Posted tagged ‘kids’

Beach-sauce redux

August 15, 2013

After spending a few days back at work and realizing that I’d rather be at the beach watching my language, instead of cursing at my phone, monitor, keyboard and career choices, I decided to head back to the beach house my dad had rented and spend some more time plaguing my family with bad puns, methane emissions and a new game.

In the past, my choices for family games has met with…we’ll politely call it “vociferous disdain”. If I like a game, they hate it, especially if I brought it and the rules require more thought than holding numbered cards of varying colors and matching them in one of two ways. The one that comes to mind most readily, as that is the one they immediately ask me NOT to bring when we plan these things, is Drakon, which bears a strong resemblance to the algorithmic visual programming language which I’m sure it was at least partially based on.

This is an admittedly complicated game where you not only have game pieces that represent your fantasy adventurer self, but also “cards” that you draw that are also map pieces with different rules for how to play/move across them. Oh, and there’s also Drakon, the dragon who is guarding this ever-shifting maze-map and will gank all of your coins if she lands on the same tile as you. Since that is engineered by the other players, it WILL happen. I can understand my family’s hesitance in playing this game, especially when I frequently have to consult the rules as each of us ponders what card/map piece will simultaneously help themselves and screw the other players. I keep telling them if we play it more often, it will be easier to play. Their answers, when not mocking my looks and intelligence, are crossed-arm, stony stares that seem to indicate they wish Drakon would maul me and my stupid game.

This time, in addition to hauling Drakon along for the humor factor (watching their faces light up at the mention of games, then fall again as I drag Drakon out of the bag is a game all in itself), I brought a new game called Cards Against Humanity.

If you want a quick peek at what the game is like, click the link and prepare to laugh until you feel like you’ve performed a 90-minute ab workout. The basic gist is that there are two kinds of cards, black cards that contain questions or fill-in-the-blank statements, and white “answer” cards. One person each round is the judge and picks a black card at random to read. Everyone else picks from their continuously replenished 10 answer cards to present what they think the funniest answer will be. The judge reads them all and picks his or her favorite….if they can get through the reading without falling off their chair or crying from laughing.

I’m sure there’s some Apples to Apples-esque scoring mechanism, but we were having so much fun playing the game that we didn’t bother to keep score. We learned a lot that evening, not the least of which is one horrible way to lose your virginity: tickling Sean Hannity even after he tells you to stop. The one that turned my dad into an adult fetus is too obscure out of context to share here. Plus, I really want you to play this game for yourself and report back one ridiculous thing you learned from it. You’ll thank me…if you aren’t rolling your eyes and shouting at your monitor that, “I already HAVE that game, MORON!” Still, your obnoxious condescension aside, I’d like to hear what you learned from this insanely hilarious game. Oh, and don’t purchase it if you’re strictly religious, or have a stick up your bum the size of a redwood. It’s not for you, trust me. They don’t call it the party game for horrible people for nothing.

Other than that, the rest of my time upon returning to the beach house was spent either eating, drinking, being pummeled by mother ocean or any combination of the three. It was a much needed break from The Work. And I think my nieces escaped without too much corruption from Uncle Ren.

Thanks for another great summer of fun memories, dad. Next year, we’re having a Drakon-a-thon until we all know how to play without consulting the rule-novel. Either that, or I unveil my Epic Pouting. It’s your choice.

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Mr. Freakin’ Hot Sauce

August 5, 2013

***I’d apologize for not having any pictures of the following tale, but it was more fun living life than filming it.***

At least once every year, my dad launches onto the Internet in search of the perfect beach house for a week of family fun, frivolity and food. I’m not sure what his process is, but we’re frequently found pulling up to residences that seem surprised to see us there expecting a place to stay. And by frequently, I mean this time.

After a week of stress and frustration at work, Achebeyo and I were looking forward to a little down time at the beach. You know, someplace we could have drinks mixed for us and food pumped into our system while we curse the days away. Enter The Nieces.

