F#@K Potty Training: A letter of apology to friends recently wronged

Dear Friends,

First, thank you for the donuts. It was really sweet of you to invite us over on a rainy saturday morning and let our wild kids hang out with your much better behaved children. Our kids loved it!

Second, I’m really sorry my daughter pooped in your dining room.

What can I say? We’re potty training. Shit happens. Literally. I’m really sorry it happened in your house. Twice apparently. If I’m to understand the situation correctly, after we left, you found two separate balls of poop–one in the playroom and another in your dining room? Damn, that’s embarrassing.

But I can’t say that I’m surprised. As I said, we’re potty training. Twins. At the same time. The last few weeks have been a blur of urine and feces, most of which has been found in places it’s not supposed to go. I’m happy to report that they’re getting the hang of it, but there are still accidents. I know a lot of parents simply refuse to leave the house with their kids during this tough developmental period. I can understand the inclination to hunker down until the potty training storm blows over and the children have better control over their bowels, but I will not live in fear. No sir, we’ve kept to our regular schedule, running errands, visiting friends, going to gymnastics…it’s like playing Russian Roulette. You pull the trigger enough times, the gun will eventually go off.

(Which reminds me, I should probably take this opportunity to apologize to the fine folks of REI. I’m really sorry my kid peed in your tent display. And your elevator. My bad.)

Unfortunately, dear friends, the gun went off in your well-appointed dining room. This is embarrassing enough, but I was absolutely mortified when I learned that you mistook the small turd for a toy ball and picked it up with your bare hands. Man, that sucks.

If I may point out a silver lining–at least you had hardwoods. It could’ve been a lot worse.

So, to recap–thanks again for having us over. The donuts were delicious. Sorry about the poop.


–the Averills


Ikea Is The New Spanish Fly

Is it weird that I get turned on by organization articles? You know, “50 Ways to Color Coordinate Your Closet!” or “Stop Looking For the Peas: Three Ways to Organize Your Pantry!”  There’s always an exclamation point–the most phallic of punctuation marks. Forget sexy coeds, give me a two-page glossy spread of built-in bookshelves organized alphabetically any day.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out why I go gaga for organization. People are turned on by what’s foreign to them, and there’s nothing more exotic to me than order. I have none in my life. Lunch meat is stashed in the couch cushions and dolls end up in the crisper drawer. Recently, during a single 12-hour period, my daughter started a small napkin fire at the kitchen table, my son sneezed in the spaghetti sauce I was making, and I was peed on three times.

So yeah, sock drawers that actually close and have socks in them get me hot. It’s really not that weird, is it? I’m not sure if there are others out there like me. I tried Googling “sex fetish” and “organization bins”—you don’t want to know what popped up. But I am sure that there’s a beautiful place for people like me to go. It’s called Ikea. And it’s soooo dirty.

My wife and I recently ditched the kids and drove three hours to the Atlanta Ikea to buy a new wardrobe. As soon as my 2.5-year-old daughter developed an appreciation for purple dresses, she took over my closet and I’ve been storing most of my clothes in the trunk of the car. Anyway, the new wardrobe is the Asplund: three doors, one mirror, five adjustable stacking shelves, a 30-inch clothes rail, and self-closing hinges…sweet Jesus! It gets me so worked up the Asplund may as well come with nipple clamps and a safe word!

And Ikea is full of shit like this. Entertainment centers with dedicated DVD slots, book shelves with glass doors and mounted lights, dressers with sock dividers. Do you know how exciting sock dividers are? If I had sock dividers, my gym socks would never have to touch my dress socks! How hot is that?

For me, a walk through Ikea is like a walk through Amsterdam’s Red Light District. If only I had the money to truly indulge! I picture my house decked out in organizational bins, cubbies, and folding tables that hide remote controls and magazines. I mean, look at this picture:

Don’t those neatly stacked books and rolling storage bins make you want to rip your clothes off and roll around on the floor? And this picture really gets me going: 

Jesus Christ, are those kitchen cabinets Brazilian waxed or what!

Alas, I’ll have to make do with the Asplund wardrobe for now, which sadly, has already been soiled by my kids who have decided it’s a great place to stuff their Tonka Trucks and play hide and seek.

Dare to dream. Dare to dream.

The Dirty Bird; what that rotisserie chicken says about you

The $4.50 rotisserie chicken. In my grocery store, it’s right up front next to the check out lanes. Up there with the impulse purchases like giant lollipops and knock off Matchbox cars. It’s an enticing item. An entire bird (minus the head) for under $5. Never mind the fact that it’s been sitting beneath the warming lights for 12 hours, that bird could feed a whole family of four. But make no mistake, buying a grocery store rotisserie chicken says more about you than, “I’m hungry, and I like chicken.” It says I’m too tired to cook, but too cheap to spring for a bucket of KFC. It’s like wearing Crocs in public–it signals to the world that you’ve given up.

