My Son The Calvin

In the amended words of Braveheart: “I give homage to Bill Watterson.” Anyone who has read Calvin and Hobbes and watched Braveheart will understand these references.

My son is Calvin. In the actual words of Braveheart’s girlfriend “He declares it to me, I swear it.” My son plays in the backyard. He comes inside with grass stained knees. He manipulates me to maximize his time outdoors. He has a vivid imagination. His hair sticks up at odd angles. He even has a Calvin-esque face.

My son is Calvin.

Just today we were outside digging a hole because we had nothing better to do. It began to thunder and my daughter said, “We should prolly go in ’cause thunder is scary.”

I said, “Yeah. Let’s go in.”

My son said, “Can I do one more dig?”

I said, “OK.”

My daughter and I headed for the house while my son scooped his last shovelful of earth. As is his adorable/frustrating custom, he then scooped and second, third and fourth shovelful. We were close to the back door when the most ridiculously close thunder strike I’ve ever borne witness to struck our general vicinity. My Calvin ran from his dig spot, eyes tightly shut, toward the house.  He was on a collision course for the door frame. I grabbed him and, with fatherly concern for his safety, yanked him backward.

When we got in the house he was screaming and sobbing all at once. “You left me!”  He screamed.

“No.” I asserted. “You had your eyes closed! I didn’t leave you. You kept digging even though I told you not to. I was here. You almost ran into the house with your eyes closed!”

“OK.” he said, sobbing heartbreakingly.

I held him close in what I hope was a reassuringly fatherly hug.

He agreed that I had not left him; rather I had helped him. He hugged me tightly and soaked my shoulder with his needless tears. My heart broke.

He was so scared I could barely contain my shame. At the same time I blamed him for not listening.

I do my utmost to insure his safety. He is the sweetest disobedient boy that anyone could ever dream. His cheeks are consistently darkened with dirt. His knees remain green. He always has a cut, bug bite or friction burn somewhere on his little body.

He is my Calvin.

He scares me to death, but I love him to death. He is the world’s greatest, most cliché little boy.

Calvin and Hobbes may be a reminisce from the past, but my son is a continuation of the classic little boy spirit.

I love him, and my two daughters, with a love that rivals the love of chosen Deity for the creation of faithful subjects.

Calvin and Hobbes is a deep, heartfelt and spiritual classic and my son is a continuation of this beautiful legacy.

He is my Calvin.

He is a consistently filthy, imaginative and tiny creation of the Great Architect.

I thank the Creator for this tiny, vulnerable and OK with who he is miracle  of the Milky Way cliché on a daily basis.

I  bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy your children for who they are.

A don’t…judge them for their foibles. They are doing the best they can in a broken and confusing world.

Advertisements

My Moon Rock

I used to have a moon rock. I found it when I was a kid. It was sitting on the side of a dirt road in New Mexico, approximately 30 miles from the Mexican border. Of course I took it home, bragged about it constantly and placed it in a prominent spot on a shelf in the living room. I loved my moon rock. It disappeared shortly after I discovered it and perhaps no event in my pre-pubescence has been so influential on my adult emotional status.

The previous paragraph likely left you asking a few questions. I imagine you may be wondering things like: “Where did it go when it disappeared?”, or “How do you know it was a moon rock?”, or “Why am I still reading this?”

I’ll answer all three of these in no particular order. Leave any additional questions in the comments and I’ll answer those too.

How did I know it was a moon rock? I know it was a moon rock because it looked just like a butt. It had two well-rounded cheeks with a crack between them and two little nubs that resembled the beginnings of stubby legs. It looked perfectly able to wear a small pair of pants, which I was in the process of making when I discovered the rock’s disappearance. My master plan had been to put the pants on it and then carry it around and “moon” people with it. Certainly the greatest plan I ever devised as a child; likely the crowning point of my life’s achievements to date had I been successful. Still, having the idea has to count for something.

