{ Dog. Pants. Now. }

 I do not believe in the great outdoors.  I do not hike.  I do not fish. I do not camp.  My idea of "roughing it" is a hotel with less than adequate room and towel service.  I do not find anything morally superior about sleeping in the dirt and washing with water that may or may not look like one of those microscope slides from high school biology. Nor am I interested in knowing what color one's boogers can become depending on what is burned in the campfire.  As far as I can tell, "outdoorsy" is just a one word phrase for "let's pretend we're homeless - only with bears and mosquitoes."

When I got married I found out that my in-laws did believe in the great outdoors.  They kept making reference to vaguely planned, upcoming family camping trips as though they expected me to say "Super.  I keep my hip waders in the car.  Just let me grab my Survivor Man jammies and we're off.  By the way, don't bother bringing toilet paper - I'm cool with leaves and grass." I promised them one camping trip.  Ever.  So far I've done two - and that was only because I really wanted the S'mores.

I am pretty much the only one on my husband's side of the family that scrunches up their nose at the thought of sleeping bags and backpacks.  My father-in-law (who is 72 by the way) goes snow camping with the church scouting group... in the snow.  (Seriously.  I didn't even know that this was a thing until I met my father-in-law.  They sleep in full on igloos...which they build out of snow.  Crazy talk.)  My husband's sister and her family go on week long hunting trips ... with guns and shooting and camo undies.  My brother-in-law loves to talk about what he's killed, what he's almost killed, what he thinks he may have killed,  and what he'd like to kill if given the chance.  He also likes to talk about killing accessories.  Knives.  Guns.  Trucks.  Dogs. Sons.

I have to admit that I feel somewhat conflicted when I listen to these stories.  My father was quite the hunter/gun enthusiast . You wouldn't think that a guy in an electric wheelchair with a bleeding disorder would be your first choice as a point man when trying to sneak up on a wild animal while holding a gun, but we need to break barriers where we can I guess.  Also, I'm a big fan of eating meat.  However, I'm pretty sure that if I had to kill the meat myself, you'd be looking at the world's newest vegetarian.   I'm just not sure that I'm totally on board with sentences that start "It was the most beautiful animal I'd ever seen..." and end with "... and so I shot it."  (You can imagine what it's like to share this opinion while sitting in a room with a giant, furry, once-real bear mounted to the wall.  A bear.)

Even though the subject matter isn't my favorite, I do like my brother-in-law... and since he doesn't run screaming from the room while gouging out his eyes when I breastfeed my baby during family game time, I feel like I should be a little flexible.  His latest story was about a duck hunt that had happened a few weeks ago.  I have to admit that I was half-listening to him, half-watching the TV, half-trying to figure out why my boys were being so quiet and half-trying to figure out how I was going to get the Christmas presents wrapped  in one night.  There was something about a duck in a bush and really cold water and his dog is a genius.  My ears grabbed onto the part about the dog.

From what I could tell, after being blasted from flight, the duck dropped into a bush and my brother-in -law (who was standing in the cold water) said to the dog "dead bird".  (A little gross, but there you go.)  Dog the Genius then ran down a hill, under a fence, across a field, and picked up the bird in his mouth.  (Also a little gross.  Although, I guess that when I eat a cheeseburger I too have a dead animal in my mouth. Hmmm.)  Then, (with the dead bird in his mouth), the dog returned across the field, under the fence and up the hill where he sat down next to my brother-in-law, put his head against my brother-in-law's leg and at the command "my bird", dropped the dead bird into my brother-in-law's hand.  Again, a little gross, but you've got to admit, impressive.