My two nieces, 3yrs and 8mos respectively, are adorable. And I’m not a fan of kids. Let me be clear: since I’m a big kid myself, I’m not interested in adding to Achebeyo’s growing frustration with raising one whining, crying mess. Thankfully, neither is she. However, I can’t help but be smitten with my two nieces, and not simply because we have people in common. There is one thing, though, that makes it tough for me to be around them: Mr. Hotsauce.

Let me give you a sample conversation and see if you can figure it out.

The Mr. Hotsaucing television won’t Mr. Hotsaucing turn on. And with those Mr. Hotsauce neighbors stomping all around, I’m about to lose my Mr. Hotsauce mind!

Get it? Yeah, it would probably be easier to list the words you can say around my nieces than the ones strictly covered by the Mr. Hotsauce rule. I found myself inventing all new uses for hotsauce this past weekend that would likely make real hot sauce blush.

That mother hotsaucing wave slammed me into the sand and nearly tore my hotsauce off. And now I’ve got sand so far up my hotsauce that I’ll need a hotsaucetal exam to get it all out.

Ah language, the thin red line between corrupting your young relatives and going insane. I survived with my hotsauce intact, though.

While I kid about having to watch my language around my nieces, it was still fun spending time with them both. We played in the sand and water, we watched movies and played with building blocks. We even flew my high-performance parafoil kite. Many activities designed to keep Mr. Hotsauce far from our minds. Plus, there are far more subtle ways to create mischief for my brother through my nieces.

Say ‘Daddy is a Mr. Hotsauce-Head’.

DADDY IS A MR. HOTSAUCE-HEAD!

Atta girl.

Gooftacular Tales

July 23, 2013

***Having Brett guest post really got my gray matter oozing awesome, and now I must share. Thanks for the brain-boost, buddy!***

Remembering how one of my best friends from high school and I met  and became partners in The Silly triggered all of these other memories of how awesome we thought we were. Granted, few others agreed with our self-assessment, but that did not deter us from forging geektastic paths in those days.

Brett, being the humble guest blogger that he is, failed to mention that he was (is) a genius when it came to making costume replicas of some of our favorite characters from movies. Since we had the dangly-down human parts, we were enamored with the thought of being Mad Max, Han Solo or his 1940’s other-galaxy alter-ego Indiana Jones. Interestingly enough, neither of us was interested in being Luke Crywalker. Maybe we sensed his parentage before Lucas did, or maybe we just weren’t into kissing our sisters. Either way, Brett paved the way for me to explore all of the avenues I had to keep girls at a safe distance…for them.

I’ve never been much use when it comes to building things that aren’t comprised of squiggly lines on paper or computer. I’ll spare you the tired cliches about having a birdhouse condemned by government agencies, but I will say that my most brilliant accomplishment of the hand-made variety at that time was the lizard leash that Brett mentioned in the previous post. More on that some other time. Suffice it to say that if you wanted to look like an Imperial speeder bike scout on that teddy bear planet, he was the one to make it happen. And did.

Since he lived at one end of the national park and me at the other, it was usually a 15-20 minute bike ride for me to get to his place. Or, if I was lucky and feeling brain-dead, a 5 minute ride on the cargo trains that frequently passed by my house on their way past his. After nearly shredding myself on unforgiving crushed rock as I leaped to safety on one such ride, bikes became the more viable option to reach Brett’s house. Not to mention, it meant I had a way home that didn’t mean a 30-40 minute walk.

On one particular visit to Brett’s house, he showed me the aforementioned speeder bike scout helmet he made. It was so authentic that I immediately pledged my undying love and devotion to the plastic and cardboard construction and begged Brett to let me wear it on my bike ride home to show the world what a super-stud I was. I think Brett knew the actual outcome of such a solo-parade, and was likely curious to view the results. He capitulated gracefully and I plonked the helmet down over my ear-to-ear grinning face. I rode home like the winds of goofy change and just knew I was the envy of everyone who saw me.