Where did it go when it disappeared? I am honestly unsure. It is possible that it was an actual rock from the moon, or was a living creature from the moon, and the Mooners rescued it. This scenario is fairly doubtful. I’ve known only one out-of-the-closet Mooner, and it was no alien from the moon. It was my brother who climbed upon our trailer one day, mooned all the other trailer park kids and subsequently got us kicked out of our home. A more likely scenario is that my easily-offended-by-references-to-normally-pants-covered-body-parts father found it offensive and chucked it into the yard somewhere. Now its probably either slowly eroding in the New Mexico desert again or is in the pocket of some other ingenious kid who thinks its the funniest thing he or she ever found.

Why are you still reading this? This one is really on you, but I’m guessing you’re still reading because we are near the end, you’ve stuck it out this far already and you figure you might as well let morbid curiosity carry you through to the end. Spoiler alert: There are really no further revelations forthcoming. It was just a rock that looked like a butt and I’m still sad because I don’t know where it is.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy the irony of nature. I love it when nature mimics humanity and vice versa. Ad nauseum.

A don’t…be too proud of moon rocks. The Good Book says Pride goeth before a fall, or, amended and paraphrased to fit this case, pride preventeth the fall of tiny pants which would have revealed a charming geological derriere.

 

Lazy Survivalist or Urban Genius: You Be The Judge

I call myself an urban survivalist. This means that I read survival books, daydream of survival situations (knowing that I certainly would not flourish) and try (unsuccessfully) to start my fire pit without matches.

I have a bamboo patch in a corner of my backyard. I have been fascinated by it since we moved in, but it is not suitable for heavy duty use; tables, chairs, various what-have-yous, but this afternoon I decided it might make good little-weight-bearing clubhouse walls. I’ve been promising my kids a clubhouse since we moved in. Today I decided to begin making good.

I grabbed my hatchet, pocket knife and roll of twine and set to work. I crafted one wall frame, complete with cross braces and sharpened support posts that could be driven into the ground. It took nearly an hour and I lost heart because twisting twine around the various pieces and tying nearly thirty knots and blistered two of my fingers.

My daughter and I began to toss a frisbee around and during a short lull, I had an epiphany. I looked at my daughter and said, “Why am I doing all this work? I have zip ties!!!” Apparently the look on my face implied that I, in my own opinion, am rather stupid for just realizing this. My daughter cracked up and continued to reenact my facial expression all through dinner.

I grabbed the ties and produced another wall frame in less than half the time, pain free.

Either I’m a slow-burning genius or just a lazy aspiring survivalist. Either way, zip ties are going into my bug-out bag.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…make use of what you have around you.

A don’t…think inside that “gotta do it the traditional way” box. Some modern technologies will survive an apocalypse and survival is about surviving. Stepping away from tradition isn’t shameful if it produces results.

Mad Science Father’s Day: A Realization of True Gifts

First of all, happy Father’s Day to any other dad who may read this.

Secondly, please note that the attached photo has nothing to do with the mad science. A portion of the mad science can be viewed at Facebook.com/williamennisauthor. The video is very short, but the result is satisfyingly hypnotic. I am too technologically inept to add videos to my blog. Of course, this admission may cause you to question whether or not I should be conducting mad science, especially with kids around.

My wife and I thought ourselves silly trying to decide on a family activity for today. We’ve gone fishing nearly every weekend so far this summer, so we wanted something other than that. Then we thought about some sort of family craft, but for some reason this idea fell through; although there are many good ideas for that sort of thing out there. Then suddenly last night, my wife epiphaned (or whatever the past tense of epiphany is, I believe it’s: had an epiphany, but where’s the fun in that?). She searched some science demonstrations (the website’s term. They were very careful to point out that it is only an experiment if you alter the parameters based on “What if?” type questions). We did several experiments, and the kids loved every minute, as did I and my wife.

We then went on to have a water balloon fight, the ammunition for which I made most of, and I grilled some burgers for everyone.

I remember thinking at one point how much fun I was having doing most of the grunt work for our activities. I’ve been a grunt before, so I’m used to that part. The payoff was seeing the wonder, pure joy and satisfaction in the faces of my children, but this wasn’t the best part. The charming hand made gifts weren’t even the best part.

The best part of Father’s Day 2018 was when my oldest daughter, soon to turn ten, said “Daddy, I bet I know what your favorite activity was today.” Discussing our favorite activity of any fun-filled day is something we do often. “What was my favorite?” I asked. She smiled and said “Spending time with your family for Father’s Day.”