While listening to my brother-in-law's braggyness about his dog, a memory of a long-ago Nordstrom shopping trip popped into my head.  I came into the store, child sitting in the stroller, when I was suddenly surrounded by a cloud of very smelly, yet very expensive, perfume.  In an attempt to clear my nose... and vision,  I temporarily, but vigorously shook my head back and forth thus taking my eyes off of my son.  The 2 year old seized on my distraction, jumped out of the stroller and sprinted to freedom.  (I think the perfume sprayer lady may have been his accomplice.  It seemed like a pretty seamless plan to me.)  He made it to the end of the aisle, slid on his belly across the marble floor and army crawled under a rounder of very ugly, yet very expensive jeans.  Bird in a bush.

In my mind I pictured myself yelling out "dead kid" and then standing back and watching with great satisfaction while a very well trained hunting dog comes bounding down the escalator, knocking middle aged white women aside, heading straight for my son.  I picture him flattening his body, easily fitting under the jeans and grabbing my child by the seat of his pants, dragging him from his strategic position.  The dog would then knock down the perfume lady as payback and drop the little escapee back in the stroller.  Good dog.

As it was, that particular shopping trip ended with crying and threatening and staring and judging and me on my belly (less successful at fitting under the jeans than the dog would be) and my son being really glad that Nordstrom has security cameras.

It is clear to me now, thanks to my brother-in-law, that there is an easy solution to just such parenting dilemmas.  It is clear to me that what I really need to be a more effective parent is not more love or patience or organization or discipline.  What I really need is a really good hunting dog.  Besides patrolling the perimeter on shopping trips, all I need him to do is identify which kid started the most recent Christmas vacation fight, retrieve Nerf missiles from the neighbor's yard and make sure that the dirty diapers make it to the garbage.  This seems like it would be a lot easier, and less gross, than finding a dead duck in a far away bush.  I'm pretty sure that some dog will want this job.  Maybe I'll check Craigslist, or maybe I'll just yell "dead kid" really loud and wait for him to come to me.  Good Dog.

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{ My son's Ptnas }

Some people can spell. Some people can't.  Most people fall into the second category. That's why they invented dictionaries... and when that didn't work they invented spell check... and when that didn't work they invented texting.

 I don't believe in texting - all it does is promote sloppy handwriting and poor spelling/grammar... and it feels suspiciously like the telegraph to me - only smaller and more annoying.  I'm pretty sure that eventually the texting people will be selling a handheld device that will utilize some other "cutting edge" technology - like smoke signals... because they're all about efficiency in communication.  It'll be called smexting (not to be confused with sexting)  and the smoke will come in a choice of your favorite color - just to make it more "you".  Also, either U2 or Coldplay will write the song for the ad campaign.  (Oh, just a PS on the sexting thing - if a man/boy is sending you sex messages typed out in short hand on your phone he is  a). tacky  
b). possibly cheating on someone within the range of his voice  
c). intending to show his man friends everything you said and will probably email your sweet nothings to your mom when he dumps you in favor of a faster sexter.  Don't say I didn't warn you), 

 I'm not even sure how most people use those little touch screen phones.  I can barely see the keys, let alone touch only one of them at a time.  It's like that game "Operation".  I keep expecting a buzzer to go off every time I type in a letter.  It makes my hands shaky (and a little sweaty) just thinking about it.   Apparently the cell phone industry uses a bunch of Chinese sweatshop seamstresses to test out their products.  How about throwing a few big boned white girls into those focus groups fellas?  Oh, and to you Mr. "let's invent a bunch of super helpful texty features, like maybe one that automatically fills in the word that you want to use with a word that is similar to but not actually the word you want use", you owe me  a new phone... one that doesn't break when you throw it out the window.  

I just don't text.  In addition to my annoyance,  I'm really slow and my level of accuracy leaves something to be desired.  It takes me like 20 minutes to type "da kds r kklng me.  wn r u cunig hone?"...which is followed by a phone call from my husband clarifying my text message - "the kids are killing you.  when am I coming home?"  Like I said - super efficient.  I'm not good at it, and I don't want to get good at it.

I know that this might be techno lame, but I like it when the words I'm reading are spelled out...all the way... with all of the letters... in the right places.  It just seems to me that the more we abbreviate and change and eliminate parts of our language the more likely we are to miscommunicate and cause problems and create more work for ourselves.