Eventually I had to return the helmet, but not before infuriating my mother by wearing it constantly around the house. While I was busy dorking it up with the inanimate love of my life, Brett was busy re-creating other heroes of ours. Our next adventure would be a little closer to our home planet. Okay, ON our home planet. A little adventure I like to call “Indiana Beckett and the Snakening”.

Brett made himself an authentic Indiana Jones costume, and even was allowed to purchase an authentic whip to make it complete. I think his parents thought he would likely not be able to master the skills necessary to do more than flop that leather rope around like a soggy noodle. They were mistaken.

We would venture out into the national park, Indiana Beckett and his Baltimore Aquarium shirted side-kick, where he would rapidly acquire the skills to pop that whip like he was tearing open peep holes in the universe. He got good enough that he could snap leaves off of trees and even move small rocks. The best I could do was leave myself stinging welts all over my legs, neck and head, as is proper for the goofy side-kick. Knowing our respective roles, we ventured out into the searing heat of southern California summers in the national park and vowed to take on all of Nature’s “villains”. We were certain we could stop a coyote, bobcat or angry jackrabbit. Snakes would run in fear of Brett’s prowess. Or not.

As we ambled along the railroad tracks, Brett practicing his fear inducing whip snaps, me begging for the chance to scar myself further, we suddenly encountered our venerable hero’s biggest nemesis: a snake. Finally! A chance to showcase Brett’s prowess with the whip, and a chance for me to showcase my egging-on skills. Enter situational excitement and panic.

As I extorted Brett to show that snake who the boss of the railroad tracks was, it started rattling, turning Brett’s whip action into a tossing action mid-whip. Yep. He gave that snake the animal kingdom’s equivalent of a blow up doll, and it showed its appreciation by winding itself around the whip, daring us to try to regain our lost treasure. The snake standoff would last only until Brett realized that the whip’s handle was far enough away from the geometric tryst going on between snake and his paramour to allow him to grab it and make the jump to light speed.

Most of the rest of that afternoon is lost in the haze of screaming flight while shaking the snot (snake) out of that whip and hoping snakes can’t give accurate descriptions to the serpent authorities. We ran. Like the wind.

Once we had ensured our safety and distance, and checked to make certain we wouldn’t require changes of undergarments, we would embellish the tale of our encounter to anyone who would listen. To hear us retell the ordeal, we faced down a prehistoric demon-snake the size of a pick-up truck and lived to tell the tale.

We were heroes of our own imaginations.

We were also having the time of our lives.

Snafu

July 22, 2013

*** My name is Brett.  One of Kevin’s high school friends.  He asked me to be a “guest writer” on this blog.***

*** First of all, I am not a writer.  Just because I struggle with writing I am not a struggling writer.  Secondly, through all of Kevin’s other posts, you are most likely familiar with his past work.  I would like to lay claim to some of his success as a comedy genius, but please don’t blame me. When approached by Kevin to write a story, recalling a memory of our oh-so-mature childhood days (because let’s face it, when boys are fourteen, fifteen, or forty they are cool know-it-alls) a few stories came to mind, but honestly, since I have not partaken of each blog post, I decided it behooving to stray from the stories of lizard lassos, snake whips, and pond drains for fear of boring readers with repetition, redundancy, or superfluousness.***

Being a middle school teacher, and parent, I feel I understand adolescence, primarily that of the twelve to fourteen year-old.  I have been instructing seventh and eighth grade students for somewhere around fifteen of my twenty-three years in education, the last six of which have been in Multimedia, a class which, in our district, focuses primarily on movie production (speaking of movies… although I have stayed in the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, I have yet to visit any mansion with said moniker resembling the likes of Versailles (other than Versailles)…and have been advised not to).  Now, having taught middle schoolers for so long, having two (currently) middle school daughters, and having been a middle schooler myself, I believe that upon finishing the application process and being hired, any and all middle-school teachers should be granted a knighthood, sainthood, riding hood, or any kind of hood available to those courageous (gullible) enough to voluntarily enter the position.  This philosophy is based mostly on the fact that I was a middle schooler myself and that my position as teacher now is not one of nobility, but one of karma (Karma= God’s “I told ya so.”)