Scoreboard: Life 1, You 0.

I’m ashamed to say I rely on the rotisserie chicken more often than I should. In the lean post-college years, the dirty bird and I were close friends. Five nights a week, my dinner was a rotisserie chicken, bag of salad, and sixer on Natty Light (cue nostalgic music). Now, about once every couple of weeks the kids will wear me down to the point where jumping off of our 30-foot-high deck is more appealing than dragging the pots out to cook dinner, so I’ll break down and buy the bird.

Warning: If you find yourself in the same situation, never contemplate the economics of that bird. How do they get a chicken on to your table for under $5? (It’s people. You’re eating people!) How non-organic is this chicken that they can raise it, feed it, kill it, ship it, cook it, and package it for for the same price as a two-piece dinner at Bojangles? If two-pieces of Bojangles chicken costs $5, then where did these fine rotisserie birds come from? Maybe they’re not chicken at all. Maybe they’re pigeon.

And don’t be fooled by the fact that there are three new flavors of chicken to choose from: lemon pepper, barbecue, and Cajun. They all taste the same: a carefully blended mix of room temperature bacteria and defeat.

The Dad Knife

I’m not a tough guy. Ask anyone who knows me. I’ve never been in a fight, I’ve never rebuilt an engine, never seduced a woman (unless you count slowly wearing down the same girl over 19 years as a seduction)…I don’t even have one of those cheesy barb wire tattoos. And yet I still can’t shake the Hemingway notion of what a man is. You know the classic archetype I’m thinking of: A man knows how to throw a punch, drinks too much, speaks plainly, kills things in the woods, takes his shirt off in social situations, hates himself a little bit…

It’s a completely archaic notion of manhood that I don’t resemble at all, except for the drinking and self hatred. But I recently received my first “Dad Knife,” a very manly piece of steel that all self-respecting dads have to carry. Certainly, you remember the little knife that your dad kept in his pocket to do everything from filet a fish to open a Christmas package. My dad was always wielding his blade, even if it wasn’t appropriate. You could ask him to help with your math homework, and somehow, the knife would end up on the table, open and gleaming. Now, I have my own phallic weapon to show off, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’m sure men of previous generations would label me a “dandy” because I like to do things like read books and cook food (that I didn’t kill myself). I have more than one pair of shoes and I use the internet more for recipes than porn. Sad, I know. But having my first dad knife has reinvigorated my admiration for traditionally manly things like lifting heavy objects and whistling at women I don’t know. So far, the knife has been sitting in my pocket, completely idle, but any day now, my son will come to me with a stick he’s found in the yard and I’ll whittle it into a spear for him. Or a bunny.

So that’s my plan for 2012–whittle many spears. I’m going to try to be more manly. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I’m hoping it’ll translate into me getting to shoot more guns and have more sex. It probably won’t. If I’m lucky, it’ll mean I try to teach my kids how to play poker (or at least War) and eat less vegetables. I’m cool with that.

If you’re curious about what exactly a man looks like (get your mind out of the gutter, pervs), check out The Good Men Project, which is a collective of sorts concerned with the notion of manhood, manliness, dads, dudes…all things penis.

Inappropriate Use of the Bjorn; Things you shouldn’t do with your baby strapped to your chest

Once you get used to having your baby strapped to your chest like a kangaroo, you’ll fall in love with the freedom that comes with hands-free parenting. (New marketing slogan for Baby Bjorn: Baby Bjorn, it’s like Bluetooth for your baby). Soon, you’ll begin to wonder if there’s anything you can’t do with your baby in a chest carrier. The answer is yes. There are things you can’t, or shouldn’t, do. Here are four.

First Person Shooter Games

Playing Wii tennis with a baby in the Bjorn: Cute.

Playing Call of Duty with the baby in the Bjorn: call social services.

Know the line and never cross it.

Downhill Skiing

This might sound like a no-brainer to most of you, but I actually had visions of skiing with my kid strapped to my chest. What’s even more disturbing, I’ve seen videos of other parents doing this very thing. The same rules apply for roller blading, ice skating, mountain biking…I think you could get away with nine holes of golf without doing any permanent damage though.

Cook Over an Open Flame

Okay, I’ve done this. A lot. And it can be a bit of a gray area. I’d say if you’re working with a charcoal grill, you’re relatively safe. But anything with compressed gas is questionable. Considering the number of times I’ve almost blown myself up trying to light my damn grill, it’s amazing my kids have lived to the ripe age of 2.5.

Flirt With a Woman Who’s Not Your Wife

Not even if the kid on your chest is sleeping. Have some class. Put the kid in his stroller and pull the sun shade down before you hit on the lonely stay-at-home mom at the playground.