My daughter was absolutely right. As cheesy as it sounds, all the sweat, mad science related sticky hands and the burned thumb from grilling lunch were totally worth it. I don’t want to relax on Father’s Day. I want to family.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…wear gloves if you plan to do mad science.  Some “demonstrations” will leave a sticky on your hands that is hard to un-sticky.

A don’t…let the hard work and sweat dissuade you from family fun. The hardships are worth happy little faces.

Thank You Pizzas, Abe Lincoln, A Bit About Evolution: A Socially Awkward Man Struggles With Unfamiliar Issues

Imagine me as a caveman. I know you’ve likely never seen my face, but imagine it anyway, in caveman form. Now, imagine me meeting Abraham Lincoln who, I imagine, would say: “Four score and seventy million years ago (I don’t believe in evolution and am not ashamed to express this due to certain freedoms laid down, in Lincoln’s time, four score and seven years ago. I’m not sure Lincoln believed in it either, but who am I to speak for him? If you hold a different opinion, I offer no judgment. I simply ask the same in return.) our forefishes committed certain acts that ended in the two of us now meeting! I find this occasion pleasant and am pleased to make your gentlemanly acquaintance.” To which I, in caveman form or not, would likely respond in a series of guttural grunts and snuffles. I would wish to say: “Well met, good sir! Thou art a kind and noble soul, freeing those who suffer the utmost oppression and worrying thyself sick at the mortal cost of such actions. Would that a long and prosperous life were to avail itself to thee, thou man amongst men.”

But…

…I am socially awkward. So such an auspicious occasion as the one previously described would likely result in just the grunts.

I bring this up because today I watched a young girl for a friend of my ex’s. She is about the same age as my oldest daughter, so keeping her entertained was not an obstacle, but I worried myself sick about the silliest of things.

What if this girl is simply a spy sent to report upon the conditions of my household? I have nothing to hide, but exes have a way of making ammunition out of thin air.

What if her parents are angry that I let them play outside most of the day? I supervised them and utilized sunscreen, her parents sent a bathing suit with her, yet, what if she is an indoor child?

What if she has a mosquito bite?

What if the lunch I prepared was not considered nutritious enough?

And on and on my mind raced as I attempted to drown these thoughts in a book about Lincoln’s assassination while I sat in a rocking chair in the shade under the eaves of my house as the children played.

All this worry to no avail. Her father arrived, picked her up; it is now about six hours later and no ill report has reached my ears. All must have went well.

But…

…Her mother texted me shortly after she left and expressed her intention to have a pizza delivered to my family as a means of thanks. I expressed that no thanks were necessary. I understand the struggles of working and raising children. I am only too happy to help. However, I know how I would feel if I allowed someone to aid me without compensation, so I said that pepperoni is fine. Only if they felt it necessary, though, should a delivery man darken my door bearing cheesy, saucy, crusty, meaty goodness.

They felt it necessary, and the reward was much enjoyed!

But…

…The delivery man was the girl’s father. He works at a pizza place right down the street from us and he brought us two boxes filled with fresh, medium sized goodness and again expressed thanks on behalf of himself and his wife. I reiterated that it was not necessary but much appreciated.

As he left, I nearly vomited with worry. Another awkward social situation I’ve never dealt with before had arisen. Are you supposed to tip the thank-you-pizza delivery driver when the thank-you-pizza delivery driver is also he who wishes to thank you?

I didn’t…

…I’m worried that I either should or shouldn’t have.

Sometimes I dislike my brain.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…study the social sciences so that you know how to respond in situations like the one I’ve just described.

A don’t…worry yourself sick over it like I do. Pizza is great and should be lost to the toilet through the southern, rather than the northern, orifice.

Fire, Man’s Real Best Friend

Dogs are great. They are trainable. They love you and provide companionship. They are non-judgmental and good company. A truly great choice of friends. But fire has its own virtues.

Tonight, instead of finishing the 40 page article I’m required to read for history class this week, my wife and I sat outside, enjoying the evening, and I built a small fire in our little pit. As I watched it burn and fed it fuel, I couldn’t help but ruminate on its qualities and I thought I’d share my ideas with you.