As a middle-schooler, (and by the way, I am tired of my word processor’s red line indication that the word schooler is not in the dictionary.  It is.  If it isn’t a word, it should be.  Schooler: 1. an adjective describing a specific age of child, 2. a synonym for teacher) I was not as popular as I had hoped to be, but luckily, I was in middle school so I didn’t care. I entered seventh grade in Rapid City, SD, son of an Air Force Captain and entered the second half of eighth grade in Riverside, CA, son of an Air Force Major.  All of the moving, as any military brat can attest, leads to the development, honing, and perfection of certain adolescent survival skills; skills that most children do not learn until adulthood.  Among these skills are “if you don’t want people around you, don’t shower after gym class,” and “if you want people around you, be humorous.”  I learned to master both by the time ninth grade was over, and then spent the rest of my life trying unsuccessfully to practice more of the latter than the former.  This, combined with the fact that I had only been in California for five months, resulted in a lack of friends by the end of the school year.

The summer between eighth and ninth grade was boring, even for a newbie Californian.  That being said, and tying this together (finally) with the topic of middle-schoolers, adolescents are very easily influenced, as exampled by my trip to Universal Studios at the age of 13…I now am a walking filmography resource.  Generally speaking, adolescents do not have direction in the world yet, they don’t have a complete set of social graces, and they are gangly and clumsy; all the ingredients for what we call “goofy.”  This, not surprisingly, is the state in which Kevin and I began high school.

I met Kevin in 9th grade I believe, and our shared affinity of all things goofy, silly, stupid, ignorant, dumb, and dangerous was the magnet that brought our friendship together; well, that and English class.  Mrs. Polite (Saint Polite), our English teacher, “put up” with our shenanigans for an entire year, or possibly two.   How she ended each year with a full head of hair I’ll never know.

Riverside, California seemed to have a pool in every other back yard.  My next door neighbor had one, one of my friends down the street had one, and Kevin’s grandparents had one in their yard as well.

There was one particular night over the summer where Kevin invited me to spend the night at his grandparents’ house.  Not to belittle our friendship, but the selling point for me was the pool.  Even though I was not a good swimmer (to this day I pinch my nose when jumping in), I loved being in the water.  I accepted his invitation, even though I had never been to his grandparents’ house; nor had I ever met them.

As it turned out, Kevin’s grandparents had to go out for the evening.  I’m not sure I told my parents that they would not be present during our “sleepover.”  They might not have let me go had they known that we had access to a pool with no adult supervision.  Even so, it wasn’t the pool that would be the cause of fun for Kevin and I that night.  Instead, it was the food and the videogames.

We went to Kevin’s grandparents’ house, and immediately got into the pool.  (I believe it was after dinner-time as I don’t remember eating a meal there).  While swimming we played the usual games (all with snorkeling masks on) like Marco Polo, and one of our favorites, Spiderman; a game in which you can observe each other underwater clinging to the side of the pool as Spiderman would to the side of a building, then watch each other launch from one side of the pool, glide through the water, then land on the other side of the pool, clinging to that “building.”  Over the next year or two we would play this game again many times, especially at Club Mud, Palm Springs.

After swimming to the point of raisin toes, we decided to treat ourselves to a well-deserved snack.  I distinctly remember Kevin opening and closing the kitchen cabinets and the fridge and freezer pulling out items to include in our teenage smorgasbord.   Included in these were the staple of ice-cream (I want to say it was chocolate of some sort with marshmallow), chocolate covered cookies, whipped cream, cherries, assorted chips or crackers, maybe some licorice, and so on.  We piled all of our food onto large bowls filled with mountains of ice-cream and headed to the TV room.

