Max and Miles who, to Me, Will Always be Secretly Named "Gus"

The blog about Max and his little brother, Miles. Stunningly cute boys and future leaders of the rebel forces.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So Close, So Very, Very Close

See, I can almost taste the beer I'll be drinking while I sit in a chair or swing in a hammock. Max'll come by, grunting and sweating, face red from effort. One finger will unwrap while the other three remain gripped around the neck of the bottle, beaded with condensation: "You missed a spot," gesturing generally towards some other end of the yard.

If he says anything it will be made clear to him, the city boy, with his little square of green that needs all of a fifteen minute shave, what it's like to spend hours behind the wheel of a John Deere, your sweat pooling into the yellow vinyl seat. Growing up in rural North Dakota had its benefits what with the fresh air and the square miles of dirt and trees and creeks I had as my own, personal playground. But, damn if they didn't go and turn a good bit of that into lawn that had to be mowed. So there I was, solving the world's problems to the endless zen-roar of the Briggs & Stratton, mowing just a little too well. Word of my surgical-like mowing spread across the land and soon I was mowing my Grandmother's lawns as well. What did any of these people ever do for me?!

So, Mr.Max, get me another beer and make another pass before I decide the garage needs cleaning. Besides, you think we're going to play catch on an unmanicured lawn? We're better than that!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Robert Bly What Hath You Wrought?

As if poor Katie could feel any more marginalized in this house full of men, right after our little "Iron John" moment, Max got up and asked if we could get matching codpieces made for the three us, us three men.

In an attempt to comfort Katie, I firmly explained to Max the Ninties were over, and plopped him down in front of some really old, Tivo'd eps of "Queer Eye". He was back to his sleeve "zusching" ways in no time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

All Your Sand Castle Are Belong to Max

Back when summer was in full swing, we took our first, big family trip up to Pop-Pop and Gange's cabin in the northern woods of Wisconsin. Much like my thoughts leading into Fatherhood, none of my darkest fears came to fruition: the boys traveled well. On the way home, Max spent two hours with excavators who, voiced by him, quietly moved earth or solved crimes or something. Miles just did his Miles thing in the car seat.

It was a weekend of firsts: Max roasted his first marshmallow, took his first boat ride, saw his first frog in the wild and built his first sand castle. Then he knocked it down.

As we've noted, Max loves to knock stuff down. At first it was all for fun, but eventually, as I my castles became more and more elaborate, I tried a variety of reinforcing techniques. I knew we had reached an unhealthy stage when I began to imagine Max was an Orc trying to breech the walls of Helm's Deep.

For me, the weekend was a reality check on my childhood growing up at my grandmother's cabin. Here I was, worried about two nights in the modern luxury of Pop-Pop's Sub-Zero'd, Viking stove'd, super spacious lake home.

When I was a kid, at our peak, the grandchildren numbered eight between 10 years and a few months old and we were all together for a week or two! Everybody crammed into little rooms and small beds tucked into corners or porches with their babies and the one (ONE!) bathroom. We fed all these people joyously and gloriously from a tiny kitchen that, for some completely inexplicable reason was carpeted. Carpeted with brown and white SHAG CARPET. SHAG! It was a big ol' cabin built with one thing in mind: eating some breakfast, getting outside and being outside until you were so tired you didn't care where you slept. And you slept even though those screwy adults played raucous games of bridge until dawn. I do not know how my parents or my Aunts and Uncles did it. Except for the year my Uncle wouldn't let us watch "Sheriff Lobo" and we mounted a full protest, marching with signs and shouting slogans in the driveway out by the main road, I don't remember a whole lot of tension.

I suppose it had something to do with all those cases of Special Ex I'd help my grandma unload from the trunk of her Royale 88 in the days leading up to reunions.

Anyway, we had a helluva good time up at grandpa and grandma's cabin, even if their kitchen is missing the shag carpet.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Delayed Gratification

A lot of people are compulsive shoppers. While most of them get their fix from QVC or Wal-Mart; Grandma Carol, though, snorts a higher grade of consuming cocaine. Rather than dropping a wad at the Dollar Store, Mom will swing through the Walker Art Center or lose control at the high-end wall at Costco's liquor store.So while my Mother tries to have fun by giving in to her psychosis, her Grandson, Miles, discovered the joys of tantric non-grabbing of the funky pepper grinder.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Do Not Be Deceived

Oh,look at the at the sweet, little angel baby, reaching out to gently cup another flower of the world. Look how the sweet, little angel baby takes the flower into his precious hand as if he were holding a cloud or another sweet, little angel baby.

Oh, oh! But the sweet, little angel baby is just grabbing the flower! Augh! He's eating it! He's laughing evil laughter while he eats it! He hates these flowers! Devil baby! This is a devil baby!

In short, we are not so very worried about the Miles baby's motor function. This child is so fast, every time he reaches for something, you hear a little karate movie sound effect of a very fast action: woooOOO-TASH! Setting this kid down anywhere is accompanied by the "Perimeter Sweep Alert!". Put him down and you have to give a hearty "Bah-WHOOP! Bah-WHOOOP! Bah-WHOOOP!" while you clear away anything that could be squeezed through fingers, stuck in the mouth or rubbed about the hair and cute onesie.

Who knew that angels were like so many gentle, little Waco Kids?

Monday, September 01, 2008

How Much Food can a Max-Chuck Chuck?

So, really, while the Minnesota State Fair remains close to its agrarian roots, what with its rows and rows of jars of seeds and honey, some with first or second place ribbons; and a building filled with everything that could possibly grow from a seed in the ground and then be judged.

That's not to mention the kids who come from all over the state with their horses, cows and bacons. . . pigs! I mean pigs. All those kids who sleep next to their animals' stalls and hope that the judge doesn't go all political on them just 'cause the kid in the next pen is from some hoity-toity 4H club.

While all that is true, the reason you go to the fair is to pay five dollars for numerous things served on a stick, five dollars for Sweet Martha's cookies, five dollars for fried cheese curds, five dollars for lemonade, five dollars for ice cream, five dollars for french fries, and ten dollars for parking.

What makes it worth it, though, is one: desensitizing Miles to bright lights, loud noises, and carnies. And, two, paying five dollars for a soft pretzel only to have Max pretend it's a steering wheel while he eats it. Oh, and two bucks to go on Max's first carousel ride with him.

Love the fair!

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