What about fire is appealing? Obviously, it has many practical qualities. It cooks, it provides heat. In a way, it cleans. It transfers matter to energy leaving behind sterile ash. But it is so much more than that. Consider the following:

Fire is an agreeable companion. It’s pops and hisses may be seen as conversation. They evoke an air of friendship as they freely expound. They don’t bother to stop and consider what others may think, they simply opine with no care as to what surrounding others may think.

Fire expresses, despite the consequences. It shifts on a whim and assaults surrounding eyes and noses. It leaves its mark in the form of a lingering acrid scent upon anything within the path of its smoke and the crinkled and blackened scars of its heat upon anything within the path of its heart.

Fire transcends. It rises above its meager beginnings, consuming all within its path if left unchecked under favorable conditions.

Fire is controllable. It is a massively powerful force, capable of considerable destruction. Yet it can be wielded to easily conform to the will of its creator, destroying what is desired; extinguished at will.

It only harms if allowed to do so. Only through inattention may it escape its bounds and wreak havoc. If, like a dog, it is maintained responsibly, it simply is, to the delight of its creator.

Fire reflects the soul of mankind. Its ravenous hunger consumes all within its path and inspires reflection and self-control. It makes an example of the destructive capabilities of the immoral mind. It reminds us to think before we do.

Fire, like a lover, warms, entices…teases sometimes. And if we aren’t considerate, it is quick to display displeasure in the form of intense pain.

Fire is life. It represents what we are, what we could be and all that we must guard against.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…build a fire and let it speak to you in pops and hisses as you stare into the flames. You may learn a little about yourself.

A don’t…get too close. Like any idea, it is best viewed from a distance and at multiple angles.

 

About A Billion Tadpoles; The Neglectful Nature of Frog Forebears

There are about a billion tadpoles in my decorative pond. Last month, we heard frogs serenade us every night. It was loud. I was worried the neighbors would call us in as a nuisance. Either they didn’t or the cops don’t care if frogs are in your yard. Anyway, we were worried at first because we saw this string in the pond that looked like a strand of carpet. Very crinkly and colorful. I thought the frogs would get tangled in it and suffocate and almost pulled it from the pond before realizing it was a massive strand of eggs.

The neglectful frog parents have since moved on. They abandoned their young as they are apparently wont to do. Now every time we look at the pond, it is literally wriggling and squirming with aquatic life. I don’t know how I feel about this. It certainly makes for some nutritive water for my tomatoes, but some of these things have swum up onto the lily pads and dried and died. I blame their neglectful, abandon-minded amphibian, certain slang for the gluteus maximus parents. How dare you leave your babies to dry to death on my lily pads?

My oldest child is a girl of 10. She says we have to live here for five years to observe the growth of these tadpoles. She says it takes five years for a tadpole to become a frog. I freely admit she is smarter than I am, even though I am currently a college student with a 4.0 gpa, and because of this, I haven’t bothered to fact-check my child. It may take five years. But if it does, those poor tadpoles are doomed. They swim up onto lily pads they can’t get off of and dry to death! I’m more than happy to be some weird frog baby surrogate parent since I didn’t have to incubate them within my body, but I can’t be out at the pond 24/7. I have to parent my actual human young.

Who are these frogs to spray their offspring into my decorations and disappear? If I knew the number to frog 911, I’d have them arrested for neglect and abandonment. Its easy to identify them by their slimy green skin and loud, disrespectful, croaking nature.

Also, these billions of tadpoles will grow into billions of frogs that, without any frog-parent-figure guidance will simply continue the cycle of croaking in a loud, off-key and peace disturbing cacophony and the spraying and abandonment of young into unauthorized water sources. They’ll decimate the tranquility of my back yard with their inconsiderate caterwauling, should they survive to adulthood.

I’ll let them live, though. Despite their irritating qualities, they fascinate my children. I begrudgingly admit that they fascinate myself and my wife as well. Let ’em be, I suppose. If nothing else, they are a part of nature that I’ll simply have to tolerate and can perhaps learn to love.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…appreciate nature for all of its quirks. Nature cannot be helped.

A don’t…take my rant as a sign that I’m anti-frog. Frogs are fine, and cannot be held to human standards. I simply dislike the idea of a billion croaking frogs. I like sleep.