Apparently, Kevin’s grandparents had everything that a growing teenage boy could dream of as there was a video game system hooked up to the television in the sun room.  I believe it was an Atari.  After a while of playing Space Invaders and PacMan and eating ice-cream and cookies to the point of misery, Kevin had a new game that he wanted me to play called SNAFU.    I had not heard of this term before and had certainly not heard of any such video game.   Time, being the greatest teacher of all, taught me what the acronym SNAFU means, and to this day I still don’t understand what it had to do with the actual video game that we played, which, if memory serves, was a basic “snake” game wherein the objective is to trap the opponents snake within the trails of the tails; very Tron-esque, light bike game.

The conversation was simple and went as follows:

Kevin said, “I have a new game that you need to play.  It’s kinda cool.”

“Sure. What is it?” I asked.

“SNAFU.”

“Gesundheit.”

Now, it may not sound like much now, nor may it even make you smile or smirk, but back then, at the age of 13, on the tallest sugar-high ever imagined by two water-exhausted, pruny, goofy ninth graders, “Gesundheit” was the funniest comment in the history of comments that anyone could have made at that particular moment.  We must have laughed for over an hour.  It was the worst (best) case of the giggles that anyone has ever witnessed.  As a matter of fact, if Guinness was there, it would not have been recorded as the longest, funniest case of the giggles because the record keeper would have lost track of time due to his own excessive giggling.

When we were finally capable of collecting ourselves, we had tears of laughter streaming down our faces and the worst stomach aches any teenage boy could ever deserve.  So, we ate more ice-cream.  Honestly, other than playing that video game, I don’t remember anything else that happened after that.

It was one of the greatest times of my goofy childhood that I’ll never forget.

Thank you Kevin.

The death giggles of courtesy

May 13, 2013

***Ever wanted to observe a pitchfork-and-torches mob at it’s inception?***

Let’s face it, the best blog entries are the ones that are entertaining, fun and don’t openly judge you. We love to read and live vicariously through each other and share in fun and often exciting adventures. Sometimes we just love seeing the delicious foods others concoct or purchase. Rarely do we enjoy having something shoved in our eyeholes that makes us think we’re being observed and found lacking. Welcome to this week’s deviation from the norm.

Achebeyo and I went to see a relatively new movie in the theater this past weekend, something that has become fairly rare for us for many reasons. The main reason? How do I put this gently…self-entitled people. Beginning ranting phase in 3…2…1…

Listen, I get it. I get that I can’t possibly know how difficult it is to raise a child. I get that parents need to break free from the monotony and misery that they chose to bring into their lives and enact even fleeting change. What I don’t get is why I pay to see the same movie you do, but you get to ruin it for me by bringing your noisy, fidgety, often sticky progeny to impede my ability to fully appreciate the experience.

There’s this wonderful new technology that will let you enjoy the movie over and over and over again for one low price in the privacy and security of your own home: DVD/Blu-ray. And you can do this for much cheaper than if you took all of your chattering minions to a theater and pumped them full of sugar, salt and soda.

Hey there Mr. Bossy-pants, what gives you the right to tell us what we can and can’t do with our often unruly minions?

The right of a paying customer who didn’t sign up to hear your kids ask you a million questions throughout the course of the 2.5-hour movie, or have my seat kicked 2700 times, or endure the loud, incessant crying of a CHILD TOO YOUNG TO APPRECIATE THE FILM! Oh, and if you have to spend the majority of a film reassuring your children that nobody REALLY died, sweetie, perhaps that movie wasn’t the one you should have dragged them to at that age.

Let me put this into perspective: your child will eventually get involved in some school or community-based stage production. We’re all forced to explore that avenue at least once, whether it’s as a talking item of food, a miniature president, an ambulatory tree or even a prince or princess. Me, I was Charlie Brown. Now, imagine that your wellspring of pride while watching this illustrious performance by the fruit of your overactive loins is suddenly muddied by me. Maybe I’m drunk, maybe I have to pee and want everyone around me to know it, or maybe I’m just more interested in explaining to people around me what’s really going on within the larger context of the story so everyone gets it. Imagine your frustration.

