Hot Tub Toddler Machine

My sister-in-law was married recently, with my wife’s entire family descending onto a set of cabins deep in the woods of Western North Carolina. I’ve known The Bride since she was about 10, so it was a little surreal to see her get married. Not that I got to see much of it. I was busy chasing the kids around the field all weekend, always trying to corral them toward the kegs so I could top off my beer. But the ceremony was beautiful, my sister-in-law is married to a great guy, and I got to dance with my wife, which pretty much never happens. The weekend was also full of wonderful father-son moments for me and my boy. Sure, I was charged with taking care of both kids all weekend, but my daughter quickly found herself at the center of a gaggle of “big girls.” The pack of seven-year-olds spent the entire weekend taking turns braiding my daughter’s hair. So that freed me up to spend some quality time with the boy. Here are three tear-jerking father-son moments from the weekend. Cue “Cats in the Cradle.”

 Cooper had his first beer.

Not really. He had sweet tea for the first time. But I told him it was a beer, and he went around the rest of the weekend pulling on the coattails of random family members, asking, “will you get me another beer?” Classic.

 I figured out what toddlers are good for: cutting through long bathroom lines.

Nobody wants to see a three-year-old in a seer sucker suit pee himself. Did I imply to a line full of older ladies that my boy had to go sooner rather than later? Did I take advantage of their kindness and rush my kid into the bathroom ahead of them only to use the potty myself? Maybe. I think it’s important not to judge others too harshly.

 Cooper hit on two older girls at once. 

Specifically, he walked right up to two sisters (seven years old and five years old) and said, “you girls wanna get in the hot tub with me?” That alone is impressive for a three year old, but consider this: he wasn’t wearing any pants at the time. All of a sudden, “you girls wanna get in the hot tub with me?” has a bit more swagger when you’re completely naked. That’s my boy.

The Twenty

I was doing some light math recently (always dangerous when I start tinkering with subtraction) and I realized that I’m closing in on my 20th high school reunion. It’s a mere two years away. I had to double check my math because, well, because I’m so damned young, it simply can’t be right. But…carry the one…pie…yep. My twenty is just two years away. Which means I can’t be as young as I think I am. I must be well into my 30s.


Now, an argument could me made that high school reunions aren’t relevant anymore. What, with Facebook and self-indulgent blogs (I’m talking about your blog, not mine. My blog is art), you could say some of us have never actually left high school. Not only do I know what that weird kid who sat in the back of my Spanish class is doing for a living these days (his Linkedin profile says accountant, but really he’s a cashier at Golden Corral), I know what he had for breakfast this morning, and that he’s “psyched to see how this season of Secret Circle turns out.”

And yet, I feel the gravitational pull of the high school reunion. I skipped the 10 year, got stupid drunk at the five year and rode a mechanical bull so I may as well have skipped it, but the 20 year has a certain amount of weight to it. Twenty years is a significant amount of time–plenty of time for my classmates to have grown into interesting human beings.

Which means I have exactly two years to grow into an interesting human being myself. I have a lot of work to do.

There are about eight foreign countries I need to travel to before the reunion. I’m not sure about the specific countries, but I feel like eight is a good, “well traveled,” number to shoot for. What country is hot right now with the ex-patriot crowd? Pakistan? Something with a “stan”? I’ll start with Pakistan, then maybe hit Canada.

I have to find my abs. I can’t remember where I left them (in a bar, probably) but I know it’s been a long time since I’ve seen them.

I have to write a novel. Better yet, I need to write a screenplay, because, frankly, I went to a Georgia public school, so none of us class of ’94 Hoyas can read too good (Go Hoyas!)

I should buy one of those hip hybrid sports cars. The one that Clooney drives. Can you fit two car seats in there?

And any self respecting man should be onto his second marriage by the 20-year reunion. That’s trophy wife territory. Luckily, my wife is trophy hot, so I’m good there. I’ll just buy her a slutty dress and refer to her as Nadia all night long.

That’s a big to-do list to knock off between now and 2014. Fortunately, my high school performance was so underwhelming in every category from sports to grades, that I’ve set the expectations very low. If I show up without a house arrest bracelet on my ankle, people will probably be pleasantly surprised.

The Van Life

We’re toying with the notion of buying a mini-van, a move that, according to absolutely everyone we consult, will eliminate any remaining vestige of hipness from our lives. Luckily, we’ve never been hip, so there isn’t much to lose. That’s not to say that when I was a young lad daydreaming about what my life as an adult would be like, I pictured cruising around in a white Toyota Sienna. A vintage Woody with surf boards hanging out the back is more what I had in mind for my future. I would catch killer tube by day, and sleep in the car parked at the nearest Circle K by night. To feed myself, I would bed a series of artistic, but gullible college girls, mooching off their unlimited meal cards at the university cafeteria. Dudes, raise your hand if you had a similar dream. Now, keep that hand up if you’re actually living that dream.

Yeah, me neither.

I have my beautiful wife to blame…er…thank for that. If it wasn’t for her, I’d truly be living in a van down by the river (how awesome would that be!?). And if it wasn’t for her, I’d drive my 1998 diesel Jetta until the wheels fall off, which by the looks of things, could be tomorrow.

So, the mini van enters into the equation. Even though I’m not clinging to any delusions that I am young or hip (cool, rad, boss…what do kids say these days?) I’m still not gung-ho about buying a mini van. My wife says we need the space, but I see families of nine pile in and out of 1999 Honda Civics all the time. She says we need something more reliable than our 12 year old cars, but really, with the glaring oversights in manufacturing practices these days, what does the word “reliable” mean anymore?

In order to test out the world of mini vanning (yes, it’s a verb too), we’ve rented one for a week. My wife is hoping it will convince me that a mini van will make our lives so much easier. What she doesn’t realize is that there’s only one reason a man buys a van: the potential for mobile sex. That’s the long and short of it, period, the end. If you see a guy driving a van, be it a mini or full size, you can be certain he’s on the prowl. At the very least, there’s an inflatable mattress stowed in the back and a disco ball ready to descend from the ceiling given the right opportunity. That’s not a sunroof on the ceiling, that’s a mirror, baby!

But I digress.

I will admit there’s more room in the mini. It has more square footage than our house, which could come in handy. Since my daughter has developed a serious dress fetish, we’ve quickly run out of closet space. I could easily use the spacious trunk as my closet. Would it be weird if I wandered out there every morning wearing a robe and drinking coffee to get dressed? What if I wasn’t wearing the robe?

Just driving the MV around town for a day, I’ve noticed one undeniable truth: Blasting Jay Z from a mini van makes you look like a jackass. Cranking George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex,” on the other hand, is perfectly appropriate.

With all this talk about mini vans, I think we’ve overlooked the obvious solution to our problem. We need a solid family car–what about a golf cart. Before you scoff, I’d like to point out three things.

  1. Golf carts are awesome. You can’t deny that. The only thing more awesome than commuting to work in a golf cart, would be commuting to work in a dune buggy.
  2. Gas prices continue to rise and America is experiencing an oil crisis. Golf carts can literally travel for several miles on a single charge. Don’t you love the earth?
  3. Golf carts may lack standard safety features like seat belts and a windshield, but picture the kids riding to school, the wind blowing in their hair, their tiny legs securely strapped to the seat with a healthy amount of duct tape.

Imagine you’re in stand still traffic and all you have to do is drive up slowly to the car in front of you and ask, “mind if I play through?”

It doesn’t get much more practical than that.