I said: “Put it back in park, PUT IT BACK IN PARK!!!”

As she had before, Isabelle did as instructed.  And, in what can be described as an eternal couple of seconds, three things happened:
  1. The van made a horrible sound
  2. We came to a very abrupt stop
  3. Both kids lost it

Tears flew, words were spoken and hugs were given.  Everyone was safe.

And that’s when Casey decided it was a good time to stop talking and came over to check on us.  We got to go home, but on the way there she made it abundantly clear that my days as a driving instructor were over.

Probably a win/win for everyone.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Man Book Club – It’s real and it’s awesome

I’ve been hearing my wife talk about “book club” for years.  To hear her tell the tale, book club is a magical time when she and her friends come together to indulge themselves in good food and quality discussion revolving around all things literary whilst leaving their husbands at home to toil for themselves.  It sounds amazing, unless of course you’re a dude and are therefore not invited to participate.

As a survivor of book club discrimination, I’ve had to endure seemingly countless evenings of lonely hardship while my wife is off living the high life with her intellectually minded gal pals.  As if the abandonment wasn’t bad enough, I’m then forced (by threat of landing myself in the dog house if I don’t) to listen to her regale me with the fabulous stories of her book club extravaganza.

Sure.  I can take it.  But what about the sad little reader inside me who desperately longs for inclusion, an edible delectable and the opportunity to share his inner thoughts on the central meaning of a given passage?  What’s to come of him?  I’ll tell you; he’s doomed to wither away like the plight of some worthless side character long forgotten and largely unmentioned in elitist book clubs by wives everywhere.

Some of you may be thinking that this is a non-issue – that if husbands want to join their wife’s book clubs they should simply ask to be included.  Well, you’re wrong.  I’ve tried and it doesn’t work.  I asked Casey if I could attend her next book club meeting and she said, “Sure, but we only meet at places with lots of stairs.” 

Yeah, I think I see what’s going on here...

Then she said, “OK, you can come, but you have to read The Rosie Project.”  Can you believe the kind of discrimination I’m up against on this!  She’s saying I can join, but first I have to read a charming tale about a delightful man with asperger syndrome on a quest for love.  No way.  She may as well demand a million bucks.  The price of admission is too high.

Out of options and desperate to save the inner reader inside me, I reached out to my friend Trent.  I was heartened, though saddened, to learn that he shared my pain.  He too wanted to read.  And so it is that, together, Trent and I have joined forces to liberate the inner reader of husbands everywhere by forming an all-male book club.

Here's how it's going to work, the first rule of Man Book Club is: You do not talk about Man Book Club.  Wait, that’s a different club.  Our rules are as follows:

1. The books won't suck and they can't be girly (Jane Austin is not allowed)
2. We'll read one book per month
3. Meetings will have AWESOME food and will mostly include hanging out
4. Listening to audio books or watching the movie counts as having read the book
5. Bros only

So, if you’re a dude and you’re dying to free your inner reader (or you just want to hang out), consider yourself liberated.  Your time has come.  Take my hand and follow me to intellectual freedom!

Just don’t forget to ask your wife first.