Now imagine I do that for every event you hold dear in your child’s development. I crash their first religious indoctrination to talk about my beliefs and feelings; I show up to their dance recitals and loudly comment on how professional dancers would have made this way more entertaining; maybe I even ring your doorbell 2700 times while you celebrate their single-digit birthdays, or just stand on your porch throwing a loud tantrum when they’re about to go humbly to sleep for the first time in 4 years. The point is, I ruin what was supposed to be good times for you.

And I do it with an attitude of it’s my right as a human.

I didn’t make you squirt out 2-3 snot-machines in the hopes that society would validate your existence for it. I didn’t plant the seed in your brain that your life would only be complete if you assist in the over-population of this planet. I just wanted to enjoy a movie in relative peace and quiet. I’m guessing that was too much to ask.

Laughter and other reactions at appropriate times enhance the experience for everyone in the theater, so I’m not suggesting isolation tubes for each seat. Although…

It’s understandable that you’d want to provide a wide range of experiences for your children, that you’d want to ensure they have wonderful memories of their youth and spending time with their parents. Just make sure you aren’t teaching them that it’s okay to ignore basic common courtesies when it comes to human interaction. Also, you never know what’s going to make someone teetering on the edge of civility snap.

Oh, and if you aren’t a doctor, a scientist working on the cure for stupidity and self-entitlement or the President, nobody needs to get in touch with you that badly while you watch a movie. Again, DVDs and Blu-ray were meant for you.

Milestones are for suckers

May 10, 2013

When I started writing for an invisible audience, I knew this day would come. A day, like many others, when I had less to say and less desire to say it, but with one big difference: it’s a numbered post that might indicate some form of ceremony or celebration should be involved. The Lazy tells me that’s just plain ridiculous. I can’t find any reasonable argument to the contrary, so let’s just proceed as if this is any other day of aimless writing.

“Casual Friday” in an office where we all wear jeans and slogan t-shirts most of the time seems a bit ambiguous. Not only am I not interested in being forced to concentrate on not viewing my co-workers’ nearly see-through leg-meat, I don’t want to subject them to my Wookie legs. If I thought I could get away with it without losing most of my body weight in water, I’d wear this in:

Improvised, unfathomable costumes have consequences.

This past week, I made some fried rice from scratch. Okay, so I didn’t grow the rice or the vegetables myself, I didn’t grind up the spices by hand (except the pepper, and it was more of a by-peppermill kind of thing) and I didn’t squirt out two organic eggs from my nethers. I did, however, manage to get all of the ingredients together in a palatable manner without burning the house down. And I learned a valuable lesson about myself: I make kick-ass spicy fried rice.

The picture is crap but the rice was not.

Last week, I asked my dad what my niece is into at 3yrs old, as her birthday celebration was last weekend, and I wanted to cement my title as Uncle of the Weekend by bringing the perfect gift. His answer? Pirates. I nodded politely while secretly thinking it might be time to start looking for in-home care for my dad. A 3yr old girl wants pirate stuff (booty?) for her birthday? Uncle Ren’s forging his own neural pathways on this one, thanks. I took a day off from work and spent the entirety of it debating myself in a well-known toy dispensary.

I should get her something girly. Why? because she’s a GIRL? That’s toy-sexist. Then I’ll get her something I would like. How do you know she’ll like what boys like? Then I’ll get her something gender-neutral. Yes, buy her something bland and unexciting, “Uncle of the Weekend”. I hate you, other voice of me in my head.

After 2700 laps around the store, I finally opted for something my eyes caught when I first ventured into Torture-R-Us’ labyrinth of misery: a musical, dancing & bubble spewing flower. It was a huge hit, but it turns out she really IS into pirates.

Parrrrrrtners in birthday crime.