What I learned this week is that I am not alone in my opposition to the alternative spelling movement.  Mother Nature isn't on board either.  Especially when it comes to a little something called DNA.  Even though it can only use only 4 letters (A, T, C, and G), DNA spells out the longest word in the world.  (Take that antidisestablishmentarianism.)  Long story short, you'd better hope that your DNA was homeschooled because this is one spelling bee word that you don't want to mess up.  Too bad for us... our son's DNA was not so much a speller as a texter... and not a very good one. Turns out that his DNA reads "A" where it's supposed to read "T"... and it ends up spelling "hemophilia".

For those of you who don't know, hemophilia is a bleeding disorder that effects primarily boys (there are a few girls that have it, but it's really rare).  Hemophiliacs are missing a protein in their blood that helps it to clot.  There are really excellent treatments now, and the risk of being infected by blood born diseases like Hepatitis and HIV is basically zero these days because the replacement clotting factor is made from synthetics instead of human plasma.

We are doing totally fine.  We have a great treatment center with an amazing hematologist and insurance that covers our son's care and meds.  (Tender mercies people, tender mercies.)

I debated whether or not I should write about this, it's not exactly funny and doesn't make as good a story as giving myself a bad haircut, or locking myself out of the car at Winco...but I write about life, and this is just part of our life.  Although I wouldn't ever raise my hand and volunteer my son to have a life long medical condition, especially one that involves so many needles, I am not sorry for him either.  I will never mourn the life of another person just because their body functions differently than mine.  I think it's condescending and arrogant.  It would imply that because a person faces challenges different than mine that they will, by definition of their circumstances, have a less fulfilling life.  I have a friend with a child with Down Syndrome, a friend whose child died during birth because his heart was backward (and some other stuff) and a niece with cystic fibrosis.  I never said that I was sorry about those children because I am not sorry about them.  They should be celebrated just like every other baby born to this world.  Each of them is important and will contribute things and learn things and be things that I can and will never be.  So here it is - I don't want anyone telling me that they are sorry about my son - unless you want to annoy me... which you don't.

However... you can tell me that I have the most beautiful baby that you've ever seen, and that he's really, really ridiculously lucky... and clearly a genius... and brimming with talent... just like his mother.  You can even text it to me.  I'll let it go - just this once.

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Golfers wear ugly pants

Thought that I would forward this on to Tiger.  My advice was originally intended for John Edwards, (see" His pants have been around"), but apparently we need to get the word out.  Listen up boys- the mistress always tells on you... and then your wife beats you with a golf club and leaves you shoeless in the street... Oh, and then she takes all the money and the kids.  If only he would've asked...

"...The general rule of thumb is : Keep your pants on. If you are unsure whether or not this rule applies to your given situation here are a few simple tests. Ask the woman with whom you are on a date "Are you my wife?", if "yes", you are free to do whatever you'd like with your pants as long as you are not in public - the rule always applies there. If "no" - leave your pants on . Follow up with questions such as: "Have you seen my wife?", "Do you know how I can contact my wife?", or "Why am I on a date with you if you aren't my wife?".

If you cannot determine whether the aforementioned woman is your wife- keep your pants on, and leave the premises immediately. Proceed to a safe location, your home for example. If there is a woman there who is making sure your children are cared for, nutured, well fed (in theory),and is sacrificing herself to support your ________ career (add specific field of employment here) you may have found your wife. If she looks like the woman in the wedding/family pictures on the wall - you can safely assume that she is your wife and it is now safe to remove your pants. (Unless she's the nanny - which is a far more complex and dangerous set of rules and a different blog all together.)

You're welcome in advance. Hope this clears things up.

Maybe I should also write some advice for all those girls out there who believe "he really does love me more than his wife, his kids, his money and his reputation",  "he'd never treat me like he treats her", and "I'm actually a really good person".  Super smart.
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