Happy 3rd birthday to my niece, and happy 50th post to me.

Stupidity hurts

April 30, 2013

There have been more than a few occasions in my life when I’ve done something to cause myself pain or injury. Usually it’s of the emotional or mental variety because my smart-ass mouth doesn’t check in with my brain before lighting verbal wildfires with Achebeyo. I’ve already explained what happens when you try to become a hybrid clone of The Cat in the Hat and Harry Houdini, as well as the perils of cliff-diving onto railroad tracks, but there were many other instances where my brain, mouth and body weren’t really keeping open lines of reasonable communication. Take the past few weeks, for example.

I made the rash decision to give up caffeine cold turkey a few weeks ago. As anyone who has tried this after prolonged addictio…uh, exposure to caffeine knows, it’s like the mafia, you don’t quit without paying the price. In this case, that price is brain-squeezing headaches that make you want to punch a nun. Thankfully, there’s no convent nearby.

You can tell me all day long about how beneficial caffeine is, and how it promotes healthy yappity yap yap McYapstein, but anything that does this to your brain when you (try to) stop taking it isn’t winning my vote for best chemical of the century. At least, not until I’m back on that beast again. And I’m sure I will be, at some point. I’m not judging you addicts.

Under the influence of what felt like the Incredible Hulk using my noggin for a grip-strengthener, I unknowingly created another painful situation for myself: I made myself deaf. Okay, perhaps only 40% deaf…in one ear, but still. My brain was too busy looking for a way out of my ears and eyeballs to cobble together any reasonable explanation for how this could have happened. In my addled state, I assumed the beast, Caffeine, was to blame again. Because, you know, caffeine has been documented to cause partial, crunchy deafness in one ear when you quit it cold turkey.

Achebeyo listened to me agonizing for a few days before her Campaign to Make the Whining Stop got into full swing. She insisted I go to the doctor and see what the problem was. I stalled for time, hoping my body would backspace over the issue and write me a story of no pain anywhere for a few days. When Saturday rolled around and nothing had changed except for deeper, darker circles under my eyes, I opted to go to an (un)urgent care clinic nearby. That would prove to be a turning point for the worse.

After a few hours of waiting (“open at 10am” shouldn’t mean, “we’ll wander in around 11am”) and being seen by the same quack who gave me a bogus diagnosis on a different issue I had previously visited for, it was determined that I had a slight infection that somehow, in it’s slightness, managed to only reduce my hearing by 40% in my right ear. His solution, after jamming that aural probe through to my aching brain? Ear drops. Antibiotic ear drops. Nightmares of one of my childhood visits to my father flashed in my head: “These drops will cure your ear infection, but you’ll have to lie still for about 3-4 hours.” I think my dad was just trying to get a few hours rest from my shenanigans.

These new and improved, 5-minute drops went into my earhole and created what I like to call now I can’t hear a stinking thing out of that ear…syndrome. It would pool up and then run back out when I righted myself, even after anti-shenanigans time. All you health sleuths are ah-HA‘ing right now, aren’t you? Let’s see if you were right.

This pooling and dripping went on until Monday morning, when I scheduled myself to see an ear specialist that same afternoon.

Them: What seems to be the problem?

Me: 40% hearing loss in my right ear, increasing to 90% after application of antibiotic drops.

Them: Did you put anything in your ear?

Me: Not that I’m aware of.

Them: Then what’s this Q-tip head doing lodged against your ear drum?

Me: Napping before his big exit?

Yes, I had a freaking wad of cotton lodged against my ear drum.

Yes, I remember being told a billion times as a child not to stick anything smaller than a wooly mammoth in my ear.

No, I didn’t realize I had deafened myself when it happened. The brain-mauling headaches, remember?

Two separate doctors (and co-payments) and two prescriptions later (ear drops and shame) and I’m a new man. Now I’m on the path to better earhole health with their simple suggestion: vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Because what orifice isn’t made better with those two liquids combined?


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